Growers of almonds and other commodities in the midst of harvest will be greeted by more pleasant weather next week, as the National Weather Service predicts a cooling trend in California's Central Valley.
After a brief hot spell this weekend, highs are expected to be as much as 10 degrees below normal by midweek, according to the NWS in Sacramento.
Stronger winds are possible next week as a deeper low pressure system moves into the region, forecasters say.
However, smoke and haze will linger in some areas, becoming locally dense near active wildfires. For instance, after a week of generally clear skies, Redding is covered today in smoke as thick as fog as a result of the Delta Fire north of the city. The fire that started on Sept. 5 near Lakehead, Calif., grew by 3,000 acres overnight to an estimated 24,558 acres, causing northbound lanes of Interstate 5 to remain closed indefinitely, the Redding Record Searchlight reports.
Smoke in almond orchards has already caused some delays in this year's harvest, as some growers were unable to pick up nuts as quickly as usual because of unhealthy air or morning dew, University of California Cooperative Extension advisor Dani Lightle says. This has increased pest pressure on the nuts.
Among other activity, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Sacramento:
- Pistachio harvest is also underway in the San Joaquin Valley, and walnut orchard maintenance continues in preparation for harvest.
- Workers are picking grapes for all purposes -- wine, raisins and fresh -- and raisin grapes are being dried in the sun. Vineyards are also being irrigated.
- Peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, pomegranates and figs are in the midst of harvest. Stone fruit orchards were sprayed, irrigated and fertilized last week as summer pruning and topping of harvested stone fruit orchards continued. Some old orchards were torn out and will be replaced with new trees.
- The Valencia orange harvest continues with light volumes as lemons and limes are also being picked. Citrus groves are also being skirted, hedge-rowed and irrigated as growers have begun thinning navel orange trees. Farms that pushed out old citrus groves are preparing to replant.
- Among vegetables, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes are still being picked in the San Joaquin Valley, and processing tomatoes are being harvested in the Sacramento Valley.