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Author Topic: Major winter storm!  (Read 1298 times)

Mark in Texas

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Major winter storm!
« on: February 14, 2021, 08:37:31 AM »
It's bad here in central Texas, historic winter lows, ice, snow.  Already had a major ice storm resulting in the usual - accidents, trees and utility poles down and the worse is yet to come beginning about 6:00 p.m. tonight with the arrival of the 3rd winter storm out of 5 to move thru.  Have not been above freezing for days which will not let up until Friday.  New lows of 2F and 3F coming - unprecedented for us.  Predictions is for up to 6" of snow tonight with sleet. https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Fredericksburg&state=TX&site=EWX&lat=30.2705&lon=-98.8722

No way to get into town for a generator and such but I did fill up the big propane tank that services the greenhouse, but the main overhead fan driven heater relies on electricity which we constantly lose with utility failures and maybe brownouts which are forecasted for the next few days.

I have three filled 20# tanks, a free standing 80K BTU heater and a 15K BTU tank top heater in the greenhouse but no way to circulate the air if we lose electricity.  Am taking cuttings, mulching the trunks, etc.  Took me a while to get in the greenhouse thanks to 3" of ice blocking the door and everything frozen shut.  So far all is well regarding my stock. 

V.D. weekend is a big money maker for town, it's dead.  55+ wineries, breweries, restaurants, lodging, etc.  big loss.  Feel for them after all this Covid stuff although Texas is open in that regard.

After the heater failure in 2018 and a big loss don't know if I can do this again.  My vineyard is probably toast. 

Wish us Texan tropical fruit growers luck!






« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 08:55:22 AM by Mark in Texas »

roblack

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 11:22:28 AM »
Wishing you and all others dealing with this storm the best of luck and a speedy recovery!


fruitnut1944

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 11:37:41 AM »
Wow Mark you guys have been in the cooler. 27-30F for three days straight is extremely unusual. And 2-3 coming up is brutal. Up here in Alpine it's 18 now and 7 predicted tonight. My greenhouse will be fine...unless the power goes out. I've got blooming fruit trees. It's set on 34F just to get thru this freeze. Then back to 80/50F to grow out some stone fruits.

I'm planning to move within a year and my next greenhouse will have solar panels and battery storage. That looks like the best solution to power issues. I once had a backup standby generator. The solar setup seems like a much better idea going forward.

ScottR

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 11:45:18 AM »
Hope you pull though this cold snap fine Mark, wishing for warmer weather you way.

Galatians522

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2021, 11:55:13 AM »
Wouldn't snow cover prevent solar pannels from working? In that case the system would only be able to run until the battery storage ran out. I was thinking that I read somewhere that solar and wind power typically need a fossil fule generator as a backup because they can be unreliable. The guy I talked to who has an "off grid" house had $50k-$100k worth of batteries and still had a back up generator.

MorroBay

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 12:18:10 PM »
Best of luck.  Hope you can keep that greenhouse warm enough.

fruitnut1944

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2021, 01:51:06 PM »


You could be right. I was thinking of a backup just to run the fan on the natural gas heater in my greenhouse. The motor on that probably isn't over 1/4 hp so that's about 200 watts when running. Even on a cold night it won't run but a fraction of the time. It's not much power if limited to just that essential function. I'll need to price it all out to find out if it's the way to go.

Having the power go out on a hot sunny day is more my worry. But again 200 watts would keep one 36 inch exhaust fan running and that would avoid any heat damage.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 02:09:12 PM by fruitnut1944 »

Galatians522

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2021, 02:40:44 PM »
I see. If the major concern is heat damage in the summer, solar makes more sense. At least to me anyway.

Daintree

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 03:41:07 PM »
Oh my gosh, Mark!  What the heck is going on down there?  Hang tight!  If it is any consolation, our grapes have made it through -23 without blinking, so keeping our fingers crosses for yours.

Yeah, darn those electric fans that we need to push the heat around our greenhouses!  I wish I knew how to build those heat-driven fans that they set on wood stoves.  I have often wondered if enough of those, up high and pointing  down, would do the trick.

Hoping for the best for you!

Carolyn

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2021, 05:51:17 PM »
That is a fine crop of ice in those photographs. I hope my area does not look like that by tomorrow, but the prediction is for freezing rain. I am not looking forward to that.

shot

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2021, 08:00:43 PM »
Kinda reminds me of the 1989 freeze,that one kept coming right across the pond(gulf) and deep into Mexico.

Hope the best for you Mark

Here some old tech http://blog.modernmechanix.com/how-does-it-work-oil-lamp-fan/

Galatians522

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2021, 08:33:55 PM »
Kinda reminds me of the 1989 freeze,that one kept coming right across the pond(gulf) and deep into Mexico.

