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Harvey flooding causes airport closures; fight cancellations to continue for days

Harvey forecast

As Tropical Storm Harvey continued to batter Texas and swamp the Houston area with massive flooding, two major airports in the region announced Monday they were stopping commercial flights until further notice.

Wednesday afternoon, they were getting ready to reopen for travelers and said a limited number of flights will resume. United said it expected to have three flights in or out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) Wednesday evening.

The flight tracking website FlightAware reported at least 8,703 commercial flights to or from Houston's two main airports — George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Hobby Airport (HOU) — were cancelled since last Friday.

United Airlines said that in addition to cancelled flights to and from its hub at IAH, additional flights to and from Texas and the Gulf Coast may also be affected.

United says that if people had travel plans, they should visit the airline's travel notices website by clicking here. The airline says they are experiencing a high number of phone calls so they recommend using the United website or mobile app rather than calling for assistance.

By Thursday, the airline will have canceled more than 2,000 flights from Houston, CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports. United usually operates about 480 flights there a day. 

Van Cleave reports that last night United flew in a Boeing 777 to bring in supplies and staff and then flew 300 stranded passengers out to Chicago. The airliner says a second relief flight was planned for Monday to bring in more supplies and staff.

Monday afternoon, IAH clarified its earlier information about flights in and out of the airport saying that flights are limited to humanitarian flights and first responder support.

American Airlines said it had canceled a total of 90 mainline/regional flights Monday due to Tropical Storm Harvey. American noted that its largest hub, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), is not impacted by Harvey.

Earlier Monday, Corpus Christi International Airport in south Texas resumed commercial air service, The Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, SouthwestDelta, American, FrontierJetBlue and Spirit released information on how to change travel plans for passengers who booked flights to affected areas.

Texas Gov. Abbott gives Harvey update

Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Friday and has since caused widespread flooding that is expected to peak Wednesday or Thursday, the National Weather Service says.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has deployed more than 550 people to Texas to support the flood-relief efforts there. It says Coast Guard helicopter crews and shallow-water boat rescue teams have saved 1,504 people so far.  

The FAA's air traffic report says thunderstorms and other conditions on Monday may also slow flight traffic in Chicago (MDW, ORD), Dallas (DAL, DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), southeast Florida (FLL, MIA), the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA) and Phoenix (PHX). 

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