Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

And in a very rare decision, Ft. Lauderdale has closed its airport's doors.

— -- As Hurricane Matthew bears down on the southeastern U.S., residents of coastal communities in the south are not the only ones preparing their next move.

As of Thursday evening, 3,862 flights had been cancelled between Wednesday and Saturday, according to FlightAware.com. The four-day breakdown so far is: Wednesday (125 flights), Thursday (1,548), Friday (1,729), and Saturday (460).

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has closed its doors -- the first time at this airport since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After it reopens, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will have to sanitize and re-certify the airport since there will be minimal, if any, security while it's closed.

Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport plan to remain open, but commercial scheduled flights have come to a halt.

Airports across the Southeast will be securing equipment, vehicles, jet bridges and construction areas to minimize the damage during the storm. Airlines are moving some planes to hangars while flying other planes out of the area entirely until the storm is over.

Airports typically shut down their runways when crosswinds exceed 30 mph and the FAA closes air traffic control towers at sustained winds of 55mph. Current projections from ABC News' meteorologists indicate gusts are expected to almost triple that during the worst moments of the storm.

The airlines are offering to waive change fees for passengers if the severe weather affects their travel dates. The waivers apply to states as far north as North Carolina.

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