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Hundreds of flights canceled at O'Hare as massive storm heads east

(MCT) — Nearly 250 flights have been canceled at O'Hare International Airport as a storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow here heads to the Northeast, where it is merging with another system and spawning blizzard warnings from Boston to New York.

About 100 arriving flights and 145 departing flights at O'Hare have been canceled this morning, according to FlightStats, which gathers data from airlines and airports. About 100 flights were delayed.

Officials said most of the affected flights were to and from the East Coast. About 2,500 flights have already been canceled in Boston, New York City and Newark, N.J.

Blizzard warnings were in effect from New Jersey through southern Maine, with Boston expected to bear the heaviest blow from the massive storm. The day was expected to begin with light snow, with winds picking up and snow getting much heavier by afternoon.

The National Weather Service said Boston could get 18 to 24 inches or more of snow on Friday and Saturday, its first heavy snowfall in two years. Winds could gust as high as 60 to 75 miles per as the day progresses. Computer models indicate the storm could surpass Boston’s 2003 record of 27.6 inches of snow.

Amtrak said it was reducing service on its Acela Express and northeast regional routes between New York and Boston.

The storm that hit the Chicago area Thursday, dumping anywhere from 10 inches in Beach Park to 1.4 inches at O'Hare, is combining with a second system from the Southeast, according to the Chicago Weather Center.  As the two systems merge, explosive intensification will begin.

In short, the system will “bomb-out.”

In the Chicago area, the storm left 10 inches in Beach Park, 9.5 inches in Zion, 9 inches in Kenosha, 7.8 inches in Vernon Hills, 7 inches in Wadsworth and Gurnee, 6.5 inches in Bull Valley and Winthrop Harbor, 6 inches in Grayslake, 5.5 inches in Lake Bluff, 5.3 inches in Lake Zurich, 5.1 inches in Mundelein, 4.9 inches in DeKalb and 4.6 inches at Northbrook.

Illinois State Police reported no major problems on Chicago area expressway this morning and the city has moved its fleet of plows onto residential streets.

Temperatures today will hover in the 32-degree range, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Bardou said.

“The normal high is 33 at O’Hare," Bardou said. “We will be pretty close to that, a little above that tomorrow and well above Sunday.”

The weekend should be dry until Sunday morning, when the city could see some frozen rain around sunrise.

“Then the warmer air gets here and we will have liquid rain onward through the rest of the day and maybe even a rumble of thunder if you’re in the southern part of the metro on Sunday,” Bardou said.


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