More than 500 flights canceled at Chicago airports as temperatures plummet

Workers deice a Southwest Airline's aircraft at Midway Airport on January 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Snowy conditions from Monday’s storm and unrelenting freezing temperatures prompted Chicago’s two major airports to cancel more than 500 flights Tuesday afternoon.

As of 2:45 p.m., 232 flights were canceled at O’Hare International Airport while 283 were grounded at Midway International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. O’Hare was reporting delays averaging 17 minutes, while delays at Midway were averaging less than 15 minutes.

That’s a significant reduction from Monday night, which saw more than 1,300 flights canceled between O’Hare and Midway. Both airports were hit with roughly 3 inches of fresh snow by Monday morning before more flurries moved in overnight and into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures plummeted to dangerous, sub-zero levels Tuesday, the weather service said. The brutal cold snap could force windchill values to drop to 50 degrees below zero in some parts of the Chicago area by Wednesday.

As a result, the weather service issued a wind chill warning for northern Illinois and much of northwest Indiana that will remain in effect from 6 p.m. Tuesday until noon Thursday. The “dangerously cold” conditions could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes, the weather service warned.