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Trying to make the best of things in Atlanta

ATLANTA — This city is acting as a temporary home to many hurricane evacuees trying to make the best of things.

Josh and Katie Podolsky drove more than 10 hours from Tampa Thursday, a trip that took about three hours longer than usual. They plan to leave for Mobile, Ala., Saturday morning, but are making a mini-vacation out of their time here.

“We went to the aquarium yesterday!” Katie Podolsky, 32, said as she, her husband and their twin toddlers stood in line for a ferris wheel.

Still, the context of this “vacation” is hard to get around. When asked about their current emotional state, Katie answers: “Mine’s terror.”

“It’s just frustrating because we don’t know what to do,” said 38-year-old Josh Podolsky. The couple initially planned to stay with family in Raleigh, but decided to change course when they saw how the hurricane’s trajectory had changed. “It’s like back and forth,” he said.

Donna Van, her husband and their three daughters got here at 5 a.m. Friday after an all-night drive from West Palm Beach.

“We’re still looking for a hotel,” Van, 46, said as she searched for a place to stay on her phone.

“I’m very tired, and I need a room to stay in, at least for one night,” she said. “We’ve been awake up until now [since Thursday morning], and we need to rest.”

Liz Shapiro, a 52-year-old from Boca Raton, got here another way.

“I had to get a private plane to come here with my five dogs,” she said.

Shapiro is staying at the Ritz-Carlton with her husband, three kids, mother and mother-in-law. And don’t forget the five dogs, weighing in at a far-from-lap-size of 70 pounds. “The Ritz waived everything,” Shapiro said, regarding restrictions and fees around pets. “Everyone in Atlanta has been like that everywhere we go — they’ve been so welcoming. We’re making friends.”

Hurricane Irma: Storm moves north after pounding Florida
Heavy winds and rain are seen in Miami on Sunday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Irma, the record-setting hurricane that devastated islands across the Caribbean, has been churning north through Florida — and has turned its sights on Georgia.

Visit the Capital Weather Gang’s live updates page for more on the storm.