WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Millions of Floridians are scrambling to get out of Hurricane Ian’s path as the Category 3 storm barrels towards the state.
Palm Bay resident Lorrie Frank arrived at T.F. Green International Airport Tuesday. She tells 12 News that, after experiencing Hurricane Wilma firsthand, she knew it was time to head north.
“After going through Wilma, I was scared,” Frank said. “It was a rough storm.
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Hurricane Ian is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall in Florida, likely along the west coast.
Frank said she’s relieved to have made it to Rhode Island prior to Hurricane Ian’s arrival.
“It’s chaos,” Frank explained. “The shelves are bare, the traffic is heavy.”
Frank said the vast majority of Floridians are rushing to leave. She described navigating the Orlando International Airport as “hectic.”
“It was mobbed with people,” she said, adding that the lines to check in and get through security were the longest she’s ever seen.
Frank said she plans on spending time with family in Rhode Island until the storm passes.
But not everyone is fleeing the Sunshine State.
Rhode Islander Jerri Blitefield is headed south as a volunteer with the American Red Cross.
“There are several hundred [volunteers] down there already, and there will be several hundred more before this is all done,” Blitefield said. “Most of the shelters have not yet opened because we don’t know where the storm is going to hit.”
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