Hurricane refugees reach Albany

September 09, 2017 06:45 PM

COLONIE - A steady flow of Florida refugees continued to arrive in the Capital Region Friday night, relieved to be out of harm's way as Hurricane Irma continued barrelling in on their homes.

When Mother Nature has her mind made up, and she's angry, the best thing anyone can do is get out of her way. That's what people arriving at Albany International Airport were doing.

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When natural disaster strikes, it's usually airport terminals that become hubs of human chaos, misery, and misfortune.

"My husband sent me a text message saying it's coming toward Naples," said Jackie Noblett, who was on a business trip to Chicago, from her home in Fort Myers, Florida. "I got on the phone with my mother. She's in Ravena. I grew up in Ravena, and she said I really would rather you come here."

That's what mothers do when Mother Nature threatens their children.

Meanwhile, Mary Greenman, who lives in Boca Raton, wound up in Albany because of what her three year old grandson ordered her to do.

"Nanny, you have to get on the plane because you'll be safe. I said, "Solomon, what are you doing?" He said, "I have a flashlight and I will follow my mother."

Since Sybil Zitrin has no hurricane shutters and no generator, she says it made no sense for her to stay in Boca.

"I felt very sad leaving my beautiful house with all my belongings," Zitrin stated.

And talk about misadventure; Bob and Kathy McDonough, from Clifton Park, had been planning their dream vacation for months. Their itinerary included the Bahamas, Orlando, and a cruise to Cozumel, until Irma popped up on the radar screen.

"We knew it was going to hit the Bahamas so we made arrangements early in the week to get a flight out of there," Bob McDonough said. "We had five days of a really nice vacation."

Even after cutting their vacation short, you might think nothing else unlucky could happen to the McDonoughs, but then their flight leaving Orlando was delayed.

"There was a coyote on the runway," Bob laughed, "A coyote running up and down the runway."

Just another serendipitous travel moment, and a valuable lesson learned.

"Don't make plans in the Caribbean during hurricane season," Kath McDonough chuckled.


Dan Levy

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