January 6, 2010

Freeze Report Update 3, Jan 6

Following is a preliminary freeze update as reported by our AG-ER response teams around the state. We will continuously update you on events and/or measures as they occur. (Updated 2:15pm)

Tri-County Area - The weather has delayed harvesting of crops, i.e. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale etc. due to freezing temperatures in Putnam, St Johns and Hastings area.

West Central Florida - Last night experienced a hard freeze where temperatures dipped below 26 degrees for a prolonged period of time with the lowest temperatures reportedly dipping to 23 degrees in some low lying areas. By 7:30 a.m., this morning, temperatures remained at 26 degrees in most local areas with wind chill advisories in the teens. Temperature highs today are only expected to reach the upper 40's with a brief warm up to the mid-60's for highs on Thursday and Friday; followed once again by freeze warnings returning for the weekend with possibly even colder temperatures at that time. Local meteorologists are predicting possible sleet for this area Friday night/Saturday morning. The hard freeze encompassed all of Pasco, Hillsborough, Polk and our northern counties. A freeze warning covered our counties to the south; Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, Sarasota and DeSoto. A freeze warning will be issued once again tonight for Pasco Hillsborough and Polk Counties with a hard freeze warning for Citrus, Hernando and Sumter Counties. While it is still too early to speculate on the extent of any damage; no widespread damage has been reported as yet. (Cindy Suszko, Regional Agricultural Market Supervisor, Bureau of State Farmers' Markets)

St Lucie/Indian River - Reports from growers recorded 32 degrees by 10:00 pm in some locations with a slow cooling down to 25-26 degrees by about 3:00 AM. A little cloud cover in the south end of St. Lucie County raised temps to around 30 for most of the morning hours. Citrus growers reported some slush ice in small oranges but no ice in thicker-skinned grapefruit. Lots of frost evident as winds calmed about 4:00 AM. (Tim Gaver, IFAS Extension Agent II – Citrus)

Homestead/Florida City temperatures dropped to the low 30’s. Overhead irrigation was used on snap beans, squash and zucchini. There will be some crop damage but too early to determine. Tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, overhead irrigation was in place but not used.(Paul Cardwell, Sr Market Mngr, FL City Market)

Miami/Dade - no damage to speak of, with some very limited burn. Temps got down to 37 in most areas with winds staying up. We faired very well. Growers were getting some private forecasts for 27-28 degrees down here in the morning. I am going to get in touch with the local NWS office to get a better picture. (Don Pybas, Charles LaPradd, IFAS Ext.)

State - Some areas of damage to corn, beans, cucumbers, squash. Other crops fared reasonably well i.e. citrus and strawberries. Still have several more cold nights in front of us, so we won’t know extent of damage and the cumulative effect until next week on the other side of the next cold blast. - Vegetable production had some problems for sure – a 2-hour period w/some clouds where temps went back up after dropping. No extended freeze, but a hard frost in many areas. Lost tops in some of the older tomato plants; younger, smaller plants fared better because they’re closer to the ground where temps are warmer. Corn and beans farther away from the lake got hit pretty hard by frost. Some farms saw damage; others didn’t see as much we won’t see full effect for a day or so. In Glades County beans, corn and young cane got burnt; again more damage farther out from the lake. Will have to wait and see the prolonged effect of so much irrigation in tomatoes, squash, peppers, and cucumbers, anything that sets fruit. By keeping the water up for 10 days straight, we’re basically damaging roots will see disease issues down the line; since it flushes nutrients out of the soil. There will be bloom drop and gaps in production - going to miss a week of fruit several weeks from now. This could create quality issues that will affect the product’s marketability. However not as bad as last year’s January freeze. In SW Florida – tomatoes temps right at 30, high 20s for a brief period. Marginal damage where the wind laid off – heavy frost in some areas. Nothing disastrous, still have the rest of the week, so we’re not out of the woods yet. (Lisa Lochridge, Public Affairs Director, FFVA)

