Irma evacuee traffic remains steady in Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - I-10 traffic continues to be heavy in Jackson County as people evacuate south Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Many people have stopped at hotels looking for a room, with no luck.

Hotels across northwest Florida are filled up, making it hard for evacuees to find a place to stay.

"We were going to Pigeon Forge and our reservation was cancelled and we had to book a hotel from the car," Boca Raton resident Marcelo Araujo said. "Everything was sold out, so we decided to change our plans and go to Louisiana."

Araujo said it took his family 18 hours to get from Boca Raton to Marianna.

Some evacuees said they left either late at night or early in the morning to avoid traffic.

"There would be a lot of bumper to bumper for like maybe a mile and then it'll clear up, but I've seen a lot of cars at the rest areas," Tampa resident Beatriz Patino said. "We left at like 1:00 in the morning from Tampa."

Others said traffic cleared up once they got on I-10 from I-75, but not before running into a few problems.

"There was no gas all the way from Chiefland to I-10," another Tampa resident said. "Traffic was backed up for miles trying to go through Perry. It took an hour just to get through that one little town."

All Marianna hotels are booked, but the Red Cross has opened a shelter at Marianna High School.

An important thing to note is the MHS shelter is not pet-friendly.

Several campgrounds in Jackson County are also accepting evacuees on a first come, first serve basis.

Emergency Management officials are looking at possibly going into a partial activation on Monday. That would include your primary first responders, like the road and bridge department, law enforcement, and emergency operations staff.