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Houston freeze damage


Ed in Houston
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It is still too early to discern all the damage from the recent freeze but here is what is apparent thus far. Lows were 28,22,28 with a 24 hour freeze duration at my place in far S.E. Houston. Much of Houston had 18-20. I have not been around town yet to survey the damage, just around my house and neighborhood.

Palms

Chamaedorea metallica dead

Chamaedorea plumosa dead

Chamaedorea cataractarum dead

Chamaedorea radicalis untouched

Sabals - louisiana, mexicana, minor, all untouched

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii- untouched

Rhapidophyllum hystrix - untouched

Phoenix canariensis - some foliage damage

Serenoa repens silver- untouched

Wash. robustas - some foliage damage showing on some specimens

Queens- thus far lower half of fronds have collapsed most other fronds look damaged

Chinese fan - some light foliage damage

Pygmy dates- all sizes completely burned, probably dead

Rhapis excelsa - moderate foliage damage, may lose some of the canes

Chamaerops humilis- untouched

Butia - untouched

Pinanga kuhlii - dead

Ravenea rivularis - defoliated, probably dead

Cycads

Zamia integrifolia defoliated

Sago - defoliated

Zamia furfuracea - defoliated

Ed in Houston

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I've found cold damage showing up on queens to be deceiving. For a few days after a big freeze they still hold their fronds up and don't look that discolored. Then suddenly the crown will collapse and turn a bleached light brown.

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Out west but still east of SH 99, W. robusta seems to have about 50% +/-  foliage damage. Not much changes as you head east on I-10 towards BW8 and even I-610. W. robusta looks much better in town, with maybe 30% foliage damage. Completely exposed palms near the aquarium still look pretty green. Large Phoenix roebelenii in Montrose are completely defoliated. W. robusta lining I-45 just as it exits downtown also look decent, 20-30% foliage damage. The Livistona decora mixed in took about the same amount of damage. 

For now many queen palms look about as bad as the W. robusta or maybe only slightly worse. Still not expecting this to be as bad as Jan 2010. Save for far north/west parts of town, queen palms in Houston will probably be fine. 

Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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19 hours ago, Ed in Houston said:

It is still too early to discern all the damage from the recent freeze but here is what is apparent thus far. Lows were 28,22,28 with a 24 hour freeze duration at my place in far S.E. Houston. Much of Houston had 18-20. I have not been around town yet to survey the damage, just around my house and neighborhood.

Palms

Chamaedorea metallica dead

Chamaedorea plumosa dead

Chamaedorea cataractarum dead

Chamaedorea radicalis untouched

Sabals - louisiana, mexicana, minor, all untouched

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii- untouched

Rhapidophyllum hystrix - untouched

Phoenix canariensis - some foliage damage

Serenoa repens silver- untouched

Wash. robustas - some foliage damage showing on some specimens

Queens- thus far lower half of fronds have collapsed most other fronds look damaged

Chinese fan - some light foliage damage

Pygmy dates- all sizes completely burned, probably dead

Rhapis excelsa - moderate foliage damage, may lose some of the canes

Chamaerops humilis- untouched

Butia - untouched

Pinanga kuhlii - dead

Ravenea rivularis - defoliated, probably dead

Cycads

Zamia integrifolia defoliated

Sago - defoliated

Zamia furfuracea - defoliated

Ed in Houston

I would assume Queens are not really hardy for your area and are probably dead or will die soon. Too much variability in winter. I'm sure a lot of citrus is dead as well there. 24 hours of freezing is no go zone for sweet oranges.

 

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13 hours ago, Xenon said:

Out west but still east of SH 99, W. robusta seems to have about 50% +/-  foliage damage. Not much changes as you head east on I-10 towards BW8 and even I-610. W. robusta looks much better in town, with maybe 30% foliage damage. Completely exposed palms near the aquarium still look pretty green. Large Phoenix roebelenii in Montrose are completely defoliated. W. robusta lining I-45 just as it exits downtown also look decent, 20-30% foliage damage. The Livistona decora mixed in took about the same amount of damage. 

