November 2020

Hurricane Eta floods Nicaragua and Honduras. The tropical storm Eta that was threatening Nicaragua and Honduras made landfall and is causing damage and flooding. The hurricane, which reached level 4 at its peak, killed at least 50 people in Guatemala and 7 people in Honduras. There are reports of casualties in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama as well, but those are currently unconfirmed.

During the last few days, the hurricane weakened. But even though the wind is less strong, it is still strong enough to do damage. The main concern for the cigar industry and public safety is the heavy rainfall though. And with a slow-moving hurricane such as Eta, those rain showers are lasting long. It causes flooding, damaging infrastructure, and fields.

Farms

The planting season in Honduras is already started. Some tobacco is already drying in the curing barns. A few days ago, Plasencia said that they would heat the barns to get rid of the excess moisture, but the plants in the fields are in danger. There is extra drainage available but with projected rainfall of 15 to 25 inches, that might not be enough. We don’t have a current update on the damage in Honduras but we will update as soon as we know more.

The season in Nicaragua is a little behind Honduras. Most of the seedlings are still in the greenhouses and relatively safe. Most tobacco growers decided to wait out Hurricane Eta before moving the seedlings to the fields. That’s why the damage in Nicaragua is projected to be less severe than in Honduras. Yet it is expected that the force of nature will have its effect on the first crop of the year.

Ministry of Cigars -Hurricane Eta floods Nicaragua

Moving to Cuba

Hurricane Eta is now slowly moving towards the sea again. The next stop on its trajectory course is Cuba and Southern Florida. Hopefully, by then, Hurricane Eta will have lost all of its strength and won’t damage the tobacco fields in the Vuelta Abajo region and Clermont, Florida. Jeff Borysiewicz from Corona Cigar Company brought back the tradition of growing tobacco for premium handmade cigars to Florida, using 20 acres in Clermont. Clermont is located 30 miles west of Orlando. If Eta sticks to its course, central Florida might be safe.

photo credit header photo: Democracy now

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