Florida Woman Lived Through Hurricane Donna, Now Hunkering Down For Irma

8AM Hurricane Irma Update

Dorothy Swafford is no stranger to big hurricanes.

The Florida native lived through one of the most famous storms in the state's history.

"I remember sleeping with my head in my mother's lap while she kept watch all night in case we had to run for our lives," Swafford said.

She's talking about Hurricane Donna - which made landfall on this day 57 years ago. It remains the only storm to bring hurricane force winds to Florida, the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

"I just remember in the night the sound of the wind as of a train coming through," Swafford said."The next morning when we went out, it was so clear, and sunny and beautiful. There were only a few small branches in the street. So small that I as a small child could pick them up."

She said there weren't shelters available for her in those days. Now, years later, Swafford -- who lives in the Valrico area -- is hunkering down for another big one: Irma.

"We took Bobby Deskins' advice and prepared the best we could and now we are hunkered down at home," Dorothy said.

In a custom-built 2005 home, Dorothy will wait for Irma to pass with her husband and teenage twin boys.

"Yes, I do feel safe," she said.

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