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South Florida Residents Running From Irma Clogging Up Highways

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There was a steady stream northbound on the Turnpike all day and into the night Thursday.

“We are from key west. Came up from the bottom,” one person told CBS4’s Hank Tester.

The man said the drive was smooth, but he still wasn’t sure where he was going to stay.

That story not unusual among the thousands of South Floridians heading north just ahead of what the mayor of Miami Beach called “a nuclear hurricane.”

Florida Highway Patrol troopers and the Florida Department of Transportation personnel have kept the traffic flowing through the pumps at the Pompano service plaza along Florida’s Turnpike.

No gas cans were allowed to be filled there. Authorities said gas in the tank only, which helped keep the lanes moving.

More than a few people told Tester they heard the dire warnings and the mayors saying get out.

“It is the safest thing to do, because we gonna be safe,” said Jesus.

The trip north wasn’t easy in plenty of spots. All the lanes heading up on the Turnpike near Leesberg, Florida were jam packed, bumper to bumper, for hours.

The drive to Orlando turned into a six or seven hour trip.

And gas was an issue further north, where it wasn’t as highly organized as the Pompano service plaza operation.

People like Rick Ellick wanted to get as far away as possible.

“I am going to Sandusky, Ohio,” said Rick Ellick.

That’s kind of the story from nearly all the commuters Thursday night.

Many remember Hurricane Andrew and they don’t want to be in on the encore.

“We got elderly people here, got animals and the wind is going to be very bad where we live,” said JAMES SAUREZ, who is heading to Jersey.

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