Woodville woman returns home safe after surviving Hurricane Irma

WOODVILLE, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Karli Hollister is counting her blessings after surviving the destruction of Hurricane Irma.

"I don't think anyone expected it to be as severe as it was because it was a record breaking storm" said Hollister.

The 23-year-old from Woodville is a graduate student at The University of the Virgin Islands. She moved to the now disaster-stricken island of St. Thomas at the beginning of August.

"It was definitely scary," said Hollister. "The door was just rattling like someone was trying to break in. And at one point water started coming in the windows and the door."

Karli says she hunkered down for the massive storm at a friend's house and it was unlike anything she'd seen before.

"The best way to describe it is it looked like you were in a car wash for two hours," said Hollister. "Just rain pounding up against the window. Trees were almost at a 90 degree angle just being blown by this wind. It was crazy."

The whole experience was just as nerve-wracking for her mother Cathy who was back home worried sick.

"It was awful," said Karli's mother Cathy. "I just cried. You don't know what you can do. You're helpless."

Fortunately, Karli made it through the storm unharmed but what she saw outside her door was nothing but destruction.

"I was very fortunate that my apartment was OK because two doors down my neighbor lost everything," said Hollister. "All of her windows broken and her mattress was flipped upside down."

After four days of traveling by land and sea, Karli finally arrived home on Saturday.

She says she's eager to get back to school and help others affected by Irma.

"As of now, I think just working online and waiting it out," said Hollister. "That's all I can do."