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Brace For Freezing Cold Weather

Climate News: California, USA
Photo: San Jose resident Victoria Carmona wore her vintage fur coat and hat to fight off the cold temperatures Wednesday as she ran an errand in downtown San Jose. (Susanna Frohman/Mercury News)

Jan 11, 2007
With forecasters projecting the WORST COLD SNAP IN FOUR DECADES, the state took the unusual step Wednesday of alerting all local health departments and social service agencies and nursing homes to monitor those who might be vulnerable to effects of the cold. As the blast of icy air headed for California, the governor's office issued a dire warning Wednesday to "brrrrace" for RECORD COLD WEATHER that could ruin crops and threaten the state's frail, elderly and homeless. The coldest spots likely will be in the far north and Central Valley, where temperatures could drop into the teens and 20s. On average, the lows for this time of year are in the low 40s and the average highs in the low 60s. State agriculture officials also were worried about the impact of the cold spell on the state's crops, in particular oranges, lemons and grapefruit. About a quarter of the crop already is harvested, but about $850 million worth of citrus fruits are still hanging on the trees, and could be ruined by frigid air. Artichokes, avocados and other vegetable staples also are vulnerable to damage. The longer the cold spell, the more likely it will significantly damage crops. In 1998, the state lost 25 to 30 percent of its citrus crop to frost.
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