SLC Regional Resource | April 2019

Weathering the Storm: Assessing the Agricultural Impact of Hurricane Michael

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

Note: Since the release of this report on April 15, 2019, Hurricane Michael was retroactively upgraded to a Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Michael roared onto the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018. A Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour — just shy of the 157 miles per hour necessary to be classified a Category 5 storm — it was the third strongest hurricane to strike the United States mainland. As Michael moved northeast across Alabama and Georgia, the hurricane’s fierce winds, towering storm surge and punishing rain caused billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the Southern region.

For farmers in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, the timing of the storm could not have been worse. Just as harvest season for many vegetable and row crops was beginning, like a plague of locusts, Michael devoured nearly every farm in its path. This SLC Regional Resource, current as of April 15, 2019, reviews the agricultural impact of Hurricane Michael on Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Across the three states, cotton and timber were hardest hit, but damage to other agricultural products and infrastructure was equally devastating.