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It’s the prettiest time of year in California’s Central Valley. Along country roads, fragrant trees burst with white, pink and red flowers that normally bear a bounty of fruit in the summer.
But a cold snap that gripped the state last week may have harmed the blossoms and undermined this year’s almond, peach, plum and nectarine crops. Now growers are busy assessing the fallout.
“There will be damage; it’s just a matter of how bad it will be,” said John Chandler, a grower in the Fresno area. “Frost at the time that it came is really catastrophic.”
Thermometers dipped into the 30s in Los Angeles County and into the 20s across California’s agricultural heartland early last week. Then, after a midweek respite, temperatures plunged again.