Whether it happened this morning or not, we know it will happen soon, and there is no weather event with as much of an impact on the environment as the first hard freeze of autumn. Even though the first warm day in spring is certainly more greatly anticipated, it leaves no lasting results. And while the cool season's first snowfall does suddenly transform the view into a winter scene, early snow often melts, leaving us back where we had been in autumn, with a slightly muddier ground.
But that morning when we get hit with that first hard freeze, most of the plants in the garden blacken and die just like that. And there are no more vine-ripe tomatoes and peppers until next summer.
After a hard freeze, it is not unusual for the weather to turn lovely and mild again, but the annual garden vines will stay dead until next year's seed catalogues start arriving in the mail after Christmas.