Travel Alert: Hurricane Joaquin May Impact Mid-Atlantic United States
Note: Because of the rapid development of Hurricane Joaquin, this article has already been edited several times with updated information.
I f the eastern portions of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the entire state of Delaware, southern New Jersey or the Bahamas are in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather.
Hurricane Joaquin is currently a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale located southeast of the Bahamas; and is expected to strengthen to as much as a Category 4 hurricane over open waters on its way north towards the east coast of the United States.
The good news is that the storm should weaken to a Category 1 hurricane as landfall in the Chesapeake Bay region is expected sometime on Sunday — meaning that cities such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Richmond could endure the greatest impact of the storm; while cities such as Philadelphia, Charleston in West Virginia, Wilmington, Atlantic City, Charlotte and Norfolk could experience ancillary effects.
That aforementioned impact could be significant, with as much as twelve inches of rain, rough seas, pounding surf, strong winds, and coastal flooding possible for affected areas — and keep in mind that the northern and eastern sides of the tropical system will be the most treacherous due to the counterclockwise rotation of the storm, which are typically the windiest and wettest quadrants.
Cities such as New York, Cleveland, Boston, Charleston in South Carolina, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could experience gusty winds and anywhere from one to four inches of rain, depending on the track of the storm — but the inclement conditions forecast for these cities should not be enough to significantly impact travel plans.
Despite its close proximity to the Bahamas, Hurricane Joaquin originally was not expected to significantly impact that country, which will be on the southern and western side of the storm — but a hurricane warning has just been issued for the Bahamas moments ago, forecasting winds of up to 100 miles per hour with pounding surf, dangerous seas, strong winds, drenching squalls and flash flooding.
Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, you may want to consider postponing or canceling your trip, as it might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.
If you have a flight scheduled, your flight could 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.
Consider contacting your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels as this situation progresses. Travel advisories— such as this one by Delta Air Lines for Freeport, Georgetown and Nassau in the Bahamas, with additional ones expected — may be issued where you can change or cancel your itinerary and possibly receive a full refund where applicable — free of charge.
One discussion already exists on FlyerTalk related to Hurricane Joaquin — Milepoint is currently “closed for remodeling” and is expected to reopen on Friday, October 2, 2015 — with possible additional discussions expected to be posted in the various forums of airlines based in the United States…
…and please: travel safely.