Heavy traffic expected as millions of evacuated Floridians head home after Irma
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
Millions of evacuated Floridians are trying to get home. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting the state's largest movement of evacuee traffic.
Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are preaching safety and patience as evacuees make their drive back home.
Trooper William Gormley said it could take several days because crews are still working to clear areas that were hit by the storm.
"There is going to be an influx of traffic, it is kind of like a rush hour of traffic all day long," mentioned Trooper Gormley.
Trooper Gormley has been in law enforcement for 15 years. He is asking Pensacola residents to stay off the interstates as evacuees make their way back home.
Traffic jams had already formed Tuesday morning. Because of the crowds heading back south, troopers said expect worse than normal delays on 1-10
Many evacuees fled long distances from their homes, some even out of state to places like Alabama and Mississippi.
Orlando resident Deatra Douchee and her son evacuated to a family member's house in Alabama.
"We're anticipating a lot of stop-and-go traffic and if it gets too bad we'll get off and take the junctions, the evacuation route, which is how we get here," said Douchee.
Darlene Encomio and her family are driving back to their home in Stuart Florida from Moss Point, Mississippi.
"On the way up here it took us 24 hours, so we are anticipating the same thing," explained Encomio.
Trooper Gormley said heavy traffic conditions are expected to continue as more people get on the roads.
"They're in a panic situation, a lot of them don't know what they're going back to so just be patient with them," said Trooper Gormley.
Florida Highway Patrol encourages local residents to take Highway 90, Highway 98 and other local roads to help keep traffic moving smoothly.