PORTLAND, Ore. — Wednesday's near-record snowfall in Portland left the city's runways gridlocked along with its roadways Thursday, with hundreds of flights canceled or delayed at Portland International Airport.
By Friday morning, the number of canceled or delayed flights had gone down but there were still a total of 42 delayed flights and 43 canceled flights, including both inbound and outbound flights.
That's far fewer than Thursday afternoon, when the online departures and arrivals board showed 188 cancelled flights and 33 delayed flights, including both inbound and outbound flights.
A message on the airport's website urged travelers to contact their airlines and check their flight statuses before heading to the airport, and to allow extra time to arrive safely.
A few flights made it in and out in the early morning hours Thursday, according to the board, but the vast majority were canceled or delayed Thursday, with a mix of cancellations and on-time statuses for flights in the later morning or early afternoon.
The board showed that flights ran mostly uninterrupted Wednesday morning and early afternoon, with departure cancellations beginning to pick up around 3 p.m. and arrival cancellations following suit about an hour later. Most departures after 4 p.m. and arrivals after 6 p.m. wound up canceled.
KGW's David Molko was scheduled to board what ended up being one of the few Thursday morning flights that didn't get canceled, and he called in to Sunrise to talk about the scene at the airport. He described seeing sheets of ice on streets all the way to the airport, and said the drive took more than half an hour.
"The parking situation, if you're headed out to the airport, picking people up — short-term parking, those ramps that go up into the garage — completely iced over, all blocked off, so they were routing everyone into long-term," he said.
Travelers at the airport still seemed to be in good spirits Wednesday morning, he said. There were long lines at the check-in counters but the security lines were still moving. Some travelers looked like they'd been at the airport all night, he said, looking for places to sleep in the terminal.