TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many folks evacuating before Hurricane Ian are trying to get a flight out of Tampa, but many will be out of luck by Tuesday afternoon. Tampa International Airport is closing starting Sept. 27 at 5 p.m.

“I think I’m going to have to experience it as well,” said Paul Sparks. “There is literally no way out in terms of travel.”

The London native just finished a DJ show in the Tampa area and was trying to catch the last flight tonight to Vegas, but it was canceled. The red “CANCELLED” signs are starting to pop up all over the arrival and departure screens around the airport.

“I was hoping I’d get out just in time to Vegas, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now,” Sparks said. “And the worst thing is everything is canceled up to Saturday.”

TPA says the closure will help them prep the airfield and terminals, including securing jet bridges and ground equipment.

“Once winds get to 50 miles an hour, all bets are off,” said John Tiliacos. “Everything ceases.”

Tiliacos is the Executive Vice President of Airport Operations and Customer Service for the airport. TPA is securing outdoor furniture, placing sandbags, and moving vehicles.

Travel will be tense on Tuesday, the day before the storm arrives. Hurricane Irma sent cars bumper to bumper on the highway out of town. A closed airport won’t help.

“Our recommendation for passengers is to make sure you contact your airline, first and foremost,” Tiliacos said. “Talk to your airline representative regarding your flight plans.”

TPA is warning fliers — the airport and its parking garages are not a shelter.

“When winds get to about the 40 mile an hour mark, that puts us into a degraded type of level of operations regarding our shuttles, our SkyConnect train system,” Tiliacos explained.

The plan is to open the airport, considered an essential service, as soon as possible.

“Getting the airport open as quickly and as safely as possible is absolutely essential,” Tiliacos said.

You can check TPA’s Flight Status site for more information. Southwest and American Airlines have canceled most of their afternoon flights for Tuesday.

Many major airlines are offering travel waivers for change fees if your plans are impacted by Hurricane Ian.