Kansas City Airport (KCI) Now Open After Storm Debris

kansas city airport closed

Kansas City International Airport The Kansas City airport was closed after storm debris landed on its airfield.

Kansas City International Airport (KCI) was temporarily closed on the evening of May 28, 2019 so the airport could clean storm debris off its airfield. A devastating tornado struck communities near Kansas City.

However, the airport wrote: “12:15AM update. The airport/airfield is open. Runway 1L/19R & associated taxiways open for business. We apologize for the inconvenience. A tornado destroyed homes and businesses miles away & debris rained down onto the airport. Our crews had to clean it up in order to be safe.”

On May 29, 2019, the airport was open. However, severe weather on the east coast was resulting in delays for flights out of busy airports like LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports. You can read about that here.

KCI Airport posted a series of storm debris on its Facebook page. “We wish to thank our customers for their patience last night as we contended with severe weather in the area,” the airport wrote. “An EF-4 tornado was on the ground to the southwest was heading for KCI Airport. Kansas City Aviation Department staff and other airport employees evacuated the terminals at 7PM and sheltered customers and employees in the tunnels to the garages per our storm plan. After the all clear at around 7:45PM, staff brought everyone up to be rescreened or move on their way. Airport Operations staff ran their usual post-storm sweep of the airfield for debris. They found an immense amount of debris on the runways and taxiway.”


Earlier on May 28, the airport wrote: “11:20 update: Crews working feverishly to clean up debris, much from a distant greenhouse/nursery. Estimated airfield/airport reopening just after Midnight. Many apologies. Thousands of pieces over millions of square feet. One piece in an engine can be catastrophic. Safety first.”

Previous statements from the airport had indicated it might open earlier.

“Airfield is still closed because of storm debris that includes tree limbs & pieces of structures from elsewhere. Field Maintenance crews now onsite to clear. Optimistic reopening 10:30pm. Check http://FlyKCI.com or airline site,” the airport wrote. You can search flights on the airport’s website here. KQ2 reported that the fear is that storm debris, however small the pieces, could damage airplanes.

When will KCI reopen?

The airport then extended the closure to at least 11 p.m., writing, “10pm update: Airfield/airport still closed to aircraft due to unsafe conditions from area storm debris. Small pieces can damage airplanes. Crews working to clear one 2-mile 150-ft wide runway, taxiways & aprons. Estimated opening after 11pm.”

The airport explained that it’s received no reports of vehicle damage, writing, “We are receiving questions from concerned vehicle owners about possible damage. Crews are checking parking lots. There are no damaged vehicles reported thus far.” There were briefly fears that the tornado could strike the airport. “We are moving airport customers into the parking garage tunnels to shelter in place due to severe weather in the area. 7:02pm,” the airport wrote. However, it later gave the “all clear.”

There were delays due to the weather at other airports on the east coast, as well. FAA wrote:

“Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, departure traffic destined to Newark International Airport, Newark, NJ (EWR) is currently experiencing delays averaging 2 hours and 59 minutes.

Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, departure traffic destined to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, NY (JFK) is currently experiencing delays averaging 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Due to WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS, departure traffic destined to La Guardia Airport, New York, NY (LGA) is currently experiencing delays averaging 4 hours and 18 minutes.”

Here’s what you need to know:

A Tornado Struck the Town of Linwood, Kansas & Briefly Imperiled Kansas City

A large and destructive tornado struck Linwood, Kansas, causing extensive damage. At least a dozen homes were destroyed in Linwood, ABC News reported.

However, journalist Ariel Rothfield of KHSB-TV reported that first responders told her there were no fatalities and only minor injuries. KMBC-TV reported that a large “rain-wrapped tornado” ripped through Linwood.

News reporters went live from the scene, which is located near Lawrence, Kansas. Lawrence is located in Douglas County. Douglas County officials told the Kansas City Star that at least 11 people were injured in Lawrence from the twister. In Linwood, wrote the Star, “houses were damaged and destroyed for a mile in any direction.” Bonner Springs, another community in Kansas, also suffered damage, according to ABC News.

The Kansas Red Cross wrote on Twitter, “The American Red Cross is opening a shelter in Lawrence, Kansas, following a tornado that touched down this evening. The shelter is located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Building 21 (2120 Harper Street, Lawrence, KS 66046).” LMH Health in Lawrence wrote, “LMH Health has activated its emergency incident command center and is receiving patients with injuries. Great staff response. Our thoughts are with those impacted, including some of our LMH Health family. Everybody stay safe!”

Linwood, population only about 375, is positioned about 45 minutes from Kansas City, and, for a brief period of time, Kansas City metro was also threatened by the twister. However, that threat passed.

“Just got a text from a friend in Linwood saying their ‘house is gone,'” wrote one Twitter user. You can see updated radar for the Kansas City area here.

Earlier in the evening, there were tornado warnings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. It was a week of destructive tornadoes as twisters hit Jefferson City, Missouri, the Dayton, Ohio area, and El Reno, Oklahoma.

According to NBC New York, the storm that briefly imperiled New York City is the same system that created the tornadoes that devastated parts of the Midwest. There were 52 tornadoes Monday in eight states, NBC New York reported.

“So much damage out there. We pray for you Linwood and for anyone affected tonight. If you are out helping please stay safe and we hope we continue to hear it is only homes or cars damaged,” BHLS Athletics wrote on Twitter.