Emmaus family in Puerto Rico riding out Irma

Many gas stations in South Florida were reportedly out of fuel on Tuesday morning as indicated by red markers on GasBuddy's gas availability tracker

As the category five storm bore down on the Caribbean island, flight 431 from New York JFK managed to successfully land at Luis Muñoz Marín airport in San Juan. "Following that, reopening the ports is a top priority, but we have to make sure we also do it safely".

Jason Rabinowitz, who writes at Airline Reporter, watched and tweeted today as Delta Flight 431, from NY, headed for the storm.

However, recent reports have revealed that a Delta flight quite literally flew to where Irma is and made it back in the nick of time.

A satellite image of the plane's path almost intertwining with Irma's path left many observing the event on edge.

"To that extent, one of the recommendations of that oversight body was to cut back on things like safety forces", said Juan Molina Crespo who has family in Puerto Rico.

By the time the plane was halfway to its destination, flights from JetBlue and American Airlines were already turning around to avoid the category 5 storm.

Emmaus family in Puerto Rico riding out Irma
Emmaus family in Puerto Rico riding out Irma

Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation journalist who is the director of airline research at Routehappy.com, was able to capture the event through a series of tweets.

Other Twitter users cheered on the flight as Rabinowitz posted updates.

Delta's plane spent less than an hour on the ground in San Juan before departing, which, as Rabinowitz pointed out, is pretty darn fast.

At the time of this writing, the plane's return flight, DL302, is still 15 minutes from landing safely back in NY.

"Our meteorology team is the best in the business", said Delta vice president Erik Snell, as reported by The Guardian. That's one of the reasons why Flores Vazques said he didn't feel safe enough to leave the San Juan area. "The air traffic control tower has now been evacuated".

While the escape certainly looks harrowing, the flight crew and Delta Airlines clearly knew that they had a window in which they could operate both flights safely. Winds were recorded at 28 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour - well under the maximum limits for their Boeing 737-900ER plane to operate safely.

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