NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, a Southwest flight from Houston landed at the Nashville airport. A family of four, each wearing double layered masks, walked anxiously to baggage claim 3.
“We’re grateful that we got to come, but we a feel guilty of those that we left behind. We had to. I just felt like we had to leave,” Anita Salazar told News 2. She and her family booked one of the last flights out of Houston the night before.
“The kids, we weren’t sure if they were going to let them out of school yet, as soon as I got the notice, I got on the phone and was like we need to leave,” she explained.
Hurricane Laura upgraded to a Category 4 Wednesday afternoon, on its way directly to the Salazar home in Baytown.
“It’s supposed to actually hit tonight around midnight, but it’s gonna start raining probably this afternoon, so we wanted to get out of there.”
Salazar left her husband to look after the house, while she left with grandma and their two children – waking up at 3:30 in the morning to evacuate to her sister’s house in Nashville.
“It was quiet because it was 4:30 that we left on the road,” Salazar explained. “Everybody says it’s the calm before the storm, and that’s really how it was. It was just quiet. And you just know that coming coming back, things may look a lot different, as far as boats being up on land no electricity, maybe high water in certain places. So you just kind of look around, got a little eerie feeling to it.”
It was not only eerie in the evacuation zone, but also eerie traveling on a plane.
“It was kind of scary coming, ’cause I thought oh we’re leaving we’re leaving, but we’re also in a pandemic, and you have to remember that. So everybody has their wipes, their hand sanitizer, you just have to keep in my mind, and put into perspective,” Salazar explained.
Her daughter, Alexa, told News 2 she wasn’t surprised Laura was coming, “I was expecting it because who knows what’s going to happen during 2020, so I would expect something bad to happen to something so that’s why I was like, ‘Okay, we have to go because who knows whats going to happen with this year,'” she said with a giggle.
Salazar said she grew up in the Houston area so it has always been her home. She has lived through multiple storms and hurricanes.
“I was there for ike, my son was two,” she recalled. “We ended up leaving because it was a mandatory evacuation. We went further inland into Houston, and we lost power for a week and a half – I think it was two weeks. They couldn’t restore power, so we were just bouncing from family to family because it was just so hot, and I had a two-year-old. I learned my lesson then, it’s just miserable to be there. There’s nothing you can do with no electricity no power.”
The family has a flight back on Sunday, and they are hoping the power is still on and everyone who couldn’t leave is okay.
“We know a lot of people that lost a lot of their homes during Harvey and that was just a flood, so we’re just concerned about them, that they’re safe,” she said with tears in her eyes. “We know that things can be replaced, but we just hope that our family and friends are safe.”