Some Milwaukeeans flee Florida, others prepare to ride out Irma

Posted at 10:39 PM, Sep 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-10 05:34:04-04

MILWAUKEE -- Some Milwaukeeans rushed back home from Florida in the nick of time Saturday while others didn't make it out and will ride the storm out.

As of Saturday night, both Miami and Orlando airports are closed until Hurricane Irma passes through.

One Wisconsin couple says they lucked out by booking a couple of the last seats home.

Hugs and smiles awaited hundreds at the end of this Mitchell International concourse as passengers arrive on the last flight from Orlando to Milwaukee before hurricane Irma takes its course.

"I was afraid we weren't going to get a flight back," said Chelse Kreuger.

Kreuger and her fiancé were down in Tampa helping their friends prepare their home for a direct hit.

"We helped them put all their hurricane shutters and stuff up," said Kreuger.

Krueger said they were supposed to stay until Monday. 

"As it kept coming more west I was like, alright we're going home," she said.

Hurricane Irma made landfall with Cuba which caused the storm to weaken to a Category 3 storm.

However, it has begun to turn northward and is heading for southwest Florida. TODAY’S TMJ4 meteorologist Josh Wurster reports the entire Florida peninsula is under a Hurricane Warning. With Irma expected to make landfall in Florida Sunday morning, tens of thousands headed to the airport.

"The agent at the counter was said people were coming just buying tickets anywhere," added Donald Silver.

While millions in southern Florida attempt to make their escape, UW-Milwaukee student Kyle Pallo is in Orlando bracing to ride out the storm.

"I’m a little anxious because I've never experienced a hurricane at all in my lifetime," he said.

Pallo is a Disney World intern. He contemplated heading north, but now it's likely too late.

"There's only one way out of Florida and that traffic is bumper to bumper so there's no way that I'm leaving at all," said Pallo.

Instead, he's staying in a hotel built for hurricane conditions with a room full of food and water.

"The hotel has a policy that you can't leave your room because there's going to be 80-100 MPH winds, so we're just going to be in here watching the packers," said Pallo.

Disney World announced they will shut down the amusement park for the next two days, this will be just the fifth time they have closed for a hurricane.