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Extreme heat takes out portion of Northwest cherry crop

An extreme heat wave damaged cherries grown in Washington's Yakima Valley and the Northwest in late June and early July. The high temperature reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit in Yakima on June 29, an all-time record. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the heat caused issues such as sunburn and stunted growth that made the cherries unsuitable for the fresh cherry market. Many cherries were left on trees while others were picked but processed. Northwest Cherry Growers is still assessing the damage, but President B.J. Thurlby estimates that about 20% of the overall crop was lost due to heat conditions. Much of the loss came in the Yakima Valley, where cherries were about to be picked.

Washington cherry pickers work to save crop in heat wave

Orchardists in Central Washington are trying to save the cherry crop as a heat wave grips the region. They're using canopies, deploying sprinklers and sending out workers in the night to harvest cherries. Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees this week, with a predicted high near 115 degrees on Tuesday. The heat wave hit as Washington’s cherries are ripening. Cherry growers are moving 500,000 boxes a day, said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Washington State Fruit Commission. So far, the cherries appear to have good color and sugar. If the cherries get too hot, they will sunburn and dry out.

Company drops plan for $2.3B methanol plant in Washington

A company backed by the Chinese government says it is ending its seven-year effort to build one of the world's largest methanol plants along the Columbia River in southwestern Washington. Northwest Innovation Works on Friday told the Port of Kalama it will terminate its lease, ending the $2.3 billion project following several legal and regulatory setbacks. The company proposed to take fracked natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which it would then ship to China to make ingredients for plastics. The state Department of Ecology denied a key permit for the project in January, saying it would create too much pollution.