Interstate 4 runs through both the west and east coast of Florida and on a normal day is heavily congested. But as millions of Floridians brace for Hurricane Ian, I-4 was packed with vehicles of people fleeing the storm.
Glenn Josephik decided late Tuesday it was time for him, his wife Holly, and their two young children to pack up and leave their house on the water in Tampa.
He told “CBS Mornings” lead national correspondent David Begnaud that he is staying with his friends who are located more inland.
“Our biggest concern was the surge. We have two young kids, right. That’s the main reason we’re leaving,” Josephik said.
Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg are among the cities bracing for the worst of the storm, but the latest forecasts suggested Ian could make landfall in the Fort Myers area.
Gil Gonzalez and his neighbors have boarded up their Tampa Bay homes with plywood. Gonzalez takes care of his elderly parents. They’ve already fled to higher ground.
“We’ve got sandbags and all kinds of anti-flooding devices,” said Gonzalez.
About 2.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders. Tampa International Airport, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Southwest Florida International Airport all suspended operations on Tuesday due to Hurricane Ian. Orlando International Airport will be closing on Wednesday due to the storm.
With flights canceled, many have evacuated by car to Florida’s east coast. Hotels in West Palm Beach, Florida, have seen an increase in capacity.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Amanda Calderon said even though the county is under mandatory evacuations, there are still people who have refused to leave. She said time is running out for those people who may not be able to get to receive emergency response services if the storm’s conditions worsen.
“If it becomes a danger to us, they don’t want to risk us getting hurt out there,” Calderon said.
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