RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of flights were grounded by airlines because of snow and ice last 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 to move in. Old piles of snow and ice still linger from last week’s storm, but incoming weather will likely lay down more of it.
“Of course, we had a smaller one, 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 head out to ensure your flight is not delayed or canceled.
“It wouldn’t be unusual if we saw snow and ice tomorrow, to see that again,” she said.
Airlines are also in charge of de-icing own planes. It’s up to the airport however to ensure walkways, roadways, and runways are clear. The winter weather team is made up of airport employees and contractors. They will be working 12-hour days. They’ll get to plowing as soon we see a half-inch of wet snow or 2 inches of dry snow.
“We have a lot of pavement here at the airport — miles and miles of it. So, we are out there treating the roads and runways and taxiways and we go out there and we scrape, and we plow,” Hawco said.
The airport has two runways they can alternate between if it really starts coming down.
“We’ll treat and plow one. Close it. Treat and plow the other one. So, we always have a runway open,” Hawco said.
It’ll take more snow and ice than what is expected to completely close.
“People who’ve been here 20 years can’t remember it ever happening,” Hawco said.
At least one runway will stay open as long as it’s safe to land and brake on. We can’t totally predict what will happen over the coming days, but the crews here say they’re ready as they can be.
“We’ve done it before and we’ll be prepared for this weekend as well,” Hawco said.