Snow How: Pushing Winter Storm Jonas Off The Runway

  • Jan 24, 2016 5:33am GMT

Snow teams worked around the clock to clear the airfield at Dulles International Airport. The total area to be cleared is equivalent to about 800 football fields! Watch video below of snow removal operations at Dulles Video 4

The runways are expected to remain closed today at both Reagan National and Dulles International Airport with the resumption of flights unlikely through Sunday night. “Reagan National and Dulles International airports continue to experience significant snowfall and high winds, forecast through the early morning hours on Sunday, making snow removal on the runways, roadways and parking lots difficult,” the airport authority said in a statement. “Coupled with the continued closure through the weekend of roads and public transportation in surrounding communities, these conditions make resumption of normal flight operations at the airports unlikely on Sunday.” The statements concludes saying, “We will continue to evaluate conditions, and if the runways can be safely opened sooner we will do so,”

Not an easy task. Watch various videos below from other places deal with more frequent heavy snow like Finland, Sweden and Canada. But no matter the expertise or experience most storms will still cause delays or cancellations. Toronto, like most airports that deal with winter conditions, has a winter operation plan to minimize the impact. Pearson airport has the largest Central Deicing Facility in the world. Its six deicing bays can accommodate up to 12 aircraft simultaneously. Deicing can take 2 to 19 minutes, depending on weather severity. During active weather events they use a Hangar Deicing Facility.

At Toronto Pearson, 183 people are involved in snow clearing operations. Four teams are dedicated to providing around-the-clock snow clearing services for the runways and taxiways. All maintenance crews not on shift are on standby for the duration of the winter season. Toronto Pearson has 94 pieces of snow clearance equipment and 14 snow melters. Snow removal crews follow an established and rehearsed plan. It takes about 15 minutes, on average, to clear a runway. Up to 30 vehicles plow, sweep, clear and treat all airfield surfaces. Ride along during an operation in Video 3 below.

VIDEO 1 Helsinki Airport

VIDEO 2 Arlanda Airport Sweden In less than ten minutes, Volvo's specially-built articulated haulers clear the runways at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, which never has had to close because of the snow. Video by Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

VIDEO 3 Toronto Pearson Airport Mark Weusten See aspects of the snow removal process at Toronto Pearson (YYZ) airport, including the various machines and techniques, plus views of parts of the airport that are normally seen when looking out the window of the plane. Vehicles that appear in the video include: Vammas 5500, Oshkosh Sweeper, Oshkosh Blower, Boshung Blower, Boshung Plow & Sweeper & more... There are a few planes that appear in the video, too, both big and small. De-icing fluid Ethylene glycol makes an appearance, too!