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How airport runways get cleared in severe winter weather

snow plows.PNG
Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 07:53:09-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Wintry weather has arrived in Central Indiana with full fury, challenging people to clear roads and runways.

Crews that clear the runways of ice and snow to keep aircraft arrivals and departures on the move, help open the airport daily.

"Practicing the plan, so when we actually have snow, that muscle memory kicks in and keeps (the) airport open safely," Keith Berlen, who operates a snowplow, said.

Federal regulators require a one-time annual snow removal training session.

The airport has 11 machines known as the MB-5, which operates as a plow, broom, and blower. The machine helps the team clear a runway in about 30 minutes.

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"It's not uncommon we have a need on a snow fight for up to 2 days just depends on what we get," Berlen said.

With Indianapolis getting an average of 25 inches of snow a year — the team lives with the threat of being called in anytime between now and March 31.

That means Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's could be spent on the runways.

These winter warriors are ready to roll anytime the flurries fly.

Some federally approved chemicals can be used during severe weather, but Indy's operations team does not apply salt on the runways.

READ | Snow plow drivers in high demand as the winter season arrives

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