Heading Into the Path of the Storm

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2017/09/36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma.jpg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:500;s:6:"height";i:346;s:4:"file";s:49:"2017/09/36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:7:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-336x233.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:233;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:47:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-500x338.jpg";s:5:"width";i:500;s:6:"height";i:338;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-449x311.jpg";s:5:"width";i:449;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-383x265.jpg";s:5:"width";i:383;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:49:"36692208380_d8dcb6d5dc_Hurricane-Irma-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

)
1537702327 
1504894734

As many people flee Hurricane Irma, some are heading right into its path. Irma is barreling towards Florida and is expected to make landfall tomorrow. David Goodwin is with the American Red Cross in Birmingham and was eastbound on Interstate 10 just outside Tallahassee when WBHM caught up with him Friday morning.

Interview highlights

What he saw on the road to Florida.

“The whole trip it’s been really interesting. I’ve made this trip probably 50 times or so and southbound through Alabama over and over I saw hotels that were absolutely full, gas stations that were long lines of people waiting for gas. Even as far north as Montgomery, that was the case. One thing that really stands out to me once I made it to I-10, there’s not anybody in front of me eastbound for about half a mile. On the westbound side, that’s folks who would be heading out of Florida. It’s just bumper to bumper traffic with people trying to get away from those coastal areas. Most of the traffic on the eastbound side where I am are, I guess what I kind of call a construction kind of truck mostly hauling large generators and also like National Guard convoys. I’ve seen a number of these and some of those large military trucks that we see carrying supplies and equipment.”

Stay in Orlando or head south?

Orlando is one of our primary staging locations with the Red Cross. So we have a number of staff who are coming into the Orlando area. And then based on where we are needed we will move on from there. So if as expected there is more need for staff south of Orlando specifically in that Miami area, then we will move on to that point as soon as we’re able to access that area Sunday afternoon or so.”

Stopped at a gas station in Florida

“One of the things that I am noticing are the number of folks who, when they stop for gas, have a number of external gas tanks like the red gas cans. I’m looking across the parking lot right now at someone who has four, looks like three-gallon cans on the back of his pickup truck. I noticed someone who– and this is not a good idea, this is not what you need to do– they had gas tanks, the extra gas cans in the back of their car. That is extremely dangerous. The fumes can get to you before you notice that. So that’s something that people really should not do. I was blown away when I looked over and saw it.”

“There is a very thin line between the people who are in good, kind moods, and the people who think the zombie apocalypse is upon us. And it’s hard to tell the difference from 20 feet away.”

Goodwin lives in Birmingham, but he’s from Florida. He’s lived through storms like Hurricane Irma and working for the Red Cross he’s used to being in disaster situations. But he says he’s never seen people react this way before.

“I will say that during Hurricane Katrina there was a certain degree of concern and maybe with some that evolved into hysteria, especially around gas shortage. But this is really on a much larger scale, especially since we’re talking about larger population areas. It’s a very different animal out here right now.”

 

Photo by anttilipponen

 

There Were More Deaths Than Births In Alabama Last Year, A Grim First For The State

Alabama's top health official says the state has "literally shrunk." According to preliminary data, it saw 64,714 total deaths and 57,641 births in 2020.

Yes, It Is Safe To Get The COVID And Flu Vaccines At The Same Time

Alabama is gearing up for flu season. Health professionals say it's okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine in conjunction with the flu vaccine.

Hoyt Leaves Legacy In District Eight After Sixteen Years

For the last sixteen years, Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt has represented areas like Ensley, West End and Five Points West. But Hoyt will leave office next month after choosing not to run for reelection. His last meeting is October 19.

Bridging The Empathy Gap Between Birmingham Schools And The Community

The interactive art exhibit “All In” put viewers in the shoes of Ramsay High School students.

JeffCo Employees Getting 3% Raises In Budget Passed Thursday

The Jefferson County Commission unanimously passed a $882,750,611 budget last week. It includes a 3% across-the-board raise for county employees.

Birmingham Applies For Grants To Beef Up Surveillance, Readies To Open Real-Time Crime Center

The city of Birmingham will apply for a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase and maintain license plate readers in an effort “to improve the [Birmingham Police Department’s] response to violent crime.”

More Environment Coverage