More Than 2000 Flights Affected as Snow Settles Into Chicago

Winter weather advisories were allowed to expire in the Chicago area, while one remained in effect until 6 p.m. for some counties including Kankakee and areas south, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature started to drop about 4 a.m. Monday from a high in the low 30s, and it was expected to fall to the low teens before the end of the day, meteorologists said.

Since Monday, Veterans Day, is a federal holiday, fewer commuters than usual were traveling. But for those without the day off, delays on roadways began accumulating early, along with the snow. There were issues with air travel and train lines as well.

An incoming American Airlines flight from North Carolina slid off a runway at O’Hare International Airport upon landing about 7:45 a.m., according to the airline and Walter Schroeder, a deputy district chief with the Chicago Fire Department. He didn’t know how far the plane slid off the runway but described it as “pretty benign.” No one was injured, and the plane did not need to be towed from its location, he said.

“It couldn’t have been too bad if they didn’t have to tow it,” Schroeder said. “It happened so quick … the chief got to the scene and said there’s no incident. As far as we know they’re all on to their next flight without issue.”

But Tony Molinaro, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, issued a statement saying the landing gear was damaged when the plane went off the runway, and passengers had to exit the plane where it stopped and take a bus to the terminal.

The agency issued a statement saying of the Embraer 145 regional jet, “The aircraft’s right main landing gear collapsed. Passengers deplaned via air stairs and were placed on a bus to the terminal. No injuries were reported.” The FAA is expected to perform a routine investigation.

According to an audio recording of the emergency response, the plane had just received clearance to land moments before it slid off the runway. Dispatchers quickly arranged an emergency response.

An American Airlines spokeswoman, Gianna Urgo, in an email said the flight “slid off the runway due to icy conditions at Chicago O’Hare. … All 38 passengers and three crew members were deplaned from the aircraft and are now safely back in the terminal.”

Passengers made it to the gate about 50 minutes after the plane landed, about 8:30 a.m., Urgo said.

By about 3 p.m., the plane had been inspected and was getting prepared to be towed to the hangar, Urgo said. The passengers’ luggage, which remained on the plane until inspections finished, were also being returned to the passengers at that time.

Urgo said American Airlines was working with the Department of Aviation, National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA to investigate the incident.

As of 3 p.m., more than 900 flights had been canceled at O’Hare, while Midway Airport saw just shy of 100 canceled, according to the Department of Aviation. More than 1,000 flights were delayed at O’Hare, the majority of them arrivals; about 115 flights were delayed at Midway, roughly half arrivals and half departures.

The Chicago Transit Authority reported issues with both the Brown and Orange lines — they were being rerouted through downtown — although the agency said that was because construction that should’ve concluded early Monday was still ongoing Monday afternoon. Buses were being used for shuttle service between the Brown Line’s Kimball station to Western Avenue, the agency reported about 8 a.m., and the issue continued into Monday’s afternoon rush hour.

An inbound train on Metra’s Union Pacific North line that should have departed Kenosha at 7:15 a.m. instead left “at Waukegan due to a manpower issue,” an alert said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether that was because workers had a hard time accessing the Kenosha station.

The Edens Expressway was snow- or ice-covered, while the Eisenhower and Kennedy expressways were “mostly covered with ice or snow” and other area expressways were partially ice- or snow-covered as of about 8:30 a.m., according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Snow develops and continues today with several inches likely. Hazardous conditions will greatly impact this morning’s commute.

Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation posted on social media about 5:30 a.m. saying it had more than 200 salt-spreading trucks on the streets.

A lakeshore flood warning is also in effect from 9 a.m. Monday until 4 p.m. Tuesday. Winds of 35 mph could cause waves up to 11 feet, causing flooding and beach erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Cook County.

Single-digit temperatures are expected Tuesday as a blast of cold air descends through the Midwest and the East Coast, meteorologists have said. Wind chills of 5 to 10 below zero are possible early Tuesday morning, the weather service said.

After a heavy snow, digging out your parking spot and marking your territory with anything you can get your hands on, otherwise known as dibs, is a Chicago winter tradition.

The Cook County Office of Emergency Management said it will open warming centers throughout the area in anticipation of the bitter cold.

“Residents who do not have adequate heating in their homes are encouraged to visit a warming center to ensure they remain safe,” an email from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office said.

The notice also reminds residents never to use their oven as a heat source and not to bring charcoal or gas grills indoors for heat, as they pose a carbon monoxide threat. If a home cannot be heated appropriately, residents are advised to leave their faucets on a drip to keep pipes from freezing.

SOURCE: Hartford Courant