With many flying out of Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, one Chicago-area father is flying toward the storm to help his daughter.
“We’re evacuating her,” said Lupe Valtierra, of northwest Indiana.
Valtierra was flying to Miami Wednesday morning, where he plans to help drive his 23-year-old daughter out of the state.
“We’ll probably end up in Atlanta, spend a few days in Atlanta, hope everything passes and everybody stays safe,” he said.
Hurricane Irma roared into the Caribbean with record-setting force early Wednesday, shaking people in their homes on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda on a path toward Puerto Rico and possibly Florida by the weekend.
Irma, which was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico, passed almost directly over the island of Barbuda, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami — which may be hit by the storm by the weekend.
President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.
“With this being the hurricane of proporrtions that it is it’s really scary,” Valtierra said.
The storm's eye was expected to pass about 50 miles (85 kilometers) from Puerto Rico late Wednesday. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 50 miles (85 kilometers) from Irma's center and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers).