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More than 1,500 flights canceled as snowstorm slams Midwest

More than 1,200 US flights have been canceled Friday as a winter storm slammed the Midwest with at l...

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 8:51 PM
Updated: Feb 9, 2018 8:51 PM

More than 1,200 US flights have been canceled Friday as a winter storm slammed the Midwest with at least 1 inch of snow per hour.

Heavy snow and strong winds already are pounding Chicago and Detroit, where public school systems opted not to open Friday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Some 25 million Americans are under winter weather alerts Friday

Chicago could see 14 inches of snow Friday, then 4 more inches this weekend

"We are getting more snow today, tomorrow and Sunday than we have normally gotten in the last two winters in any one period of time," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a Friday news conference, adding that the city's top priority is the safety of residents.

"Whether that's young kids, homeless, elderly, sick, commuters -- in every capacity we are responding and ensuring that people are able to handle this weather."

More than 25 million Americans are under winter weather alerts as an arctic front pushes from Montana through the Midwest, CNN meteorologists said.

Chicago could get around a foot of snow -- 8 to 14 inches -- by late Friday, plus 4 more inches through the weekend, forecasters said.

The bulk of flight cancellations affect Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, according to the tracking site FlightAware.com.

Kieran Sheridan, chief operating officer for the Chicago Department of Aviation, said in a Friday press conference that the city's airports were "well-prepared."

About 280 heavy snow equipment operators were working on the airfields at Midway and O'Hare, said Sheridan, who warned travelers to give themselves extra time when heading to the airport.

"Currently delays at O'Hare are between 30 and 45 minutes, and at Midway, approximately 15 minutes," he said.

Four major US airlines -- Delta, United, Frontier and Southwest -- have issued weather waivers for passengers, allowing travelers to change their reservations without incurring fees.

Chicago's biggest snowstorm in 3 years

A foot of snow is still a big deal for Chicagoans. Since 1884, the city has had only nine days when 12 or more inches of snow fell.

In 2011, residents weathered 20 inches of snow over two days. A storm in February 2015, logging in at 16.2 inches, was the last time Chicago had more than 10 inches of snow in a single storm.

Chicagoans headed to grocery and hardware stores Thursday to stock up on food and essentials before the storm.

"We have our shovels, we have our potassium for the sidewalks," Pam Smith told CNN affiliate WGN. "We have our food, our wine and our fireplace."

Authorities across Illinois prepared some 300 pieces of snow-fighting equipment and thousands of tons of salt for nearly 16,000 miles of highways and state roads.

Road conditions began deteriorating Thursday night as the system neared Chicago, the Illinois Department of Transportation tweeted.

"Our crews are out in full force clearing snow but please consider postponing any unnecessary travel!"

Rachel Linn shared a photo of a tranquil snow-covered street early Friday. "Road conditions are abysmal," she said, adding she'll take the train to make her way around the city Friday.

The BNSF line on Chicago's Metra commuter rail service is operating Friday but on an adjusted snow schedule, the system said in a statement Thursday.

"We will be doing everything we can to prepare for and combat this major winter storm," said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski in the statement. "We will also do everything we can to make sure our customers are up to date with the latest information about their trains."

Freddy Travis, who works in an ad agency downtown, shared a picture of the city's Magnificent Mile blanketed in snow while a man shoveled the sidewalk.

Travis told CNN via Facebook the snow definitely affected his morning workout. "Honestly it was a workout just getting to the gym," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 113195

Reported Deaths: 4923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook738193354
Lake7767250
DuPage7290340
Kane5866153
Will5238258
Winnebago199351
McHenry145268
St. Clair101773
Kankakee80242
Kendall72719
Rock Island63922
Champaign5697
Madison54056
Boone40716
Sangamon33226
DeKalb3313
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21210
Stephenson1952
Ogle1922
Macon18819
Peoria1858
Clinton17816
Out of IL1771
Union1417
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13310
Iroquois1314
Unassigned1200
Coles1159
Warren1140
Jefferson10116
Knox950
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee761
Tazewell683
Cass670
Henry670
Williamson541
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin421
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess270
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Mercer150
Carroll132
Franklin120
Piatt120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Schuyler100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
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