Evacuees flood Florida as Florence batters coast

As Hurricane Florence nears the east coast, many coming from Charlotte to Tampa are already experiencing the impact the storm is having on air travel.

Some faced major delays, others had to switch their flights at the last minute.

Many of the travelers we spoke with Thursday night say they couldn’t more relieved to make it to Tampa. Some are returning from vacation, others are traveling to Tampa to be with family who have already evacuated, and some are escaping the storm and coming here to vacation, hoping when they return their home their house will still be standing.

Some of the last flights out of areas like Charlotte, arrived at TIA Thursday night, carrying passengers, like Linda Thorne, who were relieved to make it.

“It’s a good feeling," Thorne said. "But my son is coming in from Pittsburgh tomorrow so I hope he makes it too.”

Linda, who lives in Charlotte, came to Tampa this weekend to attend the Bucs game Sunday. She was originally set to fly in Friday, but changed her plans to fly in Thursday because of the storm.

“Since we planned to be out of town, we didn’t really prepare," Thorne said. "All of our neighbors were going and buying generators and water. We did move our porch furniture, but we did little to prepare since we are going to be gone till Monday.”

Jose Bernal’s family also coming from North Carolina, escaped the storm with friends in Tampa, where he’s set to meet up with his wife and two young kids. 

“Homes can be rebuilt," Bernal said. "But family can so I’m just excited that they are out of there.”