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Hurricane Matthew: Florida Citrus Industry Was Spared

Image: Hurricane Matthew: Florida Citrus Industry Was Spared

Hurricane Matthew spared Florida's citrus industry. (Ken Cole/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016 09:52 AM

Hurricane Matthew spared Florida's citrus industry, reportedly causing little damage to the Indian River citrus region and vegetables south of the state.

Dan Richey, chief executive officer of Riverfront Packing Co. in Vero Beach, Florida, told The Packer after assessing grove damage on Oct. 7, that there appeared to be little damage sustained from the hurricane.

The center of the storm, which packed winds up to 130 miles per hour, remained off the coast and instead left the area with lesser tropical force winds to the inland areas, where the region's grapefruit is grown.

"We really dodged a bullet," Richey told The Packer last week. "The major part of the storm stayed offshore. My reports from the groves, there is minimal damage. We will definitely have a crop to sell."

Florida growers have been wary of hurricanes since back-to-back storms in 2004 – Frances and Jeanne – wiped out 23 million boxes of an estimated 27 million box crop of fresh grapefruits that season, reported the TCPalm.com. Doug Bournique, executive director of the Indian River Citrus League, told the website that Florida growers are breathing a sigh of relief so far.

"There should be some minor dropping" of fruit in the estimated 35,000 acres of citrus in St. Lucie and Indian River counties, Bournique told the TCPalm.com. "That, we can deal with. We dodged a huge bullet."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott told the Palm Beach Post that despite significant beach erosion in some areas, the state was fortunate the storm's strongest winds remained just off shore as it hugged the eastern coast.

"We're all blessed that Matthew stayed off our coast," Scott said during a news conference, noted the Palm Beach Post. "There's an unbelievable amount of beach erosion. A lot of docks are messed up."

While Hurricane Matthew spared Florida produce, it was less forgiving in other areas of the country, The New York Times reported. A levee breach in Lumberton, North Carolina, after rain from the storm there fell forced residents to their rooftops to escape, the Times noted.

Matthew caused record flooding in eastern North Carolina. The death toll from Matthew reached close to two dozen in the United States and more than 1,000 in Haiti, the Times said.

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Hurricane Matthew spared Florida's citrus industry, reportedly causing little damage to the Indian River citrus region and vegetables south of the state.
hurricane matthew, florida, citrus, industry
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2016-52-11
Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016 09:52 AM
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