For a second straight day, some of John Wayne Airport's scheduled arrivals from and departures to Chicago-area airports and other Midwestern hubs were canceled.
By about 11 a.m. Wednesday, two United Airlines departures to O'Hare International Airport and one departure to Baltimore were canceled due to the storms hitting the Midwest and Northeast. Additionally, nine arrivals were canceled from various airports.
In Chicago, 20.2 inches of snow had fallen through midday Wednesday, prompting airlines based at O'Hare to cancel all their flights until Thursday. Midway, the smaller Chicago airport, and Boston's Logan International Airport were also closed Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
The National Weather Service predicted that the winter storm would fade out Wednesday evening, when the severe weather system passes over the upper Great Lakes.
Much of the nation's air traffic was halted Wednesday. As of 9:20 a.m., airlines had canceled 5,634 flights, which is 18% of the day's scheduled flights, according to according to the flight tracker website FlightAware.com.
Airlines had an added incentive to cancel flights ahead of time. A federal rule enacted in 2010 levies a hefty fine if planes are kept on the tarmac for more than three hours. For each passenger, the airlines can be fined $27,500 for violating the rule.