Hurricane Irma Florida Evacuation: Why Aren’t Some People Leaving?



A woman carries her dog as people arrive at a shelter at Alico Arena where thousands of Floridians are hoping to ride out Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers, Florida. The Fort Myers area could begin to feel hurricane-force winds from Irma by 11 a.m. Sunday and experience wind gusts over 100 mph from Sunday through Monday.

If you ask Floridians why they aren’t leaving the potentially catastrophic wrath of Hurricane Irma, you will see an array of different answers. Some don’t believe they’d stand a chance getting out with all of the traffic, while others worry that they would run out of gas and get suck on an interstate.

Approximately 6.3 million of the 21 million Florida residents have been ordered to evacuate the state, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Monica Stinnett shared a post on Facebook stating that many people feel stuck:

I woke up this morning with my South FL friends on my mind. Please don’t judge them for not leaving. As we all know, the hurricane path predictions bounce around. Knowing from experience of living in South FL, by the time that there is a strong indication that the hurricane is coming your way….you are stuck. What most people don’t realize is how far it is from South FL to the GA state line. Gas is not to be found since trucks have long stopped delivering. Delivery trucks of any kind will not make the trip down south because they know getting back out of the state is near impossible. If you are fortunate to have a full tank, you face the great possibility that you will not be able to get gas at your next stop. Traffic to the north is horrific. Also, flights are cancelled. It’s easy to say ‘leave’ but in reality it’s not possible. Instead of judging, please pray hard for these folks who call FL home. #dontjudge #prayhard #bethereforthem #lovewins

Shelby Decker told Rich Grimes that she wasn’t going anywhere, and offered tips for others who are doing the same:

“It was a family decision for a number of reasons we decided to stay here,” Decker said. “We did look at the possibility of flying out but the only available flights flying out would have been on Saturday, and it was later in the day when they were predicting that winds would be much higher. So we decided to avoid the airport at that time, because we didn’t want to get to the airport and then have the flight cancelled or majorly delayed…and either be stuck at the airport or having to come back to the condo and be on the roads at that time. So we thought it would be better to have all of our preparations all situated and to be safely inside the condo and just ride it out.”

“Anybody that is saying that they’re not leaving is a fool,” Monroe County Mayor George Nuegent told CNN. “Everybody ought to be leaving because the magnitude of this storm…I can’t believe anybody wouldn’t want to get out of here if they had a chance to get out of here,” he stated:

Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that help is available for those who are not able to get out due to traffic. “If you are in an evacuation zone & do not have a way to evacuate due to traffic- call 1-800-342-3557,” he stated. “We will do all we can to get you out.”

“They’re getting in the final dog walks on Marco Island,” @ZackSampson tweeted. “Mandatory evacuation, but some people not leaving. #irma”

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