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

Travel Alert September 2022: Mandatory Evacuations Ordered Because of Hurricane Ian in Florida

If you are in Florida, prepare NOW for this hurricane.

If western Cuba and much of the state of Florida 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, which is expected to become a major hurricane after its first landfall as soon as tomorrow morning, Tuesday, September 27, 2022 in western Cuba.

Travel Alert September 2022: Mandatory Evacuations Ordered Because of Hurricane Ian in Florida

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 130 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba and is moving north northwest at 13 miles per hour — are 100 miles per hour, which means that it is classified as a Category 2 hurricane.

After its first landfall occurs in western Cuba, this tropical storm system will likely become a major hurricane as it gets more organized before heading towards landfall at or near the Big Bend area of Florida as soon as Friday morning, September 30, 2022. Residents and visitors in much of the state of Florida are advised to prepare for this hurricane as soon as possible; while inland areas of the southern United States could receive significant amounts of precipitation, strong gusty winds, significant flooding, and threats of isolated tornadoes.

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 mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of Hillsborough County and Manatee County, with voluntary evacuations strongly recommended in Hernando County.

The following areas are forecast to receive significant precipitation as a result of Hurricane Ian, as up to:

  • 20 inches of rain is forecast for central west 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 northeast Florida.
  • 10 inches of rain is forecast for coastal southwest Florida and southeast Florida.
  • 8 inches of rain is forecast for the Florida Keys and the remainder of the central Florida peninsula.

A dangerous storm surge of up to:

  • Ten feet is forecast for Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key in Florida — including Tampa Bay
  • Eight feet is forecast for Suwannee River to Anclote River and the middle of Longboat Key to Englewood in Florida
  • Seven feet is forecast for Englewood to Bonita Beach in Florida — including Charlotte Harbor…
  • Five feet is forecast for Bonita Beach to East Cape Sable in Florida
  • Four feet is forecast for:
    • The border which Flagler County and Volusia County share to Altamaha Sound in Florida — including Saint Johns River
    • East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge in Florida — including Florida Bay
    • Aucilla River to Suwannee River
    • Florida Keys — including the Dry Tortugas
  • Three feet is forecast for Indian Pass to Aucilla River

Meanwhile, swells generated by Hurricane Ian will affect Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the southwestern coast of Cuba, Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with strong rip currents and surf rough enough to threaten lives.

As with Hurricane Fiona, one reason why what was once Tropical Storm Ian will become 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.

Because most of the west coast of Florida will be on the east side of the hurricane, the effects 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 western Florida as it is fueled by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

For these reasons, residents and visitors in most of the state of Florida should prepare now for this potentially dangerous hurricane — including mandatory evacuations — even as it is projected to weaken from its status as a major hurricane prior to landfall in Florida.

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:
    • Provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa in Cuba
    • Englewood to the Anclote River in Florida — including Tampa Bay
    • Dry Tortugas
  • A hurricane watch is currently in effect in the state of Florida for:
    • North of Anclote River to the Suwannee River
    • Bonita Beach to Englewood
  • A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for:
    • Provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas in Cuba
    • Lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge westward to Key West in Florida
    • Flamingo to Englewood in Florida
  • A tropical storm watch is currently in effect in the state of Florida and the southeastern coast of the state of Georgia for:
    • Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge
    • Lake Okeechobee
    • North of the Suwannee River to Indian Pass
    • Jupiter Inlet to Altamaha Sound
  • A storm surge warning is currently in effect in the state of Florida for:
    • Anclote River southward to Flamingo
    • Tampa Bay
  • A storm surge watch is currently in effect in the state of Florida for:
    • Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to Key West
    • Dry Tortugas
    • Florida Bay
    • Aucilla River to Anclote River
    • Altamaha Sound to the border which Flagler County and Volusia County share
    • Saint Johns River

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to, from, or within Cuba or 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 twelve airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for Grand Cayman, Havana, Kingston, Montego Bay, and sixteen airports in Florida for Friday, September 23, 2022 through Saturday, October 1, 2022; and Saturday, October 8, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for:
    • 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:
    • Grand Cayman and Montego Bay for Friday, September 23, 2022 through Monday, September 26, 2022; and Monday, October 3, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Eleven airports in Florida for Friday, September 23, 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.
  • 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:
    • Grand Cayman and Montego Bay for Saturday, September 24, 2022 through Sunday, September 25, 2022; and Sunday, October 9, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Havana and eleven airports in Florida for Sunday, September 25, 2022 through Friday, September 30, 2022; and Friday, October 14, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for:
    • Havana for Monday, September 26, 2022 through Tuesday, September 27, 2022; and Saturday, October 1, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin
    • Eight airports in Florida for Monday, September 26, 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
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa 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.
  • 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 Thursday, September 29, 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:
  • 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

Do not be surprised if additional airlines issue travel alerts and travel waivers — or if airlines which have already issued travel alerts and travel waivers extend them.

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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