Hope the best for you Mark

Here some old tech http://blog.modernmechanix.com/how-does-it-work-oil-lamp-fan/


1989 was cold! We hit 17 at our farm in Sebring. Fascinating, fan by the way!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 08:35:28 PM by Galatians522 »

bsbullie

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2021, 09:31:44 PM »
Kinda reminds me of the 1989 freeze,that one kept coming right across the pond(gulf) and deep into Mexico.

Hope the best for you Mark

Here some old tech http://blog.modernmechanix.com/how-does-it-work-oil-lamp-fan/


1989 was cold! We hit 17 at our farm in Sebring. Fascinating, fan by the way!


My parents lived on the ocean at Vero Beach and was visiting them at the time...I remember that front.  Power was out, heavy frost and ice everywhere.
- Rob

Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2021, 11:30:37 AM »
Very cold, -14F chill this morning with wind which saps greenhouse heat and my hands! 2 big propane heaters going not keeping up, (real world BTU output) total of 110K BTU. Low of 4F (top temp), greenhouse wireless alarm set at 33F kept me up all night firing off and on. Stock looks great though this morn. Scary that I had skins of ice on both 30 gal. black garbage cans sitting near a south wall. If we can get by tonight, got it made.

Next storm this Wednesday will have lows in the teens versus 4F. Mulched above the grafts, took avocado sticks. Thanks for the support, don't want to start over again! Been really stressed out taking care of the disabled wife, greenhouse prep, pets, wild birds, plumbing, etc. No road travel with thick snow over ice. Ardith fruit this morn, snow covered roof.

High in the teens today.   At least we have sunny skies.  Been in the low 20's for many days.



Very nice Ardith fruit, snow covered roof.



Plantinyum

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2021, 12:50:58 PM »
Very cold, -14F chill this morning with wind which saps greenhouse heat and my hands! 2 big propane heaters going not keeping up, (real world BTU output) total of 110K BTU. Low of 4F (top temp), greenhouse wireless alarm set at 33F kept me up all night firing off and on. Stock looks great though this morn. Scary that I had skins of ice on both 30 gal. black garbage cans sitting near a south wall. If we can get by tonight, got it made.

Next storm this Wednesday will have lows in the teens versus 4F. Mulched above the grafts, took avocado sticks. Thanks for the support, don't want to start over again! Been really stressed out taking care of the disabled wife, greenhouse prep, pets, wild birds, plumbing, etc. No road travel with thick snow over ice. Ardith fruit this morn, snow covered roof.

High in the teens today.   At least we have sunny skies.  Been in the low 20's for many days.



Very nice Ardith fruit, snow covered roof.


that really sucks !!! Take care and I hope everything in your greenhouse survives . Those avocadoes look yummy btw

fliptop

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2021, 03:19:58 PM »
Rooting for you, Mark in Texas!

Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2021, 05:02:44 PM »
Internet service is iffy with power outages too. 

Thanks Carolyn, Scott, Rob, Fliptop, Plantinyum  et al.... aint no big thang.....my ass.  Area has shut down with no biz from most if not all businesses.  The HEB grocer chain is closed until further notice, schools are closed, etc.  Wife's sister in Corpus Christi had 18F this morn.

It's 18F at 4:00 p.m.

Take care......



Back to the house after checking the greenhouse. 



View from our house to the highway at sunrise - Anthony Howe's kinetic wind sculpture "Chief" in the turn around, old Xmas store, greenhouse.  Check this genius out.  https://www.howeart.net/


« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 05:05:02 PM by Mark in Texas »

Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2021, 05:09:34 PM »
Austin roads on my home theater's big screen.




Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2021, 05:15:19 PM »
Quote
that really sucks !!! Take care and I hope everything in your greenhouse survives . Those avocadoes look yummy btw

First Ardith fruit from a graft a few years ago. Tree is 10', trunk girth 2", lignified, holding 5 fruit for the first time.  Sizing up pretty good.  Again many thanks to the fine member who fixed me up with the wood after the 2018 heater failure.  Thanks to him got plenty of Lamb Hass and Sharwil hanging too.  GEM and Reed  is about to bud.


« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 05:18:05 PM by Mark in Texas »

boxturtle

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2021, 05:23:29 PM »
Hang in there Brother!

OCchris1

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2021, 12:31:59 AM »
Hey Mark! Hang in there brother. I have material should you need it (hopefully not). Take care
-Chris

K-Rimes

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2021, 11:34:44 AM »
Wow that's wild! Didn't imagine that Texas could get this cold, but I guess it's just one of those 30 year things.

At my place we have frequent power outages and I opted for a used light tower diesel generator (with lights removed) which was very affordable and is stupid reliable. 30 gallon tank. 6kw. Key start. Could be worth it over time since the greenhouse is an important part of your life.

