Airlines cancel more than 2,500 flights ahead of Hurricane Matthew

As Hurricane Matthew bears down on the southeastern U.S., residents of coastal communities in the south are not the only ones preparing their next move.

Airlines and airports are working around the clock to weather the storm and ensure a quick restoration of schedules.

More than 2,500 flights have been canceled between Wednesday and Friday as of Thursday morning, according to -- including more than 1,400 flights canceled today and 1,100 and counting tomorrow.

The most affected airports are Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, both of which plan to halt operations today. Fort Lauderdale will close its runways at 10:30 a.m. with Miami to follow at noon.

Airports typically shut down their runways when crosswinds exceed 30 mph. Current projections from ABC News' meteorologists indicate gusts are expected to be more than triple that during the worst moments of the storm.

Airlines are already cancelling flights at major airports in the path of the storm. Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, all significant air travel hubs, will likely halt operations for hours during the storm.

Because of its large operations in Miami and Charlotte, American Airlines will see the most cancellations. The country's largest airline has cancelled over thousand flights so far, with reduced operations stretching into Saturday.

Delta Air Lines has scratched roughly 120 flights to and from South Florida airports. The airline says it anticipates restarting operations Thursday evening or Friday morning in the region. Operations for airports north of West Palm Beach will be determined Thursday morning.

United Airlines told ABC News it is cancelling just over 60 flights to or from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Decisions for airports north of that will be made in the coming day or two.

JetBlue and Southwest Airlines did not provide their number of cancellations for this story.

The airlines are offering to waive change fees for passengers if the severe weather affects their travel dates. The waivers apply to states as far north as North Carolina.


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