Travel Alert September 2020: Hurricane Sally to Impact Gulf Coast of the United States

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 east of the border shared by Alabama and Mississippi as soon as late tomorrow evening, Tuesday September 15, 2020.

Travel Alert September 2020: Hurricane Sally to Impact Gulf Coast of the United States

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 130 miles southeast of Biloxi in Mississippi and is moving west northwest at three miles per hour — are 100 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a strong Category 2 hurricane; but it is not expected to strengthen much more prior to landfall, which is forecast to occur east of the border shared by Alabama and Mississippi as soon as late tomorrow evening.

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”.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect from Grand Isle in Louisiana to Navarre in Florida. Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and the greater metropolitan areas of New Orleans, Mobile, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pensacola are included in this warning.

A storm surge warning is currently in effect from Port Fourchon in Louisiana to the border shared by Okaloosa County and Walton County and Florida. Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne, and Mobile Bay are included in this warning.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect in Florida from east of Navarre to Indian Pass; and in Louisiana from west of Grand Isle to Morgan City.

The coasts of the panhandle of Florida and southeastern Alabama are already experiencing winds of tropical storm force — meaning at least 35 miles per hour. Meanwhile, a storm surge of as much as eleven feet is possible in some areas along the central Gulf Coast of the United States; and up to 27 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.

Evacuations are already underway in portions of Mississippi and Louisiana.

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, and Montgomery.

Hurricane Sally is only one of five named tropical systems which are currently active in the Atlantic Ocean basin — which has only happened once before in recorded history, and that was between September 11 and September 14 in 1971. René is no longer a tropical storm, but don’t tell him that, as he will try to regain status for next year.

On a humorous note, apparently Michigan is in the path of Hurricane Sally.

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 nine cities in four states for Tuesday, September 15, 2020 through Wednesday, September 16, 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 eight cities in four states for Monday, September 14, 2020 through Wednesday, September 16, 2020; and Saturday, September 19, 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, Panama City, and Pensacola 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.
  • 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

Expect more travel alerts to be issued by more airlines as Hurricane Sally progress over the next 24 hours.

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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