Airport Lightning Strikes Injure One; Delay ManyBy: Kristen M. Foster - September 13, 2013
Lightning strikes ground about two hours of today’s Washington Metro region air traffic to a halt and injured one air traffic controller—as of last reports, the controller is not seriously hurt. The Washington, D.C. region was hit by severe thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and the area’s three major airports: Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall (pictured here in March), Reagan National and Dulles International suffered.
The BWI website alert reports: “Airline flight operations have resumed at BWI Marshall. Travelers should check with their airline for updated flight status information.” BWI stopped all flights between approximately 2:30 pm and 4:45 pm after strikes were reported, according to airport spokesman Jonathan Dean. John Dunkerly, National Air Traffic Controllers Association president, reported to the Associate Press that he had just exited the air traffic control tower at BWI when lightning hit a runway. According to Dunkerly, a traffic coordinator was shocked when electricity traveled to the tower as the coordinator was turning on equipment.
The storms affected more than just air traffic. Though ground transportation was not as significantly impacted, flooding in roads slowed commutes and D.C. police briefly closed two blocks of Virginia Ave., NW, in Foggy Bottom. Trees were downed in the metro region and a little over 17,000 power outages were reported at the apex of the storms.
According to 2012 figures from the FAA, BWI handles an average of 734 operations a day, 688 of which are commercial operations. There are 36 total commuter, charter and cargo airlines operating from BWI and 27 commercial airlines.
Storms delayed a number of travelers, not only in the Washington, D.C. area. Some Twitter users even posted delays from Phoenix, AZ.[Images via BWI Official Facebook.]