Feb. 22-24 Winter Storm Impacts at MSP: Unusual Runway Use Expected

Feb. 22-24 Winter Storm Impacts at MSP: Unusual Runway Use Expected

February 22, 2023

This week’s severe winter storm has already resulted in nearly 400 flight cancellations as of Wednesday morning at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). This is more than 50% of the operations that occur during a typical day. Continued travel impacts are expected as the storm continues.

In addition to intense snowfall, the storm has brought strong gusting winds out of the northeast. Wind conditions are a significant factor in airport operations. Air Traffic Controllers assign runways to arriving and departing aircraft with the greatest amount of headwind, especially when wind speed exceeds 10 miles per hour. This provides the safest and most efficient flight conditions possible.

MSP’s two parallel runways (Runway 12L/30R and 12R/30L) are used most frequently. Today’s high winds will cause controllers to shift traffic to other runways for arriving and departing aircraft, including Runway 4 and Runway 35. Residents may notice unusual flight patterns when these runways are in use. Runway assignments are expected to change as wind and weather conditions shift. Air Traffic Control will transition to the use of the parallel runways when winds allow.

Please visit the MAC FlightTracker to view arriving and departing aircraft in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Arriving aircraft are depicted in red, while departing aircraft are depicted in green.