River Region remembers Hurricane Ivan

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This weekend, many of you are reflecting on the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan that crashed Alabama's coast seven years ago. It was September 16th, 2004 when that powerful hurricane category three turned life upside down for many Alabamians. A former American Red Cross worker still vividly remembers.

"Hearing the wind howling, a sound that you never imagined and there's a lot of memories," Former American Red Cross Volunteer Shelter Manager Eddie Lewis said.

Andalusia resident Eddie Lewis remembers it like it was yesterday.

"8 o'clock that night we lost total power and was in total darkness," Lewis said.

During Ivan, Lewis was the volunteer American Red Cross shelter manager in evergreen which he says housed the most Ivan storm victims in the state at an elementary school packed with 480 adults and children.

"And pieces of roof leaving and you could hear it in the building was quite an eventful moment in my life," Lewis said.

No deaths were reported in the state but the storm did major damage along Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. 60 mile per hour winds were reported as far inland as Montgomery and 90 mile per hour winds were clocked in Demopolis. Ivan generated eight tornadoes that ripped through the state and the River Region.

"There's buildings that collapsed on people. There were ongoing rescues on the highway; a lot of heroism that night," Lewis said.

Never forgetting, learning and preparing for the next storm.

WSFA 12 News will never forget Hurricane Ivan. We went on air Wednesday night September 15th, 2004 at 10 p.m. and stayed on air until 6:30 p.m. the next evening. Many news team members didn't leave the station and some even helped with the 24-hour action line phone bank.

Ivan was the sixth most intense hurricane on record when it made landfall.

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