Commonwealth Journal

News Live

April 15, 2014

Warm weather interrupted by winter redux

Somerset —

Some bureaucrat tried to fix global warming and apparently overdid it. That frigid wind yesterday morning wasn’t blowing flower petals. The white stuff was persistent snow from unruffled gray skies. It was “Redbud Winter” in long underwear.
One had to blink twice to believe it. The frigid wind and snow were almost unconscionable after 80-degree days last week. Accumulations on rooftops and grassy areas were approaching an inch at midmorning yesterday.
Even under cloudy skies, maximum temperatures Monday were in the 70s. It was 50 degrees at 2 a.m. Tuesday and by daybreak thermometers were at the freezing point and the ground was white with snow.
Go ahead and admit it. You couldn’t resist gardening during last week’s wonderful weather. That’s OK. They’ve got some more plants down at the store; unless they forget to move the tender shoots inside.
The cold got worse before it gets better. If the National Weather Service is correct, temperatures are in the upper teens to low 20s as your morning newspaper hit the doorsteps a few moments ago. Surface of the ground is crusted; tulips glorious heads are bent, as if sorrowful to say good-bye.
“Basically it’s fruit crops that will be hurt,” said Richard Whitis, county agricultural Extension agent. “Fortunately, spring was slow in coming and winter wheat is not far enough along to be damaged,” he said. Few, if any, agricultural crops are above ground at this point in the season.
 “This (hard freeze) is a concern for all fruit growers,” added Beth Wilson, Extension agent for horticulture. Wilson is worried about her own strawberry plants, grown over plastic sheeting, that are in full bloom. She said strawberry plants not grown over plastic have not bloomed.
  The horticulturist advised people wherever possible to cover plants sufficiently to hold ground heat. If you didn’t do it last night, it’s too late now.

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