It’s March 3rd and we are talking about having to protect the plants. That is a direct result of the warmest February on record in Roanoke. The three month period of December, January, and February, or what we would call meteorological winter, ended up being the second warmest EVER!
As you may imagine, below normal days have been hard to come by. Only 15 of the last 71 days have been below normal.
All of this record warmth has allowed many trees and flowers to start blooming several weeks before they are supposed to. Now a return to normalcy is threatening to kill anything that has started to bud. Once temperatures reach 32 degrees the potential to damage the vegetation is there, but the chance goes up significantly once the mercury drops below 28 degrees.
A lot of the color you see out there won’t make it through the next couple of nights so don’t expect to see that color when we typically do as their one a year bloom has already been used up. Of greater concern would be the fruit bearing trees that have already started budding. If the freeze kills those buds, farmers could lose a lot of their crop for the coming year.