AUBURN, Ala. – The scene harkens back to biblical times, when there was “no room in the inn” for Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. Fast forward to present day, and replace Bethlehem with the Chattahoochee Valley, and one can see hundreds of evacuees from Hurricane Matthew flocking to local motels and hotels.
Jeff and Kary Adams darted out of Palm Coast, Florida just hours before Hurricane Matthew pummeled the area.
“The absolute worst scenario is happening,” Kary Adams said. “I was sad to see some of my friends staying back. But supposedly, so far, everyone’s okay. We’ve been texting and Facebooking.”
Adams says after seeing the effects of Hurricane Charley just 12 years ago, she and her husband didn’t waste any time in hauling their nine family members and five pets to eight hours to Auburn. Adams says she called seemingly every hotel chain and checked every third party booking site, looking for hours to find a place to stay.
The Kurrle family told News 3 that the hotel they were staying at only allowed them to keep a room for one or two nights because of high demand. The family of six from Port St. Lucie, Fl. left Wednesday night, just before the hurricane made landfall off the coast of Florida.
“We just planned on driving north of the path completely,” Jason Kurrle said. “And we kept getting pushed further north, because hotel availability is non-existent.”
Auburn Opelika Tourism Bureau President John Wild says 37 area hotels are filled to the brim. But he doesn’t expect them to stay full for long.
“Make sure that we have the compassion for those people who have escaped, come to a nice area,” Wild said. “But their mission is to stay overnight and get back home.”
Auburn University even helped 60 pilots from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fl. escape from the clutches of Hurricane Matthew.