CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hurricane Ian is throwing a wrench into Western New Yorkers’ travel plans, as flights to and from several cities in Florida have been canceled.

At Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Tuesday, News 4 spoke with a couple that owns property right on the coastline in Tampa, and though they’re worried about their home in Florida, they said it was a relief to make that final direct flight here to Buffalo.

“(It’s) a relief. The stress is going,” traveler Robert Waechter said.

“Very difficult owning a home, property, on the water, with the eye of the storm heading your way and knowing your entire investment is at risk of heavy heavy damage,” Gordon Webber added. “There could be six feet of water in our backyard in two days. It’s giving me goosebumps right now.”

Hurricane Ian, which is expected to make landfall on Waechter and Gordon Webber’s property in Tampa, Fla. while they wait it out. As people throughout Florida evacuate to safety, they say many of their neighbors decided to stay.

“They just see these near misses and they have no idea, they think it’s no big deal. ‘We’re just going to stay put, we’ll hunker down,'” Webber said. “That’s not a good idea. Not a good idea when something of this size is coming. People were fishing this morning when we were leaving. In the water. It’s crazy.”

Jessica Garra was also on the final direct flight from Tampa to Buffalo on Tuesday.

“It was really nice, because I know my friend doesn’t fly out until tomorrow, my cousin flies out tonight and I know they’re worried about it. So it’s nice to be home,” she said. “And I don’t have to worry, but being by myself if I was stuck in Tampa — it would be a little nerve-wracking.”

A spokesperson for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport said she expects a lot of people from the Western New York area will have to change their travel plans.

“Buffalo and Florida, we have such a connection to that area, lots of flights, lots of people who live in both locations, have relatives there,” said NFTA Director of Public Affairs Helen Tederous. “So this is a very serious situation.”

Tederous continued, discussing how other airports are handling the hurricane.

“This is taking on a new level,” she said. “It’s not just a storm, I mean obviously this is very, very serious, where we’re seeing some airports getting into place their emergency operation plan.”

Officials expect the weather will continue to effect the travel industry and travelers’ plans for the next week.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.