For now many queen palms look about as bad as the W. robusta or maybe only slightly worse. Still not expecting this to be as bad as Jan 2010. Save for far north/west parts of town, queen palms in Houston will probably be fine. 

with those temps pygmies are goners for sure. Defoliated and then death by summer. They will not recover from this. People should not plant pygmies in Houston as they are only hardy in true subtropical climates. Houston is a continental climate with warm avg winter temps that don't tell the whole story of just how insanely cold it can get there. When are people in the eastern US gonna realize they don't have true subtropical climates when you have polar air going that far south. This just doesn't happen anywhere else on planet earth but the eastern US. Just plant sabal palmetto in Houston as that is truly one of the only hardy palms for the area. CIDP look burned very winter along with robusta. Houston is not France Italy Australia or Spain. It is a climate with huge flaws including these incredible cold temps at 30N. No phoenix palms nor washingtonia, no citrus, only natives there due to wild winter temp departures form normal. No where else on earth drops 30F from their winter averages. Sorry but Houston and the rest of the Southeast as this winter has proved are highly flawed climates.

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4 hours ago, mthteh1916 said:

with those temps pygmies are goners for sure. Defoliated and then death by summer. They will not recover from this. People should not plant pygmies in Houston as they are only hardy in true subtropical climates. Houston is a continental climate with warm avg winter temps that don't tell the whole story of just how insanely cold it can get there. When are people in the eastern US gonna realize they don't have true subtropical climates when you have polar air going that far south. This just doesn't happen anywhere else on planet earth but the eastern US. Just plant sabal palmetto in Houston as that is truly one of the only hardy palms for the area. CIDP look burned very winter along with robusta. Houston is not France Italy Australia or Spain. It is a climate with huge flaws including these incredible cold temps at 30N. No phoenix palms nor washingtonia, no citrus, only natives there due to wild winter temp departures form normal. No where else on earth drops 30F from their winter averages. Sorry but Houston and the rest of the Southeast as this winter has proved are highly flawed climates.

The issue is that many areas saw temperatures with this freeze not seen since 1989. So obviously, lot's of truly tender stuff have been planted there in that lull.

2010 and 2011 will provide good reference to see the viability of these plants pulling out of this freeze.

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Some people like to zone push, and one even every 5 to 10 years isnt enough to not try and plant and push. Im in Maryland and over wintered a palm here during a normal winter with little to no protection, winters like this I protect more aggressively. Planting whats bulletproof isn't fun, sure I'd be happy with southern yellow pines, trunking yuccas, and sticking to rhapidophyllum hystrix and sable minor. But thatd be boring, i want to push and see what i can acclimate here and if that means attrition rates then so be it. If I lose all but 1 of my trachycarpus then they didnt have the genetics to handle it, if i lose a sucker on my chamaerops then it wasnt strong enough to survive. Im in the game of long term plants here, but not going to stop when I get a genetically weak plant that dies during acclimating on zone pushing. 

 

 

Most of us here are in the business of pushing the limits and not taking the easy road. 

Edited by mdsonofthesouth
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LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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8 hours ago, mthteh1916 said:

I would assume Queens are not really hardy for your area and are probably dead or will die soon. Too much variability in winter. I'm sure a lot of citrus is dead as well there. 24 hours of freezing is no go zone for sweet oranges.

 

Citrus will be fine. They can take down to 20-22F. Oranges are not that cold sensitive. Key Lime is the most cold sensitive citrus (USDA 10a). They will regrow leaves in spring. 

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35 minutes ago, Cikas said:

Citrus will be fine. They can take down to 20-22F. Oranges are not that cold sensitive. Key Lime is the most cold sensitive citrus (USDA 10a). They will regrow leaves in spring. 

It went below 20F in Houston.

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34 minutes ago, mthteh1916 said:

It went below 20F in Houston.

Not by much (19F). And quite brief, as many stations in town that saw 19F only had them between hourlies.

