SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — There was a Fire Weather Warning in effect Wednesday due to the warm and dry conditions, but that will actually change to a Freeze Warning as temperatures plummet late at night.
The sudden drop in temperature could have an impact on local farms, according to the owner of Steere Orchard in Smithfield. John Steere told 12 News that while he doesn’t expect the conditions to affect his apples, they could have an effect on vegetable crops.
“Apples should be OK until about 28 degrees,” he explained. “If it was any colder, it might damage the fruit. The only thing it may do is give a little russet or rust on the fruit as it grows.”
That won’t affect the apples themselves, just the way they look, Steere added.
As for peaches, he’s one of the many farmers who lost crops this year.
“We just got a little too cold in February this year and none of them made it,” Steere said. “I saw about three blossoms on the trees.”
When it comes to crops that could be impacted by the falling temperatures, Steere said farmers should cover small vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries.
“You can cover, sometimes they’ll irrigate small crops, the water will keep them a little warmer and keep them from freezing too much,” he said.
So, why take these precautions? If the crops freeze, farmers could lose them. Steere recommended covering crops until Thursday morning.