Floridians evacuate before Irma, head to Queen City

- Some Floridians have decided to head to Charlotte well before any mandatory evacuations were issued across the state.

FOX 46 Charlotte tracked down two evacuees who made it to the Queen City on Tuesday night after an 11 hour drive from Tampa.

They say it was an easy decision to evacuate early. Although the exact path of Hurricane Irma is still unknown, they say after seeing the devastation from Hurricane Harvey on television they didn’t want to take any chances.

“Even if it was a Category 2, I would still be concerned for my home,” said Jessica Salatino, who lives just outside Tampa.

As thousands of Floridians stocked up, Salatino joined hundreds of others who decided to hit the road early. The only hiccup leaving Florida was finding a place to get gas.

“So the gas stations had lines going down the street for folks trying to get gas. The grocery stores had people trying to stock up on water,” said Salatino.

Salatino brought a friend along with her for the ride who was forced to cut her vacation short. Instead of waiting for a flight out of Tampa, she decided it was best to hit the road.

“I spoke to my dad and everybody back home and everyone was freaking out. Our phones were going off like crazy so it seemed like a  better idea getting out now instead of my flight on Thursday and getting stuck,” said Ashley Whiteside, who is traveling back to Rochester, NY.

No matter by circumstance, or by choice, there are still people in Florida choosing to ride out the storm.

“I am absolutely worried about them, my family, my friends there are a ton of people I begged to leave. Better safe than sorry,” said Salatino.

Salatino says she was able to evacuate so early because her job was accommodating and allowed her time off to flee the storm.

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