A sign directs hurricane evacuees to safety. (photo via Darwin Brandis/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
UPDATE: September 27 at 8:54 a.m. ET
Ian has moved from a tropical storm into a Category 3 Hurricane.
For the latest updates on Hurricane Ian, check out our tracker piece here.
UPDATE: September 26, 2022 at 10:35 a.m. ET
As Tropical Storm Ian continues to gain strength, airlines serving the region, including American, Delta, Southwest and United, have all started issuing flight waivers for key Florida tourist destinations, such as Daytona Beach, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and more.
American also issued waivers to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Several cruise lines at PortMiami and other ports in the region are preparing for the impact of Tropical Storm Ian, as MSC Cruises has already altered itineraries for MSC Seashore to avoid the storm.
Ian is expected to become a Category 3 hurricane early Tuesday as it moves past Cuba and Jamaica, bringing heavy rain, high winds, flash flooding and possible mudslides. While an exact track and intensity for the storm are still uncertain, the storm is likely to make landfall on the west coast of Florida or the Florida Panhandle by midday Thursday.
Tropical Storm Ian, currently brewing in the western Caribbean on Sunday, is expected to shortly become a hurricane – a potential Category 3 according to some forecasters – and is taking aim at the state of Florida.
All of Florida, mind you, meaning it could impact travel to one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country, including drive trips, flights, and cruises.
The storm is predicted to swirl up the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba, and taking aim at the west coast of Florida.
It not only could affect travel along the entire coast from the Keys, to Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, and all the way up to the Panhandle, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already declared a state of emergency for all of Florida – largely because some models of Ian have forecasted a span of 450 miles from one side of the hurricane to the other. That would also impact popular destinations, not to mention large population centers, in such inland cities as Orlando and the east coast of Florida as well including the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.
According to the aviation website The Points Guy, American, Delta and United airlines are already among the carriers issuing travel alerts and will likely follow with instructions on how to change or cancel flights, and will most certainly offer a waiver on change fees.
Also, according to TPG, Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman has already seen about a fifth of its flight canceled today (September 25).
“We are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Ian which is expected to impact parts of the Caribbean and Florida. The safety of our customers and team members is the airline’s No. 1 priority, and the team will remain in contact with those impacted,” American Airlines said in a statement to FOX 35 News in Florida. “Ahead of the storm, American issued a travel alert to provide additional flexibility for customers whose travel may be impacted by Tropical Storm Ian.”
Cruise lines have already been adjusting itineraries s they have been dealing with Hurricane Fiona, which has hit islands in the eastern Caribbean and has traveled all the north to Canada.
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