(CBS) – The effects of Hurricane Irma are being felt here in the Chicago region.

The natural disaster bearing down on the Caribbean is prompting massive evacuations from Florida. Airlines are already canceling flights to southern parts of that state.

At O’Hare, the luggage and emotional baggage at the United Airlines terminal was packed with a combination of reassurance and worry.

Travelers were arriving from Miami — some back from vacation, others flying from danger.

“It’s really nerve-wracking,” one traveler said.

Arrivals were about to be cut back, with American Airlines announcing they will wind down operations on Friday afternoon at their Miami hub — as well as Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Sarasota and West Palm Beach.

Flights will be canceled throughout the weekend, and travel alerts have been issued for more than 30 airports.

Some in Florida are planning to hit the road.

Samantha Jackson moved from LaPorte, Ind. to Sarasota in June. Now, she’s packed her bags — temporarily moving out — heading back to the Hoosier State, as an evacuee

“The drive usually is close to 17 hours,” she says. “We could arrive sometime tomorrow morning.”

When travel on the ground or air gets back to normal – that is up to the hurricane.

Meanwhile, a Florida resident who called Chicago home for nearly 30 years doesn’t plan on leaving her home.

Dawn Yana and her husband live in a North Naples high rise, one that has been through several hurricanes. While many Florida residents head north, the Yanas are staying put.

“There’s no guarantee that when you do get in the car and try to go away from the storm, that the storm isn’t going to follow you and you’re in just as much trouble,” she tells WBBM’s Andy Dahn.



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