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Historic Snowstorm Blankets Chicago Area; Thousands Without Power, Hundreds Of Flights Canceled

CHICAGO (CBS) -- One of the worst November snowstorms in Chicago history hammered the city and suburbs Sunday night and early Monday, dumping more than 7 inches in the city, and up to a foot in some northwest suburbs.

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With winds that gusted up to 50 mph at times, the storm knocked down trees and power lines across the Chicago area, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power. The storm also forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights on the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, 7.4 inches of snow fell at O'Hare International Airport during the storm, the fifth highest total ever recorded in a November snowstorm in Chicago. Areas closer to the lake got far less snow.

In the Loop, snow wasn't sticking to the ground until around 6:15 a.m., leaving only an inch or two on untreated sidewalks by the time the snow ended a couple hours later.

The northwest suburbs were hardest hit by the storm, with totals of up to a foot or more in McHenry County.

According to ComEd, approximately 339,000 customers lost power during the storm. As of 8:30 a.m., crews had restored power to about 152,000 customers, with 177,000 still without service.

The snow and wind also snarled air traffic at Chicago's airports on Sunday, which had been expected to be the busiest travel day of the long holiday weekend. More than 800 flights were canceled at O'Hare and Midway airports on Sunday.

City officials were expecting about 260,000 travelers at O'Hare on Sunday, and another 90,000 on Midway. With so many canceled flights, long lines started forming early at airline counters at both airports, as hundreds more flights were canceled.

As of 9:40 a.m. Monday, at least 791 more flights had been canceled as of 9:40 a.m., with delays averaging 58 minutes. At Midway International Airport, at least more 69 flights had been canceled, with delays averaging less than 15 minutes.

No major accidents were reported as a result of the storm, though many vehicles were spotted spun out in ditches.

The Bishop Ford Freeway also was shut down for about an hour overnight, after a power line fell down across the roadway.

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