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The main terminal at ABIA was busy Wednesday morning. Among those at the luggage carousel, Tom and Donna Moffitt. They arrived in Austin after catching one of the last flights out of Raleigh/Durham.
“When we go there it was just jammed with people, everyone was trying to get out,” said Tom Moffitt.
The Moffatts’ are from Wilmington, North Carolina which may take a direct hit by Hurricane Florence.
The trip to Texas, for the Moffatts’, was already in the works before the storm formed. The threat forced them leave earlier than expected. “What our local government was telling us, is to be prepared to be without power for 7 days, so we’ll be here at least 7 days. It’s a relief, we feel bad for the people who have to stay, we’re glad to, that we’re not there,” said Moffitt.
There were others with vacations cut short.
People like Paul Carter and his wife who were visiting family on the Virginia coast. “And Florence kind of chased us out of there, we were set to stay a couple of extra days, but we thought about it and thought it would be better to get out of there, while the getting was good,” said Carter.
There was also a surprise. Along with the people trying to get out, there were also people trying to get back. Emily Baird was in Texas visiting family, she is a nurse and trying to get back to high point North Carolina. “They are going to go nuts when I tell them, I can’t be at work tonight,” said Baird.
Hurricane conditions could hit her hospital by Saturday, even though its located in the middle of the state. An early Thursday morning flight out of Austin is the only one she can get, but Baird is determined to make it home before the storm. “Oh I’ll drive if I have to, I’ll walk if I have to. It’s what I do is my happiness factor … and they need me,” said Baird.
There were no clusters of cancellations on the departure boards Wednesday morning but that will change. Its why Tony Robison ended his business trip in Austin in order to fly back to Raleigh
“I’ve got a home I’m trying to protect, get cleaned up in case something happens, I’ve got a wife who is a veterinarian heading out of town and a house full of cats, so someone has got to look after them in case something comes through a window,” said Robison.
If travelers become stranded, airport officials say it’s up to the carriers to make accommodations. But a worst case scenario, caused by the storm, could force a more direct response. T
he city has cots that could be brought in, but they typically are used only for mass evacuations. Some airlines will provide hotel rooms, although there’s no law requiring that.
As always, its recommended that you check your flight’s status before heading to the airport.