Hurricane Harvey has just been classified as a category 4 hurricane and is expected to make landfall this evening on Friday, August 25th. This is one of the strongest storms to hit Texas in some while and it has the potential to cause record-setting amounts of damage all along the Gulf Coast and even inland. As of yet, the storm has already had a major effect on travel throughout the Texas Gulf Coast.
Airport cancellations and closures
Both Houston Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) have cancelled dozens of flights for Friday, August 25th and Saturday, August 26th. The airports are staying open, however, and some flights are still operating according to schedule. This is possible since Houston is still a couple of hundred miles from the eye of Harvey and currently is not being subjected to harsh weather conditions. In fact, the storm bands that Houston has been hit with thus far have been very mild (although there’s still a major threat of significant flooding due to rain over the next few days)
If some prediction models prove to be accurate and this storm stalls and moves toward Houston, then many more cancellations might occur over the weekend and through early next week. I would advise for people to avoid travel to the region for the next four or five days if at all possible because things will likely get very messy at both airports. If you currently have plans to travel to this region, check with the airlines because many such as United, American, and Delta are offering free change waivers, depending on your travel dates.
Meanwhile, further south, all flights out of and into Corpus Christi International Airport have been cancelled, though the airport currently remains open and hopes to resume some operations sometime tomorrow on Saturday.
Cruise passengers temporarily stranded
Hurricane Harvey has also stranded nearly 20,000 cruise passengers who were supposed to arrive back in Galveston Port today. Those passengers are out on four cruise ships (three Carnival cruise ships and one Royal Caribbean) and will not be able to make their attempt to port until Tuesday. Two of the Royal Caribbean ships will dock in New Orleans on Saturday to replenish supplies and allow passengers to disembark if they wish and another cruise ship is currently docked at Cozumel with a scheduled departure for tomorrow.
Am I evacuating?
Personally, I’m not evacuating from the Houston area. The biggest threats right now are the strong winds hitting areas directly in the hurricane’s path (just north of Corpus Christi) and the high storm surges that are affecting areas as far north as Galveston. Both of those shouldn’t be a major problem where I live.
I also don’t think winds in Houston will be a major issue for the days to come but there’s definitely a significant flood potential for just about everywhere along the coast and even inland. Since we’re on an upper floor, my biggest worry is losing power (and wifi) for an extended amount of time. If that happens, I might check with local hotels to see if they are running on generators and maybe check-in for a night or two. Some hotels in Texas will offer discounted rates for those evacuating from the storm, so I’ll probably check to see if any of those properties are near go with those if I can.
Hopefully everyone out there will stay safe but it’s going to be a long 72 hours from this point for a lot of us!