In Pittsburgh, chilly temps forecast for mom's special day

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Moms who wake up today to a hot breakfast in bed will likely want to stay put and keep warm for the next few days right along with the plants in their garden.

Low temperatures and the likelihood of frost Monday and Tuesday nights are forecast.

Local nurseries are advising that potted plants be hauled inside for the next several days, or at least to a garage or covered porch.

Anything already in the ground, especially if it's sporting new, tender growth, needs protection in the way of covering up with sheets, newspaper or frost cloth available at garden centers. Sheets can be propped up by sticks to allow for proper airflow.

"Cover it up, cover everything up," said Mike Janoski of Janoski's Farms in Clinton. "That's all we've been doing for the last three days."

"As far as anything like mandevilla, hibiscus, any Southern foliage at all should definitely be brought in in the real cold conditions," suggested Jayme Visnesky, owner of Penn Hills Lawn and Garden Center.

Temperatures overnight were expected to drop to 40 and will dip further still Monday and Tuesday nights into the lower 30s, with frost expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The highs for the next few days don't look much better, courtesy of a strong low-pressure system coming out of the Midwest, meteorologist Lee Hendricks said Saturday from the weather service's station in Moon.

Temperatures today should reach the mid-50s.

That compares with a normal high of 70 to 71 degrees for this time of year. The average low temperatures for the next five days are 48 to 49 degrees.

"Welcome to spring," Mr. Hendricks said.

Even when temperatures drop below 55 degrees, some precautions should be taken, said Laurie Curl, manager of Hahn Nursery in Ross. Three delicate popular annuals -- basil, New Guinea impatiens and sweet potato vine -- should definitely be brought inside to weather such conditions.

"Those come in. Covering doesn't work on those. It's the temperature, not even the frost, that bothers those," Ms. Hahn said. "When it gets 40 or below, we learned to cover no matter what."

On the positive side, Ms. Hahn said, there wasn't an early burst of exceptionally warm weather to spur intense flowering, so the cold snap won't be felt so acutely.

A warm-up is on the horizon, though, with temperatures steadily climbing as the week goes by.

Tuesday's high should reach the lower 60s. Wednesday's should hit the mid-70s. And by Thursday shorts and a T-shirt will be required: Mr. Hendricks said the forecast calls for a high in the lower 80s.

"If you don't like the weather," he said, "hang around for a little while."

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Jonathan D. Silver:, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg.


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