How To Handle A Hurricane? Lots Of Luck, Even More Skill [Opinion]

Being in the cross-hairs of a major hurricane sucks. Taking a beating from one sucks even worse. Fortunately, for 11-plus years, Florida has gone without having any of these tropical-spun storms of heightened consequence make landfall anywhere along the peninsula. And even after Matthew, this is still the case.

Yes, our hurricane-less streak was finally broken by Category 1 Hermine in early September, but Matthew was a whole different beast. When foreboding forecast models started to rain down from every media platform, and phrases such as: “This storm will kill you” blurted out of television speakers across the Sunshine State (we heard ya, Gov. Scott), we knew the drill: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. By and large, that is exactly what happened. Water, supplies, and fuel were snapped up in the blink of an eye and hurricane plans were put into motion.

You (growers), too, did what was necessary not only to protect yourself and personal property, but also your farm’s crops, equipment, and structures. And even if your operation wasn’t slammed, the due diligence it took to properly batten down the hatches and then unravel all the parts and pieces to resume business as usual will prove valuable, especially when we come under the gun again — and we will.

When the rain and wind finally waned, the most popular phrases I kept hearing among friends, co-workers, and mainstream media’s talking heads included: “We were really lucky,” and “We dodged a bullet.” The same sentiments held true when I reached out to growers, researchers, and industry associations shortly after Matthew’s departure from the Sunshine State.

We were extremely fortunate that the storm’s path wobbled and most of Matthew’s wrath stayed out over the open water. However, that didn’t mean we came through without our fair share of bumps and bruises. According to reports I gathered from several sources in the field, portions of the state’s ag sector did experience impacts — some significant — from the repeated lashings of rain and wind. Check out the photo gallery above, which illustrates this fact.

Some of the effects were seen immediately. The longer-term impact might not be truly apparent for quite some time. Hopefully, we’ll luck out again in that regard.

I want to extend huge thanks to those who provided me feedback and photos to help complete my coverage before, during, and after the storm.

If you have any experiences from Matthew that you endured and/or are still going through, please send your comments my way.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Flooded peach and grape groves from Irma at UF/IFAS HAEC
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall Measured by the Trillions
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Fallen citrus fruit in wake of Irma
October 12, 2017
Irma Rains Down on Florida Citrus Crop Estimate
Initial USDA forecast reflects the fruits of what was left behind by monster storm. Read More
A water-logged citrus grove in Southwest Florida following Irma
October 10, 2017
Impressions from Irma Indelible on the Florida Farmscape [Slideshow]
Striking images from the field reveal not only the storm’s destructive nature, but also paths to recovery and reconstruction. Read More
October 9, 2017
(We Won’t Back Down … ) Stand Your Ground for Agriculture
You don’t have to be a super hero, rock star, or award-winning scientist to aid farming. You can help by supporting professionalism in fields. Read More
Greenhouse structure damage at SWFREC in Immokalee
October 6, 2017
Complications Persist as Florida Growers Pick up After Irma
Ground zero perspective reveals how citrus and vegetable producers are facing different, daunting challenges in wake of destructive storm. Read More
Growers boot up drone technology on the farm
October 5, 2017
Are You a Precision Grower?
Gathering, analysis, and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture. Read More
Greenhouse structures flattened by Irma at C&B Farms
October 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma Toll on Florida Farming in the Billions
Preliminary damage estimates confirm storm’s ferocity. Read More
A sea of citrus fruit floating in floodwater after Irma
October 5, 2017
Tips to Help Hurricane-Stressed Citrus Trees
Cleaning up damage and small doses of nutrition the fastest path to helping blocks bounce back. Read More
October 4, 2017
Goodlatte Officially Introduces the Ag Guestworker Act
On Monday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced his Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017 bill, which would replace H-2A with an H-2C program. Rep. Goodlatte introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Read More
October 2, 2017
$10 Million for Honeybee Health
National Honey Board, Project Apis.m investing in pollinator research. Read More
Swamped citrus in Southwest Florida
October 2, 2017
Perseverance a Priority for Florida Farmers Post-Irma
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam heartened by the strides being made by growers around the state as they begin to recover from the hurricane. Read More
cash money in hand
October 2, 2017
$18 Million in Grants Available for Value-Added Producers
Farmers in need of planning or working capital funds to move their ideas forward encouraged to check out program. Read More
Asian citrus psyllid closeup
Insect & Disease Update
September 28, 2017
Attention to Citrus Psyllid Control Critical After Hurricane Irma
Flushing trees will give HLB vector perfect breeding ground. Read More
Field of carinata
September 27, 2017
Research on Jet Fuel Cover Crop Ready for Takeoff
Scientists seeking to find if carinata can sustainably feed future renewable energy demands. Read More
September 27, 2017
Agriculture Offers Rare Opportunity for Bipartisan Action
A running theme from agricultural-friendly politicians speaking at the United Fresh Produce Association's Washington Conference was the need for a bipartisan approach to agriculture and immigration. Read More