DETROIT – People throughout parts of the Midwest woke Saturday to a heavy and steady snowfall that forced the cancellation of hundreds of airline flights and made driving dangerous.
More than 460 flights were canceled Saturday morning at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and about 50 flights were canceled at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.
A United Airlines plane skidded off a runway at O’Hare International Airport. Chicago fire officials say the incident occurred Saturday morning. No injuries were reported. The flight came into the airport from Phoenix and 129 people were on the plane.
In the Detroit area, many motorists were moving well below posted speed limits along freeways due to slushy conditions.
The snow was part of a wall of hazardous weather that trekked from the Dakotas and across the Great Lakes states, headed toward New England. The storm brought snow, ice and strong winds, followed by deep cold.
After dumping up to 10 inches of snow on the Midwest, the storm was expected to wallop the Northeast. The highest snowfall totals were expected in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which could see up to 18 inches.
Amtrak canceled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York and between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.
In Nebraska, authorities closed Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on Friday afternoon after a Southwest Airlines plane slid off an ice-slicked runway. No one was injured.
But some Midwesterners weren’t going to let a little winter weather keep them from going outside.
In downtown Detroit, Celeste Tremmel was out training for a marathon amid heavy and steady snowfall.
“When you run a marathon, you run no matter the weather,” said Tremmel, who plans to run a March marathon in South Carolina.
Running in snow is “like running in sand, so you go a lot slower and it’s a lot more work,” she said. “I’m really tired … but 40 degrees, wind and hail is worse.”
Further east, the National Weather Service in Albany, New York, said snow could fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour, creating “difficult to impossible travel conditions” in areas.
The storm prompted the cancellation of a Special Olympics competition in upstate New York. Nearly 200 athletes from around New York state were expected to compete in snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross country, and Nordic and Alpine skiing at West Mountain, just outside Glens Falls.
In New York City, the worst of the storm was expected from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, with snow accumulations of 3-6 inches, followed by rain that could turn to ice as temperatures drop later Sunday. Single-digit temperatures could last into Monday. Strong wind gusts beginning Sunday afternoon could bring down snow- or ice-burdened tree limbs and power lines.
Following the storm system, some areas of the Midwest were expecting high winds and bitter cold.
In Iowa, temperatures in the teens Saturday were expected to drop below zero overnight, producing wind chills as low as 20-below by Sunday morning.
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