Impacts of Hurricane Damage on Southern Highbush Blueberries
Douglas A. Phillips, Jeffrey G. Williamson, and Philip F. Harmon
Florida has been affected by eight hurricanes since 2000. As of this article’s writing, Hurricane Michael was the most recent storm to affect the state (October 2018) with sustained wind speeds of 160 mph at the time of landfall. In 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the Florida peninsula with winds up to 112 mph and accumulated rainfall of up to 14 inches. Both Irma and Michael caused significant property damage across the state, including damage to agricultural crops. For Irma alone, over 5.0 million acres of cropland were affected, including 3.4 million under hurricane-force winds. Total crop sales losses have been estimated in excess of $1.5 billion. This publication discusses the types of hurricane damage incurred in blueberry production operations, the impacts of these damages, and some recommendations on best management practices in the aftermath of a storm.