Cover up the plants and unpack the sweaters, the first frost of the year could arrive in Minnesota this week.
The National Weather Service is forecasting statewide temperatures from the lower 30s to upper 60s through early next week.
Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay said the six-to-10-day outlook shows below-normal temperatures and precipitation.
"There is a changing of air masses right now with less breeze blowing out of the south and arctic fronts starting to come in," he said.
While Boulay called the cool-down normal, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Richardson said the potential for frost this time of year is unusual.
"You typically might get a couple of days with frost, and then it warms up," he said. "But the length of this next pattern is unusual."
With the threat of frost in the air, Bob Mugaas, a regional extension educator with the University of Minnesota, urged gardeners to cover certain plants.
"The really tender plants like impatiens, begonias, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, if they're still doing OK they're probably worth protecting," Mugaas said.
He recommended covering plants and flower beds with sheets propped up by stakes so the plants don't get crushed. He added that jugs or pails work well, too, but that gardeners should leave them on until the weather warms up.
He also recommended bringing in potted or hanging plants, just through the cool streak.
The cold weather could also bring more fall colors to the trees.
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