Irma damage: Displaced Floridians now decide when to return home

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Irma damage: Displaced Floridians now decide when to return home

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Bill Barrow/AP
Pam Szymanski of Fort Myers, Fla. and her 8-year-old son Charlie Dutill watch weather radar on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, as the remnants of Irma move toward metro Atlanta, where their family evacuated to a downtown hotel. Szymanski said her Florida home suffered some wind damage, but she doesn't know how much and isn't sure when she will be able to return. (AP Photo/Bill Barrow)

They fled their homes to stay safe from the winds and rains of then-hurricane Irma. Now Floridians are deciding when to return home and how they’re going to get there.

Pam Szymanski is holed up in an Atlanta hotel, but she knows her home in Fort Meyers, Florida has sustained damage. A neighbor told her that the that the living room window is gone, The Associated Press reported.

And while she had a room in Atlanta, 574 miles away from her home, Szmanski is trying to get closer to her residence, moving to Valdosta, Georgia, 228 miles closer to home, but still almost 350 miles away. And there’s no timetable for her to finish the trip. She could run into downed trees and closed roads. Also potential roadblocks include empty grocery stores, power outages and little to no gasoline, The AP reported.

Gov. Rick Scott has told those who evacuated the storm to not rush back to check on their property.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has warned that there could be “disruption to daily activities” for a long time after Irma.

David and Carin Atkins left their Pinecrest, Florida home for Atlanta. They were planning to head home Tuesday, and  split the trip, staying in Cape Canaveral. Their home may have power. Businesses in their area have electricity, but if their home doesn’t, they can live at home without it. They have experience during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That’s when they went 47 days without power, The AP reported.

VIDEO: Hurricane Irma Evacuations
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