Winter storm blasts the Midwest


Associated Press

CHICAGO – The Midwest’s first major storm of the season blew in today with cold and heavy snow, snarling air travel around the country and giving thousands of children a day off from school.

“I used to like snow and ice skating and stuff like that, but this is crazy,” John Alaniz said on a Chicago corner, a black fur hat with ear flaps almost concealing his face as snow blew through the streets.

Blizzard warnings were posted across northern Illinois and Indiana, with up to a foot of snow forecast today in the Chicago area and southeastern Wisconsin, and 20 inches possible by Tuesday morning in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

It was the biggest storm in the Chicago area since the city was buried by 21 inches of snow in January 1999, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures fell below the freezing mark as far south as Texas – where snow flakes were possible in El Paso – and wind chills plummeted to 51 below zero in North Dakota.

Blowing snow and cold closed schools in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Farther south, icy roads kept youngsters home in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, which had hundreds of traffic accidents.

Students at St. Clement School on Chicago’s North Side were told shortly before noon that classes were canceled for the rest of the day and Tuesday.

“Everybody just jumped up. We were so excited!” said 7-year-old Margaret Anne Kellas, a second-grader whose plans included holding a snowball fight and making a snowman family.

Less excited were the thousands of travelers stranded when Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare airports – two of the busiest hubs in America – canceled about 75 percent of departing flights, affecting connections to many other parts of the nation.

By afternoon, United Airlines had canceled 363 of 434 scheduled departures at O’Hare and had 742 weather cancellations systemwide out of 2,300 flights, according to a recording at the airline’s headquarters.

American Airlines canceled nearly 550 of its 700 departures and arrivals at O’Hare, a spokeswoman said. Flights also were canceled at airports in Milwaukee and Detroit, and Delta called off flights between Chicago and Atlanta.

Andre Sanchez of Los Angeles headed to the airport in Chicago anyway, hoping there would still be a flight out.

“We brought games and other things; what else can you do?” said Sanchez, 46, who was traveling with his wife and three daughters.

A Sun Country Airlines plane slid off a runway shortly after landing at O’Hare, but none of the 66 people aboard was injured, said airline spokeswoman Tammy Lee. A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 slid off an icy taxiway late Sunday at Kansas City International Airport, but no one was hurt.

In Michigan, the state House and Senate offices closed and Tuesday’s sessions were postponed.

Shoppers picked store shelves clean of storm supplies, and by 1 p.m., there was no windshield washer fluid left at Jefferson-Chene Shell station in Detroit. And no scrapers or brushes, either.

Twenty snow blowers went out the door in less than two hours at a Sears in Lincoln, Neb. “I think they waited until the last minute,” said store employee Bob Rung.

Shoppers crowding Martin’s supermarket in Elkhart, Ind., were taking the storm in stride, manager Stan Mast said.

“We had a lot of people coming in and buying their baking supplies,” he said. “I’ve heard several people say they are going to try and get some Christmas baking done.”

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

K-9 Hobbs and Sgt. Jason Robinson pose for a photo after Hobbs’ retirement ceremony at the Edmonds Police Department in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday Jan. 26, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Police dog Hobbs retires after nearly 10 years on the Edmonds force

The German shepherd had 520 deployments, 166 arrests and 113 evidence finds with his handler, Sgt. Jason Robinson.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville State of the City address set for Feb. 1

Mayor Jon Nehring will highlight 2022 accomplishments and look to the future. Questions from the audience will follow.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A move to require voting and a bicameral chasm on vehicle pursuits

It’s Day 19 and the mood is heating up as the third week of the 2023 legislative session comes to an end.

Most Read