With Hurricane Irma being upgraded to a category 4 storm on Monday, the state of Florida, which might be impacted and has declared a state of emergency, is bracing itself for potential disaster. If the storm does indeed make landfall in the Sunshine State, Hurricane Irma will heavily impact flights to Orlando, one of Florida's biggest tourist destinations, as well as to the state as a whole.
Storms as strong as Irma almost always result in thousands of flight cancelations and delays. Hurricane Harvey — which also hit category 4 at its peak — created a nightmare for travelers with over 5,000 flight cancelations, according to USA Today. By Aug. 21 — four days before Harvey made landfall in Texas — over 1,400 flights had been canceled at Houston's two airports alone.
Hurricane Irma has already prompted flight cancelations to islands in the Caribbean. American Airlines canceled flights to and from St. Kitts, Nevis, and St. Maarten originally scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6. The airline is also waiving change fees for customers who bought tickets before Sept. 3 and were planning to travel to a list of Caribbean countries on Sept. 5 or 6.
British Airways has similarly begun canceling flights to the region. "As a result of the expected storm caused by Hurricane Irma, we have been advised by Antigua airport authorities that operations will be significantly impacted on Tuesday 5 September," read a statement for the airline.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency across all of Florida on Monday, so additional flight delays to and from Orlando aren't out of the question.
Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma’s path – potentially impacting millions of Floridians. Today, given these forecasts and the intensity of this storm, I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm.
The governor urged his constituents to visit FLGetAPlan.com to prepare themselves. Scott later tweeted that he'd spoken with President Trump who "offered the full resources of the federal government" as Florida braces itself for possible impact.