CHICAGO Travelers facing canceled flights and closed roads were hoping to finally head to their holiday destinations Friday as a widespread snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Midwest moved across the Great Lakes toward Canada.
The storm, part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week, led airlines to cancel more than 1,000 flights Thursday and caused whiteout conditions that left roads dangerous to drive on. It was blamed for deaths in at least five states, with parts of Iowa and Wisconsin hit with more than a foot of snow.
While some people went to work on digging themselves out, others had less control: They were stuck waiting for word of new flight times.
In Chicago, aviation officials said more than 350 flights were called off at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday and more than 150 at Midway International Airport.
But Friday, as the storm continued its crawl eastward, only about 50 flights were canceled and a similar number faced delays of up to two hours at the Chicago airports.
Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Karen Pride said Friday would be the busiest air travel day of the holiday period, with 200,000 passengers passing through O’Hare and another 66,000 at Midway, based on airline estimates.
High winds were blamed for lingering airport delays further east, with three-hour waits anticipated at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and La Guardia Airport in New York.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for New York City and Long Island, forecasting gusts of up to 60 miles per hour. Winter storm warnings and advisories were issued for Pennsylvania, where snow was forecast starting late morning and through the day.