The cold snap which is plunging as far south as the Rio Grande Valley is not expected to have an impact on the Valley's sensitive Winter Garden citrus crop, 1200 WOAI's Stephanie Narvaez reports.


  A freeze warning is in place for the Rio Grande Valley, but Ray Prewitt of Texas Citrus Mutual says the problem with citrus is not how low the temperature is...but how long it stays there.


  "The temperatures have to be at 28 degrees and stay there for several hours," Prewitt said.  "Low thirties are no problem whatsoever."


  The Valley citrus crop got hit hard in the February of 2011 freeze, which lasted a lot longer than this year's freeze.  Temperatures in the Valley today are expected to be back up into the fifties, and this is the last morning of super cold conditions.  Three years ago, the temperature plunged to below 28 degrees for 48 hours.


  Prewitt says this sharp, short freeze could actually help the Texas citrus crop.


  "It does help some in keeping the population of some of the pests down a little bit," he said.  "We see benefits for the citrus growers, and in turn a benefit for the consumers, with temperatures like this."


  The Rio Grande Valley produces about 320,000 tons of citrus fruits each year, mainly grapefruit and oranges, making it the third largest citrus growing region in the country, behind Florida and California.