By Ross Guidotti

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you are traveling over the next few days, you may run into some trouble because a major winter storm is headed our way.

People in the Midwest are already feeling the effects. In Iowa, snow and winds are wreaking havoc on roads.

It’s the same story in Missouri, where drivers are being forced to remember their winter driving skills in one part of the state, where the snow is falling.

In another part of Missouri, it’s heavy rain that’s causing problems.

Locally, the Pittsburgh International Airport will ran its annual snow emergency drill on Thursday.

Pittsburgh International Airport’s maintenance division began their drill around 8:30 a.m.

“We’ve been working on this for a few weeks now and it’s a just a good exercise to go through how we react whenever it shows up,” Allegheny County Aiport Authority CEO Brad Penrod said.

The scenario was set up to mimic about six inches of snow. The objective was to keep the runways clear, keep the planes flying and their own equipment moving.

“It’s critical that we have all the equipment well-maintained and staff – I’ll say- with their head in the game,” Penrod said. “Our desire is to get in and out as quick as we can.”

To do this, the Airport Authority has to coordinate, personnel, communications, circulation and control of equipment.

“Our equipment moving around is a very well-orchestrated ballet process,” Penrod said.

It was like a full-blown mechanized battle and the enemy remains undefeated.

“We are battling Mother Nature and she’s relentless,” Penrod said.

The airport is consistently recognized as one of the best in keeping operations going during a snow event.

Another indication of just how good these crews are is simple. When the East Coast is socked in and the Midwest is shut down, they send their flights to Pittsburgh, where it seems they’re always open for business.

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