DENVER — It was nearly impossible to get a flight to Florida from Denver International Airport Thursday as airlines canceled hundreds of flights ahead of a potently catastrophic Hurricane Matthew landfall.
Thursday’s cancellations reach into Friday, but the rest of DIA is running normally and on schedule. Other airports around the country are experiencing disruptions as well.
Before 2 p.m. Eastern time, flight-tracking service FlightAware.com reported that 1,500 Thursday 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 said airlines had already canceled 1,300 more flights scheduled for Friday. Delta Air Lines said cancellations were likely to spread to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday.
DIA officials urge travelers to check your flight status before heading to the airport.
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.
Millions warned that 'this storm will kill you'
Hurricane Matthew is taking aim at the Florida coast, with vicious 140 mph winds, potentially devastating storm surges and flooding from rain, prompting mass evacuations and dire warnings from officials.
The category 4 storm was blamed for 264 teaches deaths in Haiti, according to the BBC, which cited government officials. Now, the deadly storm is heading toward the east coast of the Sunshine State.
"This storm will kill you," Florida's Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference this morning, urging that "the time is now" to evacuate ahead of the Category 4 storm.