Couple at Niskayuna festival: 'We’re refugees from the hurricane' – New York News

Sue and Wayne Bizer caught one of the last flights out of Florida before the airports closed down to brace for Hurricane Irma.


While their home state was battered with 130 mile per hour winds and heavy rain, they spent their Sunday strolling through the Carrot Festival in Niskayuna under sunny skies.

“We’re refugees from the hurricane,” Wayne said. “So here we are at the world-famous Carrot Festival.”

The couple has lived in Fort Lauderdale for about 40 years they said, and had never previously evacuated for a hurricane. Not even when Hurricane Andrew hammered the state in 1992 — the most destructive storm to that point — did the Bizers leave their house.

But as Hurricane Irma — deemed by Florida’s governor as the most catastrophic storm the state has seen — churned in the Atlantic Ocean, Wayne bought a pair of plane tickets just in case.

“I didn’t expect to have to use them,” he said, but on Thursday, the couple boarded a plane and flew to Albany. The airport in Fort Lauderdale closed down on Friday.

Irma was a category 4 storm when it made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and began working its way up the state’s west coast as the day progressed, eventually being downgraded to category 2. Officials previously issued an evacuation order for about 6 million people.

The Bizers have a son who is a professor at Union College in Schenectady, so they’ll be staying with him, their daughter-in-law and two grandchildren “until the electricity comes back on,” they said, noting their neighbors are still back in Florida.

Asked how Hurricane Irma compares to past…

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