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9th Anniversary of Hurricane Ivan
GULF SHORES, Ala. (WPMI) It's been nine years since Hurricane Ivan decimated parts of the Gulf Coast. Ivan, a category three hurricane, washed ashore back in 2004.
It killed more than 92 people and caused more than $18 billion in damage.
Ivan's storm surge topped at 14-foot waves in some areas along the coast. The eye of the storm, its landfall, was in Gulf Shores.
The Todd family remembers coming home after evacuating.
"Everything was flattened. Everything was gone. We didn't know if our house was still going to be there," said April Todd.
Ivan's inland flooding made headlines nationwide as zoo keepers at the Gulf Shores Zoo were forced to evacuate animals to higher ground. Cindy Johnson was there.
"The tidal surge of Hurricane Ivan was the largest they had ever seen since Hurricane Camille, I think," said Johnson.
The zoo is still seeking higher ground. The long range plan is to move the zoo onto donated land just north of where it is now. Original plans for a larger zoo have changed, at least for now.
"We are going to move and our little zoo is still going to be the same quaint little zoo it's always been. It'll be small and close up to the animals. Very intimate," said Johnson.
At City Hall there's a binder outlining the lessons learned after Ivan, including managing a hurricane during and after are key elements. After Ivan the city weathered a legal battle with FEMA but won in the end.
"Eleven million dollars. It was a lawsuit filed by FEMA against the city for repayment for monies that were paid to us originally and then recanted. FEMA saying no they should not have been paid to us," said Grant Brown with the City of Gulf Shores.
For folks living in Gulf Shores, Ivan is the one to learn from. It's also the one to forget.
"And it looked like a big saw blade just coming straight for us and it was really scary," said Todd.