Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hard Freeze Season...

Now that water temperatures in Lake Pontchartrain have dipped below 60, it is the time of the year that fog becomes a problem on the Causeway when winds return from the south and dewpoints get back into the 60s.  It’s also the time of the year when hard freezes become a possibility.  Perhaps you’ve noticed that the daily record lows are below 25 degrees, often dipping into the teens.  It won’t be until after February 20th that the record lows get back above 25.  So let’s go over terminology.  My experience tells me a LIGHT FREEZE happens when temps fall to 29-32 degrees.  Obviously plants & pets are affected, but plumbing/pipes should not have any issues.  Most citrus trees have no problems at these temps.   A MODERATE FREEZE is considered to be 24-28 degrees.  The late master plumber, Mickey Scholl told me of the “pipe rule” that says…”when temperatures get to 28 degrees or below for 4 hours or longer, residents need to run a pencil thin stream of water from a faucet to prevent pipes from freezing”.  I usually run both some hot & cold water, but only in a thin stream.  Most citrus trees should have all fruit removed BEFORE the freeze, but the tree should survive any major tree damage.   A HARD FREEZE is any temperature below 24 degrees and most yard plants will die unless protection is taken.   I used to do all kinds of stuff to protect my plants, but not anymore.   As you get older, it becomes harder to the stuff (PVC pipes erected around my 15 foot grapefruit tree covered with visqueen with a 100 watt light bulb) I did in my “youth”.   Now I just bring in the potted plants into my back shed and let the in ground plants perish.  Many times the foliage dies, but the roots survive.  In our climate, it doesn’t take long for new sprouts to spring up and the new growth to quickly replace what was lost.  Currently there are no signs of any freezes coming to the South Shore during the next 7-10 days.   All indications still point for an Arctic outbreak for much of the nation during Christmas week.  We’ll need to pay attention to see how far south the real chill comes.  I’m encouraged to see no below zero temperatures in Alaska tonight.  The super cold (-15 to-25) remains over eastern Canada with single digits dipping over much of the Great Lakes & Northeast. 


The past 2 days were chilly in the AM but comfy cool during the day.  Friday & Saturday will be a little cooler before a big warm up arrives on Sunday that could have us back above 70.  We could get into a rainy pattern for Sunday through Tuesday before some nice weather returns for late next week.


Noticed David has his Christmas pet photos back.  Reminds me of my 1st boss in Tampa (Roy Leep) back in the early 70s who brought his dog (Scud) on to the set live every Friday night dressed in winter garb that viewers would send to him.   Roy even started a “Scud Calendar” with his dog dressed out in all the garments viewers sent in.  It was very popular with all the proceeds going to charity.  

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