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

Travel Alert September 2022: Landfall of Hurricane Ian in Florida — Then…

This storm is not done yet by a long shot.

As flights have been canceled, airports are closed, mandatory evacuations have been ordered, and travel waivers have been amended by many airlines, if much of the state of Florida, much of the state of South Carolina, southeastern Georgia, and western North Carolina 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 Hurricane Ian.

Travel Alert September 2022: Landfall of Hurricane Ian in Florida — Then…

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

Maximum sustained winds of this tropical storm system — which is currently centered approximately 95 miles south southwest of Orlando in Florida and is moving north northeast at eight miles per hour — are 115 miles per hour, which means that it is classified as a Category 3 hurricane.

At one point prior to its second landfall, the maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Ian were 155 miles per hour — just two miles per hour shy of being classified as a Category 5 hurricane — and is one of the strongest storms to ever landfall in western Florida.

The official landfalls of Hurricane Ian occurred in chronological order:

  1. In western Cuba early yesterday morning, Tuesday, September 27, 2022
  2. At Cayo Casto in Florida at 3:05 in the afternoon Eastern Daylight Time earlier today, Wednesday, September 28, 2022
  3. Just south of Punta Gorda near Pirate Harbor on the mainland of the state of Florida at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon Eastern Daylight Time earlier today, Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A fourth landfall of what will become Tropical Storm Ian once again is expected somewhere along the coast of South Carolina near the border of the state of Georgia as soon as early afternoon on Friday, September 30, 2022.

Closures of Airports

Greater than 3,200 flights have already been canceled; and major airports in Florida have closed until Hurricane Ian passes through. Electric power is out in many areas to greater than one million people.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Southwest Florida International Airport:

The airport remains closed. All flight operations are cancelled today, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29. Please go to your airline’s website for re-booking and other flight information. Please remember, the airport is not a public shelter.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Orlando International Airport:

Flight operations have ceased due to Hurricane Ian. For specific flight information, please contact your airline.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport:

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport will be CLOSED starting at 8pm today, 9/27/2022, due to Hurricane Ian.

All scheduled flight operations will be suspended following our last departure at 6pm. Check directly with your airline for the latest flight information.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SRQAirport) for updates as conditions change.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Daytona Beach International Airport:

The Daytona Beach International Airport terminal building and airfield will close at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28. All future flights are canceled until further notice. The airfield and terminal will reopen when conditions are safe, pending weather conditions and airfield inspections.

Travelers should contact the airlines for the latest flight information.

As a reminder, the airport is not a designated shelter. Information regarding official shelters and all other emergency information for Daytona Beach and Volusia County can be found on the county’s website, volusia.org/PIN.

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport:

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is open, and all flights are operating as scheduled at this time. On Tuesday, September 27th the last flight is scheduled to depart at 11:22 am.  

Beginning at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 27th, the airport terminal building will close due to Pinellas County Evacuation mandates and will remain closed until the mandatory evacuation has been lifted for Zone A, at a minimum.
We will provide an update when the airport terminal plans to reopen.  We will also provide updates regarding flight activity as our Airlines provide us with information. We advise passengers to monitor their airlines direct email and text communications for updated flight information. Allegiant Customer Care may be reached at 702-473-2601 at any time 24 hours per day, seven days a week and anticipate higher than normal call volume or manage travel at allegiantair.com.
The airport terminal is not a public shelter and is located in an evacuation zone.
Thank you in advance for your patience.
Airport Information: 727-453-7800

The following message is currently at the official Internet web site of Tampa International Airport:

Tampa International Airport will suspend all operations beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 due to Hurricane Ian, which continues to threaten the Tampa Bay region with strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge.

The 5 p.m. closure will allow the Airport to prepare the airfield and terminals, including the securing of jet bridges, ground equipment, and any remaining aircraft. The Airport, including the Main Terminal, Airsides, and parking garages will be closed to all visitors at that time.

Damage assessments will begin as soon as it is safe to do so. TPA will closely coordinate the reopening of the airport with its partners based on roadway safety, facility readiness, and staffing.

Ron DeSantis — who is the current governor of Florida — declared an official state of emergency to all 67 counties in the entire state of Florida on Thursday, September 23, 2022; and states of emergency have also been declared in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Conditions

Significant precipitation of up to:

  • 24 inches of rain is forecast for central Florida and northeast Florida
  • 16 inches of rain is forecast for western Cuba to central Cuba, with flash flooding and mudslides in higher terrain areas possible
  • 12 inches of rain is forecast for the Florida Keys, South Florida, eastern Georgia, and coastal South Carolina.

