Though the full impact of the arctic blast that left millions without power for days on end will take several weeks to assess, reports are already indicating that grapefruit and other citrus crops have been devastated.
The nation’s third-largest citrus-producing state behind California and Florida, Texas took a major hit that could soon result in skyrocketing citrus prices at the supermarket.
According to Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, a trade group that oversees citrus growers throughout the Lone Star State, growers were “about 50 percent harvested to date on grapefruit” when the polar vortex struck.
Orange growers, Murden added, were also “just beginning to harvest our late Valencia orange” crop when snowfall, ice and record-low temperatures swept through the state and crippled it.
“Most everyone saw temps of 21 degrees for several hours,” Murden is quoted as saying, adding that “growers will no doubt lose some of the crop as we see some ice buildup inside the fruit.”
Murden says it only takes a few hours of sub-28-degree weather to freeze and destroy hanging fruit.
Some parts of Texas saw temperatures increase to the 40s, and in some cases even 50s, by the weekend. However, the deep freeze event of the previous days already did its destruction.
“At this time, we have about 15 percent of our crop hanging on the trees, and that is likely lost,” said April Flowers of Lone Star Citrus, a grower based out of Mission, Tex.
If citrus prices start to creep up, you now know why
While growers did what they could to try to warm the trees in anticipation of the weather event, temperatures were so cold that the effort largely failed.
“Some growers use a micro-jet irrigation system to spray their trees with water prior to the freeze because ice is insulative at 32 degrees,” Flowers explained. “But this type of system is expensive and not widely used.”
Murden says it is still too early to tell whether the cold snap “will turn into a weather disaster for Texas citrus growers.” A clearer picture will come in the next several weeks as temperatures throughout the state continue to increase.
“The next several weeks will give us a clearer picture of the true impact of the storm,” he added.
Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, forbade Texas gas producers from selling to power producers outside the state through Feb. 21. The U.S. has also curbed natural gas exports to Mexico, which has resulted in some power stations having to shut down.
“The plummeting natural gas exports from the United States to Mexico amid an Arctic cold spell in the country that has led to a gas demand surge is causing blackouts in northern Mexico, with some 4.77 million households and businesses left without power on Monday,” reported OilPrice.com.
Gov. Abbott has also called on legislators to begin an investigation into ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) for apparently mismanaging the state’s energy grid to the point that it largely failed during the cold snap.
“Since the new year, the price of gas has gone up about $0.10/gal every week I fill up,” wrote one Zero Hedge commenter. “Receipts from January show the price of gas at $0.50 less than now.”
“The problem we face is God,” wrote another, addressing who is ultimately allowing these catastrophes to continue. “He cannot be defeated – better to join and be at peace. I did.”
More related news about the catastrophic devastation of Texas due to the cold snap can be found at Collapse.news.
Sources for this article include: