Palm Beach County's bean and corn crops, and tomatoes and peppers on the other side of Lake Okeechobee, saw spotty damage as of early Dec. 14. For that coverage, see Florida spared major damage from night of cold.
TAMPA, Fla. â Hard freeze warnings are forecast for all of Floridaâs winter growing regions, with subfreezing temperatures threatening the stateâs tomatoes, vegetables and strawberries.
Growers are working to protect their crops from the cold thatâs predicted to cause more harm than the blast of freezing temperatures that struck the previous week, the week of Dec. 6.
The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures to fall to near 20 degrees in the interior areas of central Florida and 20-28 degrees for south Florida, which includes the Belle Glade green beans and corn and Immokalee tomato and vegetables production regions.
Forecasters predict four to five hours of temperatures below 27-28 degrees could hit the south half of the state.
Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., which grows bell pepper in the Immokalee region, said growers are covering some fields but because of high winds, planning to warm fields by flooding rows.
Even normally warmer coastal growing regions such as Boynton Beach and Delray Beach are forecast to hit 27-29 degrees, Lytch said.
âWe are expecting some damage from this,â he said Dec. 13. âAs cold as they are talking and with the duration, four to six hours of subfreezing temperatures, there will definitely be some damage around. It looks like everyone growing bell pepper will be susceptible to the cold.â
The weather service predicts the subfreezing temperatures to begin hitting all of central and south Florida by 11:00 p.m. the evening of Dec. 13 with the warnings running through mid-morning on Dec. 14.
Meteorologists are also calling for a hard freeze watch for the same areas the next night, during the early morning hours of Dec. 15.
The cold comes as a surge of cold and dry arctic air mass moves across Florida.