Evacuees find shelter in Walmart parking lot

Published: Oct. 7, 2016 at 10:22 PM EDT
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By: Erika Fernandez

October 7, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As the storm moves north, people are driving to the Big Bend and South Georgia, and they're taking shelter wherever they can.

One hot spot is the Walmart Super Center off of Mahan in Tallahassee. The evacuees say they didn't hesitate for a second to pack up their stuff and head inland. Now, the backside of a Walmart parking lot is filled with RV's and people from all over.

Noel Vivion and his wife packed up their homes. They're just thankful Walmart has been so cooperative to all of those who needed a safe place to stay.

"I’ve lived a long time, I want to continue doing that and so if there's something that looks like it would threaten that enjoyment of my life, I do what I can do avoid that circumstance," says evacuee, Noel Vivion.

A lot of these folks packed up more than just some of their clothes, but also their pets and even some furniture. But some evacuees not having any luck when it comes to finding a place to stay, with hotels booked and shelters full.

For now, one family from Daytona Beach is stationed in the backside of this Walmart parking lot, waiting for the storm to clear. They have three dogs and three birds in tow with them, but no RV. However, they're holding their own by sleeping in their cars and makeshift tents. They say they didn't want to risk staying near the coast and riding out this storm, and they're glad they found a safe place to stay for a few days.

"The way the storm was heading, it said it was going to coast off the right side of Florida and basically all of the panhandle was safe, it seemed like the best idea at the time," says Sebastian Fladd, an evacuee from Daytona Beach.

Evacuees say they saw many people without RV’s sleeping in this parking lot on Thursday night. Many with young kids and children sleeping on towels and blankets, looking to just find a safe place to lay their head.