Hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled as Hurricane Idalia wreaks havoc in the Sunshine State, causing a handful of airports to close Wednesday ahead of the devastating storm’s impact.
Several major airports have been closed, including Tampa International Airport, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, Boca Raton Airport, Gainesville Regional Airport, and Tallahassee International Airport. They could reopen Thursday depending on the damage, officials said.
Over 700 flights to and from Tampa International Airport have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. according to flight tracking website FlightAware.
Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach in Taylor County just before 8 a.m. and sped in as a Category 3 storm with winds of 125 miles per hour before weakening to Category 2 an hour later.
Despite his demotion the National Hurricane Center continued to warn of an ongoing “catastrophic storm surge”. Maximum sustained winds at Idalia are now 110 mph, 15 mph less than Category 3 gusts of 125 mph.
According to Flight Aware, more than 1,300 flights to or from the United States were delayed across all airlines as of Wednesday morning, while more than 1,600 were canceled altogether.
The flight-tracking website showed that Southwest Airlines’ flight schedule was the hardest-hit, with over 200 cancellations and another 200 delays.
Other airlines affected include Delta, American Airlines and United, each reporting between 70 and 160 cancellations and between 120 and 200 delays.
Several major airlines, including Southwest, Delta and United, have urged travelers en route to Indalia to exercise caution with schedule changes and cancellations.
All Florida airports urge travelers to check the status of their flights with their airline before attempting to travel to the airport via Idalia.
Other airports that have remained open include Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, Fort Meyers International Airport and Orlando International Airport. However, they have all warned that flight disruptions and delays are to be expected throughout the day.
Florida’s travel difficulties arise as Idalia hits Florida with damaging winds, torrential rains and the continued threat of storm surges up to 16 feet in places.
Nearly 270,000 Floridians were without power on Wednesday as the storm approached the state. PowerOutage.us shows.
President Joe Biden is expected to address the impact of the hurricane on Wednesday afternoon at the White House.