Cold weather complicates county's dairy, lily businesses

January 22, 2007 12:00 am
Below freezing temperatures earlier this month led not only to snow in Del Norte County but a damaged Easter lily crop. (Bryant Anderson/The Daily Triplicate).
Below freezing temperatures earlier this month led not only to snow in Del Norte County but a damaged Easter lily crop. (Bryant Anderson/The Daily Triplicate).

By Karen Wilkinson

Triplicate staff writer

The below freezing temperatures Del Norte County experienced earlier this month likely will have a ripple effect on its lily bulbs and dairy products.

"The first-year (lily) crops seemed to have been hit a bit," said Del Norte County Agriculture Commissioner Glenn Anderson. "The cold weather also affects the dairy production — the grass isn't growing under the snow in the cold conditions."

The lily bulbs, which need three years to mature before being harvested and sold commercially, are planted in the fall and the young shoots start growing through the soil right about now, Anderson said.

"If they get frozen that doesn't do them any good for sure," he said, noting that the farms are still assessing the damage and haven't reported back to the agriculture department.

The National Weather Service reported a low of 26 degrees Jan. 12 in Crescent City, which broke the 30-degree record set in 1960.

Below freezing temperatures in Crescent City were first reported Jan. 10 and lasted through Jan. 13. Just after midnight on Jan. 11 and through the early morning, snow fell upon the town, reaching the shoreline.

"(The snow) wasn't steady," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Bob Ruehl. "It would start, stop, start, stop."

Though temperatures certainly didn't warm up much, on Jan. 14 rose they just above freezing to 34 degrees, breaking Crescent City's freezing streak. The next two days dipped below the 32-degree mark.

Though rains drizzled Friday afternoon, the weekend should keep in step with the past few days' sunny, clear skies and cloud patches, Ruehl said.

Come Thursday, however, a slight chance of rain is forecasted.

Del Norte's Easter lilies weren't the only crop that recent cold temperatures harmed. Citrus crops further south also took a hit from the freezing temperatures.

At least half of California's citrus fruit and other produce — worth about $1 billion — was destroyed after five nights of below freezing temperatures.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.