Travelers will be thrown off track once again as some Florida airports temporarily close down while the state braces for Hurricane Idalia.
Tampa International Airport and St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport, both of which are located in West-Central Florida, announced on Twitter, formerly known as “X,” that they will close Tuesday due to Idalia, which is expected to “intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane before landfall,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
As of noon Tuesday, Idalia is forecast to bring a “catastrophic storm surge expected in the Big Bend region,” according to meteorologists. The Big Bend is another name for the region of North Florida.
The NHC also expects flash and urban flooding across portions of the west coast of Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and southern Georgia into Wednesday before spreading into portions of the eastern Carolinas.
On Tuesday, as the storm strengthened, Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the number of counties under a state of emergency from 46 to 49.
Other airports in the state including Jacksonville International Airport, the Orlando International Airport and the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport said they remain operational and are monitoring the storm.
Given the airport closure in Tampa, United Airlines posed on X that it’s adding additional flights from Orlando and Sarasota to help travelers evacuate.
It also issued a travel waiver from to help passengers whose flights have or will be impacted. Customers with flights to, from or through certain cities between Aug. 28 and Aug. 31 will be able to rebook for free as long as certain conditions are met, according to airline policies.
Southwest Airlines told FOX Business that it also activated a travel advisory “to provide maximum flexibility for those traveling to, from, and through the Sunshine State, as well as neighboring areas in Idalia’s path.”
The carrier said its teams will also “continue to monitor the storm and are meeting regularly to develop our operational plan as Idalia progresses.”
Delta Air Lines also told FOX Business that it issued a travel waiver “for customers to be able to make any necessary changes to their travel.”
American Airlines also posted on X that it issued a travel alert for Idalia allowing its “customers whose travel plans are affected to rebook without change fees.”
Frontier Airlines issued a similar waiver.
Southwest, Frontier, Delta and American Airlines waivers also cover flights that are heading to, leaving from or traveling through impacted cities between Aug. 28 and Aug. 31 as long as certain conditions are met.