COFFEE CO., Ala. (WDHN)—With the possibility of “Hurricane Ian” making its presence felt in the tri-states later this week, the multi-billion dollar agricultural industry is holding its “proverbial breath.”
With the peanut and cotton harvests in their early stages, WDHNs Mike Gurspan says hurricane winds and rainfall would be devastating to the 2022 “row crops” harvest.
In this cotton field in New Brockton, cotton boles are close to harvest. Agricultural experts say early on it’s shaping up to be a “bumper crop” for cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and other row crops.
But the unpredictability of where “Hurricane Ian” will make landfall has created anxiety for growers and agricultural extension personnel in the wiregrass.
If the storm was to make a “landfall” along the Panhandle, it would have the potential of causing extensive damage to crops in a matter of hours.
Coffee County Extension Agent, Gavin Mauldin, “we’re hoping this thing goes east of us that way are effects are minimal just a little rain. But most of all we want it to move fast on out of here. We don’t want it to sit and dump a bunch of rain on us at harvest time. Because that could lead to problems with cotton and peanuts so they can be harvested correctly.”
Mike Gurspan says “They could be like Hurricane Michael bringing high winds or could be like Hurricane Sally bringing a lot of rain, or they could be coupled with both.”
EMA Director James Brown says his personnel is trained to deal with whatever mother nature may dish out.
At this point, Brown says it’s a wait-and-see approach as the “Massive storm” gains strength.
Brown says “I’m mainly concerned are the winds because of those knock over trees and trees wind up on houses and things like that. We’re watching to see how much rain we get to weaken the soil, and then how much rain we’ll get.”
Reporting in Coffee County, Mike Gurspan WDHN News for the Wiregrass.