Floridians flee to Buffalo to escape Hurricane Irma

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Many travelers have finally made it to Buffalo Friday night after several flight delays. The last flight out of Fort Lauderdale landed at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport around 7 p.m. and those passengers say they’re lucky to have made it out of Florida.

Adam Eisenberg was anxious to see his family, who flew in from Fort Lauderdale Friday.

“My family was running away from hurricane Irma,” said Adam Eisenberg, who just moved to Syracuse for work. His family was planning to join him soon, but is now coming earlier.

Eisenberg says they’ve seen their fair share of hurricanes, but this one is much different.

“We rode out hurricane Wilma, Charlie, Francis and Jean about 10 years ago but we didn’t have two little kids then,” said Eisenberg.

He says his family only decided to leave their home in Florida Friday morning.

“The sheer scale of this one is kind of on another level and made it a little too scary to stick around,” said Eisenberg.

Amy Nitola, who lives in Tampa, says sticking around in Florida wasn’t an even option for her. She bought her ticket to fly to Buffalo earlier in the week.

“I’m escaping the hurricane. Although it may not be as bad as people think I still didn’t want to take the risk,” said Nitola.

Nitola says she knows other people who are staying being to ride out the storm. Many flights out of Florida were delayed – some for up to 6 hours. Some people say other travelers weren’t even able to get a ticket.

“We were lucky to get a ticket and lucky to get out of there,” said Nitola.

After delayed flights and a missed connection, Chetachi Egwu finally made it to Buffalo. She says she’s a little nervous to see what damage is done to her Florida home but she says she’s just happy to be somewhere safe.

“Life is more important. You can replace things but you can’t replace lives,” said Chetachi Egwu, who lives in South Florida.

Most passengers say they only bought a one-way ticket to Buffalo because they don’t know when they’ll be able to go back to Florida.

Other travelers say they’ve tried to buy a ticket to Fort Lauderdale for Tuesday but those tickets were sold out.

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