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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 12:17pm

Cold Temps Bring Pros & Cons

As Georgians worry about keeping warm through the current freezing temperatures, some farmers are concerned about their crops. But there can be pros and cons to cold weather.

A cold front from Canada and the Great Lakes means overnight temperatures in the teens and 20’s for the rest of the week. Although most crops have been harvested, Charles Hall of the Georgia Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association says a few are vulnerable:
“We could have some damage if it gets closer to 20’s or so in cabbage or broccoli. The Vidalia onions are in the ground but they’re still slits – their very small plants – and probably won’t have any more damage to them.”

But Hall says the cold is good for peach trees:
“Our peach trees, they require a certain number of chill hours so any time you get below 40 you’re building chill hours.”
Meanwhile, the cold temperatures are expected to last for the rest of the work week. Vaughn Smith, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, says the front followed on the heels of last Saturday’s rains:
“So we had that cold Canadian air come, and it's the same air mass that's bringing 9 degree temperatures to the Chicago area that's bringing 20 degree temperatures to Georgia."

Vaughn predicts temperatures in the teens in the mountains and 20’s in South Georgia to the coast through Friday. He does not expect the cold to break records, but says snow is likely on the way:
“We are possibly expecting a light dusting across central Georgia Wednesday night into Thursday morning. And then possibly some more snow across north Georgia Sunday night Monday morning.”

Vaughn says Georgia is in a slow warming trend, and temperatures should be back in the 50’s and 60’s by Saturday, before getting cold again.