Battered United States Facing Losses from Hurricane Irene
The last thing the global cotton industry wanted to hear was a siren warning of a tropical storm ... But that alarm is sounding now as Hurrican Irene heads for the U.S East Coast.
August 25, 2011
Given the absolute disaster that the U.S. cotton crop has become due to severe drought in Texas and flooding in the Delta region, the last thing the global cotton industry wanted to hear was a siren warning of a tropical storm. But that alarm is sounding now, because it is beginning to look as though the U.S. Atlantic Coast is next to be hit.
The primary impact is expected to be felt in Georgia and South Carolina, where as much as a quarter of the crops could be negatively affected in the former – and potentially even a higher percentage in the latter. At press time, Hurricane Irene is a Category 2 storm with winds up to 100 miles per hour, and it could grow even stronger. It is expected to reach South Carolina on Friday, Aug. 27 and damage what were expected to be excellent crops for the two states.
Georgia growers were hoping to reach 2.5 million bales this year, up from 2.2 million last year. While smaller in total quantity, South Carolina was projected to post an even larger gain of 20 percent to exceed 440,000 bales, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
The weather system, while potentially harmful to Georgia and South Carolina, could ultimately be a benefit to growers in the Southeast. The entire region has been desperate for water, and once the fierce winds and torrential downpours move on, the crops that remain should benefit from the moisture.