Commonwealth Journal

April 16, 2014

Local orchards escape damage from freakish spring snow

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Nancy —

“We dodged the bullet!”
Don Haney, co-owner of Haney’s Appledale Farm, was breathing a sigh of relief yesterday morning. Peach and apple trees are in full bloom and the temperature didn’t get as low as predicted following an April snowstorm on the wings of an Arctic blast of cold air.
“The cold did little damage for the most part,” said Haney, who with his brother, Mark, own and operate sprawling apple and peach orchards near Nancy. 
“The thermometer out here was at 32 or 33 degrees at 4 o’clock this (Wednesday) morning and it only got down to 28 before daybreak,” Haney noted. “According to the book (a freeze-damage guide for horticul-turists), 90 percent of a fruit crop will survive 28 degrees,” he noted.
“Actually, that’s great,” Haney said. He was alluding to some necessary thinning of a potentially heavy fruit crop.
Haney’s Appledale Farm is equipped with a giant propane heater that can raise the temperature in an orchard during freezing weather. “I didn’t use it last night ... I trusted the book,” Haney laughed.
The cold wasn’t as intense as predicted by the National Weather Service. Temperatures at Lake Cumberland Regional Airport, recorded by the National Weather Service, did not reach the lower 20s and possibly the upper teens as predicted by meteorologists.
The airport temperature, after a high of 41 Tuesday afternoon, under clearing skies dipped to 32 degrees at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday. The thermometer was at 30 degrees by 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, then the temperature dropped and remained at 28 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours, from 3:55 a.m. until 6:35 a.m. Sunrise yesterday started a slow warming; temperature at the airport was 34 degrees at 9:15 a.m. and 43 degrees by noon.
The Arctic cold, forecast a week in advance, moved into the Lake Cumberland area early Tuesday morning. Passage of the cold front dropped the thermometer from 50 degrees between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Tuesday to freezing by daylight. A steady and moderate snow fell from several hours early Tuesday accumulating up to an inch in many places.
Warmer, more springlike weather is on the way, but frost remained in the forecast for early today. Most locations were expected to have widespread frost last night.
Maximum temperatures today through Saturday will be in the 60s, reaching 70 by Easter Sunday,.