Texas family evacuates to East Tennessee due to Hurricane Harvey

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Spending the afternoon at a park in Sevierville wasn’t on this family’s plan a week ago.

Ashlee Smith and her two young boys, ages 6-years and 18-months, evacuated to East Tennessee because of Hurricane Harvey.

“I’ve had people go to my house and put sandbags in front of doors, doing everything they possibly can to keep water from coming in the house,” said Smith.

Smith lives in Vidor, Texas. She still has family in town, who chose to stay and have since been told not to evacuate but to find safe housing. She says she has family staying in hotels nearby on the third floor or above.

More: Ways East Tennesseans can help Hurricane Harvey victims

“A lot of family and friends around us they’ve been canoeing in their yards. I’ve had people go to my house and put sandbags in front of doors, doing everything they possibly can to keep water from coming in the house.”

Smith has evacuated for storms before, but never as a parent. She says she remembers hurricane season as a child. It was a time for a “vacation” and school was canceled.

“I’m trying not to think about it because once I get there I won’t be able to think about anything else. I’m just trying to let the kids enjoy their time here, I’m trying to enjoy it myself. Then once I get home and see where I’m at, then I’ll start worrying about it. I don’t want to worry about tomorrow, today.”  said Smith.

She moved to East Tennessee during high school, attending school at both Sevierville High School and Pigeon Forge High School. She moved back to Texas two years ago.

“I do not know what I’m going to go home to. Unfortunately, having insurance on your home does not cover flood insurance,” said Smith.

Smith says she has insurance, but it doesn’t cover flooding. She’s still waiting to see just how much more rain really falls and how it will affect her home. She says she doesn’t know when she will go back to Texas, because she wants it to be safe for her family.

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