Skip to main content
Publish date:

'All hands on deck' at MSP Airport for pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm

It could be tough travel conditions for people going in and out of MSP.
Author:

The day before Thanksgiving is usually dubbed as the busiest travel day of the year, but that's not exactly the case at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where they are gearing up for large crowds amid a looming snowstorm Tuesday night into Wednesday. 

"It's a little higher than normal but it's not our busiest day," said John Welbes of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. "It's going to be in the low 40,000s with people coming through security."

Welbes says all hands will be on deck for what he expects to be a busier than usual second half of Tuesday and Wednesday morning. His advice is to try and arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours ahead of any international destinations. 

But with snow in the forecast, things get tricky for travelers. 

"We're watching the forecast closely and we're ready for this weather if it materializes," said Welbe. 

A winter storm warning is in effect for a large chunk of Minnesota, including the entire seven-county metro area for late Tuesday through early Wednesday. Up to a foot of snow is possible in the metro, according to the National Weather Service, which notes that gusty winds could also cause travel problems. 

"The wild card people have to take into consideration is their commute time to the airport," says Welbe. "If the roads are in rough shape then you're going to want to give yourself some more time to get here.

While delays and cancellations are always possible due to inclement weather, MSP Airport will have its full fleet of snow-clearing equipment ready to try and keep up with what could be heavy snow falling during the storm. 

"Normally when we close runways, it's because the rate of the snowfall is so fast that the plows are having trouble keeping up," Welbe says. "They can plow it and then right when they're done there's another 1/2 inch within 10 minutes or so. That's usually what causes the problems. 

"If it's a slow rate snowfall we can usually keep at least one runway open." 

So how fast and furious is snow with this storm expected to fall?

According to the forecast discussion from the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service, snow could fall fast and furious, up to 2 inches per hour for a couple of hours to begin, then slow to a more modest, yet still pretty significant .75 inches to 1-inch per hour rates. 

In the metro, the heaviest snow is forecast to fall between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday. 

9-12

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Related

snow, driving snow

Early look at predicted snowfall totals; 2nd storm after Thanksgiving?

Roads are expected to be treacherous late Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Snowstorm still on track to hit MN, major snowfall totals possible

Bottom line: it's still on track to cause major travel disruptions in Minnesota.

snow, plow

Snowstorm Saturday: The latest on how much snow is expected

8+ inches could fall in much of the metro area.

snow, buses, metro transit

Blizzard warnings issued for 'potentially historic' snowstorm

Parts of southwest Minnesota could get 2 feet of snow.

snow

NWS on the snowstorm potential for Thursday-Friday in Minnesota

Details are coming into focus as the storm gets closer.

snow

Here comes another April snowstorm in southern Minnesota

A winter storm watch has been issued and includes parts of the metro.

Screen Shot 2020-12-23 at 2.09.36 PM

All of Twin Cities metro area added to blizzard warning

Extreme blowing snow will lead to impossible travel conditions.