Evacuees who traveled inland glad to get back home

Evacuees who traveled inland glad to get back home

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Evacuations and curfews have been lifted in areas around the Coastal Empire.

People are on the highways, heading back to their homes after getting away for the duration of the storm. Businesses in Savannah also say they took a hit with having to close down.

“We were open Tuesday, but we didn’t do anything. Everybody was gone. It was like a ghost town,” said Michelle Chavira.

Chavira says she and her family stuck around Savannah and rode out the storm, but she says having to close down for a couple of days hurt the business.

“Our employees, they can’t work, so it hurts everybody.”

Families like Andy Partida’s had to drive over an hour away for shelter.

“We started looking for hotels. We started in Pooler, and no hotels there, and then we went on to Statesboro. No hotels there. We kept going to every town, and with pets, too,” Partida said. “It makes it really hard when you have a pet and most of the hotels don’t want to take them.”

He says they eventually found a place to stay in Swainsboro.

They were hanging out at a gas station in Savannah, waiting on the curfew to be lifted in Hilton Head.

“Everything won’t go back to normal until at least Monday, I believe," Partida said.

He says he and his family have evacuated for the last couple of years, so they learn new lessons each year.

“Look for cheaper stuff, because the first year, I guess everybody took it as an emergency vacation and you go all out, and the problem is you don’t know when you are going to go back to work or when the offices where you work are going to open.”

Other people around the Savannah area were loaded onto buses and headed to Augusta. Over 1,000 of them returned Thursday.

“Rather than bringing them here to the Civic Center and then still having them be a mile or two, or a little bit away from home, we arranged for the CAT buses to come,” said Betsy Nolen, Chatham County Police Department.

Friday, Chatham Emergency Management Agency’s Director, Dennis Jones, said the county’s Emergency Operations Center is still activated because they are still bringing in some citizens who were evacuated. He says we have a very well-educated community when it comes to a hurricane threat.

Evacuees who traveled inland glad to get back home

“They’ve been through Matthew, they’ve been through Irma. They know what the potential could have been, so because of that, our community is very smart when it comes to hurricanes. I think they reacted appropriately,” Jones said.

The curfews are lifted and people are now able to go back home.

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