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Winter's last bite; After unseasonably warm temps, cold weekend forecast

It may be a bit chilly hunting Easter eggs Sunday, but the cold snap expected over the weekend won't hurt local crops or other plants, experts said.
    People "don't need to worry" about outdoor plants, trees or crops, said Bulloch County Extension Agent Pat Todd. "The ground is so dry and we only have one day of freezing temperatures."
    National Weather Service meteorologist John Quagliariello said a cold front that swirled in Wednesday night will bring along "unseasonably cool weather" this weekend, with temperatures dipping just below freezing Saturday night into the upper 20s and "possibly Sunday night."
    Highs will be in the 60's, with lower temperatures in the 50's Easter Sunday, he said.
    Normal temperatures would be highs in the low 70's for this time of year, he said.
    While Quagliariello warned that plants should be brought indoors if possible, Todd said the cold snap won't seriously harm plants or blooms.
    Fruit trees have already begun blooming and if a few blooms are killed, it won't have a great impact, since most fruit trees produce more blooms than are necessary for fruit production, he said.
    Most blooms like the azaleas may freeze, but the plants won't be harmed, he said. "We've been warm long enough that most plants are already growing well" and won't be adversely affected.
    Crops such as corn will be fine through the short term cold snap and while there may be some temporary browning of grass and other plants, the brief cold won't cause permanent damage, he said.
    "We may see a burnt leaf here and there, and some short-term browning, but really there is nothing to worry about," Todd said.
    Quagliariello said frost is possible over the weekend, but normal temperatures should return by the middle of next week.
    The cold snap isn't expected to bring any precipitation, but there "is a real small chance .. Sunday night," he said.
    A better chance of rainfall will come later next week, he said.
    Portions of Bulloch County received a light drizzle Wednesday morning and brief, scattered rainfall Tuesday.

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