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Spring Freeze Lifting in Alabama

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Freezing conditions remained in the Sunday night forecast for north Alabama, but forecasters did not expect it would be as cold as the record lows set in some cities overnight Saturday.

The lowest temperature in Alabama recorded overnight was in Decatur, which dropped to 23, but it is unclear if that is a record low.

National Weather Service meteorologist Angel Montanez says the second lowest temperature in the state was 26 degrees -- a record low for Anniston and Huntsville.

The previous record for Anniston was 29 degrees, set in 1952, and a 28-degree record low for Huntsville was set in 1958, Montanez says.

Meanwhile, farmers who tried to protect early-bearing fruit tree and row crops will take the next few days to determine the extent of freeze damage.

Wes Isom of Isom's Orchard in Athens and his workers spent Friday night and Saturday morning trying to save their 65-acre peach crop.

Workers used overhead sprinklers to coat the peaches in ice. The ice releases heat and maintains the fruit's temperature at 32 degrees.

Despite those efforts, Isom isn't optimistic.

Most of the state's annual $3 million to $5 million peach crop is grown in Chilton County.

Jim Pitts, superintendent of the state's Chilton Research and Extension Center, says it appeared the breezes and clouds kept the orchards from serious damage. He said it dipped to 28 degrees.

But, he says, "We've done OK. Overall I was pleased."

In North Alabama, Brian Glenn of Hillsboro said the freeze has likely ruined his 700 acres of wheat. The best-case scenario, he says, is that it is severely damaged.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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