ANDERSON — For those of you who were missing it, winter is about to treat central Indiana to an encore performance over the next couple of days.
A strong cold front moving across the region could bring a dusting of snow to the area by Tuesday morning, dragging cold air in its wake and sending daily temperatures plummeting into the mid-20s, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures are expected to return to normal by Wednesday with sunny skies and an expected high of 51 degrees.
By then, however, flowers that have already bloomed and the buds of some fruit trees could be damaged, according to local agricultural and gardening experts.
Their advice to local gardeners is to cover flowers and plants with bed sheets and towels, or, if plants are in pots, to bring them inside.
Daffodils, many of which just popped open over the weekend, and pansies may appear damaged by Wednesday, said Kay Anderson of Ousley's Harvest Gardens in Alexandria.
Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, chard, broccoli or onions might be "stunned or shocked" by the sudden cold snap, but should be fine, she added.
"Obviously, if people have anything out in containers, just bring them inside," said Michael O'Donnell, an agriculture and natural resources extension educator in Delaware County.
O'Donnell said as he was monitoring the weather on Monday "the forecast seemed to be changing every hour."
However, the latest predicted lows are "getting us into scary territory," he said. "That's not just a frost, that's actually a hard freeze."
Fortunately, he said, field crops such as corn and soybeans won't be affected by the cold because hardly any farmers have been able to get into the fields to plant because it's been so persistently cold and wet the first several weeks of this spring.