Severe weather grounds flights at OIA causing major delays



ORLANDO, Fla. - Severe weather and a tornado warning grounded flights for about an hour and a half at Orlando International Airport Saturday afternoon.

More than 100 flights were affected during the busy spring break season.

Some passengers had to evacuate because of the storm then found out their flights would be late.

The security lines were jammed with passengers and flight boards told them not to go through until two hours before their flights.

John Ellis and his family were at OIA during the storm.

He said delays kept them there for five hours.

“The rain was coming down very hard, and it was a little scary. Something we’re not used to,” Ellis said.

Lightning kept ramp workers inside during the tornado warning, which lasted from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The air traffic control tower was partially evacuated while the flights were grounded.

More than an hour after the storm passed through, more than 120 arriving and departing flights were late.

About 20 flights were delayed and two were canceled.

Chris Greco’s flight was an hour late.

He and his family were herded in from a hotel pool when the storm struck.

“We were kind of freaked out but as long as Jet Blue says we’re going to fly, we’re going to fly. We have to get home,” the Connecticut resident said.

Janelle Pieterick was evacuated to the first floor at the Orange County Convention Center Saturday because of the storm.

Her flight was almost two hours late.

OIA officials said a Jet Blue flight was diverted to West Palm, but it eventually landed at OIA.

There were no reports of damage in the area but a spokesperson said officials are still surveying the entire ground.

In Kissimmee, the torrential downpour caused soggy conditions for drivers.

Many cars

Spectators at the Cirque Italia were parked along U.S. Highway 192 near Main Street.

Many of their cars got stuck in the mud and had to be pushed out.