Irma’s Evacuees Make Florida Panhandle Their Temporary Home

BAY COUNTY, Fla. – As Irma was set to make landfall in southern Florida, some people left their homes and escaped to the Florida Panhandle.

“It gives you anxiety,” said said Noemi, a resident of Apollo Beach. “To tell you the truth, I kind of want to cry right now. Makes you think about what you’re going to go back to.”

Evacuees from all over the state gathered only their most important belongings such as pets, official documents and some clothing.

A Petersburg resident who evacuated to the panhandle said, “I listened to one of the residents from Texas after what they went through and he said, ‘It’s just stuff.’ So, you have to look at it that way. It’s just stuff.”

“I’m not too worried, but if we lose the house we have insurance,” said Robert Knuutila who came from Rockledge.  “That’s all I can tell you.”

Many hotels in the Bay County area were full as of Friday evening.  Hotel officials said most of their reservations came from South Florida.

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