ST. LOUIS – Travelers across the country and those arriving in St. Louis describe the challenging journey to escape Hurricane Ian’s path.
The Category 3 hurricane is expected to make landfall on Wednesday in Florida, impacting travel on the roads and in the sky including in St. Louis.
“I don’t think we’ve experienced anything like this since the 60s,” said a traveler in Tampa, Florida. “I don’t remember ever going through anything like this, so it’s a little bit scary right now.”
It is expected for the hurricane to hit Tampa hard. Around 2.5 million people are under mandatory evacuation in Florida. Some are stuck as the airport closed down Tuesday at 5 p.m.
“I was hoping to get out just in time to Vegas, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now,” said another traveler coming from Tampa. “The worst thing, everything is cancelled up until Saturday.”
The highways and airports are packed before Hurricane Ian makes landfall. At St. Louis Lambert International Airport, three flights coming from Florida were cancelled ahead of time, ranging from Orlando, Tampa and Fort Meyers.
“I’m really worried. I still have family there, my daughter lives in Orlando, so I’ve been checking in on her, making sure she’s ok,” said Cesar King, Lambert traveler. “It’s going to be pretty devastating.”
A St. Louis native, Austin Townsend goes to law school in Miami, he left just in the nick of time.
“It was a lot worse when I left this morning. Whenever I left school, we were supposed to get six to eight inches of rain down there, and now I heard it’s doubled,” Townsend said. “It’s kind of scary to think about, I think it just got lucky with my flights.”
In preparation for Wednesday, places like the Sarasota Airport, Orlando Airport, Disney World, and Universal Studios have shut down to keep people safe.
“Just pray for us and make sure that we’re okay,” said another traveler out of Tampa.
Lambert officials will be monitoring the expected wave of changes for the rest of the week. They remind travelers that flight delays and cancellations depend on the airline. It’s important to continue to check with the airline on flight status, and leave plenty of time in case of changes.
If you want to check the latest flight status at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, click here.