Colder Temperatures Returning After Stormy Wednesday Across Southeast (8:30am, 2/25/16)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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fl on 2.23.16 hareFig. 1. The picking right now in Florida is “fast and furious.”  Normally, the Plant City region is well underway with harvest by late January,  but this has been a very strange year (record heat in Nov, and near record heat in Dec), and picking did not really get going until a few weeks ago (before Valentine’s). The variety being picked in this field is Winterstar.

Good morning!

Boy, when we sent out the “Outlook” on Sunday evening (7 p.m., 2/21) from this website, I don’t think anyone had a clue as to just how “weird” and dangerous yesterday would be across the Southeast (on Sunday, we said: “Wed. will be a weird one with Western parts of NC  cooling down, and eastern areas quite mild. Then,  a significant cool down  begins Thursday for our region, bringing temperature significantly below normal.”)

I hope you had no damage at your place yesterday from tornadoes. I was down here in Plant City, FL, and weather was also quite crazy. And, I know the growers here were not too happy with all the rains yesterday, as this is truly “crunch time” for Florida strawberry growers. After some picking in December 2015, the harvest simply “stopped” and did not resume until just a few weeks ago! No one in this region can ever recall a “gap” that lasted this long. Normally, Florida is picking great volume by early February, but this year picking did not really get going again until two weeks ago. Now, the bushes are loaded! Picking is “fast and furious.”  And, my guess is that FL will be shipping large (maybe record) volumes of berries right on through the month of March. Will March 2016 be the “new February” for Florida berries?

DSC_0899Fig. 2. Winterstar is now picking excellent volume in Florida’s Dover/Plant City area. More information about FL varieties: 2. Colder temps coming to SE this weekend

Lets’ cut right to it!

So, everyone knows that I have been closely watching my SkyBit’s for Clayton, and this morning I got my report indicating that we will now see a low in strawberry canopy of 24 F on Saturday morning (air temp at weather shelter is 28 F). Is that cold enough to kill emerged flower buds? According to our critical temperature chart (Fig. 3), it definitely could. I realize that most growers have determined that just about all of their emerged flower buds were killed by very cold temperatures in early January, and there really wasn’t much to be saved by Valentine’s Day (when we had a very cold morning in teens). Today, you need to check your crop and see “where you are with your crop stage?”  Do you have newly emerged buds? In Figure 3, it indicates that this stage can be killed in mid-20s. 20160225st1.NCCLYrevised-tableFig. 3. This should be a familiar chart to most growers. In this chart you can see that once new leaves are emerging from crown, the critical temp of an emerged flower bud is likely in the range of 20-25. Unfortunately, at Clayton, it could be right on the line for damage this Saturday morning with minimum in canopy of 24 F. Remember, none of your other weather services provide a canopy temp. But, if someone tells me that I am going to have a SkyBit minimum at strawberry canopy level of 24 F, then I am able to say, you better take protective measures! Don’t rely on weather forecast air temperatures that often do not relate well to what is going on at ground level.

AWIS 10 day forecasts for NC, VA, SC and MD (these are weather shelter air temps)



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 Mcalf_Bogue_Fiel Monroe_AP_NC Morganton-Morga
Mount_Airy-Moun New_Bern North_Wilkesbor Oxford_NC
Piney_Island_Bom Pope_AFB Raleigh-Durham Reidsville_AP
Roanoke_Rap_AP Roanoke_Rapids_R Rockingham_NC Rocky_Mount-Wils
Roxboro_AP Rutherfordton Salisbury-Rowan Sanford_NC
Shelby_AP_NC Smithfield_AP Southern_Pines Southport_NC
Statesville-Sta Tarboro_AP Wadesboro_AP Washington-Warr
Whiteville_NC Wilmington_AP_NC Winston-Salem



Aiken_AP Anderson_Co_Air Barnwell_AP Beaufort_Cnty_AP
Beaufort_SC Bennettsville_Je Camden_AP Charleston_Exec_
Charleston_Muni Cheraw_AP Chester_AP Clemson-Clemson
Columbia-Columb Columbia/McEnti Columbia_Metro Conway_AP
Darlington Florence_SC Georgetown_AP_SC Greenville_Donal
Greenville_Down Greenville-Spart Greenwood-Green Hartsville_AP
Hilton_Head_AP Kingstree_AP Lancaster-McWhir Laurens_AP
Manning_AP Marion_AP_SC Moncks_Corner_AP Mount_Pleasant_A
Myrtle_Beach Newberry_AP North_Myrtle_Be Orangeburg-Oran
Pickens_AP Rock_Hill Spartanburg_Down Summerville_AP
Sumter_AP Sumter_SC Walterboro_AP Winnsboro_AP



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



Aberdeen Andrews_AFB Annapolis_Naval Baltimore_Sci_Ce
Baltimore/Wash Cambridge/Dorche College_Park_AP Cumberland_AP
Easton_MD Fort_Meade Frederick_MD Gaithersburg_AP
Hagerstown_AP Leonardtown Middle_River Oakland_MD_AP
Ocean_City_AP Patuxent_River Salisbury Stevensville_AP
St_Inigoes/Webst Washington_DC_AP Westminster_AP

I will be posting another advisory tomorrow morning (returning from FL later today). Before I leave you, I wish to share a comment from veteran strawberry advisor, Bob Rouse:

(Feb 22)

Good report (2/21 OUTLOOK). One quick thought. Last season we had a 90 percent or better ice cover on the Great Lakes and this tended to buffer temperature spikes re highs as we get into April and May. This year the ice cover is much much  less. So this is a good question to ask your weather gurus,
It has been my observation that when we had a very high ice cover on the Great Lakes spring was cooler and we did not have as many evaporative cooling challenges and we had some fairly longer strawberry picking seasons. Your and the weather experts thoughts.

Have a good day!