Irma evacuees head back to Florida through Dothan

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DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) Thousands of Hurricane Irma evacuees who retreated north are now returning home to Florida.

Tuesday, business was booming at the Florida Welcome Center on Highway 231 South on Campbellton, Florida. Almost every evacuee had one mission – to get back safely to their Sunshine State homes.

An uptick in traffic could definitely be seen on Highway 231 South. No bumper to bumper conditions to report, but the flow of traffic was fairly steady all day.

At the Florida Welcome Center itself, the staff is seeing more travelers walk through their doors, more so than normal of course with evacuees stopping by for a pit stop.

Several hundred evacuees stayed in the Dothan area at shelters and hotels.

Many say they are overjoyed to be heading back to the Sunshine State.

“It feels really good,” said Ray Skelton, Hurricane Irma evacuee from Palm Coast, Florida. “We enjoyed the time away and spending time with our son and our granddaughters, but we’re ready to go home. First of all, just want to see what is there. My neighbor says there wasn’t much damage, so that’s good.”

"We were worried a lot and we're very thankful,” said Illiana, a Sarasota, Florida evacuee.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is asking all locals to try and avoid Highway 231 South and Ross Clark Circle for the next few days to allow for the extra evacuee traffic.

Around 500 storm evacuees from Florida and Georgia stayed in shelters set up at Dothan churches.

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