Texas Expects Unseasonably Cold Weather Over Weekend
TEXAS - Over the weekend, regions in Texas are expecting unseasonably cold weather—some seeing temperatures as cold as in the teens. To better understand what this atypical weather might mean for local crops, we turned to several experts in the area.
“The Uvalde-area is expecting weather in the teens this upcoming Monday, and the Rio Grande Valley is forecasting high 20s and low 30s,” explained Dante Galeazzi, Texas International Produce Assocation’s CEO and President. “This isn’t ideal, especially for the soft leafy greens. The impact of those temperatures will depend on a lot of factors—such as how long the temperatures are below freezing; whether or not there is rain before, during, or after; as well as cloud cover and humidity. A lot of eyes will be looking very closely at all crops in the ground starting Saturday up until Tuesday evening.”
This is when the weather is expected to warm back up, at least past levels of concern.
Dante also warned that there may be transportation delays through other regions of Texas, such as Lubbock, Dallas, and Houston. Many cities in Texas are already experiencing frost, icy roads, freezing rain, and potentially snow.
We also reached out to Bret Erickson of Little Bear Produce, Courtney Schuster of Rio Fresh, and Jed Murray of Tenaza Organics.
"We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Bret, Senior VP of Business Affairs, tells me. “Unfortunately, at this time, the weather models appear to be leaning towards a worst case scenario. We are facing down the barrel of a polar blast coming through this weekend which will possibly bring freezing temperatures in the low-mid 20’s for 8+ hours, and this would be absolutely devastating to our crops.”
Bret continued, “Some models are suggesting we could be a bit warmer, maybe 28–30 for a shorter time frame, a small fluctuation can make a big difference. Some of our crops would be able to survive a brief period of time in the 28-32 temperature range—we would experience some loss, some freeze damage to the more tender vegetables, but it is survivable in some commodities and growth stages. Especially with overcast skies and drizzle. The cloud cover and moisture acts as insulation. We are also watering all of our crops now and will be increasing those efforts over the next few days. We will be using every trick in the book to try and protect our crops."
Bret added that, “We will harvest as much as we can, as fast as we can, through the weekend, which will be a challenge in itself because temps have already dipped into the 40’s with drizzle, making harvest a slower more difficult process for our harvest crews. We can only do what we can—at the end of the day we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. This is farming; it is not for the faint of heart.”
Courtney Schuster, of the Rio Fresh Sales team, reported that, “We’re waiting to see what the weather does. A lot of our crops are pretty hardy at this point in the year—they’re winterized so we think that they’ll withstand any temperature drops pretty well. We’re hoping for the best and we’re prepared. We’ve been through this before."
Jed Murray of Tenaza Organics also discussed what his company is doing to prepare.
“We’re harvesting everything that we can harvest and stick in our cooler. We’re even bringing in refrigerated trailers for the stuff that we think is the most fragile," commented the General Manager. "We’re going to be irrigating to warmer water to increase temperatures. We’re an organic farm located around old rivers with water around 60 degrees and we butt up right next to those bodies of water. We’re hopeful that there is some benefit to having those next to us. We’ve also put crop guards like copper on to help protect the plants."
AndNowUKnow will continue to keep you posted on the latest, so stay tuned. In the meantime, stay safe out there, Texas!