CHICAGO (AP) — A wintry storm brought blizzard-like conditions to parts of the Midwest early Monday, grounding hundreds of flights and causing slick roads for commuters as they returned to work after the Thanksgiving weekend.
The Chicago area was slammed with up to a foot (30 centimeters) of wet snow, and whiteout conditions stalled commuter traffic on the roads. The National Weather Service said 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) of snow fell at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and 4.9 inches (12.5 centimeters) fell at Midway International Airport.
As of 10:15 a.m., 809 flights were canceled at O’Hare in the past 24 hours, with delays averaging about an hour, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Midway International Airport was reporting 69 cancelations, with delays averaging less than 15 minutes.
One Chicago native trying to fly to Orlando, Florida, chided himself for not heeding the forecast, but maintained his sense of humor.
“I knew it was right around the corner, and behold I stayed that one extra day and paid the price. So I was able to spend the evening here at beautiful O’Hare and had plenty of company,” said Mark McCoy, referring to all the other travelers stranded at the travel hub.
“It’s all part of the Thanksgiving travel experience,” McCoy said.
The storm also dumped wet snow on parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, creating treacherous driving conditions. Police responded to dozens of crashes Monday morning in the Lansing area. Authorities warned that roads were icy and covered with snow and encouraged people to stay off the roads unless travel was essential.
Further south, Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a state of emergency in Kansas on Sunday after 2 to 14 inches (5 to 36 centimeters) of snow fell in parts of the state. The state Department of Transportation reported several road closures Monday, mostly in the extreme northeast, but said a stretch of Interstate 70 that had been closed on Sunday was reopened.
The National Weather Service said that 3 to 9 inches fell across northern Missouri on Sunday. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported multiple fender-benders but by midmorning on Monday the Department of Transportation said all roads were opened. Flights were mostly on time Monday at Kansas City International Airport, one day after the storm caused widespread delays.
Roads in much of Nebraska and the southern half of Iowa remained covered in snow and ice early Monday, even after the storm had passed those states. Several state and U.S. highways were impassable in Nebraska, but traffic was moving on Interstate 29 in the southwestern corner of Iowa and Interstate 80 in the eastern of the state, despite a blanket of snow.
Roads were slick in northern Indiana early Monday after about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow fell, and more was forecast through the afternoon.
Parts of southeastern Wisconsin, just north of Chicago, suffered a glancing blow from the storm, with about 9 inches (23 centimeters) of blowing and drifting snow.