Hurricane Dorian evacuees fill up Aiken County, surrounding lodging

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Frankiln County Sheriff's Office is taking donations for Hurricane Dorian victims. (MGN)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Rakesh Jasani and his staff at the Hilton Garden Inn in Aiken is having to break the bad news about a total lack of capacity to many trying to escape Hurricane Dorian in the past several days.

"Right now I know we're sold out tonight, tomorrow, Friday, at our properties,” Jasani said.

Jasani owns three hotels in Aiken. He says evacuees started calling last week, then began showing up on Mmonday.

"A lot of times we’re one of the hot spots for the coast,” Jasani said. “I know a lot of people from Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Charleston areas do love to come to Aiken"

Morgan Shannon and his wife live in Charleston. They booked their room on Monday and no sooner packed their bags.

"Soon as the governor came out with mandatory evacuation, my wife and I just decided to get in the car and go, we don't stay around to wait for anything else,” Shannon said.

They're not alone. Lindsay Geelhood and her husband planned to leave Hilton Head on Thursday. They came a day earlier.

"We called here in the morning and we got what we thought was the last room available,” Geelhood said. “And we have another hotel booked starting tomorrow, but we decided we should just leave a day earlier."

Aiken hotels aren't the only ones booked. Expedia shows more than 30 hotels in Augusta are sold out Wednesday and Thursday.

Kevin Hewes and his family are staying both nights.

"Until Friday, because in our area, it should be gone by Friday,” Hewes said.

Dorian's path may be unknown, but when it comes to evacuating, one thing's for sure.

"You can always get property, you can't get another life,” Morgan Shannon said.

Many hotels have changed their cancellation policies. They're letting people cancel last minute. They've also changed their pet policies.

At Hilton Garden Inn in Aiken, they have a no pet policy, but they are letting pets in this week. At the Hyatt House in downtown Augusta, they only let one pet per room, but they're letting families bring more this week.

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