NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights as Hurricane Matthew sweeps along the Florida coast.
The Fort Lauderdale airport shut down on Thursday morning, and further north the Orlando airport expected to do the same by nighttime.
Miami International Airport says it is monitoring Matthew, but is warning travelers to expect flight cancellations Thursday.
Travelers departing from John F. Kennedy Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Stewart and Atlantic City airports are also advised to check the status of their flight for any delays or cancellations due to the impending storm.
By midday, flight-tracking service FlightAware.com reported that nearly 1,500 flights within the U.S. had been scrapped, with the largest numbers at Fort Lauderdale and Miami. American Airlines, which has a major hub in Miami, was the hardest-hit carrier, followed by Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways.
FlightAware says airlines have already canceled nearly 1,300 flights scheduled for Friday.
PHOTOS: Matthew’s Path Of Destruction
Airlines often cancel flights before storms hit to prevent passengers from being stranded at airports and to keep their planes in position to recover after the bad weather passes.
The storm was expected to start affecting Florida by early afternoon Thursday. The storm is then expected to turn north and pass just off the South Carolina coast late Friday or early Saturday.
Government officials from South Carolina and Florida have urged residents to evacuate from vulnerable or low-lying areas.
The storm has wreaked havoc across the Caribbean, with the death toll in Haiti up to at least 108.
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