November 26, 2018 / 7:06 AM / 15 days ago

Midwest U.S. commuters confront snow after holiday weekend

(Reuters) - Commuters in Chicago and across the Midwest faced inches of heavy, wet snow as they returned to work on Monday after the long U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with the storm knocking out power, icing roads and canceling hundreds of flights.

Snow blankets the parking lot at O'Hare International Airport after a blizzard cancelled hundreds of flights in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

The National Weather Service (NWS) ended blizzard warnings early on Monday in northeast Missouri through the Chicago metropolitan area and northeast into Michigan, but noted strong winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph) would continue to blow around drifts of the snow accumulated overnight.

“Snow will continue to taper off to flurries and then end this morning,” the NWS Chicago office said in a statement, warning drivers to be cautious on slippery roads with low visibility.

One of the largest November storms on record dumped as much as 13 inches of snow in the Chicago area, knocking out power to more than 340,000 homes and businesses, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“My first Chicago snow began with a huge snow/ice block falling off a train and hitting me on the shoulder,” Latisha Ellison, who works in public relations, said in a post on Twitter. “Happy Monday!”

North of Chicago, the city of Evanston’s police department said in a statement its power was briefly knocked out by the storm.

Dozens of school districts in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas canceled classes due to the weather. Chicago public schools were open.

The storm canceled 1,270 flights on Sunday, a busy day for travelers trying to get home after the Thanksgiving weekend.

About 900 flights to and from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport were canceled as were almost 200 flights at Kansas City International Airport.

On Monday morning, more than 700 flights to and from O’Hare had been canceled, about one-quarter of all scheduled flights, according to the FlightAware flight tracking service.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jeffrey Benkoe

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