Saturday Strawberry Weather Update – Still Chance of FROST on Tue Morning (3pm, 3/21/15)
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Multi-state Strawberry Weather Update:
Earlier this week we had reason to believe that we might see multiple nights of frost in this upcoming week. As of today, the forecast has changed for the better. However, there is still prospect of FROST this Tuesday morning in more northern piedmont areas! But, having just one night to worry about is a whole lot better than 2-3 nights!
Bottom line: If you are a grower with a crop that has advanced into bloom stage, and you have a temperature forecast for this next Tuesday morning in the mid-30s, or lower, BE PREPARED TO FROST PROTECT. You can quickly check the AWIS 7-day Minimum Temp forecast for your state and general location by opening the pdf files that immediately follow for each state below.
1. NC: AWIS NC Mar 21-28 (open this file NOW to see what the minimum temperature will be for your general area next Tuesday morning)
I always like to start off with my SkyBit for Clayton, and please now note that there now seems to be much less threat of frost on Tuesday morning (36 F minimum in canopy and 38 F at 2 m weather shelter). Earlier, there was concern we might have frost episodes Tue-Wed-Thur, so this is quite a nice development (I had several calls just yesterday of growers who were really getting worried about having to deal with multiple frost episodes next week). Even so, there is a chance of frost at Clayton Tuesday morning, but in locations like Burlington, NC (central piedmont), I see a far better chance of frost that morning (read below), and any areas where the air temperature at weather shelter height is going to be in the mid-30s and lower!
Fig. 1. This is the current minimum temp forecast map for Tue, 3/24. This is quite a contrast to what we were looking at several days ago (see Fig. 2). Even so, all of the areas you see on this newest map that are in blue or dark blue, are likely to be at risk for FROST this Monday night/Tuesday morning. And, even areas in the central piedmont in teal color (36-38) have a chance for FROST (see Burlington example in Table 2).
Fig. 2. On March 18th (three days ago), this was the forecast for Tuesday, 3/24. At that time we were looking at temperatures of 32 F (and lower) across much of the central and western piedmont. Now, these same areas are expected to see lows of perhaps 36-38 (se Figure 1). However, what has NOT CHANGED is the higher risk of FROST in northern piedmont counties north and east of Raleigh (see Fig. 1). Take a very close look at the blue and navy blue areas in Figure 1 – those areas could be PRIME for frost on Tuesday morning.
The fly in the ointment: I am really sorry to say that so many areas could still see a frost this Tuesday morning. For example, take a look at the Burlington, NC, area for Tue. morning (3/24), as they may experience a FROST from 3 a.m. to sunrise that morning, according to this AWIS 10 Day hourly forecast product. Remember, you can get frost even with a minimum temperature forecast of 35 F (see table below), as conditions at the strawberry canopy level can be significantly colder than at weather shelter height. Bottom line: If you are a grower with a crop that has advanced into bloom stage, and you have a temperature forecast for this next Tuesday morning in the mid-30s, or lower, BE PREPARED TO FROST PROTECT.
All NC growers should check these more detailed hourly forecast for the city/town closest to them: (anyone who is in TEAL temperature band of 36-38, Figure 1, is well advised to spend a moment studying his/her 10 day hourly, and LOOK TO SEE IF THERE IS AN “F” (frost) INDICATED ON THE TABLE FOR YOUR AREA.
2. VA: AWIS VA MAR 21-28
I noted with a lot of interest just how cold it is going to be not only in western and central VA next week, but check out eastern VA:
3. SC: SC AWIS MAR 21-28
4. TN: AWIS TN MAR 21-28
5. KY: AWIS KY MAR 21-28
6. MD: AWIS MD MAR 21-28
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
Sidney J. Harris, In: Reclaiming a Lost Heritage – Land-Grant & Other Higher Education Initiatives for the Twenty-first Century