How Hurricane Ian May Impact Florida's Already Low Orange Crop

As Hurricane Ian charges toward Florida on Tuesday, the whole state braces for impact. Approximately 2.5 million Floridians have been ordered to evacuate as the state prepares for the category three hurricane to make landfall on Wednesday in the area of Tampa Bay on the western side of the state, according to the Associated Press. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said residents of the Gulf Coast state should expect widespread power outages and advised residents to leave the area where the worst of the impact is expected. In addition, a state of emergency was declared by President Joe Biden that will allow for more assistance to be offered to Florida by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports the AP. Generators, meals, and containers of water are already being put into place.

As Tampa Bay area residents prepared for the storm Tuesday, shelves were emptied of water bottles, flashlights, and other supplies, per the Tampa Bay Times. Not only will the stores' shelves likely be bare before the storm even hits, but the newspaper also reports the shortages will likely last for days or weeks after the hurricane has passed over. The economic impact won't stop when the storm is gone, either. Businesses may have to close for extended periods, and farmers are bracing for crop destruction.

Orange growers could be affected by storm

Hurricane Ian also could disrupt the growing season for many farmers, which is especially detrimental to Florida's orange growers, who have already been struggling. According to a Bloomberg report, orange growers watched the weather forecast with trepidation in advance of the storm season. Florida orange groves were expecting one of the smallest harvests ever due to the citrus greening disease that has killed trees and damaged the fruit. The majority of Florida's oranges are grown in the lower two-thirds of the state, where there is a low chance of freezing temperatures, per the Florida Department of Citrus. Unfortunately, this is where the storm is supposed to hit the hardest.

Not only could damage from a storm mean fewer oranges and orange products like orange juice leaving Florida, but it would mean higher prices for the items, according to Bloomberg. Other Florida crops that are expected to be impacted by Hurricane Ian, according to Markon Cooperative, are the state's fall crops, including bell peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, squash, and tomatoes.

While Florida may take a direct hit from Hurricane Ian, the storm's wrath will likely be felt by people living far away from the Gulf Coast.