September 7th, 2008
04:30 PM ET

Florida Keys: Getting away from the getaway

Patrick Oppmann
CNN producer

The allure of the florida keys has always been that its an escape.

Sapphire blue waters stretch endlessly into the horizon, on key west a wild chicken crossing the street can stop traffic.

But tourist Debbie Thomas found out that getting away from an escape can be even harder than getting to one.

Hurricane Ike cut thomas' vacation short. Instead of hitting the beaches or bars thomas spent hours sunday trying to get one of the last flights out.

"The hotels tell you you can't stay. Its stressfull," she said.

There's good reason the keys, a tourist mecca, is asking its visitors to leave.

Connected by a single road to the mainland the florida keys are isolated and lowlying, in some places just a few feet above sea level. They are perhaps the worse place in the world to weather a hurricane.

On Sunday, city officials and residents breathed a small sigh of relief that the keys are predicted to miss the worst of Ike. But there's always the possibility of a late shift in the storms track. And then there would be no place to escape.

Filed under: Hurricane Ike
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Don, WA

    Earnest would have never closed "Sloppy Joe's".

    September 8, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  2. Anna Matrana

    I would like to ask if you could please give news about the westbank if
    you are going to cover hurricanes in the new orleans area. I evacuated for hurricane gustav and found the news you gave not very helpfull.


    Anna Matrana

    September 7, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  3. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    YIKES! IKES" comin' !
    Hunker down!

    September 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    Some of the hotels here in Birmingham are already booked up from people in Louisiana making reservations in advance in case they have to evacuate. Most of the people had just gone back home to NOLA after staying here during Gustav. Once you have taken all the reservations the hotel can hold its hard to say no to people when they call for a reservation – especially if you met them when they were here during Gustav. Here's hoping Ike doesn't turn out to be the monster he appears to be now. The people along the coast could use a break.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 7, 2008 at 4:58 pm |