Update: Hurricane Maria to Impact Eastern and Northern Caribbean Islands

If the eastern and northern islands of the Caribbean Sea 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 — due to the effects from Hurricane Maria.

Update: Hurricane Maria to Impact Eastern and Northern Caribbean Islands

Hurricane Maria

This animated image shows Hurricane Maria strengthen in intensity as it heads west northwest towards the eastern and northern islands of the Caribbean Sea, which are outlined in purple. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Maria — which is currently 125 east northeast of Barbados and moving west northwest at a speed of 15 miles per hour — are at 80 miles per hour, which means that it is currently classified as a Category 1 hurricane.

A hurricane warning is now in effect for Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat; while the United States Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy and Anguilla are under hurricane watches.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for Antigua, Barbuda, Saba, Saint Eustatius and Saint Lucia; while Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are under tropical storm watches.

Unfortunately, many of these areas were significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma — and the last thing they need is another hurricane heading their way. Even tropical storm force winds can be dangerous to Barbuda, which already suffered catastrophic damage.

Hurricane Maria is expected to strengthen quickly to a major Category 3 hurricane sometime over the next couple of days as it is expected to cause beach erosion, rough surf, coastal flooding, strong rip currents, windy conditions and significant rainfall of up to 18 inches in some areas. Power outages and localized flooding is possible.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in the islands of the eastern and 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 eight airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for Antigua, Bridgetown, San Juan, Saint Croix Island, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, and Saint Thomas Island 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.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for four airports in total:
    • San Juan 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 Aguadilla and San Juan in Puerto Rico for Monday, September 18, 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.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued a travel alert for San Juan for Monday, September 18, 2017 through Friday, September 22, 2017; and Friday, October 6, 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, Ponce, Punta Cana, San Juan, Saint Croix, Saint Lucia, Sint Maarten, and Saint Thomas for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 through Thursday, September 21, 2017; and Saturday, September 30, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Air Canada has issued travel alerts for eight airports in total:
    • Antigua, Bridgetown, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, and Saint Lucia 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 Bridgetown, Saint Maarten, Saint Lucia, and Port of Spain for Saturday, September 16, 2017 through Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
  • InselAir has issued a travel alert for Saint Martin or Sint Maarten for Thursday, September 14, 2017 through Monday, September 18, 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.

Summary

Expect more travel alerts from additional airlines over the next several days to be expanded to areas such as Hispaniola — and possibly the Bahamas and Cuba — and I will do my best to inform you if your travel plans are indeed affected.

Keep yourself updated with the latest information so that you are able to evacuate as early as possible if the weather forecast becomes bleak and threatening.

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.

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

9 thoughts on “Update: Hurricane Maria to Impact Eastern and Northern Caribbean Islands”

  1. Patricia Brown says:

    Traveling to Antigua with BA from Gatwick on Thursday 21st September any you warnings about hurricane Maria

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I checked the official Internet web site of British Airways, Patricia Brown — as well as its social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook — and I see no travel advisories pertaining to Hurricane Maria at this time.

      Please contact them and ask about the status of your flight — as well as whether or not any travel waivers are being offered.

  2. Lana Brown says:

    Any warnings for Punta Cana please? Due to travel 21st September….

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Punta Cana may likely be directly hit by Maria as a Category 3 hurricane on the day you are due to travel, Lana Brown.

      No official warnings have been issued yet for the Dominican Republic; but I expect that a hurricane warning for that area will be issued sometime tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19.

      You will most likely not be traveling that day. Please consider alternate travel plans.

  3. Al Cursi says:

    Hi There, I am travelling to Punta Cana on the 26th. It is next Tuesday but I am a little concerned. any advice?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      A few factors work in your favor, Al Cursi:

      • Hurricane Maria is forecast to leave the area near Punta Cana by Friday morning.
      • Hurricane Maria is more compact than Hurricane Irma; so it is smaller in terms of area and size.
      • Punta Cana will likely be on the southern side of the storm, which is less dangerous than the northeastern quadrant.

      Regardless, these factors are of little comfort. Punta Cana is forecast to receive as much as 18 inches of rain and tropical storm force winds. It will still be impacted by the hurricane.

      If you can, please wait until Friday afternoon before reaching a decision. Check the airline or cruise ship company with which you plan to travel — as well as contacting the property at which you plan on staying — for the latest updated information as to the extent of the damage there.

  4. PAULA says:

    IM DUE TO TRAVEL TO PUNTA CANA SEPT 30 FOR A 10 DAY VACATION ARE THE BEACHES AND RESORT IN DAMAGED?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Hurricane Maria has not passed the Dominican Republic yet, PAULA.

      More information should be available by Friday morning, September 22…

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