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Cold days, nights ahead for Valley
1024px-Frosty Grass

Father Time is ushering out the year with a guest: Old Man Winter.

The National Weather Service is reporting the area will experience freezing temperatures as a cold low-pressure system comes in, followed by an arctic air mass blowing in from Canada. The system could also produce snow in some low-elevations, particularly in Southern California.

Freeze warnings were issued for most the San Joaquin Valley. The National Weather Service predicted Turlock and the surrounding area will see temperatures fall below 30 degrees on New Year’s Eve. Frost is expected to start forming after 10 p.m., which could cause issues for those driving home after the midnight celebration.

The morning of the New Year will see frost till about 10 a.m., with the day’s high predicted around 48 degrees. Thursday night the temperature will be around 29 degrees.

The cold was also a growing concern for California's agricultural interests.

"Were getting pretty nervous about it, to be quite honest with you," said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual.

Temperatures Tuesday night were projected to dip below 32 degrees for four or more hours, which could affect mandarin orange crops, Nelson said. If temperatures drop below 28, as anticipated, navel oranges and lemons could be affected as well, he said.

Nelsen said 75 percent of this year's crop is still on the trees and yet to be harvested. "There's a lot of vulnerability for the industry here," he said.

Last year, the industry produced crops worth a total of $2.4 billion, "so there's a significant level of concern out here," Nelson said.

Growers in the San Joaquin Valley were testing wind machines and examining irrigations systems to make sure lines were clear. Running water aids warming.

During the freezing nights pets should be brought indoors, pipes should be wrapped and plants susceptible to the cold temperatures should be covered.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.