DENVER — Strong winds forced the first ground stop at Denver International Airport (DIA) early Wednesday afternoon. Snow and ice were responsible for the second.
During the first ground stop, all inbound flights were held at their origins between about 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m, according to data from flight tracking website FlightAware. Even after the ground stop was lifted, delays at the airport continued.
The second ground stop started at 6:11 p.m. It has been lifted, but the delays continue.
Earlier Wednesday afternoon, about three-quarters of flights in and out of DIA were either cancelled or delayed, according to FlightAware. There were 146 flights delayed or canceled between 2 - 6 p.m., by far the most of any major American airport over that timeframe.
At least 15 flights bound for DIA were diverted to different airports, also based on FlightAware data.
The airport's official weather observation site recorded a wind gust of 58 mph at 3:33 p.m., likely prompting the ground stop. Gusts were regularly topping 40 mph, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
There were also several pilot reports of moderate turbulence for flights around the airport on Wednesday.
The strong winds were caused by passing showers evaporating into drier air, creating strong downdrafts and locally higher wind gusts.
A passing cold front and a developing area of low pressure caused the showers in the afternoon, along with some mountain snowfall.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Colorado Climate