GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - The change in weather in the past 24 hours has affected many across the Upper Peninsula, from the roads to airport operations, making it unkind for people traveling Friday.
"We transitioned from 40 degrees yesterday where we had a pretty steady rainfall down to low 20s within an hour's timeline and that created a lot of water which turned to ice and sleet and snow and now the wind has picked up, and the winds are a crosswind. We have a northwest wind, pretty stiff wind out there, that creates hazardous landing conditions even if we had a bare runway," says Duane DuRay, Airport Manager at K.I. Sawyer International Airport.
Those conditions caused this morning's flights from K.I. Sawyer International Airport to Chicago O'Hare and Minneapolis to be canceled. Escanaba's Delta County Airport also canceled its flight this morning due to similar icy conditions. Luckily, Houghton County Memorial Airport was spared and functioned as normal.
"Safety is a huge issue when it comes to Sawyer International Airport. We do not want to endanger any of our passengers with poor runway conditions and we are also held under a very stringent rules with the FAA when it comes to runway condition reporting," DuRay explains.
But runways weren't the only thing of concern, workers were out plowing and maintaining the areas around the airport as well.
"A lot of snow shoveling, snow blowing, more salting, more sanding," describes Joe Speruzzi, an airport custodian at K.I. Sawyer International Airport.
"We're just trying to keep the airport accessible to everybody, ya know, it's very hard for us and people traveling too," he continues.
"Staff is working - they've quite literally been working 24 hours on this - and our whole goal is to make a very safe and viable airport for the Marquette community," reiterates Duray.
Due to a large accumulation of ice on the runway surfaces, flights scheduled for Friday night at both K.I. Sawyer and Delta County could possibly be canceled as well.
"And it only helps if everyone when they come out realize that this is not by any intention the fault of anybody but Mother Nature," says DuRay.