After Hurricane Irma drove them from their homes, millions of Floridians were eager to return Monday and survey what damage might await them.
Some evacuees fled hundreds of miles to escape the storm, and those crowds will soon come flooding back to the state.
They’re likely to be met with traffic delays, a fuel shortage, debris clean-up and possibly blocked access to their communities — which is why state and local officials have a singular message: Don’t try to go home yet.
One person told YWN is took then thirteen hours to get from Orlando back to their home in Miami.
Evacuees who fled long distances should check with their local communities and fl511.com — the state’s source for real-time traffic conditions — before getting on the road. Reports of road and bridge closures are also available online from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
And realize you might have trouble finding places to gas up. As was before Irma, Florida faces a fuel shortage.
Historic demand for gasoline sparked major gas shortages in the days before Hurricane Irma struck Florida over the weekend.
At least 60% of the gas stations in Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville are without fuel, according to estimates on Monday morning from crowdsourcing platform GasBuddy. Roughly half of the gas stations in Jacksonville, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers are also empty after Floridians took to their cars to flee the path of the storm.
These widespread gasoline outages threaten to make life even more difficult for Florida residents as they try to return home to see if their property suffered damage from Irma’s powerful winds and storm surge.