Florida travelers arrive in Buffalo to avoid Hurricane Irma

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As people in Florida rush to get out of Hurricane Irma’s path, dozens of people have been flying into the Buffalo airport.

Thursday night, passengers who arrived from Fort Lauderdale and Miami described what it was like in Florida as Hurricane Irma heads towards the state.

“It is so chaotic, there’s no other words for it, but just chaos,” said Jennifer Koren, a Buffalo resident who was vacationing in Ft. Lauderdale.

“Everyone’s pretty nervous and on edge right now,” said Brendon Olson, a Ft. Lauderdale resident.

People who left Florida said gas lines were outrageous and stores were selling out of food and water.

“Every gas station had crazy line ups and some were just totally closed,” said Dan Costabile, Niagara Falls resident.

“There was a line at like 8 am all the way for 84 Lumber for everyone to get ply wood, wing nuts for their shutters, every single water bottle was out in every single Publix,” said Koren.

Olson told News 4 he lives near the beach in a mandatory evacuation zone. He says people are heeding warnings after seeing the devastation in Texas.

“I’m close to the beach so like I’m in the storm surge area so I’m concerned the water and the flooding is going to come in there and then the wind damage too. With Harvey last week, a lot of people are really taking notice and are just scared. It was a ghost town when I left for the airport this morning,” said Olson.

Megan Fears grew up in West Seneca, but now lives in a high rise on Miami beach. She said she lives in a flood zone where officials have ordered mandatory evacuations.

Fears bought a one-way ticket to Buffalo to wait out the storm. Although she lives 21 floors above ground, she’s worried she won’t have a home when she returns.

“You can’t take everything with you, so I just packed what’s most important. I don’t know if we’re going to go back to anything. I hope there’s something to go back to, but at this point I’m just glad to be out of there,” said Fears.

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