Hurricane Maria’s Westward Shift Could Affect East Coast Flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
After tearing through Puerto Rico and into the eastern Bahamas, Hurricane Maria still isn’t done wreaking havoc yet. Currently over open warm water in the Atlantic, the Category 3 hurricane is redeveloping after losing organization over the mountains of Puerto Rico. Forecasts call for further strengthening… and a westward shift.
Originally forecast to stay well off of the US East Coast, this westward shift puts the North Carolina shore in the cone of uncertainty. And, the hurricane packs a tropical storm wind field extending up to 195 miles from the center, meaning the hurricane can still reach far inland even without making landfall.
As of the 11am forecast, the National Hurricane Center calls for the first impacts of Hurricane Maria to reach the Carolina coast this evening. The swells will start causing dangerous surf conditions and rip currents “through much of next week.” So, if you’re vacationing in the wonderful Carolina coast, take extreme caution when in the ocean.
But it might get more dangerous than that. The NHC notes:
Maria’s forecast track has shifted closer to the U.S. east coast, and it is becoming increasingly likely that some direct impacts will occur along portions of the coast next week. Interests along the coast of the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic should monitor the progress of Maria, as tropical storm or hurricane watches may be needed for part of this area on Sunday.
Even if the storm doesn’t make landfall in the Carolinas, it can continue to affect travel. In addition to ruining beach trips, the hurricane could impact air travel up and down the east coast. Still well offshore, flights are having to take a long way around the hurricane — except for a Google Project Loon balloon, which is designed to provide cell service and Wi-Fi to disaster areas or areas without infrastructure.
Now imagine that flight barricade moved next to the coast. American Airlines’ Charlotte (CLT) hub will likely see delays and north-south flights along the coast will be forced to take a longer routing. As we saw from American Airlines’ scenic route from Colombia to Miami, these longer routes can add significant time.
No airlines have issued travel waivers for the US East Coast yet. However, we will be watching the storm and these waivers closely, and we’ll let you know if you might be able to change your flights to avoid the area. Extensive travel waivers remain in place in the Caribbean in the aftermath of both Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Featured image by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showing the earliest potential arrival of tropical storm force winds.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees