A powerful winter storm is causing major travel headaches and flight cancellations across large swaths of the Midwest and Northeast. '
Over 2,000 flights have been canceled nationwide on Friday as snow, ice, and gusty winds pummel airports from Iowa to New England.
The Midwest faces near-blizzard conditions, with heavy snow, gale-force winds and bitterly cold temperatures combining snarl air travel. Whiteout visibility and slippery runways have forced the grounding of hundreds of flights at major Midwest hubs like Chicago and Detroit.
Six to 12 inches of snow is forecast across a wide area, making road travel extremely hazardous. The winter blast could also bring record cold in its wake as arctic air plunges southward over the weekend.
Wind chills of -60F are possible in northern Montana, with readings of -40F or lower across the Dakotas.
Storm Hammers Chicago Airports
The worst flight disruptions from the powerful winter storm are being felt in Chicago, where fierce winter weather has descended on the area. Parts of northern Illinois are buried under over half a foot of heavy, wet snow.
Both O’Hare and Midway International Airports have been hit especially hard by cancellations, which now number in the hundreds.
A dense mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain has made for exceptionally slick surfaces and exceedingly poor visibility for much of Friday across metro Chicago. Runways, taxiways and ramp areas are covered in snow and ice, hampering aircraft movements.
Due to the wintry onslaught, conditions were bad enough Friday morning for authorities to temporarily halt all incoming flights at O’Hare Airport. Though the major aviation hub is well equipped to handle regular winter operations, the severity and timing of this particular storm have airlines erring on the side of safety.