Washington April Frost Concerns High On Grower Minds

Higher temperatures helped but worry ran high.

Published on: May 17, 2013

There may have been some summer like high temperatures in Washington during April, but the threat of frosts continued to keep growers awake nights.

The threat came true in places like Moxee, Wash., a major fresh fruit region, where sub freezing temps struck for two weeks in early to mid-month, according to Washington State University weather watchers.

"Unfortunately, there have been reports of cold damage across  several agricultural regions of Washington during April," says WSU AgWeatherNet director Garrit Hoogenboom(cq). "Despite our consistent efforts to disseminate vital weather information to growers, these events serve as sobering reminders of the need to remain vigilant during critical periods."

Even some snow fell in April in Washington, a month of mixed weather which produced some frost concerns for producers.
Even some snow fell in April in Washington, a month of mixed weather which produced some frost concerns for producers.

A web-based publically available system, AgWeatherNet provides access to near real-time weather data and value-added products from WSU's weather information to growers, along with decision aids for agricultural producers.

Overall, central Washington temperatures were slightly above normal during April.

"Despite several frosty mornings, April temperatures were not unusually cold," says AgWeatherNet meteorologist Nic Lloyd. "Temperatures climbed into the 70s on April 1 and 2 and again from the 24th to the 26th. Overall, monthly temperatures at Prosser were about one-half degree above average."

Following warmth in the beginning of the month, wet conditions April 4-7 yielded nearly three inches of rain at Long Beach. Although the low temperature at Moxee was a mild 51 degrees on April 5, cooler air quickly followed.

The rain-cooled high temperature at Omak was only 47 degrees on April 7, while lows on April 8 were in the upper 20s to around 30 degrees in colder spots.

After the passage of a windy and mild storm on April 10, a potent storm system on April 12 and 13 spawned rainfall, mountain snow and winds up to 66 MPH at Wenatchee Heights.

Cooler air in the storm's wake promoted the unsettled and frosty weather that dominated mid-month.