Breaking News: Severe Weekend Freeze Hits US

Exactly two years ago, a record-breaking freeze hit the southern Plains and Deep South, setting the wheat market into a frenzy and marking the beginning of a bull run lasting more than a year. Wheat doubled in price from the time of the April 2007 freeze until the top of the market, a year later. Is history getting ready to repeat itself, asks Allen Motew of QT Weather?

It is certainly beginning to look that way. The Southern Plains saw a hard freeze Sunday morning. Lows in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will be even colder on Monday. Monday morning will be even colder than Sunday with teens in Kansas and low twenties in Oklahoma and N Texas…enough to cause widespread damage to the HRW crop, he says.

After that a third day of severe cold will hit the Southern Plains Tuesday, reaching the Lower Mississippi Valley and SRW crop too, adds Allen. Southern states will see readings far below freezing Wednesday morning hurting numerous perishable crops as well as hardy varieties too, very similar to the April 4-9, 2007 freeze, warns Allen.

The 2007 freeze was so destructive because it followed two to three weeks of well above normal temperatures (highs mainly in the 70s and 80s/lows mainly in the 50s and 60s). This kicked off the growing season a little early, with vegetation stressed when temperatures plummeted. The pattern this year seems strikingly similar with growing degree days well above average so far in 2009. Most states from the southern Plains to the Corn Belt and across the South saw a much
warmer than normal March setting the stage for history to repeat itself, he warns.

The Soft Red Wheat crop across Arkansas and the Mid-Mississippi Valley will see record low temperatures Tuesday morning. The all-time lowest April temperature in Little Rock is 28 degrees F. Tomorrow QT Weather say that a low of 24 degrees will hit Little Rock, with potentially devastating results. In 2007, before the freeze hit, 6% of the crop was rated poor/very poor, post-freeze this number had shot to 64%. In Tennessee it went from 3% to 84%.

Tuesday's forecast lows: