A late February and early March chill is northing out of the ordinary, after such a warm month behind us our recent chill may be devastating for some crops.
"Were looking at numbers that were extraordinarily low, that were low enough to wipe out the crop of certain orchards." says Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau.
Jacobsen says losses for growers of crops like almonds, that are already 40-50% into their bloom are likely to be substantial. "It's not if it's just how much, in the next coming weeks I think we'll have a better idea of how big those losses are but there's no doubt there's some big losses out there."
And the daytime highs can be just as problematic as the evening lows. "Not only have you been hit on the bottom side by the freeze but on the top side bees are just not flying like they should be."
Bees naturally go dormant at night, but if temperatures don't go much beyond 58° during the day, dormant is the way many of them will stay explains Daren Hess owner of Kingsburg Honey. "On a day like this, 50 degrees, it's just barely warm enough for them to fly, their wing muscles have to stay warm enough for them to fly, if the temperatures drops a little bit while they're in the field they are not making it back."
Nuts like pistachios are still in dormancy, but almonds are well into bloom. Now they are not only vulnerable to the cold but there's also a short window that these currently inactive bees have to pollinate them.
Hess says this just won't happen if temperatures don't warm up. "The colder it is the more bees have to stay inside the hive to maintain that temperatures, fewer blooms being pollinated, smaller crop."