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Airlines in the US brace for trio of hurricanes

September 12, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

US airlines are busy issuing change fee waivers as Hurricane Florence bears down on the US coast near North Carolina and South Carolina, where a million people are evacuating. Florence, due to strike later this week, is one of three hurricanes on the way.

Hurricane Florence is now Category 4 but gaining size and strength as it barrels towards the coast. Authorities are concerned it could reach Category 5, the highest, by the time it makes landfall. A Category 5 hurricane, packing sustained winds in excess of 250km/h, has the potential to cause catastrophic damage.

Airlines are also waiving fees for Hurricane Isaac in the Caribbean and Tropical Storm Olivia in the Pacific near Hawaii.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued the following advisory today (Wednesday 12 September 2018):

​Hurricane Florence is expected to impact the east coast of the United States from Thursday. It is forecast to bring destructive winds, heavy rain, storm surges in coastal areas and widespread inland flooding. Authorities in Virginia, North and South Carolina have issued mandatory evacuation orders in some areas.

Monitor the media for information and follow instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Anticipate disruption to transport networks, including commercial flights, and essential services (see Natural disasters). The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in the United States of America, including Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.

Reconsider your need to travel to the US Virgin Islands and the US territory of Puerto Rico. 

USA Today has published a list of the airlines issuing waivers, complete with the fine print covering them. It can be read here on the USA Today website.

American Airlines is letting customers due to fly to one of 23 airports in four states potentially affected by the storm to reschedule their travel without incurring a change fee.

American Airlines is also letting prospective passengers change itineraries without penalty if they are travelling to or from 14 airports in the Caribbean threatened by Hurricane Isaac, including in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Hawaii recently “dodged a bullet” when Category 5 Hurricane Lane missed making landfall, brushing the Big Island and then degrading quickly to become just another tropical storm.

A fresh hurricane now threatens Hawaii: Hurricane Olivia. Hawaiian, American, Delta and United have issued advisories for Honolulu and Maui in advance of Olivia, which is forecast to reach the Hawaiian Islands later this week.

American has stated: “Our thoughts are with those who are in the path of these potentially damaging hurricanes. We are in regular communication with our national partner, the American Red Cross, which has the unique ability to activate immediately and assess critical needs following disaster.

“We stand ready to activate our disaster response giving platform soon, where our customers and team members can assist those in need.”

In Japan meanwhile, Kansai International Airport in Osaka is progressively resuming operations after floods and damage wrought by Typhoon Jebi last week. That one forced the evacuation of a million people as well.

The astonishing video footage below of Typhoon Jebi shows buildings blowing apart, trucks being blown around on their sides, vans rolling along sideways like bowling balls, monster waves and roofs flying off.

Written by Peter Needham

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