Hurricane Katrina evacuee in East Ala. shares story as tropical storm makes landfall

Hurricane Katrina evacuee in East Ala. shares story as tropical storm makes landfall

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - A Hurricane Katrina evacuee now living in East Alabama is preparing for the remnants of Hurricane Sally in the Chattahoochee Valley.

She’s shared her experiences with Katrina and gave some advice for those now facing the storm.

Fifteen years ago, at just nine years old, Emily Strickland and her family fled her home in D’Iberville, Mississippi because of Hurricane Katrina

“A lot of what I was feeling was just bewilderment that a force of nature could just take a whole house and a whole city and flatten it," she said.

The family eventually settled in Opelika for good after their home was destroyed and rebuilding their lives once again along the coast felt too painful.

“[We were] realizing nothing from then on was going to be the same,” Strickland said.

Now as the rain and winds of Hurricane Sally pound the Chattahoochee Valley, Strickland is sharing her story, hoping to keep others safe.

“As long as you have a good plan, a safety plan for you and your friends and family, a plan for your animals, for sure, and you stick to that plan, everything will be okay,” she said.

Knowing the power of flooding firsthand after her home was picked up by the floodwaters and dropped in the middle of the street, Strickland shared the importance of being careful as water rises.

“It’s kind of scary,” she said. “I know what the flooding can do. Sometimes it can do way worse than what the wind can do.”

During Tropical Storm Sally, East Alabama officials are urging people to stay home and avoid driving because of the potential for flooding, as well as trees and more.

“Stay off the roads into Thursday morning," said Lee County EMA director, Rita Smith. "Just leave it for first responders. [That will] prevent you from going off a road that could be possibly flooded. We don’t want you doing that.”

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