Hurricane Idalia Forces Closures…But Not at Walt Disney World
Hurricane season has already threatened Disneyland.
Now, Hurricane Idalia has forced closures and a state-of-emergency declaration in Florida.
We’ve got news about some impending changes and weather alerts in the impacted area. Notably, Walt Disney World isn’t one of them yet.
Here’s what we know.
About Hurricane Idalia
MickeyBlog’s Melissa Roden previously wrote about the upcoming impact of Hurricane Idalia and how it could impact Walt Disney World.
We now have word from Florida’s emergency management team about what we should expect from Hurricane Idalia.
10 AM CDT 28Aug: Storm Surge, Hurricane & Tropical Storm warnings for #Idalia have been issued for portions of Florida. Residents in these areas should follow any advice given by local officials. Make sure to stay up to date with the latest information at https://t.co/tW4KeGe9uJ pic.twitter.com/R1uWF5Eu8f
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2023
First, we ARE talking about a hurricane, not a tropical storm. So, it’s already different from Hilary, which entered the coastal United States as a tropical storm.
At an absolute minimum, Idalia should reach Category 2 status as a hurricane. And Floridia officials are bracing for much worse.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie has stated the following:
“I’m anticipating (Hurricane Idalia) is going to be a (Category) 4, and we are preparing as such.”
“People need to expect, even though they are well off outside of the cone, that we are going to have power outages, we are going to have trees down on power lines…You need to be prepared for that.”
Here’s what this statement means for people in impacted areas.
Even if you’re not directly in the hurricane’s cone, you should expect home/work disruptions caused by this weather event.
Specifically, you might lose power and/or internet, which is what transpired last year with Hurricane Ian.
Some people suffered weeklong power and internet outages in the wake of that Category 5 hurricane.
The Debate about Idalia
Notably, weather forecasters have provided a mixed message about the potential impact of Idalia.
We’ve had the Weather Channel on all day, and the comments from the various meteorologists underscore the variance of opinion here.
If you’re confused about the force of hurricanes, here’s how the Saffir-Simpson hurricane categorization scale works:
- Category 1: winds of 74-95 miles per hour
- Category 2: winds of 96-110 miles per hour
- Category 3: winds of 111-129 miles per hour
- Category 4: winds of 130-156 miles per hour
- Category 5: wind force of at least 157 miles per hour
At 2 p.m. EST on Monday, the Weather Channel believed that Idalia would max out as a Category 2. It has since revised to a Category 3 as of 4:30 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, Florida officials have stated a Category 4 is in the offing.
This argument may sound nitpicky, but it’s not at all. In snow terms, it’s the difference between flurries and a foot of snow.
A Category 3 or 4 would suggest Floridians face an anticipated wind force of at least 111 miles per hour and as much as 156 miles per hour.
Please be safe, everyone.
Closures and Policy Changes
How serious is Hurricane Idalia in parts of Florida? President Biden has signed a state of emergency at the request of Governor Ron DeSantis.
Notably, Orange County and Osceola County aren’t on the list of 46 potentially impacted counties.
While everything can change in an instant with a storm like this, the current forecast suggests that Walt Disney World will receive 2-to-4 inches of rain.
The expected wind force is in the range of 40 miles per hour, with an expected maximum of 50-60 miles per hour.
As far as we know right now, you shouldn’t wear a hat or sunglasses at the park tomorrow, but you WILL want a rain slicker.
For this reason, Disney has taken a cautious approach with its plans for tomorrow.
At 3 p.m. EST on Monday, Disney released this statement:
“Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions.
We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather as we continue to prioritize the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”
Since Disney has grown proactive about park closures in the face of severe weather, this is a good sign.
Still, the Weather Channel’s changed forecast demonstrates how quickly everything can change.
You can and should monitor MickeyBlog and this page on Disney’s official site for updates.
For its part, Disney has announced that its emergency policy is in place. Guests may cancel or rebook without incurring fees.
Here’s the exact quote from Disney’s official site:
“(You) may reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Disney Resort hotel packages and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.
“Most room-only and vacation packages can be modified, or cancelled online, including changes to travel dates.”
One Other Closure
This story is obviously evolving quickly. We have one vital note for guests who planned to travel through Tampa tomorrow.
“Tampa International Airport will suspend all commercial operations beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.”
That’s a direct quote from the official Tampa airport website.
Thus far, Orlando International Airport hasn’t followed suit, confirming that the current forecast suggests that Central Florida should avoid the worst.
Having said that, I must stress that everything I’m saying about Hurricane Idalia is fluid.
PLEASE keep reading our site, Walt Disney World’s site, and your favorite weather app to ensure that you have the most accurate information!
We want all our readers to be healthy and safe during what’s shaping up to be an extreme weather event.
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