Hurricane Florence evacuees find refuge in Georgia

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Hurricane Florence evacuees are filling up Henry County hotels and campground space at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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The Sturgill family hurriedly evacuated from the Joint Base in Charleston. They drove all night and finally hit the bed in a Henry County hotel at 3 Wednesday morning.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Hurricane Florence

They are becoming familiar with evacuations after living on the South Carolina coast just 12 months.

"Once I moved to Charleston last year, within a week of being there we were it is par for the course, but we are not used to it coming from the mountains," Staff Sargeant Trevor Sturgill.

Finding a hotel in their budget was pretty tough. The Sturgills said they looked for almost 8 hours Tuesday before securing a room at the Microtel Inn and Suites in Stockbridge.

"Everything was booked and when I would find a room, it would say one left and before I could push all the buttons, it would say no rooms left," Samantha Sturgill complained.

The military family said it will spend the next couple of days watching praying and waiting for hurricane Florence to make landfall.


The Convention and Tourism Bureau is keeping an eye on how fast hotel rooms are going. It said one property reported booking 300 rooms within 24 hours. Many of those being used by people from The Carolinas.

“My mom didn't feel comfortable with this one after watching all the information coming across the media,” says Terry Gradney of Charleston, South Carolina. “So, we decided that we wouldn't take no chances.”

Gradney and several family members escaped Charleston. They have family members who live in Atlanta but chose to stay in a hotel so they aren't an inconvenience.

Hotel parking lots in Stonecrest are packed with people from out of town. A FOX 5 News crew saw several vehicles with North Carolina and South Carolina license plates.

Gradney said advances in technology also helped his family make the decision to evacuate.

“It seems as though they're getting much better with it, which makes my confidence, even more, the best to leave, and so evidence shows even the evacuation plan worked well compared to when Hugo was there.”

While area hotels are seeing a boost in people because of the hurricane, they are expecting large amounts of people because of various events. One notable event, Music Midtown, takes place this weekend. It is expected to attract a number of out of town guests.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.