Ivan the Indestructible Strikes the Southeast

By Jillian Milam
September 23, 2004

Lori Iannella

Early Thursday morning, Sept. 16, 2004, hurricane Ivan swept through Alabama, resulting in at least 12 deaths. The storm hit land East of Mobile Bay in Alabama at 1:50 a.m. as a Category 3 hurricane with 130 mph winds, according to CNN.

The storm created catastrophic tornadoes, which served as a major threat to everyone in the area. Regions from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle were in danger from the deadly combination of torrential rain, strong winds, crashing waves and turbulent tornadoes.

Although the hurricane was tragic and powerful, people that live near the Gulf Coast were expecting worse. They worked hard and diligently in order to protect their houses and property, but fortunately the damage was not as terrible as they were anticipating.

One resident decided to wait out the storm with his relatives in Mobile, Ala. “We had some trees down in our yard and roof damage. Other than that, we came out pretty good,” describes Marc Oliver, a 38 year old resident of Mobile.

Of course, many went without power because of Ivan, which caused major tribulations. There were an estimated 260,000 homes and businesses without power in the state of Alabama alone. In Louisiana, 36,500 endured the powerless time, while numbers reached up to 70,000 in the state of Mississippi, according to the Canadian Press.

As if hurricane Frances wasn’t devastating enough for Florida, they got hit with the new storm, with waves reaching up to 26ft. The desolation of hurricane Frances alone was very difficult for Leigh Bowes, a sophomore here at Cabrini, to cope. “I felt helpless knowing that my parents were in the direct line of hurricane Frances. Then to find out my mother’s nursing home was told to evacuate, which resulted in my parents getting split up during the storm, really worried me. I was also nervous knowing that my dad was at the house by himself trying to take care of my elderly grandfather.”

The worst part about it, she said, was that, “My aunt’s house was totally destroyed. She said she could see the sky from her bedroom.” Bowes’ aunt has been forced to live at the place where she works, and will soon be moving into the house with her grandfather.

Like Mrs. Bowes’ nursing home that was heavily affected by Frances, a nursing home in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., experienced six patients in desperate need of oxygen, since they lost their generator power due to Ivan. In order to help these patients, an emergency service squad forced their way through 145 miles per hour gusts of wind in order to get portable oxygen tanks to the nursing home, stated the Canadian Press.

According to CNN, President Bush declared Mississippi a major disaster area, making available federal funding and aid to residents. Alabama was also announced to be a disaster area on Wednesday, Sept. 15 by Gov. Bob Riley. Florida Gov. Bush, brother of President Bush, made the state the third to be signed as a disaster declaration.

Although people are still recovering from the catastrophes left behind by Frances, hurricane Ivan is sweeping through the south, destroying anything in its path. While some people say it was not as bad as expected, hurricane watchers warn that the worst might have yet to come.

Posted to the Web by Lori Iannella

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Jillian Milam

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