Another tropical storm has been named near the United States: Tropical Storm Katia was in the Campeche Sound near the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday and expected to head west into Mexico and lessen to a tropical depression by Sunday.
Tropical Storm Jose’s cone of probability brushes against some of the islands in the Northern Lesser Antilles before turning northwest and slowing. Hurricane Irma “may put a crimp on its intensification,” forecasters at www.weather.com said.
Which leaves us with Irma.
What’s Irma doing now?
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Hurricane Irma, still a Category 5 hurricane, was smack on top of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands at 8 a.m. Wednesday and moving west-northwest at about 16 miles an hour. That’s a little faster than her movement Tuesday, but the storm was expected to begin slowing. The hurricane was expected to hit Puerto Rico next. All of Puerto Rico, most of the northern cost of the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos islands are all under hurricane warnings on Wednesday morning. Go to http://nhc.noaa.gov for more information.
Are hurricanes going to hit Florida?
Yes. No. Parts.
“Direct impacts to Florida are becoming more likely,” especially in South Florida, according to Florida’s Emergency Management agency. Upcoming Tropical Storms Jose and Katia were not expected to affect Florida.
From Irma, high winds and tropical winds of 39 to 79 miles per hour are expected throughout most of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina through 8 a.m. Sunday. Major cities expected to be affected include Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta, and Charleston, South Carolina.
The tip of the Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola, is not included in the National Hurricane Center’s wind advisory map.
When do they announce storm alerts?
A tropical storm warning is issued when tropical-storm conditions are expected within a certain area.
A hurricane warning is announced 36 hours before the onset of tropical-storm-force winds, because those winds of up to 79 miles an hour make preparation difficult.
What’s Irma going to do to gas prices?
The lowest gas prices in the Belleville area were just below $2.60 on Wednesday morning, according to tech company GasBuddy. Those prices had jumped about 40 cents a gallon after Hurricane Harvey interfered with oil production.
Harvey’s impact was also felt on demand – some 500,000 cars in Houston will not be driving again, for instance, and supply is also down with refiners flooded. Overall, Harvey had a “net-bearish impact,” said Nick Cunningham, of OilPrice.com.
According to Fuelcaster, a division of Esurance insurance company, gas prices in Belleville will be less on Thursday. Another site, Gas Predictor, also suggests the trend for the next two or three days to be less per gallon.
Can I still go to Disney? What about my cruise?
If a hurricane warning is issued for the Orlando area by the National Hurricane Center within 7 days of your planned arrival for a Disney vacation, you can reschedule or cancel vacation packages without any fees, if the vacation was planned through Disney. If airlines or hotels were booked by third-party suppliers, then those payments may not be refundable.
Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have canceled some cruises, and other cruise lines are rerouting their ships. Changes are affecting more than 40,000 customers. Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are offering credits to future cruises.
Where can I check flights?
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, more than 7,000 flights worldwide have been delayed, including more than 400 on airline China Eastern, according to website www.flightaware.com. The airport in San Juan is experiencing the most cancellations for both origins and destinations.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport is showing most flights are on time.
For questions regarding specific airlines, call the airline directly.
▪ American Airlines: 800-433-7300
▪ Delta Airlines: 800-221-1212
▪ Frontier Airlines: 801-401-9000
▪ Southwest Airlines: 800-435-9792
▪ United Airlines: 800-864-8331