January 10, 2010

Freeze in Florida Tonight Will Be Worst Since 1989

Tonight Will Be Most Damaging in Florida.

So far, citrus-growers in Florida have gotten by with only light damage following several nights of sub-freezing temperatures over the past week.

Tonight will likely prove more destructive as temperatures drop to the lowest levels in over 20 years.

According to AccuWeather.com Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler, the hard freeze tonight will be the worst since December of 1989.

Mohler said that unlike the last few nights, temperatures tonight across all the orange groves will drop below freezing and most will dip blow 28°, a critical temperature for the fruit.
strong>In many groves, temperatures will stay below 28° for 6 to 10 hours or more.

strong>Mohler expects a 6 to 10 percent loss of the total 2009 orange crop after tonight's freeze.

The groves where temperatures drop between 23 and 25 degrees will suffer the most significant damage.

Late-Week Heavy Rain Could Cause Even More Damage storm expected to develop over the western Gulf of Mexico later this week could spread heavy rain across areas from Texas to Florida and the Carolinas Thursday into Sunday.

Heavy rain could add more insult to injury for farmers by setting harvest dates back even further.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologists Alex Sosnowski and Meghan Evans contributed to the content of this story.

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