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Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 12/13/2010

Midwest snow causes travel chaos

By Sophia Tareen, Associated Press

A powerful storm that unleashed snow and strong winds across the upper Midwest left behind dangerously cold temperatures, promising a new set of challenges for people working to dig out.

The weekend storm closed major highways in several states and canceled more than 1,600 flights in Chicago and collapsed the roof of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium.

Officials said plunging temperatures and winds could make clearing roads even more difficult and could lead to a slow morning commute, even in places where the storm had passed. With the wind chill, temperatures in some areas were expected to be well below zero.

"With the snow, pretty much the worst of it's over, but we're going to get cold temperatures through Tuesday," said Jim Taggart, National Weather Service meteorologist in Chanhassen, Minn.

He said the weather the region is experiencing is what it "normally would get in January."

The wintry weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel.

At least 1,375 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and more than 300 were canceled at Midway International Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said.

Officials at O'Hare set up about 200 cots and provided amenity kits containing toothpaste and toothbrushes for stranded travelers, Pride said.

Jordan Ledoux was traveling back to Portland after a visit to Houston when he ended up stuck at O'Hare. He said it was possible he might not get home until Tuesday.

"This is the worst flying experience I've ever had," he told WBBM-TV.

Major highways in several states were closed due to poor driving conditions and accidents.
In Indianapolis, police said a man fatally stabbed his wife, then died four blocks from his home Sunday morning when his vehicle hit a tree after he lost control on a slippery road. Police did not immediately release the names of the couple.

Seven vehicles crashed on Interstate 94 about 50 miles west of Milwaukee, prompting authorities to close the westbound lanes. A vehicle lost control on an ice-covered road and slammed into a tree in southeastern Wisconsin, killing 21-year-old Alejandria Abaunza of Chicago and injuring two other people inside.

In Michigan, authorities said an 80-year-old man was killed when his pickup truck rolled on a slick highway in Montcalm County. Weather also was believed to be a factor in a head-on collision in Livingston County that killed a 75-year-old woman.

AAA-Michigan said it helped 2,500 motorists on Sunday and had heard from hundreds more by 5 a.m. Monday.

"A lot of cars in ditches, spinouts, dead batteries," spokeswoman Nancy Cain said.

Check with your airline to see if your travel plans may be affected.
Airlines serving BWI
Airlines serving Dulles
Airlines serving Reagan National

Have the snowstorms in the Midwest forced you or your friends to alter travel plans? Post a comment below.

By Sophia Tareen, Associated Press  | December 13, 2010; 11:54 AM ET
Categories:  Transportation News  
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