Hurricane Dorian evacuees seek shelter in the Tri-Cities

Local

BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) In the coming days, more than 20 million people could be impacted by the wrath of Hurricane Dorian.

Many of them are listening to those evacuation warnings and heading to safer ground.

For the second year in a row, Harry and Donna Harrison have found themselves back in the Tri-Cities and at the Lake View RV Park to flee the wrath of another Florida Hurricane.

“This one is stronger to start with than Michael,” Harry Harrison said.

As Hurricane Dorian continues to keep its eye on the Sunshine State, many Floridians are flocking to the Tri-Cities for shelter.

He said, “When Dorian started coming, we decided we weren’t going to go through that again, so we went ahead and left before they decided exactly what it was going to be.”

Harry and Donna Harrison plan to stay at the Lake View RV Park for at least a week. Another couple is expected to arrive later this week.

“Here it is a year later, we decided that we didn’t want to live through that storm again so we went ahead and left. So, we’ll see what’s going to happen with this one,” he said.

Harrison recalled what it was like when Hurricane Michael hit in October of 2018, when he and his wife Donna were in Panama City. Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered the worst of Michael.

“When we did get to our house, there was glass everywhere. Water had broken out the windows. Water had been in the house and the roof was torn up, garage door busted,” Harrison explained. “Had to call the insurance. Of course they come out and do their thing then the problem began to find people to do it because there was just a limited number of people there to do the work.”

Hurricane Dorian went from being a category 4 hurricane to a 5 and then back down to 4 and is still barreling through the Bahamas.

Harry and Donna left Panama City before the evacuation announcements were announced.

“Your life is more valuable than trying to stay there and protect what you own. Your valuables are not that big of a deal when you’re talking your life,” Donna Harrison said.

The couple, originally from Bristol, moved to Florida due to Harry’s involvement in the Air Force in the 1980s. They later moved to Loxahatchee, Florida because they enjoyed the warmer weather. They eventually retired, years later and moved to Panama City.

Donna Harrison said, “We went around in the RV for a little over a year and decided well, okay, we’re ready to settle down again and wound up in Panama City. We didn’t know Michael was coming!”

Now the couple is reconsidering calling the Sunshine State home because parts of the state are still recovering from 2018’s Hurricane Michael.

“There’s still a lot of work to do. There’s still a lot of damaged houses, a lot of people that don’t have a home, out of a job, Harry said.

The couple said if another hurricane makes landfall this time next year, they may even make plans to return to their hometown of the Tri-Cities for good.

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