Devastation in the Caribbean as Irma Heads Toward Miami
10 September, 2017, 15:40 | Author: Franklin Nunez
Three other flights (two from JetBlue and one from American) took off from the US but were forced to turn back before reaching the island.
Irma hit Puerto Rico hard Wednesday night into Thursday, killing multiple people, destroying homes and leaving more than one million people without power.
The streets of San Juan were littered with downed trees, power lines and signs from buildings on Thursday but residents of Puerto Rico's capital were relieved that they had spared the devastation Hurricane Irma wrought elsewhere in the Caribbean.
And check out how the plane weaved its way through the outer bands of Irma to get out of dodge. "Everyone else has turned around", Rabinowitz said on Twitter.
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At the same time, Irma strengthened back into a Category 5 storm Friday night, after weakening to a Category 4 earlier in the day. Hurricane Katia , the sixth hurricane of the 2017 season, is expected to make landfall in Mexico early Saturday morning.
Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, is now making landfall in the Caribbean on the islands east of Puerto Rico, and, like they have with other storms, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has sent planes in to the storm's eye. How was the approach to San Juan?
"Amazing stuff", Rabinowitz tweeted as the plane departed.
Still living with the damages from Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers know those preparing for Irma need help now.
The return flight, Delta Flight 302, delivered 173 passengers back to John F. Kennedy International Airport at 4:22 p.m, over 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
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Delta officials said the airline operated its last scheduled flight to and from San Juan "armed with the latest forecast from the airline's meteorology team". There was only light rain at the time of landing. Delta has to get the passengers off, ready the aircraft for departure, and board the next wave of passengers, all before the impending hurricane makes a safe takeoff impossible.
Erik Snell, vice president for Delta operations and customer centre, said the airline's meteorology team was the best in the business.
According to Rabinowitz, the flight spent just 52 minutes on the ground before taking off for NY, flying between the outer band of Hurricane Irma and the storm's core.
Experts praised the airline's forecasters, dispatchers and flight and ground crews for the successful flight after it returned from San Juan.
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