MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Labor Day weekend rush to get out of the Twin Cities has already rolled on out. But if any airport saw a boost in travelers Sunday, it was likely in Orlando, Tampa, or Ft. Myers, Florida, where the uncertainty and severity of Hurricane Dorian had people packing their bags sooner than expected.

“Original plan was to fly back on Monday. We heard there was a possibility of the airport being closed Monday so we ended up moving our flight back,” said Tyler Krekleng who was enjoying a family vacation in Orlando. He arrived at MSP Airport Sunday evening, a flight change he pulled off only a few days earlier.

Tamara Allen flew in from Tampa. She lives in Florida and was supposed to visit Minnesota on business later this week. She too changed her plans.

“I was very, very concerned that I would not be able to come here on Wednesday, or even Tuesday, or even Monday. So that’s why I booked it for today. So I’ll be sitting in a hotel room until work starts on Tuesday,” she said.

Switching flights was their top concern, but they witnessed the rush of locals buying supplies, specifically fuel for generators if electricity is lost. But they some gas stations ran out.

“They were putting limits on how much water you could buy, how much gas you could take, gas cans you can fill up,” Krekleng said. “So there definitely was some concern.”

“The gas stations all had like grocery bags over the pumps so you would know not to pull in,” added Patty Batalden. She was at her new condo in Seminole, Florida which she made sure had hurricane windows installed.

“I pray for all the people in the Bahamas and that might get hit if they’re in the storm’s path,” she added.

Delta Air Lines started offering waivers for people traveling to and from several Florida airports Friday. The waivers run through Sept. 4. Waivers for flights to and from several airports in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina run from Sept. 1-7.

For more information on Delta Air Lines travel advisories, click here.

On Friday, Governor Tim Walz authorized an emergency response team to go to Florida to help with storm preparations. The plan was to have them there for two weeks, but WCCO learned Sunday that the request for help was canceled.





Jeff Wagner