Flights Scrapped as Florida Braces for Hurricane Idalia

Cancellations continue at several airports, resulting in a domino effect across the nation’s air travel grid.

Hurricane Idalia gained strength Tuesday morning as it moved through the Gulf. [Credit: National Weather Service]

Hundreds of flights in and out of Florida have been canceled as the Sunshine State prepares for Hurricane Idalia to make landfall Wednesday. 

On Tuesday morning, the storm was gaining strength as it moved over the state’s Gulf coast. It was expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm.

"On the forecast track, the center of Idalia is forecast to move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico [Tuesday], reach the Gulf coast of Florida within the Hurricane warning area on Wednesday, and move close to the Carolina coastline on Thursday," the National Hurricane Center said in a statement Tuesday morning.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "there is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation along portions of the Florida Gulf coast, including the Tampa Bay and Big Bend region of Florida which may see water as high as 8 to 12 feet above ground level.

Tuesday morning, the FAA said it was rerouting aircraft, closing Gulf routes, and also considering pausing flights at Palm Beach International (KBPI), Miami International (KMIA), and Fort Lauderdale International (KFLL) airports.

As of Monday night, approximately 500 flights in and out of Tampa International Airport (KTPA) were preemptively canceled, CNN reported. By Tuesday, cancellations continued at several airports, resulting in a domino effect across the nation's air travel grid. More cancellations are possible.

According to the storm models under review by NOAA, the agency that tracks hurricanes, Category 3 storms carry winds greater than 80 mph. 

As of 11 a.m. EDT, a look at the TAFs for the state shows multiple airports with strong winds from the south with gusts forecast to approach 50 mph.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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