Cleveland-Hopkins Airport Faces First Major Snowfall of the Year

Snow falls on Cleveland-Hopkins airport in 2012.
Snow falls on Cleveland-Hopkins airport in 2012. (ideastream file photo by Brian Bull)
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by Nick Castele

This week’s weather gave snow removal crews at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport their first test of the year. About 2.5 inches fell on the area Monday night and Tuesday morning, and some more snow is expected overnight.

This was among the first major snowfalls since the Federal Aviation Administration proposed fining Cleveland $735,000. The agency said the airport had failed to clear snow and ice from runways on several occasions over the last few years.

Fred Szabo, who oversees the airport as Cleveland’s interim director of port control, said the city is obligated to follow a snow-and-ice removal plan agreed to with the federal government.

“Since there was a prediction of 2 to 3 inches, that’s what we call a snow code yellow, and in those instances, I have 34 drivers on the airfield,” Szabo said. “That of course relates to 34 trucks, there’s snowplows, blowers, chemical vehicles, things of that type.”

Szabo and other officials traveled to Washington last month to appeal the FAA penalty, he said. A final decision is pending.

Meanwhile, Szabo says the city did receive something else from the FAA—seven new snowplows. The agency paid 75 percent of the cost of those vehicles, and the city plans to buy more in the next few years. 

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