For the past several years, those of us living in a coastal state were plenty happy with predictions of hurricanes that never came to pass. This year, my luck ran out as Irma seemed determined to make up for the past 12 years of no hurricane making landfall in Florida. What was more stunning than the size of this record-breaking storm was the panic it created in the week to 10 days before it could get here.
I have been through every hurricane to hit my part of Florida since I was born, and that was a few years ago. More than that, my family has been in Florida for more than 230 years, and it’s only been about the last 60 to 70 of those that we could know a hurricane was coming.
Making our normal preparations for Irma was made considerably more difficult with a run on everything, especially gas and non-perishables. Thanks to GPS now, when the interstates and primary roads turned into parking lots, many people took the smaller county roads, which made getting anywhere a major task. I guess one benefit from this is that city folks saw a part of Florida they probably didn’t know existed.
I’m glad all of that is behind us now, but it does make me, once again, thankful to work with farmers. You folks don’t panic. In fact, some of you are downright unflappable. Sure if something happens to a family member, that’s a different situation altogether, but other than that, you really take most everything else in stride. Most of what happens you have anticipated, if not that specific pest, disease, breakdown or weather situation, you knew many things throughout the crop year would present challenges you have to deal with.
Based on this hurricane experience, I know what changes I need to make in storm preparations for next time. As many Extension specialists say, taking an assessment and making records of this year’s crop will help you with decisions on future crops. No matter what 2018 throws at us, nobody panic.