LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — As we continue to see temperatures fall, scraping frost off the car windshield in the morning will, unfortunately, become a lot more common for some of us.
But WLNS Meteorologist Kendall Wilson tells us that not every cold and freezing night can create frost.
For frost to form we need the 3 C’s: cold freezing air, clear skies, and calm conditions overnight.
When skies are clear, the heat we gain during the day can escape quickly into the atmosphere, so our cool down overnight is maximized. As our temperatures drop down to the dew point — or in this case, the freezing point — we create moisture at the surface. And when temperatures of the surface are at or below freezing, that moisture turns to frost.
This is an extremely delicate process, so even something as small as a strong gust of wind can mix up the air and prevent this process from happening.
Our temperatures overnight can also tell us just how easy scraping off that frost in the morning will be. The general rule of thumb is that when surface temperatures are between 29 and 32 degrees, the frost is easy to scrape off. But when temperatures drop to 25 degrees or below, you must spend a little more time and use a little more elbow grease.