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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Hurricane Ivan: Your experiences
St George's in Grenada after Hurricane Ivan

The southern US state of Alabama has been hit full-on by Hurricane Ivan.

Ivan pounded a 370-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Florida.

At least 20 people, most of them in Florida, are now known to have died as Hurricane Ivan hit the US.

The Red Cross has launched a $4.8m appeal to help tens of thousands of people made homeless, as a result of Ivan, in the Caribbean.

Are you in the affected areas? What have you done to protect your family and home? Send us your comments and experiences.

Do you have any pictures of your experiences? If so, you can send them to BBC News Online.

The best photos sent to us will be published, so please send us your name, where you live and some brief details about the picture you have sent, along with the topic subject in the email header.

E-mail them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

Your comments:

Some Ivan pictures from the Caribbean island of Grenada

The reach of Ivan is enormous. We usually think of hurricanes dying as they hit the Appalachian Mountains, but there have been tornados in West Virginia and Maryland west of the first ridges. Here in south central Pennsylvania, we have had tornado alerts, high winds and flooding of low lying sections of road.
James Horn, Dallastown PA USA

I am impressed with how well Montgomery fared against Ivan. The city really took it on the chin, so to speak. But the electricity is gradually coming back on. And the damage isn't as severe as after Opal, the last hurricane of that size to come through the city. My personal experience was not at all that bad. Shingles from a roof pelted my car. But I only lost power for about 8 hours. Now the only thing I have to worry about is what to do with the bottled water and dried fruit I bought in anticipation of Ivan the Terrible. Well, that and file an insurance claim.
Robert Weil, Montgomery, AL, USA

Well here we've gotten a lot of rain and there are schools closed. I spoke to my aunt (who lives in Montgomery AL) and she's without power and it'll be for 2 weeks. There is a lot of water and some trees have fallen down. Also before Ivan hit, there was fist fights at 1 or 2 gas stations over a flashlight!
Lisa, Nashville,TN

I've got 6 people stuck inside my tiny apartment, and we're starting to get cabin fever
Suzanne, Atlanta, USA
My parents, grandfather and sister all drove up from Pensacola to escape Ivan. They've finally contacted some neighbours that stuck around, and learned that the house was spared, but the garage is gone, including the car parked inside. It could be worse, though, as the majority of houses on their street have been demolished. I am more affected because I've got 6 people stuck inside my tiny apartment, and we're starting to get cabin fever. Never thought I'd be so happy to come to work today!
Suzanne, Atlanta, USA

Ivan is making his presence known in Huntsville! They tell us the worst won't arrive till after 4pm but already the rain is beating at my window and trees limbs are groaning under the force of the high wind gusts. That is our worst fear-that some of the large limbs could come down on our roof! Hang on to your hats! Ivan is here!
Lark Kephart, Huntsville Alabama, USA

The 100-foot tall trees in my back yard are bending in the wind like a rubber stick. Several 6-inch thick/15-foot long branches have been snapped off like twigs and litter the yard. Three hurricanes in one month in a city that hadn't experienced three hurricanes in the previous 100 years is quite spooky.
JJ, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

What a monster. It's still packing hurricane force winds well inland, and is expected to until it batters Montgomery (200 miles inland.) Afterwards, it will probably set up over eastern Tennessee, where rainfall is expected to exceed 15 inches. If that happens, my house, and more than likely, my entire city, will be under water. This is a real beast of a storm... a classic worst-case scenario in the flesh.
Tom, Scottsboro, Alabama

It's hard to believe that here in the mountains we have had one hurricane and are nervously waiting on the second one (in a two week period). Frances flooded several towns and there are still people without water or homes. Now Ivan is expected to do worse damage. I work in a resort and we have had many cancellations and early departures. my workplace has now been designated a evacuation sight as we have a restaurant and generators etc. We are expecting all this to start in a few hours and the real thing is supposed to be here sometime in the wee hours of Friday and continue into Saturday. My heart and prayers go out to all the people who have been through all the hurricanes this season. God bless you all.
Deidre, South-western North Carolina, USA

My Auntie and Uncle live just a few miles east of Mobile, on the other side of the Mobile River in Baldwin County. I spoke to them last night, and they said they were staying put as they have a generator and supplies. They have already cut down some of the trees surrounding their property. I am concerned for them, as I saw the destruction in Florida following Andrew in 1992. They rang because they were worried that no-one would be able to contact them when my sister-in-law gives birth in a few days.
Kath, Blackpool, UK

This morning I visited a hardware store to buy a new chainsaw
Matt Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia

