CHICAGO (CBS)– Airlines at O’Hare and Midway international airports canceled more than 1,200 flights Saturday amid slick conditions.
A winter storm brought a mix of heavy rain, flooding, sleet, freezing rain and accumulating snow through late Saturday night. Gusty north winds also led to lakeshore flooding and waves of 12 to 18 feet, the highest Chicago had seen in six years.
As of 9 p.m., average delays at O’Hare stood at 30 minutes, and 1,141 flights had been canceled.
A total of 220 arrivals had been delayed and 583 had been canceled at O’Hare, while a total of 159 flights had been delayed and 558 had been canceled.
At Midway at 9 p.m., average delays were 37 minutes and there had been 87 cancellations.
A total of 24 arrivals had been delayed and 44 canceled at Midway, while 27 departures had been delayed and 43 canceled.
HAPPENING NOW: More than 950 flights cancelled at O’Hare International Airport. Right now there is a ground stop at O’Hare for inbound flights due to ice. #weatherwatch #winterstorm #chicagoweather @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/B5cGE4oFp8
— Vi Nguyen (@ViNguyen) January 11, 2020
As CBS 2’s Vi Nguyen reported, there was an anxious wait for travelers trying to catch a flight out. All eyes were on the departure boards at O’Hare.
“At this point, I can’t get out. I can’t get home today or quite possibly tomorrow morning,” said Terry Bauman of Kansas City. “I flew to St. Louis yesterday to visit my mother for a few hours, tried to fly back to Kansas City yesterday. We got 70 miles outside of Kansas City, and our flight had to turn around and come back.”
Bauman booked a flight to Chicago thinking that she would already be home by late Saturday afternoon.
But now, her flight has been canceled for the second time due to weather.
“It’s frustrating, but what can you do?” she said.
The flight board at O’Hare on Saturday was filled with cancellations from the East Coast to the West Coast. Despite the odds, some people said they hoped to make it out of Chicago before the end of the day.
“Hopefully, I do,” said Lexie Foreman. “I’m praying I do, yes, because I don’t want to be here and I have work.”
Foreman was headed to Las Vegas for a connecting flight. Her final destination was Sacramento.
“I didn’t get an email, so I didn’t even know it was delayed until I checked in,” she said.
Sean Nufer was looking to fly back home to Orlando.
“They told us that my flight; my inbound is delayed because of the icy conditions, and the FAA is limiting the number of planes allowed to fly into Chicago right now,” he said.
Nufer had a feeling the delay would turn into a cancellation.
“I was hoping to be back to sunnier weather, but Chicago is a wonderful place to get stranded,” he said. “So I’ll eat some more pizza while I’m here.”