Florence evacuees start heading home to Carolinas from Florida

Jacksonville hotels fill up as Florence drenches drive home for evacuees


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the back of his pickup truck, Zachary Walkup is building sandwiches for a long road trip. 

“We don’t know what to expect, so, we’re going to go up there and try to help people and try to do good deeds," Walkup said. 

Walkup and a friend are heading north to the Carolinas to help in any way they can. They are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

"I heard it's not good, so I'm not sure," Walkup said. 

Others are stopping at a Love's station along I-95 before the long trip home to the Carolinas. 

The greatest source of anxiety for many is the uncertainty.

One person driving home to South Carolina is Dawn Freeman Cauffman. 

"We don't know what's going on back in Conway, Myrtle Beach (and) if our house is flooded or not," Cauffman said. 

Michelle Dovey is also driving home to South Carolina. 

“We didn’t know where it was actually going to land, so, it was up in the air," Dovey said. "So, that was a little bit tough, because we didn’t know what to take, what the possibility of what it was going to be like when we got back, (and) how much damage there might have been.”

Many are glad they evacuated, with some going as far south as Daytona Beach to avoid the storm.

The irony of coming to Florida for safety during a hurricane wasn't lost on Dovey.

"Florida was the safest spot this time," Dovey said while laughing. 

The visitor's bureau said nearly every hotel in Jacksonville was booked on Friday night, but there are more vacancies expected as evacuees head home.