Florida evacuees seek shelter in Meridian

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - As Hurricane Michael slams the Gulf Coast, many Florida residents have left their homes to find safety.

Florida's governor warned all residents that the time to evacuate is over, and now that chance is gone.

Many of those who did choose to evacuate are filling up Mississippi's hotels, and some have come to Meridian to seek shelter.

The assistant general manager for Hilton Garden Inn says the hotel is doing all it can to make evacuees feel comfortable.

"We try to provide the most homelike setting we can when someone's leaving," Jeremy Campbell says. "Some hotels that aren't pet-friendly become pet-friendly when we have evacuees because we know they're not going to leave their loved ones, their fur babies, at home."

He says it's not just evacuees who need a place to stay.

"You'll have restoration crews that will start coming into Meridian from all over the Southeast and the West, and they'll all converge into Meridian, as well," Campbell says. "Your power crews, your tree-cutting crews, your debris removal crews, they'll come into Meridian. Then they'll stage from here before they go out into a storm."

Campbell says more than 100 linemen will stay in the Queen City Thursday night.