Triple Threat: Hurricane Landfalls Predicted This Week in North Carolina, Hawaii, Caribbean
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We are just days from the historical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and that’s quite obvious if you look at how active the tropics are now. Currently, there are five named storms total between the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. And three of these storms are forecast to make landfall this week. Let’s go over the when and where:
Hurricane Florence (Carolinas)
The most dangerous of the three storms in undoubtedly Hurricane Florence. The former category 4 hurricane was beat down to a tropical storm, but started a period of rapid intensification overnight that’s forecast to bring the storm back up to a category 4 hurricane in the next two days.
As it picks up intensity, the storm is also expected to pick up forward speed — hurling the dangerous hurricane at the North Carolina coast. Currently, the hurricane is forecast to make landfall as a category 4 hurricane with 140mph top sustained winds early Friday morning.
While the storm’s path can still change, those living in North Carolina and South Carolina should start preparing for the worst case scenario — and not just from the category 4 winds. Due to how it’s approaching the coast, the storm could create a catastrophic storm surge, particularly north of where the hurricane makes landfall.
Travelers with plans to visit South Carolina through Virginia this weekend should expect to have cancellations. And American Airlines flyers with flights to/from/through Charlotte (CLT) on Friday-Saturday should plan to rebook their flights as soon as AA releases a weather waiver. At this point, no airlines have issued a weather waiver, and airlines might wait until Tuesday to see how the storm develops before issuing waivers.
Hurricane Olivia (Hawaii)
Poor Hawaii can’t catch a break. With its economy heavily reliant on tourism, it’s been hit with one bad news story after another. The volcano covered only about 0.3% of the Big Island at its peak, but scared tourists away this summer. Then, a couple of weeks ago the 50th state was hammered with biblical amounts of rain and heavy surf from Hurricane Lane. While cleanup continues from the flooding, it’s important to note that the resort areas are open for business and the skies are clear.
However, this week isn’t the time to visit. Hurricane Olivia is headed straight for the Big Island with landfall predicted for 2am Wednesday. The good news is that the hurricane is expected to weaken to a tropical storm with 65mph top sustained winds.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s key message is that all Hawaiians should monitor the storm and prepare for its arrival this week:
While it is too soon to determine the location and magnitude of the worst impacts, all interests in Hawaii should continue to monitor the progress of Olivia, and use this time to prepare for the increasing likelihood of direct impacts from this system this week.
No airlines have issued waivers yet for this storm, but it’s likely that we will see some issued in the next 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Isaac (Caribbean)
While currently a tropical storm with 65mph top sustained winds, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to develop into a hurricane before striking the Lesser Antilles islands on Thursday.
Extended models predict that Isaac will continue into the Caribbean Sea, passing south of the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. However, forecasts this far into the future are unreliable for planning. So, monitor this storm closely if you’re planning to visit anywhere in the Caribbean this week or weekend.
Protect Your Travels
These storms are yet another reminder of the importance of booking trips with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. When I got stuck in Japan for four extra days due to a typhoon, I was very grateful for the Citi Prestige’s trip delay protection, which reimbursed $1,000 of our expenses.
Although the Citi Prestige used to be my go-to for booking flights, a recent devaluation to the card’s travel benefits knocked it out of its top spot. Currently, I’m using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book my flights going forward. Other top choices are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi Premier Card.
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