All Florida Airports are now closed as they await the arrival of destructive Hurricane Irma. With Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale being the 12th, 13th and 21st largest airports in the U.S. respectively, delays and cancellations are expected as a flow on effect for days after the airports re open.
The duration of any shutdown remains uncertain. American Airlines said ‘any timeline for resumption of flights will be governed by not only airport conditions, but also the ability of airport and airline staff to get to work’.
Hurricane Irma has already flattened St Maarten’s Princes Juliana airport so the airports and airlines in Florida will take every precaution necessary to minimise damage and ensure everyone’s safety.
Before the Florida Airports Closed, airlines put on extra flights to help evacuate people. The airlines also wanted their aircraft out of the state to avoid the billions of dollars of damage that would likely be caused if fleet were left on the ground. As this image from FlightRadar24 shows, airspace around Florida was, until Saturday, a hive of activity.
More than 75,000 people statewide have sought refuge at
at over 400 shelters, mostly schools, community centres and churches. Many tourists who were unable to get out of Florida have also been forced to seek shelter as the hotels are at capacity.
Already some 30,000 of 2 million Florida Power and Light (FPL) customers were without power the utility company said on its website. This map from FPL shows how widespread the outage is.
As precious preparation time ticked away and Irma inched closer to Florida, officials and meteorologists couldn’t be any clearer: get out of the Keys and other vulnerable areas, or risk being killed by the monster storm.
“It’s going to be very difficult to survive this if you’re in the Keys,” Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday morning during an interview with The Weather Channel. “I’m begging you to get out.”