Florida braces for Hurricane Idalia
As Hurricane Idalia approached Florida from the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 28, Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture released an emergency order to help Florida agriculture prepare for, and then recover from, the storm.
This follows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Aug. 25 preparatory Executive Order 23-171, which set wheels in motion to prepare for the emergency. This indicated the storm was expected to intensify as it approached the eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, affecting Florida’s gulf coast, as well as other Florida areas previously impacted by, and still recovering, from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Early on afternoon of Aug. 28, The Weather Channel predicted Idalia would become a major hurricane and make landfall within 24 hours. “A hurricane warning is in effect from the middle of Longboat Key to the Ochlockonee River, including Tampa Bay. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions (74+ mph winds) are expected within the area within 24 hours. …Storm surge, damaging winds, flooding rainfall and some tornadoes are concerns. Idalia will spread heavy rain and strong winds into parts of the Southeast,” according to The Weather Channel.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for portions of the Atlantic coasts of Florida and Georgia. Storm surge, damaging winds, flooding rainfall and some tornadoes are concerns. Idalia will spread heavy rain and strong winds into parts of the Southeast, according to The Weather Channel.
Last fall, FreshFruitPortal.com reported that Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida’s southwest coast on Sept. 29, slowly crossed the Florida peninsula, with winds as high category 4 and as much as 20-inches of rainfall in some areas.
Florida’s citrus, vegetable and melon production suffered the greatest financial losses in Hurricane Ian, according to the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. IFAS is the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.
In mid-October, IFAS estimated that combined losses from Ian to seasonal crops, livestock, nursery, and aquaculture products potentially would be between $787 million and $1.56 billion.