Forecast Has Worsened & 30 Day Ag Weather Outlook VA – TN- NC – SC (2/16/15)

— Written By Barclay Poling

Forecast has worsened overnight

…morning note from Mike Wilder (north/central  piedmont, NC) & how he and growers are working “right now” to get covers back on before ice storm!

Wral (Raleigh) forecast lows for Thurs at 6 degrees, Fri at 18 degrees. That got my attention, so punched in our 27508 zip code on AWIS for a free weather forecast. It’s showing low of 7 Thursday, 1 degree Friday! I helped Russ and family re-cover Sweet Charlie and Albion yesterday after Sat. night winds blew them off. We were thinking we were ok on others, as I thought forecast lows at the time were in mid – high teens. This changes things, so I just told him to try to cover everything today before snow / ice comes. Hope he can get it done.  How does Skybit look for Clayton (similar to Bunn) for Thurs / Fri? I think I missed the change over the weekend.

Mike Wilder
Regional Agronomist
Agronomic Division, NCDA&CS
159 NC Hwy 98 East
Bunn, NC  27508

Reply – yes Mike, things have gotten considerably worse since yesterday’s forecast!  Please check my SkyBit for Clayton near the bottom of this advisory. Getting row covers on is an EXCELLENT IDEA. The forecast of precipitation amounts vary with location, but I don’t see the icing on top of covers tonight as a reason not to cover today. The really good thing is that we are not looking at rains, which could soak the covers, and potentially create a frozen block of ice around plants. There should be lots of good air spaces beneath the blankets even if frozen on top. Good thing you are doing this now before icing occurs later in the day – you don’t want to try to handle a rolled up cover that is frozen! Good luck!

p.s. here is further discussion about issues with frozen covers from March 2011: FROZEN ROW COVERS – A SUPPLEMENT

Dear Growers, Agents and Agronomists,

I am presently on my way to Ontario for their annual Fruit and Vegetable Conference beginning tomorrow – hope we don’t experience too much of a problem with icing in Charlotte (where I connect for Buffalo flight)??

Here is the weekly OUTLOOK…it looks like we are now firmly locked in a pattern of very warm and dry weather in the western US  and very cold weather in the eastern half of the US. The warm dry  high pressure ridge continues to  build on the west coast allowing the cold trough to  deepen along the east coast. This general pattern will hold until at least the end of  February as there are no clear signs  that this  pattern will change any time soon. At least the early indications are that we may experience near average temperatures in the first half of March (we hope).

image001Chart 1. Valid through 2/19

Forecast discussion day 3 – 5 (18 Feb – 20 Feb) Temperatures well below normal entire period.   A strong cold arctic high pressure will drop out of Canada and move into the Ohio River Valley during this period. This will bring strong northwest winds and extremely cold temperature to the region.  Temperatures start the period 10 – 15 F below the seasonal norm with high temperatures expected to range from the low 30s and lows in the 20s early in the period.  By late in the period, temperatures drop to 20 – 25 F below the seasonal average with high temperatures expected to range from the low 20s and lows 0 – 10 F.  Little to no precipitation expected during the period in the 0.00” – 0.05” range.

image002Chart 2. Valid through 2/22

Forecast discussion day 12 – 14:  (21 Feb – 23 Feb) Temperatures start off cold then warm slightly but stay below normal; wet mid to late in the period The cold high pressure will depart the area moving northeast and will be replaced by a low pressure system that will form in the southeast US and move to the East Coast.  By mid period it is expected that the low pressure system will bring a moderation of temperature and precipitation.  Snow will fall in northern and inland locations, while rain and mixed precipitation will fall near the coast. Temperatures start the period with high temperatures expected to range from the low 30s and lows in the 10s – 20s early in the period. Temperatures warm slightly at the end of the period with high temperatures expected to range from low 40s to low 30s and lows in the low 20s – low 30s. Precipitation expected to be widespread in the 0.25” – 0.45” range.

image003Chart 3. Valid through 2/25

Forecast discussion day 9 – 11: (24 Feb – 26 Feb) Temperatures decrease and stay below normal.   A cold high pressure is expected to once again move southeast out of Canada bringing colder temperatures into the region during the period.  Temperatures warm slightly at the end of the period.  High temperatures expected to range from low 30s to 20s and lows in the 10s and 20s. Precipitation expected to be scattered early in the 0.05” – 0.15” range.

image004Chart 4. Valid through 2/28

Forecast discussion day 12 – 14:  (27 Feb – 1 Mar) Temperatures stay below normal with periods of scattered snow showers.   Yet another cold high pressure is expected to move southeast out of Canada during this period keeping temperatures below normal. High temperatures expected to range from low 30s to 20s and lows in the 10s and 20s. Precipitation expected to be light and scattered and mostly snow in the 0.05” – 0.15” range.


Outlook discussion day 15 – 22 (2 Mar – 9 Mar): Near average temperatures. Early indications are this period will moderate to near the seasonal average temperatures for the season with a period of moderate to heavy rain.

Outlook discussion day 23 – 30:  (10 Mar – 17 Mar): Near average temperatures. Early indications are this period will continue near or slightly below the average temperatures for the season.


