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Plunging temperatures put crops at risk

Posted April 14
Updated April 16

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— Temperatures plummeted into the 30s early Wednesday across central North Carolina, about 15 to 20 degrees below normal and cold enough to concern local farmers.

A freeze warning is in effect for much of the area, an indication that readings may be at or below the freezing mark between 3 and 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The quick dip in temperatures behind Tuesday's quick-moving cold front has the owners of Page Farms worried about their strawberry crop.

"This is a critical stage in the process," said Danny Page. His plants are covered in white blooms, which will develop into berries in the coming weeks.

As the temperatures dipped overnight, Page and his staff will begin pumping additional water onto the plants. A coating of ice keeps them from exposure to too much cold air, an even more damaging effect.

"As long as you keep throwing water, and it'll keep building ice, it'll stay at 32 degrees," Page said. "If I didn't throw no water at all, I'd probably lose 75 percent of this crop."

Jeff Allen of Beth Moore's Produce in Johnston County rolled out rows of cloth to cover his squash in the ground.

"As young as they are, and no higher than they are, it'll kill them as dead a doornail," he said.

Temperatures will remain near freezing Wednesday morning before warming into the upper 50s under clear skies during the afternoon.

"Wednesday is going to be sunny throughout, but much colder," WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said.

A freeze warning is also in effect for early Thursday, as temperatures are expected to once again fall into the 30s.

Daytime highs will return to the 60s to close the work week, and Saturday and Sunday will be in the 70s under partly cloudy skies.

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  • justcommonsense Apr 16, 9:31 a.m.

    On the bright side, it might put some of these bugs and pollen at risk.

    — Posted by glarg

    That would be perfect! ;-)

  • glarg Apr 16, 9:11 a.m.

    On the bright side, it might put some of these bugs and pollen at risk.

  • luvstoQ Apr 15, 7:06 p.m.

    I agree PEPE SYLVIA, these same complainers will soon be complaining about the heat! LOL

    We live in N Wake (north Raleigh) and had 3/4" in early morning hours. Now, we are still having heavy rains move through and WRAL weather is still 'spot on' as far as possible rain totals and falling temps.!!!!

  • justcommonsense Apr 15, 5:58 p.m.

    Yep, covered my veggie beds. Then had to go do it again about 4-430p as the winds got pretty high and were tearing the covers apart. Think we got it now...hopefully.

  • OleNCNative Apr 15, 5:28 p.m.

    Had to cover my tomatoes and bean sprouts. Glad I waited to plant my peppers.

  • rduwxboy Apr 15, 5:08 p.m.

    Home from work and got 1.4" in my rain gauge. I figured it might be significant considering the thunderstorms this morning. Looks like round 2 of some considerable rain is about to com through Raleigh.

  • Pepe Silvia Apr 15, 5:01 p.m.

    Late yesterday evening, the article stated we would have the greatest threat for severe weather... View More

    — Posted by tobywilliamson1973

    I dont know about you, but I am an earlybird to get to work, and we definitely had our share of... View More

    — Posted by lillann15

    It was coming down in buckets at my house in Fuquay! I was extremely relieved when it let up significantly before I had to leave for work, I don't envy you for driving in it!

  • Gatsby Apr 15, 4:59 p.m.

    About a 1/4-1/2 in my gauge. Slightly under the 2" predicted. Maybe next time.

    — Posted by tobywilliamson1973

    Um...Not over yet

  • uBnice Apr 15, 4:58 p.m.

    Weather last night said the front wouldn't move through until this afternoon. It's still in the... View More

    — Posted by busyb97

    Here in Durham, the temp has dropped 10 degrees in the last 15 minutes. It will reach Raleigh in about 10 minutes. Patience. :-)

  • busyb97 Apr 15, 4:18 p.m.

    Weather last night said the front wouldn't move through until this afternoon. It's still in the upper 60s right now, the FRONT has not passed, and THAT is the part with the elevated risk of severe weather associated with it. (at least what they said last night). When the front passes through, you will KNOW. The temp will drop like a rock! It's not going to be dangerously cold or anything- unless you are a young green plant that was put in the ground too soon. (last frost is typically late April...hopefully, this is it!)

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