Florida Airports Remain Shuttered as Irma Makes Landfall as Category 4 Storm

By Paul Riegler on 10 September 2017
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American Airlines aircraft at MIA before Irma.

American Airlines aircraft at MIA before Irma.

As Hurricane Irma, now a Category 4, hit the Florida Keys with destructive winds, torrential rains, and the promise of a dangerous storm surge, most Florida airports remained shuttered. The majority ceased operations late Friday and early Saturday although Key West International Airport, which given its location on the Florida Keys was to be the first to be hit by Irma, shut down Thursday.

“Due to Hurricane Irma, Airline operations will be suspended at the end of the day on Thursday 9/7/17 until further notice,” the airport said on its website.

The airport reported a sustained wind speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) at 7 a.m. local time on Sunday.

In the northern part of the state, multiple airports including those in Gainesville and Jacksonville said they would close on Sunday and possibly reopen Tuesday depending on conditions. At Tallahassee International Airport, officials announced late Saturday afternoon that all departing flights for Monday have been canceled by the airlines.

Most airports said that they did not know when they would reopen.

“FLL is closed and there is no scheduled time for reopening,” the airport said in a statement on its website.

Sustained winds were reported to be 51 mph (82 km/h) at Miami International Airport on Sunday at 7:50 a.m. local time. The last flight before the airport closed departed Friday at 6:40 p.m

“All flights have ceased operations in preparation for Hurricane Irma,” said Miami International Airport on its website.

In a change from predictions, the storm is now move up Florida’s west coast, potentially exposing St. Petersburg to a direct hit and having less of an impact on other cities including Miami and Tampa.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Irma to a Category 4 hurricane at 2 a.m. Sunday.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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