Weather grounds 450 flights; 6-plus inches of snow on way - FOX 32 News Chicago

Weather grounds 450 flights; 6-plus inches of snow on way

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

More than 450 flights were canceled at the city's two airports Thursday, as snow and strong winds topping 45 mph moved into town ahead of a weekend snowstorm that could dump 6 inches or more.

As of 3:30 p.m., airlines at O'Hare Airport had canceled 300 flights Thursday, while 150 flights were canceled at Midway, the city's Department of Aviation said. Travelers at both airports are delayed an hour on average because of weather conditions.

While the falling snow is expected to taper off by 6 p.m., there's more bad news: A snowstorm Friday evening into Saturday morning could bring more than 6 inches of snow, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk.

That storm will arrive from the southwest, which produces a wetter type of snow, Birk said. That translates into slippery driving conditions, especially with snow expected to fall at about an inch a minute Saturday—maybe more.

"Due to the heavy nature of snow you're going to see snow rapidly accumulate on road ways," he said. "On Saturday morning we'll be getting an inch or more an hour—that is going to make roadways slippery quickly … Visibility will be half-a-mile or less."

Illinois State Police are already cautioning drivers in Will and Kendall counties that whiteout conditions are possible the next few days. Drivers should leave extra travel time and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.

There is some good news, though.

"Temperatures will be fairly mild through the snowstorm," Birk said. "But with the snow, we might not enjoy them. It won't be anything like we experienced earlier this month"

Birk said Friday and Saturday's highs should be around the low to mid-20s and should drop into the mid-teens later in the evening. He added winds will be around the "10 to 20 mph range."

"All and all, it won't be a good time to travel," he said.

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