Hurricane Fiona: Sable Island horses likely face severe storm

Long-maned shaggy wild horses grazing freely on the sandy grasslands of the crescent-shaped Sable Island in the North Atlantic are expected to be hit by Hurricane Fiona, a powerful storm expected to hit eastern Canada this weekend.

The storm is heading north after carving a destructive path through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and could be one of the worst storms to hit the Atlantic in Canada in recent years.

Storms are not uncommon in the region and they usually pass quickly, but Fiona is expected to affect a very large area and bring prolonged periods of stormy weather, Canadian Hurricane Center meteorologist Bob Robichaud said at a briefing.

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Fiona is said to be a “historic storm” for eastern Canada, NS issues an emergency call

Fiona, which is expected to be classified as a post-tropical storm when it makes landfall in Nova Scotia, could bring very high winds, heavy rain and flooding to several provinces in eastern Canada.

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As of mid-Thursday, Fiona was about 1,800 km (1,118 miles) south-southwest of Halifax, the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

Off the coast of Nova Scotia lies Sable Island National Park Reserve, a narrow strip of dunes and grasslands managed by Parks Canada. Here, around 500 Sable Island Horses roam alongside the world’s largest breeding colony of gray seals.

Click here to play the video:'Sable's Secluded Splendor'

Sable’s secluded splendor

Sable’s Secluded Splendor – May 12, 2020

All scheduled visitor flights were canceled while a small team of officers prepared to take shelter on the island, with team members busy securing materials and equipment to minimize potential damage, Parks Canada representative Jennifer said Nicholson.

But the horses, not native to the sandbar and believed to have been brought by European seafarers in the 18th century, have virtually no natural cover on the island.

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“Earning a Living on This Sandbar”: The Hard Life of a Wild Sable Island Horse

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“Over the past two centuries, the horses of Sable Island have adapted remarkably well to their environment. When the weather is bad, the horses act instinctively and seek shelter in groups in the lee of the dunes,” said Nicholson.

Fiona could be “slightly stronger” than 2019’s Hurricane Dorian, Robichaud said. Dorian slammed through Halifax as an intense post-tropical storm, upending trees, cutting power and knocking down a large construction crane.

Environment Canada has issued a storm alert for much of Atlantic Canada, along with parts of Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province. Hurricane Fiona: Sable Island horses likely face severe storm


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