Weekend winter weather causes delays, cancellations and frustration | Local

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Along with biting wind and frigid temperatures, Columbia endured cancellations and delays all weekend.

At Columbia Regional Airport, many departing travelers still were experiencing the effects of the weekend’s freezing rain on Monday.

“I had my bags packed, said my goodbyes, and cried,” Holly Roellig said. “Then I went to bed that night and checked my phone and my flight was cancelled. I had to re-say all my goodbyes.”

Roellig is a loan officer from Auburn, California. She was stuck at the airport Monday, making calls to customers back home.

“A lot of people were hoping their loans would go through today but that won’t happen if I can’t get back into the office,” Roellig said.

Those trying to arrive didn’t have any better luck.

Andrea Benjamin, MU assistant professor of political science, was trying to fly back into town Sunday when her flight experienced its first problem. She and other passengers were waiting on the runway in Chicago when their flight was pushed to 6 a.m. Monday because the runway was too icy.

When Benjamin arrived for the rescheduled flight, she discovered it had been canceled because Columbia Regional Airport still wouldn’t accept any new arrivals.

“I understand with the weather this stuff can happen,” Benjamin said. “But I don’t want to stay at a hotel. I don’t want to cancel class. I’m stuck here.”

Benjamin had another flight Monday night and hoped to make it back for her Tuesday class.

Mike Parks, airport manager for Columbia Regional Airport, said that the airport continues to be vigilant of weather forecasts.

“We have a full time maintenance staff to treat the runways, taxiways and outside areas,” Parks said.

Parks also said that over the weekend the airport had its maintenance staff on call for the icy weather, as well as additional staff from the Airport Public Safety Department.

According to an American Airlines spokesperson, all its flights on Sunday were canceled. KOMU reported that all but one United Airlines flight was canceled as well. According to Columbia Regional Airport’s website, Monday flights were also canceled until 1 p.m.

Elsewhere in Columbia, a Public Works Department crew of 22 scrambled late Sunday to treat first- and second-priority streets, according to a department press release. Crews also watched for a potential refreeze.

The department asked drivers to continue to expect black ice and to drive under winter conditions for their own safety.

Columbia Public Schools had a two-hour delay Monday morning because of the icy conditions. They already have used two of six snow days allotted by the state. They weren’t worried about exceeding that number, though, because they have the option to have two-hour delays instead.

“It’s about having continuity and having kids in school,” said Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for Columbia Public Schools. “We want kids to be in school but we want them to be safe. If we don’t think we can do it, we won’t.”

The temperature was expected to reach 60 on Wednesday and Thursday. There was also a 60 percent chance of rain Thursday evening.

“It’s Missouri,” Baumstark said. “Weather’s unpredictable in Missouri.”

2018-02-13 02:09:33

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