This morning I visited a hardware store to buy a new chainsaw so, when the storm has passed Mobile, Alabama, I can go to my mom's house and free the property of downed pine trees. Hopefully there will be a house existing. My family is waiting it out 50 miles north of Mobile, Alabama - in a log cabin in the woods - which I fear is not enough. We tried to get them to come to Atlanta to escape Ivan, but the roads were clogged with traffic. Their home is near the town Fairhope on Mobile Bay. We all very seriously doubt that the home will be standing by Thursday afternoon. We have other (stubborn) friends riding out the storm in both Mobile and Fairhope. Can a house withstand gusts of 150 mph? Mobilians still talk of Hurricane Frederic that destroyed south Alabama in 1979 like it was yesterday, and that monster was only 115mph. It's going to be one hell of a night.
Matt Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Our family is not really religious or God fearing but since Ivan hit the Alabama coast on Wednesday night, we sat down before bed and thanked God above for sparing the only life we have
Dawn Rolph, Belle Chasse

My husband and I were one of the first Parishes to be evacuated in LA to await Hurricane Ivan's wrath. We evacuated to Memphis, TN watching the weather channel and CNN expecting the worst weather to hit New Orleans and the lower parishes. Our family is not really religious or God fearing but since Ivan hit the Alabama coast on Wednesday night, we sat down before bed and thanked God above for sparing the only life we have, in our house and neighbourhood. We pray for everyone in Mobile, AL and Biloxi, MS and our hearts go out to everyone there. We support the Red Cross plan to give as much as we can to aid in the repair of the disaster to these cities. Our thoughts and hearts go out to you all. God Bless.
Dawn Rolph, Belle Chasse, LA

My family left New Orleans on Tuesday to go north. It took us 10 hours to get 135 miles because so many people were evacuating. Now we are just hoping that there is not too much flooding when we get home. If there is, then the entire city will be out of commission for who knows how long.
Terri Simon, New Orleans, LA, USA

It's 2030CST here and this storm's really whipping up. 32K people are already without power and the rest of us are waiting! I've clocked wind speeds of over 80 KPH here and it's going to get worse. Our beaches are getting pummelled and flooding is happening. One interesting thing though: We Americans stick together. Wish us luck!
Doug, Pensacola, FL, USA

In New Orleans I 10 is still running in both directions. Our friend spent seven hours on Lake Ponchitrain Bridge, and then turned around and went back to New Orleans because the traffic is so bad. There are thousands of people in New Orleans without cars, and they haven't been given shelters by the government. I don't think New Orleans is very well equipped to prepare for this disaster.
Asa Cairns, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The sheer geographic size of our country makes it possible for many to get out of harm's way
Kris, Arkansas, USA
I spoke to a friend of mine this morning who lives in Hope, Arkansas. She said local hotels were starting to fill up with people from southern Louisiana and that many of the local churches were organizing and preparing meals for these people forced to leave their homes behind them. I live in Little Rock and I know that our local utility companies have crews on stand-by that are ready to go wherever they are needed to help in whatever way they can. The sheer geographic size of our country makes it possible for many to get out of harm's way and for such assistance to be so readily available. As we wait for Ivan to hit, I can only imagine how those on Grenada and in the Cayman Islands and in Cuba and in other areas affected by Ivan felt as they saw the storm coming and had nowhere else to go. My heart goes out to them and to those in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana who do not have a way or the means to get out of the path of the storm.
Kris, Arkansas, USA

Most people didn't realize the severity of Ivan until this morning. Now you cannot find a C or D cell battery anywhere in the state. It's as if the weathermen said the word 'snow' instead!
Carrie, Auburn, Alabama

Some of your pictures of Hurricane Ivan in the Caribbean

While driving to work this morning in Houston, traffic this morning was at a stand still due to the large number of persons fleeing New Orleans and coming into Houston. A normal 30 minute commute became an hour and a half or two hours depending where you were trying to go. Most hotels are sold out here as well.
Tina Qasem, Houston, USA

My sister Gloria called me on the telephone from Mobile, Alabama last evening to tell me that she is flying up here to Ohio for a visit as she doesn't want to take any chances with the hurricane. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Richard, Cleveland, Ohio

Ivan is 500 miles east of my location, and at this time there is a dark blue/purple hue to the sky. The surf is about 1-2 feet higher than normal and is windy here in South Texas. May God protect those who face this storm.
DS Erickson, Corpus Christi, Texas

I'm quickly discovering that I am a "hurricane magnet" I happened to be in Tallahassee when Tropical Storm Bonnie hit there. I rode out Charley here in Orlando. I was assisting some friends in Port St. Lucie a few weeks later and along comes Francis, further south than expected. We thought Ivan was coming to Central Florida, so I went up to my family's home in, would you guess, Pensacola, FL, and now can not get out. This will be my 17th hurricane; I once even went through the same hurricane twice! And now, here comes Jeanne. Do yourself a favour, if you see me coming, run the other way! (We Floridians have no choice but to keep up our humour as we become accustomed to living as if we were in the 19th century.)
Michele Steiling, Orlando, Florida

New Orleans waiting for Ivan - who never came

It's Wednesday morning, 11am central time and the city is very quiet. There are some tourists wandering around and one grocery store is open for one more hour. A curfew has been set for 2 pm central time after which no one is allowed outside. The Superdome is being set up as a special needs emergency shelter meaning if you need electricity to sustain your life, you can go there. The power is expected to go down sometime this evening due to near hurricane force winds. Five to 10 inches of rain are expected throughout the night.

