Tampa Airport To Close Tuesday Ahead of Hurricane Ian’s Expected Arrival

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Tampa National Airport (TPA) is closing down on Tuesday as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Ian.

The airport announced on its website on Monday that it “will suspend all operations beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.” due to the expected Category 4 winds and recently ordered evacuations.

The closure will allow workers to secure the airfield, terminals, and equipment for the weather. And all parts of the airport, including the parking garages, will be closed to visitors.

The Tampa Airport noted that it is not prepared to handle Hurricane Ian or house people during the weather because it “is not a designated storm shelter and does not have the resources to shelter people or vehicles during a storm.”

There is no estimated date of reopening at this time. TPA will make decisions based on the weather, roadway and facility conditions, and staffing.

“Damage assessments will begin as soon as it is safe to do so,” it continued.

Tampa Airport’s CEO Joe Lopano and Executive Vice President of Operations John Tillacos will hold a press conference tomorrow (Sept 26) at 9 am to give more information. They will also be available to answer questions following their briefing.

Tampa Airport is Preparing For Hurricane Ian’s Possible ‘Life-Threatening Storm Surge’

Hurricane Ian is currently brewing over the Atlantic Ocean as it heads towards the western tip of Cuba before making its way to Florida on Wednesday morning.

As it stands, the storm is listed as a Category 2, but meteorologists predict it will strengthen to a Cat 4 by the time it makes landfall in the Sunshine State, which means those who stay behind could experience sustained 130 to 156 mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center says that the state’s west coast, spanning from Fort Myers and Tampa Bay, is most likely to feel the brunt. If Ian directly hits Tampa, it will be the first hurricane to do so in a century.

Portions of the state are under a hurricane warning. The areas affected will first see tropical storm conditions on Tuesday night. And the weather will strengthen into hurricane conditions in the early hours of Wednesday. Heavy rainfall will hit southern, northern, and central parts of the state as well as the Florida Keys on Wednesday and Thursday and could cause flash floods.

Due to the projected conditions, Officials in Hillsborough county, which spans parts of Tampa, have ordered mandatory evacuations. Officials in neighboring Sarasota county expect to give similar orders on Tuesday.