WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Two of the three major airports serving South Florida closed Monday as Hurricane Dorian makes its slow, powerful approach.
The Category 4 storm is currently stalling causing widespread flooding and wind damage in the Bahamas. Forecasters say it’s expected to pull away from the Bahamas early Tuesday and curve towards the southeastern coast.
Tracking Dorian: Live updates, interactive tracking map »
Hundreds of flights were canceled after Palm Beach International shut down Monday morning and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International ceased operations at noon.
Miami International remained open, but advised travelers to arrive early since higher than normal passenger traffic was expected.
At T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, it’s a wait-and-see situation for a lot of travelers. Many flights to and from Florida were canceled, while others were either delayed or expected to be on time.
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Allysia Lafleur and her family arrived at T.F. Green from Orlando Monday morning.
“I’m grateful that we got out when we did, because there were others that weren’t as lucky,” she said.
She said her family had just finished a trip to Disney World and she knew heading home wasn’t going to be easy with Hurricane Dorian looming offshore.
“It was scary,” Lafleur said. “Our flights got canceled and they they were put back on, they closed the airport down, then they opened it back up. So we didn’t know how we were getting home, when we were getting home, if we were getting home.”
A couple from Florida also landed in Rhode Island Monday morning, saying they couldn’t have timed their vacation to Boston any better.
“There’s no gas. Everybody’s fighting over water. It was rough, there’s no bread. There’s a big state of emergency,” Orlando resident Blake Sparrow said.
Sierra Majewski, a Westport native attending Barry University in Miami, said she wasn’t expecting to return home after just moving in last week.
“It’s been pretty bad and we were evacuated at school so I had no choice,” Majewski said after landing at T.F. Green.
According to Barry University’s website, classes are canceled until at least Wednesday due to Hurricane Dorian. Majewski said she prepared her dorm room as best she could before she had to leave.
“Everything is off the floor, I picked up rugs, all the little things, everything is on higher ground,” she said. “Anything that could fly, I’m just hoping that my stuff doesn’t get ruined.”
While many are trying to escape by flying out of the storm’s path, Warwick native Peter Prower with the Rhode Island American Red Cross traveled to Florida to help with recovery efforts once the storm hits.
Prowe spoke with Eyewitness News by phone Monday and said everyone is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
Even though he admitted he was nervous being in Florida as Hurricane Dorian heads towards the southeast coast, he said he’s ready to help in any way he can.
“We came down here with a wheelbarrow full of Rhode Island compassion and empathy and we plan on leaving it all here,” Prowe said. “We do it because we know how much we have versus how much these people may not have after the hurricane does make landfall.”
Prowe – who is stationed in Orlando – said there are about 60 evacuation shelters open with approximately 3,000 people in them. He expects that number to grow when the hurricane hits.
Utility crews are also preparing for the storm. National Grid of Rhode Island Spokesman Ted Kresse said approximately 16 crews – or 32 employees – from Rhode Island and Massachusetts traveled to Florida to offer their services.
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