Youngstown families with Puerto Rico ties nervous as Irma hits island

Posted September 10, 2017

Puerto Ricans who can afford to leave the island during hurricanes often do, but they tend to fly to Miami, which isn't an option this time since Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida next. Would you want to be on this plane?

As Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean, devastating islands and knocking out power to thousands, a lone Delta flight raced to land in Puerto Rico - and take off again - before the storm hit. "Everyone else has turned around", Rabinowitz said on Twitter.

The airline has also extended suspension of its service through Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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Including taxiing in and out, the plane was on the ground for only 52 minutes, according to data tweeted out by Jason Rabinowitz.

Irma ranked a category 5, the top of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, and the severe warnings about its power, as well as reports of the deadly flooding that Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas last week, had made preparations all the more urgent in Puerto Rico, several residents said.

Arecibo was the largest single radio dish in the world for more than half a century, until China's Five-hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) became operational previous year.

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The Atlanta-based airline said it will likely cancel its flights at those three Florida airports Sunday as well, pending updates from the airport authority. The air velocity was around 24 knots with gusts up to 31 knots, and condition deteriorating fast it indicated everything that was below safe operating limits for the 737-900ER. There was only light rain at the time of landing.

The flight landed at Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport around noon and left with 173 passengers on board less than an hour later.

They even managed to take off using a gap between Irma's core and the storm's outer bands, an impressive feat of flight planning and execution.

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Experts praised the airline's forecasters, dispatchers and flight and ground crews for the successful flight after it returned from San Juan.