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Serving: West

Citrus groves weather chilly nights as warning issued

TAGS: Fruit
Tim Hearden Navel oranges
Freezing temperatures that don't descend into a deep freeze help navel oranges develop sweetness.
Low temperatures in rural areas expected to dip to 27 to 31 degrees.

Citrus growers are so far taking this week's chilly nights in stride as a freeze warning was issued Monday night in the San Joaquin Valley.

Temperatures were expected to dip to 27 to 31 degrees after 1 a.m. this morning, with freezing temperatures possible tonight into Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

So far, the cold snap in the valley hasn't had an impact on citrus, California Citrus Mutual officials told Farm Press. For navel oranges, freezing temperatures that don't descend into a deep freeze help the fruit develop sweetness, industry representatives have explained.

Dry weather and below average temperatures will continue before another system rolls into Northern California Thursday into the weekend, although the timing and strength are still uncertain, according to the weather service. 

For now, snow levels look to be similar to this past weekend's system, which dumped up to a foot of snow in the Sierra Nevada over the weekend. Snow levels from that system were forecast to drop as low as 2,500 feet.

There is a 40% to 50% chance of rain in the Central Valley on Thursday, according to the weather service.

The federal Climate Prediction Center foresees elevated chances of precipitation throughout the West over the next two weeks.

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