Landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Maria Occurred on Puerto Rico — and Next…

With maximum sustained winds clocked at 155 miles per hour, Hurricane Maria was just a couple of miles per hour shy of being only the second Category 5 hurricane in recorded history with which landfall occurred on Puerto Rico since the Lake Okeechobee hurricane in 1928; but it did have the lowest recorded barometric pressure of any hurricane in the Atlantic basin in at least ten years — and the powerful storm most certainly has caused catastrophic damage to the island territory of the United States.

Landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Maria Occurred on Puerto Rico — and Next…

Hurricane Maria

The eye of Hurricane Maria heads northwest offshore of the northern coast of Puerto Rico, which — along with with Dominican Republic and other islands in the northern Caribbean Sea — are outlined in purple. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Hurricane Maria — which is currently 25 miles west northwest of Aguadilla in Puerto Rico and moving northwest at a speed of 12 miles per hour — has weakened from moving over land; and its maximum sustained winds are now at 110 miles per hour, which means that it is currently classified as a very strong Category 2 hurricane as it moves back out over open warm water. This means that some strengthening will occur prior to reaching the Turks and Caicos islands on Friday morning and will likely become a Category 4 hurricane at that time.

In fact, a hurricane warning is currently in effect for Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Culebra, Vieques, much of the northern coast of the Dominican Republic — the remainder of the Dominican Republic is under a tropical storm warning — and Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, portions of Puerto Rico may have experienced damage as devastating as what was experienced by Dominica from Hurricane Irma and Barbuda from Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Maria is expected to cause storm surge of up to 15 feet, beach erosion, rough surf, coastal flooding, strong rip currents, windy conditions and significant rainfall of up to 25 inches in some areas. Power outages, mudslides, road closures and localized flooding are likely.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in the islands of the northern Caribbean Sea over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are 20 airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for 16 airports in total:
    • Antigua, Bridgetown, Cap Haitien, Fort de France, Port Au Prince, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, San Juan, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Saint Croix Island, Saint Kitts, and Saint Lucia for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Tuesday, September 26, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Sint Maarten for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Friday, August 31, 2018; and Sunday, September 30, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Saint Thomas Island and Providenciales for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017; and Monday, December 31, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for seven airports in total:
    • San Juan, Santiago, Santo Domingo, and Punta Cana for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 through Tuesday, September 26, 2017; and Monday, October 2, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Saint Thomas and Providenciales for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017; and Wednesday, October 31, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Sint Maarten for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Sunday, December 31, 2017; and Wednesday, October 31, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for 12 airports in total:
    • Aguadilla, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Santiago, Santo Domingo and San Juan for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Saturday, September 30, 2017; and Saturday, October 7, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Sint Maarten, Saint Thomas and Providenciales for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017; and Sunday, December 31, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Antigua and Nassau for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 30, 2017; and Wednesday, November 15, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for San Juan and Punta Cana for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Tuesday, September 26, 2017; and Tuesday, October 10, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for Aguadilla, Antigua, Barbados, La Romana, Ponce, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, San Juan, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Saint Croix, Saint Lucia, Sint Maarten, and Saint Thomas for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 through Saturday, September 23, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for seven airports in total:
    • Aguadilla and San Juan in Puerto Rico for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Tuesday, September 26, 2017; and Monday, October 2, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Port-au-Prince, Santiago, and Santo Domingo for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 through Thursday, September 21, 2017; and Wednesday, September 27, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Sint Maarten and Saint Thomas for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017; and Wednesday, November 15, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Frontier Airlines has issued travel alerts for San Juan and Punta Cana for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Friday, September 22, 2017; and Sunday, October 29, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Allegiant Air has issued travel alerts for San Juan, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, and six airports in Florida for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 through Saturday, September 30, 2017; and Saturday, October 14, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Sun Country Airlines has issued travel alerts for Saint Thomas, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin with which all flights to and from these airports have been canceled for the winter season. You may cancel for a full refund to your original form of payment or to a Sun Country voucher for future use; or you may rebook your flight or flight and hotel package to another Sun Country destination. In either case, change fees will be waived.
  • Air Canada has issued travel alerts for nine airports in total:
    • Antigua, Bridgetown, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint Lucia and Port-au-Prince  for Sunday, September 17, 2017 through Wednesday, September 20, 2017; and Thursday, October 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Samana, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana for Sunday, September 17, 2017 through Sunday, September 24, 2017; and Thursday, October 12, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • WestJet Airways has issued travel alerts for eleven airports in total:
    • Bridgetown, Sint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Port of Spain, Punta Cana, Samana and Puerto Plata for Saturday, September 16, 2017 through Monday, September 25, 2017.
    • Providenciales for travel through Saturday, October 14, 2017.
    • Santa Clara, Cayo Coco and Sint Maarten for travel through Sunday, December 31, 2017.
  • Air Transat has issued travel alerts for Punta Cana and Puerto Plata for Thursday, September 21, 2017 through Friday, September 22, 2017. Additionally, numerous flights have either been rescheduled or canceled.
  • Sunwing has issued travel alerts for Puerto Plata and Punta Cana, as all flights to and from these locations have been suspended through Friday, September 22, 2017.
  • Avianca has issued travel alerts for San Juan, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 through Thursday, September 21, 2017; and Tuesday, October 31, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • LATAM Airlines has issued a travel alert for Punta Cana for Wednesday, September 20, 2017 through Friday, September 22, 2017; and Saturday, October 7, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Aeromexico has issued a travel alerts for Santo Domingo for Wednesday, September 20, 2017 through Saturday, September 23, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Caribbean Airlines has issued travel alerts for Saint Lucia, Barbados and Antigua for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Wednesday, September 20, 2017; and Wednesday, September 27, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin. Additionally, at least five flights have been canceled.
  • InselAir has issued a travel alert for Sint Maarten for Thursday, September 21, 2017 through Friday, September 22, 2017, as all flights to and from this airport have been canceled until further notice. The airline requests that you check here for the latest updates at its official Internet web sites on Facebook and Twitter.
  • British Airways has issued travel alerts for Saint Lucia, Antigua, Saint Kitts, Providenciales and Punta Cana for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Sunday, September 24, 2017; and Saturday, October 14, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Iberia has issued travel alerts for Antigua, Barbados, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Saint Lucia, Tobago, Providenciales, San Juan, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Wednesday, September 20, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico…

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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