California's freezing temperatures prompt health, agriculture worries
Freezing temperatures forecast for Southern California over the next few days have prompted officials to remind residents about cold-weather shelters and have farmers worried about the health of crops.
The National Weather Service warned of freezing temperatures -- as low as 16 degrees -- into Thursday morning in many of L.A.’s mountain and desert areas, including Mt. Wilson and large parts of the Antelope Valley. Some places in other valleys could hit the freezing point.
The weather service warned residents to protect sensitive outdoor plants and crops, and to keep pets and animals indoors or in a barn.
Jay Vanrein, a spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said that based on the forecast there were concerns about citrus crops, particularly in the Central Valley from around Fresno County to Kern County. Three years ago, record cold temperatures destroyed most of the oranges still hanging on trees. But Vanrein said this cold snap was not expected to be nearly as severe.
“There are freezing temperatures forecast, but for a much smaller range of time and a smaller range of geography,” he said. “There may be some losses, but if this follows the forecast, most of the growers should be able to take measures to protect their crops and minimize their losses.”
Cold weather shelters in L.A. County can be found here or by calling 211.
-- Hector Becerra
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