Houston’s Hobby Airport Reopens After Lightning Strike

Severe weather tore across Central and Southeast Texas yesterday causing a myriad of flight delays and cancellations. Houston’s Hobby Airport had its issues exacerbated after a lightning strike left a crater in one of the runways. This forced the airport to close to arriving and departing traffic.

Weather Already Causing Delays

Prior to the lightning strike, severe weather was already impacting the Houston area. Both Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental Airports were already experiencing delays due to storms in the area with some reports stating ground stops had been issued at the time of the strike.

These delays were already having impacts on airline operations, especially for Southwest. The airline has a large focus city operation at Hobby Airport.

a plane parked at an airport
Southwest Airlines Operates a Large Focus City at Houston’s Hobby Airport

Lightning Strikes Runway

Around 4:30p yesterday, during the period of heavy storms, the airport issued the following statement regarding the lightning strike.

Houston Hobby Airport Statement
Statement from Houston Airports on Hobby Runway Closure

While the statement only mentions Runway 13R, Jim Szczesniak, the Director of the Houston Airport System, stated in an interview with KTRK that the strike happened at the intersection of the two runways. This further impacted the necessary closure and forced the airport to make repairs.

The crew at Hobby Airport worked quickly and provided updates to stranded travelers via the airport’s X (formerly Twitter) page.

Just after 7:00p local time, the airport reported that the runway repairs were completed and that operations could resume. The did encourage travelers to check with their respective airlines for the status of individual flights.

As of this morning, operations have largely recovered at Hobby Airport. FlightAware’s Misery Map is showing just 9 delays at Hobby as of now. Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport is still seeing some issues and currently has 45 delayed flights.

Summary

As severe storms moved across Southeast Texas yesterday afternoon Houston’s Hobby Airport suffered a lightning strike on the runway. A small crater was left behind and the airport crew worked quickly to complete repairs, reopening the runway 2.5 hours later. As of this morning, operations at the airport appear back to normal.

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