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A chill ahead: Most of Maryland under freeze warning Monday night

Most of Maryland, from Cumberland to La Plata to Easton, is under a freeze warning Monday night into Tuesday morning. (It had initally been cautioned as a freeze watch, but forecasters have upgraded it to a warning.) It's a rude awakening from summer-like weather but is really a return to normal.

The National Weather Service is predicting a cold airmass from Canada to move into the region tonight with temperatures in the lower 30s in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas and in the 20s in outlying areas to the north and west. Areas near the Chesapeake Bay could be protected from the freeze thanks to warmth from the water.

As farmers point out to my Sun colleague Tim Wheeler in this story on today's front page, the warmth has coaxed plants to grow ahead of schedule. That could put fragile young crops at risk, forecasters caution. Farmers and gardeners are encouraged to do what they can to protect plants from freezing.

Freezing temperatures are not typical by this time of year, but they do happen, with average lows of about 37 degrees for March 26.

Normal highs are about 58, and that's where we're expected to be much of this week. Highs are expected in the upper 50s most of the week, except perhaps slightly cooler Tuesday and warmer on Wednesday.

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