Luisport

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2021, 02:52:53 PM »
@lookner
Austin, Texas electric utility: “Customers should be prepared to not have power through Tuesday night and possibly longer.”

Luisport

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2021, 03:30:49 PM »
@JeffLindner1
Significant ice storm likely over portions of SE TX tonight that may result in widespread damage to power infrastructure and trees north and west of #houston. Ice also possible in portions of Harris, Fort Bend and Liberty counties #houwx #txwx

ScottR

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2021, 06:37:03 PM »
Internet service is iffy with power outages too. 

Thanks Carolyn, Scott, Rob, Fliptop, Plantinyum  et al.... aint no big thang.....my ass.  Area has shut down with no biz from most if not all businesses.  The HEB grocer chain is closed until further notice, schools are closed, etc.  Wife's sister in Corpus Christi had 18F this morn.

It's 18F at 4:00 p.m.

Take care......
Nice Mark, we visited that artist place on Orcas Is. Wa. years ago has beautiful place his sculptures are a trip!!
hang in Mark 8)



Back to the house after checking the greenhouse. 



View from our house to the highway at sunrise - Anthony Howe's kinetic wind sculpture "Chief" in the turn around, old Xmas store, greenhouse.  Check this genius out.  https://www.howeart.net/



850FL

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2021, 07:16:48 PM »



Saw last night’s low and started to fear.. then actually started hoping it would get to 20 to see the effects of everything.. fortunately or unfortunately it only got to 25 (3 year low). None of the moringas and many papayas were not frozen back. Tender growth on jackfruits burnt, carambolas about to defoliate. Superficial leaf damage on a couple exposed mangos. Passions either burnt way back or were unscathed. No damage on any lychees, longans, annonas, or WI/G avocados, and surprisingly no damage on any tropical guavas (they may drop a few leaves later). Thankfully the Gulf just barely held that big freeze off..
As for the people with greenhouses.. can you burn small fires around the perimeters during the brunt of the storm to keep the surrounding area warmer? Or is that too dangerous and pointless?

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2021, 07:52:12 PM »
Hope you and your plants are doing well during this freezing weather. Cold front missed where I am, but still pretty cold with the night time temps in the mid to low 20s.
-Ryan

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2021, 09:02:27 AM »



Saw last night’s low and started to fear.. then actually started hoping it would get to 20 to see the effects of everything.. fortunately or unfortunately it only got to 25 (3 year low). None of the moringas and many papayas were not frozen back. Tender growth on jackfruits burnt, carambolas about to defoliate. Superficial leaf damage on a couple exposed mangos. Passions either burnt way back or were unscathed. No damage on any lychees, longans, annonas, or WI/G avocados, and surprisingly no damage on any tropical guavas (they may drop a few leaves later). Thankfully the Gulf just barely held that big freeze off..


You faired pretty well! Are most of your plants in ground or container?

850FL

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2021, 10:30:11 AM »



Saw last night’s low and started to fear.. then actually started hoping it would get to 20 to see the effects of everything.. fortunately or unfortunately it only got to 25 (3 year low). None of the moringas and many papayas were not frozen back. Tender growth on jackfruits burnt, carambolas about to defoliate. Superficial leaf damage on a couple exposed mangos. Passions either burnt way back or were unscathed. No damage on any lychees, longans, annonas, or WI/G avocados, and surprisingly no damage on any tropical guavas (they may drop a few leaves later). Thankfully the Gulf just barely held that big freeze off..


You faired pretty well! Are most of your plants in ground or container?

Well a lot of both really, but most saplings over 3 foot in the ground.. various exposures too

Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2021, 02:24:54 PM »
Just read at our local electric co-op's Facebook page that 500 poles are down in our rural area alone, may be without power for  weeks.   Major devastation from Fredericksburg (which is up and made it out pretty easy) to  10 miles north of us - ice storm then 4" of snow, lows near zero.  Greenhouse trashed again cause I ran out of fuel during the last few hours with 17F lows from midnight until morn, day 6 - Murphy's frickin law!  Was prepared with an alarm, free standing 100K propane heater but came up 1 tank short which gave out at midnight, then temps dropped.  Saved some scions, banked tree grafts which are sitting in a warm fridge.   Had no way to get out the frozen, ice blocked  gate plus HWY 16 was black ice for a week, no travel.  Lots of trees down including on the farm around the house.  Still no electricity, toilets are smelling pretty gamey to say the least, at least I have 2,800 gals. of rainwater to flush. 

Finally got a shower at my cousin's place yesterday.   No internet so am at a restaurant taking advantage and fielding 100's of emails for 8 days incoming. 

We were totally isolated regarding travel until Friday when I finally made it in for propane.  Little too late.

Will send pix later. Won't believe it.

