PALISADE, Colo. (CBS4) – A blast of arctic cold is on the way to Colorado this week and it will bring near record low temperatures for some areas along with wind and snow. The news is not what farmers on Colorado’s Western Slope want to hear just one year after losing most of their peach crop to a hard freeze.

(credit: C&R Farms)

CBS4 contacted Clark Family Orchards in Palisade to see what precautions they are taking ahead of the storm. Chris Schmalz said they are on freeze watch now through at least Tuesday with their frost alarms set at 34 to 35 degrees.

“Once they go off we will be awake and monitoring temperatures,” Schmalz said.

(credit: CBS)

The orchard also has wind machines in place to help create movement of the air if there is no natural wind. At night the coldest temperatures in the lower atmosphere are found near the ground because of radiational cooling. The temperature is actually a bit warmer higher up near the top of the trees.

“If there is no wind we will fire up our wind machines which create a little air movement through the orchards, pushing the cold air out and letting the slightly warmer air settle. Sometimes wind machines can save entire harvests,” said Schmalz.

While the forecast is touchy for the agricultural valleys on the western slope it should not be as cold as the air on the eastern side of the Continental Divide where low temperatures could fall into the teens by Tuesday morning in Denver.

First Alert Meteorologist Chris Spears