KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida early Wednesday morning flooding streets toppling trees, and causing power outages for hundreds of thousands. One Knoxville native recently moved to Tampa, which was the first big city to feel the hit. She is sharing her experience with the storm.
“I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, and spent almost 25 years there. I went to Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, went to the University of Tennessee for my undergrad, and then I stayed another two years and got my master’s,” said Bailey Alexander.
She recently got a job at the University of South Florida and moved to Tampa three months ago.
“Honestly I’ve been joking about it with everyone the past few days that I was the Tennessee girl,” she explained. “We are used to severe thunderstorms and tornados. Not hurricanes and floods. So honestly I should have been a little bit more prepared.”
Her work closed for the past two days and it was actually her boss who told her she needed to get supplies and be ready to settle in for a few days.
“I parked at the farthest point you can park away, I went in and it was honestly like a movie,” she said. “They were not even stocking the shelves. They were just dropping pallets of water in the middle of aisles. People were like climbing on the water trying to get cases.”
Alexander lives in Northern Tampa and said they were under a tornado watch until 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“We honestly just sat on the couch last night and watched the radar. I went to bed at like 11 after we got the 11 p.m. update, slept, and then at 2 o’clock we started getting really bad winds and the rain was just beating against the window. So I actually woke up to that,” she said.
Her apartment is okay but she said just a few miles down the road, streets, hotels, and homes are underwater.
“For all the Tennessee people, until you’re actually here, it’s kind of the same way if a tornado hits in Tennessee, until you see it or have actually been a part of it, you don’t really fully understand.” Alexander added, “I think definitely just keeping those people in your thoughts and prayers.”
The hurricane made landfall as a category three hurricane with winds gusting up to 120 miles per hour in some parts.