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Quad Cities airport staff constantly working to keep runways clear of snow

Crews started working at about 5 a.m. Thursday clearing snow from the main runway at the airport. Crews expect to return late Thursday for more 12-hour shifts.

MOLINE, Ill. — Travelers are facing a lot of delays and cancellations with Thursday's snow storm. 

That included several delays and a few cancellations at the Quad Cities International Airport. Some of those delays and cancellations came in the late morning and early afternoon Thursday, but mostly affected flights leaving the Quad Cities, according to flight tracking data on the airport's website.

However, there is a group helping keep traffic moving.

Eric Weighall is one of the people helping keep the runway clear. He's been helping with snow removal at the airport for the last five years.

"While it's snowing, we're out here. Period," Weighall said. "We'll be out here until it stops snowing, really."

The snow isn't Weighall's only challenge. Visibility from his snow-clearing brush truck is limited because of blowing snow. Because of that, he will likely return later Thursday night and into early Friday morning for another shift to keep the snow off the runway, Weighall said.

For hours, Weighall goes up and down the nearly two-mile runway, even if the airlines change schedules.

"There’s a lot of times the airport’s closed and we don’t have any flights coming in at all," Weighall said. "We’re still out here getting rid of the snow off it just in case we have a small plane that comes in."

Marlin Jackson is the airport facilities manager. He oversees the snow-removal process and the five trucks on the grounds.

The cleanup efforts won't end after the snow is done falling, Jackson said.

"The wind's gonna be challenging for the next two or three days for us," Jackson said. "If it was just snow, we could broom, we'd be done. But we're gonna have to keep going to certain areas that are gonna pocket up."

These efforts are helping make sure travelers like Chloe Smith arrive safely in the Quad Cities,

"I was doubting it a little bit but I'm very thankful to be here," Smith said.

She flew from Raleigh, North Carolina to Chicago and then to the Quad Cities.

"It wasn't snowing in Chicago at all, so we just flew right into the snow," Smith said.

"We have to keep things moving," Jackson said.

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