More than a thousand flights have been cancelled in anticipation of Hurricane Florence pummeling the East Coast through the weekend.
On Thursday alone, before the storm made landfall, more than 600 flights had been cancelled, with thousands of delays impacting travelers across the country, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.com. Carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines are offering ticket holders the ability to change their itineraries for free over the next few days.
As people leave the region, many under mandatory evacuation orders along the Maryland and the Carolina coasts, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is already being hit with flight delays and cancellations. The upheaval is having a cascading impact across the country because the airport is the nation’s 10th busiest in terms of total passengers, many of whom merely change planes there.
The region is also home to numerous companies in the aerospace industry. Boeing not only closed a facility in South Carolina in advance of the storm, it flew at least eight 787s out of Hurricane Florence’s projected path.
Other major airports in the region are also contending with flight delays and mass cancellations, including in Raleigh-Durham and Richmond, Va. Overall, flights will be disrupted at least a dozen major airports, with 1,300 already cancelled.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued warnings about air travel delays and cancellations.
Hurricane Florence is currently a category 2 hurricane, and even beyond temporary travel delays, its real threat to coastal communities is an expected deluge of rain. The storm is expected to drop as much as 10 trillion gallons of rain on North Carolina alone.