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Arkansas snow sets record

Hello snow. Goodbye zucchinis.

The May 3 snowfall in northwest Arkansas was a record setter. Never before had snow been recorded in May in Arkansas, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures dropped steeply with the snow and a freeze watch was posted for Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties through the morning of May 4.

Jane Maginot, a Washington County Extension program associate for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, grows vegetables to sell at the Winslow Farmers Market and the Green Fork Farmers Market in Fayetteville.

She was already thinking about next steps when she photographed her snow covered vegetable garden at 6:15 a.m., May 3.

Some of the beds were covered with a tarp. Others had the green from potatoes, green beans and garlic poking out of a thin blanket of snow.

It was the zucchini patch that got her.

“Even if they made it through today, I think tonight will be their end game,” Maginot said. “We just planted them and they were probably 3 inches tall. I’m going to have to rip them all out.

“It’s the life of a farmer, right?” she said.

Berni Kurz, Washington County Extension staff chairman, got an early peek at the snow.

“My dog got me up last night at 3 a.m. to go outside and it was snowing at that time with no accumulation and then at 6:30 it was covered,” he said. “I have not heard the ‘official’ snow fall amount, but at my home in Fayetteville, I measured a little over 1 inch.”

Flakes were still falling after 8 a.m., he said.

Darrin Henderson, Madison County Extension staff chair, awoke to find the bermudagrass hay fields surrounding his home covered in snow. For those who have cattle or grow hay in northern Arkansas, the cold is another in a series of hard blows nature has dealt producers trying to recover from severe drought.

“The snow might actually keep it from freezing,” he said. “It’s not really been warm enough long enough for the bermuda to even begin growing. The grass had just come out of dormancy a couple weeks ago and froze back on April 24. It has just started over when this round of cold came.”

For more information about crops or gardening, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county Extension office.

Date: 5/27/2013

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