RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — If they weren’t driving, they were trying to fly out of town — on Thursday, Florida airports were packed with people trying to get out of danger.

At Miami International Airport, long lines stretched up and down terminals. Those leaving were welcomed by family and friends in New York.

Passengers packed into every north-bound flight fleeing Irma.

“Super intense, all the students are kinda freaking out, all the school sent up to Georgia, it’s really crazy,” one University of Tampa student said.

They left behind panic on both Florida coasts.

“There is no water in the grocery store, no gas in the gas stations, everyone is lining up, fights going on, it’s really crazy. The traffic trying to leave Florida is insane, you’re just in dead stopped traffic — everyone is panicking,” a resident arrived.

Many of those leaving Florida arrived at MacArthur  airport to ride out the storm in safety.

“People are waiting too long to decide, and they are waiting I don’t know for what,” Leslie Waring said, “Leave, it can all be replaced.”

One Miami Beach resident had high hopes for his high rise.

“It’s going to get tested, they have been built for this kind of storm, but we haven’t actually had one so we will see how it does,” Jordan Fein said.

Trisha Broffman left behind a Fort Lauderdale home and business, but not her fears.

“Of everything being gone when we get back, it’s devastating,” she said.

One native Floridian remembers epic Hurricane Donna back in 1960.

“They say this one is so much worse, normally I don’t get that nervous for a hurricane,” Carolyn Carver said.

She plans to stay with family on Long Island for the long haul.

“If there is no electric, no water, devastation, we won’t go back,” she added.

Others were heading into harm’s way.

“We have water, food, electricity,” Ron Shirlaw said, “Here I’ll be worried.”

Irma evacuees said it’s the images of Harvey, so dramatic and fresh in their minds that made the decision to flee Florida a no-brainer.

 

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index

Watch & Listen LIVE