Airlines Update Travel Waivers For Hurricane Sally September 2020; “Catastrophic” Flooding

If the central Gulf Coast of the United States is 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 Hurricane Sally, whose landfall is forecast to occur somewhere near the border shared by Alabama and Florida as soon as sometime later this morning, Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

Airlines Update Travel Waivers For Hurricane Sally September 2020; “Catastrophic” Flooding

Hurricane Sally

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Sally — which is currently centered approximately 50 miles south southeast of Mobile in Alabama and is moving north northeast at three miles per hour — are 105 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a strong Category 2 hurricane; but it is not expected to strengthen prior to landfall, which is forecast to occur somewhere near the border shared by Alabama and Florida in as soon as later this morning.

The extremely slow track of Hurricane Sally means more time for any water or land mass underneath the storm to experience its effects for a longer period of time, which can potentially cause more damage. Because of the areas of the Gulf Coast which are like coves and can therefore collect water as though they were bowls, the National Weather Service of the United States called both the predicted storm surge and flash flooding “life-threatening”, “historic”, and “catastrophic”.

Furthermore, the main threat of Hurricane Sally is rain. Because it is meandering so slowly towards the Gulf Coast, up to 35 inches of rainfall could occur in some areas, which could result in flash flooding so severe that it can be considered an event which occurs once in a generation.

Warm water fuels hurricanes; and usually when a hurricane sits over warm water long enough, it saps the energy which fuels it, causing the water to cool in temperature and therefore weaken the hurricane. That was starting to happen with Hurricane Sally, which was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour; but even though its forward motion is currently at a glacial pace, it was just enough for it to nudge over warmer water, which caused it to strengthen once again.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect from the border shared by Alabama and Mississippi to to the border shared by Okaloosa County and Walton County in Florida. Mobile and Pensacola are included in this warning.

A storm surge warning is currently in effect from Fort Morgan in Alabama to the border shared by Okaloosa County and Walton County in Florida. Mobile Bay is included in this warning.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect in Florida from east of the border shared by Okaloosa County and Walton County to Indian Pass; and from the border shared by Alabama and Mississippi to the mouth of the Pearl River.

Flash flood warnings have also been issued in many areas along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

The coasts of the panhandle of Florida and southeastern Alabama are already experiencing winds of hurricane force — meaning at least 74 miles per hour — and structural damage is already being reported there.

Meanwhile, a storm surge of as much as eleven feet is possible in some areas along the central Gulf Coast of the United States.

Evacuations are already underway in portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, as states of emergency have officially been declared in those states.

Once Hurricane Sally ventures forth inland and weakens to a tropical depression, portions of as many as six states in the southeastern United States may be affected with heavy rain of up to ten inches and gusty winds — including the cities of Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Macon, Montgomery, Spartanburg, and Wilmington. Expect travel waivers to eventually be issued by airlines for the aforementioned cities, as even a significantly weakened Tropical Depression Sally will still cause problems — including fallen trees because of saturated ground combined with wind, and downed electric power lines.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from the central Gulf Coast of the United States 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.

Here are six airlines which have issued travel alerts — or are at least monitoring the storm — as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for eleven cities in four states for Tuesday, September 15, 2020 through Thursday, September 17, 2020; and Monday, September 21, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for nine cities in four states for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Thursday, September 17, 2020; and Sunday, September 20, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for 15 cities in four states for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Wednesday, September 16, 2020; and Sunday, September 20, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • New Orleans for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Wednesday, September 16, 2020; and Wednesday, September 30, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Panama City and Pensacola for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Thursday, September 17, 2020; and Thursday, October 30, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued a travel alert for New Orleans for Tuesday, September 15, 2020; and Sunday, September 20, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued a travel alert for New Orleans for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Wednesday, September 16, 2020; and Sunday, September 20, 2020 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.

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

2 thoughts on “Airlines Update Travel Waivers For Hurricane Sally September 2020; “Catastrophic” Flooding”

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