DORRANCE TOWNSHIP -- People in South Florida were evacuating their homes and heading up north on Friday, many of them driving to our area or through our area on Interstate 81.
Some people who evacuated their homes stopped at the Dorrance Township rest stop along 81 northbound. Those who spoke to Newswatch 16 said they took their pets, important papers, and wallets with them. They do not know what they will come home to, but at least they are safe.
John Ulrich and his wife Andrea were unpacking some of their travel snacks at the rest stop. They said they have been on the road for three days from their home in Palm Beach, Florida, heading to stay with family in upstate New York.
“We took some back roads and thank God I know how to read a map,” John Ulrich said
“I guess I'm just kind of numb. We're hoping for the best. There are so many millions of people going through this, but honestly, I'm thankful. We have a place to go, we're safe, we're out of there,” Andrea Ulrich said.
John Clarke and his wife were also driving through northeastern Pennsylvania to get to Syracuse, New York from South Daytona, Florida.
Clarke said he had hard experiences with Florida Storms in the past, specifically one in 1996.
“I get a phone call from a neighbor. There are 400 houses in our neighborhood and one of them is destroyed. I said, ‘Let me guess, mine?’ He said, ‘Yes, it was,’” Clarke said. “Two big trees fell on it, completely crushed it. We lost everything.”
Jim Francis and his family packed up their pets and belongings from Venice, Florida and hit the road. He said he does not know what he will come home to find.
“Didn't figure we'd have a house! We live in a double wide in a trailer park and I figure if the wind hits it, it's gone,” Francis said.
Dick Stephens and his wife left their home in Lakeland, Florida with their dog, Scamper. They said their son is staying in a cement block home in Florida, where water is hard to come by.
“We have water and stuff, in fact, and our son just called and said he's taking it. He's at our house, emptying our house pretty much,” Stephens said.
Most of the people who spoke to Newswatch 16 said they are heading up Upstate New York or Massachusetts to stay with family or in a hotel. Either way, they were happy to be going somewhere safe.