(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Dorian upended Labor Day travel plans for hundreds of thousands of people in the Southeastern U.S. Monday, as fierce winds and torrential rains forced widespread cancellation of rail service and airline traffic.
According to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website, airlines canceled 1,152 flights on Monday. The hardest-hit airport was Fort Lauderdale International in Florida, which closed at noon Monday and where 543 flights were canceled, three-quarters of the airport’s total scheduled for the day. Dayton Beach International Airport and both Orlando International Airport and Orlando Melbourne International Airport also closed Monday.
For Tuesday, airlines have canceled more than 550 flights already, according to the website.
At least three airlines –- American Airlines Group Inc., Frontier Airlines Inc., and Southwest Airlines Co. -- announced that they were waiving cancellation and change fees for flights involving storm-impacted airports in Florida and the Bahamas. Southwest also waived pet fees for travelers trying to evacuate their dogs and cats from Florida and South Carolina.
Dorian had slowed to a crawl over the Bahamas on Monday but was expected to gradually turn to the northwest to begin a run up the U.S. East Coast.
Amtrak cancelled Florida passenger trains, including service between the state and points as far north as New York, through Tuesday as Dorian picked up strength and moved closer to the continental U.S. Kimberly Woods, an Amtrak spokeswoman, said that service between Washington and Boston was continuing unimpeded, but other schedule disruptions were possible as the hurricane progressed.
The storm also disrupted operations of some cruise ships. Because Dorian forced the closure of ports in Miami and Canaveral Florida, Carnival Cruise lines canceled several voyages and announced that others would be shortened.
Most of the storm’s impact was focused offshore, so there were few major road closings on the continental U.S.
Governor Ronald DeSantis of Florida announced Monday that to help speed evacuations the state was suspending the collection of tolls on more than a dozen roads, including the Turnpike Mainline that runs from Miami to central Florida.
To ensure that gasoline remained available for motorists evacuating by land, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order suspending federal restrictions on the number of uninterrupted hours that commercial truck drivers can work. Georgia’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency said the temporary move would help ease any storm related shortages of food, emergency supplies, medicine or fuel.
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