Irma Evacuees Continue Trek North

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HAZLE TOWNSHIP -- Even though Hurricane Irma has left Florida, many people are still evacuating from the state heading north. A lot of them have come here or are passing through here.

Many of those people tell us they are still in our area because they are unsure about what they will be going home to whether it be power outages or damage to their homes.

A gas station in Hazle Township became a rest stop for many Floridians on their way out of the Sunshine State even though the worst of the storm is over.

"We were very concerned because we left in a hurry, so we really didn't batten down the place, so we were concerned," said Florida resident Meredith Robbins.

The Gersch family left home in Florida on Tuesday. They say it took them two days to get out of the state alone. They're headed to New York.

"It was hectic," recalled Dave Gersch. "Going north, they had all three lanes open plus both shoulders, so it was five lanes of traffic heading north and it was stop and go. We'd go from 10 miles an hour to 60 miles an hour and then back down to 10 miles an hour."

The Niles family is also headed to New York. They're coming from Fort Myers.

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"We don't know what we're heading back to yet," said Jim Niles. "We heard the news this morning. There's no water. There's no sewage. There's no power. There's nothing right now. The roads are covered with debris, so there is really nothing to go back to yet."

Niles says he does not know yet when his family will go back to Florida he believes the roads won't be safe to travel on for a while.

But he and other families tell Newswatch 16 they want to move out of the Sunshine State so they won't have to deal with hurricanes anymore.

"I think we've had enough," he said. "the Gulf Coast living is great, but we're going to go somewhere else and not have to go through this again."

"I tell you what, I'm going back and I'm selling my house. I'm coming back north," Gersch added.

Many of the people we spoke with said they were thankful the storm wasn't as bad in their area as they expected it to be.

Those who were able to check on their homes say the damage to them was very minor.


  • Fredric

    They took their Governor’s advice and beat it north. By the middle of this week, they will be headed south.

    I hope they enjoyed the Yankee hospitality.

  • 😊

    I say welcome to PA friends! I wouldn’t want to deal with that either. And Lloyd, the first story was about people just passing through. These people are talking about moving up north and getting out of Florida so they’re different.

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