(ORDO NEWS) — A cold wave that hit parts of Europe earlier this month appears to have spared French peach and apricot growers, who were hit hard last year.
However, other European regions were severely affected, especially northern Spain, where losses are currently estimated at more than 50 million euros, in addition to 11 million caused by prolonged rains.
The minimum temperature in France dropped to -1.5°C on the night of Sunday to Monday, April 4, 2022, which was the coldest morning in the country since 1947, according to data provided by Météo France.
Farmers in the affected regions burned candles, sprayed water and used wind turbines in an attempt to protect their crops from freezing temperatures.
Fortunately, the temperature recorded in the south-east of France did not reach the level of last year, and only in a few cases did the temperature drop below -2 °C (28.4 °F).
Unfortunately, some damage was recorded in the most affected areas, including some of the hillsides in the Rhone Valley, the high Tet valley and the Baronnie region.
However, this cold wave also seems to have seriously affected other European regions, especially northern Spain: Lleida in Catalonia, Huesca and Zaragoza in Aragon, Navarre, Leon and Rioja.
According to LA UNIÓ, more than 33,000 hectares (81,540 acres) were affected by frost.3
The province of Valencia suffered the most with 64% of the area, followed by Castellón with 27% and Alicante with 11%. By region, Utiel Requena is the most affected with 17%, followed by La Serrania and La Plana Alta with 10% and 9%, respectively.
Most of the affected hectares – 80% – are almond trees, another 10% are kakis, 8% are summer fruits and cherries, and 2% are vegetables: potatoes, onions and artichokes.
Kaki suffered the greatest losses – at least 50%. This figure could become even higher if the most negative forecasts are confirmed.
Almond trees account for 37% of the damage and are the crop with the most expansion. Summer fruits, which have already been hit hard by the rains of recent weeks, account for 7% of the damage, while vegetables account for 5%.
More information will be available at MedFEL on April 28th when European apricot crop forecasts are announced and on May 24th during “MedFEL Tuesdays”.
“The 2021/2022 winter season has been fairly mild in many parts of Europe, with no snow or particularly severe cold spells,” said Marko Korosek of Severe Weather Europe4.
The reason for this was the intense polar vortex in the air and the fading global circulation of La Nina.
At the end of March, the general pattern of weather over the North Atlantic and Europe changed to a progressive northern circulation, and a powerful upper high layer formed over the Atlantic and the Arctic, allowing a deep trough to form on its eastern side, turning south toward Europe, and releasing large amounts of cold air.
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