Edited by AnTonY
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8 hours ago, mthteh1916 said:

with those temps pygmies are goners for sure. Defoliated and then death by summer. They will not recover from this. People should not plant pygmies in Houston as they are only hardy in true subtropical climates. Houston is a continental climate with warm avg winter temps that don't tell the whole story of just how insanely cold it can get there. When are people in the eastern US gonna realize they don't have true subtropical climates when you have polar air going that far south. This just doesn't happen anywhere else on planet earth but the eastern US. Just plant sabal palmetto in Houston as that is truly one of the only hardy palms for the area. CIDP look burned very winter along with robusta. Houston is not France Italy Australia or Spain. It is a climate with huge flaws including these incredible cold temps at 30N. No phoenix palms nor washingtonia, no citrus, only natives there due to wild winter temp departures form normal. No where else on earth drops 30F from their winter averages. Sorry but Houston and the rest of the Southeast as this winter has proved are highly flawed climates.

Wrong forum? Houston is a "flawed climate"? Trololol 

But anyways, plenty of pygmy dates have been growing in Houston since the 2000s. At one point they were really popular, until the 2010 freeze killed most of the ones growing in the north/west parts of town. However many survived on the south side of town as well as the inner city areas. Similar story with queen palms although they are much more abundant and had higher survival rates in the colder parts of town. Most of the decades old (pre-'89) CIDP seem to be dying from disease, probably texas phoenix palm decline. Funny you mention Sabal palmetto, as it isn't very common here. Washingtonia robusta is the palm of choice. Have you ever visited Houston? 
 

If by citrus you mean oranges, grapefruit and lemons, they are fine. Even after the 2010 freeze, only some defoliation and a bit of tip dieback on some. Mandarins and kumquats are almost bulletproof. 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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1 hour ago, Xenon said:

Wrong forum? Houston is a "flawed climate"? Trololol 

But anyways, plenty of pygmy dates have been growing in Houston since the 2000s. At one point they were really popular, until the 2010 freeze killed most of the ones growing in the north/west parts of town. However many survived on the south side of town as well as the inner city areas. Similar story with queen palms although they are much more abundant and had higher survival rates in the colder parts of town. Most of the decades old (pre-'89) CIDP seem to be dying from disease, probably texas phoenix palm decline. Funny you mention Sabal palmetto, as it isn't very common here. Washingtonia robusta is the palm of choice. Have you ever visited Houston? 
 

If by citrus you mean oranges, grapefruit and lemons, they are fine. Even after the 2010 freeze, only some defoliation and a bit of tip dieback on some. Mandarins and kumquats are almost bulletproof. 

Would second Jonathan's thoughts.

While personal experience exploring Houston ..or all of S. Texas at depth is lacking, just a good look around favored areas while passing through.. let alone the many pictures from everyone down there who post here shows what can be grown, though ofcourse, with some attention to the kind of rare cold episodes which can descend upon the area.

Another excellent example is Peckerwood Garden's ( north of Houston) overall collection is another ..somewhat eye opening glimpse at what is possible, plant-based across the region. They'e growing stuff from places where you'd never consider when researching plants for the region's landscapes. Their collection contains numerous specimens from both Mexico, and the Caribbean.. things you'd assume were far more tender than they seem to be. Yeah, they get their share of damage, but most stuff takes it on the chin, in stride. 

That being said, Texas does have a unusual weather climate ..in the sense of the battles that occur between roughly four distinctly different weather patterns. It's why the state ranks high on places where weather students can get good, hands-on lessons in the nuts and bolts of in depth Meteorology. I can't think of any other state that can experience almost any weather event in one place. 

As for citrus, it takes alot to fatally damage anything with some wood. While  considered more tender than other Citrus, Key and Sweet Limes also show resilience after cold damage.

Imo, For a place that  can experience such varied weather, Texas flora, native or introduced, would easily place #1 in climate toughness, just like the people who live there.. 

