BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - When Bill Halsell bought his little red and white trailer, he and his wife were going to use it to visit their daughter away at college.
“We’ve used it a couple of times but now all of a sudden, it became our life boat,” Halsell says.
Tuesday, he and his wife penny evacuated from Panama City Beach, Florida where they own a bed and breakfast.
“We’ve been there a long time. The house was built in 47. It’s fourteen feet and they’re expecting storm surge in excess of fourteen feet so we’re not too optimistic about everything,” he said while speaking with WBRC Wednesday.
His is one of nearly twenty RVs from Florida that have found temporary home at the Finley Center’s RV Park in Hoover.
Eric Gratix was coming from a different direction.
He and his wife left their home in Memphis Tuesday, headed to Daytona Beach to leave their motor home for the winter.
“But we would have to go right across Florida which means we would have had to drive right through it and we didn’t want to,” Gratix explained.
They considered stopping in Georgia but feared they might get rained out.
So they kept going.
“We found a spot here and it’s a nice city in Birmingham we thought we’d stay here for a couple more nights and then it will hopefully be all gone,” Gratix says.
They won’t have any devastation to return to.
It should be a much different story for Bill Halsell.
“You know you can run water over something only so many times before it takes everything off so we hope to have a nice, clean slab to start all over again when we get back,” he says with a laugh.
Finley Center officials are allowing evacuees to stay on the grounds for free.
Normally, there is a $35 per night fee.
To receive the discount, evacuees must register and show proof that they live in the affected areas.
Officials say they are glad to help folks during such a difficult time.