Hurricane management planning for Florida citrus groves

Robert E. Rouse


A major tropical storm hasn't affected the citrus groves in the southern half of the Florida peninsula since Hurricane Andrew brought destruction to the Miami-Dade area in August 1992. Strong winds blow fruit off trees and wind with 12-20 inches of rain can cause severe and lasting injury. Sustained winds and wind gusts can break limbs and uproot trees, but may not be as damaging as the flooding caused by high rainfall. The amount of rain can be predicted by dividing 100 by the forward movement speed of the hurricane in mph. Growers who have developed hurricane plans prior to the event have the best chance of minimizing losses. The hurricane plan should provide for both protection from a storm and recovery after the storm. There are a number of pre-storm preparation items that include personnel assignments, safety training, securing liquid tanks and hazardous materials, ditch and emergency equipment maintenance, and updating communications equipment and emergency contacts. Post-storm recovery includes having an employee call-in and activity check list that involves clearing road access, water removal, and tree rehabilitation. There are distinct differences between tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes and the preparation suggested for each. By having a plan and following it, grove managers can greatly increase the odds of a grove being productive in the long term following a hurricane.


cyclone; storm; flooding; wind

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283