Friends forced to flee Florida as Irma strikes
Holidaymakers from Comrie are glad to be home after being caught up in the effects of Hurricane Irma in the US.
Terri Bacon, Pamela Gillies and six of their friends and family, including one- year old Robert Bacon, were enjoying a fun- filled holiday in Florida when news broke that the major storm was heading for the Sunshine State.
Terri explained: “On day three of our holiday the locals were starting to panic-buy and clear out the shops and fuel had run out at the petrol stations. Until that happened it hadn’t really hit home to us how serious it was. We had been carrying on as usual visiting the theme parks.
“We then began getting constant messages of concern from our friends and family, which made us question how the hurricane was being reported back home. The management company where we were staying tried to reassure us but other people were telling us to get out. Then the governor of the state Rick Scott came on the news and told everyone to leave. He said we can rebuild your home but we can’t rebuild your life.”
Pamela continued: “There had been a tropical storm the day before but it had cleared up. It was only when my brother Mark said we needed to go that we started to make plans on how we could get out.
“We decided to head for New York as it was on the east coast and we knew we would be able to get a flight home from there. Orlando airport was due to close and even if we had only gone a short distance upstate to get away from the storm, we didn’t know what we would be coming back to. By this time Terri’s husband had heard that the hurricane was going to be the size France.”
Terri and Pamela tried to book flights to New York but the prices were prohibitive. However, despite the websites crashing from the volume of others doing likewise they persevered and eventually managed to get separate flights home from New York.
They then phoned the car hire company to see if they could drive their rental vehicles out of state and were told it would cost $700 per car.
“We had to do it though,” said Pamela. “New York is over 1000 miles away and we expected the journey to take around 16 hours. It took us 38 hours. It took us six and a half hours just to drive 100 miles, along with all the other people fleeing from Florida. It was an exhausting journey.”
Despite the long hours in the car, toddler Robert took the adventure in his stride. Terri added: “For his first major holiday, it was quite an adventure. Luckily he was very well behaved and dealt with sitting in a car for that amount of time, although we did have a few stops and went to a motel so the drivers could get a few hours sleep.”
They managed three days in New York enjoying the sights. But the experience has cost the friends an extra £1159 each.
Summing up Terri said: “Since we came back everyone has been asking us about it. I wish we had gone to Vegas instead! We planned the holiday over a year ago but decided not to go there because it would have been too expensive but we’ve actually ended up spending more.
“Although it was a long and tiring way to get home, we did the right thing by leaving. A curfew had been put in place so we wouldn’t have been able to go out and there was too much uncertainty about what path the hurricane was going to take.
“It’s put us all off holidays abroad for a while”
We expected the journey to take 16 hours... it took 38
Seeing the sights Terri Bacon and Pamela Gillies managed to enjoy a few days despite their stressful journey fleeing Hurricane Irma