High winds force 2 planes bound for Salt Lake City to make late-night pit stops in St. George

File photo of airplane at St. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News.

ST. GEORGE — High winds at Salt Lake City International Airport caused two passenger flights to make temporary pit stops in St. George late Monday.

File photo of United Express plane at St. George Regional Airport on June 22, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

On Monday, Alaska Airlines flight 3394, operating as SkyWest 3394, bound for Salt Lake City arrived at St. George Regional Airport at 10:23 p.m. MDT after departing San Diego International at 8:05 p.m. MDT. In less than an hour, it was airborne again – departing at 11:30 p.m. and arriving in Salt Lake at 12:12 a.m.

SkyWest flight 5443, also bound for Salt Lake City, arrived in St. George a little earlier at 10:02 p.m. after leaving Houston Bush International at 5:23 p.m. MDT. It took off again at 11:44 p.m. and reached Salt Lake City at 12:22 a.m. 

It wasn’t actually a direct flight from San Diego to St. George for either plane. Both flights actually reached the vicinity of Salt Lake City before being diverted back down to St. George.

High winds caused a temporary hold on as many as 12 arrivals to Salt Lake International late Monday as a severe thunderstorm warning gripped the area. According to the National Weather Service, gusts reached 67 mph at the Salt Lake City airport around 10 p.m. Monday night. 

The Alaskan Airways twin-engine Embraer 175 jet, slightly shorter in length than the passenger CRJ-700s that usually grace the runways at St. George Regional, and the SkyWest CRJ-700 weren’t necessarily an unusual site at St. George Regional. According to airport officials, diverted flights are normal at the airport and it isn’t always because of weather.

“They come in to get fuel. That happens quite often. We get diversions because they know there’s a SkyWest service here,” Airport Manager Rich Stehmeier told St. George News. “It’s not that unusual.”

What can be unusual are some of the bigger jets that divert to St. George at any given time, including 737s that are the largest plane able to land on the St. George runways.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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