South Carolina: Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Photo: Justin Ballew, Clemson University

The latest tracking map from NOAA shows Hurricane Irma moving up the east coast early next week and making landfall in SC near Beaufort and Hilton Head early Tuesday morning.  It is expected to be Category 1 by the time that occurs.  Gov. McMaster has already declared a state of emergency for SC to help make hurricane preparations.

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At this time it looks like the Pee Dee will avoid a direct hit, though we should still expect to see plenty of strong wind and rainfall.  Therefore, we need to use the few days we have left to prepare for the storm.

There is still a fair amount of corn left in the fields.  If dry enough, growers should be working to get that harvested.  If left in the field, that corn could be on the ground by the time the hurricane is finished.

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Cotton could be a problem for us.  We have a lot of fields with open bolls now and I smelled defoliant in the air for the first time on Tuesday (9/5).  Lots of strong wind and rain could knock some lint out of the bolls like we saw last October with Hurricane Matthew.

Last year, it was the plants that hadn’t been defoliated yet that took the worst beating, as they had more leaf material for the wind to blow around.  Since very little of our cotton is defoliated, we could see some of that again.

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Lint blown out of the bolls during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

For folks that think they may need to evacuate livestock, the Sumter County Fairgrounds is offering to house animals in their cow barns.  You can contact them at 803-775-5200 to discuss the details.

One more thing to take into consideration is pesticide storage.  Please make sure your storage facilities are in good order and have cleanup supplies on hand just in case. Hopefully Hurricane Irma won’t be nearly as bad as Matthew was for us, but plan as though it will be.

Here are some links that may be of interest as you prepare:

SC EMD

NOAA National Hurricane Center


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