ORLANDO, Fla. – As Hurricane Idalia tracks closer to Florida's Gulf Coast Tuesday, travel and flight delays are increasing.
Hurricane Idalia is forecast to strengthen into an "extremely dangerous" major hurricane with winds up to 125 mph before slamming into Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, bringing life-threatening storm surge destructive winds and torrential rain to the region.
"We can also expect extensive delays for some Florida-bound flights Tuesday evening, as the airspace will be crowded with Hurricane Idalia," FOX Weather Senior Meteorologist Jordan Overton said.
What Florida airports are closed due to Hurricane Idalia?
Airports on Florida's Gulf Coast, including Tampa and St. Pete, closed Tuesday ahead of Idalia's arrival.
Tampa International Airport closed at midnight and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
After damage assessments, Tampa International is expected to reopen on Thursday morning and St. Pete-Clearwater will reopen Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Most Florida airports, theme parks remain open but monitor Hurricane Idalia
Meanwhile, flights continue on Tuesday in and out of Fort Myers International Airport and many other international and regional airports across the Sunshine State.
Orlando International Airport remains open as operators continue to monitor the status of the hurricane. Some airlines including United Airlines have added additional flights from Orlando and Sarasota International airports.
Those traveling to Orlando for the theme parks will still be able to visit them on Wednesday. Universal Orlando will open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Walt Disney World Resort will also remain open Wednesday but close Typhoon Lagoon and mini golf courses.
"We do not foresee any significant impact to our operations at this time. If operational changes occur, we'll post about it," Orlando International Airport wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In North Florida and the Big Bend of Florida, airports continue to monitor the hurricane but remain open.
Tallahassee and Jacksonville International airports both remain open on Tuesday. Gainesville Regional Airport is also operational on Tuesday.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City will remain open and operating normally, according to a spokesperson.
All Florida airports are telling travelers to check the status of their flights with their airline provider before heading to the airport.
Airline pilots work around Hurricane Idalia
With Idalia spread out over hundreds of miles of the Gulf of Mexico, pilots flying into and out of Florida will have to reroute their path in some cases to avoid the massive hurricane.
AeroMexico Flight 429 from Miami departed Tuesday at 6:07 a.m. and the pilot went up and around Idalia's rain bands to head to Mexico City. With the creative reroute, the flight arrived 6 minutes early.
In other cases, some airline passengers ended up back at their departure destination due to Idalia. A JetBlue flight on Tuesday morning attempted to land in Havana, Cuba but due to winds and rain from Idalia the plane was rerouted back to the U.S.