PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Airports in Florida are shutting down, and evacuees waited for hours at Miami International Airport, describing the situation as “chaotic.”
The images of Hurricane Irma’s destruction across the Caribbean brought home a Friday urgency to get out through Miami International Airport.
According to state emergency officials, Florida has asked 5.6 million people to evacuate. That’s more than one quarter of the state’s population.
“It was just so packed, and people were so nervous,” Kimberley Johnson, of Mt. Oliver, said. “It was scary.”
Those arriving at Pittsburgh International Airport from Miami are glad to be anywhere else.
“It was treacherous,” Matthew Lewis, of Columbus, Ohio, said. “We kept calling the airline, and they kept saying our flight was canceled.”
“It was totally a mission for us to find our tickets,” Carey Fullilove, of Miami, said. “The prices kept skyrocketing or you went to check out and it wouldn’t be available anymore.”
Had it not been for baby Juliet, Carey and Reggie Fullilove might have stuck it out with friends in Doral.
“But that’s only 11 miles west of the water, so we didn’t want to risk it, not with her,” Fullilove said.
“[This is] my first hurricane, so I didn’t know if I should be going crazy or should I just be relaxed?” Ahmed Ahmadi, of Coral Gables, Fla., said.
Ahmadi’s first flight was canceled. American Airlines Flight 3329 got him out. He’s on his way to Boston after his stop in Pittsburgh.
Sally Rogers, of Youngstown, Ohio, wanted to stay put, but her family told her to come home.
“I was through a hurricane once when I was little, and that was enough for me,” Francis Smith, of Uniontown, said.
No amount of boarding up or hurricane panels could protect Smith’s high-rise in a mandatory evacuation zone.
“They were just telling you, ‘If you don’t leave, you are on your own,’” he said, “so you either had to hunker down or get out. So it really wasn’t much of an option.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)