Gulf Coast Residents Evacuate, Montgomery Hotels Sell Out

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By Tamika Bickham

Mandatory evacuations for parts of Baldwin and Mobile counties are in effect and many people are now arriving in Montgomery to seek shelter. Hotels throughout the area are selling out.

People are making their way north as Isaac approaches.

"We just arrived 15 minutes ago and we are trying to get away from the wind and the water," said AJ Ruiz.

Ruiz and his wife packed up food and their important documents.

"Tax returns, birth, marriage certificates, and things of that nature," said Ruiz.

They made the five hour drive from the New Orleans area to wait out the storm in Montgomery.

"I respect storms and we always leave," he said.

After years of living on the gulf, he's seen what a storm can do, especially seven years ago.

"This is the first year since Katrina that we left and this may not be a large storm, but we just don't want to take a chance," said Ruiz.

Not only people from Louisiana, but also Florida, and the southern part of the state are coming to Montgomery to stay in hotels in our area. CBS 8 spoke to several hotels located off Eastchase Parkway, and management says that they are pretty much booked up for the rest of the week. So if the situation gets bad, and there is no more room, shelters in this area will have to open.

State Emergency Management Director Art Faulkner says it's critical to plan ahead and leave early.

"You have tourists leaving, residents that are leaving, then you need to allow extra time to get out and get out on those main arteries leading to the north," said Faulkner.

He says even if you don't live exactly where the storm is projected to hit, that doesn't mean you ignore the potential threat.

"There could be as much as an 80 to 100-mile shift in a very short time frame," said Faulkner.

Shelters in Alabama are not open yet, but they are on standby. Faulkner says they will continue to assess the situation to see where there is need. You can dial 2-1-1 to find more information about shelters in your area.