April 14, 2018 11:25 PM
Crews are working overnight into Sunday morning to clear the runways at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to airport officials.
Around 2 p.m. Saturday, the airport issued a ground stop, allowing no flights in or out. According to an airport spokesperson, the ground stop was unprecedented.
"I've been here almost 18 years and the longest we had all four runways down was the week before Super Bowl 52, when all the runways closed for two hours because of snow," said Patrick Hogan, with airport operations.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday , airport officials said one runway had been cleared and the last remaining flight of the day was able to depart.
Crews were able to clear a runway to allow today’s last remaining flight to depart, and will continue to work overnight to prepare for tomorrow’s operations.— MSP Airport (@mspairport) April 15, 2018
The statement said crews would continue to work to prepare for operations on Sunday.
Hogan said several factors contributed to the ground stop, including the pace and volume of the snow. He said plow crews would clear a runway, only to find it completely covered up again half an hour later. Hogan also said there were reports that planes were having to go through multiple de-icing sessions before taxiing to the runway.
Passengers grew increasingly frustrated as the flight notification board showed more and more cancellations as the day went on.
"We got in at 6:30 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. flight and at 10:30 a.m. they cancelled on us," said Melissa Swallow, who was trying to get to Orlando.
Becca Kennedy, a truck driver from Georgia, was stranded at the airport after her flight was cancelled.
"I've called five motels and everything is booked up," Kennedy said as she flipped through her phone. "I don't even have warm clothes."
Her plan is to hunker down for several days. Her airline has told her she can likely catch a flight out sometime on Monday.
Some passengers, like Susan Bruhl and her husband got close to taking off, only to have the plane called back to the terminal.
"We were on the airplane for about three hours and then they said, nice try, and brought us back to the airport which is now closed," Bruhl said.
The couple lives in Hawaii now, but are originally from Minnesota.
"There's a reason we live in Hawaii and no longer have to put up with this and I feel bad for everyone," Bruhl said. "This is the time of year you look forward to the most and it just seems to be never ending."
Airport officials are asking anyone with flights that are scheduled to leave Sunday to check with the airline on the status of the airport before leaving their home or hotel.
Updated: April 14, 2018 11:25 PM
Created: April 14, 2018 02:09 PM
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