Continuing on the airport closure theme, the Low Pressure System That Will Not Die has brought so much rain to Southern California that it’s shut down a couple of major general aviation airports, possibly for quite some time. To wit:
- Corona Airport is once again under water. They just got done cleaning up the mud, repainting the taxiway and runway markings, fixing the gates, inspecting the buildings, restoring water & power, and reopening the airport to traffic. The estimate is that this time, the flood water will reach as far as the Procraft Maintenance shop. For those that aren’t familiar, that would put approximately half the airport under water. Again.
- The Santa Paula Airport runway has literally been consumed by the Santa Clara River, which has swollen in size to the point where it simply washed away the land that the runway sits on. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few (courtesy of classrides.com):
- According to a Socal RV pilot, Redlands Airport will close on February 28th for extensive runway and taxiway work. She reports being “90+% sure it will reopen. (Can’t say 100% with today’s outlook.)”
- As previously mentioned, Agua Dulce is in the process of being permanently closed to 99.99% of aviators living in Southern California.
- Two of the three runways at Chino Airport are currently closed.
The weather really has been strange. Today, for example, I was scheduled to make an tower enroute IFR flight with a student from John Wayne to Fullerton and back, just enough to shoot the VOR-A and ILS 19R approaches, respectively. After checking the DUAT and rvproject.com weather, and talking to a FSS briefer, it appeared that the weather would be ok. A convective SIGMET existed for the Santa Barbara area, but that cell was moving northward. There was a general instability over the Socal area, but with the flight being so short, I figured there wasn’t much risk.
Of course, about that time, I got down to the airport and talked to a guy who had seen hail falling in Laguna Beach. Bad sign #1. Then my student called and said he was seeing lightning near Fullerton. Very bad sign #2. I put in a call to Flight Service only to be told that a tornado watch had been issued for the Southern California area for 1″ hail and wind gusts to 90 mph. Strike 3, we’re out.
As they say, it “never rains, but it pours”!