Flying to PBI during Hurricane Isaias

Old Aug 1, 20, 8:14 am
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Flying to PBI during Hurricane Isaias

Hey guys I'm currently scheduled to fly into PBI (West Palm Beach) from Atlanta tomorrow afternoon. Current data shows the storm will stay offshore but will product winds and gusts still felt on shore in the ~40mph range. I'm wondering if those more experienced than me know how Delta decides whether to cancel flights or not? Does it just come down to too much wind at the airport for landing? Just trying to get a feel from others as to how this whole thing works.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by Jeremy3292 View Post
Hey guys I'm currently scheduled to fly into PBI (West Palm Beach) from Atlanta tomorrow afternoon. Current data shows the storm will stay offshore but will product winds and gusts still felt on shore in the ~40mph range. I'm wondering if those more experienced than me know how Delta decides whether to cancel flights or not? Does it just come down to too much wind at the airport for landing? Just trying to get a feel from others as to how this whole thing works.
It's going to come down to a number of factors, mainly severity of the storms in the area at arrival time and crosswind limits.

About eight years ago I was on an afternoon flight out of MLB to ATL just as there was mild hurricane offshore (cat 1 or 2, something like that) around the same distance as this one. I thought for sure the flight was going to be canceled and already had backups selected out of MCO, but sure enough 5pm rolled around and the winds were like 45mph but straight down the runway. I've never been on an MD-88 that used less runway and climbed so quickly into that 45mph headwind on takeoff. I swear the airplane must have been at least 2000 feet in the air before crossing the departure end of the runway.

It was honestly a surprisingly smooth ride and only a little chop going through a few showers on the climb out. After about 10,000ft I remember being above most of it and getting a really great view of the storm from the air. Pretty cool.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 12:21 pm
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As a very general rule, larger and especially heavier aircraft are able to operate in stronger wind conditions.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 12:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
As a very general rule, larger and especially heavier aircraft are able to operate in stronger wind conditions.
Looks like all of the ATL-PBI flights tomorrow afternoon are 739s.

From this website, it looks like the -900 with winglets has a maximum crosswind component of 33kts. Interestingly the non-winglet aircraft has a higher crosswind component limit of 36kts.

Looks like the highest potential for a crosswind component that exceeds 33kts is in the late night tonight/early morning tomorrow with winds from 350 at 30kts gusting 45kts. The primary runway at PBI is 10L/28R but there is also a crosswind runway 14/32 which if usable would be well within limits.

Should be fine on the winds, it'll just come down to the weather in the area at the time and whether or not the airport stays open.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Looks like all of the ATL-PBI flights tomorrow afternoon are 739s.

From this website, it looks like the -900 with winglets has a maximum crosswind component of 33kts. Interestingly the non-winglet aircraft has a higher crosswind component limit of 36kts.

Looks like the highest potential for a crosswind component that exceeds 33kts is in the late night tonight/early morning tomorrow with winds from 350 at 30kts gusting 45kts. The primary runway at PBI is 10L/28R but there is also a crosswind runway 14/32 which if usable would be well within limits.

Should be fine on the winds, it'll just come down to the weather in the area at the time and whether or not the airport stays open.
I lived in PBI for 5 years. The airport is about 6-7 miles inland from the ocean and on the west side of the intracoastal waterway.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 4:28 pm
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Currently in MIA right now and things are very mild. No disruptions so far from what I've seen. PBI is further north, but my outlook (as an airline pilot) is that things will be just fine. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Aug 1, 20, 5:55 pm
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Thank you everyone for the responses; I really appreciate it. Hopefully they will just delay my flight and not outright cancel it at the very worst. It looks like the storm will be past PBI by 5pm tomorrow.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Jeremy3292 View Post
Thank you everyone for the responses; I really appreciate it. Hopefully they will just delay my flight and not outright cancel it at the very worst. It looks like the storm will be past PBI by 5pm tomorrow.
DL is has a very good weather ops team and if itís safe to fly out, they will. I remember back in 2017 when DL got a flight out of SJU about 30 mins before Hurricane Maria struck and every other airline had already shut down flights.
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Old Aug 2, 20, 8:05 am
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It looks like the morning flights have been cancelled which actually surprises me a bit given this look like it will be a non-event for the most part. Afternoon still looking up to speed for now.
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Old Aug 2, 20, 8:54 am
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max crosswind component is indeed 33KTS for a 739, however, this would be reduced this if the runway is "contaminated." Standing water on the runway would take it down to a max crosswind of 20KTS.

However, 10/28 at KPBI is a grooved runway, to promote water drain-off, and with just light showers in the area now, its not likely that the runway would be degraded anywhere close to that point. They are still forecasting possible gusts to 40KTS there as late as 6pm local, but that's not as crosswindy as this morning. Should be good for the rest of the day unless something weird happens.
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Old Aug 2, 20, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Jeremy3292 View Post
Thank you everyone for the responses; I really appreciate it. Hopefully they will just delay my flight and not outright cancel it at the very worst. It looks like the storm will be past PBI by 5pm tomorrow.
Keep in mind that Delta just had over 16,000 employees leave August 1st to take voluntary packages. I know few cities in Florida had majority of staff leave. I donít know PBI staffing but the flights could be canceled due to lack of resources.
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Old Aug 2, 20, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by Seminolefan View Post
Keep in mind that Delta just had over 16,000 employees leave August 1st to take voluntary packages. I know few cities in Florida had majority of staff leave. I donít know PBI staffing but the flights could be canceled due to lack of resources.
I sincerely doubt that Delta would cancel a flight due to staffing at a station unless they're "closed" for a reason.
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Old Aug 2, 20, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by Seminolefan View Post
Keep in mind that Delta just had over 16,000 employees leave August 1st to take voluntary packages. I know few cities in Florida had majority of staff leave. I donít know PBI staffing but the flights could be canceled due to lack of resources.
So sad. Such great people.
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