Southeast farmers prepare for cold blast

A farm south of Atlanta plans to irrigate their strawberry and blueberry plants overnight, covering them in ice to keep them warm.

Video Transcript

- Much of the South, from Arkansas to North Carolina, is under a freeze warning Thursday night after some plants have already started to bloom.

VIRGINIA ADAMS: Right there is one that will be budding out next week.

- But the Adams family, who run Adams Farm in Fayetteville, Georgia, south of Atlanta, isn't concerned.

VIRGINIA ADAMS: My husband and I have been doing this since the 1970s.

- Due to the freeze, they're planning to irrigate their strawberries and blueberries overnight, something they've done many times before.

VIRGINIA ADAMS: Water gives off heat as it freezes and it encases every berry and every leaf with a thick coat of ice.

- It's a strategy farmers across the South are using over the next few days with so many plants blooming after recent warmer weather.

PAM KNOX: We have had plenty of cold air. But having a late frost like this-- it's probably about a week after the average date of last frost-- is definitely something that's a concern, because everything was so ready to go, because we had that cold weather over the winter, that when we did get into warm conditions-- and we've had some pretty warm conditions-- everything just popped all at once.

- Knox says another big factor is the wind.

Often, frosts come in two nights. The first night is what we call an infected frost. Infected frost is what happens when you have cold air blowing into the area. It makes the irrigation less efficient, because the water doesn't stay on the plants as much. The second night is often what we call a radiative frost, where the winds are calm and the sky is clear, and heat just escapes back to space. And those are the nights that irrigation is a little bit more efficient.

- She says, besides irrigation, covering plants up with a light sheet is another effective way to protect against the cold. As for the Adams, they're still planning on opening their you-pick farm to the public next week. For AccuWeather, I'm Kim [? Luffler. ?]