FLORIDA - Many Floridians are leaving the state to avoid Hurricane Irma. Some of them are traveling to East Tennessee.
“As soon as I get the word ‘go,’ I’ll just throw stuff in a bag and go,” said Susan Puckett, who lives about forty minutes outside of Pensacola.
Puckett said she has several evacuation plans: go to Alabama, go to Atlanta, or stay with her parents in Tellico Village.
“My dad had my mother call me at 7:30 this morning and say, ‘Get out of there!’ And now on Facebook I got friends saying, ‘You need to leave,’” Puckett said.
On the other side of Florida, some people have already started driving north and inland.
Kimber Rose left her condo in Daytona Beach Shores to go to her daughter’s home in Sevierville. 10News spoke with her while she was driving north on I-95 in South Carolina on Wednesday.
“When I saw the notice last night, I said, ‘Yep, I’m leaving tomorrow,’” Rose said.
Rose packed all the important things in a hurry: her Bible, pictures of her kids and grandkids and her laptop. Then she stopped at the grocery store.
“Where I stopped at the Winn-Dixie on my way home, all the shelves of water were gone,” Rose said. “The gas lines are crazy.”
People in Florida or on coastal states could be heading inward to Tennessee like Rose or Puckett. That means there could be more cars on the interstates. TDOT says it watches the weather and takes note of when more people are traveling.
“The biggest thing that we advise folks to do is to make sure that their plans are as safe as they can be,” TDOT spokesperson Mark Nagi said.
Nagi said drivers can get road updates online through the TDOT Smartway System at smartway.tn.gov.
“Keep an eye on where that weather plan is going from. Keep an eye on those road conditions,” Nagi said.
In the meantime, Puckett assured her friends and family she won’t wait too long to head inland.
“As soon as we get a word of what it’s going to look like this way, I’ll make a decision,” Puckett said. “I won’t, like, wait till the last minute.”
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