Round #2 of cold air?

franktank232(z5 WI)January 22, 2014

Yippee! This should really crank those heating bills up. This next dump of cold air really wants to dig south and east... Still time for some changes, but something to keep an eye out for...especially if you're growing plants that may be borderline for your zone.

I'll post a few more maps later...

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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Yup. I have some Hosui on Pyrus calleryana. We'll see if they make it with a -15 low, they had 20" of snow cover. Also Pyrus Bet in the same group seedling and Reimer hardy strain. having the snow cover is key. I doubt my figs in the detatched garage will make it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:28PM
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If you can lay your figs down flat on the garage floor and thrown some sheeting over them it would help- seriously. Alternatively a tent over standing plants might make the difference.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:46PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I'm loving this! Huge heating bills... hands are cracking open (and bleeding) because the air is so dry. Frost forms on the INSIDE of some of our walls in our house (poor insulation...add it to the list :)) Peaches outside are probably all dead. The big nectarine in the backyard will be firewood. Some of my Japanese plums that put on a ton of growth last summer are having some real test worthy conditions! (if they make it at all). Apples are probably loving it more then I am.

Good thing is that I get to start some veggies soon inside and I'm already noticing the lengthening days of late Jan.

Anomaly map at 6ft off the ground @ 168hrs

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:55PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Here is what NWS here in La Crosse (southwest Wisconsin) has to say about next week:


    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Dear Frank and Noogy, where does one begin to sympathize with the hours, sprays or no sprays, pruning, mulching and caring for your trees. Your reports are painful and I feel so badly for you both. I wish I could honestly give you better weather. I feel so at a loss reading your descriptions of what is going on in your zones. What is amazing is that it is really just the beginning of winter and I wonder what is in store for us all. All I can do at this point is send you all friendly hugs, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:37PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

" Frost forms on the INSIDE of some of our walls in our house"

Is that for real Frank? I'm amazed. I've never heard of frost forming on the inside of walls. I've seen frost form on the inside of single pane windows, but not walls. Then again I've never lived in WI.

This has been a cold winter.

This post was edited by olpea on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 0:24

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:22AM
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alan haigh

Yeah, it's cold here also, but not to the point of being unusual, unless compared to the balmy recent winters. When I was pruning yesterday temps never got above 14 and the wind had teethe and fangs. I'm in my 6th decade and may be softening up. Too bad I have no retirement plan.

My outside temp in coldest part of my property is -3 this morning. On a traditional test winter it could be below -20.

How do the midwestern lows compare this winter to what you got in coldest winters in the '90's.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:13AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Yeah, it's cold here also, but not to the point of being unusual, unless compared to the balmy recent winters."

I do think we as humans, tend forget bad weather, so that there is always a kind of collective bias to think the current weather is the worst.

I remember being in KC in the early 90s around Christmas time when it was about 23 below.

I've lived at this current location for about 13 years and I believe the coldest it's gotten during that time is -10 (this winter). This zone is rated 6, which means minus 10 shouldn't be all that unusual. Still, I hate to see it. Hard on tender fruit.

One thing I've noticed about unfavorable weather patterns is that they often seem to repeat themselves. For instance, in the spring of 2012, the Great Lakes area kept getting hammered by damaging spring frosts. It wasn't just one frost that did the crops in. It was over and over, each frost removing a little more crop until there was nothing left.

Same thing this season. The cold spell a couple weeks ago was bad enough, now we have a repeat, just to make sure all the tender fruit is dead.

Droughts seem to work the same way. They just hang and hang on. I know there is a scientific explanation of weather patterns becoming stationary over areas, but it sometimes feels like the weather has a personality and is out to get you.

According to the local news, we are supposed to get down to -2 for the next cold spell. Not bad, but it's supposed to be 50 the day before.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:12PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Yeah... They are just 2x4 stud walls with no insulation other then a thin 40 year old inch of some tar backed fiberglass...the sheathing is also wrapped in tar paper on the the r value of the walls is very low (its a project on my list---blow in cellulose). I actually hit the wall with the infrared thermometer and measured around 15F (this is an interior wall) where frost was forming when the outside temp was -12F. I'd never build a house in this area with 2x4 walls..either 2x6 or better yet, a double stud wall (2 2x4 walls offset) and then packed with cellulose or even mineral wool. When you double on the walls, you get rid of any thermal bridging. Storm windows help a ton of condensation on interior windows. After putting some on this fall, i have had no issues with interior window condensation (it use to be a huge issue).

