I-10 traffic heavy as Irma evacuees head back home

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With Hurricane Irma in the rearview mirror, many evacuees are heading back home.

I-10 East was so busy Tuesday morning that rest area ramps were backed up and Florida Highway Patrol officers were stationed to help move traffic along.

Some people evacuated as far west as Mississippi and as far north as Tennessee to avoid Irma's path.

The O'Donnell family from Amelia Island left Saturday to head to Pensacola.

"We were really concerned," Mary O'Donnell said. "You know, it's an island. If it had gone on that island as a Cat 3, we might not have a house to go home to and we feel so bad about the people that are facing that kind of stress right now."

Many evacuees also had trouble finding somewhere for their pets to stay.

"We were lucky in Pensacola to find a very lovely boarding facility where she [our dog] lived like a queen for a couple of days while we fended for ourselves," Frank O'Donnell said.

According to FHP, all of the rest stops along the turnpike have been filled with gas and stocked up on food for those heading south.