MADISON, WI -- Weather delays aren't uncommon at airports, but temps Monday morning dipped low enough to cause power failure at Dane County Regional Airport.
In a Tweet late Monday afternoon, an airport spokesperson said extremely cold temperatures caused the problem, which has now been fixed by Madison Gas and Electric.
“The temperatures in the last 30 years, we've never seen a power outage of this stature or of this length,” Dane County Regional Airport Director of Communications Brent McHenry said. “ We have had temperatures this cold before.”
The outage affected the ticketing and gate areas, but not the parking lot or airfield.
For security reasons, passengers already in the gate area had to exit and be re-screened but were prioritized based on departure time.
“We called in extra deputies to ensure that it was a safe and orderly process,” McHenry said. “People were escorted back down, re-screened and were able to go right back upstairs. That's a normal process. That's something that occurs in every airport when there's a potential for a security breach.”
The outage happened during one of the airport's busiest times at approximately 5:18 a.m. and grounded flights for about the next two-and-a-half hours until power was restored.
“At five o'clock in the morning being one of our busiest times, we anticipate there were probably about 2,000 [passengers] in the gate area and probably another 1,500 or so in the ticketing lobby preparing as they started to arrive and things weren't moving,” McHenry said.
About 15 departures were affected, but the airport was able to take arrivals during the outage.
The Dane County Regional Airport is back to running normal again.
Any flight delays now are unrelated to Monday morning's power outage.