Airline delays from snow at all three airports

(Photo: Kendis Gibson)

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Hundreds of flights have been canceled at the three airports serving the Washington and Baltimore areas as a result of a major winter storm.

Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports have been closed since about 6 a.m. Thursday. According to a tweet from DCA, Reagan National is officially reopened as of 5:05 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Reagan National was virtually silent Thursday morning, with most vendors closed for business. Robin Church of Washington was hoping to land a standby seat to Florida with her husband, betting that most other passengers would be no-shows.

And it has been an all-day, non-stop effort for ground crews:

"We reported last night at 6 p.m. and worked six-hour shifts and we split up the team," said airport manager Paul Malandrino.

Malandrino oversees a team of 150 people trying to clear the airport runways and taxiways – and it hasn’t been easy:

"We had poor visibility, it was virtually impossible to see."

18 hours after the first flakes, the runways remained shut down. Thursday’s storm gave a lot of challenges to the crews trying to clear this 5,000-foot runway and the others here at Reagan national

The intensity of the snow and the direction of the wind only added to the demands.

"It gets to the point where by the time you do one past down the runway, it's like painting the bridge -- just when you finished painting you have to go back and paint again," described Malandrino.

The efforts of Malandrino and his crew had hundreds of passengers counting on them, including Mustafa Lutfi and his girlfriend, who were trying to make a 4 p.m. Miami cruise.

"If we can't [make it], we are gonna rent a car -- the first port of call is in Key West, which is an hour from Miami so we will just hop in a car," said Lutfi.

Back outside, a convoy of trucks removed tons of snow from the airport taxiways in hopes that a certain 2:55 p.m. Miami flight would be the first take-off of the day – hopefully with the cruise-ship couple on board.

Meanwhile, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport remained open throughout the storm, but spokesman Jonathan Dean says all but a handful of Thursday's flights have been canceled.

As of 10:55 a.m. Thursday, the airport delay and cancellation numbers are:

Reagan National (DCA) # (%) Departures cancelled 349 (79%) Departures delayed 3 ({<}1%) Arrivals canceled 327 (74%) Arrivals delayed 6 (1%)

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Washington Dulles Intl (IAD) # (%) Departures cancelled 274 (73%) Departures delayed 15 (4%) Arrivals canceled 249 (66%) Arrivals delayed 23 (6%)

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Baltimore/Washington Intl (BWI) # (%) Departures cancelled 238 (83%) Departures delayed 4 (1%) Arrivals canceled 217 (74%) Arrivals delayed 7 (2%)