Monitoring Changes in Forecast for Jan 8/9 (Posted 4:15pm, Sun., 1/4/15)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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ALERT:    It’s going to be very cold on BOTH Jan 7th & Jan 8th. Growers who elect to pull row covers back on, should do so as soon as field conditions allow. Right now it is raining again in many areas (even thundering), so it could be as late as Tuesday before covers are dry enough to be pulled? Today (Sunday) we nearly reached 70 F in Central NC. Temperatures could  drop by more than 50-55 F this week – the expected minimum at Clayton Central Crops on Thursday morning is 16 F, and Friday 15 F.

This advisory provides more detailed information for SC, NC, VA, TN, GA, KY and MD.

Good afternoon,

I received a message last evening from Eric Hunter in foothills of SC, and Eric said he is  now anticipating a low of 5 F on Wed night/Thur morning (Easley, SC). Clemson is not that far from Easley, and I  noted that Clemson may now have a low of 12 F on Thur morning.


Clayton – we’ve seen quite a drop in the canopy min temp forecast:

In Table 1 you can see that back on Jan 1st the forecast for Jan 8th was for a minimum of 28 F. On Jan 2nd the forecast changed to 19 minimum in the canopy (SkyBit). Yesterday, the forecast changed again! The minimum being projected on Jan 3rd for Jan 8th was 16 F. Last evening’s forecast also indicated that the minimum on Jan 9th could be 17 F.

Table 1. Canopy Minimum Temps –   Forecasts Beginning on Jan 1st for Jan 8/Jan 9
Clayton, NC – E-Weather Strawberry Canopy Forecast
Forecast Min Temp Min Temp
Date/time Jan 8 9-Jan
Thursday Jan 1- 7 p.m. 28 na
Friday Jan 2- 7 p.m. 19 24
change -9 na
Saturday Jan 3- 7 p.m. 16 17
change -3 -7
Sunday Jan 4- 7 a.m. 16 15
change 0 -2

If this downward trend continues, it may be that the Clayton area could see minimums in the low teens on both Thur and Friday. 

At 2 p.m. today, it was 68 F at Clayton. Assuming this is the high for the week, we will potentially see a drop in temperature of from 50-55 degrees between today and Wed night/Thur morning.

At Clayton, winds may be at their lowest tomorrow (Monday:  N-2 mph and gusting to 5 mph). Then, winds will be more of a problem  Tuesday (SW-8, G 16).

Dewpoints will be down in the single digits by early Wed afternoon, and may drop into negative territory that evening. Winds will likely be in excess of 10 mph by as early as 9 a.m. on Wed at Clayton. To pull a cover on at this location, it should be done Monday, or Tuesday at latest.

State by State 7-Day Forecast by AWIS

South Carolina: AWIS SC Min Temp

North Carolina: (AWIS MAPS for Thur and Fri) 1. Minimum temp map for NC on 1/8 2. Minimum temp map for NC on 1/9. The powder blue area will be in the 10-12 F range. The “textbook” minimum temperature threshold for crown damage is 10 F for dormant strawberry plants.

Virginia: AWIS VA Min Temp Table 3. Minimum temp map for VA and Mid-Atlantic on 1/8. The 5-10 F range is pink, and 0-5 F is magenta. 4. Minimum temp map for VA and Mid-Atlantic on 1/9.

Tennessee: AWIS TN Min Temp

Georgia: AWIS GA Min Temp Fig. 5. Minimum temp map for GA on 1/8.

Kentucky: Here is a sampling of how cold it will be in KY!

ky sampleAll KY locations: AWIS KY Min Table

Maryland: AWIS MD Min Temp Table

Editor’s note:  This would be a good time to check your instrumentation for monitoring temperatures in the field next week! I would appreciate getting some field temperature data next week showing contrast of temperatures under the cover vs. outside.


p.s. Just got a very nice pledge from Whitted Bowers Farm in Cedar Grove, NC for $350 (that’s awesome). Earlier today got a nice pledge from Rudd Farms as well. That brings us to $5,500 (enough to cover the weather services costs for this advisory). Hoping to see some industry support this week.

Dr. E. Barclay Poling
Professor Emeritus (Strawberry Plasticulture Researcher)
Department of Horticultural Science
Campus Box 7609, 162A Kilgore Hall
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
“An idealist believes the short run does not count. A cynic believes the long run does not matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.”

Sidney J. Harris, In: Reclaiming a Lost Heritage – Land-Grant & Other Higher Education Initiatives for the Twenty-first Century

Posted on Jan 4, 2015
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