Updated at 6:30 a.m. PDT, Friday, Sept. 8
Hurricane Irma, which is bearing down on south Florida, continues to affect operations at Miami International Airport (MIA).
A number of carriers have amended operations and announced plans to cease flights to and from MIA until Irma passes.
For example, Turkish Airlines will operate its Sept. 8 flight No. 78 from Miami to Istanbul's Ataturk International (IST) five hours earlier than scheduled due to the rapid intensification of Hurricane Irma, and has cancelled all flights scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10, the carrier said via its Twitter feed.
As of 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, the airport reported 10 cancelled arrivals and 13 cancelled departures due to the approaching hurricane. As of Friday morning, the airport's Twitter page @IFlyMIA was advising passengers to check with their airlines.
In addition, it is advising that MIA's parking garages are full, so passengers should plan on alternate parking arrangements or plan to get to the airport by another method of transportation, though the commuter train Tri-Rail announced on its webpage that "[A]ll Tri-Rail trains and shuttle buses will be suspended as of Friday, September 8, 2017 and until further notice."
Finally, MIA sent a Tweet reminding residents that the airport is not a designated shelter and that people should not come to the airport unless they were taking a flight out of the area. Further, operational needs at MIA may require occupants to be evacuated to nearby shelters. Resources like food and water may also not be readily available in the airport during or after the storm.
Twitter was abuzz with people complaining about the closures, with one particularly uninformed user Tweeting, "Storm expected to hit early Sunday - hope @iflymia does not shut down until end of Friday - please be reasonable."
Unfortunately, the user who goes by Rexx does not understand that the physics of flight are affected long before winds reach hurricane strength, which begins with sustained winds at 74 mph, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not close its control tower at MIA until sustained winds reach 55 miles per hour, which would ground all flights, many airlines decide to not fly well before that point. According to MIA’s website, airlines generally do not operate in sustained crosswinds that exceed 35 mph. In addition, flights can be cancelled on a case-by-case basis.
Passengers on flights to, from or through MIA area advised to stay in close contact with their individual airline about their flight status. Alternate arrangements should be made before leaving home or hotel for the airport.
For the latest updates about airport operations, follow MIA on Twitter by clicking this link: follow MIA on Twitter @IFlyMIA
Farther north along Florida's east coast Port Canaveral, a popular cruise ship terminal, will cease operations as of 3 p.m. EDT Friday. With sustained gale force winds predicted within 24 hours, the port will remain closed until further notice.
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