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Precipitation Types relation to agriculture/K-12

How does this relate to agriculture?

Hail damage to peach plants Hail damage to a peach
Figure C: Hail Damage to the Leaves of a Peach Tree Figure D: Hail Damage to a Peach Resulting in Cracked and Pitted Fruit
Image from Bridget Lassiter Image from Bridget Lassiter

Rain and drizzle are generally beneficial for plants.  However, excessive rain can cause significant runoff and erosion that can damage the fields and wash out plants or drown their roots.  Snow  and sleet can also be beneficial for their water content, but the freezing temperatures that accompany it can cause significant plant damage, although snow can also provide some insulation when the air is very cold.  Heavy snow and freezing rain can also cause a lot of damage to trees, plants and also power lines when the accumulated precipitation weighs down branches and snaps them off. 

Hail can cause a lot of damage to trees by stripping leaves and by putting bruises or marks onto fruit, reducing its saleability as table fruit and making it suitable only for juice.  It can also crush young plants when it falls.  Large hail stones can also cause damage to animals caught out away from shelter, and have caused fatalities of animals and even humans caught in the open in extremely heavy hail.  The National Weather Service considers severe hail to be stones of greater than 1 inch in diameter, but even smaller stones can cause significant agricultural impacts.

Hail damage to a tobacco field

Figure E: Heavy Hail Damaged Tobacco Crops in Kinston, NC in 2007
Image from Bridget Lassiter

Last modified date: Friday, November 5, 2010 - 1:29pm