Florida growers relieved as third night of freezing temperatures fails to materialize
by Chip Carter | December 08, 2010
TAMPA, FL -- Florida growers breathed a collective sigh of relief as a third
consecutive night of sub-freezing weather predicted for Dec. 8 and the early
hours of Dec. 9 failed to materialize.
Overnight lows were originally forecast to plunge below freezing again in the
early hours of Dec. 9, but instead dipped just to the low and mid-30s across
central Florida and into the 40s and 50s in south Florida.
Temperatures are projected to warm up Dec. 9-12, rising as high as the mid-
80s in some parts of the state over the weekend. But another arctic blast is
forecast to move in Monday, Dec. 13, bringing temperatures that threaten to be
even colder than the Dec. 6-8 snap that shattered records across the state.
Citrus and strawberries appeared to have survived the first wave of cold intact,
with very little damage noted in any of the state's production areas. Winter
vegetables have been damaged to varying degrees. Fragile beans and corn were
hardest hit. Tomato crops were singed by frost across the state. A clear picture
of how much damage was caused by the sub-freezing weather will not be
available for several days.
According to the National Weather Service, a blocking pattern hovering over the
Atlantic Ocean off New England has left the door open for frosty air from
Canada to flow into the eastern United States. That pattern is expected to
persist through at least Dec. 20, despite the Dec. 9-12 warming trend.
Meanwhile, orange-juice futures Dec. 9 soared to their highest level since May
2007, reflecting fears that the Dec. 13 cold front may be more severe than the
Dec. 6-8 blast. January futures rose 3.3 percent to $1.66 per pound and may
move even higher as the next cold front approaches the state.