The Red Cross shelter at First Baptist Church in DeFuniak Springs is host to more than 50 people taking refuge from Hurricane Gustav.
Evacuees from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi started rolling in around 3 a.m. Sunday night. Volunteers were on standby from the last storm that rolled through Tropical Storm Fay.
“They had encouraged folks to go north or go to Texas so all the chapters along the I-10 corridor made sure they had something ready just in case and if we got calls or emergency management got calls then we were ready to go.”
Folks are taking comfort from warm meals and a place to sleep. While many are finding ways to pass the time, all are keeping a watchful eye on weather reports. Some are concerned for family members who stayed behind.
“How come your dad didn't come with you? Cause he just said that nothing bad really happens cause every time we leave to Texas nothing would happen and the day that we actually stayed for katrina stuff did happen so he just said he's rather stay home this time.”
Some people are reliving memories of escaping Hurricane Katrina and the destruction they discovered upon their return.
“Hopefully a little water, praying for no water in my house and no damage no tornadoes that went through. I lost a lot of things.”
Shelter representatives say they will stay open as long as necessary to aid evacuees. Officials say anyone looking to head back home should check to be sure the weather has cleared and that it's safe to travel home.
Emergency management officials say the beaches of Walton County are closed due to high surf and rip tides so no one should go into the water. They will re-evaluate the status of the beaches Tuesday morning.