Hurricane Dorian, a category-five 175-miles-per hour storm and the second strongest Atlantic hurricane on record is currently battering the Bahamas. The storm which may cause a storm surge of up to 23ft (7m), is expected to hit the US east coast later this week.
Though not verified, the Red Cross fears some 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed as roofs are torn off and floods are creating devastation.
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have already called a state of emergency as Dorian approaches.
In the meantime the airlines are monitoring the path of Hurricane Dorian although have held off from making cancellations so far.
British Airways said in a statement:
“We are closely monitoring Hurricane Dorian, which is forecast to affect south eastern parts of the US this week. As a result, there could be some disruption to our services in this area.
“Customers due to travel to or from this area with British Airways over the coming days should make sure their contact details are up to date in their booking, so we can let them know if their flight is disrupted.
“We are also offering flexible rebooking options for customers wishing to change their dates of travel as a result of the hurricane.”
Virgin Atlantic added:
“We have been monitoring Hurricane Dorian’s movements closely and have been in close consultation with officials at Orlando International airport.
“We have now been advised that all airport operations will be reinstated for this week (1 September 2019 onwards). As such, Virgin Atlantic’s flight operations will continue to run as scheduled.”
Tui said flights to Orlando Sandford airport were
“planned to operate as normal” but said it was “closely monitoring” the hurricane.
“Anyone due to travel to Florida before Friday 6 September can amend their holiday free of charge,” said the tour operator. “Due to the unpredictable nature of weather events such as hurricanes we encourage customers to check our website for updates.”
Thomas Cook Airlines also said it planned to operate flights to Orlando on Monday (2 September) but would review flights due to operate from Tuesday onwards.
“This continues to be a very fluid situation – Hurricane Dorian has proven to be an unpredictable storm. We will provide further updates as soon as possible.”
It’s not just flights that have been affected.Cruises to the area have been disrupted by the storm. Port Miami currently is closed until at least Wednesday (4 September) and Port Canaveral also shut to inbound traffic.
Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement:
“Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is actively monitoring Hurricane Dorian’s potential impact. As the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority, we will continue to keep an eye on the storm and factor in guidance from the National Hurricane Center, US Coast Guard and the local port authorities to provide timely updates as more information becomes available.”
The latest from the Bahamas
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that at 10:00 GMT, Dorian was moving very slowly through Grand Bahama, having made landfall earlier on the Abaco islands, which are just to the east.
Both chains are in the north of the Bahamas archipelago. Grand Bahama, with a population of about 50,000, is only 100km (60 miles) east of West Palm Beach in Florida.