How Hurricane Dorian is affecting Bahamas and US travelers

After two days, CNN has reached the Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport and found it completely ravaged after Hurricane Dorian. It is the only airport on the island. CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 2:30 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 2:30 AM

Hurricane Dorian has travelers scrambling to stay out of harm's way and reroute plans in affected areas.

While devastating for residents in the storm's path, the hurricane also spells trouble for travelers in damaged or threatened areas of the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

Devastation in The Abacos and Grand Bahama

Dorian lashed the northern Bahamas for two days, causing catastrophic damage in The Abacos and Grand Bahama.

"There are no words to convey the grief we feel for our fellow Bahamians in The Abacos and Grand Bahama," said Dionisio D'Aguilar, Bahamas minister of tourism and aviation, in a statement on Wednesday.

Hotels in The Abacos and Grand Bahama Island are closed, according to the tourism ministry.

Also closed: Grand Bahama International Airport, Grand Bahama Island's Freeport Harbour and Leonard Thompson International Airport (MHH) in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

"Now is the time to come together for our brothers and sisters in need and help our country get back on its feet," D'Aguilar said, highlighting www.bahamas.com/relief, a website for verified ways to provide support.

Most of The Bahamas' other islands are open for business.

"We also implore travelers to continue visiting the Bahamian islands that were not impacted by Hurricane Dorian as this will help our people tremendously," D'Aguilar said.

Nassau, other islands open for business

The Bahamas capital of Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island are receiving visitors and hotels remain open.

Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau is open, but visitors should check with their airlines on flight status. Nassau ports are also open and operational, although cruise line schedules may change.

Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Andros are also welcoming visitors, according to the tourism ministry.

Islands in the southeastern and central Bahamas were largely unaffected, including The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana and Inagua.

Transport and travel

Airlines including Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, United and Frontier are offering travelers the option to change or delay flight bookings within affected areas, with certain terms and conditions applying.

Aviation tracking website FlightAware.com keeps track of the number of day-of and next-day flight disruptions. Passengers with itineraries that may be affected should check airline policies online and be sure to check flight status before heading to the airport.

Orlando International Airport resumed service at noon Wednesday after suspending operations as the storm advanced. It is still up to individual airlines whether to resume flights based on staffing and equipment needs, so passengers are advised to double-check their reservations.

Airports in Daytona Beach and Melbourne, Florida, are expected to stay closed until Thursday.

Flights in Brunswick, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, have also been suspended.

Cruise ships changing schedules

Cruise ship itineraries have also been affected.

Carnival Cruise Line has adjusted itineraries for numerous ships leaving out of Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Miami and Charleston. A full list on the cruise line's website is updated regularly.

CocoCay Island, owned by Royal Caribbean, is closed. It originally planned to reopen on Wednesday, but that's now been delayed and the hope is it'll be open by Saturday. Royal Caribbean also has routine operational updates online.

Royal Caribbean says it is "closely monitoring" Dorian, shortening and extending some ship itineraries where necessary, although the company said that "being onboard a ship is one of safest places to be during a storm."

For non-cruise aficionados, that might seem hard to believe, but Brian Major, executive editor for Caribbean and Latin America at US content company travAlliancemedia, tells CNN Travel that's because cruise ships will always amend their itineraries to avoid sailing into a storm and ensuring the safety of passengers.

"The ships are very astute in making sure they avoid those storms," says Major. "It will impact some folks' vacations, which is the unfortunate part of it. But it's better than sailing towards a hurricane."

Major says cruisers should stay in contact with their cruise line and contact their travel agent if they think they won't be able to get to the port or if they're worried about port closures.

"These situations always bring to light the importance of travel insurance," he adds.

Accommodation

Many hotels in the hurricane's path have been boarded up and travelers have been evacuated to temporary shelters.

Marriott International will "continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian, and our hotels in the predicted path have implemented storm preparation protocols," the hotel announced in a statement.

Hilton issued a similarly worded statement, encouraging guests to call 1-800-HILTONS (800-774-1500) for up-to-date information on individual hotels.

Some hotels have posted plans on websites or pinned to their social media pages detailing when and if they're closing -- including the swanky The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort south of Charleston, which details plans to close Monday and reassess its status on Thursday.

Other hotels outside the hurricane's path are operating as emergency shelters. Evacuees who can get to Statesboro, Georgia, can check out VisitStatesboro.org for information on hotel spaces available there.

Relief efforts

The Atlantis Bahamas hotel said on Twitter on Tuesday that it's working with chef Jose Andres, his nonprofit World Central Kitchen and the Bahamas Red Cross to provide relief to residents impacted by Dorian. Andres' organization uses hotel kitchens and other venues to serve food to those in need.

There will likely be further relief needed over the coming weeks: the American Red Cross says 19 million people live in areas across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that could be lashed by the storm.

Walt Disney Company, led by Disney Cruise Line, announced plans Tuesday to donate $1 million to relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean has also pledged $1 million to relief efforts.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 102826

Reported Deaths: 3708
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18697529
Cuyahoga13734505
Hamilton9766257
Lucas5448326
Montgomery443896
Summit3614223
Butler297663
Marion293545
Mahoning2595255
Pickaway239142
Stark1884140
Warren182139
Lorain181377
Columbiana167160
Trumbull1549108
Fairfield141632
Delaware134419
Licking131951
Clark117815
Lake113141
Wood106858
Clermont95311
Medina94535
Miami85839
Tuscarawas79314
Portage77163
Allen76946
Greene71812
Mercer63113
Belmont62326
Richland61412
Erie59728
Ashtabula57646
Geauga55944
Wayne54558
Ross4944
Darke40629
Huron4045
Madison40110
Ottawa39626
Sandusky39017
Hancock3893
Athens3602
Holmes3286
Lawrence3000
Auglaize2636
Union2601
Muskingum2431
Scioto2421
Jefferson2373
Seneca2283
Knox2127
Putnam21117
Shelby2104
Washington20922
Preble2072
Coshocton1967
Champaign1812
Morrow1762
Crawford1755
Hardin17012
Clinton1696
Highland1661
Logan1602
Ashland1543
Fulton1531
Wyandot1509
Defiance1504
Brown1462
Perry1403
Williams1363
Henry1222
Fayette1210
Guernsey1197
Hocking1189
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike790
Jackson760
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Gallia701
Adams612
Meigs540
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Huntington
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 82°
Decatur
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 81°
Mostly Sunny Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events