MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — The Rio Grande Valley could see some of the coldest temperatures it has seen in years, and that has local citrus famers concerned.
Blast of cold air to bring near freezing temperatures for Valentine’s Day
Citrus grower and President of Texas Citrus Mutual, Dale Murden, said there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty heading into the weekend.
Looking back at the coldest February temperatures on record for the Rio Grande Valley
“It’s a concern. You have got a salad bowl of things growing down here in February. You’ve got over 35 types of different vegetable crops that are just coming up and very tender right now, from kale to cilantro,” said Murden.
Murden said any freezing temperatures would be devastating to most crops, including citrus. That would be bad news for the Rio Grande Valley, which generates nearly half a billion dollars for the citrus industry.
“Citrus like this can take temperatures of up to 28 degrees. About 5 hours into it though you would start to see some of those little ice pockets in there, and that’s the concern we have with the older citrus,” said Murden.
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Lower temperatures below 25 degrees for extended periods could also damage trees. Murden said what is also a concern is next year’s crops, which are already budding.
“You’ve got young crop coming on February and March is when citrus typically blooms. Everyone enjoys that fragrance smell in the air,” said Murdern. “Well that’s what were doing, were growing next year’s little grapefruit.”
In this case that is extremely tender, and any type of freeze is going to really hurt. Murden said there is a possibility there will not be a crop next year.
If citrus crops are damaged by the freezing temperatures, Murden said you may not be able to find certain fruits like grapefruit. And if they are found, it will cost residents more.
Our next cold front will arrive to deep south Texas and increasing rain chances are in store. We could see a few rumbles of thunder Thursday ahead of the front as it sweeps into the Rio Grande Valley.
By this weekend, an Arctic blast will bring much colder temperatures to Texas. Temperatures across the RGV could be near freezing Valentine’s Day into next Monday.