Airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hurricane hits US

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  • Steff Chalk checks his phone as he waits at the Palm Beach International airport after the hotel he was going to stay in was evacuated as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm's maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    Steff Chalk checks his phone as he waits at the Palm Beach International airport after the hotel he was going to stay in was evacuated as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The National Hurricane Center in ... Miami said the storm's maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (The Associated Press)

  • Ticketing machines are covered in plastic and flights in and out of the Palm Beach International airport in the afternoon as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm's maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    Ticketing machines are covered in plastic and flights in and out of the Palm Beach International airport in the afternoon as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the ... storm's maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (The Associated Press)

  • There are no lines to board flights at the Palm Beach International airport after flights in and out were cancelled in the afternoon as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Officials at Florida's major airports are monitoring conditions as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida.
 (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    There are no lines to board flights at the Palm Beach International airport after flights in and out were cancelled in the afternoon as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Officials at Florida's major airports ... are monitoring conditions as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (The Associated Press)

Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights as Hurricane Matthew sweeps along the Florida coast.

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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.

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.