Indian River citrus region spared hurricane damage

Indian River citrus region spared hurricane damage

Florida’s Indian River citrus region dodged major damage from Hurricane Dorian.

“We went out looking at everything this morning and the packinghouses were unscathed,” Doug Feek, president of DFL International Inc., Fort Pierce, Fla., said on Sept. 4.

Vero Beach citrus groves received about two inches of rain, while Fort Pierce had about three inches of rain, Feek said.

“I did not see any fruit drop at all,” he said, adding that winds were not extreme.

“There may be some punctured fruit here and there, but I don’t think that it is anything enough to be any real concern, so we are in good shape,” he said. 

Harvest will start about the last week in September.

In general, he said the industry expects a fairly good crop.

“The fruit size looks a little bit bigger and the trees look more vigorous — I think we are going to have a good season.”

In the early afternoon on Sept. 4, Hurricane Dorian was east of Jacksonville, Fla. The National Weather Service reported the center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5. 

North Carolina outlook

Hurricane predictions change every day, but it appears Dorian is going to brush up against the coast where some sweet potato growers are located, said Rebecca Scott, grower accounting and marketing for Nash Produce LLC, Nashville, N.C.

Some growers have started sweet potato harvest, she said Sept. 4.

“We are a little dry and could use some rain,” she said. “But there is not much a grower can do about weather.”

Even with impending weather, Scott said prices have not dropped or increased.

Maximum sustained winds near 105 mph were reported Sept. 4, with a slow weakening of the system over the next few days.

The National Weather Service reported Sept. 4 that  Dorian is expected to produce the following rainfall through Sept. 6:

  • Coastal Carolinas: five to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches;
  • Atlantic Coast from Daytona Beach, Fla., to the Georgia-South Carolina border: three to six inches, with isolated nine inches near the
  • Georgia coast; and
  • Southeast Virginia: three to six inches.

Cristin Shepard contributed to this article.