CHICAGO (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights at Chicago's O’Hare and Midway international airports early on Christmas Eve as dense fog shrouded the region on one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season.
The FAA grounded flights at both airports until at least 8 a.m. Tuesday. The fog is not expected to lift quickly, but even if it does, it still could cause a chain reaction of delays and missed connections, the Chicago Tribune reported.
About 150 arrivals and about 50 departures were delayed as of 6:30 a.m. at O’Hare, while about 30 flights in arrivals and departures were delayed at Midway. O’Hare reported three cancellations and Midway had 63.
The National Weather Service said “dense, freezing fog” developed overnight throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs, leading to travel difficulties in the air and on the ground. Weather service meteorologist Mark Ratzer said visibility at Chicago's airports was less than a quarter of a mile (400 meters) in some parts.
“It’s pretty soupy out there,” Ratzer said. “Visibility is pretty low. There’s a few spots where the temperature is freezing and it’s possible for a few patchy slick spots, particularly on overpasses.”
The weather service advised drivers to slow down, turn on low beams and increase following distance while the freezing fog hangs over expressways.