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KCI to reopen after evacuating FAA staff from air traffic control cab amid storm

KCI airport tower.jpg
Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 19:47:43-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All staff in the tower cab at Kansas City International Airport were evacuated for their safety amid high winds and thunderstorms.

The primary air hub for the Kansas City region moved to “Air Traffic Control (ATC) Zero” shortly before 6 p.m., according to the official KCI Twitter account.

All Federal Aviation Administration staff were moved out of the cab, leaving the airport with no air traffic controllers for flights at KCI.

“There will likely be diversions and delays,” according to KCI. “Anticipate 1 hour.”

With the worst of the storm having passed, air traffic controllers were permitted to return to the tower cab and the airport was set to repoen after a visual sweep to ensure there was no debris on the runways.

The airport was expected to reopen around 6:45 p.m.

Travelers should check for updates on flight delays and possible cancellations.

The National Weather Service has confirmed winds as fast as 67 mph at KCI this evening.

The tower at KCI stands 256 feet tall, which presents an increased danger in high-wind events.

Still, it's rare for the tower to be evacuated, according to KCI's Senior Manager for Marketing and Communications Joe McBride.