At nearly 500 miles wide, with an angry eye staring in this direction, it was certain that major Hurricane Irma was going to strike the Sunshine State — the ultimate question was how hard. Well … we found out.
The storm’s size, strength, and projected final track all but guaranteed every inch of the state would feel effects. That certainly turned out to be the case. From south to north and east to west, Irma made sure to leave quite an impression — lots of them.
The images that came streaming in after the storm from all corners of the state’s agriculture industry told the story of destruction, but also signaled a survival mode. The story is far from over as we all work hard to recover.
“Growers are resilient … Growers are used to adversity … ” were phrases uttered by politicians, industry association leaders, Extension agents, and others in the days leading up to and following the storm. Those assessments could not be more spot-on.
We’ve been here before (think back to the hurricane-heavy years of 2004 and 2005) and successfully rebuilt from the ground up. We’re doing it now and will again if and when the time comes. Let’s hope it’s not for a while — or better yet, maybe never.
Slowly, but surely, we’re emerging from Irma’s scourge — wiser, more determined, and stronger than before.
Scan the photo gallery above of impressions left by Irma on our industry that won’t soon be forgotten.
BTW: Thank you to all who took time to share imagery and information that only those on the ground and in the trenches can provide.