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Texas storms ground Valley air travelers

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 5:21 pm, Wed Jun 12, 2013.

McALLEN - Hundreds of stranded passengers are waiting for flights in and out of the area this morning after severe rain storms and wind forced airports throughout the state to ground flights Tuesday.

The havoc that bad weather unleashed at airline hubs like Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Houston Intercontinental Airport spread to smaller airports throughout the state in the form of flight delays and cancellations.

In Dallas and Houston, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded most of Tuesday's flights.

Consequently, all afternoon flights out of McAllen-Miller International Airport were canceled and many flights at Valley International Airport in Harlingen were delayed more than two hours, said José Mulet, a spokesman for Valley International.

American Airlines even canceled its morning flight leaving McAllen today.

"We encourage everyone to contact their airlines," said Kristi Salinas, the acting assistant director at McAllen-Miller.

A severe storm front swept through the southern United States over the weekend and early this week. The storm prompted tornado warnings in Dallas, Corpus Christi and elsewhere.

In Dallas, Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated the airport's west tower for about 15 minutes after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway.

Cancellations at DFW affected more than 700 flights.

In Harlingen, all five Continental Express flights from VIA to Houston were canceled, according to Norma Cardenas, a supervisor for the airline.

The weather didn't force any cancellations for Southwest Airlines at the Harlingen airport, though - just delays as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, said Bill McNutt, the airline's local operations manager. Southwest flies out of Houston-Hobby, the less affected of the city's two airports.

However, Southwest did restrict travel by unaccompanied minors to avoid confusion if a flight was diverted to another airport. Children younger than 12 who are traveling alone were not allowed to fly.


Staff reports from The Valley Morning Star contributed to this story.


Kyle Arnold covers business, the economy and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4410.

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