NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — All flights prior to 5:45 p.m. at Tweed New Haven Airport on Tuesday have been cancelled.
Torrential downpours from Monday evening thunderstorms send around a foot of water into Tweed’s commercial terminal around 5:30 p.m.
When travelers showed up for flights Tuesday morning, they found a lobby full of driers and cleanup crews. That is not what anyone wants to see when you show up for a flight home. Worse yet, Cleveland, OH resident Zach Hofstetter got up at 4 a.m. for his flight out of Tweed.
“Find out that it’s not really flying,” Hofstetter said when he got to Tweed. “I’m not really surprised. The whole lobby was flooded last night.”
One airport worker said at one point the water was up to her knees. Severe thunderstorms dropped close to two inches of rain on the area Monday evening. Emergency crews responded, but there wasn’t much they could do.
“We’re just waiting for the water to recede,” said New Haven Emergency Management Director Rick Fontana around 11:30 Monday night. “We just got more water than the storm drains could handle.”
Where it ended up going was right into the terminal. New Haven’s Emergency Management Director tells us all flights heading into Tweed last night were cancelled, leaving some passengers stranded in Philadelphia.
Fontana said this was the only part of New Haven where he was aware of damaging flooding.
Airports include acres of pavement, pavement that does not absorb water. If that water can’t go down a storm drain, it’s got to go somewhere. In this case, right into the terminal.
“It’s not TSAs fault, it’s not the airline’s fault,” Hofstetter said. “You can’t really stop the weather.”
All you can do is clean up and dry out once that weather clears. With mops, vacuum cleaners, and all those driers, that is exactly what crews spent all morning doing. In the meantime, passengers were told all commercial flights in and out were cancelled until at least the early evening.
“Well, they told me they could move the flight to the later one today at 5:45, so I think I can still make it home to Nashville,” said Nashville resident Richard Colletti around 9 a.m.
In the meantime, the airlines have to figure out if their computers and security equipment survived their time underwater. While they are very busy, delayed travelers have to find something to do.
“I’m very grateful for the chance to still get out, and I’ll find some things to do that will occupy my mind,” Colletti said.
The computer screens at the terminal show the first plane arriving at Tweed at 5 p.m., and the first plane departing at 5:45 p.m. Private planes can come and go without any problem. The runway is fine, it’s just the commercial terminal with the lasting flooding issues.
Free download: Access Connecticut breaking news, weather, stream newscasts live and more on-the-go with News 8 alerts directly to your phone.