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Irma Evacuees Land In Philly As Powerful Hurricane Nears Florida

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Philadelphia International Airport is quiet now, but this evening it was packed full of people escaping Hurricane Irma, taking what they could and evacuating southern Florida.

Many families living in the category five hurricane’s projected path are making their escape as early as possible.

Andy Gilon’s is not here to sightsee.

“Here I happen to be for the first time with no reason other than escaping Miami,” Gilon said.

He sent his wife with his infant baby driving north yesterday.

“We just couldn’t fit all of us in one car,” he said.

Gilon told CBS3 his one-way ticket cost about $1,500.

Frederica Paulus lives in the Florida Keys, though she’s originally from Philly.

“We grabbed a flight. Thank goodness there was one out of Miami. We lucked out,” she said.

Airlines are preparing to cancel Florida flights that are in the path of Hurricane Irma.

The hurricane is expected to reach Florida by the weekend. American Airlines says it will begin shutting down operations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Sarasota and West Palm Beach by Friday afternoon and cancel flights through the weekend.

JetBlue Airways said Wednesday afternoon that it had canceled about 130 flights.

American, JetBlue, United and Delta offered waivers letting customers change travel plans to Florida and the Caribbean without the usual charges for changing a ticket. Dates and covered locations varied.

JetBlue said it reduced fares to $99 to $159 one-way for remaining seats on flights leaving the hurricane’s path including Florida and locations in the Caribbean.

FlightAware.com reported that about 170 flights, roughly two-thirds of those scheduled, were canceled by late Wednesday afternoon at Luis Munoz Marin Airport International Airport near San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cancellations at Miami International Airport were minimal on Wednesday but already topped 300 flights for Friday, according to the tracking service.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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