Hurricane Evacuations Means No Vacancy at Local Hotels

People are making early plans to escape the wrath of another major hurricane.

Just a few weeks ago, small groups of people fleeing Hurricane Charley arrived in Lake Park to get a room, or shelter advice. Lake Park leaders say that's not the case this time as even larger groups are turning to south Georgia for shelter.

"What we're finding now is we're getting requests from larger groups, from corporations, to nursing homes, to assisted living facilities. Those kinds of people are calling us now and they're room requests are anywhere from 25 to 400 rooms,” explains Rhonda Barnes with the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce.

Leaders in Lake Park say every room here in town has already been booked by would-be evacuees. Right down the road, there are still rooms under construction, but unfortunately for evacuees, they haven't been completed yet, meaning people they have a long drive ahead of them before they find an open room.

"Our rooms are completely filled. As far as we know, right now, there are no rooms available from the Florida-Georgia line to just above Atlanta, and that includes our borders along Alabama too,” Barnes says.

To help deal with the oncoming wave of evacuees, south Georgia officials are asking for locals to step forward.

"We need volunteers desperately. We'd like to be prepared now, to be able to handle any potential problem,” Barnes adds.

Leaders say with a severe lack of hotel rooms along I-75, thousands of evacuees will need all the help they can get from south Georgians.

Starting Wednesday, shelters around south Georgia will begin preparations to open in time for the weekend's evacuations.