Weather Alert – 10.26.23

The battle against unpredictable forces of nature is a constant struggle within the fresh produce industry, especially at this time of year. The Eastern Pacific is currently in the midst of an exceptionally active tropical season, and the latest onslaught is Hurricane Otis. With a brutality that has left even seasoned forecasters baffled, Otis made landfall in Acapulco, Mexico as a Category 5 hurricane, with wind speeds of 165 mph. This was a staggering transformation from a Category 1 storm system forecasted just the day before.

In just 13 hours, Otis underwent rapid intensification, making history as the most powerful Pacific storm on record to hit Mexico. While it is expected to weaken over the mountains, the region will continue to grapple with heavy rains and strong winds for at least another day. Otis marks the fourth significant storm to meet Western Mexico in recent weeks, following in the destructive footsteps of Tropical Storm Max, Hurricane Lidia, and Hurricane Norma. These relentless weather events have disrupted the fresh produce supply chain and cast a shadow over crop yields.

The challenges are far from over, as long-range forecasts indicate the formation of another tropical system in the Eastern Pacific, off the coast of Central America. Environmental conditions favor its development, with a 70% chance of it gaining strength over the next five days. The path this system takes could potentially subject Western Mexico to another round of turbulence next week, adding yet another layer of uncertainty for growers.

It’s not just the wrath of Mother Nature that’s causing disruptions. Civil unrest in Guatemala has ignited protests, further complicating the movement of produce. Roads and ports have become epicenters for these demonstrations, impeding the transportation of goods.

As warm ocean temperatures fuel these tropical storms, numerous crops find themselves in the line of fire. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, berries, bananas, and many others are exposed to the whims of nature. The aftermath of these storms and the ongoing protests in Guatemala will undoubtedly compromise supply and quality in the near term, at the very least.

The resilience of the fresh produce industry is perpetually tested by the wrath of nature and unforeseen disruptions. The challenges are monumental, but with timely and informed responses, the industry can adapt and endure the trials that lie ahead. Seashore Fruit & Produce Co. in partnership with PRO*ACT will continue to keep you updated on this market and source the freshest products available to us.

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Seashore will be OPEN for deliveries on Memorial Day, Monday May 27th!
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