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Hurricane Sandy will dampen late harvest

As Hurricane Sandy slams into the East Coast, the state of Ohio is also preparing for the aftermath of the storm as it moves eastward. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flood watches and warnings for eastern and northeast Ohio, and high wind warnings for most of the state through tomorrow evening.

The unpleasant Ohio weather is an even greater concern for those with crops still

Photo by Randall Reeder.

in fields. As of Sunday Oct. 21, only half of Ohio corn was harvested for grain and soybeans were 63% harvested. This was followed by a beautiful several days of weather, which allowed significant progress in fields, though many farmers have not yet completed harvest.

Due to the hurricane, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has delayed the today’s releases of the Crop Progress due to the hurricane-related closures of Washington, D.C. federal government offices. The rescheduled release times will be announced as soon as offices reopen.

After the dry weather this season, corn standabiliy, dropping ears and soybean loss have been concerns since harvest began. The Sandy-generated rains and wind gusts that are predicted to be near 60 miles per hour starting today could add more challenges in what has been an already extremely challenging growing season.

In addition, Ohio’s greatest concern from Hurricane Sandy is the possibility of widespread power outages from the strong winds. According to the NWS, “A high wind warning means that sustained wind of at least 40 miles per hour or gusts of 58 miles per hour are expected. Wind of this magnitude can down tress, damage property and make driving difficult.”

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is bracing for the storm while also working with Maryland, New York and New Jersey on Emergency Management Assistance Compact requests for resources to assist in response and recovery efforts from the hurricane.

“Ohio is no stranger to strong winds and prolonged power outages,” said Nancy Dragani, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “The state experienced a week-long power outage this summer during the derecho and heat wave. Ohioans went days without electricity in September 2008 with the remnants of Hurricane Ike, and in December 2004 with severe snow and ice storms.

“We encourage everyone to get ready. Make sure that your disaster supply kit is well-stocked. Ensure you have flashlights or battery-operated lanterns on hand. Your kit should also have the basics such as bottled water, nonperishable foods, a manual can opener, blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit, a battery-powered radio or NOAA Weather Radio.”

The Ohio EMA continues monitoring weather conditions and remains in contact with county EMAs as the storm moves toward the state.

For additional information on weather preparedness and safety tips, visit www.ready.ohio.gov and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness’ site: www.weathersafety.ohio.gov. Keep up on road closures due to construction and severe weather at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s site: www.buckeyetraffic.org.

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