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Massive flooding in California

March will be an important month in California as cherry and stone fruit trees begin to blossom, and planting of summer veg in Salinas gets under way. It will be interesting to see if the wet and cold winter continues into March, disrupting plantings and fruit development, which could lead to supply issues later in the spring and summer.   

Up to 10 inches of rain fell in the wine-growing regions of Northern California during a 48-hour period this week, causing massive flooding. The Russian River, which runs through the valley of the same name, is currently 14 inches above flood levels, flooding out vineyards and small towns surrounding the city of Santa Rosa. The Napa River, which runs through Napa Valley, is also above flood stage. Although this a terrible disaster for the residents of the area, this type of water should not affect grape vines, which are currently dormant.russian-river-valleyThe Russian River is flooding out vineyards and small towns surrounding the city of Santa Rosa.

More rain is coming to California this weekend and next week.  The coastal growing regions of Santa Maria and Oxnard will receive a decent shot on Saturday and then get hit by a larger storm next Tuesday and Wednesday. Rain totals on Saturday will remain around half an inch, but next week expect totals to be between 0.75 and 1.5 inches. Strawberry harvests may be affected by the rains next week. 

Salinas is also expecting a decent shot of rain over the next week but nothing to worry about at this point. Norm Groot, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, said most growers in the Salinas Valley won’t start major plantings of lettuce and other veg until mid-March.  He said the rain has not been an issue up to now but could potentially become a factor in planting schedules if this moisture pattern continues going into March.    

The desert growing regions of Yuma, Imperial and Coachella valleys experienced a much colder February than normal. According to the National Weather Service’s monthly recap for these regions, 26 days of the month were below normal, only two days were equal or higher than normal and most days the daily average temperature was 10 degrees or more below normal.

Weather is back to normal in Sinaloa, Mexico with max temps back into the 90s and minimum temps in the mid-50s. There is no chance of rain in the 10-day forecast.  Supplies are still light on colored Bell peppers and tomatoes due to the cooler weather last week, which has led to the tighter markets. 

Expect some rain and cold weather to hit Veracruz, Mexico next week that may affect the lime harvest for a few days. Between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week Veracruz is expecting at least an inch of rain and cooler temps. Expect max temps to get to 65 and minimum temps in the 50s.  

Florida will continue with warm temperatures through the weekend.  Highs will be in the 80s and lows will be in the 60s in all major growing regions.  There is a slight chance of rain for next Tuesday with cold air behind it.  On Wednesday, March 6 expect minimum temps up and down the state to drop into the 40s — they will be back into the 50s by Thursday.

Growing locations for berries in Mexico and South America are experiencing perfect weather right now with no issues on the horizon.  Supplies and quality should remain strong with steady markets.

The majority of melons are coming from Central America right now.  Weather in Honduras and Guatemala is perfect for growing melons with max temps in the high 90s and lows in the high 60s with no chance of rain.  Expect supplies to remain strong. 

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)