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Chilly weather forecast worries growers

April 05, 2007|by ASHLEY HARTMAN

An arctic air mass that began in the Northern Plains and Great Lakes region shifted east, bringing with it a cold front across Maryland and much of the northeast Wednesday, according to an AccuWeather meteorologist.

Rob Miller said the cold spell is expected to last through the weekend, but temperatures will warm up next week.

"By Tuesday, temperatures should start moderating back into the 50s," Miller said Wednesday.

Temperatures on Easter Sunday are expected to be close to those of Christmas Day 2006, Miller said.

Christmas Day saw a high of 39 degrees and a low of 28; Sunday's high is expected to be 43 degrees with a low of 27. Miller said temperatures on Christmas Day were "normal for that time of year," but predicted temperatures for Sunday are "fairly cold for this time of year."

"The next several nights will feature temperatures in the 20s, which is about 10 to 15 degrees lower than what they usually are this time of year," Miller said.

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With temperatures below freezing, peach growers have serious concerns about the survival of their fruit, said Annette Ipsan, the faculty extension assistant/horticulture and master gardener coordinator for the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in Washington County.

"Any flowers that are opened now - if they're hit by frost - will be lost, which means there will be no fruit from that flower," Ipsan said. "If we go below 32 (degrees), that means they (fruit growers) are going to lose some or all of their crops."

The high today is expected to be in the mid-40s.

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