Irrigation Risk for FAWN Stations

Using a Critical Temperature of 34°F (change)

StationIrrigation
Risk
Tair
(F)
WetBulb
(F)
Windmax
(mph)
AlachuaN/A*65562
ApopkaN/A*68586
ArcadiaN/A*72595
AvalonN/A*68563
BalmN/A*71585
Belle GladeN/A*70596
BronsonN/A*69553
CarrabelleN/A*65566
CitraN/A*68572
ClewistonN/A*71604
Dade CityN/A*71595
DeFuniak SpringsN/A*68545
DoverN/A*69572
Fort LauderdaleN/A*73586
FrostproofN/A*70578
HastingsN/A*64588
HomesteadN/A*73586
ImmokaleeN/A*73596
Indian RiverN/A*67595
JayN/A*68545
JoshuaN/A*80780
KenansvilleN/A*71583
Lake AlfredN/A*70575
LecantoN/A*68586
Live OakN/A*63554
MacclennyN/A*63541
MariannaN/A*68536
MayoN/A*63542
MonticelloN/A*57511
North PortN/A*72606
OcklawahaN/A*65563
OkahumpkaN/A*68565
OkeechobeeN/A*68592
OnaN/A*72603
PalmdaleN/A*72605
PiersonN/A*62551
Putnam HallN/A*67543
QuincyN/A*65543
SebringN/A*71585
St. Lucie WestN/A*69593
StrawBerry Floral City 6955 
StrawBerry Plant City 7158 
UmatillaN/A*65572
WellingtonN/A*70598

*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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