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Drenching Wet Season Leaves South Florida Farmers Struggling With Crop Losses

Drenching Wet Season Leaves South Florida Farmers Struggling With Crop Losses

By Jenny Staletovich

Even before Tropical Storm Eta hit, a drenching wet season had left South Florida water conservation areas and western suburbs so soggy that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned it could take months to drain.
 
South Florida farmers also got hit hard, with fields flooded and struggling crops.
 
“We have grown crops to maturity and harvested and never turned on a pump to water. That's never happened to me,” said Sam Accursio, a second generation Homestead farmer. “It’s been so wet. Every week, we’re getting hit.”
 
With fields so wet, Accursio’s bean, squash and pickling cucumber crops are low, leaving him struggling to fill customer’s orders.
 
“They've been marginal at best,” he said. “Thanksgiving and Christmas are two major holidays for Florida growers. And we're going to miss both of them. The prices are going up, but we don't have the produce to compensate for our losses.
 
The wet season started with a record-breaking May rain ahead of Tropical Storm Arthur. By month’s end, Miami International Airport had recorded nearly 20 inches and smashed some daily records.
 
As the season progressed, June, July and August were drier, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Molleda, who oversees warnings for the Miami office. But by October, numbers were climbing again, with Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport recording its third wettest wet season and Miami International Airport hitting its seventh on record.

 

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