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WQAD Throwback: Crews clear QC Airport runways during severe ice storm

An ice storm in February 2007 left crews scrambling to plow and salt the runways at the Quad Cities International Airport.

MOLINE, Ill. — Editor's note: This is part of a series looking back at stories from the WQAD archives. This particular one was a report on February 23, 2007, from reporter Chris Minor.

“We'd like clearance out on 927 to make a full length pass.”

Sleet pelts the windshield of the maintenance truck.

This is what it looked and sounded like on the airport's main runway. Weather-wise, it doesn't get much worse.

“By far, the ice is a lot worse to deal with the snow. This is a very dangerous condition right now.”

A fleet of trucks race to keep up with the conditions, spreading ice melting chemicals. They're focusing on the main two-mile runway, clearing it of slush and ice to keep the airport open.

“Once we get the chemicals down, we've always historically been able to stay ahead of it. But this is supposed to be a long storm.”

The snow crew chief depends on a yellow car equipped with a wheel that's dropped down to the pavement. It tests friction.

“And then we can give the airlines a reading. So they'll know to a decimal point what the friction is on the runway.”

At one point the number drops … “We’re at 23, which isn’t good” but there’s still half an hour before the next plane arrives.

Time for crews to take another sweep; keep the airport open.

“We never close, in the 28 years that I've been here, we've never closed.”

But this day, it would close.