Hurricane Ian about to make landfall in Florida

Damaging winds and flooding predicted by Hurricane Ian threaten much of Florida’s massive citrus industry.

According to satellite imagery provider Maxar Technologies, at least 75% of Florida’s citrus belt is at risk of heavy flooding rains over the next 36 hours.

Maxar’s WeatherDesk finds that at least a third of groves are susceptible to wind damage, mostly in the northwest part of the Citrus Belt.

How the market reacts: Florida is a major producer of citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruits. Orange juice futures jumped 4% on Wednesday afternoon as investors bet supply will be affected by Hurricane Ian. The price is up almost 30% so far this year.

The timing of the storm is challenging for Florida farmers as citrus crops approach harvest season.

“There will be quite a bit of fruit drop and fruit loss from the trees,” Maxar said.

Citrus production was already under severe pressure even before Hurricane Ian.

In July, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that US orange production would drop 13% in 2021 AND 2022 to the lowest level in 55 years due to drought in California and citrus greening in Florida.

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