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Fleeing Florida as Irma Approaches

September 7th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Traffic in North Florida is picking up as tourists head home early and Floridians decide not to go through another storm. Gas, even in north Florida is in short supply.

This gas station was a beehive of activity early Wednesday.

We found motorist Ted Mack filling up. “I’ve got three quarters of a tank. Just topping it off” he told us.

Long lines are common at most stations in the state Capitol as residents prepare for the worst.

Banker Bill Moore drove from station to station until he found one without a long line.

“Everybody I drive by, there is a huge line out there. thirty minute wait” say Moore.

On interstate Ten, traffic was heavier than usual. We met tourists cutting their vacations short.

“We are leaving early because of it” says Helen Armstrong.

And we met long time residents on their way to what they hope will be safer ground.

DeuWayne Wibben retired to Clerawater from Wisconsin.

“We’re from Clearwater, Florida headed to Huntsville, Alabama.”

“And why?”

“To avoid the storm.”

“Getting out while the getting’s good?”

“Exactly” Wibble told us.

Hoping to beat the traffic, Jill and Doug Berlet left Naples at 4am. They’re heading for Montogomery Alabama.

“Why Montogomery? Got friends there?”

“No, no, actually all the hotels on the 75 corridor all the way to Atlanta, booked solid. Booked solid. Every one of them” said doug.

“And when we watched the Weather Channel, it kept trying to hook right, so we figured, we’ll hook left” says Jill.

And the one thing just about every motorist had in common? They worry about the gas supply. Or as one motorist put it, A half a tank is the new empty.

And Sharon, who didn’t want her last name on TV, was behind the wheel of this motor home.

“I was on Sanibel when Charlie came. I learn easy. I don’t learn hard.”

And the traffic and gas supply are only expected to get worse if more evacuations are ordered.

The State’s price gouging hot line is receiving a steady steam of complaints about higher prices on gas, water, and the supplies.

 

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