In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16 and released by...

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16 and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma approaches Anguilla on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Credit: AP

As Hurricane Irma lurched across the Caribbean Wednesday with the whole of Florida as its potential weekend destination, Ruth Tarlow — a recent transplant from Melville — sounded understandably on edge.

“I’m freaking out, just sitting here with a friend, wondering if I should drive to a friend’s house in Virginia,” said Tarlow, 55, in a phone interview from Delray Beach, Florida, her new home.

Despite her concerns, this superstorm Sandy veteran said wicked tropical storms are a trade off she can live with.

“I don’t regret my decision to move,” said Tarlow, a Port Washington resident in 2012 when Sandy hit and knocked out her power for a week. “The timing isn’t great but I guess this is one of the things I’ll have to get used to in exchange for living in paradise.”

Joseph Casavecchia, 19, a Rockville Centre resident and University of Miami sophomore, arrived at LaGuardia Airport Wednesday from Florida with a three-word description for his costly plane ticket back home.

“It’s really insane,” Casavecchia said after landing at LaGuardia in the early afternoon.

There were long lines at the airport in Miami, he said, and his ticket cost a steep $600, although some of his classmates shelled out $1,500 for a flight after University of Miami officials advised students to get out of town.

Irma strengthens.

Irma strengthens. Credit: The Associated Press

Joe Cirillo, formerly of East Northport and now a resident of Apollo Beach near Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, said shoppers there were gutting supermarkets.

“All the stores are out of water,” Cirillo wrote in an email to’s online questionnaire asking readers to tell their own Irma-preparation stories. “Gas lines are long and yesterday there was a 3-mile-line-wait to pick up sand bags.”

He said he must evacuate his home, which is close to the water, even if Irma falls to a category 1.

“It’s panic central over here in Florida,” he said.

Before Irma ever makes its possible landfall in Florida, it will have likely already carved a treacherous path through parts of Puerto Rico, a possibility not lost on Margarita Espada, 51, a Central Islip resident and native of the U.S. commonwealth. Espada said many of her relatives and friends still live there. She booked a flight to leave Thursday for Puerto Rico but JetBlue canceled it because of Irma.

“People are trying to be prepared,” Espada said after speaking with her daughter, 26, who left San Juan ahead of the storm for a higher location. “There are a lot of people here in prayer and keeping up with the latest.”

With Victor Manuel Ramos

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