Harris-Mann Climatology Predicts A Crop-Damaging Freeze in Florida

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Harris-Mann Climatology, a long-range weather, commodity and stock forecasting service, predicts possible damage to the Florida citrus crops from a major freeze in mid January.

We’re still in a pattern of wild weather ‘extremes,’ the worst in more than 1,000 years. It’s not uncommon to see multiple freeze events in the southern regions with this type of pattern.

Harris-Mann Climatology’s annual Florida Freeze Outlook indicates a strong chance of sub-freezing temperatures as far south as central Florida around the middle of January. Readings at that time are expected to drop into the mid to upper 20s. Below freezing temperatures for at least several hours could easily damage the citrus and vegetable crops as well as some of the orange trees in central Florida.

According to 40-year forecaster Cliff Harris, “A damaging freeze in Florida would likely result in higher orange juice commodity prices. Orange juice futures have already risen in the past few weeks based upon the increased chances of a Florida freeze. On January 8, 2011, the mercury dipped to a record 19 degrees near Naples in southern Florida.”

Some of Harris-Mann Climatology’s clients are orange juice commodity traders who track the chances of a Florida freeze each year. Many of these traders, who anticipate this threat, will buy orange juice futures and options at a lower price with hopes of higher commodity prices by the winter season as temperatures in Florida get colder.

“The warmer El Nino sea-surface temperature event in the south-central Pacific Ocean has been replaced by a cooler ‘La Nada,’ the in-between state of a warmer El Nino and a colder La Nina within recent months. This type of pattern often allows frigid Arctic air to push far to the south, especially in January and February, which has threatened the Florida citrus crops in the past,” says Meteorologist Randy Mann.

According to Harris-Mann Climatologist Cliff Harris, “We will already see the season’s first sharp cold snap extending down into Dixie by this weekend. Temperatures as far south as the Florida/Georgia border should fall into the mid to upper 20s. Low temperatures in extreme northern Florida are expected to be in the low to mid 30s by Sunday, December 23, but areas to the south should remain above 40 degrees.”

Harris-Mann forecasters see a much stronger cold wave approaching the southeastern U.S. arriving by the middle of January, 2013. “Some of this very cold air that is expected to arrive in Florida will originate from Alaska. Temperatures near Fairbanks were as cold as -50 degrees in November as that month was one of the coldest in the state’s history,” says Harris.

There have been several freezes in 2008, 2010 and 2011 that have resulted not only in the loss of citrus crops in Florida and Texas, but also vegetables. A severe freeze led to a huge loss of tomatoes in 2011 that resulted in shortages. Many restaurants were unable to provide tomato slices for burgers and sandwiches.

“We’re still in a pattern of wild weather ‘extremes,’ the worst in more than 1,000 years, since the days of Leif Ericsson. It’s not uncommon to see multiple freeze events in the southern regions with this type of pattern,” according to Harris.

Harris-Mann Climatology has a daily advisory service that specializes in providing state of the art short and long-range weather analysis plus fundamental and technical mathematical stock and commodity forecasts. The company also provides free detailed monthly temperature and precipitation forecasts for most U.S. and world cities on their website at http://www.LongRangeWeather.com.

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