December 20, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
28°F
test

Farmers confident frost danger is done

Get ready for the big warm-up.

Peach trees seen Tuesday at Spiegelberg Orchards in Lorain have blossomed and sprouted their leaves. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Temperatures that dropped as low as 33 degrees this week should bounce back to the 70s and 80s the next couple days, according to the National Weather Service.

“Warm air is just on our doorstep,” meteorologist Martin Thompson said Tuesday.

Monday’s low of 33 was 3 degrees short of the record low of 30 recorded for that date in 1996, he said.

On Tuesday, the low dipped to 38.

The average temperature this May has been about 3 degrees warmer than normal, registering at 61 degrees, according to Thompson.

Fruit growers worried about the possibility of frost Monday and Tuesday, but the worst may now be over, said Roger Miller of Miller’s Orchard in Brownhelm Township.

“As far as frost goes, I think we’re done,” Miller said.

Just in case, Miller and his brother Dave put up protective devices called high tunnels to shelter fragile buds that will turn into fruit.

In 2012, farmers lost half of their typical apple crop because of weird weather that included temperatures in the 80s in March and a big frost in late April.

“Last year was pretty dismal,” said Bill Dodd of Hillcrest Orchard in Henrietta Township.

Kenneth Spiegelberg of Spiegelberg Orchards in Lorain said 2012 was the worst year for apples since 1977, when frost also damaged fruit after an early heat wave.

After a lifetime in the business, Spiegelberg said he thinks this might be a very good year, but he’s still keeping his fingers crossed.

“You never know what you have until you go to the bank,” he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.