Bracing for a category four Hurricane Mathew, which left around 269 people dead in Haiti, airlines and airports in the US are on an war footing. Around 3,862 flights have been scheduled to be cancelled between Wednesday and Saturday.
Hurricane Matthew was forecast to make landfall on early Friday, between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral in Florida, NBCNews reported.
Meanwhile, the hurricane began tropical storm conditions in Florida — with potentially catastrophic hurricane strike and “sandy-like” storm surge for parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Although, the Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport planned to remain open, the commercial scheduled flights were halted.
Even if the airports and airlines wanted to ensure quick restoration of schedules, in an extremely rare move, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shut down for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
As of Thursday evening, 3,862 flights were cancelled between Wednesday and Saturday, according to FlightAware.com, ABC news reported.
The storm had regained category four strength, with winds of 145 mph expected at landfall. There was a chance the winds could reach category five strength.
Florida Governor Rick Scott had warned on Thursday that the impact would be “catastrophic” and had urged 1.5 million people to evacuate. “This storm will kill you.”
“This storm is a monster,” he said. “Matthew is likely to produce devastating impacts along portions of the east coast.”
Scott had urged residents across the state’s 580-mile Atlantic coastline to brace for the worst.