Irma has weakened to a tropical storm, although the storm is still producing some wind guests near hurricane force, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.
As of Monday morning the storm was located about 30 miles north-northeast of Cedar Key, Florida, and about 105 miles north-northwest of Tampa with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for an area ranging form Bonita Beach to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line; Jupiter Inlet to the South Santee River; and Lake Okeechobee. The storm is expected to move near the northwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula Monday morning, cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia this afternoon, and move through Southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday.
Delta reports that the airline is canceling about 800 flights Monday through its Atlanta hub, as the storm is expected to bring dangerous crosswinds to the busy airport. The airline also said it is eyeing a restart of Florida-area airports; Delta expects reports from airport authorities throughout the state Monday on the condition of runways, taxiways and terminal infrastructure, some of which sustained damage.
Miami International Airport reports that there are no passenger flights scheduled today. Some airlines will fly personnel and crew in tomorrow in preparation for flights to resume. The airport will conduct a damage assessment to determine if passenger flights will resume Tuesday.
Flights at Tampa International Airport are expected to resume Tuesday or Wednesday; the airport said that early indications show it sustained minimal damage. Orlando International Airport has no flights scheduled for today, and teams are standing by to assess damage, a process which could take several days. Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport likewise remains closed Monday; although passengers with vehicles parked in the garage can pick up their vehicle after the curfew lifts at 10 a.m. Rental car drop-offs and pickups are suspended.
The following airlines have issued travel waivers in response to the storm:
Marriott International has established a resource line for those looking for information about guests and associates who may have been impacted by the hurricane. Call 866-211-4610 or, from outside the U.S. and Canada, 1-402-390-3265. The number is available from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET.
Irma struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm Sunday morning, before moving up the state’s west coast and making landfall a second time on Marco Island.
According to the BBC, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that it would “take some time” before people could return to their homes in Florida. Power lines are down throughout the state, and many roads remain impassable. Communications remain spotty in the Florida Keys, where rescue services are working to test the integrity of the 42 bridges linking the islands. The Keys remain closed as authorities work to assess damage.
The Miami Herald reports that 2 million out of the 2.7 million homes and businesses in South Florida have no electricity. Restoring power could take several days or longer in some areas, although cellphone access should be restored relatively soon. While the storm missed hitting Miami directly, the storm surge did cause flooding in the streets and brought down two construction cranes.
The storm’s impact was felt as far away as Mexico. According to Riviera Maya News, beaches ranging from Cancun to Playa del Carmen have either been red flagged or closed due to strong waves caused by the storm.