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Weather & Natural Disasters

Hurricane grounds thousands of Florida flights, shutters theme parks

Hurricane Matthew to reach Florida's east coast tonight

Hurricane Matthew snarled travel plans as it strengthened into a Category 4 storm on Thursday.

FlightAware said airlines have cancelled 3,785 flights between Wednesday and Saturday in anticipation of the storm making landfall in Florida late Thursday night. The flight tracking company said American Airlines, which has a hub in Miami, was the most impacted with 861 cancellations so far.

Some 341 arrivals and 305 departures were cancelled by 9 a.m., ET, for Miami International Airport, or about 90 percent of its daily flight schedule.

The airport also emphasized that it is not a hurricane shelter.

Around midday, Miami International said it will relocate all travelers to a pre-security area between terminal D & E for safety reasons.

The Orlando International Airport said on Thursday morning that while it is almost done with its storm preparations, it expects to stop commercial service by 8 p.m., ET. The airport said it expects flights to resume on Saturday.

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport suspended flights around 10:30 a.m., ET, Thursday.


Central Florida's commuter rail line SunRail suspended its service around midday Thursday.

Ride-hailing service Lyft will be "prepared for storm conditions, and encouraging drivers and passengers to put safety first before deciding to travel," according to a company spokeswoman.

Lyft's Prime Time mode kicks in when there is more demand for rides and charges customers an additional percentage on top of the base fare. The company will cap the extra fee at 100 percent of the basic rate, the spokeswoman said.

Greyhound temporarily closed locations in Florida at 5 p.m. ET. It suspended service on a number of its routes in the state at noon on Thursday including: Orlando to Miami, Miami to Fort Meyers, Miami to Key West and Jacksonville to Miami via Fort Pierce.

Greyhound said its Tallahassee terminal will remain open, but only for westbound departures. The company said its locations in Charlotte and Fayetteville, North Carolina will remain open with limited service.

Theme parks

Universal Orlando Resort said some of its parks will close early on Thursday and that all parks will be closed on Friday.

SeaWorld Orlando said closed at 2 p.m., ET, on Thursday and does not expect to resume operations until Saturday.

Walt Disney World closed its Orlando parks at 5 p.m., ET, today and that it will be closed all day Friday.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex said it is closed and projects it will reopen on Saturday at 9 a.m., ET.

Hotels & resorts

Marriott International said in a statement it is keeping an eye on the storm's progress and that it has "well-established hurricane plans." The company emphasized its teams are "well-versed in implementing these plans." Marriott said its hotels in Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba have not reported direct impact from the hurricane and remain open.

The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach said it is temporarily closed through 2 p.m., ET, Saturday.

The InterContinental Miami said it has made preparations to ensure the safety of its guests. A spokesman for the hotel said "all is well in Miami" and "it is business as usual."

Hilton has activated its emergency preparedness procedures. The company is also recommending and encouraging its guests to "check with the hotel directly in the affected areas to make any changes in their reservations," a Hilton spokeswoman said in a statement.

A campaign aide for Donald Trump, who owns the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida told NBC News that the New York businessman, "spoke to his employees yesterday to ensure they were being safe and following instructions from local officials. The club is not yet open for the season."

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, CNBC's parent company, also owns Universal Orlando Resort.

— CNBC's Mike Newberg and Deidre Bosa, and NBC's Hallie Jackson contributed to this report.