Travel Alert August 2019: Airports to Shut Down as Hurricane Dorian Strengthens to Category 4

As Hurricane Dorian has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, airports have been announcing the shutdown of operations in preparation for what may be the strongest tropical system to impact the state of Florida in the past 30 years…

Travel Alert August 2019: Airports to Shut Down as Hurricane Dorian Strengthens to Category 4

Hurricane Dorian

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

…but interestingly enough, landfall of this hurricane may not occur until the wee hours of the morning of Thursday, September 5, 2019 along the southernmost point of the state of South Carolina; and North Carolina is potentially in the path of the storm as well. This is because Hurricane Dorian is slowing down in forward motion, which will give it a chance to further strengthen and possibly become a Category 5 hurricane in the process — but this will give a high pressure system over Bermuda a chance to help steer the tropical system westward and then northward before weakening and allowing a cold front to keep the landfall of the storm from occurring in Florida or possibly Georgia.

Landfall of Hurricane Dorian was originally forecast to occur on the eastern coast of Florida as early as Monday afternoon, September 2, 2019 — but even if landfall does not occur in the state of Florida, many portions of the eastern half of the state will still experience tropical storm and hurricane conditions. This includes dangerously strong winds with gusts of up to 115 miles per hour and as much as 24 inches — yes, two feet — of rain, as well as severe flooding, a storm surge, power outages, and isolated tornadoes.

Maximum sustained winds of this storm — which is currently centered approximately 445 miles east of West Palm Beach and is moving west at approximately 12 miles per hour — are 145 miles per hour, which means that this storm is currently a Category 4 hurricane. The eye of the hurricane is clearly well developed, which indicates the strength of the storm.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect for much of the northwestern Bahamas — including Freeport, Grand Bahama, and Nassau, New Providence Island — while a hurricane watch is currently in effect for Andros Islands.

Brian Kemp — who is the current governor of the state of Georgia — issued a state of emergency for 12 counties along the coast of that state; while a state of emergency has been issued for all 67 counties in the state of Florida by Ron DeSantis, who is the current governor of that state.

Gasoline supplies have already been dwindling at fuel stations in parts of Florida; while the shelves of home improvement stores have already started emptying out. Supermarkets have also been reportedly running out of supplies.

In addition, greater than 2,500 Florida Guard troops have been activated into duty.

Airports to Be Closed

Daytona Beach Airport will shut down all flight operations after the last flight departs on Sunday evening, September 1, 2019.

Orlando International Airport plans to cease commercial flight operations on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 2:00 in the morning.

Other airports in Florida and Georgia are closely monitoring the hurricane. Expect more of them to close as the storm closes in on the United States.

Lodging Statements Pertaining to Hurricane Dorian

This official statement pertaining to Hurricane Dorian was issued by Marriott International, Incorporated:

We are closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Dorian, and our hotels in the predicted path have implemented storm preparation protocols. We are in close contact with local authorities, and will take guidance and direction from them as the situation warrants. We encourage those planning to travel to the storm area to check news updates for the most current information, and amend plans accordingly. Hotels in the impacted area are reviewing their cancellation fees; details may vary by hotel. To modify or cancel an existing reservation, please go to Marriott.com or the Marriott app.

This official statement pertaining to Hurricane Dorian was issued by Hilton:

Hilton continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Dorian.

The safety and security of our guests and Team Members is always our top priority. All properties in the storm’s path have implemented their hurricane preparedness plans and emergency procedures. We remain in close contact with local authorities and our tourism partners.

For guests whose travel plans may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian, modification and cancellation penalties may be waived. We encourage guests to contact 1-800-HILTONS for the most updated information on cancellation policies for hotels in the storm’s path. For information regarding Hurricane Dorian, please visit the National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to the Bahamas and Florida 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 eleven 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
    • 13 airports in Florida for Thursday, August 29, 2019 through Wednesday, September 4, 2019; and Wednesday, September 11, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Freeport, George Town, Marsh Harbour, Nassau and Providenciales for Friday, August 30, 2019 through Saturday, August 31, 2019; and Saturday, September 7, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for:
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for Nassau and nine airports in Florida for Thursday, August 29, 2019 through Wednesday, September 4, 2019; and Wednesday, September 11, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Alaska Airlines has issued travel alerts for Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Charleston for Sunday, September 1, 2019 through Wednesday, September 4, 2019; and Wednesday, September 11, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Nassau for Tuesday, August 27, 2019 through Thursday, September 5, 2019; and Thursday, September 19, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Six airports in Florida for Saturday, August 31, 2019 through Thursday, September 5, 2019; and Thursday, September 19, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for:
    • Nassau for Friday, August 30, 2019 through Monday, September 2, 2019; and Saturday, September 7, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Seven airports in Florida for Friday, August 30, 2019 through Tuesday, September 3, 2019; and Tuesday, September 10, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Frontier Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Eight airports in Florida for Sunday, September 1, 2019 through Wednesday, September 4, 2019; and Friday, September 27, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Punta Cana and San Juan for Monday, August 26, 2019 through Friday, August 30, 2019; and Friday, September 20, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airways has issued travel alerts for:
  • Allegiant Air has issued travel alerts for Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Punta Gorda, Sanford, Sarasota, Saint Petersburg and San Juan for Sunday, September 1, 2019 through Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
  • Sun Country Airlines has issued travel alerts for Orlando and Fort Myers for Sunday, September 1, 2019 through Wednesday, September 4, 2019; and Tuesday, September 10, 2019 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued travel alerts for:

Summary

Expect more travel alerts to be issued by more airlines as Hurricane Dorian progresses over the coming days.

If you are currently located in the Bahamas or Florida, now is the time to prepare for the arrival of this potentially dangerous hurricane — which will likely include mandatory evacuations.

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.

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