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Although campgrounds in several southeastern states closed down in Hurricane Ivan’s wake, Kentucky’s Department of Parks announced a discount for those impacted by the storm, Parks Commissioner George Ward said today (Sept. 17).
The discount, effective Friday through Sunday night, is $10 per night for lodge accommodations at any of 17 resort campgrounds. “These reductions are our way of expressing our support for our neighbors, including fellow Kentuckians, who may go through a difficult time in the next several days,” Ward said.
Since midweek, evacuees were also finding safe harbor at private campgrounds in neighboring states like Mississippi and along the Louisiana bayou. The Delta Democrat reported that Roy’s Cabins, near Greenville, Miss., provided a temporary home for some 150 coastal residents, many of them traveling in recreational vehicles. A few miles away, another 150 people have found refuge at LeRoy Percy State Park near Hollandale.
Ivan, which came ashore in Mobile, Ala., and proceeded on a northeasterly track, has been identified as the deadliest U.S. hurricane since Floyd in 1999. In all, the hurricane was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and on at least 33 in the U.S., 14 of them in Florida, as of Friday afternoon.
Ivan weakened after coming ashore, but continued to spin off tornados and caused flooding across the South, already soggy after Hurricanes Charley and Frances. Up to 9 inches of rain fell on parts of Georgia. Several other states have received heavy rains and flooding from Ivan that shut down campgrounds, including North Carolina and Tennessee.
The Cherokee National Forest closed recreation areas, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park blocked off secondary roads and lesser-used campgrounds. The U.S. Forest Service in Asheville, N.C., closed all campgrounds, picnic areas, trails and public forest roads in the 1.1 million-acre Pisgah and Nantahala national forests through the weekend. All 11 state parks in the western part of the state have been closed, including Crowders Mountain, Lake Norman and Morrow Mountain.
Insurance experts put Ivan’s damage at anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion. Hurricanes Charley and Frances, which hit Florida last month, had combined estimated insured damages of about $11 billion to $13 billion.