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How Hurricane Michael Will Affect Your Travel Plans

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By Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler

We're officially in month five of hurricane season, and Hurricane Michael is up next. Already, the category one hurricane has winds of 75 mph. It's expected to ramp up, too, and the storm could be up to a category three with winds at 111 mph by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center predicts. Landfall is expected Wednesday on the northeastern Gulf Coast, likely hitting northwestern Florida, and Florida Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency for counties in the Florida Panhandle (bordering Alabama and Georgia) and Big Bend (also northwestern Florida, on the Apalachee Bay). To follow storm warnings and hurricane watches, check the NHC's site.

The NHC warned that when Michael makes landfall, "life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity." Heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds are also forecasted for the area—to prepare, the center advises residents to "follow advice given by local officials."

"Take this very seriously," Governor Scott said Monday at a news conference, per The Weather Channel. "Every family must be prepared. We can rebuild your homes, but we cannot rebuild your lives."
Airline Waivers and Travel Advisories

If you have travel planned in the next few days in the southeast U.S., Mexico, or Cuba, make sure you're frequently checking airline and cruise advisory sites for updates. At the time this article was written, only Southwest Airlines had released a waiver—which allows affected travelers to rebook for free. We'll continue to add more as they're announced.
  • Southwest Airlines: The airline never charges a flight change fee, but you usually have to pay the difference in fares. Because of Hurricane Michael, Southwest is waiving the difference of fares for two groups: those traveling between Saturday, October 6 and Tuesday, October 9 to or from Cancun and Havana; and passengers traveling between Tuesday, October 9 and Thursday, October 11 to or from New Orleans, Panama City, or Pensacola. You can rebook your trip for no additional charge, so long as the new flight is within 14 days of the original trip.

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