Febrero 20, 2018

Strong gusts, heavy rain as Irma nears South Florida

11 Setiembre 2017, 04:40 | Dolorita Barahona

Strong gusts, heavy rain as Irma nears South Florida

Hurricane Irma Creates Travel Chaos, Cancels Flights And Cruises

Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers now has heard from most of its major carriers about their cancellation plans.

Fliers hoping to travel to the region next week should expect a slow and uneven recovery, though details will depend on exactly what Irma's impact turns out to be.

Meanwhile, Tampa International Airport said in a tweet Thursday that it would remain open through the hurricane. The airport was left in ruins and is a major destination for U.S. and European carriers.

As Hurricane Irma continues toward Florida, people potentially in the storm's path have been rapidly booking flights and changing existing flights to leave town earlier.

As a result, property owners wanting to inspect possible storm damage will have to sit tight.

The last American Airlines flight out of Miami International Airport before the airport closed Friday has landed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. There was only one seat left on that flight as of Wednesday afternoon.

Delta Air Lines had seats on "very few flights" in South Florida but more at airports farther north including central Florida, said spokesman Anthony Black.

Those to Atlanta canceled are Delta flights 5349 at 11:35 a.m., 5455 at 1:55 p.m. and 5421 at 5:27 p.m.

Almost 7,000 flights to or from Florida have now been canceled because of Irma, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Irma's hurricane-force winds are expected to die down throughout Florida by early Monday morning, but massive flooding is predicted to follow in coastal areas because of storm surge. A JetBlue flight will cost $159 with a connection, and a Delta flight is capped at $399. All flights on Saturday, Sunday and Monday are canceled.

The scramble to get out of the hurricane's path was so acute that the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday evening said air traffic controllers were increasing the space between flights from Miami and nearby Fort Lauderdale to enable them to better manage the crowded skies.

The FAA is holding twice daily phone calls with airlines to talk about airport conditions. If you don't have a reservation, please do not come, the airport said. Although forecasters think Irma is more likely to affect the Floriday Keys and the state's east coast, the governor warned residents of the opposite Gulf coast to not be complacent.

The move was aimed at enabling the FAA to manage better the already crowded skies and the most affected flights were from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

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