Severe Storms Expected to Strike Chicago, Mississippi Valley

A weather front that is spawning severe thunderstorms from Oklahoma to Indiana is expected to bear down on Chicago and the Mississippi River valley tomorrow, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.

There is a 45 percent chance severe weather will strike an area from the southern tip of Lake Michigan to northern Louisiana tomorrow, according to the center in Norman, Oklahoma.

“Significant severe weather episode consisting of potentially widespread damaging winds and several tornadoes appears increasingly likely on Thursday,” according to a bulletin from the center.

Today, the line of storms contributed to the cancellation of 941 flights across the U.S., including 592 into and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, as of 5:30 p.m. New York time, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.

O’Hare is a hub for United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp. (AAMRQ)’s American Airlines. Chicago’s Midway Airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV)

More than 13.1 million people live in the area threatened by tomorrow’s severe weather, which includes Chicago; Memphis, Tennessee; and South Bend, Indiana, according to the center.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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