Hundreds of Flights Disrupted as Spring Storm Hits Midwest

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(Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of flights were disrupted Saturday as a severe spring storm threatened to dump record snowfall on parts of the Midwestern U.S., while ice and freezing rain hit Canada’s Ontario province.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a regional hub for Delta Air Lines Inc., has had to slow or halt aircraft throughout the day, contributing to about 350 canceled flights, according to Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the airport. No planes have gone in or out since 2 p.m., he said. The airport hopes to resume flights by 7 p.m.

“We are used to snow in Minneapolis, but we’re not used to this kind of snowstorm,” Hogan said in a telephone interview. “It’s really a rough day for flights in and out.”

About two-thirds of scheduled departures and more than half of incoming flights were canceled or delayed there, according to Flightaware.com. Delta had canceled about 350 flights by late afternoon, primarily in Minneapolis, and more delays were expected, said Adrian Gee, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based carrier.

The airport wasn’t the only one affected. Toronto Pearson International canceled or delayed 39 percent of outgoing flights and 37 percent of inbound planes, according to Flightaware. Chicago O’Hare International also saw an impact.

Southern Minnesota and parts of Nebraska could face more than a foot of snow as blizzard conditions barrel through the region, the National Weather Service said on its website. The storm will bring high winds, snow and freezing rain through the central and northern Plains and the Great Lakes areas as it moves east. Three U.S. deaths have been blamed on the storm, according to the Associated Press.

In Canada, more than 200 motor-vehicle crashes were reported across the Greater Toronto Area as it experiences a wintry blast of of freezing rain and ice pellets, according to CNC News.

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