Peoria native describes his hurricane evacuation experience - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Peoria native describes his hurricane evacuation experience

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"Initially, I thought it was just another big storm - Matthew, like Matthew was last year. And then I had a little more sense of urgency when the categories started to increase. So I uh, started getting my things together, and get some supplies, and prepare for the next step.

Initially I was just going to wait it out, and then it continued to get stronger, and then my dad called me with a little bit of panic in his voice, like, 'You need to get out of Florida as soon as possible.' And so...the Eye was going to be about a mile and a half from my apartment. So that's gonna be pretty intense, right?

I kind of gave my apartment a pep talk. I'm like, you're going to be here when I get back. And that's real, like, you're going to be here when I get back, and everything's going to be fine. Talked to my dad, I was like basically crying walking out of my apartment. So, it was actually kind of comical but kind of sad at the same time.

Initially the airport was closed, so everyone was waiting outside, waiting for the doors to open. Uh...about, probably close to a thousand I'd say? Um, parking garage was full, people just waiting with supplies, dogs everywhere. I'd never seen so many little dogs. Um, and everyone's just waiting to get on an airplane - any airplane to get out, to get out at all, anything.

So the first flight didn't go as planned, uh...it got cancelled actually, my flight from Fort Lauderdale, so I had to go to Tampa.

I was actually between like three flights at one time. So luckily I got in at a six o'clock flight, landed at 8AM in Chicago and really didn't know where I was at.

Um, I have to, you know, get a flight, get back to Florida as soon as I can. I don't really have a return trip, I'm just kind of waiting it out to see what happens. And try and get ahold of some of my friends, find out how my apartment is.

And hopefully my boss can, you know, let me wait it out here a little bit. I have my computer so I can work from home, but, we'll see how it goes."

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