Hurricane Irene Impacts Oklahomans

Friday, August 26th 2011, 10:48 pm
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- While hurricane Irene may be hitting thousands of miles away, we will likely feel the aftershocks here in Oklahoma City.

The storm's path looks to plow through some of the country's oil refineries and the busiest airspace in the US.

Friday evening, aviation officials announced they will close the five main New York City-area airports to arriving passenger flights beginning at noon on Saturday.

When it became clear that hurricane Irene was coming in, New Yorker Sarah Ramsingh decided she was getting out.

"I live in a high rise, I live on the 32nd floor, it would not have been good," Ramsingh says.

So she took the first flight she could and landed in Oklahoma City.

"It really is the nicest city in the United States," Ramsingh says.

But while Ramsingh was able to get here, leaving may be a different story.

"Definitely we're going to see some impact over the weekend," says Karen Carney with the Will Rogers Airport.

Flights heading to the eastern Seaboard will in all likelihood be canceled. That could cause turbulence in air travel across the country.

"If there's a lot of traffic that starts in Baltimore for example and goes to Chicago and then Oklahoma City we could see a trickle down effect if that plane never gets out of Baltimore," Carney says.

And even if you're not flying, Hurricane Irene could make travel more expensive. Even if it's just to the grocery store.

The East Coast refineries are also likely to close. If that happens, it could push gas prices higher. Three years ago, pump prices jumped 21 cents a gallon as Hurricane Ike swept through the Gulf of Mexico.

 And while all of that may seem like a huge headache, Ramsingh reminds us what her fellow New Yorkers may be going through.

"They're shutting down the subways, that's something that's never been done," Ramsingh says.

Most airlines have said they will waive your fees to change a flight so you may just want to postpone your travel plans.

Airport officials say if you do decide to fly, take advantage of airline alert services. The airlines don't want you stranded either