Winter weather cancels flights for Mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA – Columbia Regional Airport canceled two departures and delayed an arrival Wednesday because of the weather; but not the weather happening here in Missouri.

One of the canceled flights was going to Chicago, the other one going to Denver, but weather conditions in both of those cities just weren't ideal.

"When booking your flight, make sure that you not only look at your departing airport, but also look at the airport you're flying to, it's not necessarily just Columbia, it's no different from flying back into Columbia...that departing airport may have some weather impacts this time of the year," Airport Manager Mike Parks said.

Looking ahead, according to the National Weather Service, Chicago will have a chance of snow Thursday and rain on Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday. The temperature will be between 33 and 45 degrees during that time.

Denver only has a chance of snow on Thursday, and the temperature will range between 17 and 37 degrees Thursday through Sunday.

It's supposed to storm in Dallas Thursday through Saturday, but the temperature will be between 43 and 64 degrees.

KOMU 8 Weathercaster Tim Schmidt predicts some flights out of Columbia Regional Airport Thursday might be canceled because of freezing rain, but it will get warmer from Thursday to Sunday.

Columbia Regional Airport has a crew of five full-time maintenance workers, who are always on-call, and are in charge of keeping the "apron" (what airport employees call the landing strip) clear of ice or other hazards. 

"We have a high-speed broom, we use means of friction, so we use heated sand and things like that," Parks said. "We're not able to use salt like you do on the roads."

This time of year, potholes can also be a concern. Potholes form when water underground expands and contracts because of the weather. Columbia Regional Airport crews check for potholes on the apron everyday and Parks said if they find one, they act on it quickly.

So, flights probably won't have to worry about potholes.

When it comes to winter weather, ice is a bigger problem than snow.

"Ice is much more difficult to be able to deal with than snow," Parks said. "There's only certain types of things we can treat the runways with, it's different from the highways-we don't have 100,000 cars a day traveling down the roadway to break the ice up, create heat, things like that."

Because of the way communication works between Columbia Regional and the airlines that use it, the airport doesn't have to worry about losing a lot of revenue.

"The airline works with the customers to be able to rebook them and get them to their destinations, or bring them into Columbia," Parks said.

Be sure to stick with KOMU 8 for the latest weather updates.