We were set to get blasted. Matthew, a major hurricane, which already caused havoc in Haiti, crushed the eastern tip of Cuba, and beat up the Bahamas, was now looking to make a beeline for Florida’s East Coast.
With a dangerous hurricane imminent, we hunkered down and waited. “Prepared for the worst, hoping for the best” was a phrase I heard uttered countless times by talking heads on multiple media channels leading up to the storm’s arrival.
Meanwhile, the rain bands became more persistent with each passing hour and the winds started whipping. All the forecast models were in close agreement that this storm — one the Sunshine State has not seen in more than a decade — was going to impact us one way or another. Fortunately, the 2:00 a.m. (Friday, Oct. 7) update indicated a slight shift to the north and east. This held true as Matthew would hug the coast, churning precariously close, for a grueling 12 to 15 hours.
After the storm passed, the phrase I’ve heard most — especially when talking to growers and others associated with the Florida agriculture industry — was “we dodged a bullet.” And by the way, I want to extend many thanks to those who have provided feedback and shared your intel and imagery with me.
Yes, it certainly could have been worse. However, Matthew still left plenty of marks up and down the eastern side of Florida’s peninsula. The state’s ag sector did not come through unscathed. Check out the slideshow above to find out what’s being seen in the field.