Hurricane Hugo

Safe to come out when the cows come home

There have been many stories about animals sensing danger and knowing in advance about approaching storms, etc. I think I witnessed an example of this when Hurricane Hugo came across our dairy farm in Lower Richland. I was awakened at 2 a.m. by the howling of the wind as the first part of the hurricane passed. I dressed and went to our milking barn to help with the milking operation. We had done as much as possible the night before by attaching a tractor to our electric generator in case of a power outage. By this time everything was quiet and we apparently in the “eye”.

My employee and I went out to the corral to bring cows in to milk but there were no cows to be seen. The cows (150) had apparently gone to a heavily wooded area of the pasture (1/4 mile away) where they were safe. The corral where they normally would have been was heavily damaged with pieces of roofing and timbers littering the entire area. By that time the backside of the hurricane had arrived and Bill (employee) and I went into my office to wait for the hurricane to pass. When the meteorologist on the radio said it was safe we went out to look for the cows thinking that those that weren’t dead or injured would be scattered all over Lower Richland.

LO and BEHOLD!!! They were calmly standing in the corral, chewing their cuds, waiting to be milked. By that time it was at least an hour past their milking time and they were anxious “to get the job done.” I firmly believe their instincts told them the corral was a dangerous place to be during the hurricane and when it passed it was safe to come back to be milked.

-- Sam McGregor, Hopkins