PROSSER, Wash. -

Weather experts are warning that the continuing cold weather threatens dormant cherry buds in Washington state.

With low temperatures in the low single digits in cental Washington, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports that a weather system by Washington State University says damage to the buds is likely.

Officials with the Prosser-based system, called AgWeatherNet, performed tests earlier in the week in Prosser and Benton City for the cold-hardiness of cherries -- a measure of how much cold they can tolerate.

All fruit trees and grape vines build up tolerance to cold as the season progresses, but abrupt dips in temperature still can harm either the buds or the cells that transfer water during the irrigation season.