Weather cancels flights and creates extra work for crews

By Beau Ebenezer

February 17, 2014 Updated Feb 17, 2014 at 8:17 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Caterpillar employee, Dawn Nichting is trying to make it to Miami for business.

But due to the weather, her flight is running behind schedule.

She was supposed to depart at 6 am Monday.

But because of two cancellations, she's taking a different flight, 11 hours later.

"It is what it is," said Nichting. "You know mother nature. You never know when she is going to strike. You just have to roll with the punches and try to do the best you can to get where you're going."

Other flights were canceled and delayed as well.

Airport officials said weather at O'Hare International Airport is partly to blame.

But Peoria crews are facing their own challenges trying to keep operations moving smoothly.

Airport authorities said ice is their biggest concern when it comes to the runway. They will be working non-stop to make sure it is safe for travel.

Crews will sweep snow off of the runway, using large broom-vehicles.

If they don't maintain a sufficient friction level, they could be forced to shut down.

"It can drop our breaking-action down to the point where we have to close the runway," said Peoria Airports Director, Gene Olson. "If you don't stay ahead of it and keep on top of it, you could have your facility close."

Officials said they have not closed yet this winter.

Monday was no exception.