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Freezing weather expected to Friday
A week of freezing overnight temperatures has been keeping people busy protecting their outdoor plants from damage.
The cold snap was expected to last through Friday, according to the National Weather Service, but temperatures were forecast to rise above freezing tonight, up to 34 degrees from last week's range of 28 to 32 degrees.
The weather service has issued a warning that residents should cover their sensitive vegetation, exposed water pipes and shelter pets and livestock, even as temperatures begin to rise as they will remain in a range that could cause damage.
The Tehama County Department of Agriculture said it has not received any reports of crop damage at this time.
Annie Bianchi of Bianchi Walnut Orchards in Los Molinos said because walnut trees are now dormant, the freeze shouldn't have any negative impact.
"Plus we have plenty of moisture in the fields with our abundance of rain. Things should be okay. The trees that may be challenged are the young ones planted within past two years," she said. "But even those should be okay with irrigation and water being sprayed on the trees. The water protects them."
Bianchi believes it is the same story for almonds and prunes as well.
"Overall I don't see an impact on the trees that are in deep dormancy right now," she stated. "On the other hand, if we get temperatures like this in April we are in big trouble."
She explained it is in February that the trees start to "wake up."
First to suffer would be the almonds as they come out of dormancy first, then the prunes and finally the walnuts.
Brian Crane of Crane Mills, who grows olives for oil, said at this time of the year the freeze shouldn't harm the trees or hamper this year's crop.
"We still have some fruit on the trees and although its has been somewhat affected by the freeze, it hasn't been extremely detrimental," he said. "Although olive trees don't go into dormancy like walnut or almond trees, they do go through a period of acclamation through the seasons."
The real damage to crops from this freeze is suffered by the citrus family, which has fruit on the trees right now, such as mandarins, oranges, lemons, grapefruit and others.