Growers heave sigh after saving fruit trees from frost

Fruit growers in the Grand Valley may be able to catch up on their sleep this weekend after tending crops during Thursday night’s cold snap.

David Morton of Morton’s Orchard said he started a wind machine and used heaters from 4 to 8 a.m. Friday morning, which helped to save blooms from freezing. The work bolstered temperatures up to 30 degrees in his orchard of about 22 acres.

“I have a frost alarm that goes off at 32 degrees,” Morton said. “It wakes me up out of a sound sleep. It’s part of the territory. I expect it every year.”

Wind machines and heaters could be heard all around the valley Thursday night, and Morton said other growers told him their crops escaped damage from the freezing temperatures.

The temperature was recorded at it lowest, 26 degrees at 6:59 a.m., at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Growers appear to be in the clear for at least the next several days, as nighttime low temperatures aren’t expected to take such a drastic plunge.

Tonight’s low temperature is expected to be near 40 degrees, and low temperatures in the 40s are expected through early next week, the National Weather Service said.

High temperatures next week are expected to be flirting with 70 degrees.


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