Colorado Residents Hurry Home From Florida As Irma Approaches

By Dillon Thomas

DENVER (CBS4)– With Hurricane Irma set to make landfall in Florida in the coming days, hundreds of Coloradans cut their trips southeast short, in order to make their way back home before the storm.

Flights from Denver to Miami and Orlando were still taking flight on Thursday, alongside inbound flights. However, those flights were not as regular as they would be outside of storm season.

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(credit: CBS)

“I’m glad I got out just in time,” said Agape Mpamira, a Colorado resident who escaped Florida prior to the storm arriving. “Getting out, you could see there were lines.”

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Agape Mpamira (credit: CBS)

Mpamira was officiating a wedding for friends in Key Largo. He said the celebration had to be cut short for some, as concerns over the hurricane increased.

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Agape Mpamira (credit: CBS)

“Everybody was getting out. They were already running out of gas on the island,” Mpamira said. “I was worried if flights would start getting canceled.”

Mpamira said his flight was filled with passengers, but was still able to leave on time.

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(credit: CBS)

“I just beat it before things got crazy. Definitely happy to be out,” Mpamira said.

“The Keys had all started to evacuate. (Residents) were all driving towards Orlando,” said Dan Garza, a Coloradan who flew home to avoid the storm.

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(credit: CBS)

Garza, and his wife Angie, were visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando for their 25th wedding anniversary. They felt they were forced to cut their celebration short, to avoid getting stuck in the line of Hurricane Irma.

“We didn’t want to get stuck in the hurricane,” Angie Garza said.

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Dan and Angie Garza (credit: CBS)

“There is always the risk of hurricanes. But, we have never been this close to any kind of weather,” Dan Garza said.

The Garza family chose to move their Southwest Airlines flight up, to make sure they returned home before the storm.

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Dan Garza (credit: CBS)

The Garza’s noticed their plane was filled with more than just regular passengers.

“We saw a lot of dogs. People were evacuating with their dogs,” Dan Garza said.

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Dan and Angie Garza (credit: CBS)

“These weren’t tiny little pets, they were labs,” Angie Garza said. “In people’s laps.”

Those CBS4 spoke with said they were just happy to be home before the storm hit, as they saw the concern on the faces of those who were staying in Florida.

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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