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3 Cows Survived Hurricane Dorian by Swimming 2 to 4 Miles

Animals
3 Cows Survived Hurricane Dorian by Swimming 2 to 4 Miles
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.


The cows were part of a herd of around 20 wild cattle that grazed on North Carolina's Cedar Island, The Charlotte Observer explained. But the herd, along with much of the wildlife on the island, was swept up in an eight-foot "mini tsunami" generated by the hurricane on Sept. 6. It was believed that the cows perished, but then three of them were spotted on Cape Lookout National Seashore on the Outer Banks.

"It's a tremendous story of how they made it," park spokesman B.G. Horvat told The New York Times. "If the cows could talk, imagine the story they can tell you of enduring that rush of water. That must be incredible."

Horvat told McClatchy news service the cows may have swam four miles across Core Sound to reach the park, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Horvat gave differing accounts to The New York Times and McClatchy news service as to when the cows were first spotted in the park. He told The New York Times that the first cow was spotted Sept. 7, the day after the storm, and that the other two were spotted three weeks later. However, he told McClatchy that the first cow was seen a month after the storm and the second pair in the last two weeks, The Charlotte Observer reported.

A picture of the cows has now been posted on Facebook, according to The Guardian.

"Ever since they found each other, they have been hanging out together," Horvat told The New York Times. "They are just grazing on the North Core Island."

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 1 storm, where it caused heavy rains and flooding, BBC News reported. One of its impacts was the "mini tsunami" that swept the cows out to sea, The Charlotte Observer explained:

The hurricane pushed water into coastal bays, creeks and rivers, and all that storm surge rushed back toward the Outer Banks as the winds shifted, experts say. The resulting "wall of water" hit not only Cedar Island, but caused devastating floods on Ocracoke Island and ripped up sections of the coastal highway, NC. 12, the Charlotte Observer reported in September.

An undisclosed number of wild horses from Cedar Island were found dead on Cape Lookout beaches after the storm, and video surfaced on social media of one allegedly seen floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

The surviving cows were identified by Woody Hancock, who cared for them on Cedar Island, according to The New York Times.

The park has now set a 30-day deadline for someone to submit a plan to return the cows to their home, The Charlotte Observer reported. If no one volunteers, the park will form a plan.

However, Nena Hancock, who lost 28 of her Cedar Island horses to the storm, told The New York Times that she and her husband Woody would be willing to help.

"We will be more than glad," she said. "We would be willing to help when that decision is made."

Hurricane Dorian arrived in North Carolina after devastating the Bahamas, where it killed dozens, according to BBC News, and caused a "humanitarian crisis.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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