UK flights to Florida disrupted as hurricane hits Sunshine State

Flights between the UK and Florida have been cancelled or delayed as Hurricane Matthew hits the Sunshine State.

President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency for Florida. Picture: AP

The most powerful storm to threaten the US Atlantic coast in more than a decade has already left hundreds dead across the Caribbean.

Florida governor Rick Scott described it as a “monster”, adding: “I’m going to pray for everybody’s safety.”

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Flights to popular holiday destination Orlando have been affected, while the UK Foreign Office is urging people in the area to monitor weather reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida and millions of people in the state, as well as Georgia and South Carolina, were told to evacuate their homes. About 1.5 million people were advised to leave Florida as interstate highways were turned into one-way routes to speed up the exodus.

A Virgin Atlantic flight to Orlando from Manchester due to take off yesterday afternoon was cancelled.

On its website, the airline warned passengers of overnight delays affecting a number of flights yesterday and today from Manchester, Glasgow and Gatwick.

The airline is telling people to check the status of their flight before going to the airport, while passengers delayed away from home are asked to remain at their hotels where possible.

Thomas Cook Airlines delayed Glasgow and Manchester flights to and from Orlando yesterday by 24 hours due to the weather. The airline is also telling passengers there may be congestion at Orlando airport with “many flights being rescheduled by other airlines at this time”.

Orlando International Airport said flight activity was expected to stop at 8pm local time on Thursday, adding that flights were expected to resume today.

In travel advice, the Foreign Office said: “Hurricane Matthew is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the east coast of the US.