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Top Story No. 5: Easter weekend freeze

POSTED: January 10, 2008 5:03 a.m.

With record-breaking high temperatures in August, it was easy to forget that there had been record-breaking lows on April 7 and 8. Temps dropped into the 20s in the Northeast Georgia mountains over Easter weekend, killing blooms and foliage that had emerged early during spring-like weather.

The "Easter freeze" had devastating consequences that are still being felt. Jaemor Farms in Lula lost all of its peach crop. Ellijay lost its many of its famed apples. Northeast Georgia vineyards lost most of their wine grapes. And grasses were killed, leaving some farmers with no hay for their livestock.

In the Chattahoochee National Forest, the freeze reduced the crop of acorns, a key source of food for many animals. Leaves scorched by the cold snap hung black and withered on trees for about a month, and when they fell to the ground they created dry litter, fueling several forest fires in North Georgia in May.

The freeze also killed many tender flowering plants, striking a blow to Georgia's gardening and landscaping industry even before the extreme drought began.



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