Last updated: 10:15 AM ET, Fri October 07 2016

Hurricane Matthew Forces Flight Cancellations, Amusement Park Closures

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | October 07, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Forces Flight Cancellations, Amusement Park Closures

Photo: Satellite image of Hurricane Matthew along Florida’s east coast. (Photo via @CNNBRK)

On Friday, Hurricane Matthew was moving along the east coast of Florida, dumping heavy rain, high winds and storm surge flooding along the state’s Space Coast.

According to, the current trajectory of the hurricane have it moving north along the coast, causing major issues for the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina throughout the weekend. At Cape Canaveral, Florida, wind gusts have already been measured at 107 miles per hour, prompting the National Weather Service to issue an extreme wind warning.

Hurricane warnings have been issued from Sebastian Inlet, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina, including cities like Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston. Tropical storm warnings have been put in place from north of the South Santee River to Surf City, North Carolina, and from south of Jupiter Inlet to Boca Raton, Florida.

As for airline cancellations due to Hurricane Matthew, is reporting (as of 9:45 a.m. ET) that over 1,700 flights in and out of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have been cancelled. Some of the airports facing the biggest issues include Orlando International Airport (completely shut down), Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport and more.

Florida airports including Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport plan to fully reopen once the storm has passed and the facilities can be fully inspected for safety. In addition, Amtrak has suspended its service to Florida through Friday and cruise lines are avoiding the region at all costs due to the closure of many ports in Florida.

As for vehicle traffic, the mandatory evacuations in the days leading up to Matthew’s impact caused congestion on the highways, interstates and turnpikes of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. While most traffic congestion had eased on popular routes like I-95, I-75 and I-10, flooding is still a major concern and drivers must be aware of their surroundings when traveling by vehicle.

If traveling and hoping to leave the region, make sure you abide by all local evacuation procedures and abide by emergency management personnel instructions. Florida Governor Rick Scott has reported localized gas station fuel shortages, so be mindful of gas levels before planning long trips. 

For those travelers who came to Florida this weekend to visit the region’s many theme parks, there was utter disappointment as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld all closed until the hurricane passed and the parks could be deemed safe. While the news was devastating to some families visiting Thursday, the safety of the park guests and employees is the top priority of officials at all amusement parks.

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