Runways Now Closed At Denver International Airport, Only A Few Flights Were Able To Depart In Heavy Morning Snow

Denver International Airport saw 11.1 inches of snow by 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Snow removal crews are hard at work, but still 836 flights have been canceled so far for Sunday, and 57 more have been delayed.

Video Transcript

- The storm really hit Denver International Airport. All the runways currently closed right now. CBS 4's Shawn Chitnis spent his morning at DIA. And Shawn, we've seen a bunch of cancelations. Now the runways are closed. I mean, how are travelers holding up?

SHAWN CHITNIS: Well, Dominic, they are still somewhat optimistic and hopeful. But for the most part, when they arrive here, they realize they are going to be here for a while. And believe it or not, at this hour, we are actually seeing the most passengers moving around inside the terminal, even though, as you mentioned, the runways are not in a position to have flights either take off or land.

And we are expecting more of the flights that can actually stay on the schedule to happen in the afternoon or the evening. Only two TSA agents here on the south side right now. And they don't have much work to do. I'm sure they would love to have more work. But that is just the situation here.

And if you look at this video that shows you what we can see outside and we have been able to see outside throughout the day, you'll understand why. The conditions have just been so bad as the snow continues to fall off the roof. And crews have been busy trying to clear what snow they can.

Also, when we talk about Peña Boulevard, that remains icy. Visibility, especially low, no matter what direction you're talking about from the airport. And staff say they are expecting as much as 2 feet, maybe more here. And that is why they are being so careful with what's happening all around as well as on the runways.

Now, the few passengers who did come to DIA in the morning were either hoping that they would be lucky enough to get on a flight that was still scheduled, or they just didn't know. And by the time they got here, they found out that their flight had already been canceled.

We had the chance to talk to a group of friends who were visiting Colorado for the weekend to ski. They said they were going to be here a day longer now. And that's because their flight was supposed to fly out this afternoon so that they could go home to New Mexico. No surprise, that flight is canceled. And now the soonest flight that they can get, first thing tomorrow morning. And so now they're spending the night here.

- Good. We're feeling good because we never done it. So it's like a neat experience.

- We'll have fun exploring tonight.

SHAWN CHITNIS: We'll see if they like that decision by the end of the day. And their challenge is only beginning because once they get on that plane, they're headed to Texas. And then they have to drive from Lubbock to their hometown in Mexico. So truly a long journey for them to go ahead and get back home.

DIA also wants to just remind everyone that the remaining flights that are supposed to happen are going to be in the afternoon or the evening. But again, that is if those runways reopen. We are waiting for the airport to give us a status on that. Live at DIA, Shawn Chitnis, CBSN Denver.

- I don't know how much there will be for them to explore. But best of luck to them. Shawn, thanks so much.