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Virginia student flees Hurricane Florence, drives 16 hours to Milwaukee home

Posted: 5:54 PM, Sep 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-14 23:41:30Z

A Milwaukee woman made a 16-hour drive from the southeast to get out of Hurricane Florence's way. 

“[My roommate and I] were like let’s just head west, that was our mindset —let’s just head west to get out of the east," Johnna Odam said. 

Odom, a junior at Hampton University, watched news coverage nervously from the safety of her Milwaukee home Friday. Days before she was debating whether or not to even leave the southeast. She finally decided Tuesday after speaking with family. 

“I was actually going to leave on Wednesday, and I talked to my mom and my grandma and they were just like, ‘what are you waiting on,’” Odom said. 

Following the phone call, she said she and her roommate packed a bag, packed the car, and got on the road. 

“[While driving], I was really scared. I was scared when I was in Virginia at my house, I was scared on the drive. All I could think was I could potentially not make it out of Virginia.”

Although reports are focused heavily on the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, the National Weather Service predicts Southwest Virginia and West Virginia could see flash flooding in the days to come —Odom said that's all the more reason she’s happy to be home. 

Hampton University along with other universities in the area completely shut down for the week but the school is expected to resume classes Monday. Odom plans to drive back to Virginia Sunday if the weather permits.