BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two students from Baton Rouge currently studying in Charleston, South Carolina have evacuated the area and headed back home to dodge Hurricane Irma. They even brought along a friend.
Luke Shiroda and his two friends packed up as soon as their campus, College of Charleston, decided to close ahead of a possible hit from Hurricane Irma. The massive storm is currently ravaging parts of the Caribbean, has Florida locked in its sights, and is expected to pay South Carolina a visit by Monday.
"They keep saying it's going to hit South Carolina at a Category 4 or 3 depending on how far it goes," said Amanda Solomon.
The three freshmen are just two weeks into their first semester and drove the 12 hours overnight, stopping in Montgomery, Alabama before making it back home to Baton Rouge. "Wednesday, we pulled the trigger at about 4 p.m.," Shiroda added. "We packed up the car and were out of there by 5:45 p.m."
Their friend, Elizabeth Dominguez, is from New York and happens to be Solomon's roommate. She has never experienced a hurricane, but says based on her friends' reaction, she was not about to take a chance. "Once they said it was kind of serious I was like, 'OK, they've been through it before, so I should listen to what they think,'" said Dominguez.
The trio wasted no time jumping in the car to beat traffic coming out of the area while many across parts of Florida and the east coast are racing against the clock to make it out of the Category 5 storm's deadly path.
While the Gulf Coast is a usual target for hurricanes, they say evacuating to Baton Rouge is strange, but they are glad to be back home and for now, safe. "I immediately felt like an elephant was removed off. I knew we were on our way to safety and was taking everyone that I could with me," said Shiroda.
While they are out of harm's way, they cannot help but think about those who are still in Irma's path. "It's always nice to come home, but I wish it were under better circumstances," Shiroda added. "I just keep everyone in my prayers in that part of the country right now."
The group says they hope others in the storm's path will heed the warning and take precautions while they still can.