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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
New Contest Will Give Kids the Chance to Become Weather Channel Meteorologists for a Day
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Not every kid dreams of being an on-air meteorologist, but for young ‘uns obsessed with storm forecasts and local weather reports, a new contest presents a unique opportunity to live out their dreams. The Mini Meteorologist Contest, sponsored by Lands’ End, will give four kids a chance to present a weather report on The Weather Channel this summer.

The nationwide contest is open to future meteorologists in the U.S. and Canada ages 6 to 16. To enter, they just have to write an essay between 50 and 500 words long on why they love learning about science and weather and why they’d like to be a meteorologist for a day. Four winners will receive a trip for them and their parents to The Weather Channel’s headquarters in Atlanta. They’ll have the opportunity to report the weather for the show on July 12, which happens to be National Summer Learning Day.

The essays will be judged based in equal parts on creativity, grammar, and the entrant’s love of meteorology. The only rules for the essays are that they can’t mention any products or brands other than Lands’ End or The Weather Channel (so no essays about how L.L. Bean inspired your love of cloud formations, kids) and has to be the child’s original work. Kids who are chosen as semi-finalists will have their on-air presentation skills judged in a Skype interview.

Should they win, they’ll get an inclusive trip to Atlanta with media training, a tour of The Weather Channel headquarters, and a $500 Lands’ End gift card to get just the right weather-reporting wardrobe.

The deadline for entering is May 21. Essays can be submitted here.

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Weather Watch
Thanks to Desert Dust, Eastern Europe Is Covered in Orange Snow
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Certain areas of Eastern Europe are starting to look a bit like Mars. Over the last few days, snowy places like Sochi, Russia have experienced an unusual snowfall that coated mountains in orange powder, according to the BBC.

The orange snow was the result of winds blowing sand from the Sahara east to places like Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia. The sand mixes with precipitation to form orange-tinted snow. According to the BBC, the phenomenon occurs semi-regularly, turning snow orange about once every five years, but this year is especially sandy. As a result, skiers are navigating slopes that look like they're from a different world, as you can see in the video below from The Guardian.

The Sahara rarely gets snow, but when it does, the landscape can look somewhat similar, as you can see in this image of the Atlas mountains in Morocco.

Instagram is currently filled with photos and videos from Eastern Europe featuring the odd-looking snow. Check out a few samples below.

[h/t BBC]

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