Valley citrus farmers are working around the clock, assessing the damage caused by Sunday night's freezing temperatures.
Sunday night's chilly temperatures were worse than what citrus farmers anticipated. Growers say they had their water and wind machines rolling the entire night. They expect most of the frost damage, if any, to occur in the Sanger, Reedley areas. They've been keeping busy assessing the damage. The California Citrus Mutual expects to have an estimate, later this week. So far this weekend, growers have spent about $17 million protecting their fruit.
“It's not a crisis, it's not a disaster yet, hopefully we'll get through all this tonight. But there is going to be a little bit of damage, and the plan now is to maintain the integrity of the marketplace. We don't want to ship bad fruit into the market,” said California Citrus Mutual President, Joel Nelsen.
It's a very different situation for almond growers. They say the chilly temperatures are what they need. Typically, almonds need to have accumulative chilling temperatures of about 500 to 600 hours. Right now, they say they're already at about 500 hours.
“We had a warm spell just about till the middle of December, and so we needed to have some chilly temperatures,” said Central California Almond Growers Association President, Michael Kelley.