DENVER — To talk about what happened at DIA, we had to get there first. But, the wind and heavy blowing snow made it extremely difficult for us and for fellow driver Jeff Corbo.
"As I opened the window, there was a clean sheet of ice that I had to lean back and punch through it," Corbo said.
This was when Pena Boulevard was still open. It later closed for a time, then reopened again.
"I was driving on the road and it was just rain this morning and it turned into a full, full whiteout blizzard," Corbo said. "There was times when I couldn't see six inches in front of me."
We experienced the same thing in our 9NEWS SUV. We drove very slowly and followed behind another car ahead of us trying to navigate the roadway.
For vehicles, like us, that did make it to the airport, snow and ice was thickly caked on the doors and windows.
"It was scary. There was a time when I stopped, there was nobody around and I have no food, no water, no gloves," Corbo said. "I was not expecting this at all."
We were expecting it and it still took us about two-and-a-half hours to drive from downtown Denver to DIA.
"Being from (New) Jersey my whole life, I have been through a lot of winters, went to school in Pennsylvania, been through a lot of cold winters," Corbo said. "I have never once seen anything like I saw today."
Once we finally got to DIA, airport administration allowed us to witness what was going on inside their Emergency Operations Center where leaders from different airport departments were monitoring everything. The winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour were the biggest concerns.
"Right now, all six of our runways are currently closed that's because of the conditions outside," Emily Williams, DIA Spokesperson, said at the time. "Visibility was so low that we weren't able to keep the runways clear and safe. So, safety is our No. 1 priority."
While travelers waited it out, Corbo is thankful that he finally made it to the airport, even though he's not supposed to be there.
"I don't have a flight. I don't have anybody coming in," Corbo said.
He came to DIA because he said it was the safest, closest place to go for him while he was driving.
"My plan for now is maybe just go get some lunch, maybe a drink or two after what I just went through and hopefully this clears up and I can start again tomorrow," Corbo said.
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