fb-pixel Skip to main content

Passengers from Florida land in Boston to avoid Hurricane Dorian

School had already started for Jacksonville University senior Parker Plumley, 21 (center). His parents, Lori and Sam Plumley, picked him up at Logan Airport in Boston. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

New Englander Parker Plumley knows what it’s like to live through a Florida hurricane.

The Farmington, Conn., native was a student at Jacksonville University during Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017, when students were crammed into the single dorm that can withstand severe storm conditions. The power went out, no water was available, and businesses were shuttered for days afterwards.

Now a senior, and with Category 5 Hurricane Dorian threatening Florida and southeastern parts of the United States this week, the 21-year-old said he wasn’t willing to do it again.

“I’ve learned that it’s just safer to kind of get out and not risk it,” he said in a phone interview a couple of hours after his plane from Jacksonville landed at Logan International Airport. “I’m trying to treat it as a little holiday.”


Plumley was among several travelers who arrived in Boston Sunday afternoon on flights from Florida seeking to avoid the storm.

Jennifer Mehigan, a MassPort spokeswoman, said she did not know how many flights at Logan had been cancelled or delayed Sunday due to the hurricane, but she warned that flights to southern parts of the country this week would likely be impacted as the storm’s track appears to move west toward the Florida coast, forecasters said.

At Logan, airlines began offering passengers incentives to rearrange their travel plans for before or after the hurricane nears Florida, Mehigan said, a deal Meghan Collette and her family, who live in Ashland, took advantage of when they opted to return a day early from Orlando, Fla., to Boston instead of Hartford, Conn., as initially planned.

Collette and her two children, Lorelai, 9, and Sam, 5, were celebrating Lorelai’s birthday at several theme parks in the central Florida city, meeting the cartoon characters that fill the Walt Disney World Resort and enjoying the rides at Epcot and Animal Kingdom.


Lorelai Collette, right, wanted to come back a day earlier because she was afraid of the hurricane. With her are her mother Meghan Collette, and 5-year-old brother Sam Collette. They live in Ashland. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

But hearing theme park workers speak of the scramble to fill their cars with gas and stock up on water ahead of the impending storm had Lorelai, who will begin fourth grade at David Mindess Elementary School on Tuesday, feeling stressed.

“I thought I was going to die in the hurricane,” she said as she wheeled her Emoji-covered suitcase out of Logan. “And I’ve never been late or missed the first day of school.”

Mary Lee Shepard, 71, her husband, Bob, and her Shih Tzu, Wolfgang, moved from Southbridge, to a retirement community in Florida called The Villages just one week ago.

The town, located about 60 miles north of Orlando, saw some crop-up storms with booming thunder as early as Saturday, she said. As she prepared for the storm, she vowed to remain upbeat.

“I am very excited to be here,” she said in a phone interview from her Florida home. “But it’s not as exciting planning for a hurricane as it is for a nor’easter, because a nor’easter you get excited when the snow falls and it doesn’t do anywhere near the destruction the hurricane does. I have a little more respect for the hurricane.”

Correction: A previous version of this story included the wrong name for Meghan Collette.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.