"First of all, I don't think I could get out of here even if I wanted to, and I don't really want to," Craig, a 59-year-old
"Hopefully, it just kisses us and moves on. But it's big."
Millions of families and individuals on Wednesday boarded up homes and businesses, stocked up on food and water, and waited in long lines to fill gas tanks ahead of what forecasters predict could be the first major hurricane to blow ashore in
Countless people with
Craig, who moved to
She described Wilma as "devastating" and said the storm left elderly tenants without power for eight days. That meant no elevators and no air conditioning to combat the area's hot, muggy climate.
"I worry about them," she said. "You've got to help out the people who can't help themselves."
Craig shares a bond with other
He owns multiple bars and restaurants in
"A bad one, you can hear your roof joists bending and nails coming apart, and then you look outside and you see all these blue flashes in the sky," he said. "That's all the transformers blowing up. It's pretty wild."
He said beautiful weather Wednesday served as a "calm before the storm" and belied how unnerving it is to endure one of Mother Nature's most powerful and devastating natural disasters.
Farther up the coast,
Duckett moved south about four months ago and wanted to experience what it's like to wait out a hurricane. He said if his flight is canceled, he'll hunker down at home. Trying to leave likely wouldn't work, anyway. He has heard from locals that a typical 20-minute trip on
"At this point, evacuating for us by car would be a no-go because we wouldn't get very far," he said.
Major airlines encouraged travelers to monitor flight statuses as the storm approached. Some airlines canceled flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday in parts of
Most airlines are letting travelers change to later flights without penalty. Policies vary by airline, but passengers heading to or from most airports in the Southeast can reschedule trips, although a difference in fare may apply.
The Associated Press contributed.
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