A dangerous storm surge of up to:

  • Twelve feet is forecast for the middle of Longboat Key to Bonita Beach — including Charlotte Harbor
  • Nine feet is forecast for Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee
  • Six feet is forecast for:
    • Anclote River to the middle of Longboat Key — including Tampa Bay
    • The mouth of the Saint Mary’s River to Altamaha Sound
    • Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable
  • Five feet is forecast for:
    • Suwannee River to Anclote River
    • Dry Tortugas
    • The border which Flagler County and Volusia County share to the mouth of the Saint Mary’s River — including Saint Johns River
    • Altamaha Sound to Savannah River
  • Four feet is forecast for:
    • Saint Johns River south of Julington
    • Savannah River to South Santee River
    • East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge
    • Florida Keys
  • Three feet is forecast for:
    • Patrick Air Force Base to the border which Flagler County and Volusia County share
    • Indian Pass to Suwanee River

Meanwhile, swells generated by Hurricane Ian are affecting the western Caribbean and the Florida Keys with strong rip currents and surf rough enough to threaten lives — and they will spread northward throughout the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

As with Hurricane Fiona, one reason why what was once known as Tropical Storm Ian became a major hurricane is because of the warm temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, which was basically undisturbed by other tropical storm systems this year. Tropical storms and hurricanes draw their energy from warm water, which cools once the tropical system moves on. Because no named storms formed in the Atlantic Basin in August of 2022 — which is extremely rare — the temperature of the water did not cool.

The effects of Hurricane Ian will adversely affect much of the state — even in many areas which will not experience a direct landfall. Because tropical cyclones spin in a counterclockwise direction in the northern hemisphere, the hurricane will bring its destructive forces from the south and west to much of southwestern Florida as it is fueled by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

People have already started posting images and videos of this weather event to social media.

To add insult to injury, gasoline prices started increasing sharply. In the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, the price for a gallon of gasoline has spiked by 30 cents.

Official Warnings and Watches

The following official warnings were issued by the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States:

  • A hurricane warning is currently in effect for:
    • Chokoloskee to the Anclote River in Florida — including Tampa Bay
    • Sebastian Inlet to the border which Flagler County and Volusia County share
  • A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for:
    • Indian Pass to the Anclote River
    • Flamingo to Sebastian Inlet
    • The border which Flagler County and Volusia County share to Surf City
    • Flamingo to Chokoloskee
    • Lake Okeechobee
    • Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands
  • A tropical storm watch is currently in effect in the state of Florida and the southeastern coast of the state of Georgia for:
    • North of Surf City to Cape Lookout
  • A storm surge warning is currently in effect in the state of Florida for:
    • Suwannee River southward to Flamingo
    • Tampa Bay
    • The border which Flagler County and Volusia County share to the mouth of the South Santee River
    • Saint Johns River
  • A storm surge watch is currently in effect in the state of Florida for:
    • North of South Santee River to Little River Inlet
    • Florida Bay

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to, from, or within much of the state of 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.

Here are 14 airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for:
    • 21 airports in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida for Tuesday, September 27, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Monday, October 3, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Grand Cayman for Monday, September 26, 2022 through Tuesday, September 27, 2022; and Friday, September 30, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • 16 airports in Florida for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Monday, October 3, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Savannah and ten airports in North Carolina and South Carolina for Wednesday, September 28, 2022 through Monday, October 3, 2022; and Monday, October 10, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Eleven airports in Florida for Saturday, September 24, 2022 through Sunday, October 2, 2022; and Saturday, October 8, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Alaska Airlines has issued travel alerts for five airports in Florida for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Saturday, October 8, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Havana and eleven airports in Florida for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Sunday, October 2, 2022; and Sunday, October 16, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Charleston and Savannah for Tuesday, September 27, 2022 through Sunday, October 2, 2022; and Sunday, October 16, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Myrtle Beach for Wednesday, September 28, 2022 through Sunday, October 2, 2022; and Sunday, October 16, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for:
    • Eight airports in Florida for Monday, September 26, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Thursday, October 6, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Savannah and Charleston for Friday, September 30, 2022 through Saturday, October 1, 2022; and Thursday, October 6, 2022 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 Tuesday, September 27, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Monday, October 10, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Five airports in Florida for Tuesday, September 27, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Monday, October 3, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Myrtle Beach for Thursday, September 29, 2022 through Sunday, October 2, 2022; and Monday, October 10, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Allegiant Air has issued travel alerts for eight airports in Florida for Monday, September 26, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Sun Country Airlines has issued travel alerts for:
    • Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Thursday, October 6, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Jacksonville for Friday, September 30, 2022; and Friday, October 7, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Air Canada has issued travel alerts for:
  • WestJet Airways has issued travel alerts for:
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways has issued travel alerts for 16 airports in Florida for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Monday, October 3, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Final Boarding Call

Mark my words: similar to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Ian will be retired and eventually be promoted to Category 5 status.

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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