Hurricane Irma: Florida shuts down air travel

American Airlines

Hurricane Irma Creates Travel Chaos, Cancels Flights And Cruises

Miami International Airport has been closed for business after hurricane Irma caused "significant water damage" as the storm hit Florida on Sunday.

Up to 400,000 people in Miami-Dade could be ordered to evacuate Thursday as Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida, the mayor told ABC News. In addition, it canceled a handful of global flights from Europe and South American that were scheduled to land in Miami on Friday.

Airport officials have warned that, "The garages are at capacity, if you are flying, please use alternate means of transportation to arrive at MIA".

By noon on Thursday, Miami International had canceled 120 flights and Fort Lauderdale International had canceled 48 according to Flightaware.com. The airport may close taxiing space to allow airlines to park if they are unable to take off during the storm. The increasing wind speed will spread inland and north along the coast Saturday afternoon.

There have already been 1,039 flights canceled on Saturday. Instead, it's expected to curve up into the open Atlantic and become a major hurricane - Category 3 or more - with winds up to 115 miles per hour.

Miami International Airport is urging people to book their reservation prior to going to the airport. In Miami and West Palm Beach, almost 35 percent of gas stations are out of gas, while Gainesville is reporting over 40 percent of its gas stations are out of gas.

The first area to see the increased wind speeds will be the Keys and the coastal areas of Miami-Dade.

"There is such mayhem at that airport and there are thousands of bags to sift through, there are just not enough people to sift through all the bags for the stranded passengers", said American spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello. "#HurricaneIrma", the airport noted.

In an alert on its website, American Airlines wrote, "Hurricane Irma is projected to make landfall in South Florida this weekend". According to CBS News, major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, and Disney Cruise Lines have all canceled or altered the itinerary for trips set to leave from Miami and Tampa.

The fuel outages come as Florida officials order mandatory evacuations for many counties in South Florida ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Irma on Sunday.

The Auto Train 53 (Lorton, Va. - Sanford, Fla.) is canceled for Friday, Sept.8, and Saturday, Sept. 9.

The gas shortages were exacerbated by "panic-buying" earlier this week from Florida residents anxious about Hurricane Irma's uncertain path.

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