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Airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hurricane hits US

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 14:34:07-04

UPDATE -- Officials say Orlando International Airport will close to all commercial flights in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew.

An airport spokesman confirmed that Orlando's largest airport will close at 8 p.m. Thursday, with plans to re-open Saturday after assessing any damage from the storm. There have already been several delays and cancellations for outgoing and incoming flights because of the hurricane headed toward central Florida.

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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.

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.

No major delays or cancelations are reported at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers.

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.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)