Snow, sleet, rain and high winds have made for challenging conditions at the Quad-City International Airport, Moline, and contributed to a jet sliding along a taxiway Saturday, airport spokeswoman Ashleigh Johnston said.
Outbound Delta Flight 4241 slid on a taxiway shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday, Johnston said. The jet, bound for Detroit, was carrying 50 passengers plus a crew. No injuries were reported.
MetroLINK transferred the passengers from the jet to the terminal.
Johnston said the airport closed Friday at 2:42 p.m. and reopened Saturday at 10:19 a.m.
With the snow followed by freezing rain and sleet and then rain with high winds and arctic temperatures following that, Johnston said that crews have been working virtually non-stop to keep runways and taxiways clear of ice and snow. Much of what was melting froze again once the temperature began to fall.
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At 1 p.m. when the jet slid, Johnston said that the runways were clear but the taxiway the jet was on still had some ice, “which contributed to today’s event.”
The wind also contributed. At the time the Delta jet slid, meteorologist Tim Gross of the National Weather Service, Davenport, said a wind gust of 45-mph, or 39 knots, occurred at the airport.
Gross said the temperature at the airport at 10 a.m. Saturday was 35 degrees, but by noon the mercury had dropped to 19 degrees. An hour later when the Delta jet slid, the temperature had fallen to 17 degrees.
Gross said the highest wind gust at the Moline airport was 51 mph, or 46 knots, at 2 p.m.
Johnston stressed that anyone who has booked a flight call the air carrier to see if the flight has been canceled or delayed before coming to the airport.
She said the runways are clear and the airport will remain open as long as it’s safe for aircraft to land.
However, with the closing of the airport Friday and the issues with the weather Saturday many flights have been delayed or canceled, she said.