Several travelers were stranded at the Denver airport as a result of a strong spring blizzard, which also caused closure of miles of highway in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The storm is expected to progress towards Midwest as of Wednesday.
As many as 1200 flights were cancelled, with takeoffs and landings deemed unsafe, as a result of the storm. Power outages caused several parts of the airport’s systems to be shut down for an hour. Fueling and deicing aircraft was made difficult for the crews.
Heath Montgomery, Denver airport spokesman, said, “We’ve got blowing snow out there, wet snow on the ground, icy conditions, low visibility, so we’re fighting all those things.”
It is the first time since 2006 – when Denver was covered in several feet of snow – that the weather had prompted the closure of the airport, Reuters reports. While the storm is expected to abate later in the afternoon, it isn’t clear when the airport will reopen. Passengers were stranded in terminals as a result of a major roadway that was blocked.
The storm system is progressing towards the northeast. It is expected to impact strongly in South Dakota later in the day. High gusts of wind are expected to continue throughout the day.
Meg Stocker, a passenger, was traveling to San Jose, California. Her plane was forced to turn back due to the severe weather; as a result, she had to cancel her trip. But she could not leave the airport as the road was blocked. In a phone interview, she said, “I’ll just be happy if I’m sleeping in my own bed tonight.
Alicia Bailey, another passenger, was returning from a trip in Colorado Springs, CBS Denver reports. Upon arriving to the airport after a four hour drive, she learned that her flight had been cancelled. “I had a nice little cocktail, and that calmed the nerves down because I was frazzled,” she said.
Drivers were issued an order to not access the interstates in the Denver area unless they had chains, snow tires or four-wheel drive vehicles. The same warning is generally issued for those driving in the mountains.