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Delta meteorologists' forecast prompts cancellations

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Hurricane Matthew is expected to hug the Florida coastline as it tracks northward, posing the most significant impact to airports north of West Palm Beach on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

That’s according to the latest models and forecasts developed Wednesday by Delta’s team of resident meteorologists, who are keeping a watchful eye on the storm as regains strength from a category 3 to a category 4 hurricane.Based on the projected path of the storm and the severity of the winds and facility constraints at coastal airports, Delta has canceled 120 flights to and from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach airports beginning about noon Thursday. Arrivals into Miami are expected to resume late Thursday evening after Matthew passes, while a reset of flying to and from Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach is expected Friday morning.

In a video, Mike Heying, one of Delta’s Senior Meteorologists, explains the predicted impact of the storm and how he and his team of 25 meteorologists – the largest meteorology team in the industry – inform the airline about weather patterns and help ensure customers get to where they need to go safely.

“As computer models get better we’ve improved our forecasts considerably,” Heying said. “In the case of a hurricane if there are any cancellations or delays this allows (customers) to get an alert ahead of time so they can plan better.”

Delta's forecast indicated airports north of West Palm Beach, including Melbourne, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville would see some impact from the storm Friday with Brunswick, Ga.; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C., seeing disruptions through the weekend. Delta expects to reduce its operations at those airports and will cancel flights as updated models are analyzed and forecasts developed. Delta’s forecasts show the slow-moving hurricane will begin its track eastward into the Atlantic Ocean as it passes over Charleston on Sunday.     

Operations at Nassau and Georgetown, Bahamas, were canceled Wednesday and Thursday. Flights to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, resumed Wednesday after Matthew’s exit. Delta flew an extra flight to Port-au-Prince to accommodate those customers whose travel plans had been disrupted by the storm.

Delta issued a severe weather travel waiver to allow customers flying to, from or through the storm’s path to make one-time changes to their reservations. The waiver was expanded to include airports as far north as Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Return to Delta News Hub for regular updates as the storm continues moving northward.

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