Tropical Storm Idalia is showing signs of actively developing into a hurricane and is expected to become a major Category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday. The storm has already resulted in the closures of some tourist destinations and services and is likely to interrupt service for passengers flying into and out of Orlando International Airport.
National Hurricane Center. At a news conference on Monday morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Floridians and tourists in the state to prepare for “major impacts” from the storm, especially along the Gulf Coast of Florida.was located off the coast of Cuba and on track to come ashore as a major hurricane in the southern United States, per the
“We do expect Hurricane Idalia to be a major hurricane that will strike the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
On Monday morning, Gov. DeSantis spoke with President Biden, who approved an emergency declaration for the state of Florida. By 11:00 p.m. ET on Monday, Idalia was located approximately 10 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and was moving north at eight miles per hour.
Also on Monday, Tampa International Airport and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport announced plans to close early on Tuesday. Tampa Airport issued a travelers’ alert, telling passengers that “TPA is closing due to Tropical Storm Idalia at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29. Please check with your airline for the latest on flight schedules and follow our feed on X, formerly Twitter, for announcements.”
Per St. Petersburg Airport’s website, “PIE will close at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29 due to Tropical Storm Idalia and plans to reopen Wednesday, August 30 at 3:00 p.m. Passengers should check with their airline for flight information updates.”
Orlando International Airport followed suit in announcing its current plans regarding preparation for Idalia. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, MCO shared a message with passengers:
“While we continue to monitor Tropical Storm Idalia, here’s a friendly reminder that with safety in mind, delays/cancellations are likely to occur with heavy rainfall & gusty winds in the area. Please check directly with your airline for any updates in regard to your flight.”
While we continue to monitor Tropical Storm Idalia, here's a friendly reminder that with safety in mind, delays/cancellations are likely to occur with heavy rainfall & gusty winds in the area. Please check directly with your airline for any updates in regards to your flight. https://t.co/g35vBnT3JH
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) August 28, 2023
As of the time of this publication, MCO Airport has not closed and has not issued any plans for a closure. That may change as the storm continues to make its way toward Florida’s Gulf Coast and Panhandle. At this time, Orlando International is cautioning passengers, however, to be prepared for flight delays and the possibility of flight cancellations as Idalia continues on its path, which is expected to cross over north-central Florida.