U.S.: Hurricane Florence to affect East Coast tomatoes, sweet potatoes - FreshFruitPortal.com

U.S.: Hurricane Florence to affect East Coast tomatoes, sweet potatoes

Hurricane Florence is set to impact agricultural production in numerous U.S. states when it hits the East Coast later this week, according to Weathermelon.

On Tuesday the National Hurricane Center said it is growing in strength and due to come ashore somewhere along the North Carolina coast midday Thursday.

Sustained Major Hurricane force winds (greater than 110 mph) are being reported at the center of the storm while Hurricane force winds (74-110mph) extend 40 miles out from the center.

Weathermelon, which consolidates weather information for the produce industry, said heavy rains and wind were expected in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and South Carolina, with the greatest rainfall in the former two.

"Although shipments from these areas are winding down as seasons come to an end there is still some product that will be affected," it said.

For tomatoes, it said rounds and Romas were still coming out of Tennessee, Virginia and Western North Carolina. Although volumes are light compared to product out of California's Central Valley, Michigan and Mexico, supplies will "definitely be affected".

It also believes that sweet potatoes may be "greatly affected". 

"The new crop out of North Carolina is just about to begin and this rain will most likely affect the harvest and quality of the product. Could be serious damage to the 2018 crop," it said.

Meanwhile, vegetable greenhouses in Virginia may experience damage. Winds and rain in this area are expected to be intense and could lead to structural damage.  

"Southern Georgia and Northern Florida at this time do not expect to receive any heavy rains which could affect Fall productions but this can change during the course of the week," it said.