Mexico Storm

Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing issue travel alerts for Punta Cana flights as Franklin heads to D.R.

TORONTO — Airlines including Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing have issued travel alerts as Tropical Storm Franklin barrels towards the D.R.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic prepared to shut down the country today as Tropical Storm Franklin took aim at the island of Hispaniola that it shares with Haiti and threatened to unleash landslides and heavy floods.

The storm is some 420 kilometers south of the D.R.’s capital city of Santo Domingo. Maximum sustained winds are clocking in at 85 kph and the storm is moving west at 5 kph. Franklin is forecast to strengthen before making landfall early Wednesday in Hispaniola.

Dominican officials announced they would close schools, government offices and businesses by midday today and reopen them on Thursday. They also noted that the heavy rainfall forecast would not be a problem for the country’s multiple dams since water levels were low. The storm is forecast to drop up to 10 inches  of rain in both the D.R. and Haiti, with up to 15 inches in isolated areas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire southern coast of the D.R. and Haiti. A tropical storm watch was posted for the Turks and Caicos Islands.


Air Canada is advising Punta Cana (PUJ) passengers travelling today, Aug. 22, and tomorrow, Aug. 23, that it has revised its ticketing policy to make it easier for those travelling on an affected flight to make changes to their booking without penalty, space permitting.

More information from Air Canada can be found here.

More details from WestJet are here.

Sunwing says customers travelling to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata on August 23 are advised that Tropical Storm Franklin may impact their travel plans and there is potential for flights to be delayed. Sunwing travellers are advised to sign up for flight alerts and check their flight status for the most up-to-date information on travel times before heading to the airport. “We continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide further updates as available,” says Sunwing on its site.


Meanwhile a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico is now Tropical Storm Harold and is expected to hit the southern coast of Texas later today. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 kph and could strengthen further before making landfall. A tropical storm warning is in place for the area between the mouth of the Rio Grande and Port O’Connor.

The National Hurricane Center in the U.S. predicted “scattered instances of flash flooding” on land and “life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions” at the coast.

Earlier this month, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration updated its forecast and warned that this year’s hurricane season would be above normal. Between 14 to 21 named storms are forecast. Of those, six to 11 could become hurricanes, with two to five of them possibly becoming major hurricanes, the NOAA said.

With file from The Associated Press

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