Freeze warning in effect for parts of Florida's citrus belt

MIAMI Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:33pm EST

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MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. government forecasters posted a freeze warning for parts of Florida's key citrus-growing region for the second straight day on Sunday as a cold front threatened to push temperatures in central and northern regions of the Sunshine State well below freezing.

Robert Garcia, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Tampa Bay-Ruskin, said temperatures were unlikely to drop low enough and long enough to cause any significant damage to the state's $9 billion citrus industry.

But he said the cold snap could see temperatures fall below 27 Fahrenheit (minus 2.7 Celsius) by Monday morning.

Typically, citrus can be damaged by four hours or more of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 2 Celsius).

"We're not thinking we're going to see that," Garcia said.

Freeze watches and warnings were in effect for much of Florida's citrus-growing regions through Monday morning.

Garcia said the only real threat of a hard freeze was in extreme northern regions, on the periphery of the state's most productive orange groves.

"A lot of the areas that grow citrus will hopefully stay a lot warmer," Garcia said.

A spokesman for the state's leading growers association, Florida Citrus Mutual, could not be reached for immediate comment. But no special advisories about the cold snap over the long holiday weekend were posted on the association's website or Twitter feed.

Florida's groves yield more than 75 percent of the U.S. orange crop and account for about 40 percent of the world's orange juice supply.

(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Comments (1)
MikeBarnett wrote:
My partners and I have indoor warehouse farms in China that use raised beds and trellises, and we have framed orange, lime, and lemon trees, tying the limbs to the trellises, to raise citrus crops indoors in addition to the grains, vegetables, and other fruits. We control the water, heat, and light 24/7, so we don’t worry about freezes, storms, or other outdoor problems. Bees pollinate plants and produce honey for another crop. We use pollution with electrostatic plates to remove CO, SO2, and NO2, use filters to remove particulates, and use CO2 to aid growth of crops. The equation is CO2 + H2O + soil nutrients + green plants + light = food + O2. “Scrubbing” the electrostatic plates and separating the compounds produces carbonic acid, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid that we sell to other industries. The particulates become clay that we fire, glaze, and fire again to produce tiles that we sell to defense industries. Indoor farms raise yields in many areas, reduce pollution, and have few problems with adverse weather conditions.

Feb 17, 2013 3:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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