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Extreme winds cancel flights in and out of Killeen

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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 4:30 am

More than a dozen flights into and out of the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport were canceled Monday as extreme winds blew across Central Texas.

The upper-level low pressure system centered over the Texas-Oklahoma border brought snow to Oklahoma and North Texas and gale-force winds to most of Central Texas.

Amarillo recorded 75 mph hurricane-force winds and 17 inches of snow Monday, the Amarillo Globe-News reported.

In Killeen, sustained winds of 29 mph and gusts of 42 mph were recorded at the regional airport Monday.

Winds are expected to slow to between 15 and 20 mph today for the Killeen-Fort Hood area, said Jamie Gudmestad, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

“The system should move out pretty quickly as it moves through overnight,” Gudmestad said Monday afternoon.

More than 600 customers lost power Monday in the cities of Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights, as a result of the high winds, said Karl Green, spokesman for Oncor energy provider.

“We’ve got a lot of scattered outages and isolated incidents but nothing major,” Green said.

American Airlines canceled 10 flights in Killeen — five inbound and five outbound — due to bad weather Monday, said Matt Miller, spokesman for American Airlines in Dallas/Fort Worth.

“It’s one of those unfortunate realities of our business,” Miller said

United Air Lines redirected one flight to Austin. Killeen’s regional airport hosts about 15 total outbound flights per day.

Miller said delays and cancellations were caused primarily by runway closures at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which experienced higher winds and precipitation Monday.

Only two of the seven runways at DFW remained open Monday, Miller said.

“When there are heavy crosswinds from the east or west, it is not safe to keep open runways running north and south,” Miller said.

The airline will follow normal reaccomodation for passengers, implement cancellation refunds when necessary and reassess the weather for today’s flights, Miller said.

Miller said American passengers should visit www.aa.com to receive updates on their flights before heading to the airport.

Jacob Brooks contributed to this report.

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