The storm is one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the US and has been described as “potentially catastrophic” by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The Category 4 hurricane has brought winds of up to 155mph to the USA state and storm surges up to eight feet, devastating Florida’s coastline and flattening homes in its path.
A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Alabama, southern and central Georgia, and across South Carolina. More than 2.1 million residents across 20 Florida counties are under mandatory or voluntary evacuations.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated their travel advice to the region today.
“Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida northwest ‘Panhandle’ as a strong Category 4 storm on Wednesday 10 October,” said the FCO website.
“Life-threatening storm surges and very dangerous winds are expected along the coast, and hurricane-force winds will be felt far inland, including parts of Georgia and Alabama.
“Heavy rainfall is likely to cause inland flash flooding. Tornadoes are also possible.”
The FCO advise travellers to “monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation or ‘shelter in place’ orders.
“Florida Division of Emergency Management (Floridadisaster.org) and FEMA can also provide up-to-date resources and information.”
The FCO has urged people to reconsider travel to the affected areas. “Whilst the local authorities prioritise rescue/recovery efforts, you should consider whether to travel to or within, the affected areas for the duration of Hurricane Michael,” said the FCO.
“You should follow all State or Federally issued advice over the coming days.”
Airlines have been affected by Hurricane Michael and have cancelled tens of flights. According to Flightaware.com 23 flights were due to be cancelled today.
Delta has cancelled around 80 flights as a result of the storm. The carrier said there would be flight disruption at Tallahassee, Panama City and Destin – Fort Walton Beach.
It plans to resume flights at airports in Albany, Valdosta and Dothan this morning if facilities and infrastructure are adequate.
Passengers with Delta whose flights are affected can change their itineraries without paying certain charge fees.
Delta is also waiving all baggage and pet cabin fees for Fort Walton Beach, Mobile, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee.
United cancelled Thursday morning flights at Charleston and Savannah and will resume operations today at Pensacola, Northwest Florida Beaches and Destin Fort Walton Beach.
United is also offering travel waiters for those travelling to, from or connecting through Atlanta, Charleston, Columbia, Ft. Walton Beach, Greenville-Spartanburg, Mobile, Myrtle Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Savannah.
Southwest has said service may be disturbed in Charleston, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Panama City, Pensacola, Raleigh-Durham and Tampa until Sunday.
Southwest customers whose flights are affected on these dates can rebook without paying an additional charge, under certain restrictions.
They are also waiving the $ 95 pet fare for customers travelling with small vaccinated domestic dogs or cats to or from Panama City, Pensacola and Tampa.
American Airlines has also added a waiver for travellers flying from 9-11 October. It has so far cancelled 10 flights today.
The waiver covers flights to and from four Florida cities: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahasee. It also covers flights to and from Mobile, Alabama.
Pensacola Airport reopened yesterday with “minimal operations” just hours after the storm hit the Florida Panhandle.
Michael is now tracking through Georgia on route to the Carolinas, according to the latest NOAA updates.
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