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19 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

That being said, Texas does have a unusual weather climate ..in the sense of the battles that occur between roughly four distinctly different weather patterns. It's why the state ranks high on places where weather students can get good, hands-on lessons in the nuts and bolts of in depth Meteorology. I can't think of any other state that can experience almost any weather event in one place. 

Imo, For a place that  can experience such varied weather, Texas flora, native or introduced, would easily place #1 in climate toughness, just like the people who live there.. 

Well, the real battleground is in the Panhandle/West Texas, or the I-35 corridor.

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9 hours ago, Xenon said:

Wrong forum? Houston is a "flawed climate"? Trololol 

But anyways, plenty of pygmy dates have been growing in Houston since the 2000s. At one point they were really popular, until the 2010 freeze killed most of the ones growing in the north/west parts of town. However many survived on the south side of town as well as the inner city areas. Similar story with queen palms although they are much more abundant and had higher survival rates in the colder parts of town. Most of the decades old (pre-'89) CIDP seem to be dying from disease, probably texas phoenix palm decline. Funny you mention Sabal palmetto, as it isn't very common here. Washingtonia robusta is the palm of choice. Have you ever visited Houston? 
 

If by citrus you mean oranges, grapefruit and lemons, they are fine. Even after the 2010 freeze, only some defoliation and a bit of tip dieback on some. Mandarins and kumquats are almost bulletproof. 

Houston 1918 11F, 1930 5F,  1940 10F,  14F 1949 and 1951, 12F 1982, 11F 1983, 7F  1989. Now either we are in a very warm period and the cold will never return, or mother nature will eventually give a dose of what has happened there for centuries ad nauseum. find me another subtropical climate on earth at sea level at 30N that has come anywhere near those temps in the last century. You won't find one. That is one I mean by flawed. Incredibly hot humid summers and winters so highly unstable and wild temp swings you never know what each winter will bring. in other subtropical locales with houstons sea level elevtion and latitude commercial citrus is everywhere. They cannot manage commercial sweet orange in Hosuton due to anyone of those winters killing every single tree.

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7 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Would second Jonathan's thoughts.

While personal experience exploring Houston ..or all of S. Texas at depth is lacking, just a good look around favored areas while passing through.. let alone the many pictures from everyone down there who post here shows what can be grown, though ofcourse, with some attention to the kind of rare cold episodes which can descend upon the area.

Another excellent example is Peckerwood Garden's ( north of Houston) overall collection is another ..somewhat eye opening glimpse at what is possible, plant-based across the region. They'e growing stuff from places where you'd never consider when researching plants for the region's landscapes. Their collection contains numerous specimens from both Mexico, and the Caribbean.. things you'd assume were far more tender than they seem to be. Yeah, they get their share of damage, but most stuff takes it on the chin, in stride. 

That being said, Texas does have a unusual weather climate ..in the sense of the battles that occur between roughly four distinctly different weather patterns. It's why the state ranks high on places where weather students can get good, hands-on lessons in the nuts and bolts of in depth Meteorology. I can't think of any other state that can experience almost any weather event in one place. 

As for citrus, it takes alot to fatally damage anything with some wood. While  considered more tender than other Citrus, Key and Sweet Limes also show resilience after cold damage.

Imo, For a place that  can experience such varied weather, Texas flora, native or introduced, would easily place #1 in climate toughness, just like the people who live there.. 

Respectfully  that is putting it mildly. 16F in Brownsville in 1989 killed massive amounts of citrus trees in the Rio Grande Valley area. I was a weather geek in the 80's and remember it all. It traumatized I guess as that is when I first starting looking at how that just doesn't happen anywhere else. Nice France at Boston's latitude has a ultimate all time record low of 19F. Rome italy grows oranges and every palm Houston can and it has the same winter averages as Atlanta. I guess most people in the east just don't realize that on this planet we in the east of North America have one bizzaro winter climate where it is not unusual at all to drop 25F or 30F from your winter average. Incredible and just doesn't happen anywhere else.

