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Flights canceled as snow storm moves to Chicago and New York

By Bloomberg News

LAST UPDATED: 11:20 a.m. HST, Jan 20, 2012

New York may receive 4 inches of snow Saturday, while Chicago may get 8 inches today from a storm that is already causing air traffic delays and cancellations, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow will start falling in New York overnight and it will arrive in Chicago in a few hours, according to weather service forecasts. At least 162 flights from O’Hare International Airport have been canceled, according to FlightAware, a Houston- based airline tracking company.

“During the heaviest portion of the storm snowfall, rates of an inch per hour are possible,” Kevin Burke, a weather service meteorologist in Romeoville, Illinois, said in a multimedia briefing. “This will make both air travel and ground travel severely impaired across the area this afternoon and into the evening.”

Winter weather advisories and storm warnings and watches stretch from eastern South Dakota to Long Island, according to the weather service. A weak storm passed through the eastern U.S. earlier today leaving a snow coating in its wake in some areas.

An ice storm that struck the Pacific Northwest yesterday led to the cancellation of at least 192 outbound flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to FlightAware.

Heavy snow across northern Oregon, Washington and Montana is causing 24- to 36-hour delays on BNSF Railway Co. freight trains, according to a service advisory.

An area of heavy snow as much as 60 miles wide will pass through Chicago later today. That area will drop as much as 8 inches of snow, so the track it takes is important, Burke said.

“The temperatures are well below freezing so it won’t take any time for snow to accumulate on roads and make them quite slick,” he said.

As of 7 a.m. Chicago time, the temperature was 8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the weather service.

Snow will start in New York late tonight, said Tim Morrin, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

“We’re anticipating enough snow to prompt a winter weather advisory for New York City,” Morrin said by telephone. “We are expecting a swath of snow to develop after midnight and continue through midday.”

The storm is also expected to have an impact elsewhere along the East Coast.

Boston is forecast to receive 2 to 4 inches of snow tomorrow, according to the weather service. Philadelphia may receive 1 to 3 inches by tomorrow, Washington and Baltimore may receive an inch of ice, and Cleveland may get 3 to 5 inches of snow.

In New York, Morrin said temperatures will rise into the 40s later this weekend, which may melt most of the snow off roads.

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