Nathan Deal

Traffic nightmare as 500K people told to leave South Florida ahead of Irma

The race to flee Hurricane Irma became a marathon nightmare as more than a half-million people were ordered to leave South Florida on Thursday.

With the storm barreling toward the tip of Florida for perhaps a catastrophic blow this weekend, normally quick trips turned into daylong journeys on crowded highways amid a constant search for gasoline and lodging. Airline seats out of Florida were in short supply as well.

Mari and Neal Michaud loaded their two children and dog into their small sport-utility vehicle and left their home near Cocoa Beach about 10 a.m., bound for an impromptu vacation in Washington, D.C. Using a phone app and calls to search for fuel along the way,...

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