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About 20 flights canceled to and from Sky Harbor because of Hurricane Matthew

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

PHOENIX — As Hurricane Matthew approaches Florida, flights across the nation have been canceled, including some in the Phoenix area.

According to FlightAware, at least 17 flights either from or to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport have been canceled through Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew.

Five of those flights were scheduled to be in the air Thursday, with all of them scheduled to either go to or fly from the Orlando and Miami international airports.

Thursday morning, flight-tracking service FlightAware reported that 1,500 Thursday flights within the U.S. had been scrapped, with the largest numbers at Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports. 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.

Orlando International Airport officials tweeted that they expected the airport to close to commercial traffic by 8 p.m. and not reopen until Saturday. As the storm closed in, workers tied down jet bridges, lowered cranes in a construction area, and put away vehicles and other equipment.

Hurricane Matthew is supposed to hit Florida Thursday night, and was upgraded to a Category 4 after winds reached up to 140 miles per hour.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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