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2019-09-20 16:31:57

Jayme Deerwester USA TODAY

Published 10:05 AM EDT Sep 20, 2019

Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport is digging itself out of a flight mess after rains and flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda forced the airport to close briefly Thursday.

The closure lasted less than two hours but it was long enough to cause upwards of 650 canceled flights at IAH and 230 delays at one of the nation's busiest airports. 

By 10 a.m. EDT on Friday, those numbers were down markedly, to 345 cancellations and 58 delays, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. United Airlines, which has a major hub at IAH, had 77 canceled flights but no delays.

The airport's Twitter account said was open to all arriving flights as of 4 a.m. CDT but cautioned passengers to check directly with their airline about their flight status due to the number of diverted flights as well as the backlog of delays and cancellations.

On Thursday night, the airport tweeted that the security checkpoint at Terminal B would be closed until noon Friday CDT and instructed United passengers to use the checkpoints at Terminal C or E instead.

The numbers at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) were brighter: only four cancellations and three delays.

United, which has a hub at Bush Intercontinental (IAH), has waived change fees for travel originally scheduled to, from or through that airport between Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Friday, Sept. 20, as long as the original reservation was made by Wednesday, Sept. 18. The new flight must depart by Monday, Sept. 23, and be for the same cities and cabin as the original reservation. Click View your reservation on the airline's website to make changes.

Delta has also waived change fees for flights involving both IAH and William P. Hobby (HOU) that were scheduled to depart between Tuesday through Friday. Tickets must be rebooked, and travel must begin by Monday. 

Southwest customers with flight reservations to, from or through Houston Hobby (HOU) scheduled for Tuesday through Friday can rebook their flights within 14 days of the original travel date without incurring a change fee. 

Frontier has waived change fees for passengers who purchased tickets by Monday, Sept. 16, for travel to, from or through IAH between Tuesday and Thursday. Travel must be completed by Oct. 4.

The storm had been downgraded a post-tropical cyclone by the time it dropped 40 inches of rain on the Texas city over the course of three days. Still, it managed to kill two people. The deluge also led some to remark that the storm was actually worse than 2017's Hurricane Harvey. 

National Weather Service,Sensors near the airport detected 3.4 inches of rain fell between 8:37 and 9:37 a.m. CDT. Visibility got as low as a quarter-mile during the worst of the rain.

'Worse than Hurricane Harvey':  At least 2 dead as Imelda overwhelms Texas with' incredibly dangerous' flooding


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