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Travelers fleeing Hurricane Florence touch down at Logan Airport

An infrared image shows Hurricane Florence as it moves toward the US East Coast.
An infrared image shows Hurricane Florence as it moves toward the US East Coast. (AFP/Getty Images)

They made it out in time. Some passengers arriving Tuesday in Boston from Charlotte, N.C., on JetBlue Flight 1246 were relieved to be making an escape from the wrath of Hurricane Florence.

Jessica Hilt, 21, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., said she was making a surprise visit to a friend in Portland, Maine.

“The shelves at Walmart were pretty much cleared, the grocery stores were empty of bottled water, and gas stations were either out of gas or had long lines,” said Hilt.

Hilt said she had driven three hours to Charlotte and then hopped on a plane to Boston to make sure she was safe from the storm, which is a Category 4 monster whipping up 130-mile-per-hour winds as it heads toward the Carolinas.

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“I’ll probably be [in Maine] till Sunday, and hopefully when I get back to Charlotte, I’ll be able to drive back to Myrtle Beach without any problems,” Hilt said. “But I’m not sure what the roads are going to be like.”

An employee at River Oaks Elementary School, Hilt said her school was closed from Tuesday to Friday, and depending on the storm’s strength and aftermath, it could be closed into next week.

“I was there for Hurricane Matthew which was just a Category 1, and that was kind of scary,” Hilt said. “And they are saying this one is a Category 4, so it could be bad.”

Sarah and Chauncey Kim were visiting family in Charleston, S.C., all the way from San Francisco. They decided to take a mini-vacation themselves at the Kiawah Island luxury golf resort. Due to mandatory evacuations decreed by the governor, their stay only lasted 14 hours, Chauncey Kim said, laughing.

“We enjoyed it. It was great,” he said. “But hopefully, they make it through OK. Who knows?”

The couple was enjoying dinner Monday night at a restaurant when their hostess notified them of the mandatory evacuation, prompting them to wake up at 3 a.m. Tuesday and drive 4 1/2 hours to Charlotte to catch a plane to Boston.

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The couple had to be in Boston anyway Sunday so Sarah could attend a conference.

“I think it was a good decision because we are here now, and I think it would be tough to get here tomorrow,” Chauncey Kim said.

To add insult to injury, with booking tight in Boston, the Kims will have to stay in four different hotels over their stay.

Another vacationer, Dolores Antonellis of Billerica, also had to cut short a holiday with friends in sandy, exposed Hilton Head, S.C.

“There were gas lines and some of the shelves were empty at the stores,” said Antonellis, whose friends returned from the island to their home outside Charlotte.

Antonellis cut her vacation short by five days, she said, while picking up her luggage from the baggage carousel at Logan Airport.

“I called JetBlue last night, got this flight, and here I am,” she said.

Antonellis stopped by her friends’ house in Charlotte on the way back and helped them move the porch furniture inside. She also went to the store to stock up on extra water, food, coffee, and wine — “all the good stuff,” she said.


Katie Camero can be reached at katie.camero@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @camerokt_