With Hurricane Michael making landfall on early Wednesday morning as a category 4 storm, travel in the Florida panhandle had some to a halt.
A shutdown of all commercial air travel in the area was in effect. Tallahassee International Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches Airport in Panama City, and Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport, home of Eglin Air Force Base, and Pensacola International Airport are all closed.
Most airports said that they expect to reopen Thursday morning. In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Northwest Florida Beaches Airport reported that the “anticipated start-up” of the airport would be Thursday. But the unpredictability of the storm could mean that an air travel shutdown may last even longer.
The airports are encouraging passengers to verify their flight status with the airlines.
Most airlines to the region’s airports have canceled flights until Thursday morning, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines. Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
The conditions on the ground continued to deteriorate on Wednesday, with many local roads being closed. Typical was the Bay County Sheriff’s department tweet that it had ordered the closure of the Hathaway Bridge in Panama City. Other bridges around the coastal area were also reported closed, further shutting down land travel.
And Wednesday morning, Florida State University in Tallahassee reported that the Tallahassee International Airport was already measuring tropical storm force wind gusts at the airport.
At 11:30 a.m. the National Weather Service in Tallahassee issued its first-ever “Extreme Wind Warning,” indicating that wind gusts in excess of 130 miles per hour were expected. A shelter-in-place order is in effect for the region.
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