All flights from Tampa International Airport have been canceled Tuesday as Hurricane Idalia barrels toward the Florida’s Gulf Coast.
So far, that’s the only major airport significantly affected by the storm, which strengthened into a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph overnight. The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Terminal building is expected to close at 3 pm ET on Tuesday.
Flight tracking website FlightAware shows that the Southwest Airlines schedule is the most affected, with 144 cancellations. United, Delta and American Airlines are also impacted with about 460 delays combined and more than 200 cancellations.
Several airlines, including Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and United, have issued advisories to passengers traveling to airports in Idalia’s path, allowing passengers to make changes for free within an allotted time. United also added additional flights from Orlando and Sarasota to its hubs to help people leave the area.
Amtrak is also canceling several trains and modifying routes in advance of Hurricane Idalia.
The rail line has so far canceled twelve East Coast routes on Tuesday and Wednesday that originate or terminate in the Orlando and Miami areas. Those routes are the Auto Train, Silver Star and Silver Meteor.
Amtrak has also shortened Palmetto routes on Tuesday and Wednesday. That route, which typically runs from New York to Savannah, Georgia, will go only as far south as Washington, D.C..
Amtrak called the measures “a safety precaution for customers and employees.”
Idalia is expected to intensify considerably to a powerful Category 3 strength before making landfall Wednesday in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.
Evacuations have begun and the National Guard is on call as the storm could deliver a devastating blow to parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, with life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds. It is expected to make landfall well north of Tampa, in Florida’s Big Bend region — but a small shift in the track could put the vulnerable population center more at risk.
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