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Hundreds of flights canceled in Chicago as late-April snow falls from Iowa to Michigan

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 27, 2019, 11:21:59 PM EDT

Despite the calendar reading late April, snow is whitening a narrow swath of the north-central United States. This includes in Chicago, where measurable snow has fallen this late in the season for the first time since 1989.

Old Man Winter still has a few tricks up his sleeve and will continue to spread snow from northeast Illinois to southern Michigan into Sunday morning.

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Snow fell over southwestern Minnesota on US 75 by the borders of South Dakota and Iowa the morning of April 27, 2019.


Snow in Chicago piling up on a residents windshield.


Snowfall greeted early risers on the morning of April 27, 2019 in Madison, South Dakota.

Iowa DOT webcam

Snow began accumulating near Estherville, Iowa around 9 in the morning on April 27, 2019.


Snowflakes sprinkled over Woodstock, Illinois just past noon in a late April snowfall.

Michael Wyland

A light dusting of snow greeted residents of Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the early hours of April 27, 2019.


Snow fell in late April of 2019 over Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


Snow begins to gather in Woodstock, Illinois in late April.

As snow winds down in Chicago on Saturday night, Detroit will be in the path of the snow.

The snow in Chicago led to more than 650 flights being canceled at the city's O'Hare International and Midway International airports on Saturday, according to FlightAware.

The baseball game scheduled for Saturday between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers was postponed due to inclement weather.

It is not uncommon for this portion of the northern tier of the U.S. to receive snow during late April, but the amount of snow falling in Chicago is challenging records.

"Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has never measured 3 inches or more this late in the season," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "April 23, 1967, is the latest that has occurred."

"May 6, 1989, was the last time there has been measurable snow on or after April 27 in Chicago," she added.

Chicago stats April 27 new

In order for snow to accumulate in late April outside of high-elevation areas, it must come down at a fast pace. Typically snow of this nature falls in a narrow swath as what is occurring with this storm.

In a narrow swath within this zone, an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches of snow can fall, mainly on non-paved surfaces. Snowfall of 1-6 inches will be more common in this narrow zone.

Newest snow map 4 p.m. April 27

In this setup, a north-south distance of 25 miles may mean the difference between a small, slushy accumulation on the grass and 6 inches of snow with slippery roads.

The snow swath will overlap portions of the Interstate 90 and 94 corridors.

Accumulating snow began across the Black Hills of South Dakota on Friday night before spreading eastward and whitening Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with 1.5 inches on Saturday morning.

"While snow totals will be higher on grassy surfaces, roads can transition from wet to slushy and slippery in Chicago," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg. "A coating to an inch or two of snow can cover untreated bridges and overpasses, and then other road surfaces."

Hoegg is also concerned for any slush or wet spots on roads to turn icy in many places of the Midwest receiving snow this weekend as temperatures plunge below freezing on Saturday night.

"The one exception around Chicagoland would be at the lakeshore, where temperatures can remain above freezing," she added.

Gusty winds can whip the snow and dramatically reduce visibility for motorists. There can also be a few rumbles of thunder amid the snow during the height of the storm.

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Rain can change to a coating to an inch of snow in Detroit, but roads should be mainly wet.

The snow may continue to streak eastward on Sunday, whitening parts of northern Pennsylvania, southern New York state and some mountains in New England from Saturday night to Sunday evening.

South of the swath of snow, showers and thunderstorms are in store from the middle Mississippi Valley to northern Texas. Some of the storms can be quite heavy and gusty into the evening with localized severe weather possible.

Download the free AccuWeather app for the latest forecast in your community. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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