Travel Alert October 2020: More Airlines Issue Waivers For Hurricane Zeta For Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast of the United States

Additional airlines have issued travel waivers for the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi; so if those areas are in your travel plans over the next couple of 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 Zeta, whose second landfall is expected to occur on the gulf coast of Louisiana as soon as the early evening of tomorrow, Wednesday, October 28, 2020 before a possible third landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Travel Alert October 2020: More Airlines Issue Waivers For Hurricane Zeta For Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast of the United States

Hurricane Zeta

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

Maximum sustained winds of what is now Tropical Storm Zeta — which is currently centered approximately 390 miles south southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour — are 70 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a very strong tropical storm. It is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane prior to landfall on the southeastern coast of Louisiana, which is forecast to occur as soon as later tomorrow afternoon.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect from Morgan City in Louisiana to the border which Mississippi shares with Alabama, which includes the greater metropolitan areas of New Orleans and Gulfport and Biloxi — as well as Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect from the border which Mississippi shares with Alabama to the border which Okaloosa County shares with Walton County in Florida — as well as southwestern Alabama, southeastern Mississippi, and the western panhandle of Florida, which includes Hattiesburg, Mobile, and Pensacola.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City in Louisiana — as well as most of middle Alabama and northern Georgia, which includes the greater metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, and Dalton.

A storm surge warning is currently in effect from the mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre in Florida — which includes Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Pensacola Bay, and Mobile Bay.

The greater metropolitan area of Atlanta being under an official tropical storm watch is rather unusual — which means that what will once again be Tropical Storm Zeta will be moving at a forward speed fast enough to retain its strength as it ventures inland — but that fast speed of possibly 25 miles per hour also means less time for any location to experience the fury of this storm, which translates into fewer chances of flooding, inundation of heavy rains, and less time of strong winds.

Eventually, the fast speed of this storm will also affect such cities as Nashville, Asheville, Greenville, Little Rock, New York, Charlotte, Baltimore, Louisville, Boston, Kansas City, Richmond, Saint Louis, Huntsville, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Wilmington, Indianapolis, Atlantic City, Memphis, Spartanburg, Newark, Columbus, Hartford, and the District of Columbia with gusty winds and precipitation.

Expect winds of hurricane force in the aforementioned affected areas of Louisiana and Mississippi — as well as a dangerous storm surge of up to eight feet, rough surf, and up to six inches of rain over the next 36 hours, which may result in significant flash flooding. Electrical power outages of hours, days, or even weeks are also possible; and isolated tornadoes are not out of the question.

The request by John Bel Edwards — who is the current governor of Louisiana — to declare a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana was approved.

The first landfall of Hurricane Zeta occurred just after 11:00 in the evening Central Daylight Time last night, Monday, October 26, 2020 along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico just north of Tulum as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Hurricane Zeta is expected to be the fifth named system in 2020 to significantly impact Louisiana with a landfall, along with Hurricanes Laura and Delta — which were respectively Category 4 and Category 2 hurricanes whose landfalls were only 13 miles and 43 days apart — as well as Tropical Storms Marco and Cristobal:

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi over the next couple of 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 nine cities in four states for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Sunday, November 1, 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 Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Sunday, November 1, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for eight cities in four states for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Saturday, October 31, 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, Panama City, and Pensacola for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Thursday, November 12, 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 Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Sunday, November 1, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Frontier Airlines has issued a travel alert for New Orleans for Wednesday, October 28, 2020; and Wednesday, November 11, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

The year 2005 was the most active year in recorded history in terms of 27 total named tropical systems, with Tropical Storm Zeta — no, not the current Tropical Storm Zeta — as the last storm of that season. Only two more named storms are needed for the year 2020 to break that record, as a message at the official Twitter account of the National Hurricane Center of the United States claims that “For those counting, 2005 still holds the record for the most number of named storms in a season (28). NHC identified an ‘unnamed’ subtropical storm in its post-season analysis that year, which is included in the total. With #Zeta, the number for 2020 currently stands at 27.

That is ridiculous, in my opinion.

Also, Hurricane Zeta will be the eleventh landfall of a tropical system in the United States, which will be a new record.

I personally believe that the National Weather Service of the United States and other official weather authorities should consider using the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z to name tropical systems — especially with the inclusion of names which are not common in the United States. Quincy, Ursula, Xavier, Yvonne, and Zachary all come immediately to my mind to name storms which usually do not require those letters during a typical season. Only once the entire alphabet has been exhausted should the characters of the Greek alphabet be used…

…and ironically, the Greek alphabet uses a name which begins with the letter Z. Why not use one of the aforementioned names which begin with the letter Z?

As far as I know, the name of a tropical system after a character of the Greek alphabet has never been retired. What happens if a storm is strong enough to warrant the name being retired and it is named after a character of the Greek alphabet?

Anyway, 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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