Hurricane Harvey: Travel Impact and Disaster Resources

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Hurricane Harvey continues to ravage the Texas coast.  As we shared yesterday, this gives us an eerie sense of deja vu recalling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  And while we are no stranger to Texas weather, this storm is bringing with it unprecedented amounts of rainfall and flooding.  In particular, there will be a residual travel impact due to the weather that could affect travelers far beyond the state of Texas.  Some will also be in need of disaster resources or looking for ways to assist.

Hurricane Harvey Travel Impact Disaster Recovery

Houston Interstate 610 is underwater on Sunday August 27, a result of Hurricane Harvey flooding. (Photo credit: Houston TranStar)

Hurricane Harvey Disaster Resources and Links

Mommy Points has had some great Hurricane Harvey-related information on her site.  Summer and her family live a bit further south than we do.  Keep checking her site for more information.  Here are several good travel and disaster resources related to Hurricane Harvey and the travel impact:

Hurricane Harvey Travel Impact

Weekly travelers may find themselves affected this week by the storms as they continue to hover over Texas.  Major airlines have put travel waivers in place for those who may have flights to/from or connecting through affected cities.  Those cities include those along the Texas coast, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Here are the waiver policies for a few of the major carriers serving affected cities:

  • American Airlines has a waiver in place for August 25-29 for flights for flights to/from/through 11 affected airports.  The American waiver allows for travel through September 11 but does not allow for origin or destination cities to change.  Flights must have been purchased by August 26 to qualify.  more information
  • Delta Airlines has a waiver in place for August 25-28 for flights for flights to/from/through 4 airports to allow for changes through August 31.  more information
  • Southwest Airlines has a waiver in place for August 24-September 1 for flights to/from/through 5 airports to allow for changes up to 14 days after the original date of travel.  It does not allow for origin or destination cities to change.  more information
  • United Airlines has a waiver in place for August 25-29 for flights to/from/through 10 affected airports.  The United waiver allows for travel through September 11 but does not allow for origin or destination cities to change.  more information

United and Southwest are likely to have the greatest downstream travel impact from the disruption to Houston-area operations.  Many travelers are also having issues getting back to the affected areas if they were away.  If you have planned travel to the affected areas in the coming week, please reconsider whether it is essential.

How You Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

The best way to help victims of Hurricane Harvey is through donations to organized aid groups.

For our local Dallas/Fort Worth readers wanting to do more, urgent needs at this time include the following:

  • Blood donations are urgently needed.  Text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999 or call (877) 571-1000 for the nearest Carter BloodCare location near you.
  • Pets are being displaced and need supplies.  Check with your local animal shelter or rescue group to see what their supply needs may be.
  • Airbnb is looking for more spaces for evacuees.  (See the Mommy Points link above for more information.)

Organizers in Texas have stressed that they do NOT have the storage for perishable goods at this time.  As well, experienced disaster recovery teams will have specific supply needs to fill for household goods and other necessities after rescue efforts have concluded.  Do not gather food or supplies without checking in with an organized recovery group first.  While donations are always well-intentioned, many items cannot be utilized unless they are brand-new (or in some cases, very gently used).  There are also very specific packaging instructions that help expedite transport and distribution of goods.  Not following those instructions can slow down volunteer groups and actually delay getting necessary items to the needy parties.  While a disaster may seem like a great time to dump your unwanted cast-offs, resist the urge unless an item is specifically requested.

We will continue to watch the situation – and stand ready to help those in need.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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Comments

  1. Agree about assistance. As a Katrina survivor, I know that people are well intentioned by donating old clothes and canned food but donating “stuff” requires an army of volunteers to sort and get deployed to the right people. The days and weeks that followed we were transient carrying the bare minimum and the gift cards to grocery stores, discount retailers, fast food chains and just plain old visa gift cards were really a lifesaver. We were able to buy what we needed when we needed it verses carting around a bunch of useless stuff and/or making our way to a distribution point where these donated items were being passed. Immediate needs of shelter are top of mind right now, but the other needs will linger for days, weeks and months while the clean up continues.

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