Irrigation Risk for FAWN Stations

Using a Critical Temperature of 34°F (change)

StationIrrigation
Risk
Tair
(F)
WetBulb
(F)
Windmax
(mph)
AlachuaN/A*828010
ApopkaN/A*83799
ArcadiaN/A*80776
AvalonN/A*82799
BalmN/A*80806
Belle GladeN/A*80796
BronsonN/A*81798
CarrabelleN/A*84813
CitraN/A*817811
ClewistonN/A*817910
Dade CityN/A*81796
DeFuniak SpringsN/A*78786
DoverN/A*78785
Fort LauderdaleN/A*87803
FrostproofN/A*818010
HastingsN/A*817910
HomesteadN/A*87816
ImmokaleeN/A*80794
Indian RiverN/A*80806
JayN/A*78777
JoshuaN/A*81795
KenansvilleN/A*80788
Lake AlfredN/A*82795
LecantoN/A*78778
Live OakN/A*81808
MacclennyN/A*82797
MariannaN/A*79785
MayoN/A*82807
MonticelloN/A*80802
North PortN/A*82806
OcklawahaN/A*81817
OkahumpkaN/A*817911
OkeechobeeN/A*80736
OnaN/A*78785
PalmdaleN/A*81784
PiersonN/A*82803
Putnam HallN/A*80778
QuincyN/A*80795
SebringN/A*81803
St. Lucie WestN/A*80795
UmatillaN/A*82798
WellingtonN/A*81795

*Note: 'N/A' for Irrigation Risk indicates that Tair was at least 10 degrees F above your critical temperature, or was at least 6 degrees above Twetbulb with little wind. In either case you should always use your best judgement to determine whether to irrigate.

Evaporative Cooling Potential

John Jackson, Phil Cross, & Nick Faryna

There is always a risk when using water systems, micro-sprinkler or conventional sprinkler, for cold and/or frost protection. Low humidity and wind can produce evaporative cooling which can chill plant surfaces to the wet bulb temperature. Dry and windy conditions can result in wet bulb temperatures 5F to 6F degrees lower than air temperature. Therefore, wetted plant surfaces that experience evaporation would be 5F to 6F degrees cooler than air temperature. Evaporative cooling may result in plant damage when water is used for cold protection during dry windy conditions. Evaporative cooling should always be taken into consideration.

It is possible that, on nights when temperatures are close to critical levels, introduction of water could produce more damage than would result if no action was taken!

The table below provides a guideline to help evaluate the risk of using water on a given night. The values and corresponding risk level are based on experience and observations over forty winters in Florida. The purpose of this chart is to encourage those using water to protect plants to take into consideration the possibility of causing more harm to the targeted plants by running the water than would occur if the irrigation system is not utilized. It should be noted that during severe freeze events, when the forecast is 3 to 10 degrees F below the critical temperature for the targeted plant, most growers are not concerned with the Evaporative Cooling Potential for there is little chance of additional damage occuring.

To obtain the predicted wind, air temperature and wet bulb temperature use the National Weather Service pin point forecast for your location. FAWN will develop an automated method to extract this data for each site and provide the level of risk for any given night. We hope to have this program in place before the 2005/2006 winter is over.

It appears that if the risk level is LOW or MODERATE, the operation of irrigation systems will produce little damage to the plants. On the other hand if the level is HIGH or EXTREME, growers should carefully evaluate their confidence in the forecast for considerable damage is possible. It is probably a toss up if the risk is STRONG, once again confidence in the forecast is a major consideration. The most difficult decisions to operate an irrigation system on cold nights is when the forecast is within one or two degrees of the critical temperature for the targeted plant. One does not want to incur damage to the plants, whether from cold temperatures or evaporation. These are the long nights that create grey hair and heart burn!

Risk level

Considerations

Low

Maximum temperature difference between air temp and wet bulb is <1 °F.
Maximum wind speed is < 5 mph.

Moderate

Maximum temperature difference between air temp and wet bulb of 1° to 2° F.
Maximum wind speed is 5 to 8 mph.
If wind <5 mph, move to Low Risk.
If wind >8 mph, move to Strong Risk.

Strong

Maximum temperature difference between air temp and wet bulb of 3° to 4° F.
Maximum wind speed is 9 to 12 mph.
If wind <9 mph, move to Moderate Risk.
If wind > 12 mph, move to High Risk.

High

Maximum temperature difference between air temp and wet bulb of 5° to 6° F.
Maximum wind speed is 12 to 15 mph.
If wind <12 mph, move to Strong Risk.
If wind >15 mph, move to Extreme Risk.

Extreme

Maximum temperature difference between air temp and wet bulb is >6° F.
Maximum wind speed is >15 mph.

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