Easter Cold Blast Hopping Toward Coast

One final blast of cold air will blanket south Mississippi this weekend. Sleet and frost are both in the forecast. And the timing couldn't be worse. If predictions are correct, Easter sunrise services and egg hunts will be quite chilly. And if temperatures dip low enough, there's also a concern about all those spring plants that so many people have already put in their gardens.

At the Green Thumb Nursery in Gulfport, Susan Maxwell is hoping her favorite flowers will survive another visit from Ol' Man Winter.

"We've worked all winter in the hot houses with the Hibiscus. It would be horrible to lose them now," she said.

Yet losing the colorful, warm weather flowers is a possibility if the thermometer drops this weekend, and Hibiscus owners don't protect the radiant blooms.

"With the good Lord's help, they will thrive," Maxwell said.

Gardeners are always at the mercy of mother nature. All their hard work sprucing up yards could be wasted if petals start to shiver from an untimely frost.

"That's happened before," remembered Neecee Butler.

She was at Green Thumb buying flowers, unaware that a cold front, with near freezing temperatures was headed south. When she heard about the weather change, she worried about her purchase.

"Because those are for my mother in law. I don't want them to die. That would be bad, very bad," she laughed.

When it comes to the weather, Susan Maxwell follows a simple philosophy.

"If you're worried about it, you need to bring it in," the gardener said.

She believes a little extra water and a blanket will help insulate plants already in the ground.

Maxwell's advice is if you haven't planted anything yet, wait until the week after Easter, when the thermometer goes up, and the beautiful blooms can thrive.

"Do the best that you can to keep it warm, because this cold front isn't going to last. But you don't want to ruin your plants," she said.