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Blizzard Of 2011 Shuts Down Airports

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O'Hare Board

O’Hare International Airport flight board (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 02/02/11 4:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – The airports were virtually shut down Wednesday morning, as the Blizzard of 2011 hammered Chicago with its snowy wrath.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, O’Hare International Airport was virtually shut down, and some 200 people were sleeping in the terminals.

As of 3:30 p.m., more than 2,200 flights had been canceled at O’Hare and only a few flights had arrived at O’Hare. More than 400 flights had been canceled at Midway International Airport and a few departures and arrivals were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Both airports were hoping to get back on schedule by Thursday.

At O’Hare, the ticket counters at American Airlines have closed, and the airline has shut down all service to and from O’Hare until 4 a.m. Thursday. United Airlines is also suspending service for the whole day Wednesday.

The pickup and dropoff lane at the O’Hare terminals had no traffic at all; Puccinelli even built a small snowman in the middle of the roadway and it was still there hours later.

Technically, O’Hare and Midway are both open, but the Chicago Department of Aviation says airlines have limited or no service.

The airlines have canceled more 2,200 flights at O’Hare and more than 250 flights at Midway, the department said at 10:30 a.m.

Midway is closed altogether, and no flights are coming or going Wednesday.

The snowfall at O’Hare broke a record for February. On Tuesday alone 13.6 inches had fallen at the airport, and by 5:30 a.m., 17.1 inches had fallen.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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