Airports face flight schedule disruptions as Hurricane Dorian skirts the east coast
Tampa International Airport stayed outside of the track cone as Dorian neared the U.S. but the effects were felt throughout the state.
With much of the state’s east coast dealing with the effects of Hurricane Dorian, Tampa International Airport continued with operations as normally as it possibly could while watching from afar the powerful storm.
Dozens of flights were canceled Monday and Tuesday, many of them belonging to Silver Airways, which halted operations throughout the state due to the storm. The powerful Category 5 Dorian churned slowly over the Bahamas most of Monday, weakening to a Category 3 storm Tuesday morning as it was expected to take a northward turn up the eastern coastline of the U.S. Meanwhile, airports in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando and other cities announced closures this week, expecting – at the very least – high sustained winds from the storm bands even without a direct impact.
Last week, forecasters predicted Dorian’s track to move from the Atlantic Ocean across the state and possibly over the Tampa Bay area, prompting TPA to put its preliminary hurricane preparations into action. By the end of the business day Friday, employees went into the Labor Day weekend expecting the Airport to be closed beyond the three-day weekend as Pinellas and Hillsborough schools announced Tuesday closures ahead of the storm. A triennial emergency exercise scheduled for the following Friday, Sept. 6, was postponed to a later date.
But by Friday evening, the Tampa Bay area began to move out of the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty” as Dorian’s track shifted to the northeast. Airport Operations kept a close eye on the track and TPA's social media team posted regular updates to the public.
“Seeing that shift was a huge relief for this region, but we continued to monitor Dorian closely and hold regular calls with our airlines, tenants, community partners and stakeholders throughout the holiday weekend. We want to ensure we're prepared for not only any effects of the storm here but the effects we'll see on flight operations throughout the state.”
With Orlando and Fort Lauderdale airports closed, TPA prepared for the possibility of extra passengers arriving at TPA to depart Florida, though the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend appeared to be business as usual. The Airport expects weather delays to affect flight schedules throughout the week, though such delays are typical during Florida’s stormy season.
Passengers flying through TPA should always check with their airlines for specific flight info or changes to schedules prior to coming to the Airport. Flight status can also be checked at www.tampaairport.com/flight-status.