West Palm family evacuates to Wesley Chapel to ride out storm

Posted at 11:38 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 23:38:24-04

"I'll meet you at the house, I'm going to leave now," said William Morello.

Morello is the owner of 7 Layers Bakery and is leaving work early Thursday.

"I'll let her in and let her settle in and I'll shoot back here," said Morello to his wife who will be staying at the shop until close.

He's checking out early for good reason, his sister, like more than a 1.5 million other Floridians, was forced from her home in West Palm Beach by mandatory evacuations. Loading what she could into three bags, preparing to spend some restless nights in Wesley Chapel.

"If you stay, emergency vehicles are not going to get to you for 72 hours, they're not putting their lives at risk and I was like god for bid there's an emergency, no ones going to be able to get to us," said Morello's sister Tara Smith.

She says that's what she was told by first responders knocking on doors this morning.

Seven hours fighting traffic now has them feeling safe but worried for those refusing to leave.

"You know you kind of wonder how bad is this going to be, what are we going to be going home to," said Smith.

The same question was posed by her father who owns a home just outside Melbourne Beach, a place Hurricane Matthew is eyeing for landfall.

"He said I don't know if I'm going to have a home to go back to and that's such a sad thing," said Smith.

East Pasco County residents receiving their own warning Thursday, those living in mobile homes and RV's urged to seek stronger shelter as winds could reach as high as 60 miles per hour Friday.

As for Smith, she'll attempt to enjoy time with family, a family she's thankful is there in her time of need.

"I'm just grateful we have somewhere to go and family to take us in, a lot of people don't have that down here," said Smith.