A hurricane is expected to make landfall this weekend in the popular tourist destinations of Florida and the Bahamas.
Hurricane Dorian is intensifying and expected to become a Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches land. The National Hurricane Center said in a notice on 30 August that a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, where the risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds this weekend is increasing. The risk of life-threatening surge on parts of the Florida east coast have also increased, although at the time of publishing it was too early to determine where the highest storm surge would occur. Regardless, NHC said that heavy rains are expected over portions of the Bahamas, Florida, and in other parts of the southeastern United States this weekend and into the middle of next week.
Florida is a popular tourist destination at any time of the year – and likely more Americans were planning to travel to the region as the country celebrates Labor Day on Monday. The state’s governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency on 28 August in order to prepare for the storm to make landfall.
Many airlines are offering waivers for travellers scheduled to visit the region. Virgin Atlantic said in a statement: “we are offering customers travelling from, to or through Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach in Florida or Brunswick and Valdosta in Georgia between 31 August 2019 and 4 September 2019, the option to rebook to a later date”. Delta also offered waivers as well as added 930 seats to the normal flight schedule across six flights between Atlanta and Florida for those travelling out of the region. If you have flights scheduled to the area, check your airline for more details.
The region is also popular with cruises, and cruise lines are also posting information about how this will impact travel. Royal Caribbean has closed its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, and has altered a number of sailings. Carnival is also monitoring the storm and posting updates on the potential impact. Check with your cruise line for more information.
Editor’s note: This story was published on 30 August. For the latest updates on Hurricane Dorian, check the National Hurricane Center and local media reports.