Models continue to show the plunge on nasty ugly cold air next week... Looks almost colder for this area...the cold plunges deep into the Gulf of Mexico (probably not a good week to visit Cancun) and then marches east across Florida, while blasting the SE (Atlanta/etc) with nasty cold air.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:12PM
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HM, I do not know if this is the coldest or second coldest since 1995 (when I moved here). But I still think the coldest was 2003 (I think), when it went below 0F every week for nine weeks in a row. That was something. It would dip to -1 or -5, then go back up to +5 or +10, then dip again and again.

This time we got the record lows (-14F here), and currently we are looking at a triple dip (-3F Tuesday night, -6 tonight, -1 Monday). Large weather oscillations are seen in all climate change models, during the brief period when the climate changes. On the other hand, distant relatives in Italy (north of here latitude-wise) have had coldest nights of 40F so far, with most days in the sixties, and everything is blooming.

With -14F my double pane windows froze on the inside, on the corners and along the cracks. These days all windows are clear.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:06PM
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alan haigh

Glib, record lows for a specific day are not very important in assessing the harshness of a winter and potential damage to trees, it is record lows for the entire season that matter. Every season records are usually set for at least a few days for rain, heat or something and the media makes a big deal about it to generate interest.

When I came to my home in the '80's it was considered a Z5 and lows for the winter of -15 were common- -10 about average. Those temps don't usually kill fruit buds so it wasn't an issue.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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Just plant things that are plenty hardy for your area, then sit back and relax during the winter. Consider the wimpier plantings as more of an experiment, with the mild years bringing a bonus harvest as a special blessing, but not taken for granted. Just assume that there will be the occasional test winter that will take out many of those wimpier items, and don't have an ulcer over it!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:13PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


If my sweet cherries make it through, i'll be happy. I know the peaches/nectarines/Japanese plums are all on borrowed time in this climate. I grow enough peaches/pluots in containers that i really don't need any in the ground.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 6:23PM
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The weather forecast here is -2 Sat. night, -7 Monday night, -9 Tuesday night, and -13 Thursday night. I am pissed off.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 6:56PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Chicago has a shot at -20F next week...its very possible.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:29PM
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alan haigh

Glib, don't be pissed off. There will always be cold winters in a Z5. I will be outdoors working in the low teens and maybe single digits next week. I may need battery heated gloves if it stays in single digits, though. My circulation isn't all that great.

On the coldest day last week I was slapping my hands to try to warm them up- no combination of gloves would keep them bearably warm.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:03AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Only thing that works for me outside in the extreme cold is movement. Sit still and you get cold fast. I've went jogging when its been below 0F and its not bad except for the face (it stings). Of course you have to dress for it (layers and layers).

6F and clear blue skies this morning here...last night we were 35F and had snow falling... Looks like more snow tonite and tomorrow and then it all goes down hill. GFS bottoms us out at -27F next week, but that always seems to run too cold. Some models are showing -30Fs across Iowa and parts of Illinois.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:29AM
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alan haigh

Pruning is not an accelerated metabolism exercise, but even running doesn't quite protect my hands (I run as part of my regimen to get that AME). I've worked outside most winter days here for 25 yeas and people tend to think I'm tough, but my Ecuadorian helper gets by with uninsulated gloves when I'm wearing mitts with a liner. Still, I keep working out there when most folks with outdoor occupations stay inside. Only way I can get it all done.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:47AM
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Chicago only got down to -13 Tues morning. Looks like they overshot this one.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:04AM
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Here, too, only -7F. And by saturday we should have highs in the upper 20!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:34PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Yeah... models overdid the cold... GFS was pretty good the last 2 days for this area. I had -19.5F when i woke up, but didn't crack the -22F from the last blast. Still very cold and i'm sure i'll have much is to be seen.

Extended stays way below normal.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


About four years ago, Omaha hit -22F for 2 nights and my young Meader persimmon and a Li Jujube got nailed hard. All the barks cracked open and both tree died at the graft union.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 6:39PM
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alan haigh

When I had -22 here a long time ago the peach blossoms were all fried- I think probably the plums as well but can't remember clearly. Pomes were fine. No injury to anything but flowers.

When peaches bare no fruit they really need summer pruning.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 6:44PM
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Extended forecast shows subzeros coming back for February.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 8:30PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


I have a row of young peach seedlings (various types) that all have grafts on them (various stonefruit)...i'm scared they are all going to be smoked. I'm pretty sure the stuff in containers in the garage should be ok...i think!

Whatever didn't make it in the ground gets pulled...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:23PM
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