Hurricane Idalia Passes Cuba and Heads for Florida; Nick Wishnatzki, Charlie Eagle, and David Sherrod Comment
FLORIDA - Recent weather reports show that Hurricane Idalia has passed through Cuba and is expected to intensify as it heads toward regions of Florida. With a predicted landfall along the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the hurricane is forecast to hit at Category 3 strength.
The National Guard is on call and evacuations are underway as the storm could deliver a devastating blow to parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, according to CNN. The hurricane is expected to make landfall well north of Tampa, though the source notes that a small shift in the track could put that region more at risk.
Evacuations have been advised in at least 22 counties; Baker, Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla counties have all issued evacuation orders, some mandatory.
In addition to powerful winds and a strong storm surge, Hurricane Idalia could produce a few tornadoes today along the West Central Florida coast and by tonight could be moving northward into the Big Bend before landfall.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded an emergency declaration to 46 of 67 Florida counties on Monday morning and advised residents to prepare to be without power.
A few of our industry friends commented on how the storm may impact their individual operations:
Nick Wishnatzki, PR Manager, Wish Farms
“We are closely monitoring developments. As we know, Mother Nature is unpredictable, but all of the latest models have it tracking west of our operations and Florida strawberry growers who are getting prepped for the upcoming season. This is always a sensitive time for the industry, so we can only hope that Idalia and other storms this hurricane season steer clear of our farms.”
Charlie Eagle, Vice President of Business Development, Southern Specialties
“Southern Specialties is accelerating loading and shipping today into tomorrow to help move trucks out in advance of the storm. We don’t expect the hurricane to have the impact on Southeast Florida that is predicted for the West Coast of Florida. We anticipate resuming normal shipping operations by Thursday.
Whenever there is a serious weather event in our area, our first concern is the safety and well-being of our employees. If the storm intensifies near our Pompano Beach location, we will do everything we can to allow our team to take care of their families and their homes. We expect heavy rains in the Southeast may necessitate a skip in green bean plantings that would impact supplies, for a short time, toward the end of October.”
David Sherrod, President and Chief Executive Officer, Southeast Produce Council (SEPC)
“We are praying for everyone in the path of Hurricane Idalia. As we sit here today, it looks as though SEPC headquarters will feel the effects of the storm within our own community. We will surely heed the warnings, stock up on groceries and supplies, and be ready to help in any way we can.”
ANUK will continue to track the developments regarding this impending storm, so keep clicking for the latest updates.