Irma swirls over south Georgia retirement home bearing her name

LAKELAND, GA (WBTV) - When Irma reached south Georgia, she may have already lost her Hurricane crown, but a drive down Highway 129 revealed flooding and debris just about everywhere.

But in Lakeland, Georgia, people were hoping Irma would dance right past a certain place.

Inside the Lake Irma Retirement Home, nine residents braced for a storm with a familiar name. Gloria Rowan couldn't believe the irony when she heard the storm's name.

"I thought Hell was coming," she said.

Rowan was more than relieved when staff told her she wouldn't have to evacuate.

"This is home and if it's going to go. I'm going to go with it," she said.

Monday morning, the storm swirled overhead and Rowan hunkered down inside, listening to winds howl.

"It sounded like a 747 taking off," she said.

The petite and soft-spoken 67-year-old was asked if she was scared. Her answer was unexpected.

"I've lived through it. My mobile home got destroyed about 30 years ago in straight line winds. It just went up in the air about 45 foot and turned over and exploded," she said.

Ms. Gloria saw everything she owned disappear that day.

"It was just completely demolished," she said.

As for rebuilding her life, she said it never really happened.

"Really I never have. I haven't gotten over it yet," she said.

When you've been through the storm before, it sticks with you. And inside Lake Irma lives a woman as strong as the winds that were whipping outside.

"Nothing scares me anymore," Gloria said.

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