Big Isle papaya farmers’ loss estimated at $53M

Tropical Storm Iselle hit Hawaii island hard. It devastated papaya farms in Pahoa as the fruit-laden, top-heavy trees were no match for the storm’s intense winds.

HILO >> Hawaii island farmers are assessing damage to crops after Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall last weekend.

“It was pretty clear to us that the papaya farmers took the highest amount of damage,” Richard Ha, president of the Hamakua Springs Country Farms, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “Estimation of the sales lost, plus the startup, the bulldozing costs and growing up to that first year, when they’re ready to harvest again is about $53 million,” he said.

“People have been flying overhead to look over the damage with helicopters. The damage is devastating. Some folks have about 80 percent damage. Some folks’ farms had less, of course, but the damage is extremely high,” Ha said.

State and federal agriculture officials spoke with local farmers Monday, he said.

Storm watch lifted for Maui and Oahu counties –

maui-news-adWhile a flash-flood watch remains in effect for both counties, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has lifted a tropical storm watch for Maui and Oahu.

Tropical depression Felicia, which earlier today was downgraded from a tropical storm, continues to dissipate, but still has the potential to produce localized heavy rain and some gusty winds, according to the National Weather Service.

Maui experienced moderate showers from the leading edge of Felicia this morning, but officials reported minimal weather conditions. Oahu is expected to see rains this afternoon and tonight.

Storm watch lifted for Maui and Oahu counties – | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News