Chicago area airports could get as much as 2 inches of rain and winds in excess of 55 miles per hour as a cold air mass from the north collides with a warm air mass from the Gulf of Mexico, and thunderstorms are likely.
The incoming weather, along with the air traffic control issues from last Friday’s attack on an ATC center in Aurora, IL which controls the airspace over Chicago, is causing hundreds of cancellations for today.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that as of 10 a.m. Central time, nearly 400 flights were canceled at O’Hare Airport and more than 250 flights at Midway Airport, according to the Chicago Aviation Department. Delays were averaging 30 minutes at O’Hare and 40 minutes at Midway.
Southwest Airlines – by far the biggest carrier at Midway – has cancelled it’s entire afternoon schedule and has issued this statement:
“With storms continuing to roll in, Southwest Airlines is proactively managing the flight schedule at Chicago Midway with some cancellations due to minimize delays.
We always coordinate with Air Traffic Control when we anticipate storms will disrupt the airspace and, with an 80% coverage of rain forecast for Chicago, these proactive cancellations are aimed at minimizing surprises for our Customers – keeping them from spending extra time at the airport or on aircraft, etc. We expect some delays, as well, and they should check southwest.com for more information.”
Over at ORD, United is also planning on cancellations and delays and offered this travel advisory on their website for today:
Chicago’s ongoing ATC woes won’t be fixed for another two weeks. The FAA hopes to have the ATC center repaired by October 13, but that might be optimistic. Meanwhile, airlines are seemingly continuing the trend of ‘proactive cancellations’ ahead of weather and ATC disruptions in an attempt to allow passengers to reschedule their trip rather than wait for hours in airports for delays, and then eventually cancellations. It’s gonna be messy in Chicago today. Is Chicago messing with your plans?