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No real damage to US fresh produce industry

Mississippi sweet potato growers welcome rain from Hurricane Nate

Hurricane Nate made its first US landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana Saturday night. Hours later, it made its second US landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi as a Category 1 hurricane. Since then, it weakened steadily and was downgraded to a tropical depression late Sunday morning with winds that had dropped from 85 mph to 35 mph. 

Louisiana fresh produce
A New Orleans resident confirmed that Nate moved east of the city, bringing very little rain. "Nate was pretty much a non-event for the Louisiana fresh produce industry," says Rene Simon with the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. "The storm came up near the citrus growing area, but did not do any real damage. The sweet potato growing region hardly received any rain." 

Some areas of the Southeastern US however saw heavy rain and gusty winds on Sunday. The storm caused water levels to rise in some coastal communities, but water levels have already started to recede. Nate caused more than 100,000 households in Mississippi and Alabama to be without power on Sunday.

Mississippi sweet potatoes
"The amount of rain we received was very minimal," says Sylvia Clark with the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council. "In fact, we needed the rain as it was getting dry, which makes it hard to dig in the ground. Growers will be able to get back into the fields today or tomorrow at the very latest," she added. Clark estimates that the majority of Mississippi's sweet potato growers received 0.5 - 1 inch of rain. 

Eubanks Produce, fruit and vegetable grower in Mississippi, reported a small amount of damage, but nothing that will cause losses or impact on the business. Diane Claughton with Ocean Springs Fresh Market Community Development Corporation said they still have to find out more details on the damage. "The whole year has been a disaster, with too much rain, affecting blueberry growers, sunflowers and watermelon growers in particular," she mentioned. "Hurricane Nate just added to the woes."

Nate will make its way to the Northeast today. Any remaining rain will move off the New England coast by tonight.

Publication date: 10/9/2017
Author: Marieke Hemmes
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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