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Airlines are proactively preparing for Hurricane Dorian: travel expert

Florida residents will be doing their best to prepare for Hurricane Dorian if the storm continues on its projected path it is expected to hit landfall the Labor Day weekend. The Category 3 storm is expected to upgrade to a Category 4 before reaching Florida.

Traveling to destinations like Florida is always a big risk when done during the hurricane season as the weather causes many travelers to get stuck in certain locations. Hopper Consumer Travel Expert Liana Corwin told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move that airlines are very prepared for the storm. Some have already cancelled flights before Dorian even hits Florida.

Some customers may be offered to change their flight with no additional charge or cancellation fee waivers, as is the case with American Airlines, Delta, and JetBlue. Other airlines like Southwest report that they may expect to cancel flights in the next few days. Corwin recommends getting in contact with the airlines as soon as possible.

But don’t expect the hurricane to provide travelers better deals, who don’t mind going to a different destination.

“However, we are seeing that prices are down compared to three years ago,” Corwin said, adding that you won’t see immediate deals because prices are set in advance. “This is really the lowest that we’ve seen for shoulder season [September through November] which tends to be the cheapest time of year for people to travel. It may not be thanks to the hurricane, it still is a great time to get away and people will be finding those deals.”

Residents arrive at the William Rivera Vocational School converted into a temporary shelter, before the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian, in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Dorian became a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday as it struck the U.S. Virgin Islands, with forecasters saying it could grow to Category 3 status as it nears the U.S. mainland as early as the weekend. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
Residents arrive at the William Rivera Vocational School converted into a temporary shelter, before the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Dorian is ‘frightening’

Should Dorian receive a category upgrade, it would be the first time since 1950 that the state saw three consecutive Category 4 hurricanes. Dorian could be the strongest hurricane to hit the eastern coast of Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

“The way that the storm is rapidly intensifying is almost a little bit frightening,” said meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. “You look at where the storm is and there’s Florida on the map [and] there’s nothing that’s preventing the storm from really becoming explosive in intensity.”

Other hurricanes like 2005’s Katrina and 2017’s Harvey and Maria costs billions to ($161 billion, $125 billion, and $90 billion, respectively), with many neighborhoods hit by those storms still needing service. Schneider, like many others, are concerned that Dorian could top that list due to its current pace and path across the Atlantic Ocean.

“This is going to be a slow moving storm that’s only going to have more opportunity to grow,” said Schneider, adding that if the forecasts are correct it will hit very populated areas of the state. “It will likely affect so many of the industries in Florida like agriculture and of course tourism with this happening on Labor Day.”

Marabia Smith is a producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move.

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