More than 2,000 horses evacuated as US owners prepare for Hurricane Ian

  • More than 2,000 horses have been evacuated in Florida as owners prepare for the arrival of “extremely dangerous” Hurricane Ian.

    The “life-threatening storm surge” made landfall over Cuba around 4.30am EDT (9.30am UK time) this morning (27 September) and forecasters predict it will continue over Florida today, making its way up the east coast until Friday evening (30 October).

    At present Hurricane Ian is category three and could bring winds of up to 115mph and up to 24 inches of rain in isolated parts of the state. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said hurricane-force winds are expected in southwest and west-central Florida beginning Wednesday morning local time (28 September) with tropical storm conditions expected by evening.

    Heavy rainfall is expected to increase across the Florida Keys and south Florida, spreading into central and northern Florida, into the southeast coast by Thursday and Friday. This is likely to cause flash, urban and small stream flooding. Considerable flooding is expected across central Florida into southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina, with widespread, prolonged moderate to major river flooding expected.

    The World Equestrian Center in Ocala, northern Florida, has taken in more than 2,000 evacuated horses – but has now reached capacity.

    US Equestrian (USEF) told H&H it is “closely monitoring” the evolving situation and the potential impact on horses in Florida.

    “We applaud the efforts of the World Equestrian Center who have generously opened their facility for more than 2,000 horses in need of housing. The equestrian community always comes together in times of need,” said the spokesman.

    “USEF is prepared to activate the USEF disaster relief fund and provide resources immediately to non-profit organisations to fund supplies and horse care where needed. We will continue to accept donations to support the USEF Disaster Relief Fund today and in the future.”

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