As Tropical Storm Harvey strengthens, travelers bound to or from areas in the storm’s path may want to assess costs and strategies for changing their plans.
The latest advisories from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center predict that Harvey will become a hurricane by Friday — the same day the storm’s forecast track has it approaching the southern Texas coast. Forecasts predict the storm will move inland over the weekend.
The agency issued tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings for areas of Texas and Mexico, as well as storm surge watches and warnings. It also advised consumers in or bound for Louisiana to monitor the progress of the storm.
(NOAA recently raised its tropical storm and hurricane forecast for this year, predicting an “extremely active season.” They expect 14 to 19 named storms, including 5 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 5 major hurricanes. Harvey is the eighth named storm of the season.)
In anticipation of Harvey’s landfall, Texas governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Wednesday for 30 counties, and ordered state resources to be made available for rescue and recovery.
“Preemptively declaring a state of disaster will allow Texas to quickly deploy resources for the emergency response effort in anticipation of the storm’s hazardous conditions,” Abbott said in the statement.
Travelers whose plans take them to, from or through an area in the path of the storm should start checking to see how easily and cheaply they can shift plans. (See tips below.)
Major airlines — including American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and United — have issued travel advisories for the affected areas and are waiving change fees for travelers to reschedule flights.
Now that Harvey is a named storm, it’s too late to pick up travel insurance for your trip. If you already have a policy in place, check to see if its protections have kicked in (depending on your coverage, they may not have yet).