This is not such a good surprise, but locations in Central NC like Durham are now going to see potential minimums of 2 F on Thursday morning (2/19), and -1 F on Friday (2/20). It will be bitter cold on Saturday as well. Row covers would be an excellent idea!

durhamFor AWIS minimum temperatures for the rest of NC: AWIS NC Feb 16-23

My morning Skybit for Clayton (AS PER MIKE WILDER’S REQUEST):

20150216st1.NCCLY (1)Friday minimums in NC – this is where things really changed overnight… Friday is going to be even colder than Thursday! All kinds of new record lows will occur if this forecast holds true (hope not).

Detailed forecasts for these NC locations:


Ahoskie-Tri-Cou Albemarle_AP Andrews Asheboro
Asheville_Munic Beaufort-Michae Boone_NC Burlington-Burl
Cape_Hatteras_AG Chapel_Hill-Hor Charlotte Cherry_Point
Clinton_NC Concord_NC Currituck_NC Edenton-Northea
Elizabeth_City Elizabethtown_NC Erwin-Harnett_C Fayetteville_AP
Fort_Bragg/Simm Franklin/Macon_C Gastonia-Gaston Goldsboro_AFB
Goldsboro_NC Greensboro Greenville_AP_NC Hickory
Jacksonville Jacksonville_(A Jefferson_AP_NC Kenansville-Dup
Kill_Devil_Hills Kinston_AP Lexington-David Lincolnton_AP
Louisburg_NC Lumberton_AP_NC Mackall_AAF Manteo/Dare_Co
Maxton Monroe_AP_NC Morganton-Morga Mount_Airy-Moun
New_Bern North_Wilkesbor Oxford_NC Pope_AFB
Raleigh-Durham Roanoke_Rap_AP Rocky_Mount-Wils Roxboro_AP
Rutherfordton Salisbury-Rowan Sanford_NC Shelby_AP_NC
Smithfield_AP Southern_Pines Southport_NC Statesville-Sta
Washington-Warr Whiteville_NC Wilmington_AP_NC Winston-Salem

VAAWIS VA Feb 16-23

Abingdon Ashland_VA Charlottesville Chesapeake-Ches
Culpeper Danville Dublin/New_Riv Emporia_VA
Farmville Fort_Belvoir/Da Fort_Eustis/Fel Franklin/J_B_Ro
Hillsville Hot_Springs/Ing Langley_AFB Leesburg/Godfre
Louisa-Louisa_C Lynchburg Manassas_Muni(A Marion/Wythev
Martinsville Mecklenburg/Bru Melfa/Accomack Newport_News
Norfolk_NAS Norfolk_VA Oceana Orange_VA
Petersburg_(AWO Quantico Richlands_VA Richmond
Roanoke Shannon_Arpt Stafford_AP_VA Staunton-Shenan
Suffolk-Suffolk Virginia_Tech_A Wakefield_AP Wallops_Island
Washington_Dulle West_Point_VA Williamsburg_VA Winchester_Rgnl

SC – AWIS SC Feb 16-23


Anderson_Co_Air Beaufort_SC Charleston_Muni Clemson-Clemson
Columbia-Columb Columbia/McEnti Columbia_Metro Darlington
Florence_SC Greenville_Down Greenville-Spart Greenwood-Green
Hilton_Head_AP Myrtle_Beach North_Myrtle_Be Orangeburg-Oran
Rock_Hill Sumter_SC

MDAWIS MD Feb 16-23


Aberdeen Andrews_AFB Annapolis_Naval Baltimore_Sci_Ce
Baltimore/Wash College_Park_AP Cumberland_AP Fort_Meade
Frederick_MD Hagerstown_AP Leonardtown Middle_River
Ocean_City_AP Patuxent_River Salisbury St_Inigoes/Webst
Washington_DC_AP Westminster_AP

KY- AWIS KY Feb 16-23


Bowling_Green Covington Fort_Campbell Fort_Knox/Godma
Frankfort_AP Glasgow_KY Henderson_City Jackson_KY
Lexington_KY London_Corbin Louisville_AP Louisville/Bowm
Middlesboro_AP Owensboro_AP Paducah Somerset(AWOS)


TN- AWIS TN Feb 16-23


Chattanooga/Lov Clarksville_TN Crossville_AP Dyersburg
Jackson_TN Knoxville_AP Memphis_AP Millington
Nashville_Metro Oak_Ridge_TN Smyrna Tri-City_RGNL_AP

GA – AWIS Maps

Good luck!


p.s. I am getting reports of some serious problems with new row covers coming apart at seam – this report just in from a Greensboro, NC, location

“Yes we are having a big problem with our new row covers coming apart at the seams. We bought 10 new covers this year. Some of them came apart
at the seam as we applied them. The salesman suggested that we tape them back. Last night (2-14-15) was worse than terrible for our row covers.
This morning we had 3 of these new covers blow completely off and 150 feet from the field next to an electric fence. Two of the new covers were beyond
use. They were coming apart at the seams and had huge tears.It took 7 of us over 3 hours to recover 6.5 acres of berries. But the amazing thing was
none of the old covers were tore, while to new ones were. All of our covers are 1.2 oz.”
p.s.s. Tarboro grower getting covers back on..
Hey Dr Poling just an update on my situation I do not get the Skybit forecast but according to the awis chart in your email I will be at 11 tonight NWS says 13 but I was just in the field and was able to put two covers back on that hadn’t completely blown out of place I hope to maybe get one more on later this evening and I will defiantly be able to get them on by wed evening for a low of 6 thats going to be cold

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