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Hundreds of flights canceled, traffic pileups after snowfall

February 18, 2022 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — More than 500 flights were canceled at Chicago’s two international airports and Illinois State Police urged motorists to stay off roads Thursday after as much as 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) of wind-blown snow led to whiteout conditions and multiple pileups.

More than 380 flights were canceled at O’Hare International Airport and more than 140 at Midway Airport, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Snow fell at a rate of 1-2 inches (2.5 -5 centimeters) per hour and was and blown by winds gusting as high as 40 mph (64 kilometers per hour), the National Weather Service said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation closed Interstate 39 north of Bloomington Thursday afternoon after state police said a pileup several hundred yards (meters) long involved approximately 100 vehicles.

I-74 eastbound near Champaign was completely blocked for a while after a crash involving several semitrailers, police said.

“Numerous crashes and whiteout conditions are making travel extremely dangerous if not impossible,” Master Sgt. Matt McCormick said.