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5 minutes ago, mthteh1916 said:

Respectfully  that is putting it mildly. 16F in Brownsville in 1989 killed massive amounts of citrus trees in the Rio Grande Valley area. I was a weather geek in the 80's and remember it all. It traumatized I guess as that is when I first starting looking at how that just doesn't happen anywhere else. Nice France at Boston's latitude has a ultimate all time record low of 19F. Rome italy grows oranges and every palm Houston can and it has the same winter averages as Atlanta. I guess most people in the east just don't realize that on this planet we in the east of North America have one bizzaro winter climate where it is not unusual at all to drop 25F or 30F from your winter average. Incredible and just doesn't happen anywhere else.

You assert an interesting point that I will look into a bit; that only eastern North America has an open landscape that allows Arctic air to descend all the way to the subtropics. Read recently of snowfall in Saudi Arabia. Feel badly for people in Texas and am especially hopeful that the grapefruit crop is not too damaged in Rio Grande valley.

Los Angeles/Pasadena

34° 10' N   118° 18' W

Elevation: 910'/278m

January Average Hi/Lo: 69F/50F

July Average Hi/Lo: 88F/66F

Average Rainfall: 19"/48cm

USDA 11/Sunset 23

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?MTW

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9 hours ago, mthteh1916 said:

Respectfully  that is putting it mildly. 16F in Brownsville in 1989 killed massive amounts of citrus trees in the Rio Grande Valley area. I was a weather geek in the 80's and remember it all. It traumatized I guess as that is when I first starting looking at how that just doesn't happen anywhere else. Nice France at Boston's latitude has a ultimate all time record low of 19F. Rome italy grows oranges and every palm Houston can and it has the same winter averages as Atlanta. I guess most people in the east just don't realize that on this planet we in the east of North America have one bizzaro winter climate where it is not unusual at all to drop 25F or 30F from your winter average. Incredible and just doesn't happen anywhere else.

It's hard to realize because most TV mets, or textbooks never emphasize how unusual the US is in that department. They just talk about the Koppen definition, and that's all you get.

Edited by AnTonY
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1 hour ago, AnTonY said:

It's hard to realize because most TV mets, or textbooks never emphasize how unusual the US is in that department. They just talk about the Koppen definition, and that's all you get.

They do and they have. The problem is the geography of the US automatically sets up a ridge in west and trough in the east due to Rocky Mountains being a north south range. Add to that North America is the most active continent on earth for low pressure systems to constantly cross the continent due to two large oceans on either side and a massive amount of cold land to the north pole and the warm GOM to the south. Hence, unlike China with a huge Siberian High that makes places at Savannah's latitude cool, it also protects southern China from extreme winter deviations. I have heard that China is even more stable in winter than Western Europe. There are no such thing as "normal" winter temps in the eastern US, only "averages". Any meteo will tell you that. Winter standard deviation of temps is very high in Texas and the whole of eastern North America and in summer it is very low. Almost the complete opposite of Australia say. Each winter in the eastern US is a complete crapshoot. One never knows if Houston is going to another 7F. You just cannot know that with any confidence. I am not trying to demean or insult our climates, just that they are highly flawed in winter. Australia has commercial orange groves at the same latitude as Virginia, same for Western Europe. China has commercial orange groves at the latitude of Savannah yet in the interior of China. You won't see commercial orange groves in central Mississippi.

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10 hours ago, happ said:

You assert an interesting point that I will look into a bit; that only eastern North America has an open landscape that allows Arctic air to descend all the way to the subtropics. Read recently of snowfall in Saudi Arabia. Feel badly for people in Texas and am especially hopeful that the grapefruit crop is not too damaged in Rio Grande valley.

What was the elevation where that snow happened in Saudi Arabia? Jerusalem Israel got snow in 2016, but the record low there is 25F.

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Southern China can get pretty cold. Hong Kong recorded 38F in 2016 along with snow/sleet in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. 

