Hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Irma evacuees have hit the road to cities across the country, including Atlanta, to avoid the 185-mph winds that have already plowed through parts of the Caribbean and will soon hit parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas this weekend.
Those arriving to Atlanta will join hundreds seeking refuge, and many will be experiencing the city for the first time.
If you’re headed to Atlanta or have already landed in the city ahead of the Category 3 storm, we’ve gathered some of the vital things you should know about the city while you’re here.
Here are 5 things to Hurricane Irma evacuees need to know about Atlanta:
Are there hotel rooms available this weekend?
Well, the options are slim, but there are still some available. According to Tripadvisor.com, Atlanta’s hotels are 95 percent booked. In addition to a shortage of hotels, Atlanta’s AirBnB availability is also shrinking ahead of Hurricane Irma. As of Thursday, just 12 percent of Atlanta inventory is available for bookings through next Thursday.
What is the weather looking like for the next few days?
Current models show the storm heading straight for Atlanta - but Irma is expected to weaken significantly before it reaches the city. Metro Atlanta will see some stormy, windy weather as a result of Irma. Saturday and Sunday temperatures will reach the 80s with breezy conditions. Come Monday and Tuesday, forecasters predict sustained winds of 40 mph, gusts up to 60 mph and between 3 and 6 inches of rain, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Where are the local hospitals?
Depending on how long you’ll be in town, it’s important to know where to go in the case of a medical emergency. Atlanta has a strong network of medical facilities, including Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, located at 1968 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, Emory University Hospital, located at 1364 Clifton Road, Atlanta, and Gwinnett Medical Center, located at 1000 Medical Center Blvd., Lawrenceville. Kaine Law, LLC, compiled a comprehensive map of Atlanta’s hospitals.
Are there emergency shelters set up in Atlanta?
Yes, Red Cross has been serving those affected by Hurricane Harvey and announced earlier this week efforts to support Irma evacuees.
Several Red Cross shelters opened Friday in Georgia, in cities such as Macon and Augusta. Additional shelters will open Saturday, according to a spokeswoman for the Georgia chapter.
Several local residents and local mosques and temples are housing evacuees for free. A local resident, Vanessa Faraj, has created the Atlanta Solidarity Housing effort, which allows Floridians and Carolinians coming to town to fill out a Google form to locate free housing.
Where can I grab a bite to eat?
Metro Atlanta is the home of Waffle House, so there will never be a shortage of hearty, Southern food. If Waffle House is your thing, there’s nearly one on every corner. Depending on the part of town, you’ll find an array of food options. AJC’s Restaurant Scene can serve as your comprehensive guide to restaurants in around town.