Eufaula, Al- While the city of Eufaula is bracing for potential strong winds and rain as a result of Hurricane Michael, many Panama City tourists and residents are seeking safety in the Alabama town. 

Eufaula may not feel the brunt of Hurricane Michael’s wrath, but that hasn’t stopped city leaders from preparing for the storm’s potential impact or the influx of evacuees. 

Jack Tibbs, Mayor of the City of Eufaula, tells News 3 that local hotels are full. News 3 spoke with two evacuees who said riding the storm out was not an option. 

For Juan Sanchez and his family, calls to evacuate their Panama City home ahead of previous hurricanes was considered optional-but not this time. 

“Previously we stayed-this is the first time that we actually evacuated,” says Sanchez. 

The Sanchez’s are one of many Florida families that have opted to comply with evacuation orders, even in the middle of vacation, like Kristie Shaw’s family. 

“My husband did not want to get caught in all of the traffic yesterday because they were running out of gas and the interstates were bumper to bumper, so we waited until today,” says Shaw. “And once they mandatory evacuated and then there was nobody in our condo but about ten people-we decided to go.” 

To Eufaula-where hotels have reached capacity and city leaders are ready for what’s to come. 

“We all know that the model is the model and it can change,” says Tibbs. “That thing can make one wrong turn and it can come right on top of us. In that case, we’ll be looking at 70 mile an hour winds and up to 8/9 inches of rain.” 

Another reason why Shaw says she wasn’t taking any chances. 

“If it had just been my husband and I, I think we would have stayed, but we have our daughters with us and that was not a risk we wanted to take.” 

“We just didn’t want my grandma or family to get hurt, so we evacuated this time,” says Sanchez. 

For Mayor Tibbs, keeping residents and visitors in Eufaula safe is his first priority. 

“We’d like all of our citizens, if possible, to stay off the roads unless you absolutely need to be out there to go to work. Stay off the road. Don’t create a problem for us.”