Six More Weeks of Winter? And, SkyBit Subscription Information for Strawberry Growers (12:20pm, Feb. 2, 2017)

— Written By Barclay Poling
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Happy Groundhog Day 2017!

Well, you’ve probably already heard that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, and has predicted 6 more weeks of winter! But, what Phil is overlooking is the fact that it might as well be spring for all the warm weather we had across the Southeast in January!

In late January, Eric Hunter of Easley, SC, sent me this photo of his Camarosa plants (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1. On January 25th, Eric Hunter sent this photo of a Camarosa plant, and wrote: “Looks like early March here (Easley, SC).”  In his text he also said: “4-6 blooms per plant, some with green fruit, and lots of emerged buds. Everyone in the area I’ve talked to is at the same stage of further along. Todd Lever, 70 miles south of me, has picked a handful this week.”

At 10 a.m. this morning (2/2/17), I spoke with Whit Jones, former Extension Agent, Duplin County,  and, what really got his  attention today wasn’t so much  Punxsutawney Phil’s  baffling call for 6 more weeks of winter, but the fact that the real weather professionals like Dr. Rodger R. Getz, President and CEO, AWIS, are calling for some pretty mild spring-like temperatures  early next week across the mid-South (see Statewide forecasts for VA, NC, SC). The Wilmington, NC, area, for example, will experience a high of 72 F on Tuesday (2/7/17): Wilmington

Statewide 7-day forecasts from AWIS for VA, NC, and SC

Virginia: VA AWIS Weekly

North Carolina: NC AWIS Weekly

South Carolina: SC AWIS Weekly

SkyBit subscription information for strawberry growers  (please note that I have added more details on subscribing in this pdf:  Invitation to Subscribe SkyBit (Feb 4, 2017)

New SkyBit customers must complete an information sheet: 2017 update to Short Form – Instructions for SkyBit Subscription

I was also interested in seeing this morning what the SkyBit forecast looks like for Clayton, NC (Fig 2), and on Wednesday (2/8) we may see a high temperature of 70 F in the strawberry canopy!

Invitation to subscribe to SkyBit in 2017:

I am very pleased to be able to announce TODAY — Groundhog Day — that the folks who provide the E-Weather Strawberry Forecast (see Fig. 2), which comes out twice daily (7 a.m. and 7 p.m.), are prepared to offer it again to individual strawberry growers at a very economical price for a 3-month subscription. It takes the SkyBit technician about 1 week to set up the new subscriptions, so I would really like to have the names of any new subscribers by no later than Feb 9th (week from today). The 3-month service will begin Feb 15th, and run through May 15th.

SO, please send me an email today if you are possibly interested in subscribing to SkyBit,  and I will get back to you right away with additional details. My email is:

I am also now in the process of contacting all 65 growers who subscribed to this service in 2016, and since we already have all your site information (city/town, latitude, longitude, etc.), it will just be an  easy matter of informing SkyBit that you wish to resume your service in 2017.

If you were a subscriber in 2016, and you DO NOT hear from me by tomorrow at noon, please go ahead and send me an email so you don’t get left off the final list of subscribers for 2017.

I am very pleased that SkyBit is offering us the same very affordable price as last year!

Also, I just want to express my thanks to several industry folks this week for their willingness to step up and help with some immediate expenses associated with bringing you  these strawberry crop and weather advisories. We still have a ways to go in our fundraising, but at least I was able to get the AWIS bill paid yesterday for this season.

Barclay Poling, “The Weather Hound” and Professor Emeritus, NC State