Cold weather threatens Florida crops

02/27/2008 12:00:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

(Feb. 27, 5:48 p.m.) South and central Florida grower-shippers braced for a night of freezing temperatures Feb. 27.

The National Weather Service warned that freezing temperatures could send temperatures to the low 30s for the Plant City, Fla., strawberry-producing region.

Forecasters say wind gusts hitting 24 mph could bring wind chill as low as 25 degrees during the early morning hours Feb. 28 to the growing region that lost part of its winter production during a Jan. 3 freeze.

The weather service’s Ruskin, Fla., office Feb. 27 warned freezing temperatures would hit early Thursday morning and again early Friday morning.

Forecasters predicted overnight temperatures could drop to around freezing by 3 a.m. EST on Thursday and then settle into the mid- to upper 20s before sunrise.

The weather service’s Miami office issued a hazardous weather outlook for all of south Florida’s counties ranging from Palm Beach County, the state’s largest vegetable producing county, to Miami-Dade, which includes Homestead, to Hendry and Collier counties along the state’s west coast Immokalee and Naples production regions.

Wind chills in the interior growing areas of that region, the service warns, could hit 30 degrees while temperatures in the coastal producing areas could hit the mid- and upper 30s.



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