PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — The entire state of Florida is under a state of emergency as Hurricane Ian strengthens in the Caribbean. This prompted a mandatory evacuation for thousands of people, including some Rhode Islanders.
Owen Gugliotta, a student at the University of Tampa, was one of those forced to flee. But his dad tells 12 News they haven’t been able to find him a flight back home to Portsmouth.
“1,300 and some odd miles away and not a heck of a lot you can do about it, so [it’s] a little nerve-wracking, a little scary,” David Gugliotta said Monday.
Owen and his friends will instead be driving a few hundred miles to Jupiter, Florida, to veer away from Ian, which is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.
The rush to safety has his father concerned.
“His dorm made it into the red,” he said. “Kind of reminded me of the first day I put him on the bus as a kid when he was a little guy.”
Gugliotta said it’s a stressful time as a parent, but he knows his son will likely be safe.
“Go find a parking garage, [if] he’s on the first floor go to the second floor,” he added. “I’m confident they will be all flooded out. I’ll bite my fingernails a little bit and hope for the best for him.”
Airlines like JetBlue and Southwest tell 12 News that flights arriving at T.F. Green from Florida have been packed and will likely remain that way for the next few days.