KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Hurricane Florence is expected to dump heavy rainfall on coastal areas of North and South Carolina, and processors with operations in those areas are adjusting production schedules in preparation for the severe weather.
Reuters reported Smithfield Foods will temporarily close its pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, Sept. 14-15. The Tar Heel facility is regarded as the largest pork processing plant in the world. It currently processes 30,000 hogs per day and employs 5,000 people.
The company also plans to close its facility in Clinton, North Carolina.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Hurricane Florence is moving toward the northwest at 15 mph (24 km/h). In a public advisory issued Sept. 12, NOAA said “…On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.”
NOAA added that Florence is packing maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts.
“With many of our operations along the East Coast, we’ve been through this before, and we have established preparation plans for tropical and winter storms,” a spokesman with Salisbury, Maryland-based Perdue Farms said. “We’re also working with the farmers who raise our chickens to help them prepare. With a network of operations, we’re able to work across our supply chain to minimize any potential impact. And, of course, we’ll be ready to assist our associates, farmers and communities.”