Top 1,800 flights canceled nationwide Thursday, disrupting holiday travel


More than 1,800 flights were canceled across the U.S. on Thursday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware, as severe winter weather complicated holiday travel.

As of 1 p.m. ET Thursday, 1,841 flights had been canceled nationwide. More than 900 U.S. flights were canceled on Friday.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport led Thursday, followed by Denver International Airport and Chicago’s Midway International Airport. The cancellations at these airports could have wider ramifications, as they are busy hubs where travelers often connect to other destinations. Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day ahead of Christmas.

Forecasters predicted a “bomb cyclone,” and the National Weather Service said more than 100 million people were under winter and wind chill warnings — roughly a third of the U.S. population.

Denver temperature drop below -20 degrees Thursday morning Fahrenheit. Chicago could see near-blizzard conditions, with snow falling from noon Thursday through Friday.

Maria Ihekwaba, who traveled from Chicago to Clear Lake, Iowa, with her granddaughter Thursday morning, told CNN she was trying to get out as soon as possible.

“Especially when you’re traveling from Chicago, you never know what’s going to happen in Chicago because it’s the Windy City,” Ihekwaba said.

Cary Lucas, a traveler from San Diego, told CNN she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law but cut the trip short because she didn’t want to be caught up in the upcoming weather.

“I’m concerned that because of San Diego, we won’t have these snowstorms,” ​​she said. “So I don’t like it being stuck in the airport for a long time.”

“It seems like the best choice to make right now,” she said.

Many airlines have issued weather waivers, and travelers should check that their flight remains on schedule before departing for the airport. Experts warn flyers to arrive at airports early to deal with crowds.

– CNN’s Dave Hennen contributed to this report.

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