Local first responders head south ahead of Hurricane Matthew; local airports brace for major delays

- Local first responders with the Red Cross have deployed emergency crews to areas expected to be in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Two Red Cross volunteers deployed with an emergency response vehicle to Columbia, South Carolina on Wednesday. Three more Red Cross volunteers are expected to leave today for either South Carolina or Florida. 20 more volunteers - equipped with food, water, and other resources – will be ready to respond from our area over the next few days.

Some 3,000 people checked into shelters across Florida on Wednesday and the governor of South Carolina prepared to call for more evacuations as the storm gained strength on its way along the heavily populated Atlantic coast.

FOX 5's Anjali Hemphill was at Reagan National Airport and said that a few flights to the Florida area had already been canceled and that the airport is bracing for more disruptions.

On its website, Fort Lauderdale International Airport announced plans to close at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Officials advised travelers to check with individual airlines about flight plans.

Officials at Miami International Airport will continue monitoring the storm and warned of possible flight cancelations. On its website, officials noted that generally "airports don't' operate in sustained crosswinds that exceed 35 mph."

The Palm Beach International Airport website doesn't say when flights will be suspended, but asked travelers to stay away, noting that the airport is not intended for use as a shelter.

In Orlando airport officials are preparing for hurricane conditions. In a note on its website, officials at Orlando International Airport say they plan to being "reducing flights into Orlando and altering schedules starting Thursday, lasting through Friday." They, too, advise travelers to get in contact with individual airlines for flight plans.

The Jacksonville International Airport website also advises travelers to check flight status with the airlines before heading to the airport.

CHECK LOCAL AIRPORT STATUS:

REAGAN: http://www.flyreagan.com/dca/reagan-national-airport

BWI: http://bwiairport.com/en

DULLES: http://www.flydulles.com/iad/dulles-international-airport

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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