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

Travel Alert September 2022: Tropical Storm Ian To Impact Cuba and the Cayman Islands — And Then…

Florida is next. Prepare now.

If Cuba and the Cayman Islands 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 Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to become a major hurricane after its first landfall as soon as the morning of Tuesday, September 27, 2022 in western Cuba.

Travel Alert September 2022: Tropical Storm Ian To Impact Cuba and the Cayman Islands — And Then…

Tropical Storm 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 160 miles south of Grand Cayman island and is moving northwest at 12 miles per hour — are 60 miles per hour, which means that it is classified as a strong tropical storm…

…for now, as Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to strengthen to a hurricane as soon as late tomorrow morning, Monday, September 26, 2022. After its first landfall occurs in western Cuba, this tropical storm system will likely become a major hurricane 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.

The following areas are forecast to receive significant precipitation as a result of Tropical Storm Ian:

  • Western to central Cuba: up to 16 inches of rain
  • Jamaica and the Cayman Islands: up to eight inches of rain
  • Florida Keys and the south half of the state of Florida: up to six inches of rain

A dangerous storm surge of up to four feet is forecast for the Cayman Islands; and as much as three feet is expected in southern Florida, which could lead to significant flooding. Portions of Jamaica may also experience flooding as well.

Meanwhile, swells generated by Tropical Storm 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 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.

Tropical storm Ian has been gradually slowing down while simultaneously heading west of its originally forecasted track; so a direct landfall on the Tampa Bay Area is no longer a concern — but as most of the west coast of Florida will be on the right side of the hurricane, the effects will still adversely affect much of the state. 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 possible evacuation — 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:
    • Grand Cayman
    • Provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa in Cuba
  • A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for:
    • Provinces of provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas in Cuba
  • A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for:
    • Little Cayman and Cayman Brac
    • Lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge southward to Key West — including the Dry Tortugas — in Florida

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to, from, or within Cuba and the Cayman Islands 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 seven 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:
    • Kingston and Montego Bay for Sunday, September 25, 2022; and Friday, September 30, 2022 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • 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
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for Kingston and Montego Bay for Sunday, September 25, 2022; and Friday, September 30, 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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