RDU receives travelers from Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian landfall

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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More than 2.5 million people are under evacuation orders in Florida, as Hurricane Ian moves in for a direct hit on the Sunshine State.

More than 2.5 million people are under evacuation orders in Florida, as Hurricane Ian moves in for a direct hit on the Sunshine State.

Tampa International Airport has already closed to commercial flights, and many North Carolina travelers have had to change up their vacation plans.

Airport traffic at RDU on Tuesday was relatively par for the course. However, the airport received its fair share of passengers from Florida who left the state, fleeing from Hurricane Ian.

"I had to leave early like, I was supposed to fly back on Friday," Gisela Alonso Martinez said. "But we had to leave early to be safe."

She flew back home to Raleigh from Orlando where she was supposed to be attending an international software conference with people from around the world.

She told ABC11 that conference organizers canceled activities for the remainder of the week, which left attendees scrambling to leave central Florida.

"Some people were driving up to Jacksonville to get a flight out to San Francisco, everything to Europe was super expensive," she said upon her arrival to RDU. She considered herself fortunate to get out of Orlando when she did.

"There was no way out. I got my last seat on this Southwest flight. So I got lucky," she said.

Airlines have already begun to issue travel advisories and in some cases waive baggage fees for travelers leaving Florida.

"Orlando's usually crowded, but our flight was completely sold out," Triangle resident Dan Courtney said. "I know the hotel we were in, some people from the Tampa area were coming into Orlando to get away from Tampa."

Courtney's comments come as most of west central and south Florida is under either a hurricane watch or warning.

"We felt like we were lucky enough to kind of just get out on time," another woman told ABC11.