BAY COUNTY (WJRT) - (09/13/17) - It'll be quite some time before life returns to normal in Florida after Hurricane Irma.
And while people who stayed already know what they're dealing with, evacuees only know what they see on TV or have heard from neighbors.
One Florida family, with ties to Mid-Michigan, said evacuating was an easy decision.
"You always have to err on the side of caution in serious situations and we felt we were doing that. Number two you don't play games with you life. We don't do it. And number three you always listen to emergency personnel," said Kelly Metevia, a Sterling Heights native who now lives in Fort Myers, Florida.
After consulting with friends who are meteorologists, Jason and Kelly Metevia decided to leave Florida early Wednesday morning, even before evacuations became mandatory.
"What do you leave, what is a necessity and what isn't. What can be replaced and what would be gone forever," Metevia said.
They packed important papers and hospital momentos from the births of their girls Blaire and Brielle.
They also packed up other items in plastic bags and put them as high as they could in closets, hoping the predicted storm surge wouldn't reach them.
As they were leaving they had to explain the situation to their five-year-old daughter, Brielle.
They told her she might lose all her "things" but they had each other. "She hugged her stuffed animals and she gave them kisses and she said, 'goodbye, I love you'," Metevia said.
Then it was time to leave. Metevia remembers saying something her grandmother used to say. "We said take good care little house. And then we had to shut the door and we walked out and we drove off," Metevia said. "I've never in my life gotten on a road and worried that I wouldn't be able to get where I need to go."
They were worried about being able to buy gas and how heavy traffic would be. Thankfully, the most they had to wait at the gas station was about 10 minutes.
Jason and Kelly planned to go to a hotel in Georgia to wait and see where Hurricane Irma would actually hit.
But then the storm's track shifted and it appeared their home would take a direct hit.
That's when Jason and Kelly decided to take the girls all the way to Bay County so they could stay with family if they ended up not having a home to go back to.
"We did not have high hopes at all that we would have a house at all or it wouldn't be liveable for quite some time," Metevia said.
On Tuesday the Metevias got good news from a neighbor.
"Miraculously there is no water in the house that they can tell, they walked through our house yesterday they don't see any roof leaks or problems," Metevia said.
There was some minor damage around the house and some downed trees.
They're still not sure when they can go home. They are waiting for power to be restored and they want to make sure they access to gas to be able to get home.