How Airports Prepare for Extreme Weather

Severe weather such as rain, thunderstorm-related phenomena, and wind makes aviation operations difficult and, in some cases, impossible. Each airport is unique, facing its own weather-related challenges. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are steps that can mitigate risk maintaining safety for staff, passengers and equipment. Rapidly changing conditions require systems that provide analytics, such as real time lightning data, quickly and accurately.

How Airports Prepare for Extreme Weather

Best Practices

Weather has always affected airport operations. As a result, they have well-developed plans in place to respond to typical weather patterns. However, as significant weather events become commonplace, specific assets of the airport system require different procedures to maintain safety and reduce the number and length of disruptions.

  • Aircraft Evacuation – Dispatchers reroute planes that may be affected by the weather system to different airports.
  • Passenger Boarding and Deplaning – Movement onto or off an aircraft may be delayed due to passenger and staff safety concerns.
  • Secure Equipment – The equipment used to reposition aircraft, such as tugs and pullies are relocated and secured close to the terminals or gates.
  • Suspend Fueling – When lightning is detected within a specific range, fuel handling is suspended. In some cases, this may result in short flight delays.
  • Use Hangar Parking – Aircraft that has had the next flight delayed or canceled is sent to a hanger.
  • Receive Lightning Alerts – Access to a network of lightning detectors, both on the ground and in- cloud help airports pinpoint the storm action, enabling them to reroute flights in-air.

How Airports Prepare for Extreme Weather

Access to Real-Time Data

Storm analytics provide the data airports need to make informed decisions before, during and after severe weather. Visit for information on their Total Lightning Network™.  This network of more than 1,800 storm detectors in countries around the world monitor in-cloud lightning to generate fast, accurate storm alerts. Warnings for hail and tornadoes can also be sent. Wind shear and downburst predictions help minimize risk and keep passengers, equipment and employees safe when storms are in the area.


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