Key West residents heed warnings of Irma, land in Atlanta

Key West residents were scrambling to catch one of the three final Delta flights to Atlanta.

ATLANTA -- Right now, many people are arriving in Atlanta while fleeing south Florida and trying to get ahead of Hurricane Irma. 

11Alive was at Hartsfield-Jackson just as they stepped off the plane.  It was a tough but necessary decision - leave Key West. Many drove out but a lucky few were able to catch one of three Delta flights operating from Key West up to Atlanta.

Alice Weingarten has lived in Key West for 27 years and this was the first time that she knew she had no choice but to leave.

"I left everything behind except what's in my suitcases," she said. "My - everything."

For vacationers, the evacuation meant they would be canceling plans and heading north. In Florida for a 6-week vacation from South Africa, that's exactly what Roy Claborne and his wife did.

"It just got to the point where we had to choose and we said, hey, we've got to get out of here," Claborne said. "Because we don't know much about hurricanes, etcetera where we come from."

He said they tried to get flights out of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm but they were all booked up. They ultimately got a flight in Orlando.

Glee Higgins has been in Key West for 14 years. She packed up her jewelry and her beloved dog and headed to the airport.

"It's scary, I mean I've been told before but I didn't leave," she said. "But this time everyone is really taking it seriously in Key West - even the locals. Everything is boarded up. Everything is shut down - even the bars."

Nancy Green got on a flight from south Florida.

"I mean, we made the flight tickets on Monday and so I'm lucky to get out," Green said.

Now, the question is what can Key West residents expect when they finally get back.

"That's the scary part," Weingarten said. "I hope I have a home to go back to."

For these evacuees, Thursday marked the start of scary and uncertain days ahead.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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