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Hurricane Beryl snarls air travel across Texas as 80% of Houston’s flights canceled

Airports across the state canceled hundreds of flights as Hurricane Beryl made landfall on the Texas coast Monday morning, bringing with it torrential rainfall and destructive winds. Houston, which lies directly in the Category 1 storm’s path, was hit worst, grounding more than a thousand flights across its two airport hubs.

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the second-busiest airport in Texas and 15th-biggest nationally, canceled 91% of its outbound flights and 83% of its inbound flights, according to The city’s other travel hub, William P. Hobby International Airport, canceled 79% of its departures and 68% of its arrivals, combining for more than a thousand groundings across the city.

Both Houston airports recorded 80-mile-per-hour wind gusts during the morning storm, while the city was hit by between four and eight inches of rainfall, said AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Expert Alex DaSilva. Although most of the “heavy, heavy” rain is done, he said, Houston will continue to experience a “pinwheel” of precipitation around the city as well as wind gusts of 30-40 miles per hour.

The vast majority of the affected flights were on United Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both of which have major hubs in Houston at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, respectively. United was forced to cancel 85% of its flights into or out of IAH — 481 total — while Southwest canceled 80%, or 280, of its flights through HOU.

Both Houston airports’ flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth were heavily disrupted by the storms, with 82% and 100% of incoming flights from Intercontinental and Hobby to DFW Airport, respectively, being canceled. Dallas-Love Field canceled more than half of its inbound flights and 57% of its outbound flights to Hobby Airport as well as two flights into and out of Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Elsewhere in Texas, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, San Antonio International Airport and Corpus Christi International Airport have canceled 45 outbound flights between them, with Corpus Christi’s 16 cancellations accounting for 50% of its total outbound traffic.

Southwest, United and American Airlines all have travel advisories in place through Tuesday across the state, including both Houston airports, Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Each airline is offering flight changes without additional costs to affected travelers wishing to rebook.

Hurricane season usually occurs from August to October, DaSilva said, making a tropical storm like Beryl an extremely uncommon occurrence. Beryl is just the 10th tropical storm to make landfall in Texas since 1851, he said. But no major Texas cities or airports will be scarred by the storm as it continues inland, even if some rainfall or minor delays may be expected as the storm moves east of Dallas.

The wave of cancellations comes on the back of the busiest day in U.S. air travel history on Sunday, as more than three million passengers were screened by TSA agents across the country after the Fourth of July holiday.

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