Seems like southern China and southern Texas/northeastern Mexico are the places in the world with the best chance to see the combination of coconuts and snow. 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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5 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Southern China can get pretty cold. Hong Kong recorded 38F in 2016 along with snow/sleet in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. 

Seems like southern China and southern Texas/northeastern Mexico are the only places in the world where you might see the combination of coconuts and snow. 

 

China should have somewhat of a similar situation , depending on mountains of course, as the US has seeing as they have a whole mess of land between them and water (both north and west). At least thats how I feel, but then again thats just an uneducated guess.  

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LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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I do take issue with the adjective "flawed". I much prefer "challenging". The climate in TX is what it is, explanations aside. I was born and spent 40+ years in the Middle Atlantic area, specifically the Washington DC Metro area. I personally experienced temperature ranges there from 105F to -7F. When I was growing up I didn't understand how "challenging" my East Coast climate was: summers that were hot, rainy & sweltering; winters often cold, damp, rainy with occasional snow; springs often chilly, damp and rainy; and a brief warm, sunny fall. But the East Coast can't claim the trophy for the most difficult weather in the US. The whole country is uniquely blessed/cursed because of its geological placement. Years ago, someone on PT mentioned FL would be much more tropical if an east/west mountain range blocked arctic cold fronts. But no such mountain ranges exist in North America, hence our unique and sometimes "challenging" climate. It is what it is. Maybe we have to work harder to deal with it so we do. We have losses, we have successes and we post them here.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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The Appalachian mountains help a little but they head in a NE pattern and could never shield western Florida due to terminating in north Georgia with some influence in north Alabama. But again just a lamen's take on the matter. Heck it completely segments the mid atlantic/upper south from northernly regions, yet doesn't even come close to slowing down weather patterns from invading. 

Edited by mdsonofthesouth

LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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50 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Southern China can get pretty cold. Hong Kong recorded 38F in 2016 along with snow/sleet in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. 

Seems like southern China and southern Texas/northeastern Mexico are the places in the world with the best chance to see the combination of coconuts and snow. 

Yes eastern China is similar, but again the variability of the winters are more stable. They will get severe cold snaps, but on a less frequent basis than eastern North America. Glaciers extended further south in the US than the glaciers in China. But look how often Houston went into single digits and teens, where as the same locale in China would do that less frequently.

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5 minutes ago, mthteh1916 said:

Yes eastern China is similar, but again the variability of the winters are more stable. They will get severe cold snaps, but on a less frequent basis than eastern North America. Glaciers extended further south in the US than the glaciers in China.

 

Pretty sure from the last glaciation the earth experienced it was Europe that saved most of Asia from glaciers due to their glaciation (save for elevated areas) but then again my memory may be off on the matter. 

Edited by mdsonofthesouth

LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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Ohio has a challenging climate, too.

105 F in summer (rare, but it happens) with lows in the mid-30s BELOW zero, F some winters, without wind chill.

(Calee-fornee heeeere I come!)

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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22 minutes ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I do take issue with the adjective "flawed". I much prefer "challenging". The climate in TX is what it is, explanations aside. I was born and spent 40+ years in the Middle Atlantic area, specifically the Washington DC Metro area. I personally experienced temperature ranges there from 105F to -7F. When I was growing up I didn't understand how "challenging" my East Coast climate was: summers that were hot, rainy & sweltering; winters often cold, damp, rainy with occasional snow; springs often chilly, damp and rainy; and a brief warm, sunny fall. But the East Coast can't claim the trophy for the most difficult weather in the US. The whole country is uniquely blessed/cursed because of its geological placement. Years ago, someone on PT mentioned FL would be much more tropical if an east/west mountain range blocked arctic cold fronts. But no such mountain ranges exist in North America, hence our unique and sometimes "challenging" climate. It is what it is. Maybe we have to work harder to deal with it so we do. We have losses, we have successes and we post them here.

You are right, challenging is a better word. But is very frustrating to see places around the world at my latitude grow all kinds of citrus and palms that wouldn't last one winter in the Mid-Atlantic.

