Winter storm likely to cancel and delay RDU flights

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RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Dozens of flights were grounded by airlines due to snow and ice this past weekend. This week’s winter storm will likely create a repeat of that.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport opened its emergency operations center Thursday night as it prepared for the storm’s arrival. Old piles of snow and ice still remain from last week’s storm, but inclement weather will likely deposit more.

“Of course we had a smaller, shorter one last weekend, so we got a little taste of winter,” said Stephanie Hawco.

Hawco said any cancellations and delays would be decided by the airline. If you have a flight scheduled for Friday or Saturday, check with your airline before you go to make sure your flight isn’t delayed or canceled.

“It wouldn’t be unusual if we saw snow and ice tomorrow, to see that again,” she said.

Airlines are also responsible for de-icing their own planes. However, it is the responsibility of the airport to ensure that the aisles, pavements and runways are clear. The winter weather team is made up of airport employees and contractors. They will work 12 hours a day. They will start plowing as soon as we see half an inch of wet snow or 2 inches of dry snow.

“We have a lot of pavement here at the airport – miles and miles. So we’re out there dealing with roads, runways and taxiways and we go out there and scrape and plow,” Hawco said.

The airport has two runways that they can alternate between if it really starts to descend.

“We will process and plow one. Close it. Treat and plow each other. So we still have an open track,” Hawco said.

It will take more snow and ice than expected to fully close.

“People who have been here for 20 years don’t remember this ever happening,” Hawco said.

At least one runway will remain open as long as it is safe to land and brake. We cannot completely predict what will happen in the days to come, but the crews here say they are ready as they can be.

“We’ve done it before and we’ll be ready for this weekend as well,” Hawco said.

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