Deep Freeze Threatens California Citrus Crop

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

California citrus growers are keeping an eye on a series of winter storms making their way toward the state.  With overnight lows near freezing and more cold weather on the way--they’re scrambling to keep their orchards warm. 

When a blast of arctic air blew into California two years ago…orange and lemon growers lost more than one-and-a-half-billion dollars due to frost damage.  Now lows in the San Joaquin valley are dipping  below freezing again…and that has farmers putting up wind machines to protect their trees.  Dave Kranz is a spokesman with the California Farm Bureau… 

 “The magic number is 28 degrees.  If it gets down below 28 that’s when there is a danger of damage to the fruit.  But, its not just how cold it gets…it’s also duration…”
If California’s citrus crop is lost this year…the farm bureau estimates more than 13-thousand farm workers could lose their jobs. 
At least two more cold storms are approaching California from the pacific in the next week…and they’re expected to bring lots of rain and heavy snow to the high country.