Florida residents evacuating, others staying put as Irma approaches

Knowing the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic will soon show up is a scary reality for both Johnson and Rogers to face.

As Hurricane Irma batters the Caribbean and shifts towards the Florida coast, Floridians like Katie Johnson aren't taking any chances.
 
"It was a really hard decision, but I decided that at about 5:00 this morning that I was going to evacuate," Johnson said. 
 
Johnson is from West Palm Beach. She is currently on the road to her in-laws in Georgia. Johnson says heading north is slow-and-go. 
 
"The traffic on 95, I-95, it took me about six hours to do a drive that would normally take about three and a half," Johnson said. 
 
On top of that, stopping and filling up on gas is proving to be another hassle. 
 
"Going to the gas tank, if you're still in South Florida is a frenzy," Johnson said. "Every gas station you pass, they're either out of gas or there are lines of traffic that end up into the roadways leading into the gas station."
 
The entire state of Florida is on edge tonight, after the category 5 storm ripped away homes and left devastation in the Caribbean. At least 10 people are dead.
 
More than half-a-million people in Miami-Dade County have been ordered to leave. Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking everyone to heed their warnings, but also remain calm. 
 
"It's frustrating. You just have to be patient. Evacuations are not convenient. They are meant to keep you safe," Scott said. 
 
Nadine Rogers lives in Miami Lakes, Florida. For now, she plans on sticking it out. 
 
"I think I'm in Zone D. They evacuated zones A, B and part of C. So, I mean, I have Hurricane windows and doors. I gassed up. We have the recommended supplies," Rogers said.
 
From the hardware stores, to the supermarket, Rogers says she is noticing people throughout her community panic, but also prepare for the storm. 
 
"I haven't met anyone that's laid back. No one. Not even at the pharmacy. At the grocery store. No one," Rogers said. 
 
Not only is she worried about the storm, but she is also worried about her family in Haiti. 
 
"As far as we know, everyone is okay, but the place is in disarray. It never really recovered from the earthquake. My uncle and his wife were just able to start rebuilding. Cause his house was totally gone. So now to hear that this hurricane, it's very concerning," Rogers said. 
 
Knowing the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic will soon show up is a scary reality for both Johnson and Rogers to face. 
 
"Some people are really stressed out. You're seeing the worst of people and the best of people right now," Johnson said. 
 
More than 6 million people are being targeted the most by Hurricane Irma. In the state of Louisiana, 1.9 million people evacuated for Hurricane Katrina.
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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