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
Hurricane Matthew satellite image as it brushed past Florida
July 20, 2017
Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Taken Up a Notch
Current conditions in the tropics warrant marked revision in potential storm season scenarios. Read More
Sunset on Florida potato field day
July 19, 2017
Researchers On a Mission to Find More Places for Growing Produce
Federal grant to aid exploration of food security solutions for the future. Read More
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This Week
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
farm hacks collage
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your Farm Hacks
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Rain drops on leaf
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Winning at Water Quality
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opinion]
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
2015 FFVA Annual Convention crowd
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention Agenda
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
July 12, 2017
Shaky Florida Citrus Season Skids to a Stop
Final USDA tally confirms continuing downward trend of production in the HLB era. Read More
Smaller John Deere tractor for use in citrus screenhouse
Citrus Achievement Award
July 12, 2017
Encourage New Citrus Growth by Getting Back to Basics
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines says producing crops under protective screen is a way to farm more and stress less. Read More
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibalism, New Study Shows
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Organic Production List
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Drone-aided photo of Ed Pines' CUPS
Varieties & Rootstocks
July 11, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers Going Inside to Think Outside the Box
Producing fruit under protective screen is developing into a viable option for sustaining the Sunshine State’s signature crop. Read More
Carl and Dustin Grooms of Fancy Farms
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the Reins
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Dr. Martha Roberts
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the Year in Agriculture
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
July 10, 2017
Value of Bactericides Under Florida Citrus Sector’s Microscope
Preliminary results of the unique HLB management method indicate many factors left to consider. Read More