Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to hit Florida in 80 years, and the third-most powerful ever to strike the U.S. mainland,  battered the state’s Gulf coast on Wednesday afternoon, with roof-shredding winds, raging surf, and torrential rains.Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, approximately 20 miles southeast of Panama City,  came ashore as a Category 4 storm with top sustained winds reaching 155 miles per hour.  The storm’s intensity waned as it pushed inland and turned northeasterly into Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas  yesterday.

Chicken processors in southeastern states prepared for possible operational disruptions. Companies in Georgia, the number one chicken-producing state, shut down operations early and relocated birds.

Frank Singleton, a media spokesman for Oakwood, Georgia-based Wayne Farms, provided an update on conditions for their operations:

“Dothan, Alabama was without power at various times during the storm,” Singleton said. “The Dothan plant lost power, and received minor damage to some outbuildings, but no significant damage. Two Dothan area farms suffered significant damage to three houses, with some loss of birds (no specific number available as yet). Other area farms lost power but were not damaged and were able to run systems off backup generators.”

Singleton also said that a feed mill in Ozark, Alabama, was not damaged but did lose power during the storm. He said Wayne Farms was waiting for a local hospital to have its power restored before the feed mill. According to Wayne Farms, no injuries have been reported, but they are waiting to hear from employees in southwest Georgia.

Sanderson Farms posted a statement on social media on October 10 saying that the company continued to “monitor the weather and results of #HurricaneMichael in areas near our Moultrie, Georgia, operations. Our Moultrie Processing facility will remain closed on first shift tomorrow (Thursday, October 11) with plans to operate second shift if weather conditions permit.”

On October 10, Tyson Foods said that “because team member safety is our top priority we’re did not operate our poultry plant in Vienna, Georgia, on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Our distribution center in Macon, Georgia, dismissed team members at 2 p.m. Wednesday).” The company said it planned to resume operation on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Macon. Tyson also said its disaster relief team, Meals that Matter, is ready and prepared to help storm victims, volunteers and first responders with meals in the aftermath of the storm.