(CNN) Floridians began a mass exodus on Thursday as Hurricane Irma, the powerful Category 5 storm, plowed through the Caribbean toward the Sunshine State.
Thousands of cars headed north, causing interstate backups and slowdowns. Drivers waited for hours at gas stations, some of which ran out of fuel. Travelers stood in line for hours at airports.
Based on Irma’s projected path, which includes Florida’s heavily populated eastern coast, the enormous storm could create one of the largest mass evacuations in US history, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties combined have about 6 million people.