Harvey to cause major airport delays nationwide (Credit: NOAA/Satellite Products and Services Division)
DISCUSSION: As Hurricane Harvey hits the Texas coast, not only is flooding and heavy rains a major concern on the roadways, it is also a major concern at many airports. Houston will be among the firsts as Houston-Hobby and Houston Bush Intercontinental will be affected heavily as they are the hubs for Southwest and United Airlines respectively. Also, Dallas-Ft. Worth, one of the busiest airports in the United States as well as the biggest hub for American Airlines will be affected along with Dallas-Love where Southwest has a smaller focus city operation. Smaller airports including Austin-Bergstrom will also be affected due to the operations there.
The main reason that many of these airports are going to be closed and have many flight cancellations are due to very high winds as well as thunderstorms which would make it hard for planes to land and takeoff in. These conditions also would make it unsafe for the bag handlers and those working at the gate because they could get injured or killed due to these conditions. Also, the heavy rains would make it hard for planes to brake when landing because of the slick runways and could possibly get into an accident. In addition, the winds would make it hard for planes to takeoff especially when the winds at airports with only parallel runways such as Dallas-Ft. Worth will make it impossible to takeoff safely without being blown off course or even tipped over. In addition, there is a huge risk of heavy turbulence which would make it hard for planes to fly smoothly as well as downdrafts which have been known to create accidents.
Harvey is having a big effect nationwide on flights as much of the nation’s largest airlines would be without a good number of their fleets which are grounded in cities like Houston and Dallas, as well as not being able to get planes to cover some routes which are needed at other airports.
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© 2017 Meteorologist JP Kalb