PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hurricane Dorian slammed Puerto Rico on Wednesday night as a Category 1 storm and it’s now headed potentially for Florida. It was just two years ago that Hurricane Maria caused widespread damage in Puerto Rico and upon learning another hurricane was coming, some decided to get out of harm’s way.
Dodging Hurricane Dorian, a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, was packed with people who were able to leave the island as conditions their deteriorated.
“Five more minutes to board and then they were going to cancel,” Naomi Lugo, a traveler, said. “Five minutes.”
Another passenger said they were the last flight out of Puerto Rico.
The eye of Hurricane Dorian sideswiped the capital Wednesday night as a Category 1 storm.
Government officials in Puerto Rico took no chances.
“They better prepared. The National Guard was activated,” a man said.
Even so, those now safely in Philadelphia described a chaotic scene in the hours before the storm approached.
“Folks are panicking and they are terrified,” Miguel Torres, a traveler, said. “You know it brought back just bad memories with two years ago with Maria.”
Velez remembers those scary memories. His family was on the island when Hurricane Maria hit two years ago.
“All the supermarkets. They were cleaning that place out. Right now that hurricane is nothing like Maria,” Velez said. “But people are concerned.”
And though Velez says he’s glad he does not have to deal with this storm, he’s still worried about his loved ones back in Puerto Rico.
“I’m hurting, bro,” he said. “As soon as that plane left, I started crying. You can imagine. I left all my family down there.”
More than 100 flights flying out of Puerto Rico were canceled, including a few that were scheduled to Philadelphia.
With the storm potentially hitting Florida within the next five days, one woman at Philadelphia International Airport opted to get out days in advance.