MILWAUKEE -- Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the east coast and will likely inflict travel woes for more than those in the danger zone.
The hurricane is headed towards the Carolinas and could severely impact Charlotte International Airport. The airport is the 9th busiest in the country and is American Airlines' second largest hub. So while those flying may not be going directly to Charlotte, the impacts could have far-reaching impacts.
However, those trying to flee the area are finding sanctuary in Wisconsin. Several people landed overnight to ride out the storm with family. However, aside from some Red Cross Relief volunteers, others are heading back to North Carolina to prepare.
"I was supposed to stay until Friday but things have changed," Lee Norman said.
Norman is from New Bern, N.C. It's about four and a half hours from Charlotte. He was in town for business but had to change his flight information around to get home early.
It's a little too late though as flights to his hometown have already been canceled. So now, he's landing in Charlotte, renting a car and making the journey home. It's a long trek normally but maybe even more difficult now as several major highways leading to the coast have already been reversed to help with evacuation efforts.
"Making sure I can get home in case routes have been blocked, changed, redirected," Norman said. "It's impossible to get to New Bern by air now. It's the family. That's the biggest concern. Be there with them, for them, whatever."
His family used to live in the Outer Banks but are a little further inland now. However, with the size of this storm, his worries continue to grow.
"We had a rule, 100 miles an hour, we stay," Norman said. "105 or more, we go. We'd go to New Bern. Where do we evacuate to [now]? They've got an evacuation plan in place but I got to get to the family. Decide what to do when I get home. Hunker down."
His biggest concerns, after the safety of his family, is the high winds from Hurricane Florence. He says, it has been a wet few months so the ground is very saturated and trees can be easily uprooted. Then, after all of the wind from the hurricane comes the flood waters. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd had a similar trajectory, dumping 15 to 20 inches of rain.
"It rained, it blew, we lost power for about a week," Norman said. "All the roads, the Neuse River feeds as far in as Raleigh. Water was coming from everywhere. We were kind of isolated because all of the major highways were flooded. I'm sure it could [happen again] with that much rain."
Several major airlines are offering travel waivers for those traveling to or from the danger zone. We have a full list located here. (https://www.tmj4.com/news/national/here-s-a-list-of-airline-travel-waivers-and-alerts-for-hurricane-florence)