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Glaciers covered North America down to the Ohio River, and as far east as Manhattan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_glaciation

The picture shows "glacial grooves" in Central Park.

glacial_grooves_central_park.jpg

These are on Kelly's Island, in Ohio in Lake Erie. Staggering to contemplate.

250px-Glacial_grooves.jpg

 

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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30 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Glaciers covered North America down to the Ohio River, and as far east as Manhattan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_glaciation

The picture shows "glacial grooves" in Central Park.

glacial_grooves_central_park.jpg

These are on Kelly's Island, in Ohio in Lake Erie. Staggering to contemplate.

250px-Glacial_grooves.jpg

 

Yup, that glaciation is why China has far more native broad leafed evergreens than we do. Glaciers killed off our broadleaf evergreens that were tropical to subtropical in origin. Since then, even way down into the southern US deciduous trees dominate the subtropical landscape and in winter shed all their leaves.  The shame is that the beautiful longleaf pine forests were wiped out for the most part throughout the Southeast. If you read Bartrams book about travels south in 1700's his desriptions of the beautiful longleaf forests are amazing with the savannas they created.

Edited by mthteh1916
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Thanks Mthteh, great discussion. South America/ Africa are separated from Antarctica; greatly modifying impact of cold air.

During the Worlds Series Houston recorded 35° minimum in October.   

Los Angeles/Pasadena

34° 10' N   118° 18' W

Elevation: 910'/278m

January Average Hi/Lo: 69F/50F

July Average Hi/Lo: 88F/66F

Average Rainfall: 19"/48cm

USDA 11/Sunset 23

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?MTW

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59 minutes ago, happ said:

Thanks Mthteh, great discussion. South America/ Africa are separated from Antarctica; greatly modifying impact of cold air.

During the Worlds Series Houston recorded 35° minimum in October.   

Yes, by far the southern hemisphere has the best climates in the world, particularly places on the coast of Australia. Not as hot in summer, and warm and stable in winter. A palm growers paradise there.

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1 hour ago, happ said:

Thanks Mthteh, great discussion. South America/ Africa are separated from Antarctica; greatly modifying impact of cold air.

During the Worlds Series Houston recorded 35° minimum in October.   

Yup, incredible one month after summer a place like that can go into mid 30'sF. Challenging indeed, and I'm sure after the 80's many people there gave up on pushing boundaries.

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3 minutes ago, mthteh1916 said:

Yup, incredible one month after summer a place like that can go into mid 30'sF. Challenging indeed, and I'm sure after the 80's many people there gave up on pushing boundaries.

Must have helped the Astros win!

Los Angeles/Pasadena

34° 10' N   118° 18' W

Elevation: 910'/278m

January Average Hi/Lo: 69F/50F

July Average Hi/Lo: 88F/66F

Average Rainfall: 19"/48cm

USDA 11/Sunset 23

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?MTW

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6 hours ago, mthteh1916 said:

They do and they have. The problem is the geography of the US automatically sets up a ridge in west and trough in the east due to Rocky Mountains being a north south range. Add to that North America is the most active continent on earth for low pressure systems to constantly cross the continent due to two large oceans on either side and a massive amount of cold land to the north pole and the warm GOM to the south. Hence, unlike China with a huge Siberian High that makes places at Savannah's latitude cool, it also protects southern China from extreme winter deviations. I have heard that China is even more stable in winter than Western Europe. There are no such thing as "normal" winter temps in the eastern US, only "averages". Any meteo will tell you that. Winter standard deviation of temps is very high in Texas and the whole of eastern North America and in summer it is very low. Almost the complete opposite of Australia say. Each winter in the eastern US is a complete crapshoot. One never knows if Houston is going to another 7F. You just cannot know that with any confidence. I am not trying to demean or insult our climates, just that they are highly flawed in winter. Australia has commercial orange groves at the same latitude as Virginia, same for Western Europe. China has commercial orange groves at the latitude of Savannah yet in the interior of China. You won't see commercial orange groves in central Mississippi.

