There are currently three storms—two tropical storms and one hurricane—that are affecting the United States and the Caribbean. Here's what you need to know:
Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas late Thursday, Luxury Travel Advisor sister publication Travel Agent reports. Airports and cruise ports in the southeastern United States are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which is set to approach the coasts of North and South Carolina later today. The Charlotte hub airport reports that it is preparing for the storm’s arrival, while the cruise port in Charleston continues to expect to remain closed through at least Saturday. Port operations could resume Sunday, depending on the storm track and conditions, and operations are expected to be back to normal on Monday.
According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence is expected to move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina Thursday night and Friday, continuing over eastern South Carolina through Saturday night. A hurricane warning is in effect for an area ranging from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A hurricane watch is in effect for an area ranging from Edisto Beach to South Santee River in South Carolina, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for an area ranging from north of Duck, North Carolina, to Cape Charles Light, Virginia, as well as in the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
Maximum sustained winds for the storm are near 110 mph, with higher guests. Little change in strength is expected before the center of the storm reaches the coast, although it should begin to weaken as it moves inland.
Reuters reports that states of emergency have been declared in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. More than 1 million people in coastal areas have been ordered to evacuate.
Tropical Storm Isaac
In the Caribbean, Travel Agent reports Tropical Storm Isaac is just 50 miles southwest of Dominica and 100 miles south-southwest of Guadeloupe, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC says, on the forecast track, Isaac should move farther away from the Lesser Antilles Thursday, before moving across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea through the weekend. The NHC adds that little change in strength is expected over the next several hours as Isaac moves through the Leeward Islands, and that gradual weakening is forecast after that, as Isaac moves through the eastern Caribbean.
Hazards affecting land include rainfall of from eight to 10 inches over Dominica (in isolated areas), up to six inches over elevated terrain across Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as the southeast of Puerto Rico. Additional islands, which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, can see two to four inches of rain with the possibility of flash flooding.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Martin and St. Maarten.
Isaac is expected to remain a tropical storm through Monday, when it will have passed Jamaica and will be south of Cuba. While the NHC expects Isaac to remain at its current strength or weaken, Accuweather warns there is the potential for it to strengthen to a hurricane over the weekend.
Tropical Storm Olivia
According to Travel Agent, in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia has passed Hawaii but flash floods are still possible.
According to the HTA, all of the Hawaiian Islands will continue to be under a flash flood watch through Friday at 6:00 a.m. local time. Wind advisories have also been issued for Oahu and Kauai, and there have also been isolated reports of power outages, fallen trees and landslides on Maui and Oahu, all of which have been addressed.
The storm forced some modifications to cruise itineraries in Hawaii, as well as a number of airlines to issue travel waivers. Norwegian Cruise Line says the Pride of America spent the day at sea Wednesday to avoid the storm, and that it will call in Hilo and Kona on Thursday and Friday.
As far as airlines, American Airlines is allowing customers set to fly through September 13 to rebook through September 16 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference), United Airlines is allowing customers traveling through September 13 to rebook through September 17 between the same city pair in the originally ticketed cabin, and Hawaiian Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to fly through September 13 to rebook through September 20 in the same compartment and between the same city pair. Customers can also rebook after September 20, in which case the airline will waive the change fee, but a difference in fare may apply.