Category 5 Hurricane Irma is wreaking havoc in the Caribbean: aside from the historic winds and damage, Irma has hampered travel at several airports in the region, making it difficult for people to escape the storm’s wrath.
Flight-tracking service FlightAware counted 30 airports in the region that were either closed or affected by Irma-related cancellations as of mid-day Wednesday.
More than 160 flights were canceled at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico – one of the busiest hubs in the region.
At the Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Martin – another of the region’s busier hubs – about 60 flights were grounded, according to FlightAware, and more were likely.
In the Dominican Republic, a family from Colorado has been unable to find a flight out of Punta Cana for two days.
“We’re pretty nervous,” said Terry Loos of Brighton.
Loos, along with his wife Denise, and son-in-law have been in the Dominican Republic since the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, they tried getting a flight to Canada, Mexico -even South America as a way to escape before Irma hit them, but they said all flights were booked.
Instead, they were forced to extend their stay at the Hard Rock and ride out the storm.
“It's definitely worse than anything we've had to deal with in Colorado,” Terry said. “Everybody's pretty nervous they're keeping us in their prayers.”
Loos spoke with 9NEWS on Wednesday evening, two hours before Irma’s outer bands were supposed to reach Punta Cana. They had already filled their bathtub with water and stocked the refrigerator with extra food.
“We just want [our kids back in Colorado] to know that they're in our hearts and prayers and we're going to make it back home to them,” Denise said.
When Denise booked the trip months ago there was no way of knowing Irma would come. She said the Hard Rock has moved them from the second floor to the fourth as a way to avoid storm surges and flooding. She also said the hotel has issued a 5 p.m. curfew for guests as Irma slow marches towards them.
“Today we were without power for about five hours,” Terry said. “We didn't have any water either.”
Loos said they were able to book a flight to Philadelphia on Sunday after Irma passes the Dominican Republic.