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Warm weather to stick around for a while
Frost possible in next 3 weeks
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Wednesday in Gainesville felt and sounded a lot like spring.

Lawn mowers hummed in residential areas and the sun beat down on those enjoying lunch on the downtown square.

It seems the region has moved past winter, albeit a bit early.

"At least right now, until the latter part of this month, it's a warm pattern," said Brian Lynn, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "There's not any significant cold air in sight with what we're currently seeing."

The region's temperatures are well above normal, by 13 to 16 degrees, Lynn said.

But for those with an itch to plant flowers or summer produce as they watch thermometers hit 80, experts advise holding off.

"It's a risk that we're going to have a frost in the next three weeks or so, four weeks," said Michael Wheeler, Hall County extension coordinator. "... The weather pattern still can be influenced by cold fronts coming from the north, and it just takes one cold front to cause a lot of damage to anything, any summer crops that have been planted."

His office has been fielding calls on the issue. And trees are blooming about a week early, he said. Lynn said a freeze is unlikely in the next 10 days, but forecasting beyond that is difficult.

Wheeler did say any new plants could be protected with a sheet, but home gardeners may be better off spending the weekend pruning, cutting grass or spreading mulch.

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