MIAMI (AP) - Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights as Hurricane Matthew pelts the Florida coast with high winds and heavy rain.
    
The Fort Lauderdale airport shut down on Thursday morning, and farther north the Orlando airport expected to do the same by nighttime.
    
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.
    
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.