Some fleeing Hurricane Irma arrive in Baltimore

Posted at 9:46 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 23:10:00-04

The mass exodus out of south Florida and throughout the rest of the Sunshine State continued Friday. Thousands left everything behind to escape the historic storm.

Flights coming in from Florida are nothing out of the ordinary at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.  But Friday, as Floridians fled Hurricane Irma, it was anything but a routine trip north. 

"I guess today was the last day to get out of there so we pretty much just made it in time," said traveler, Amanda Kaufman.

Kaufman's story is similar to many trying to escape Irma's threatening path.

"I've never seen anything like it. Places boarded up people are shutting down the beach, we got kicked off the beach the other day, it's intense," she said.

The scramble to get out of Florida forced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to increase the space between flights from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale so it could manage the crowded skies. 

At BWI, Floridians and tourists alike  were happy to have made it to safety.

Florida resident, Michele Rosenbaum, told ABC2, "we had flights that were canceled and finally we got this one. I'm just grateful to be here and when the plane finally took off, big cheers."

Even for long time Florida residents who've dealt with hurricanes for years, they say this one is different.

"I don't know what's going to happen, every time you turn on the news the spaghetti formation changes so we just decided we're not going to take a chance," remarked Kaufman.

"I'm afraid of what I'm going to find when I do get back. Most of my neighbors have left and it's just very, very frightening," Rosenbaum said.

Palm Beach International, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Key West airports ceased operations as of Friday evening. Miami International Airport is expected to do the same. 

Orlando and Tampa International airports will follow suit Saturday.

The duration of these shutdowns is uncertain.