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New Canaanites escape to Florida just in time

Published 12:28 pm, Monday, February 11, 2013

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  • Some travelers, heading south to Florida and North Carolina from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., were able to escape Friday morning, Feb. 8, 2013, before the worst of the snow blew in. Photo: Lisa Chamoff / Greenwich Time
    Some travelers, heading south to Florida and North Carolina from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., were able to escape Friday morning, Feb. 8, 2013, before the worst of the snow blew in. Photo: Lisa Chamoff

 

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They got out just in time.

While many Connecticut residents were ransacking grocery and liquor stores Friday morning in preparation for the blizzard, some were claiming the last flights bound for Florida at Westchester County Airport.

Joe and Elizabeth Forestieri, of New Canaan, were waiting for the 11:43 a.m. JetBlue flight to West Palm Beach, Fla., where Elizabeth was planning to attend an engagement party this weekend.

"I thought it would be cancelled," Joe Forestieri, 69, said as they made some calls before going through airport security.

The couple considered cancelling their plans, and Elizabeth was still deciding if they should go as they kept tabs on the status of their flight, which ended up taking off less than an hour later than scheduled.

Westport resident Lisa Rindler was on her way to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a business trip. Some friends were planning to leave their children with a babysitter and join her at a resort in the Florida Keys, but they decided to stay home because of the weather.

Though her travel plans were work-related, Rindler said she was happy to be able to escape the winter.

"It's 82 degrees there and sunny," she said of south Florida.

Most people planning to fly south from Westchester before noon Friday were able to make it out. Flights later in the day to destinations such as Chicago, Washington, Detroit and Atlanta were all cancelled. Airport Manager Peter Scherrer said Friday morning that the airport was still open, but no one would be traveling by the afternoon.

"Even though we're open, other airports are closed and air traffic is getting a little saturated," Scherrer said.

Geoff and Jean Young used the blizzard as an opportunity to squeeze in a visit with relatives in Greenwich. The couple, visiting from Chattanooga, Tenn., had been staying in Salisbury, and thought it would be easier to get to the airport from Greenwich in the morning.

The Youngs were pleased with their brief introduction to the storm.

"It's nice to see snow," Jean Young said as the couple drank coffee at the airport restaurant before their noon flight.

Darcy Telaro, on the other hand, was glad to return to Fort Lauderdale.

Telaro, 57, who grew up in Westchester County, was in Yonkers, N.Y., for her aunt's funeral. She would have stayed longer if not for the snow, and got out while she still could.

"I relate to this like a hurricane," Telaro said. "But I think it's worse if you're cold and don't have heat."

lisa.chamoff@scni.com; 203-625-4439; http://twitter.com/lchamoff