Citrus – Preliminary reports indicate there may be isolated areas that have minor fruit damage however; temperatures do not appear to have dipped low enough for long enough duration to create substantial problems. Parts of the industry received some minimal damage in the colder locations especially south off of The Ridge. There were isolated areas with temperatures reported by growers as low as 22-23 degrees. Most growers spoken to expect isolated fruit drop as well as minor leaf damage. There have been some reports of ice cut in some fruit as well. Reports from the Indian River region indicate that the grapefruit crop came through with no damage, while there was very minimal scattered damage on the orange crop. Highlands County area a mixed bag up on ridge. Down off the ridge temps for 8-9 hours in the mid-20s. Traditionally lower, colder pockets saw 24 and 25drgrees for quite a bit of time; cutting some ice there. A lot of heavy frost in some trees off the ridge area. Leaf loss and some juice loss in some areas will happen. The wind laid down more than people thought it would. It got colder earlier than people thought it would, there may be some minor juice and leaf loss. Please note all of these reports are preliminary (Lisa Lochridge, Public Affairs Director, FFVA / Citrus Mutual Report)

Strawberries - Shortly after sundown last night area temperatures plummeted, forcing most strawberry growers to turn water onto their crops between 7:30-8:00 p.m. Tuesday morning was mild compared to this morning. Hopefully be able to pick some today
Calm, no damage, ice kept fairly well. Only question is how windy will it be Saturday night. They probably have to run water again tonight. We had a long cold night with lows of 23-24 in some places. The wind picked up early (3-4 AM), so there will probably be a few spots of damage due to irregular water coverage. We hit 32 at 8 PM Tues & it's still below freezing at 8:30 this morning. On the positive side the plants are becoming conditioned, so when we finally get some warm days there will be an abundance of really sweet fruit. At this point it looks like freezing every night except Friday thru early next week. The length of this cold period is probably unprecedented. I am limiting communication with growers during the daytime hours so they can get some rest. (Ted Campbell, FSGA)

Franklin County - OK, they put out salt to melt some ice on the docks. ( Leavins Seafood, Apalachicola)
Fishermen are not out fishing due to the cold temperatures and wind. (Waterstreet Seafood, Apalachicola)
Duval County – No problems with harvesting or sales due to cold weather. (Grame Thompson, Mayport)
Levy County - Business is slow with inability to harvest fresh seafood due to cold weather. (Carl Robinson, Cedar Key)
Gulf County - Their production is down at this time of year anyway. They are not out fishing but that is typical for this time of year. They have some production going on in South Florida right now. (Raffields, Port St. Joe, Woods Fisheries)
Pinellas County - Has not heard anything regarding the freezing temperatures affecting the Florida shrimp industry, but he is checking with the folks in the Ft. Myers and the panhandle areas to see if they have an opinion. (John Williams, Executive Director, Southern Shrimp Alliance, Tarpon Springs)
Lee County - Wholesaler of variety of species has seen no decrease in supplies except for stone crabs and clams. According to owner Amber Haines, the clams in the Pine Island and Bokeelia area are being tested for potential red tide caused by the cold. (Blue Star Shrimp Company, Fort Myers)
Escambia County - No commercial boats in the area are out fishing in this cold weather. The last boats went out 2 days ago.. - Joe Patti Seafood, Pensacola)
Monroe County – last Day Company able to fish was Sunday, January 3rd. Wind still keeping boats at the dock. No seafood product coming in right now. ( Ada Veiga,D&D Seafood, Marathon)


Dade County - It was 37 degrees this morning with ice on vehicles. Pumping warm water into the tropical fish ponds. They are OK today. (Paul Radice, Angels Hatchery, Homestead)
Pumping warm water into ponds and everything is OK for now. (Greta Theile, Naranja Tropical Fish Farm, Homestead)
Hillsborough County - Aquaculture -live rock – Richard Londeree, owner, cannot harvest in the Gulf due to wind... visibility goes to zero. Also water temperature is 51 degrees. He has a back up site but it takes three days to harvest one load as opposed to one day in the Gulf. (Tampa Bay Saltwater, Tampa)
Levy County - Anyone that is handling very small seed in a hatchery or nursery may have problems. Clams in the field should be buried and not experience any negative impacts. Tonight is supposed to be coldest yet. (Leslie Sturmer, Cedar Key)
Columbia County – Tropical fish in aquariums unharmed. (Gloria Talbot, Lake City)
Polk County - OK so far. Covered ponds and circulating water. (Interstate Tropical Fish Hatchery, Lakeland)
OK so far. Tanks in buildings and outside covered. Circulating water. (V-W Tropical Fish, Lakeland)
Ok so far. Circulating 72 degree well water to keep temperatures up. (CR Fish Farm, Lake Wales)
Orange County - OK so far. Clams are hardy and cold doesn’t affect them adversely. (Indian River Shellfish Farm, Orlando)

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