Citrus Growers spared from Overnight Freeze

December 17, 2008 3:31:41 PM PST
Some fog and cloud-cover this morning saved valley citrus growers from freezing temperatures.Sustained temperatures below 25 degrees can cause significant damage to orange and other citrus crops still on the trees. Some growers took steps overnight to protect their crops. Many ran water under their trees or turned on wind machines.

But Wednesday morning, a freeze warning was canceled.

Growers are not out of the woods yet. The forecast is expected to be below freezing tomorrow. Farmers said not only are citrus crops in danger, but jobs and the local economy could be at risk. "If we have another bad freeze, that will be devastating to the labor force that's here. It will be devastating to our rural communities like Orange Cove, Orosi, Sultana, all these place around the Valley that have these type of crops especially the citrus," said Orange Grower Manuel Cunha.

The last bad citrus freeze occurred in January of 2007. It wiped out much of the Valley's citrus crop and put thousands out of work.

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