It’s Friday morning, October 7, 2016. Hurricane Matthew passed through the area last night and early this morning. A quick survey shows that it caused little or no damage to most of our citrus crops. However, we’re looking at some more wind and rain today, so we’ll do a more detailed check this weekend. The screen grab is from the Storm app on my iPhone, which provides a great overview of the weather situation.
This part of Florida is known to some as the “Lightning Capital of the World”. This photo from the Storm iPhone app shows a storm that moved through our area on August 18, 2015. In addition to safety measures that have to be taken in the field, we’re also turning off a lot of computers at these times!
Tonight, we’re having heavy rain storms. Conditions are flooding some areas in the groves, but overall, this will be good for the trees. Although we are past the time of year when diseases like canker are spread to most susceptible fruit, black spot is still a concern.
Update: We had up to 4 inches in some groves between Lakeland and Bartow.
Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida and brought around 3 inches of rain or so to our area June 6 and 7. This image shows the roads here just after some of the storm hit. More photos from the groves to come later. Greening-affected trees have responded in a positive way to the rain, with grapefruit doing especially well. This reinforces our belief that having sufficient water for greening-affected trees is vital to their survival, meaning that adequate irrigation will be especially important during dry seasons that come later. Young trees have also grown quite a bit of new flush, so we will need to watch them closely for psyllid and other insect populations that might attack any new growth.
In 2004, two hurricanes passed over this Florida citrus grove–Hurricanes Charley and Frances. This photo shows one tree, representative of many in the grove, that literally were snapped in half by Charley. Charley was a Category 4 when it hit Florida near Punta Gorda and travelled up the center of the state to cross over this grove. This image was shot on August 16, 2004–a day or so after the hurricane hit.
The 2004 hurricane season is also widely considered to be responsible for the massive spread of citrus canker around the state.