US airlines cancel over 850 flights as Hurricane Idalia makes Florida landfall

Aug 30 (Reuters) – Airlines in the United States canceled more than 850 flights on Wednesday as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm.

Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) canceled more than 200 flights, while Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and American Airlines (AAL.O) canceled 148 and 98 flights, respectively, as of 8:17 a.m. ET, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.

About 795 flights were also delayed.

Airports at Tampa, Clearwater and Tallahassee shut down operations and were monitoring the status of the storm.

Drawing strength from the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, Idalia was forecast to unleash destructive winds and torrential downpours that will cause coastal flooding up to 16 feet (4.88 m) deep.

Idalia grew from a tropical storm into a hurricane early on Tuesday, a day after passing west of Cuba, where it damaged homes, knocked out power, flooded villages and prompted mass evacuations.

“With Tampa Airport closing at midnight Tuesday, we canceled everything there through at least afternoon today and we’re awaiting a decision from the airport as to when it will re-open to commercial service,” Southwest Airlines said on Wednesday.

The airline also ceased operations for the day at Jacksonville International Airport.

Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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