Leaving her initial evacuation destination takes Karen Duffy on a side historical trip.
The first time Karen Duffy evacuated from her Ormond Beach Home was September 1999 for Hurricane Floyd. Her most recent evacuation, out of the path of Hurricane Irma, was almost 18 years later, to the day.
Both times she went to Tallahassee. Neither time did she stay in a hotel.
“We evacuated to a Walmart parking lot in Tallahassee for two nights in 1999,” she said. “Back then we couldn’t find a hotel.”
For Irma, she and a neighbor had better accommodations: the neighbor’s son.
“We left at 8:15 Thursday night, and arrived in Tallahassee at 2 a.m. Friday,” Duffy said. “There were long lines at the rest stops, but we never got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.”
When the storm’s path was headed for Tallahassee, Duffy decided to continue onto Americus, Georgia, until she found a hotel room the next day, in Cordele, Georgia, about an hour away.
Duffy, a teacher at Ormond Beach Middle School, knowing she wouldn’t be able to check into the hotel before afternoon, couldn’t resist a detour to Andersonville National Historic Site.
When school resumes, she said she hopes to get her classes back into a normal routine as soon as possible.
“They had just started READ 180, (a blended reading program) and one of the topics was Natural Disasters,” Duffy said. “A lot of the students chose to read that, so they are keyed into the subject.”
From her hotel room in Cordele, on Monday, Sept. 11, Duffy said she could see I-75, and said the traffic was light.
She said the area was getting bands of heavy rain and wind.
“I am planning to leave early Tuesday, once the worst of the wind and rain is out of the area,” she said. “I am also going to try and find a gas can, and fill up before I leave the area. I don’t know what to expect when I get home.”