Some Chicagoans Heading To Florida To Protect Family, Friends, Homes

CHICAGO (CBS) — While evacuations were underway in parts of South Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma making landfall, some Chicagoans were making their way to the storm zone – to help loved ones, or make sure homes in Florida are ready for the storm.

At Midway International Airport, Drew Hazlett was rushing to Pompano Beach on a mission of love Thursday morning – to evacuate his grandparents before Irma hits, likely on Sunday.

“Our plans to get them out, they fell through, so I have to go get them,” he said.

Hazlett said his grandparents could not get a flight out of Florida, so he plans to drive them out.

Meantime, Bob Posdal was headed to Naples, where he owns a house. He said he will be “putting up shutters and then turning around and coming back tomorrow. I think that, if I’ve lived this long and I haven’t seen [a hurricane] personally, I can probably miss it safely.”

Terry Griffin and his son also were taking an early morning flight to Florida to board up their house. Taking the trip was not originally in Griffin’s plans.

“The people that we thought were going to put our shutters up have already gone,” he said.

The Griffins still hope to get out of Florida before the storm arrives.

“We actually booked a car to go up to Atlanta, and hopefully fly out of Atlanta sometime over the weekend.”

Margaret Pinaglia and her husband, Jim, were going to board up their house in Cape Coral, but do not plan to return before Irma hits. They planned to stick it out.

“This will be our first hurricane, and we just want to make sure the house is secure, and if anything goes wrong, we’re there to make sure that we call the insurance company and fix it,” Pinaglia said.

She said they also want to stay there to help keep an eye on some friends who are physically disabled.

“We wanted, also, to be with them because they don’t have the capability of getting out,” she said.

Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights to and from South Florida from Friday night through Saturday. American Airlines likewise has canceled all its flights in South Florida from Friday afternoon through Saturday.

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