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Winter Weather, Extreme Cold Hits Chicago; Hundreds of Flights Canceled

By Erica Demarest | January 26, 2014 10:21am | Updated on January 26, 2014 4:26pm
 Chicago is preparing for another brutal cold snap.
Chicago is preparing for another brutal cold snap.
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Brett Jelinek (file photo)

CHICAGO — As severe winter weather once again hit Chicago this weekend, city airports have canceled more than 275 flights. Schools will be closed Monday.

By 10:30 a.m. Sunday, O'Hare International Airport had proactively canceled more than 200 flights, while Midway International Airport canceled 75, city officials said.

From Saturday night to Sunday, the National Weather Service recorded two inches of accumulated snowfall at O'Hare, the area's official recording site.

Meteorologist Amy Seeley said the city likely won't see any more snowfall Sunday, but snowdrifts could be a problem as winds pick up. The weather service is expecting 15 to 30 mph winds in the afternoon. By Sunday night, 40 mph gusts are possible.

"You can get near whiteout conditions" from snowdrift, Seeley said.

As of Sunday morning, Chicago had deployed its entire fleet of more than 280 snow plows and salt spreaders. The fleet planned to focus on Lake Shore Drive and main roads before moving to smaller residential streets, officials said.

During the day Sunday, temperatures should reach the upper 20s, Seeley said. But by late Sunday night, temperatures will begin to drop, with forecasts calling for 1 to 5 degrees below zero.

That number will hold steady Monday. From Monday night into Tuesday, meteorologists are expecting lows from 18 to 22 degrees below zero.

Chicago Public Schools officials announced classes would be canceled Monday.

“The safety and well-being of our students is paramount,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The decision to close schools is never easy. However, based on the severity of the weather we are expecting Monday, I am confident that this decision is in the best interest of CPS students.”

The Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium will be closed Monday, as well, officials said.

Also closed are the City Colleges of Chicago, the system announced.