By Andrea Lucia

DFW AIRPORT (CBS11) – Eleven-year-old Kate from Palm Beach is excited to skip school and spend time with her cousins in North Texas. Her 8-year-old sister, Eleanor, isn’t so sure.

“I’m just worried about the house, but I’m fine being here,” she said.

“But, we have it all boarded up and stuff, so it’s safe,” said Kate.

The two traveling with their mother are among thousands who’ve chosen to leave Florida as Hurricane Irma grows near.

“We didn’t have to battle any traffic on the road, but the airport… it was absolutely crazy,” said Matt Zinser who left his Fort Myers condo Wednesday to catch a flight out of Orlando.

He stayed at home for the last hurricane. This time, he has a baby to consider.

“We are expecting a little one and that made the decision a little easier,” he said.

Kortney Fenley, a new transplant to the Orlando area, meanwhile, says he was more worried about Harvey.

“All of my family, my immediate family, my extended family, live in Houston, so for the past few weeks, I’ve been calling and talking to them to make sure they’re okay. And now the last few days, they’ve been calling and checking on me to make sure I’m gonna be okay.”

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the Keys and parts of South Florida, including some of the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people. It was the first of perhaps many watches and warnings along the Southeastern coast over the next several days as forecasters warn the storm could hit anywhere from Florida to North Carolina.

As people along the Atlantic coast anxiously watched the behemoth, Irma battered the northern Caribbean, killing at least 11 people and leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees.