Irma evacuees settling into metro Atlanta

Thousands are fleeing the storm's path.

ATLANTA - Metro Atlanta has filled up quickly with evacuees from the coasts of Florida and Georgia – seeking to escape the devastation forecast from Hurricane Irma. 

Many folks from the coast come to metro Atlanta because they have people to stay with. But many more stop here because they just don’t want to drive anymore, and are drawn my Atlanta's inland geography..

Ken Rubin’s dogs and family just kind of ended up at the Econolodge in Forest Park – a decision made after spending too many hours in a car making the 600 mile plus drive from Naples Florida.

Loding "went really quick. You can’t really get online and find a place," Rubin said Friday as he walked his dog at the hotel.

Like many others, Rubin is settling into metro Atlanta for an undetermined period of time, for a storm forecast to do untold damage to his home.

"We don’t know if we’re headed everywhere else. Just sort of keeping an eye on the storm, again just not sure if there is another step" in the evacuation, Rubin said. 

"Oh we’re trying to get away from the storm you know," said Charles Saunders, sitting on the king bed of a hotel room near Northlake in DeKalb County.

He and his wife Olivia checked in after evacuating their retirement home on Florida’s gulf coast.

"We just came up here for a few days. We didn’t know it was going to be as long as it is, looking at the forecast," Saunders said.  The octogenarian couple flew here earlier this week, and have settled in more or less indefinitely.

"We have this room at least until next Friday," Saunders said.

Tom and Karen Lozen are also here indefinitely. The Punta Gorda Florida residents had never been to Georgia until a hurricane forced the acquaintance.

"We’re hoping to be able to ride it out here," Tom Lozen said.  "I looked at the map and go, 'Atlanta looks reachable.' Y'know from where we are, driving" from Florida's gulf coast., Lozen said. 

From here, they’ll watch from what they expect will be a safe distance the weather drama unfolding at their gulf coast home.

"We’re basically ten feet above sea level" at our home, Lozen said.  "Hoping we have something to go back to."

The Lozens say they’ve gotten plenty of offers for lodging in places like Oklahoma and Colorado-- tempting offers they turned down to stay reasonably close to home.

 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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