Latest Updates on How Hurricane Matthew is Impacting Travel
Photo: Current watches and warnings for the Southeast United States (Photo via Weather.com)
UPDATE 5 P.M. THURSDAY: Hurricane Matthew has maintained its Category 4 status as it moves away from the Bahamas and toward the Florida coastline. It is expected to be a Category 4 as it heads toward Florida's "Space Coast" between the Broward and Palm Beach county areas.
Residents and tourists in the area can expect effects from the storm starting Thursday evening and continuing on into the weekend. Earlier in the day, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that anyone on Florida's east coast should expect power outages.
Anyone in the area should follow local evacuation warnings as well as any directions from law enforcement and emergency personnel.
Meteorologists have revealed that Hurricane Matthew has gained strength once again as it moves slowly toward the east coast of the United States.
According to NBCNews.com, as many as two million people were evacuated in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina after Hurricane Matthew devastated portions of Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, leaving 25 people dead and carving a path of destruction across the Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center stated that Hurricane Matthew could bring tropical storm conditions in Florida as early as this morning. The storm is then expected to take a northerly turn and head up the east coast of the state by Friday, according to Weather.com.
In terms of how Matthew is impacting travel, over 1,100 flights have been canceled Thursday due to the approaching storm. Most of the airport issues originate from Florida, with 550 cancellations at Miami International Airport, 451 canceled flights to and from Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, another 220 cancellations at Orlando International Airport and even more delays and cancellations from smaller airports in the region, according to FlightAware.com as of 8:45 a.m. ET.
As for Amtrak rail service, the company temporarily suspended its southeast service Thursday and Friday along three major lines to Florida, including the Silver Star (New York City to Miami,) the Silver Meteor (Miami to New York City) and Auto Trains 52 and 53 (Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida.)
The cruise industry has also been hit hard by shutdowns, as the United States Coast Guard has banned all vessel movements and ship-to-shore operations at all south Florida terminals, including Port Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach and Port of Fort Pierce, according to CNN.com.
Several concerts and college football games scheduled for the impacted states throughout the weekend have also been canceled to ensure people make it to safety.
If Matthew makes landfall as a category 3 storm or higher, it will be the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005 and the first to hit Florida's east coast since Hurricane King in 1950.
As of Thursday morning, Hurricane Matthew remained a category 3 storm and had sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. With meteorologists finding that the storm was reorganizing and the eye reestablishing itself, the hurricane is actually growing in intensity instead of dissipating as storms typically do.
“Strengthening is expected during the next 24-36 hours,” the National Hurricane Center said in a statement. “When you get storms in the Caribbean late in the season, the Caribbean is very warm. And if you can get the wind shear and the pressures and the other patterns correct, you can get these types of very intense storms.”
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