Chicago Braces for Up
to 12 Inches of Snow
are canceling flights and commuters are bracing for the worst as a powerful
snow storm hits Chicago. The city could see a foot of new snow today.
11— Winter kicks into high gear
today in Chicago, where a powerful storm is set to dump up to 12 inches
of snow on the Midwest metropolis.
Along with 25-mph
wind gusts and near white-out condititions, the National Weather Service
reports wind chill readings could hit 30 degrees below zero by day’s end.
The snow is already taking its
toll on commuters and travelers throughout the region.
United Airlines, which usually has 440 departures and
440 arrivals at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, has already canceled
about 50 percent of today’s flights.
American Airlines began canceling
flights to and from O’Hare late Sunday, according to airline spokeswoman
Sonja Whitemon. About 60 flights were canceled this morning out of 171
American flights in and out of the airport, she said.
Other airlines are taking similar
precautions, and the city’s Midway airport expected delays and cancellations
Because O’Hare is United’s largest
hub, the cancellations are expected to affect airline operations across
the country. Travelers flying from both coasts will be routed through United’s
Denver hub or other airports.
“I feel lucky!” said passenger
Al Bektel who made it home to Chicago before the worst of the delays and
cancellations. “I mean we’re back home. I feel sorry for all those other
Officials at O’Hare are telling
would-be fliers to call ahead before heading to the airport, in an effort
to keep the number of people stranded there to a minimum.
As the temperature drops and
snow builds, Chicago officials are preparing for the worst.
The city has more than 1,000
pieces of snow-fighting equipment at its disposal, as well as a stockpile
of more than 300,000 tons of salt.
The Chicago area has not experienced
a storm of this magnitude since the city was buried under 21 inches of
snow in January 1999, National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Labas
Region Feels the Brunt
The massive storm will slam the entire Midwest today,
bringing heavy snows and freezing rain to the entire region.
The National Weather Service
has issued winter storm warnings for parts of Illinois, Colorado, Kansas,
Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan, signaling that
severe weather has hit or is expected soon.
The same winter weather system
is also expected to bring the coldest temperatures in years to north Texas,
accompanied by sleet and snow.
Wind chill factors are expected
to dip into the single digits in the Lone Star State, prompting a run on
firewood Sunday in north Texas.
ABCNEWS Radio and The Associated Press contributed
to this report.