Hard freeze coming to parts of Southern Utah; protect your plants

Stock image | Cedar City News/St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A hard freeze that is expected to hit portions of southwest Utah beginning Saturday at midnight has the potential to destroy outdoor vegetation, especially in fruit-growing areas like orchards.

Shaded areas denote regions subject to the hard freeze warning. Map generated at 4:05 p.m. MDT, April 21, 2017 | Image courtesy of the National Weather Service, St. George News | Click image to enlarge.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued the warning, which is in effect from midnight to 9 a.m. Saturday.

Affected areas

The freeze warning affects Sanpete/Sevier Valleys and parts of southwest Utah, including the cities of Manti, Richfield, Beaver, Cedar City and Milford. The warning specifically excludes Utah’s Dixie.

Timing

A dry airmass, light winds and clearing skies will result in critical temperatures of 23 to 28 degrees in the normally colder fruit growing areas through the early morning hours.

Impacts

The main impacts will be in the fruit-growing areas, especially in orchards that are prone to cold temperatures. Any sensitive outdoor vegetation should either be covered or brought indoors for protection from the cold temperatures.

Precautionary actions

Sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.

The Farmer’s Almanac recommends the following in preparation for freezing conditions:

If a frost is predicted, cover your plants, both to retain as much soil heat and moisture as possible and to protect them against strong winds, which can hasten drying and cooling. You can use newspapers, baskets, tarps, straw and other materials to cover your plants. Cover the whole plant before sunset to trap any remaining heat. Be sure to anchor lightweight coverings to prevent them from blowing away.

Keep the soil moist by watering your plants the day a frost is predicted. Commercial fruit and vegetable growers leave sprinklers on all night to cover plants with water. As the water freezes, it releases heat, protecting the plants, even though they’re covered by ice. To prevent damage, the sprinklers need to run continuously as long as temperatures remain below freezing.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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