GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Some Jackson County natives are now back in the Magnolia State after evacuating Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.
"Our house is good right now. We just have a tree down," said evacuee Sharon Varnes. "There's some flooding in the neighborhood."
Varnes and her family are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma as it passes over their home in Parkland, FL.
"So, we are actually 45 minutes northwest of Miami," Varnes said.
The family left Thursday morning ahead of the storm.
"We had friends who were like, 'We're gonna stay. We're hunkering down.' I was like, no," Varnes said.
The Gautier native is now relying on updates from neighbors on her cell phone to monitor the damage back home.
"Who were crazy enough to stay," Varnes said. "They've sent us videos and a couple pictures of all that."
She received videos shot right before the storm made landfall showing tree limbs down and pictures of flooding.
"I'm actually scared for them," Varnes said. "And, the worse hasn't even came yet."
Varnes said she remembers the destruction from Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina.
"There was no way after seeing the devastation from both of those hurricanes I was gonna take the risk for my family," Varnes said.
She said she knew the only choice was to evacuate.
"Probably the next four or five days we'll be here," Varnes said.
Thinking of her belongings back in South Florida is saddening.
"I don't wanna come home to a lot of damage and the rebuilding stage. Been there, done that," Varnes said.
She said the lives of her friends and her family are much more important.
"Just board it up and hope for the best," Varnes said.