Due to freezing weather conditions, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has issued an executive order that directs the state's DOT to relax the weight, height, length and width restrictions for commercial vehicles transporting vulnerable crops to processing sites.
"Transporting the vulnerable crops to processing sites without delay is necessary to save them from destruction," Bush stated in the order. "The relaxation of the restrictions on the weight, height, length and width for commercial vehicles transporting these crops is necessary to protect the agricultural interests of the state."
Record low temperatures in the lower-teens are expected in northern Florida, with temperatures in central and southern portions of the state dipping into the upper 20s. The combination of sustained low temperatures, very low humidity and northwesterly winds of 10-15 miles per hour is expected to seriously threaten crops throughout the state, similar to the freezes of 1985 and 1989.
The executive order will remain in effect for 30 days.
Florida agriculture commissioner Charles H. Bronson had requested the order when it became apparent that a severe and potentially crop-damaging cold front was headed for Florida.
"This time of year is particularly critical for Florida's growers, who produce nearly all of our nation's domestically produced fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter months," Bronson said. "There's a lot at stake here, not just for our state's farmers, but for consumers all across the United States who count on Florida to provide them with fresh produce in the dead of winter."