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Snow, Snow Everywhere

Flights, games, and meals canceled

April 15, 2018 - 1:21 pm

Sunday was a catch-up day at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, after heavy snowfall and high winds forced the closure of all runways for eight hours on Saturday.

One runway was finally safe for flight around 10 o'clock Saturday night, after hundreds of flights were canceled.

"We're used to snowstorms, we have the personnel, we have the equipment to deal with it," said MSP spokesman Pat Hogan. "When it comes down at the rate it was, there simply nothing that we could do to try to keep it up."

It was the longest complete shutdown at the nation's 16th-largest airport in at least 17 years, which is the length of Hogan's tenure at MSP.

"There was one time earlier this year when we had all the runways closed for about a two-hour time period," said Hogan. "That had not happened for several years."

Because so many airlines canceled flights well before departure and arrival times, passengers were able to find out before heading to the airport. That prevented an overwhelming number of stranded travelers at MSP.

One group that never made it to the Twin Cities was the Winnipeg Jets, who were headed to Saint Paul for Sunday's Stanley Cup playoff game against the Wild. Their flight out of Canada was diverted to Duluth, and after considering plans to bus the team to the Twin Cities, officials decided to head back to Winnipeg and fly in on game day.

The Twins went to MSP to fly to the Caribbean for this week's two-game series against the Cleveland Indians.  This came after Friday, Saturday, and Sunday home games against the Chicago White Sox were snowed out. Not that a covering on Target Field would have made a difference.

"It's comical, I'm not sure we would have played had we still been in the Metrodome," said Twins president Dave St. Peter. "I'm not sure anybody could have gotten to the game, including our staff. When you get a historic blizzard, you're probably not going to play baseball."

The Twins lost four games to the weather during their ten-game homestand.  They make up the single game against Seattle on May 14th.  The White Sox games are not yet rescheduled.

"The good news is that the White Sox return two more times," said St. Peter. "That gives us some latitude, a little bit of runway to look for a smart plan to reschedule games.

Chicago's next trip to Minnesota is June 5, 6, and 7, with both teams having an off-day scheduled for June 4th.  The White Sox and Twins close out the regular season at Target Field September 28, 29, and 30.

Scheduling is not a problem for PK Egan's Family Restaurant in Canby, the western Minnesota town that absorbed more than 20 inches of snow during the height of the storm, more than any other community reported to the National Weather Service.  Restaurant owner Corinne Pesek closed down on Saturday, and reopened when the sun came out on Sunday, even though few were crowding her dining room.

"We have one reservation, and that's it," Pesek said. "We're here, hoping to serve people, but I'm not expecting to break any records, that's for sure."

Pesek said this was by far their biggest snowstorm of the year, and having the most snow isn't a record Canby was looking to achieve. "The snow is sparkling, and many feet deep in quite a few places," she said. "We had a pretty easy winter until now, I guess our time was due."