Higher elevations affected most by cold weather in Mexico

The Mexican weather forecasts published by SMN, Servicio Meteorológica Nacional, say that for today, it’s expected to have very cold weather circumstances in most of Mexico and a strong rainfall in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Some rainfall in the areas of Puebla and Tabasco. There is a chance of sleet in the Northern area of Chihuahua.
Tomorrow again cold temperatures are expected. “Estimated morning frosts, fog banks and very cold weather conditions in the mountainous regions of the North, Northeast, the centre and the east of Mexico. There is some probability of sleet in the North of Chihuahua again.”

It’s reported that temperatures below -5 degrees Celsius are predicted in high regions of Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. For highland in the regions Sonora, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala and the State of México, temperatures are predicted between zero to -5 degrees Celsius.

Source: SMN

The effect on fresh produce
The worst affected areas are reportedly in the North-East of the country, in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. These states do produce many fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, peppers, chillies, and tomatoes. However, according to growers, the season has ended in these areas for those commodities.

"The coldest weather, to the level that would ordinarily damage crops, occurred in the North-East of Mexico," said Alberto Sevilla, of Bellflower Produce. "Those areas are generally not in production at this time of year, except for small scale farming. Bellflower have operations in Guanajuato, Jalisco and Puebla in the central part of the country. We did experience colder temperatures in these regions, however because our produce is grown in greenhouses - like many in this area - the temperatures were not a factor. Cloudy conditions are creating the most problems right now, resulting in a temporary dip in production due to the lack of sunshine."

Sinaloa and Sonora stay warm

A lot of produce is currently being grown in Sinaloa and Sonora, including tomatoes and eggplants. Luckily for growers there, these regions have stayed warm and dry for the most part. Many tomato growers, such as SunFed, have transitioned as planned at the end of November to their Winter growing areas.

"Most of the tomato production transitions from the North-East to Sonora at the end of November, early December, for the Winter season," said Pedro Balderrama, of SunFed. "There have been reports that heavy snow in the North-East had damaged some of the tomato greenhouses, but the majority of production is now in Sonora for the Winter, where the weather has remained seasonably warm."

Crops grown in greenhouses were immune to the cold weather

Citrus growers not reporting damage yet
Further south, in Veracruz, the forecast is that still the region has to deal with rainfall and cold temperatures. At this stage, there are no reports of any damage to crops, especially those at lower elevations. However the rain is expected to make it difficult to get to the crops.

Lime production is centred around the Veracruz region, but one lime grower said he did not have any reports of damage as yet. "There have not been any effects in our production areas," he said. "The majority of the citrus is grown down in the lower elevations. However, there is a possibility that crops such as chilli peppers, which are generally located at higher elevations, may have experienced some damage."

Another producer and exporter of limes mentions the flowering of the trees that worries him. “Even though it’s colder that average, it’s unclear whether this will damage the production. The main concern is that the trees were in the blooming phase, which can be affected by the cold weather. The winter blooming should eventually turn into peak production volumes around May-June. However, it’s too early to report real damages.”

For more information: 
Alberto Sevilla
Bellflower Produce
Tel: +1 (956) 961-4244

Pedro Balderrama
Tel: +1 (520) 761-6800

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