1,000 Flights Canceled in Chicago as Winter Storm Saturn Draws Close

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 01:41 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A winter storm threatening up to 10 inches of snow has crippled travel plans in Chicago, after more than 1,000 flights were canceled in anticipation of Tuesday evening's bad conditions.

Airlines operating in and out of O'Hare International Airport canceled more than 850 flights Tuesday in anticipation of the storm named Saturn, according to the Aviation Department. More than 230 were called off at Midway Airport.

Train service is suspended in some areas and schools have either closed or are planning early dismissals as Chicagoans brace for the storm, which forecasters say could bring up to 10 inches of heavy snow, as well as high winds.

The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for the region from 9 p.m. to midnight. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation has already dispatched its fleet of more than 280 plows to salt and prep the streets.

"The whole area's going to be hit pretty hard," Richard Castro, a meteorologist with the weather service in Romeoville, Ill., told the Chicago Tribune.

Though the city has seen its share of snow in 2013, it's still measuring below yearly averages for snowfall, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein. At the end-of-day Monday, O'Hare had measured 19.8 inches of snowfall for the 2012-2013 snow season, he told the Tribune. The average for this time of year is 30.5 inches.

The massive storm could pose a problem for neighboring states as it moves across toward the East Coast. Northwest North Dakota and part of Montana experienced blizzard conditions Monday as the system passed through. Forecasts suggested the storm could dump eight to 14 inches of snow over parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the National Weather Service said.

Snow had just begun falling in Chicago as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The storm follows a massive blizzard that swept through the Midwest last week, blanketing parts of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

Related Stories:

Powerful Blizzard Takes Aim at Northeastern US

'Stormageddon' — The Great Blizzard of 2011

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