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Winter storm blasts Chicagoland, NW Indiana

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A massive winter storm system moved into the Midwest early Sunday morning that is hampering one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Freezing rain, snow, ice, flooding and even tornadoes have plagued the entire Midwest since Friday. An area that stretched from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to Eastern Canada also suffered the fury of Old Man Winter. Travel conditions in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana were fair at best.

Conditions were acceptable for those who took to the roads and skies just before noon Saturday. But within a few short hours, motorists dealt with slippery roads while flight cancellations and delays quickly mounted.

Fox News reports the weather scene contrasted greatly across America. According to reports, drivers in Oklahoma and eastern Missouri were navigating ice-slicked streets Saturday while residents in Memphis, Tenn., were strolling around in T-shirt temperatures that topped above 70 degrees.

Thunderstorms spanning from southern Louisiana to Indiana caused rivers and creeks to swell and gale force winds forced cars and trucks off motorways.

“This is a particularly strong storm with very warm, near record-breaking temperatures in the East and very cold air in the Midwest, and that contrast is the sort of conditions that are favorable for not only winter weather but also tornadoes,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ed Danaher in College Park, Md.

Almost 500 flights were canceled Saturday evening and Sunday morning and over 7,000 had been delayed according to air traffic controllers in Chicago, New York, Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth.

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