Chicago is in the midst of a terrifying winter chill, with authorities cancelling flights and issuing immediate health warnings. It comes after deluges of snow and icy winds prompted a number of airlines to pull routes across America during the day. Chicago’s two airport terminals, O’Hare Airport and Midway Airport, have reported more than 1,800 flights have now been cancelled. With the thermometer in Chicago still reading in the -20s, more disruption could be sparked for travellers scheduled to leave the American city.
What flights have been cancelled in and out of Chicago?
O’Hare Airport has been greatest affected, with at least 1,479 cancellations and 161 delays reported.
Its Twitter page advised travellers: “Check flight status with carrier. Stay safe and warm friends.”
Meanwhile, at Midway Airport, 326 cancellations were reported, which represents about two-thirds of scheduled flights.
It confirmed on its social pages: “Due to extreme cold weather in #Chicago air carriers at MDW have cancelled nearly 330 flights and are reporting minimal delays.”
Yet passengers there were offered complimentary hot chocolate to ease the blow.
Airlines Are Lingus, Norwegian Air and Brussels Airlines all run flights from the UK to O’Hare Airport, as well as Wow Air and Finish.
KLM, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic run routes from London to Midway.
Passengers should check their airline providers before travelling.
What is the current weather situation for travellers in Chicago?
Chicago is being bombarded by a historic cold, with temperatures predicted to reach a staggering -60C.
Now more snow is expected to fall as more than 20,000 residents were without power.
Hundreds of schools are closed across the Chicago area, more than 2,000 flights have been cancelled and train services suspended as the city battles a historic cold.
Meanwhile, with the cold snap affecting further states in America, more flight disruption has been caused.
What is the health risk of the Chicago weather?
Frostbite is classed as injury to body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold, typically affecting the nose, fingers or toes, and has been flagged as a major health risk in the current climate.
It occurs when bodies are exposed to freezing temperatures, and anything below -0.55C (31F).
With the conditions in Chicago currently dropping as low as -35 on average, it is a huge risk.
The condition occurs quickly, too.
Most concerning is the fact when the thermometer drops to -40, frostbite can strike within two minutes flat.
If skin is exposed to wind chill between -20 and -30, it can strike within 10 minutes.
Meanwhile in slightly warmer temperatures of -10 and -20 degrees, it can affect travellers in 30 minutes.
Travellers suffering from frostbite will be left with white-coloured skin and a feeling of numbness.
The NHS advises taking frostbite patients to a warm environment, and seeking the advice of a healthcare professional to warm up the area in warm but not hot water.
It adds: “A bath of water at 40C to 41C (104F to 105.8F) is recommended for rewarming. The rewarming process is often very painful, and large amounts of painkillers may be needed.
“It’s important not to rewarm the affected area if there’s a chance of it freezing again, as this can lead to further tissue damage.”