Talk about a one-two punch. Between the lack of rain and the sub-freezing temperatures, “there’s no doubt about it – the two together give it a harder case,” says James McFarlane, who grows 700 acres of citrus in Fresno County.
And McFarlane says he’s one of the lucky ones: “Even though we’ve spent all that money on propane and labor, to get those wind machines on and off, even though for about a 40 day period I only spent two full nights in my warm bed, we’re probably gonna make more money because of it.”
That’s because his supply weathered the weather fairly well. Others did not. California’s citrus industry estimates the cost of the seven-day December freeze at about $440 million. That’ll lead to a shorter California citrus season in stores, and perhaps higher prices for customers.
A movement around the U.S. encourages people to skip the shopping malls Friday and spend time in nature. Some national parks and state parks in California are waiving entry fees.
The 19th annual Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival this weekend is expected to bring thousands of visitors to see the stately birds.
The Pacific Storm system brought some slight improvement to drought conditions in California and Nevada last week.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing more than $30 million to California and Nevada native tribes for water quality and environmental restoration projects.
A program will begin soon in the Eldorado National Forest to remove live or dead vegetation to prevent the spread of wildfires.