Monday, May 1, 2017

American Airlines, Flight 2885: Incident occurred April 29, 2017 at Central Illinois Regional Airport (KBMI), Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois

BLOOMINGTON — It is estimated that on average, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, each airplane in the U.S. commercial fleet is struck by lightning about once per year.

For 32 passengers and three crew members aboard American Airlines flight 2885, their lucky day came Saturday on a flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Bloomington’s Central Illinois Regional Airport.

Flying through a thunderstorm, the plane was reportedly struck by lightning, according to an airport spokesperson. The plane landed safely and there was no damage reported.

Although passengers and crew may see a flash and hear a loud noise if lightning strikes their plane, nothing serious should happen because of the careful lightning protection engineered into the aircraft and its sensitive components, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Usually, the lightning will strike an extremity such as the nose or wing tip.

It was just one travel issue for Central Illinois residents over the weekend, due to a complex weather system that dumped several inches of rain on the area, flooding rivers and streams, and in some areas, roads and bridges.

“Most of the heavier rains fell south of the Bloomington area,” said Daryl Onton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “Some places received about 5 inches of rain, and the area is really a mess.”

At the airport, about 1.95 inches of rain fell Thursday through early Sunday, Onton said. In Mackinaw, 2.48 inches of rain had fallen during that time, according to the NWS. Roanoke received 2.71 inches, Minonk recorded 2.72 inches and Eureka had 2.66 inches.

“There were numerous severe weather reports from all over the area Saturday afternoon and early evening,” he said. “The heaviest rainfall totals appeared to be in a swath from Havana, up the Illinois River Valley area and northward, with some of those areas recording as much as 5 inches.”

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