Temperatures Plummet In Idaho

Published online: Sep 18, 2003
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.>It may take some time to find how severe the damage is to Idaho's potato crop as temperatures dropped into the low 20s this morning in some of the higher elevation areas of eastern Idaho.

At Felt, ID, it was 21 degrees F at 8 a.m. this morning. Across the way at Ashton, ID, the temperature was at 25.

"This is the second time we've been hit with temperatures this low," a grower in the Felt area said.

Getting that cold means the potatoes in the upper part of the hill will probably be frozen. This will create problems, as there is no way to determine which potatoes may be frozen during harvest. It's only after they are stored that the damage will show up and soft rot begin.

The cold temperatures followed a low front that swept through eastern Idaho on Wednesday. Forecasters did not predict temperatures to go that low.

The Felt and Ashton areas are both seed-growing areas. However, the cold temperatures continued down the Snake River valley, hitting 28 in the Idaho Falls area.

The rule of thumb is that correctly hilled potatoes can survive temperatures that low, as long as temperatures do not persist. Warmer temperatures are expected as the weekend comes.