I get that, but what I meant is that textbooks and many weather forecasters don't give exposure to this fact explicitly. Like on the wiki article for cfa climate, they just mention some general traits about how North America fits into Koppen, without mentioning the unusual chance for cold compared to other continents: they even go into detail about the strong monsoon quirk in Asia's version, but never about the cold snap quirk for the US version:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humid_subtropical_climate#North_America

As a result, many people in the US don't realize this quirk in US climate until they go "off the beaten path" in some form or fashion: looking at obscure Google Books, Science Direct, etc, conversing with a Met through email, spending winter in another humid subtropical climate, or getting into niche hobbies like palm growing. Basically, one doesn't realize that something is abnormal until they see other places that don't have these features: kind of like how a double-jointed person won't know that the trait is unusual until they see that others aren't nearly as flexible, or that they read it up themselves.

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@mthteh1916, the irony is that these low-pressure systems would otherwise be positives, if it wasn't for the presence of cold in North America: instead of threat for deep cold snaps, they would be nothing but good rainfall for the winter. I believe other continents like South America get plenty of winter low pressure systems, just that they don't have the geographic circumstances that create cold snaps.

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2 hours ago, AnTonY said:

@mthteh1916, the irony is that these low-pressure systems would otherwise be positives, if it wasn't for the presence of cold in North America: instead of threat for deep cold snaps, they would be nothing but good rainfall for the winter. I believe other continents like South America get plenty of winter low pressure systems, just that they don't have the geographic circumstances that create cold snaps.

No I would rather have a dry sunny winter tbh. The problem is you warm up as the front approaches, but after it sweeps thru it drags down deep cold air from way further north depending on how deep the low pressure. Then an arctic or siberian high flows in. Believe it or not it is not unusual in the right set up to get cross polar flow into North America. That brings the really deadly low temps.

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It snowed in Ouarzazate, Morocco yesterday. That is at 30N latitude but up in the Atlas Mt [3700']. Mediterranean Sea likely plays a modifying effect on cold air entering north Africa.

@Weather/MeteoWorld

1-29-18f.jpg

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Los Angeles/Pasadena

34° 10' N   118° 18' W

Elevation: 910'/278m

January Average Hi/Lo: 69F/50F

July Average Hi/Lo: 88F/66F

Average Rainfall: 19"/48cm

USDA 11/Sunset 23

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryF?MTW

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10 hours ago, happ said:

It snowed in Ouarzazate, Morocco yesterday. That is at 30N latitude but up in the Atlas Mt [3700']. Mediterranean Sea likely plays a modifying effect on cold air entering north Africa.

@Weather/MeteoWorld

1-29-18f.jpg

Looks a lot like Santa Clarita, or Woodland Hills.

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@happ  That makes me feel really good about getting a few chamaerops humilis var cerifera! Looks like they should fit right in where I live for most winters. 

LOWS 16/17 12F, 17/18 3F, 18/19 7F, 19/20 20F

Palms growing in my garden: Trachycarpus Fortunei, Chamaerops Humilis, Chamaerops Humilis var. Cerifera, Rhapidophyllum Hystrix, Sabal Palmetto 

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3 hours ago, mdsonofthesouth said:

@happ  That makes me feel really good about getting a few chamaerops humilis var cerifera! Looks like they should fit right in where I live for most winters. 

lol you might want to check what the low temp was at that location. Given that no where in southern Italy or anywhere on the north side of the med went below freezing I highly doubt their low temp was out of zone 10a or 9b. It can snow at 35F. It has been snowing on and off all day here at 34-35F. No polar or arctic air makes its way to North Africa without massive modification trust me on that. I just checked low temps ranged from 25F to 34F and max temps (no ice days there) were 41F to 48F. Trust me, no where on this planet at our latitude gets as cold as often as we do. China gets cold but doesn't get extremes as often as we do. It is never gonna change.

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