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Travelers Stranded As Near-Blizzard Conditions Close O’Hare Airport With AM-Storm Rdp Bjt

December 15, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ Stranded travelers turned benches and chairs into makeshift beds Tuesday and stared glumly outside at heavy loaders and graders clearing snowbound O’Hare International Airport.

One of the world’s busiest airports was closed at 5 a.m. for only the fourth time in 20 years as Chicago’s first major snowstorm of the season buried the city and suburbs in up to 11 inches of snow.

That didn’t bother Greg Meadows, a Northwest Airlines pilot hoping to catch a ride to his Virginia home.

″Eventually it will be opened,″ he said. ″I have a lot of good books so I’ll just wait it out. But it looks like it’s going to be a long day.″

Other travelers made new friends.

Valerie Salonus, 32, was traveling from her parents’ Michigan home to her home in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday night by way of a connection at O’Hare when the storm forced cancellation of flights to Kansas City.

Miss Salonus befriended another stranded traveler, Rose Barthel, 17, and the two stayed up all night talking while they camped out on the floor in a corner of Terminal No. 2, behind an Illinois Lottery stand.

″We’re going to have to get together and write a book about this,″ said Miss Barthel, who had flown into O’Hare from San Diego. She arrived 3 1/2 hours late and missed the last bus to her parents’ home in Freeport, Ill.

Miss Salonus made a bed on the floor from her suit carrier and a duffle bag.

Harry Slam, 71, and his wife Jo Ann, 65, arrived from Hebron, Ind., early Tuesday en route to visit their daugher and grandchildren in Orange County, Calif. Their flight was canceled, forcing them to spend Tuesday night at the airport.

″It’s just one of those things,″ Slam said. ″Mother Nature played us dirty.″

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