iReporter pdt165 snapped this picture in Port Orange, Florida, 2 miles from Daytona Beach. Temperatures dropped to the mid-20s overnight and sprinklers were not turned off.
Ever wonder where those yummy strawberries come from during those snowy winter months? It’s Florida - though that may be in jeopardy if temperature trends don’t change as winter sets in.
For the second week in a row, temperatures dipped to 32°F or below, shattering past low temperature records for December. Farmers are still assessing the damage to the fruits and vegetables from the frosty weather.
Florida's $9 billion citrus industry so far has not reported any significant damage. "It looks like we came through in pretty good shape," said Andrew Meadows, Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman.
High winds Monday night helped keep frost from forming on some plants, but it might have caused further damage to more sensitive plants, like green beans, following last week’s frosty conditions. Southwest Florida farmers reported the highest winds at 60 mph said Lochridge.
Southwest farmers also saw the lowest temperatures that dipped into the upper 20s, causing scattered damage to green beans, peppers and tomato plants.
"We had quite a bit of damage – corn and beans that survived last week were wiped out last night," said Gene McAvoy, Henry County Regional Vegetable agent.
One packing house in Belle Glade Florida says 70% of the area's vegetables have already been affected. 150 season workers should be working right now at Pioneer Growers packing house but, "Only 35 have been hired so far due to last week’s freeze," said Vice President J.D. Poole.
Farmers can not let their guard down yet, said Lochridge on Tuesday. The night's weather was expected to be a repeat performance with freezing conditions expected over most of the state.
Immokalee farmer Miguel Talavera says he weathered last week’s frosty conditions but he feared Tuesday night's weather forecast.
"The problem is ongoing tonight," said Talavera. "There will be significantly low temperatures without the wind like last night." As it turned out, areas where temperatures dipped below 28°F were limited, but the scope of damage has yet to be determined.
It will take several days until farmers know the full extent of the damage crops might have suffered. Damaged fruits and vegetables will not only cost farmers money and farm workers their employment - consumers will pay higher prices in the grocery store.
The citrus industry spokesman said farmers will work hard to protect their crops. Said Meadows, "Our fingers are crossed"