Hurricane status and location
As of Saturday night, the storm has been slowly making its way north, closer to the Bahamas and the Florida panhandle. Meanwhile, according to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern Bahamas. Furthermore, a portion of the Florida east coast is under a tropical storm watch.
Impressive radar image of Hurricane #Dorian from the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from the eye. The NOAA and Air Force Reserve aircraft are both in #Dorian collecting critical data. The hurricane remains at category four strength. Latest here: https://t.co/14zAQHyiEh? pic.twitter.com/L9o40pAQsx
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 31, 2019
Airport closures and flight cancellations
The only American airport closures to be announced are Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB). In fact, with the storm progressing north from the Bahamas, MCO is making the decision to cease operations at 2am local time on Monday. DAB will close after the last flight departs on Sunday night.
According to the MCO, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority executive leadership and emergency management leaders came to this decision after meeting with numerous groups including airline officials, the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, Air Traffic Control Tower representatives and more.
Obviously this means all flights arriving and departing from that point on will be canceled if the closure goes ahead as planned.
Hurricane #Dorian Statement – 8/30/19 Afternoon
Orlando International Airport plans to cease commercial flight operations on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 2 a.m.
The latest update will always be pinned to top of our page. Travelers: Check with their airline for flight updates. pic.twitter.com/yIotItTGQl
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) August 30, 2019
On Friday, Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) in Freeport (the Bahamas) closed. Tentatively, it will reopen on Tuesday subject to “prevailing conditions”.
— Miami Int’l Airport (@iflymia) August 30, 2019
Flight disruptions continue at #FLL. Currently, there are 80 delays and 29 cancellations due mostly to weather-related impacts. Passengers are advised to contact their airline for the latest flight information.
— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) August 31, 2019
Airline reactions and preparations
We’re closely monitoring #HurricaneDorian headed into the weekend. If you have travel plans in the next several days to or from a potentially affected area, be sure to check https://t.co/aP7ECAbjhL for the latest. pic.twitter.com/VaSr4waSrz
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) August 30, 2019
As a result of the storm, airlines have extended their change-fee waivers for flights to/from/through affected cities and are advising their guests to monitor their respective websites and social media. Delta and Southwest are even making special allowances for pets. Here is a list of airlines with links to their travel advisories and change policies.
Stay up to date
Meanwhile, it is advised that anyone having travel plans to, from and through the projected path of the storm stay up to date through social media with their respective airlines as the situation continues to develop.
With the storm moving at its slow pace, those in and close to its path are sitting in suspense:
“This is becoming a long-duration nail-biter for folks along the southeastern United States,” -David Bibo, FEMA. (New York Times)
Finally, as the New York Times also points out, the slow pace of the storm is giving people more time to prepare for a possible hit.