Saturday, December 1, 2007

des moines airport

The Des Moines International Airport will be closed until early afternoon, according to Craig Smith, the airport's aviation director.

Earlier this morning, United flight 7244 to Chicago slid off one of the runways. Nobody was injured. The plane was carrying 44 people.

The airport's other runway is closed due to wind.

There are many cancellations and closures as the weather becomes worse.

Elementary, middle schools and high schools have canceled all activities for today. Colleges across the state have also canceled Saturday classes.

Churches in the metro area have either canceled activities or postponed them for a later time.

To inform us of a canceled event or to notify us of a closing, call 284-8065 or Click here to use the online cancellation announcement system

Iowa State Patrol officials are reporting snow or ice covered roads across much of the area south and west of Des Moines. Towing on many is prohibited.

That means, according to Osceola Police Chief Marty Duffus, "if you go into the ditch, you're going to stay there. We might come get you and take you to a hotel as officers are available."

Brad Fillbach of the National Weather Service in Johnston said early snow turned over to freezing rain in Des Moines shortly after 6:30 a.m. Precipitation should stay in the form of freezing rain through morning, then change to rain in early afternoon. A thunderstorm is even possible, he said.

"It's not goin to get any better, it's going to get worse," Fillbach said. "If you don't have to go anywhere stay home."

Several wrecks were reported south of Des Moines, including one that has closed southbound Interstate 35 from Osceola to near the Missouri state line.

"They've got some serious wrecks down there right now," said Sgt. Mark Casey of the Iowa State Patrol. "It's 100 percent ice south of highway 92."

Periods of snow, freezing rain and sleet are expected before 9 a.m., then periods of rain or freezing rain until noon, according to service forecasts.

Highs will be in the mid-30s and wind will blow from 18 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Up to a half-inch of ice is possible. Little or no snow will accumulate, according to forecaasts.

Tonight in Des Moines, showers and wind are likely. There may be a thunderstorm before midnight.

Sunday is forecast to be colder, with temperatures in the mid-20s and continued gusty wind.

The northern half of the state will see periods of snow before 9 a.m., then periods of freezing rain and sleet until 3 p.m. Highs will be near 32 and winds will gust up to 30 mph.

Snow and sleet in northern Iowa could measure up to 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Flurries will continue into Sunday.
United regional jet slid off the runway at Des Moines International Airport this morning, closing the airport for between four and six hours as workers try to remove the stuck jet.

Nobody was hurt. Authorities said they will try to reopen the airport between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

United flight 7244 to Chicago was taxiing toward one of the airport's two runways at 7:40 a.m. today when the pilot made a turn onto the runway. The plane's right wheel slid on some ice and then sunk into the adjacent grass, according to Craig Smith, the airport's aviation director.

Shuttle buses were immediately sent to the runway to retrieve the 44 passengers on the Canadair regional jet, Smith said.

The runway -- runway 13-31, which runs from the northwest to the southeast
-- will be closed as the Iowa Air National Guard attempts to remove the plane from the runway.

"We're going to get it off there as fast as we can and get the runway reopened," he said.

The runway itself was OK, Smith said, but the icy edges caused the plane to slide.

The airport's other runway was closed today due to high winds.

Smith said the airport does not yet know what airlines will do with today's flights. For now, all are delayed at least 4 to 6 hours, though airlines will determine whether they are canceled.

"It's a true inconvenience," Smith said. "We're got a terminal full of people who probably aren't very happy."

He suggests people who are flying today should constantly be checking with their airlines for updates on their flights.

Earlier in the morning, Northwest Flight 5603 to Minneaplis, a regional jet, slid on its taxiway about 7 a.m. with 40 passengers and three crew aboard.

The jet's its nosegear was just barefly off the taxiway, airport authorities said.


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