Chicago: A significant winter storm has wreaked havoc on air travel across the Midwest and South in the United States, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at airports, as reported by CNN on Friday. According to data from the flight tracking website FlightAware.com, over 2400 flights have been delayed, and more than 2000 have been canceled due to the storm.
O’Hare International Airport in Chicago witnessed nearly 40% of its flights canceled, with Chicago Midway International Airport canceling about 60% of both outbound and inbound flights. Other affected airports include Denver International and Milwaukee Mitchell International.
In addition to the winter storm, the grounding of the 737 Max 9 planes has contributed to the high number of flight disruptions. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-mandated grounding has led to the cancellation of over 200 United and Alaska Airlines flights each day this week. The FAA and Boeing are currently working on an inspection protocol to allow these planes to resume flying.
Southwest, which does not operate the 737 Max 9, experienced the most cancellations among airlines, with nearly 400 flights canceled, according to FlightAware.
The storm has not only impacted air travel but also disrupted electricity supply in the region. Severe thunderstorms in the South, blizzard conditions in the Midwest, and strong wind gusts have led to power outages affecting nearly 250,000 homes and businesses, with Illinois bearing the brunt of the outages.
The powerful storm has caused widespread damage, with an iconic state landmark in Maine, the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park bell house, suffering significant destruction. Winds reaching 79 mph on Wednesday resulted in the collapse of most of the structure. Officials are working to secure what remains of the building to prevent further damage, emphasizing the historical significance of the structure dating back to the 19th century. Fortunately, the 1,000-pound bell housed in the structure was relocated in August, sparing it from damage during the storm.