Freeze warning issued for area; crops, fruit trees may be harmed by cold temperatures

Published 3:15 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

Freeze Warning Graphic

Cold temperatures tonight and Saturday night could damage already planted crops and flowering fruit trees according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS issued a Freeze Warning for East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia on Friday in anticipating of falling temperatures. Freeze warnings are issued during the growing season if temperatures are expected to be below freezing for an extended period of time, NWS forecaster Derek Eisentrout said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It can kill strawberry plants, which are one of the things most commonly planted this early in the year,” he said. “It can damage flowering fruit trees, plants or vegetation, basically things that have already begun to bloom.”

Tonight temperatures are predicted to drop into the mid-to-upper 20s, Eisentrout said.

“Saturday night will be even colder, with lows in the low 20s in the valley,” he said, adding higher elevations could see temperatures drop into the teens.

With the sub-freezing temperatures expected to last for several hours overnight, residents who have crops planted or fruit trees which are already flowering are advised to protect them as best they can to prevent damage.

Damage caused by the freezing temperatures could hurt harvests of fruit trees and other crops, Eisentrout said.

The freeze warning was issued only for low-lying areas of the region.

“At higher elevations we don’t have a freeze warning because it is still too cold for any growing to be going on,” Eisentrout said.

Along with the colder temperatures, the northeast Tennessee region can expect to see some precipitation as a weather system moves in to the area.

Carter County can expect to see rain fall today and this evening with the possibility of the rain turning into snow over night in the higher elevations, Eisentrout said.

“You could see some flurries in the valleys and up to an inch in the higher elevations, mainly above 2,500 or 3,000 feet,” he said.

This cold snap will be short-lived according to the forecast, Eisentrout said.

“Sunday we will starting getting into a warming trend,” he said. Highs on Sunday are forecast for the low 50s while on Monday the temperature should reach the mid-50s, Eisentrout said, adding that by Tuesday the temperatures should be back in the 60s, which is normal for this time of year.