As Hurricane Florence is barreling towards the Carolina coast, the final flights left the area on Wednesday before the hurricane is expected to make landfall later Wednesday night.
People who arrived at DFW Airport say it was not easy to find a flight or even a rental car or a taxi to get out of harm’s way. They're grateful to get out, but also say they're concerned for the people who didn't.
Eddy Clark isn't taking any chances with Hurricane Florence. He's been working as a truck driver in Lumberton, North Carolina for two weeks.
“My life is worth a lot more than me just trying to stay out there and ride it out. I wanted out,” he said after landing in Dallas. “They were keeping us held in a motel to ride it out. I was like, ‘I'm leaving.’”
But getting out of the area took three days of searching for flights and other options and a $440 cab ride from Lumberton to catch a flight in Charlotte.
Tammy Johnson switched her travel plans to beat the hurricane.
“I moved my flight plans up to today. And so I took the first flight out and luckily it was before any flights started getting canceled so I was able to get here safely,” she said.
On what's supposed to be an exciting college visit trip, Kella Smith and her daughter from Spartanburg, South Carolina, can't help but worry about their house on the coast in Charleston.
“We are right on the beach. You see the ocean,” Smith said. “So do the best you can, hope for the best and watch your Nest cam to see what it looks like after the fact… if it makes it.”
For days now, governors in North and South Carolina have warned people to get out as the first bands of Florence finally began to batter the Coast. Many of those who choose to stay are now urged to stay put.
Residents who live deeper inland are already planning trips and booked earlier flights to avoid getting trapped.
“I think for us we were just anxious to get out of North Carolina while we still could get a flight out,” said Vicky Slusser.
Texans visiting the coast are also on the way home.
Edwin Harmon from Stephenville, Texas, was there for the world equestrian games.
“A lot of people around us were saying, ‘Our flights are getting canceled. We’re having to reschedule,” he said. “We're glad we got on our flight and were able to get back.”
Now, those Texas are just thankful they're not in Florence's path.
“It’s very concerning whether it’s Charleston, Wilmington, wherever or whoever’s in that path,” Smith said. “I wouldn't want to be.”
As people leave the Carolina coast while they still can, first responders are gearing up for what may come.
A unit of 16 members from Texas Task Force One deployed to the East Coast equipped with water supplies and rescue equipment. Texas Task Force Two, made up of local first responders, is staying put in preparation for threats that may come to South Texas. But plans may change depending on where the damage is.
“There's already talks and coordination between the two states and the regions,” said David Birdsong with Texas Task Force Two. “So depending on what the need is, we'll re-access and re-allocate if needed.”
There are still a few more flights from the Carolinas expected to arrive at DFW Airport Wednesday night.