Roadways at standstill as evacuees head home

Traffic backs up as evacuees head home

Hurricane Matthew evacuees from six coastal counties were able to go back home Sunday night when Governor Nathan Deal lifted mandatory evacuation orders.

But Chatham County resident, Chelsea Phengchanh says she decided to leave Monday morning.

"Twenty five percent of Savannah ended up staying, and 75 percent left," said Phengchanh. "They're waiting for that 75 percent to come in, in packs of traffic."

She says it could be Chatham County's curfew, that's causing the rush of traffic.

"Anyone who's out on the streets past 10:00 p.m. could be cited or arrested, I guess in prevention of looting," said Phengchanh.

Morning traffic caused jams and accidents along I-75 S. Even Bibb residents trying to get to work were caught in the morning rush that continued through the afternoon.

"It was pretty heavy heading south, coming out here this morning," said Wyatt Turner.  "As you can see right now, it's very thick through here as you're coming back up through town too. I guess everyone is heading back home."

Heading back to Savannah, evacuees say they're expecting travel time to double.

"There's like a million people on this highway right now," said Artez Strain. "It was so bad, and now we're about to go back into that jungle out there."

Strain says he was trying to leave in time to make it to work by 2:00 p.m.

"Yeah, I'm about to call work," said Strain. "Traffic is horrible, what're you going to do?"

While some of these evacuees say they don't know what they're coming home to, others say they're just happy to be heading home -- even if it takes a little longer.

"I have power and I have a home to go back to," said Garrett Gunn. "That was confirmed by my landlord."

Bibb County says it's consolidating shelters Monday night, and only the shelter at the East Macon Recreation Center will remain open. They're expecting around 110 evacuees to stay there tonight.


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