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Hurricane Dorian: More than 1,200 Labor Day Flights Canceled

Hurricane Dorian satellite
NOAA

Here are the latest developments on Hurricane Dorian:

More than 1,200 Labor Day Flights Canceled As Of Monday Afternoon

More than 1,200 Labor Day flights in the U.S. have been canceled as of Monday afternoon, many of them in Florida as Hurricane Dorian barrels toward the state's coast.

The flight tracking site FlightAware said there were more than 1,200 US flights canceled for Monday. More than 1,000 of them are flying into or out of Florida airports. There are also cancellations in North Carolina, Atlanta, Maryland and elsewhere. In comparison, 336 flights had been canceled for Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts Dorian to be 40 to 50 miles (65 to 80 kilometers) off the Florida coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, with hurricane-force wind speeds extending about 35 miles (55 kilometers) to the west.

Orlando Airport To Close 

Officials at Florida's busiest airport say they will close as of 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Orlando International Airport officials had said late Saturday that the airport would remain open Monday because of the turn northward in Hurricane Dorian's projected path.

But they decided to close early Tuesday due to forecasts of high winds, would would make travel unsafe, the airport said on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Florida Orders Some Evacuations On East Coast

Mandatory evacuation orders in Florida for low-lying and flood-prone areas and mobile homes are taking effect starting either Sunday or Monday from Palm Beach County north to at least the Daytona Beach area, and some counties to the north issued voluntary evacuation notices.

Weekend traffic was light in Florida despite those orders, unlike during the chaotic run-up to Hurricane Irma in 2017 when unusually broad Irma menaced the entire state. Current forecasts show only Florida's east coast is affected, meaning residents may choose to flee westward.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a Sunday evening briefing that the light traffic might also be in part due to many residents being seasonal and living elsewhere or already having departed on Labor Day trips. He says remaining residents need to closely monitor forecasts and announcements.

"Please prepare, because this thing is a big boy," DeSantis said.

READ MORE: Historic Dorian, With 185 MPH Winds, Forecast To Flirt With Florida Coastline

Millions from Florida to the Carolinas kept a wary eye on the slow-moving Dorian amid indications it would veer sharply northeastward after passing the Bahamas and track up the U.S. Southeast seaboard. But authorities warned that even if its core did not make U.S. landfall, the potent storm would likely hammer the coast with powerful winds and heavy surf.

WEATHER: Storm track, hourly outlooks, 7-day forecasts and weather alerts

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Dorian stories from WUSF and throughout the state

Palm Beach County announced a mandatory evacuation for the eastern half of the county beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday after the morning forecast put the area in a tropical storm warning. The evacuation includes mobile homes, substandard housing, low-lying areas prone to flooding and homes along the Intracoastal Waterway and on barrier islands.

In Miami, Carmen Segura said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days. She felt well prepared and less worried, given the latest forecasts, but still was uneasy given the storm's unpredictability.

"Part of me still feels like: So, now what?" Segura said.

The airport originally had planned to stop commercial flights at 2 a .m. Monday for passenger safety and to give the airport's 25,000 workers enough time to secure their homes and be with their families.

The airport had 47.7 million passengers travel through it last year.