WSOC-TV: Shelters, Charlotte Motor Speedway open to Irma evacuees

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The mass exodus has already started -- drivers are headed anywhere to get out of Hurricane Irma's path.

“We're pretty close to the water so we didn't want to be in the way of it,” Katie Smith said.

Sammy Lomanto drove from Central Florida to escape the storm. He stopped in Atlanta first, but he couldn’t find any place to stay. Then, he made it to Charlotte.

“We ran into tons of gridlock,” Lomanto said. “Literally for four hours, we didn't go more than 25 mph."

Charlotte's emergency management team is working to designate even more shelters.

Among those shelters could be the Spectrum Center, convention center or Bojangles Coliseum.

A Salvation Army shelter Channel 9 went to is already full, but officials are scrambling to make room for more evacuees.

The director said if they have to they will make space on the dining room floor. They are still trying to get cots and other supplies so they won't have to turn anyone away.

 “We've been working with our city and our county,” the director said. “They called on us and asked us that if the storm does hit Charlotte can we not have a turn away policy, can we find capacity in the shelter.”

 The Charlotte Motor Speedway is opening its campground to Hurricane Irma evacuees.

The Rock City Campground off Bruton Smith Boulevard will open at 7 a.m. Friday.

“We are happy to open our doors to help those needing a place to seek shelter during this difficult time,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We look forward to showing them the hospitality for which we’re known and they deserve. We are fortunate to have camping available to accommodate both hurricane evacuees and the drag racing fans who will join us next week.”

For those planning to use the campground, please use Entrance Z. Campers will have access to the bathhouse facilities.

The speedway is opening the campground a week early, before the race on Sept. 15.

READ MORE AT WSOC-TV

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