CLEVELAND — Leaders at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport said they are ready to deal with different winter storm challenges over the next 48-hours compared to what they had to cope with during the winter storm that hit Northeast Ohio in mid-January.
Cleveland Commissioner of Airports Khalid Bahhur told News 5 the current storm will present a series of ice issues along with heavy snow, as flight cancellations in-and-out of Hopkins continue to mount.
“This storm has rain, it has temperatures dropping, it has snow, so it’s a different mixture of weather," Bahhur said. “If there’s ponding in the area, we have brooms that can eliminate the ponding, so it doesn’t freeze. We have folks that check friction on the runways to make sure that it meets our standards.”
Bahhur said he's stepped-up staffing at the airport is prepared to deal with extreme flight delays and he said he wouldn't hesitate to shut down airport runways if they become a safety issue in any way.
“We classify this as a "Code Red," which means all hands on deck," Bahhur said. "So this is everyone involved in the snow operation, even those who aren’t typically plowing snow."
"We can close if we need to close the runways until we catch up until we get there. We will never put anyone at risk. This is a safety-first culture here.”
“If there is an emergency, we have a protocol to be able to provide blankets for our passengers to make them a little more comfortable.”
Bahhur urged travelers to double drive times to the airport into this coming Saturday and said it's imperative travelers check flight status with their airline minute-by-minute to confirm any changes.
The latest flight information and airport status can be found on the Hopkins International Airport web page.