Biloxi becomes temporary home for Irma evacuees

Until they get the all clear, these campers are prepared to make the most of an unexpected vacation to Mississippi.(Image Source: WLOX News)
Until they get the all clear, these campers are prepared to make the most of an unexpected vacation to Mississippi.(Image Source: WLOX News)
Irma evacuees enjoy a cookout at Martin Lake RV Resort (Photo source Thomas Fountain)
Irma evacuees enjoy a cookout at Martin Lake RV Resort (Photo source Thomas Fountain)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - RVs with Florida tags have been rolling into Gulf Beach Resort all weekend, with few spots left. Many Hurricane Irma evacuees chose to watch and wait from South Mississippi.

"Saturday morning, when things started to take a turn towards Tampa, we thought it was probably best to get out," said Tania Schiavi, from Clearwater, FL.

Just like Schiavi, several other Florida residents who were in the hurricane's path packed up their RVs and looked for a safe place to go.

"It took us basically almost a day and a half to get from Sarasota to Tallahassee, and we keep staying in Walmarts and stuff. The traffic was just bumper-to-bumper," said Schiavi.

Christina Conway and her family were actually preparing to tailgate at a Florida State football game when they realized the storm was getting more dangerous and going back to Sarasota wasn't an option.

"It's tough, you know, because I had to leave them behind, and it was tough," said Conway, from Sarasota, FL.

But, with so many Floridians in the same situation, they've found some camaraderie.

"I mean, everybody's worried, of course, but it feels better, comfort that we can all be here for one another," said Conway.

The Autenriebs set up their camp, turned on the news, and tried their best to stay calm while they watched Hurricane Irma move toward their home. As they were traveling on I-10 into Biloxi, Darlene Autenrieb said they passed rescue crews heading toward Florida.

"That just brought tears to our eyes thinking this is what it's all about, helping everybody out," said Autenrieb.

Another Biloxi campground, Martin Lake RV Resort, even took the time out to treat Irma evacuees to a free cookout Sunday evening.

Until they get the all clear, these campers are prepared to make the most of an unexpected vacation to Mississippi.

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