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Mail Tribune 100, April 4, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago

April 4, 1921


The unexpected cold wave which struck the valley Sunday and which resulted in a heavy frost at a minimum of 24 this morning, damaged the early pear crop which was generally in blossom throughout the valley — the Bartletts, Howells, Anjous — and a few Comice, but how bad will not be known until late this afternoon.

The above varieties can stand heavy frost damage and still have a big crop left, as the blossom clusters are unusually thick and heavy set this year, presaging almost a record breaking crop. The apricots and peaches were hard hit by this morning’s frost, as was the early garden truck.

Grave alarm exists among orchardists for tomorrow morning, as the San Francisco weather bureau predicts fair and continued cold weather with a heavy frost. Only a few smudged this morning according to reports. Just why more did not smudge is not known except that they decided to take a chance, as the clusters were protected somewhat with a coating of ice and snow.

Floyd Young, the frost expert, will give out his prediction for tomorrow morning’s frost outlook at 7 o’clock tonight, and his forecast is anxiously awaited.

It is pointed out that there have been heavy frosts before in the valley with as low a temperature at this time in April, which although doing much damage, yet did not prevent a good sized crop maturing. This was encouraging to the worried orchard men this morning.

All that saved the early crop this morning was the fact that the pear clusters had a protection covering of thin ice and over that snow, and the latter is a poor conductor of heat. The temperature of 24 degrees existed from 6 to 7:30 a.m.

Sunday’s cold wave and storm with alternate falls of rain, snow and hail throughout the day was almost record breaking for early April and was all the more felt because of the spell of warm weather which had preceded it. Last Friday the maximum temperature was about 78, and Saturday’s was 68. Then the mercury began falling until it reached a minimum of 32 Sunday morning, when the rain, hail and snow started in.

When at 5 p.m. Sunday the mercury had again reached 32 and was falling the orchardists were thoroughly alarmed and got into phone communication with Frost Expert Young, who all night was a very busy official.

The prolonged freezing period of this morning caused water pipes to freeze in several section of the city notably far up on Siskiyou Heights, for the first time during the past winter and early spring.

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com