Many valley growers are once again keeping a close eye on the thermometer; fearing frost might destroy their citrus crops.
Lemons and Mandarins are most susceptible due to their lower sugar content. Oranges are actually the most durable, but still run a high risk for being damaged.
Grower, Kevin Clark, of Reedley is keeping tabs on his 40 acres of citrus, most of which is filled with Navel Oranges.
Reporter: “How do you sleep on nights like this?”
“You don't get very much sleep,” said Kevin Clark, a citrus grower.
This cold snap is expected to last through Monday morning. Clark becomes most concerned anytime the temperature dips below 28 degrees.
“That could mean damage or no damage,” said Clark.
As a protective measure, he's creating his own microclimate by running water through his orchards and firing up wind machines to stir up the air.
“Hopefully they'll be a little inversion layer up there where it's maybe two to four degrees warmer and that will help raise the temperature a little bit,” said Clark.
Each morning he'll get a gauge by cutting into his oranges. He looks for ice, hoping not to find any.
“Keeping my fingers crossed. Saying a few prayers,” said Clark.
The freeze not only impacts the the Central Valley's citrus industry, but several counties in southern California as well.
“Traditionally we market about $2 billion worth of fresh citrus in California. I would say there's about $1.5 billion on the tree in value,” said Joel Nelson of California Citrus Mutual.
Frost protection nights create a lot of stress, but Clark is not about to make a career change.
“I've farmed all my life and I love doing it and this is just part of the job,” said Clark.
In December of 2011, California had 28 nights of frigid temperatures. It caused the citrus industry to spend a half billion dollars to protect the crop.
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