(Jan. 22, UPDATE: 6:15 p.m.) BELLE GLADE, Fla. — A freeze that struck south Florida growing areas caused extensive damage to the region’s winter green beans and sweet corn.

Florida grower-shippers were assessing damage after temperatures plummeted to subfreezing levels — between 26 and 30 degrees — in the Homestead, Belle Glade, Immokalee and Plant City growing regions during the early morning hours of Jan. 22.

Florida strawberry growers, who spray their fields with water to form ice domes that protect the tender berries from freezing, in initial reports appear to have escaped serious damage.

While damage estimates weren’t available Jan. 22, some Belle Glade-area corn and green beans fields in initial reports sustained losses of at least 80%.

“It was a bad one which will be very devastating. The losses here are tremendous,” said Randy Wilkinson, president of Wilkinson-Cooper Produce Inc., which grows and ships corn and green beans. “For the next two months, the supply chain will be down by 80%.”

Wilkinson said temperatures plummeted to 23-28 degrees and remained there throughout the night in most growing locations.

“Most likely the freeze will wipe out the green beans,” said Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op. “Corn is yet to be determined.”

Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Dover, said growers were up all night spraying water on their fields trying to protect their crops from another night of freezing temperatures.

“Last night was a tough one, the coldest so far,” he said on Jan. 22. “Obviously, the most tender parts will be the blooms, and we are looking at a possible gap of a crop in five to six weeks when these blooms would have come into mature fruit.”

Jim Monteith, sales manager for Pacific Collier Fresh Co., Immokalee, said growers on Jan. 22 surveyed fields for damage to bell peppers, squash and tomatoes.

In Homestead, temperatures fell to 29 degrees from 11 p.m. to about 2 a.m. and growers reported spotty damage to green beans, squash and tomatoes.

Tommy Torbert Jr., president of Five Bros. Produce Inc., Homestead, estimated a 20% to 30% loss.

“It’s not a wipe-out or a 50%-type of deal, but there was some burn,” he said.