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California storms to hit strawberries, heat wave could give Chile the blues

Don’t expect strawberries out of California for Valentine’s Day. Rain began in earnest yesterday in coastal California; things are expected to get worse throughout the weekend. Strawberries and other items out of Oxnard, Santa Maria and Irvine are expected to be greatly affected.weat

Yesterday’s storm was actually bigger than originally anticipated. Oxnard was predicted to only receive up to 0.25 inches and ended up getting about 1.15 inches. Santa Maria was predicted to only see 0.25 inches and received over an inch, according to the NWS.

Saturday is lining up to be the biggest storm of the weekend with rain totals expected to be over two inches in Oxnard and three inches in Santa Maria. The Coachella Valley will see a little over half an inch on Saturday. Ensenada, Baja California will see over an inch of rain on Saturday. Strawberry harvest and quality will definitely be affected.

Good quality and supplies of strawberries should be coming from central Mexico over the next weeks as the weather in Michoacán and Guanajuato remains stable. These regions will see max temps in the upper 70s and lows in the 40s with no chance of rain. Florida will also see more stable weather over the next 10 days and should see a better supply of product.

After the expected weekend deluge in California things will dry out with no other storms anticipated in the 10 days.

The orange harvest in the San Joaquin Valley may also be affected by the rains in California. According to Tony Taviano from B&B Imports in Visalia, CA, the citrus-growing regions along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains just east of Visalia are expected to receive between two to four inches of rain over the weekend with some isolated areas getting up to five inches.

Taviano said this rain on the valley floor and snow in the Sierra Nevadas is very welcome for spring crops and water supplies for summer production. The nitrogen and micronutrients associated with the rain are an immediate benefit for citrus growers due to absorption through the leaves and also for all permanent tree crops as the nutrients in the soil will help with upcoming flower bud growth.

Florida weather appears to very stable over the next 10 days. There is still a chance of some isolated showers throughout the main growing regions of southern Florida the next two days, but by Sunday skies will clear and will see great weather all next week. Temperatures will also normalize with max temps in the low 80s and minimum temps in the low 60s.

Stating Saturday many major blueberry-growing regions of Chile are expecting a mid-summer heat wave that will last through next Tuesday: max temps above the 100-degree mark for four continuous days. These temps are 15 to 20 degrees above normal. 

The Weathermelon app offers consolidated lists of global growing regions for each commodity; a 10-day detail forecast for each region; current radar maps (U.S. only); estimated harvest start/end dates for each commodity; monthly average high/low temps for each region; and custom daily alerts for temperature, precipitation and severe weather based on 10-day forecasts.

(David Robidoux is a co-founder Weathermelon)