With a significant winter snowstorm set to hit the Chicago area, airlines at both of the city's major airports began canceling flights Thursday.
By 11:30 a.m., Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 350 flights at Midway Airport set to take off Thursday afternoon through midday Friday.
O'Hare Airport reported more than 170 cancellations around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
"In anticipation of tonight's snowfall, the Chicago Department of Aviation is preparing a robust snow removal effort with our airline partners as well as the FAA," the CDA said in a statement Thursday. "Our top goal is to keep our runways safe and dry, and to minimize the impact of weather conditions on operations at O'Hare and Midway International Airports. With some airlines proactively cancelling flights ahead of the storm, we are encouraging passengers traveling tonight and tomorrow to contact the airlines on flight status ahead of time, and to arrive early before their scheduled flights."
Travelers were being advised to check with airlines before their flights. Several airlines were also waiving change fees for flights in and out of the city and across the Midwest.
A Winter Storm Warning was issued for the entire Chicago area and northwest Indiana Thursday, as the biggest snowstorm of the season so far heads our way.
The exclamation point on a week of wintry weather could leave more than a foot of accumulation total across some parts of the region by Sunday. [[456119263, C]]
The National Weather Service upgraded an existing Winter Storm Watch with a Winter Storm Warning overnight, meaning severe winter weather conditions are not only likely, but expected.
Friday's snowfall will likely taper off and end in the evening, but the winter weather won't be done just yet.
Saturday morning will start overcast and cold, with more light snow possible throughout the day, mainly from the city, west along I-88 and areas south with a few inches of accumulation possible.
Overall, by the end of the weekend, parts of the Chicago area could see a total of more than a foot of snow on the ground over the course of the week, including the 1 to 3 inches of accumulation from the snowfall late Tuesday night into Wednesday - though snow totals will likely fluctuate as the system continues to move into the area.