Boca Raton faired ok; lots of downed trees and power outages around the area.
My wife's employer covered costs for evacuating (they wanted key employees out of the area and able to continue working) so we bugged out to Alpharetta, GA on the Wednesday before. My wife's co-worker's family lives there and they hosted us and another family for the storm.
It was crazy trying to get up the FL Tpk and I-75 corridor~ What is normally about a 9 hour drive took us 20 hours over two days. Every interchange on the highway was bumper to bumper. Gas was scarce for miles from the exits. The tollbooth at the north end of the FL Tpk was one big hot mess...
By the time we got to Tavares/Leesburg, after nine hours (normally a 3-4 hour ride), we were lucky to find a room and stopped for the night, since we had the kids and the dog. Ironically the restaurant next to the hotel was "Hurricane Dockside Grill"
so grabbed a bite and got some rest.
On Thursday we resumed...Hopped back on I75 to find it worse so got back off and drove 441 from Lake City to Athens, GA. This was a good move; although the towns were pretty jammed up, the road between towns was mostly empty and moved along. There was fuel to be found in the stretches between highway exit towns. PLUS it was moving....even though this route took us fifty miles out of our way, I would rather be on the move than sitting in stop and go on the interstate. Got to Alpharetta around midnight.
We headed back home on Tuesday. This was an even more brutal drive. I figured that the I-75/FL TPK corridor would be nuts, since that route would have both east and west coast Floridians headed back...so we decided to work our way to I-95 and head back down the east coast. 75 was gridlocked before Macon, so we jumped off and hit the back roads to Milledgeville and then worked our way to 341 towards Brunswick to catch 95 there. Got to within 20 miles of the on ramp and hit a Nat Guard/Sheriff roadblock..Glynne County was closed and they turned us back.
We back tracked to Jesup and tried to catch 301 to Jacksonville, but that was closed due to a bridge out, so kept heading west to Waycross and caught 23 south to Callahan where we got the 295 to 95. Once on 95 it was pretty smooth sailing to Boca, although the highway was full of tired, stressed and aggressive drivers trying to get home.
Total time, Alpharetta to Boca Raton, was nineteen hours. Google Maps and Waze were indispensable in finding our way off the highways...they took us on some back roads which made me glad we took the Jeep instead of the wife's 'grocery getter'! One road between Macon and Milledgeville was a muddy dirt road with freshly sawed off trees halfway across...when we came up on the turn, the wife looked at the road, then at me...and saw a big grin on my face as I was engaging the 4x4...then she said 'hit it!'
Taking the east coast route was the right move...the other family that came to GA with us left two hours before us, and had only made it to Orlando after 14 hours....
It was surprising how much damage we saw on the route between NW and SE Georgia...trees on houses, cars and roads. Thousands of displaced people...no hotel rooms available anywhere, and even the rest areas on 95 were overflowing onto the highway.
We got home to only a fence down and a small tree in the pool...power was on.
We dodged the bullet, but my heartfelt condolences to those who lost so much to this storm. I have a friend who owns a house in Key Largo that his neighbor texted him a pic of during the storm...a power cable or lightning strike set it on fire and it burned to the ground.
Another friend has a home on Big Pine Key...haven't heard from him yet, but the NOAA images show the house is still there.