The city which is approximately nine feet below sea level has powerful pumps but they can only pump one inch per hour so some flooding is expected. The mood of those staying is cautious. I will be leaving my house in the Fauberg Marigny district, adjacent to the Quarter, to stay with a friend in the Quarter. The power lines are all underground there making it less likely for the power to go out. People that stay have been advised to get an axe so if we have to flee to an attic we can chop our way to the roof. Apparently this is how people drown in floods.
Rick Baxter, New Orleans, USA

Everyone is already stocking up, and some folks are getting out
Boris, New Orleans, USA (UK)
I'm just outside New Orleans and everyone is already stocking up, and some folks are getting out. Unfortunately, I was due to fly out Thursday, but it looks like I'm stuck for now. However I'm going to hunker down with friends and wait everything out.
Boris, New Orleans, USA (UK)

Here in Atlanta we'll get flooding and power outages if the storm turns east. With Ivan about to hit warmer water, it appears that the Gulf Coast is in for a rough ride starting Wednesday. Here's hoping my friends in New Orleans didn't drink too many hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's last night!
Greg Burton, Atlanta, GA ,USA

We're all reading Mark Reed's British bestseller Something Different while trying to keep calm and survive Hurricane
Don Galloway, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Well, we are braced. My flatmates have evacuated, but I decided to brave it out... to hunker down and hope for the best. Keep your fingers crossed that they are right and Ivan's going to avoid New Orleans. I am not sure we could survive a direct hit, since we are already below sea level here. Fingers crossed!
Heidi, New Orleans, LA, USA

I live twenty miles East of Pensacola Florida. I will be on the intense side of the storm. Everything is in readiness. Generators, gas stove and wind-up radio. I have fingers crossed and will attempt to update.
Colin, Milton, USA

House boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Ivan (Pic: Alex, Metairie, LA, USA)
Alex spent 10 hours preparing for Hurricane Ivan's arrival
We've just spent the last 10 hours moving all the pool furniture into the garage and boarding up the house. We're now packing up our important stuff to take to Houston at 4am. If we get hit head on, New Orleans will be under 12ft of water.
Alex, Metairie, LA, USA

Still without any power or water from hurricane Frances here, and our leaders here have done one miserable job of helping people. Ivan is sending its outer bands to us and with all the major damages from Frances, the thousands of homes without a roof will now suffer much more damage from water. The West coast here is bracing for a category 5 landing. Here we are expecting 30 to 50km winds. Florida is virtually one major disaster area from top to bottom. Sadly, here there is way too much politics involved with the recovery.

The rich city's like Palm Beach where much political money comes from get the best of help, while places like my city has been left to fend for ourselves virtually. If the local politicians had been more co-operative with the state leadership, we would have been helped quicker. Instead we are in the process of losing our businesses and homes and no-one hears the cries of the little guys who struggled day to day to pay their high taxes here. Even the illegal migrant workers will be getting help quicker than we taxpaying people and the headline today is how the taxes will go higher now that we've been struck down by these three hurricanes. Only in America.
Peter, Port St Lucie, Florida, USA

I await Ivan, the third hurricane within a month to aim for my state. As I write this, the predicted path is moving away from my town. I am grateful, not just to avoid the destruction, but to enjoy the easing of anxiety. There has been such a level of general, shared stress in the last week that I was not surprised to see local emergency centres offer a toll free phone number for counselling. It is a consuming panic, making people hang onto the internet for news, checking and comparing prediction maps. I don't believe I've ever shared an obsession with so many others before! How is it that we (that is, people who live in the tropics) have endured for so long? Hurricanes are not new. For centuries they must have battered the Caribbean islands and Florida, even before we had the Sanford-Simpson scale or tri-coloured maps. It is an amazement and a testament to the wonders of a tropical landscape, that nature always recoups.
Cathy Lucrezi, Fort Myers, Florida, USA

Nature at her worst. What upsets me is that they name these destructive killing Hurricanes after people's names. Can't they call them by a number rather? Why should any name be used and referred to as Ivan the terrible?
Mike Crake, Johannesburg, South Africa

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