WHITEVILLE, N.C. -- The fury of Hurricane Fran, which hit the Carolina coast last week, did not spare even inland produce growers.
The storm dropped between six and 12 inches of rain in a matter of a few hours, said Michael Shaw, an agricultural extension agent at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension here. "I don't know what the actual damage is yet, but I know [growers] are hurt -- they've got to be," he said. "[Fran] blew everything down."
North Carolina seems to have been hit hardest, and Shaw said pecan, soybean, corn and tobacco growers there will most likely have to face heavy losses as well.
"Our pecan trees took a big hit," said Shaw, who lost five of his own during the storm. "We probably lost over 100 trees."
North Carolina was still about two weeks away from this year's first sweet potato harvest, but the crop was too mature to handle the amount of rain that fell last Thursday and Friday. "When they get mature, they can't take this much [moisture],"
Shaw said. Shaw said it was too early to calculate the damage. "It's going to be at least a week before we can get in there and see what damage was done," he said.
In Virginia, officials are worried that the apple crop, which officials predicted to be a medium quantity, may have been affected.
"We know that there was damage," said Nancy Israel, program director for the Virginia State Apple Growers board. "I think the Reds and the Golds are going to be hurt the most; they were just about ready to be [picked]." Earlier varieties, such as Galas, were most likely spared because they have already been harvested, Israel said.