How Hurricane Dorian is impacting Labor Day travel

That last little bit of summer vacation is likely to be less relaxing than anticipated for travelers spending Labor Day weekend along the United States’ Southeast coast.

Hurricane Dorian veered toward Georgia and the Carolinas early Saturday, likely sparing Florida the worst of the storm.

But while the Sunshine State may not receive a direct hit, dangerous storm conditions are still anticipated in Florida in the coming days. Meanwhile, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are now on high alert for possible landfall later in the week.

Hurricane Dorian’s shifting path means the holiday weekend forecast looks better than anticipated in some places, but there will still be dangers for beachgoers.

“High surf and very dangerous rip currents are expected all along the East Coast from Florida up through the Carolinas through the weekend,” said CNN Senior Meteorologist Dave Hennen.

Cumberland Island National Seashore, located on the largest barrier island off the coast of Georgia, closed to the public on Saturday. Fort Frederica National Monument, located on nearby St. Simons Island, also closed on Saturday, according to a National Park Service press release.

The National Park Service noted a high risk for dangerous rip currents along Cumberland Island National Seashore beaches.

Both parks will remain closed until after the storm passes and the areas are deemed safe.

Hilton Head Island open for business

In South Carolina, Hilton Head Island’s town manager, Steve Riley, isn’t expecting anything dramatic weather-wise over the next few days. It rained off and on Saturday with similar weather predicted for Sunday, but that was already in the forecast before Dorian changed course, Riley said.

The island, located about 35 miles from Savannah, Georgia, is hosting about 30,000 visitors for Labor Day weekend, with hotel occupancy near 90%, Riley estimated. Holiday weekend visitors are unlikely to see much impact from the hurricane.

Rougher surf is likely to be the most noticeable effect until later in the week, Riley said. Shore Beach Service and the hotels are cautioning people about rougher surf, “but nothing too bad at this point.”

“At this point, we’re too early to be suggesting that people bug out. If you’re just here for the holiday weekend, the holiday weekend’s going to be fine,” Riley said.

Flights and trains

Airlines have been issuing waivers for several days to travelers headed for destinations in the storm’s projected path.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, United and Frontier have all offered waivers on change fees for itineraries in potentially affected destinations.

More destinations in Georgia and the Carolinas are likely to be added to airline advisories as the storm progresses northward.

As of Saturday morning, airlines had canceled about 200 Saturday flights to/from/within the United States and about 200 flights on Sunday, according to flight tracking site

Orlando International Airport will cease operations at 2 a.m. Monday local time, according to an official statement from the airport.

Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport are both monitoring the storm’s progress, according to advisories posted to their websites.

Amtrak canceled select Southeast service starting on Friday. Full details of which routes will be affected are available online.


The storm has prompted cruise lines to modify some of their itineraries — shortening or lengthening cruises and rerouting to different ports of call.

Royal Caribbean made changes to more than 15 sailings, and the cruise line’s private Bahamian island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will be closed through September 4.

On its website, Carnival Cruise Line listed a series of sailings that it is monitoring or modifying out of Port Canaveral, Port of Miami, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. The advisory outlines how passengers can sign up for text alerts for more information.

Disney Cruise Line posted an operations advisory on its website. While the August 31 Disney Fantasy sailing was expected to proceed as planned, Disney Dream’s scheduled September 2 sailing will depart on September 4 with a shortened, two-night itinerary. Full details for re-booking and refunds are available online.

Norwegian Cruise Line has listed several modifications online to upcoming sailings on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun.

Amusement parks and other attractions

In Orlando, about 50 miles inland from Florida’s Atlantic coast, Walt Disney World Resort was operating under normal conditions Saturday, but Disney planned to close Blizzard Beach water park on Sunday, according to an online statement.

Universal Orlando Resort was also monitoring the situation, the company said.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, one of Central Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, expected to be closed Sunday and Monday because of the storm. The center moved its $650 million Mobile Launch Platform inside on Friday.

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