Irma evacuees head north towards Chattanooga area

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CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — Florida residents are evacuating their homes and coming into northwest Georgia and the Chattanooga area, which is causing traffic back ups.

Interstates in Georgia and Tennessee were crowded Friday afternoon. Traffic was backed up due to may Floridians evacuating from Irma. Rest stops off I-75 were full with cars with Florida license plates.

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While most are evacuating, Joseph Frassetto, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, is driving into the storm.

“Believe it or not I am heading back to Florida,” Frassetto said.

He is going to brave the weather with his girlfriend.



“She’s got to evacuate where she is. Where I am in St. Augustine, I don’t have to evacuate. So we are just going to ride it out, like we rode out Matthew,” Frassetto said.

Others are heading north, having never experienced a hurricane before.

“My neighbors, all of them are staying and I should give them credit for that but I have family that I am responsible for, so I better hit the road,” said one woman from Palm Coast, Florida.

Austin Dinkins, from Sarasota, has lived through many hurricanes.

“I’ve heard nails coming out of my roof at the time of a category one, so a category five is enough to scare me,” Dinkins said.

Traveling north up I-75 has been slow going.

“We stayed in Georgia over the night and got back on the road this morning to go back up to Indiana. It has been a lot of stop and go traffic, but we are trying to work with what we can,” Dinkins said.

Families packed up their trucks and cars with the necessities. They are hoping people who didn’t evacuate will be safe.

“Just know that they are in our prayers. And if they still have a chance to leave, to leave because it doesn’t look good,” said Emeline Sullivan from Clear Water, Florida.

Even though Frassetto has experience with storms, he says you never get used to this.

“I am really kind of very apprehensive and very frightened for what is going to happen for the next few days, but not enough to stop me from going back,” says Frassetto.