Irma evacuation nightmare: Next time some may not leave

A member of the Arizona Task Force 1 search and rescue team knocks on doors while checking on homes and their owners after Hurricane Irma in Goodland, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) After a painful flight across several states to escape unpredictable Hurricane Irma, Suzanne Pallot says it's unlikely she would evacuate South Florida again — an attitude echoed by other evacuees that experts say could put them in danger when the next storm hits.

Pallot is a lifelong South Florida resident who never evacuated for previous hurricanes. After what she calls an emotionally draining experience, she doesn't want to do it again.

About 7 million people were asked to evacuate as Irma threatened Florida and the Southeast with strong winds and storm surge that in some places was forecast to push water as high as the rooftops of single-story homes.

Many got stuck in massive traffic jams, waited in hourslong lines at a dwindling number of gas stations still equipped with fuel, and were forced to bounce from city to city as the storm kept changing its path.