Weather Impacts - Freezes

These freezes were responsible for the major set-backs and geographical shifts in the Florida citrus industry. Scroll down the timeline for more information on each of the events.

  • December 1894 - January 1895

    The back to back freezes rearranged to the geography of the new established Florida citrus industry.

  • February 1899

    Minimum temperature of -2˚F was recorded in Tallahassee during this event. It was severe and wiped out all of the hard work growers had done to re-establish the industry in the northern part of the state.

  • December 1934

    The freeze in December 1934 was one of the worst freezes to impact the citrus industry in the early 20th century. Growers were caught off guard by the severity and this prompted the formation of the Federal-State Frost Warning Service.

  • January 1940

    The Frost Warning Service predicted this damaging freeze. As it turns out, January 1940 stands as the coldest month on record for the state of Florida.

  • December 1962

    This freeze did more damage than the previous freezes in the 20th century. All of the citrus producing areas received some degree of damage. This freeze destroyed most of the groves in the northern part and caused the industry to shift further south in the Peninsula- the greatest shift since the 1894/1895 freezes.

  • January 1977

    This freeze was comparable to the Freeze of 1962, and helped further lead to the southern movement of the citrus industry. Because of the cold temperatures, this freeze set up the right conditions for snow to stick on the ground. Snow was observed as far south as Miami, FL during this event.

  • January 1981

    Hard freezing temperatures (< 28˚F) were reported across the state, in a freeze that was very similar to the one in 1997, without the snow.

  • December 1983

    This freeze hit the citrus industry on Christmas morning and compared to the freeze of 1962. The Frost Warning Service missed the forecast for the event. Citrus producing areas south of Polk County generally experienced little to no tree damage and extensive damage to the citrus groves north of the region.

  • January 1985

    After the freeze in December 1983, many of the fruit bearing trees that survived were damaged and unable to produce a full crop. The groves from Polk County experienced damage again. Trees were killed and after this freeze the remaining groves in the northern part of the Peninsula closed.

  • December 1989

    This Christmas freeze killed many groves in the central (Lake and Orange) counties and damage was done to groves in the southern (such as Collier and Hendry) counties of the state. Heaters and spraying the plants did little to help protect some of the groves. This was the third destructive freeze the citrus industry experienced in a decade.

  • January 1997

    The worst freeze since the December 1989 Freeze. Agricultural disasters were declared in 18 counties in Florida; 3 of which were in southern Florida- including Dade County. Nearly 70% of all the crops in Dade County were lost, and over $90 million of winter vegetables and crops were destroyed across the state.