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In Savannah, a final push to leave ahead of Hurricane Irma

SAVANNAH - Trina Greene barely made it through Hurricane Matthew. She wasn’t taking any chances with Hurricane Irma.

“I went through Matthew and it almost killed me,” said Greene, who packed up her one-eyed cat, Kitty, and headed to the Savannah Civic Center to catch a bus out of town. “She’s the only thing that was saved, besides my life.”

Greene was fast asleep when Matthew came pounding through in October 2016.

“Thank you Jesus, God woke me up and told me to run,” she recalled. “I ran into the hallway and the roof collapsed.”

Moments after she’d been stirred from sleep, two trees came crashing down on what had been her bedroom, she said. Four frantic hours later, she found Kitty, who had devised a safety plan of her own.

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“She was in the washing machine!” Green said. 

MORE: 

Many on Tybee just cleaned up from Matthew. Now here comes Irma

There’s a copy of the U.S. Constitution in Savannah. Don’t worry, it’s safe from Hurricane Irma

More than 6 million people are under order to evacuate.

With Irma still days out, early forecasts suggested another direct hit to Georgia’s coast. Even more worrisome, it was initially feared to arrive in Category 3 strength. Matthew was a Category 2 that weakened to a Category 1 as it made landfall.

Even with Irma tracking much farther west than initially forecast, Savannah and Tybee, its low-lying barrier island neighbor, are preparing for damage, power outages and especially flooding.

At a hotel across the street from the Civic Center, guests have been warned to fill their bathtubs ahead of the storm, so their toilets will flush, and to expect to be in the dark for a while if the power goes out.

Shae Goode evacuated from Savannah after first evacuating from Florida. She, her brother Darien Popovitch and her dogs Luna Jo and Diesel set out on Friday from Daytona Beach, Fla., bound for her grandparents' home in Pennsylvania. They made it as far as Savannah when their truck broke down and ended up at the Savannah Civic Center, hoping to leave again.

"We got told by cops we can come to a shelter with our dogs,” she said. Indeed, there’s a separate sign-in area for people leaving with pets. “I refuse to leave my dogs behind."

Trina Greene's one-eyed cat, Kitty, devised a clever safety plan during Hurricane Matthew, hiding in the washing machine. This time she and Trina evacuated. Photo: Jennifer Brett

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