Florida resident takes refuge from Hurricane Irma in Blacksburg

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Hurricane Irma is making its way to Florida, leaving behind a trail of destruction. More than 20 people have been killed in the Caribbean from the powerful storm.

The Category 5 storm carrying strong wind and rain is set to make landfall this Sunday, and Irma's impact is forcing many to head north - including coming here to Virginia.

Sheryl Martino left early Wednesday morning to be with her daughter in Blacksburg. Two days after she arrived in Southwest Virginia there are now mandatory evacuations happening near her home.

"I don't know what to expect. It's a little scary to be honest with you. I'm very worried about my friends and what I'll find when I go home. Just no idea, and hoping for the best," said Sheryl Martino, who evacuated Florida.

Martino says she's safe now with her daughter in Blacksburg. She took pictures of her home in Naples, Florida before she left. They show metal shutters over her windows.

"I went home and just decided I need to get out of here as soon as I can. So I just started moving furniture away from the windows," Martino said.

She left with her pets and a few clothes and drove north. Behind her long lines began to form on the interstate, at gas stations, and at grocery stores.

"It feels good to have a place to go to also because a lot of people don't have that," Martino said.

"She's probably the only person that's in town not for the Virginia Tech football game this weekend," said Ceci Leonard, her daughter.

Leonard told her to come stay in Southwest Virginia until the storm passes.

"One of my biggest concerns is what's going to happen after the fact. Is there going to be a lot of damage? Really right now it's looking like she's right in the path," Leonard said.

Martino teaches high school Spanish in Naples. Her school was converted into a shelter and is at full capacity.