Welcome to the new year, your flight has been canceled.
Spokane International Airport wasted little time starting its new year’s list of fogged in days. For two hours Tuesday, passengers sat and stared at closed runways, waiting for planes to land or depart.
The day’s flight-stopping soup came during the early afternoon. By the time it lifted, a dozen flights into Spokane had been diverted or canceled.
“Yeah, this is the price we pay for the winters we have out here, and it makes travel difficult sometimes,” said Carl Masters, a Coeur d’Alene resident stuck for three hours as he waited for new connecting flights to get him to Los Angeles.
The Spokane airport usually gets enough fog to halt traffic about 10 days every January. Tuesday marked the first official fog-in of 1996.
The fog blanket finally began to move when winds of up to 15 miles per hour arrived from the west, according to the National Weather Service.
“At 5 p.m., visibility went from one mile to 10 miles in just 10 minutes,” said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.
The weather service forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain today in Spokane and other low-lying areas with a high of 39 degrees.
A winter storm warning was posted Tuesday for North Idaho mountains above 3,000 feet. Accumulations of six inches or more of snow are expected in the mountains today.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo