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Most of the Philly region gets its first freeze, and the ‘growing season’ officially ends

It dropped to 25 degrees in Pottstown Thursday, but only to 36 at Philadelphia International Airport, which was a better place to be for plant life.

Commuters waiting for the bus at 15th Street above Market on Wednesday morning. It was chilly in Philly, but it got all the way down to 27 in Pottstown.
Commuters waiting for the bus at 15th Street above Market on Wednesday morning. It was chilly in Philly, but it got all the way down to 27 in Pottstown.Read moreALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

The temperature dropped all the way to 25 degrees in Pottstown on Thursday, and the National Weather Service declared that officially the “growing season” was toast throughout the region, even though the official thermometer at Philadelphia International Airport remained freeze-resistant.

Readings are likely to be near or below freezing throughout the region the next two mornings, forecasters say, and frost could whiten the ground and car roofs even the temperature stays above freezing.

» READ MORE: First frost and freezing temperatures invade Philly region; 'heat island’ spares city

It got down to 26 in Blue Bell, Montgomery County, and 31 in both Mount Holly and Wilmington, but the airport wasn’t a bad place to be a plant as it didn’t get below 36.

And in keeping with recent years, officially, at least, the city might not get see 32 until well into November, about a week later than it did before this century.

Radical temperature spreads aren’t that unusual when the winds are light, as they were during Thursday’s early-morning hours.

» READ MORE: Why this deep South Jersey location is such a thermal outlier

As has been well-documented, the airport is a particularly tough place for a temperature to drop, being near a swamp, a river, and heat-holding paved surfaces and buildings.

Still, that 36 marked the coldest morning since April 23.

Technically, the so-called growing season — which the weather service loosely defines as the period between the last and first “killing” frosts — grows on in Philly. The Mount Holly office opts for the first readings of 32 or below in a majority of a county as the season’s terminal point.

Practically, it means that the office will stop issuing its freeze warnings until the spring.

» READ MORE: Philly temperatures are heading into the 80s and nights are extra warm. And what’s with all the clouds?

But you might have noticed that even in the region’s colder climes, a whole lot of greenery prevails. “Some plants will be fine,” said Davis, although the annuals might be ready for the great beyond.

Temperatures are due to remain below normal through the weekend with daytime highs in the 50s, however a warm-up is due next week.

In fact it appears that the region is in for a solid dry run, said Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., with a sequence of splendid fall days to enjoy the tenacious remnants of the foliage.