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Posted: September 11, 2017

Evacuees find shelter in Atlanta: 'I can't believe all the wonderful people'

Evacuees fleeing Florida and the threat of Hurricane Irma find shelter in the Atlanta area in September 2017.
WSBTV.com
Evacuees fleeing Florida and the threat of Hurricane Irma find shelter in the Atlanta area in September 2017.

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By Matt Johnson, WSBTV.com

ATLANTA —

Metro Atlanta roads were stretched thin last week and through the weekend as people evacuated Florida as Hurricane Irma approached. Many people have horror stories about the mad dash to get out of the state and into Georgia ahead of the storm.

Along with worrying about whether their homes will be standing, evacuees told WSBTV.com that they are also concerned about what traffic will be like next week when everyone goes home.

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Evacuee John Glowacki said it took him five and a half hours to drive from the Georgia-Florida line to the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

He said he was trying to take his mind off whether or not his house would be standing when he returned to Florida. Still, he said, "I can't believe all of the wonderful people here.” 

Glowacki is one of hundreds of people who have spent the last few days at the campgrounds, which have been opened to evacuees.

Russel Gorniak, another evacuee, told WSBTV.com that "a 200-mile trip took me about 13 hours." 

But traffic improved on Interstate 75 in metro Atlanta over the weekend, compared to when evacuees filled the interstate during the week.

"I hope it's not like it was coming up here, but God only knows. Let's put it that way," Gorniak said. 

Another couple said they avoided traffic on the way to metro Atlanta, but missed out on a hotel. 

"We left Spring Hill after finding out there wasn't a hotel available within 500 miles," Gary Houston said.

He said now he's more concerned about the gas supply when it's time to get back on the road. 

Most people said since severe weather is expected in the metro Monday and Tuesday, they will wait until Wednesday to head back to Florida.


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