Hurricane Ian Update: Storm Strengthening, Expected to Approach Florida on Wednesdayby Daniel McCarthy /
After Hurricane Fiona surged through the Caribbean last week, bringing strong winds and heavy flooding to Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and more, another major storm is making its way north through the same region this week.
Ian, the second major storm of 2022’s hurricane season, is expected to strengthen and become a hurricane sometime on Monday.
As of 5 a.m. on Monday morning, the storm was about 90 miles southwest of Grand Cayman and about 315 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba. It was bringing with it maximum winds of up to 75 mph.
Currently, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has a Hurricane Watch in effect from the west coast of Florida, from north of Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay, meaning “hurricane conditions are possible” within 48 hours.
The NHC also has a Hurricane Warning in effect for Grand Cayman and some Cuban provinces and a Tropical Storm Warning for the Lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge westward to Key West.
The storm is moving toward the northwest at 14 mph and the NHC expects it to turn toward the north today before marching towards Florida, passing near or west of the Cayman Islands on Monday and then near or over western Cuba Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Ian is then expected to pass west of Florida Keys late Tuesday and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday. After some “rapid strengthening,” it could arrive as a major hurricane and bring with it winds of up to 75 mph and rainfall of up to 10 inches in some parts of Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday in preparation for Ian’s arrival this week, encouraging all residents to make preparations ahead of its arrival.
Airline Flight Waivers
Due to Ian’s expected arrival, several airlines have proactively issued travel waivers for those that could be impacted for both Florida and other Caribbean airports.
American Airlines has issued its own flight waiver for travel through Oct. 1 for Daytona Beach, Destin, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Gainesville, Grand Cayman, Havana, Jacksonville, Key West, Kingston, Melbourne, Miami, Montego Bay, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Travel must be rebooked by Oct. 1.
Delta Air Lines has issued a travel waiver, effective Sept. 25 through Sept. 30, for Daytona Beach, Panama City, Key West, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, Pensacola, Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and Ft. Walton Beach. Travel must be rebooked by Oct. 3 for fare differences to be waived.
JetBlue has issued a flight waiver for its guests who are booked to travel through Sept. 30 from Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. Travel can be rebooked through Oct. 3.
Southwest Airlines has issued its own flight waiver for travel through Sept. 30 for Northwest Florida Beaches Airport, Ft. Lauderdale, Havana, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Palm Beach, Pensacola, Southwest Florida, Sarasota, Tampa, and Destin-Ft. Walton.
United Airlines is allowing rebooking for tickets on flights from Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tampa, and West Palm Beach through Oct. 8.