Five Ways Airports can Prepare for Hurricanes
1. Secure the airfield and surrounding areas
Tie down all aircraft, causeways, support vehicles, etc., and store all lightweight materials away from windows and low points of elevation. Heavy wind or severe flooding can cause stationary objects without these securities to become free moving without control which can cause damage to infrastructure and aircraft.
2. Mitigate flooding chances
Limit or prevent unnecessary water damage to structures by constructing effective drainage plans, and place sandbags at strategic locations to divert water away from important locations around the airport. Keep sensitive items unplugged and covered in a water-resistant/proof sheet. If possible, relocate them to a secure environment away from windows or low elevations.
Airports attempt to stay open as long as possible, and open as early as possible to allow for the safe movement of people and cargo, especially for aid after a storm event. This requires constant and open communication efforts with a variety of groups including the U.S. Government, U.S. Military, Airlines, Municipalities and police. Always keep an alternate method of communication, as cell towers may be disabled for a duration.
4. Anticipate and plan
Although we cannot control storms, we can anticipate the storm beforehand. Be sure to
practice disaster drills, conduct annual and monthly inspections of structures and have a plan to keep spare fuel and generators on site.
5. Cease operations (when necessary)
Winds at or above 40 MPH typically prohibit planes from taking off or landing, so it is probable that once winds hit those speeds, airports will completely cease operations and close down. If a storm is within a few days of striking the area, airports will attempt to book as many outgoing flights as possible during this time, with limited (if any) inbound flights.