(NEW YORK) — As airports in South Florida look toward gradually resuming normal flight schedules in the wake of Hurricane Matthew passing through that area, travel hubs further north are battening down and bringing flights to a halt as the storm bears down there.
Generally, airports close runways only when winds reach speeds that are much higher than 30 mph. When the wind speed exceeds 55 mph, Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers must clear the control tower.
Airlines have now cancelled 4,482 flights Wednesday through Saturday, with 1,823 on Friday alone, including flights to the Caribbean and the Southeast.
The Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport made the rare move Thursday of declaring a full closure, but has now reopened with an expectation that flights there will resume later Friday morning or early afternoon.
When an airport completely closes to the public, the Transportation Security Administration must inspect and recertify it before allowing the public back into airport.
At Miami International Airport, commercial flights came to a halt Thursday, but officials say they will resume gradually throughout Friday. Palm Beach International Airport officials also announced that airlines will be gradually restarting scheduled flights on Friday.
Major airports north of West Palm Beach, Florida are not yet resuming normal operations.
Orlando International Airport, the second busiest in the state, ceased operations at 8 p.m. Thursday and is not expected to resume them until Saturday. All scheduled flights out of Jacksonville International Airport Friday are cancelled, as well.
Further north, in Savannah, Georgia, the Hilton Head International Airport has closed its doors to the public until Sunday in anticipation of a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is still up and running, with about 60 cancelled flights Friday.
Amtrak has halted service to the Southeast due to the storm.
Airline and train travelers are asked to contact their airline or Amtrak directly to find out the status of their trips.
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