Blizzard in Midwest grounds hundreds of flights over Thanksgiving weekend

The snowstorms hit Chicago and Kansas City during the busiest travel period of the year

Blizzard-like conditions in the US states of Illinois, Kansas and Missouri caused significant travel disruptions over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, thousands delayed and major highways had to be temporarily closed as heavy snowstorms swept through the Midwest during the busiest travel period of the year.

More than 600 flights had to be cancelled until 2 pm on Sunday 25 November — EQRoy / Shutterstock
More than 600 flights had to be cancelled until 2 pm on Sunday — EQRoy / Shutterstock

Most of the cancelled connections were routed through Chicago O’Hare and Kansas City International Airport. According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, more than 600 flights had been cancelled as of 2 pm on Sunday at O’Hare, and over 120 flights had been cancelled at Midway Airport in Chicago.

“As a city, we are used to snow, but it is the first of the season,” mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago said at an evening news conference. “It is an all-hands-on-deck effort for the city.”

He added that he was rallying resources to streamline Monday morning’s commute for Chicagoans.

Governor Jeff Colyer of Kansas declared a state of emergency which has enabled state resources to be used for the response to the blizzards. Apart from the cancelled and delayed flight, a large stretch of Interstate 70, spanning much of the state of Kansas, was temporarily closed.

Todd Kluber, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service predicted rain would give way to heavy snowfall and “near whiteout conditions” that will make for dangerous travel.

“It’s going to be messy,” he said.

Forecasters predict more snow is likely to hit southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa.

By Monday morning, the storm was expected to move to parts of northern Indiana and southern Michigan.