Storms Cancel 1,300 U.S. Flights, Almost Half in Chicago

Airlines canceled almost 1,300 U.S. flights today as heavy rain and flooding battered Chicago, whose O’Hare airport is the nation’s second-busiest, and other parts of the Midwest.

More than 600 of the scrubbed flights were at O’Hare, and delays are averaging 90 minutes, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Flight-tracking service tallied 1,291 U.S. trips scrapped as of 3:45 p.m. in Chicago.

United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, which have hubs at O’Hare, were among carriers dropping flights. United halted flights bound for Chicago for 30 minutes around 1:30 p.m. local time, Charlie Hobart, a spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Chicago’s Midway International Airport, a base for Southwest Airlines Co., reported 30 grounded flights and delays of 30 minutes or more, the city said.

Flooding earlier today closed portions of Chicago’s Eisenhower, Edens and Kennedy expressways, and thunderstorms probably will continue into the evening, the National Weather Service said.

The scrubbed flights follow more than 1,200 cancellations yesterday as thunderstorms moved across the Midwest, according to Houston-based FlightAware.

American Airlines also had about 100 canceled flights yesterday as the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier recovered from a computer failure that forced almost 1,000 cancellations on April 16.

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