It could be a while before anyone has a slant on how much damage was done during the weekend cold spell - perhaps a week or longer. The San Jose Mercury News reports that citrus crops in the Central Valley and Socal are most in jeopardy because the fruit was ready to pick. But reports over the weekend indicated that damage in the Central Valley was not as severe as had been feared. So who knows? Typically, crops can be damaged if temps fall below 28 degrees for about five hours. For the moment, growers have suspended shipments until officials cut the fruit to see what's good and what's essentially mush. There's almost certain to be some impact on prices, though growers had harvested lots of fruit in advance of the cold temperatures. A serious freeze can impact the state economy in a number of ways: the actual loss of the citrus crop still on the trees - estimated at $800 million to $900 million - longer-term damage to the trees and lost jobs for farm workers. It took two years for the industry to recover from a freeze in 1990. California has about 30 percent of the nation's citrus industry.
*It's looking bad: Damages from the latest freeze will likely surpass those caused by a three-day freeze in 1998 that destroyed 85 percent of California's citrus crop, a loss valued at $700 million. AP