Friday, 16 February 2007 00:00
FreezeWritten by Valerie Alker
The National Weather Service has issued freeze warnings for much of peninsular Florida tonight – including Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
Crops are at risk. Florida Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Liz Compton says the greatest concern is ferns.
“in Putnam, Volusia and Lake counties the temperature is going to get as low as the mid 20’s and we’re told that 25 to 30 percent of that crop is vulnerable they’re in a very tender stage right now, …..so it certainly a big concern and a loss of the crop is significant”
Florida’s ornamental crop industry, which includes ferns – is a ten billion dollar a year industry. Other crops at risk for damage from the cold include citrus, strawberries, potatoes and blue-berries.
Freeze warnings are in effect for much of Florida tonight – and the risk to agriculture is significant. Florida Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Liz Compton says ferns, strawberries, citrus, potatoes and blue-berries are in the most danger. She says many farmers will be spending the night in their fields.
“there will be a lot of farmers out, we’ve got folks out all weekend keeping there ear to the ground if you will checking to see how everybody is doing – yes it will be a busy weekend and I’m sure a lot of farmers are going to be out overnight hoping to protect their crops… I would imagine there’s going to be a lot of people not getting sleep tonight”
Compton says consumers could also be impacted down the line – by higher prices for produce and ornamental plants.
Tonight’s forecast from the National Weather Service in Ruskin is for lows of 32 to 40 in coastal areas of Charlotte and Sarasota counties and around 30 degrees inland.