(Sept. 8, 10:45 a.m.) Growers of high-volume crops on the East Coast escaped Tropical Storm Hanna with minimal damage.

And assuming it stays on its current path, Hurricane Ike, due to hit Florida Sept. 9, probably won’t have a significant affect on Florida crops.

Hanna, which struck North Carolina in the early morning Sept. 6, may have dumped up to five inches on some of the state’s sweet potato fields, said Ross Williams, assistant marketing director for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Other than potentially keeping growers out of fields while they wait for them to dry, he didn’t anticipated major crop loss.

“I don’t think it was enough to cause any real problems,” he said.

Apple orchards at Rice Fruit Co., Gardners, Pa., received about three inches of rain, which likely didn’t cause any damage, said John Rice, president.

Rice Fruit did lose a few late-season peaches, but that deal is winding down and volumes are minimal, Rice said.

In Florida, the forecast as of 10 a.m. CST Sept. 8 for Hurricane Ike showed the storm dumping heavy rains in the Florida Keys before turning west into the gulf of Mexico, posing minimal risk to citrus and vegetable growers in the Sunshine State, said Terry McElroy, spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“Our hope is that Florida may get just a glancing blow,” he said.

Mike Aerts, membership and marketing director for the Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, said he had not heard of growers taking special precautions, because Ike was expected to miss most of Florida.