Airlines issue travel warning for Florida and Cuba as Hurricane Ian is forecast to intensify

As Hurricane Ian gathered strength and headed north toward Cuba and the United States, the authorities in Florida urged residents on Monday to begin evacuating some low-lying areas and to prepare for dangerous storm surges, flooding and damage in the coming days.

By Tuesday morning, Ian was expected to move near or over western Cuba, where a hurricane warning was in place for Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. More than 27,000 people in Pinar del Rio had been evacuated.

On Tuesday, Ian is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico, crawl west of the Florida Keys later on Tuesday and then approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday.

Major airlines have issued travel warnings, saying there is a high probability of delayed or canceled flights as it becomes too dangerous to fly. Carriers have assured travelers they can refund their flights and rebook them for an alternative date without being hit with any penalties.

Tampa International Airport is scheduled to suspend operations from the evening of Sept. 27 (17:00 pm) while St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport is scheduled to close from the afternoon of Sept. 27 (13:00pm). Oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico have halted operations at some facilities.

Travelers are advised to follow the advice of officials regarding evacuation orders and other hurricane-related warnings, monitor local radio and other media, prepare for possible power outages, and remain aware of weather developments.