Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico this morning, and although it has weakened slightly it remains an extremely powerful category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.
The storm made landfall in Puerto Rico’s eastern region, in Humacao, and is expected to track across the island before emerging off the northern coast this afternoon, maintaining category 4 strength and bringing high winds, dangerous storm surge and flooding to the area. The center of the storm will then pass just north of the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques; the U.S. Virgin Islands; the British Virgin Islands; the Dominican Republic in an area ranging from Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata; the Turks and Caicos; and the southeastern Bahamas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Saba; St. Maarten; St. Martin and St. Barts; the Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border with Haiti; and the Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque. A hurricane watch is in effect for St. Maarten and the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Cabo Engano.
American Airlines has issued a change waiver for customers traveling through Providenciales, Turks and Caicos and St. Thomas in the USVI through October 31. Rebooked travel must take place through December 31 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference). Customers flying through St. Maarten through August 31 can rebook for travel through September 30. Customers flying through a number of other impacted Caribbean destinations through September 26 can rebook through October 2. In all cases customers must have bought their tickets by September 18.
United Airlines customers flying through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic through September 30 can rebook through October 7. For rescheduled travel departing after October 7, the airline will waive the change fee, but a difference in fare may apply.
Delta customers traveling through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico through September 26 can rebook through October 2, with the new ticket to be issued no later than that date.
Southwest Airlines customers flying through San Juan and Punta Cana through September 26 can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pair.
JetBlue customers flying through September 23 can rebook through September 30. The original travel must have been booked on or before September 17.