Regards,
Mark

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2021, 03:33:05 PM »
My condolences on the loss of your greenhouse plants. Hopefully, at least something will survive. I feel lucky I am not in your situation. Despite the ice and snow, my immediate area managed not to lose power, though other nearby areas did lose power, and the roads around my house were completely iced over until earlier today.

zands

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2021, 08:53:54 AM »
Kinda reminds me of the 1989 freeze,that one kept coming right across the pond(gulf) and deep into Mexico.

Hope the best for you Mark

Here some old tech http://blog.modernmechanix.com/how-does-it-work-oil-lamp-fan/


1989 was cold! We hit 17 at our farm in Sebring. Fascinating, fan by the way!


My parents lived here 1989 in 33321...... My father let all outside water taps leaking slow so they would not freeze. Their newly planted grafted mango tree froze down to the graft. The rootstock lived and put forth a rootstock mango tree of small yellow fruits which I ate when I visited. I was also deputized to gather them up about July 4th when I would come down. They were very edible and my parents froze them to eat later on.

NateTheGreat

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2021, 07:23:10 PM »
Sorry to hear that Mark. Goes to show how hard zone pushing in a heated greenhouse is, even for an old pro like you. Looking forward to see what you do next.

zands

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2021, 09:23:16 PM »
Mark----- You did all your backups and precautions for greenhouse and grapes. What can you do when you are hit by a once in 75 year weather event.
EXAMPLE --- the Texas windmills for electricity generation were not built with a heater within that draws from the grid. So they froze
IOWA windmills are going to be very cold every winter. They are build with  that heater that draws from the grid

 I predict -- Most of your grapevines will survive. They will come back from what they freeze down to.

kingoceanos

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2021, 07:37:02 AM »
I live in Conroe Texas (8b). My normal preparations of tents, frames with tarps and floodlights proved useless with the power out for so long. I am going to wait for signs of life before removing anything. I've had my citrus for twenty five years, They came back from a trip to Disney in Florida in my old dodge truck. Been missing that old truck for years, now I might be missing the citrus too. All the Avocados look totally dead I might get some growth out of the root-stock but the grafted material is probably all gone. I might try grafting again, just not sure at the moment.                                                         

I'm hoping for the best for you.

P.S. I've enjoyed following your posts.

swincher

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2021, 10:55:36 AM »
All the Avocados look totally dead I might get some growth out of the root-stock but the grafted material is probably all gone. I might try grafting again, just not sure at the moment.

Just curious which cultivars and how cold you got there. I've been hoping to hear "miracle stories" about some of the more cold-hardy Mexican cultivars popularized in recent years. I know the "Del Rio" mother tree survived the 1989 frost of ~10F, but it will be interesting to see if it and other allegedly cold hardy trees fared better than the more commercial cultivars, and whether own-rooted cold-hardy avocados did better than ones grafted on West Indian rootstock.

Mark in Texas

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Re: Major winter storm!
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2021, 10:57:11 AM »
Thanks Zands, think the vines will be fine.

I live in Conroe Texas (8b). My normal preparations of tents, frames with tarps and floodlights proved useless with the power out for so long. I am going to wait for signs of life before removing anything. I've had my citrus for twenty five years, They came back from a trip to Disney in Florida in my old dodge truck. Been missing that old truck for years, now I might be missing the citrus too. All the Avocados look totally dead I might get some growth out of the root-stock but the grafted material is probably all gone. I might try grafting again, just not sure at the moment.                                                         

I'm hoping for the best for you.

P.S. I've enjoyed following your posts.

FINALLY got power last night.  That shower sure felt good and living in total darkness telling stories to each other to stay entertained gets old!  Needless to say lost a lot of food.  Managed to save some fine cuts of meats and of all things, some "gourmet" tamales LOL.  I feel sorry for those still with power.  ANGELS (crews) have been working around the clock to install new poles and get folks up.

Hang tough. One week later I'm seeing plenty of green.   I'll be posting varieties that are most cold hardy later.   There will be some surprises.   Sharwil was holding lots of Lamb and Sharwil fruit...looks really sad.  Reed may be one of the most cold hardy avocados out there if you can believe.  Am seeing green like 6' and above.  Keep in mind freezing started about midnight when my propane gave up the ghost with a low of 22F for hours. 

Am picking some fine citrus so that's a plus.  Annonas were covered up big time.  Any exposed areas are dead.

Don't do anything for a couple of weeks.  I and some other folks here can help with the wood, BUT, under your circumstances i wouldn't do avocados unless you can protect them with a large greenhouse with at least a 14' ridge or better. 

FWIW, out of all my my 5 avocado seedlings there is one that is wasn't even fazed!  Was on the greenhouse floor, green and as purty as can be.   

Good luck 


 

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