Fierce winds, flooding rains, and a deadly storm surge pounded the Gulf Coast Sunday. The threat of Hurricane Dennis sent people over 500 miles from home.
The closest motel room some evacuees from Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi could find was right here in East Texas. Joan McLain from McLain, Mississippi said, "The entire state of Mississippi was booked up and we couldn't find anything in Louisiana so it was either come to Texas or go to Arkansas."
McLain says last year's Hurricane Ivan changed her mind about not leaving for a monster storm. She told us, "I worked the night through Ivan -- it was not fun. I said I would never stay for another one."
The McLain family were not the only ones to make the trip to East Texas. Local motels say it has been a busy weekend with visitors from the Gulf Coast. Cindy Ebarb, a motel clerk with the Best Western Crown Colony said "We've been totally booked. One day we didn't have any rooms available."
Many of the evacuees are expected to make the return trip home tomorrow.