Cold Temperatures Could Freeze Local Crops - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cold Temperatures Could Freeze Local Crops

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YAKIMA--Monday, September 22 is the first day of fall, and night brought the first brush with freezing temperatures since the spring.  

Most soft fruits, like cherries, apricots and peaches, are harvested and in the packing houses.   But apples and other hard fruits aren't in the clear yet.

Temperature are expected to go down to 34 degrees Fahrenheit tonight.   Apples and pears will not freeze until about 26 degrees because of sugar in the fruit.   Usually the fruit is harvested by the time it gets that cold, but a colder-than-normal spring delayed the growing season, and that has kept harvest-time behind schedule as well.

"You'll see some of the crops more susceptible to cold weather later in the fall as they hang on the trees just a little bit longer this year due to the delayed crop production cycle, " Andrew Willis, Washington State Fruit Commission said.

Growers are harvesting apples, pears and other hard fruits now.   There has not been a need yet, but most orchards have heating devices they can turn on if temperatures do get too low.