Floyd evacuations keep

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 16, 1999

Troy motels booked


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Published Sept. 16, 1999

Troy motel rooms have been hard to come by for travelers due to a massive evacuation from the Florida Gulf area that has motels booked as far north as Birmingham.

Portions of Florida were ordered to be evacuated Monday due to Hurricane Floyd, pushing travelers north along Highway 231 in search of rooms until they could safely return home.

Monday and Tuesday nights, rooms were booked and Wednesday was expected to be little better.

"We were completely booked," said Selena Insocenzi, a Troy Holiday Inn employee. "People were coming through from Florida and we didn’t have any available rooms."

Highway 231 is part of an evacuation route for travelers fleeing the coastal areas during hurricanes.

Now, portions of Georgia have been evacuated, and again, Troy is seeing travelers from the Atlantic seaboard.

"We are seeing some people come in from Georgia due to the hurricane," Genevieve Whitson, an employee at Econo Lodge in Troy, said Wednesday afternoon. "Most of the Florida people are heading back home, but the rooms are still probably going to be booked tonight."

Randi Hancock, an employee at the Holiday Inn Express, said she has felt bad about rooms being so short.

"I feel so sorry for some of them," she said. "A gentleman came in last night – he was elderly, probably 80 or so – and I had to turn him down. We were totally out of rooms. It makes me feel terrible, but there’s nothing I can do about it."

Alicia Juneau, a Days Inn employee, said she has had the same problem.

"We have been booked up," she said. "People are coming from so far away, but there are just no rooms."

Some people have resorted to drastic measures to find a place to sleep.

"I’ve heard people say they were going to sleep in their cars in the parking lots Tuesday night," Whitson said. "

Hancock said the Holiday Inn chain was facing room shortages Tuesday night as far north as Birmingham.

"People made 12 hour trips to Troy and we couldn’t get them a room," she said. "It’s been pretty rough."

Georgia refugees are gradually sifting into Troy and it seems likely that motel rooms will be a luxury for travelers here.

Juneau said most weekdays only see Days Inn 25 percent filled, but it will likely remain booked for another day or more.

Econo Lodge is normally only 30 to 40 percent filled during an average weekday, Whitson said.

Wednesday night, Floyd continued to pound portions of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida with high winds and rain. The storm’s eye was near the South Carolina Coast.

Monday and Tuesday nights, motels in Dothan, Montgomery and Birmingham reported being flooded with hurricane evacuees.