Airports across the northern United States, including Montana's busiest airport in Bozeman, are getting ready for winter.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport prepares for winter weather all year ‘round, said Deputy Airport director Scott Humphrey.
He said airport staff frequently checks equipment, updates their snow and ice control plan and keeps tabs on runway conditions to make sure planes can take off and land when winter weather strikes.
Humphrey said it’s not just cold temperatures or dry snow that poses a problem.
“We struggle, all airports struggle, with freezing rain and any types of heavy wet snow,” said Humphrey. “That gives us the most difficulties. There are very few times we’ll actually shut the runway done to operations.”
He said they closed a runway once for a couple of hours last year, but generally a combination of plows, brooms, blowers and de-icers keep arrivals and departures on schedule.
Humphrey said each year the airport goes through up to 8,000 gallons of liquid de-icer and around 5 tons of solid de-icer, like sand, if the weather is bad.