TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hurricane Idalia tore across Florida Wednesday as a dangerous Category 3 storm, destroying homes, flooding neighborhoods and snapping trees before moving into Georgia as a still-powerful storm.
Along with its path of physical destruction, Idalia also upended travel plans for those hoping to visit Florida or nearby states in the Southeast.
For those people whose itineraries are now anything but certain, here is what we know so far.
Flights and airports
Airports in Florida are planning to reopen as Hurricane Idalia, now a tropical storm, moves across Georgia and South Carolina Wednesday night.
The Federal Aviation Administration cautioned on social media Wednesday that the storm is causing flight cancellations and that severe weather can affect flights beyond the immediate area.
Flight tracking service Flight Aware registered more than 1,000 canceled U.S. flights Wednesday, hundreds with destinations in Florida and nearby states.
“Well, the good news is that airlines have waived change fees and they’re making it fairly easy to rebook yourself,” The Points Guy Managing Editor Clint Henderson told Nexstar. “It gets a little trickier if you booked through a third party, but most of the major airlines have allowed the changes to most airports in Florida and parts of Georgia and South Carolina.”
Tampa International Airport announced it was reopening to arriving flights Wednesday afternoon and that departing flights and normal operations will resume early Thursday.
“Please check directly with your airline for the latest flight updates,” the airport posted on X, formerly Twitter.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport said it was reopening Wednesday afternoon and that flights would resume Thursday. Sarasota Bradenton International Airport reopened Wednesday morning.
Are Florida tourist attractions closed?
Disney announced on Tuesday that it planned to keep all four Walt Disney World theme parks open on Wednesday as Idalia’s impact was projected to be less severe in Central Florida than off the coast.
The Typhoon Lagoon water park and all Walt Disney World mini-golf courses were not open Wednesday, however.
Tampa’s Adventure Island announced that it would close Wednesday and Thursday in accordance with its Named Storm Policy, but would open on Friday.
Busch Gardens, also in Tampa, planned to close Wednesday but reopen on Thursday.
Aquatica Orlando announced that it would be closing on Wednesday and reopening Thursday, while SeaWorld Orlando remained open Wednesday, as did the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
What about cruises?
Along with flight cancellations, Idalia also played havoc with some of the cruise schedules.
Virgin Voyages told USA Today in an email that its Scarlet Lady ship traveled to Grand Turk instead of Costa Maya in Mexico “for the safety and comfort” of those aboard.
Cruise ships operated by Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises also altered itineraries to avoid locations in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico that were slated to be affected by Idalia.
In Florida, the storm also shuttered multiple ports.
“Hurricane Idalia has moved through our area, but the storm’s impacts continue,” Port Tampa Bay officials warned Wednesday. “Currently our maritime community is facing issues with flood water in and around the port.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has set the port to Condition Zulu, meaning that all shipping lanes are closed.
“This may impact cruise schedules in and out of Port Tampa Bay,” officials stated on the port’s website. “As always, all cruise updates will be communicated by the cruise lines directly.”