November 17, 2009
The sturdy Chincoteaque ponies of the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore weathered last week's tropical storm, but their habitat took a beating.
The 150 ponies on Assateague Island sought high ground on Thursday and Friday when winds and rain lashed the barrier island, felling trees, moving tons of sands and flooding parking lots.
Thousands of tires from an artificial reef were also blown to shore.
Michael Dixon of the Chincoteague National Refuge said the Virginia half of the island has been closed since Thursday night while officials assess the damage. A partial opening is expected Wednesday.
Each July the wild ponies swim the 200-yard channel between Assateague Island and Chincoteague.