Tropical Storm Isaac Drenches Florida, Threatens Gulf States

Tropical Storm Isaac blew across Florida this past weekend before turning westward to threaten the Gulf coast. But so far the storm has not forced widespread horse evacuations.

On Aug. 26 Tropical Storm Isaac slammed into the Florida Peninsula packing 35 to 45 mile per hour winds and driving rains. Isaac caused extensive flooding at the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Miami-Dade County, but the organization's president, Jeanette Jordan, said the heavy weather did not force them to evacuate the 60 horses residing at the facility.

"Isaac is as big as the whole state of Texas, and on Sunday we caught the bands of storm," Jordan said. "The pastures are all flooded, but we fed everybody and checked on everybody and they are all doing fine."

By early Monday (Aug. 27), the worst of the storm was gone but the wind and rain persisted, Jordan said.

"We have some clearing, then almost without warning, the wind and the rain come up again," Jordan said. "It's not over, but it's not dangerous."

Meanwhile, horse owners in Louisiana and Mississippi await Isaac's arrival. On Aug. 24 Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, DVM, issued a written statement advising horse owners waste no time making plans to relocate animals to less flood-prone areas of their properties, or to arrange storm shelter for their animals elsewhere.

"If this storm threatens Louisiana and you live in a low-lying area where flooding could be a possibility, it is imperative you make arrangements ahead of time and know where you are going with those animals," Strain said.

In Mississippi, Ronnie White, emergency coordinator for the Mississippi Board of Animal Health, said evacuated horses began arriving at the Mississippi State Fair Grounds in Jackson on Sunday

"We have 18 horses there now, and I expect there will be more horses evacuated to the state's several Agri-Centers as the storm gets closer," White said.

The National Weather Service predicts that Isaac will make landfall near New Orleans, La., late Tuesday (Aug. 28) or early Wednesday (Aug. 29) as a Category 2 hurricane. Louisiana and Mississippi are expected to bear the brunt of the storm. Alabama could experience some Isaac-related weather, but not the hurricane force storms that were predicted originally, said Brad Hall, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

"We won't take a direct hit from Isaac, but we are on the lookout for tornadoes," Hall said. "Right now, people are waiting to see what happens."

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.