PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Memorial Day weekend normally signifies the unofficial start of summer. So, it only makes sense that a frost advisory and freeze warning will be in effect overnight.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the lower to mid-30’s. Additionally, a freeze warning is in effect for areas north of Interstate 80.

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Latest Forecast:

“That will usher in a temporary shot, the cool front will, of some cooler air which gives us the possibility of patchy frost late tonight,” says KDKA chief meteorologist Jeff Verszyla. “I think that best chance is going to be for those areas near and north of the I-80 corridor and that’s primarily going to be between about 3 and 6 o’clock in the morning.”

According to the National Weather Service, a frost advisory is in effect from midnight until 9 a.m. Saturday.

“As temperatures drop down near 40 and the upper 30s tonight, we’ll be right on the cusp of the area that we could potentially get some patchy frost developing,” said Verszyla. “I don’t think it’s a certainty in all areas, but it’s possible so you may want to take precautions if you’ve done some planting to be on the safe side.”

With possible frost overnight there are a few things you can do to try to protect your plants.

We asked Randy Soergel at Soergel Orchards and Garden Center for advice.

First, he says woody shrubs or bushes, including rose bushes, will be okay. However, other plants may require some protection: “To protect from frost what we’re going to do is make sure that we cover the plants, any of the tender annuals,” said Soergel.

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That’s stuff you plant every year such as impatiens, petunias, geraniums, marigolds and herbs.

“They have more water in the stem, and what they’ll do is the frost will actually land on them and it will burn that and kill the plant.”

Soergel says you can use any type of cloth or paper to cover your plants, but never use plastic.

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“When frost lands on top of plastic, it will go right through and burn the plant.”

An even easier way to protect your plants? Just open up the umbrella on your patio table and put your plants under it.

“The frost will land on top of the umbrella rather than on the plants,” said Soergel.

You might think frost could still get to them, but he says whatever you’re using to cover your plants does not have to be right on top of them.

“You can put your plants underneath a tree that would be just as good as anything else.”

The normal average date for the last frost in our area is April 21. Last year, the last frost happened on April 24.

However, the last frost in 2013 occurred on May 13.

On May 25, 2014, we hit a low of 33 degrees as well.

Despite the chilly temperatures tonight, the weekend is looking pretty good.

Saturday is shaping up to be mostly sunny with a high of 70. Temperatures are expected to climb to about 78 degrees on Sunday.

“By [Saturday] morning, sunshine is out in full force, a very pleasant day tomorrow near 70, and the warming trend will continue through the remainder of the holiday weekend,” said Verszyla.

For Memorial Day, there’s a chance of thunderstorms, but temperatures will reach the low 80’s.

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David Highfield