Shelters open up and hotels fill up as Hurricane draws near

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DOTHAN, Ala (WTVY) - Hurricane Michael is scheduled to hit the Wiregrass Wednesday afternoon, but people and businesses throughout Dothan are already preparing.

WTVY reached out to about a half dozen hotels, and they are all at capacity or have limited availability.

One wiregrass volunteer organization is trying to make sure everyone has a safe place if they need it.

Debra Marlow lives in Bonifay, Florida.

She'll be at work when Hurricane Michael is predicted to make landfall, so she's spending a day in Dothan to make preparations.

"After running errands today, I'm making sure the vehicles are full, I'm getting cases of water, filling up buckets for toilets, washing, whatever,” said Marlow. “Tying down my lawn furniture and putting what I can in the sheds."

She said many of her friends down in Florida aren't too worried about this storm.

"They get all the hype ready for tropical storms, hurricanes, and then nothing happens, and you have all this stuff stored,” said Marlow.

Debra's friends may not be taking this storm too seriously, but others are.

"It's going to be a very busy week,” said Andrew Lee, General Manager of Country Inn & Suites We are currently sold out for Wednesday, and depending how bad the storm comes, it could add some more days to us."

Lee thinks he may have to send people further north because so much of Dothan is already booked up, and for anyone not wanting to keep going north, there will be shelters available.

"The game plan is for any evacuees that may need to seek shelter to come to Cornerstone first, and we'll process them, get the information, and we'll open up some secondary churches that will serve as safe havens," said Gary Griffin, Chairman of Houston County V.O.A.D.

Griffin had several evacuees stay at Cornerstone Church during Hurricane Irma last year, but he thinks Hurricane Michael may drive even more people to their doors.

"If the need arises, Houston County VOAD is going to be there, and we're going to take care of this disastrous situation as well,” said Griffin.

Cornerstone Church will start taking anyone who is looking for shelter starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow due to the mandatory evacuation from Panama City Beach.

For more information about shelters in Houston County, call Wiregrass 2-1-1.

Here is other shelter information for the area:

Dothan Boots and Saddle Club has 5 water and power hook ups for campers, and about 8 horse stalls available. No charge for Hurricane Evacuees. Call ahead, +1 (334) 685-2409

Heart of Dixie in Troy is open to hurricane evacuees. We have campsites & horse accommodations available. There will be a discount for evacuees. For more information please call the office 334-670-0005

Officially opening Garrett Coliseum grounds at 8 a.m. tomorrow for emergency livestock sheltering. POC is the Garrett Coliseum. Office at 334-356-6866. Due to the fair, only dry comping is available. Owners of animals and livestock evacuating from Florida due to Hurricane Michael are exempt from having entry requirements. However, owners should try to bring any information available with them such as Coggin's test for horses, rabies certificates for dogs and cats and any medications. Health Certificates will not be required.

Click here for Closing and Delays in the Wiregrass

RV Locations:
80 fullhook up RV spots behind Center Stage at 11295 US-231 Hwy South in Houston County. Also 5 hook ups at Taylor Town Hall

Shelter/Safe Havens:
Daleville Cultural and Convention Center: For those needing shelter, the Daleville Cultural and Convention Center is opening at 5:00 p.m. on October 9th. Pets are welcome but must be leashed and/or kenneled. If you have any questions please call The Department of Public Safety at 334-598-4442.

Cornerstone Church: Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday October 9th, Hurricane Michael evacuees needing shelter/safe haven can go to the Cornerstone Church located at 2685 John D. Odom Road in Dothan. The contact number is 334-983-1848.

The Harbor: Safe Haven for the Homeless and Unsheltered. The Harbor at 320 North Foster Street in Dothan will open Wednesday morning, October 10th, at 7 a.m. for those that are homeless or unsheltered in the Dothan area. The Harbor will remain open through the night Wednesday and on Thursday until Hurricane Michael has passed the area. If you would like to help, bottled water and nonperishable food items are needed and can be dropped off at The Harbor. Volunteers are also needed. To volunteer, call 334-805-9854.

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