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Extreme Weather Patterns Threaten Georgia’s Peach Supply

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Extreme weather patterns are damaging ecosystems, communities, and industries across the planet. The latest casualty hits fruit fans close to home: Georgia's beloved peach orchards.

Erratic weather patterns, unseasonable temperatures, and frequent storms have made produce farming harder than usual over the past few years. Summer and autumn of 2016 saw "extreme drought" in Georgia and Tennessee. Those dry months were followed by an unusually mild winter in 2017, which robbed peach trees of the cold periods they need to bear healthy fruit. 

Then there was an unusual freeze in March. And then the rains came. Since the spring, the region has seen "buckets and buckets" of rain, farmer Pam Hazelrig told ABC News. Average rainfall in Georgia has held steady at about 9 inches per month—nearly double the state's historical summer average.

State agriculture commissioner Gary Black says Georgia farmers will lose about 70 percent of their peach crop this year. Those in the middle of the state, the heart of peach country, were hit hardest.

Farmer's market customers can expect fewer peaches and a shorter peach season.

"Typically, we'd have peaches into August and September," Black told The Packer, "but we're not going to see that this year."

Orchards on the West Coast, unaffected by the unusual weather, are gearing up to help East Coast markets cover the shortage. 

Peach producers know that their business is "a gamble," Hazelrig said. "You just work through it."

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Weather Watch
It Just Snowed In the Sahara for the Second Time In Less Than a Month
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The town of Aïn Séfra, Algeria might need to find a new nickname. Though it’s often referred to as “The Gateway to the Sahara,” the 137-year-old province in northwest Algeria is currently digging out from a rare—and unexpected—snowstorm that left the desert town covered in several inches of snow and battling sub-zero temperatures.

While the Daily Mail reported that “locals took to the nearby sand dunes to enjoy the unusual weather,” the strangest part of the story is that this is Aïn Séfra’s second snowfall in less than a month. On Sunday, January 7, a freak blizzard left parts of the Sahara blanketed in as much as 16 inches of snow.

This most recent storm marked the region’s fourth snowfall in nearly 40 years; in addition to January's dose of the white stuff, the area has been hit with other surprise wintry events in February 1979 and December 2016.

But North Africa isn’t the only area that’s seeing record-breaking weather events. On Saturday, February 3, 17 inches of snow fell on Moscow within 24 hours in what the country has dubbed “the snowfall of the century.” In mid-January, Oymyakon, Russia—a rural village in the Yakutia region, which is already well known as one of the coldest inhabited areas of the world—saw temperatures drop to -88.6°F, making it chilly enough to both bust thermometers and freeze people’s eyelashes. And you thought dealing with single-digit temperatures was tough!

[h/t: Daily Mail]

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Weather Watch
Record-Breaking 17 Inches of Snow Covers Moscow in 24 Hours
Vasily Maximov, AFP/Getty Images
Vasily Maximov, AFP/Getty Images

Moscow sees some of the most brutal winters of any world capital, but even locals weren't prepared for the most recent winter storm to batter the city. As Newsweek reports, a record-breaking 17 inches of snow buried Moscow within 24 hours.

Roughly 7 inches of snow fell just on Saturday, February 3, and the deluge continued through the following Sunday. The accumulation has already been dubbed the "snowfall of the century," and officials expect up to 3 additional inches to cover the ground over the next three days.

The sudden blizzard has brought life to a stand-still in the metropolis of 12 million. The mayor is warning motorists to stay off the roads as around 15,000 snowplows clear the snow. About 2000 trees have been toppled by the storm, injuring at least five people and killing one.

Even as the worst of the weather winds down, over 40,000 people in Moscow and the surrounding regions are without power. Meanwhile, traveling in and out of the city has become close to impossible: Around 100 flights are grounded at the local airport indefinitely and at least 10 have been canceled all together.

The historic snowfall hasn't stopped many of Moscow's tougher residents from venturing outside. Check out photos from the event below.

Person cross-country skiing over snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through a blizzard in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through the snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

Walking through the snow in Moscow.
Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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