A departures board shows cancelled flights at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) during Winter Storm Quinn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.. (Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg)

Winter Storm Disrupts Holiday Travel in Midwest With Hundreds of Flight Cancellations

(Bloomberg) -- A winter storm moving across the Central Plains toward the Great Lakes disrupted air travel in Chicago and other cities on the busiest travel day of the year.

The storm has blizzard-like conditions and is bringing gusty winds and 6 to 10 inches of snow that will stretch from Kansas City to Chicago, said Bob Oravec, a lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland. One blessing: The storm is expected to be brief.

“This is going to be not a prolonged event,” Oravec said. “By tomorrow morning, conditions will definitely be better in Chicago.”

That may be little comfort for travelers trying to find their way home after the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. More than 1,100 flights were canceled in the U.S. by 6 p.m. New York time on Sunday, according to tracking service Flightaware.com.

The cancellations including more than 970 flights that were scheduled to arrive at or depart from Chicago’s two major airports or in Kansas City. Southwest Airlines, which operates a hub out of Chicago’s Midway airport, was the hardest-hit carrier as of late afternoon, with 201 canceled flights and 545 delayed, according to Flightaware.com.

Carriers including United Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue had implemented travel waivers ahead of the storm, eliminating change fees for people who had planned to travel through some of the affected airports.

The situation isn’t much better for those who are driving: Interstate 80 is closed in eastern Nebraska because of multiple accidents related to the snow, the Associated Press reported.

The storm will continue northeast into Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont Monday evening into Tuesday, said David Roth, an NWS forecaster. It won’t lead to snow near New York City, though, because temperatures there are too high.

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