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Bad weather prompts hundreds of flight cancellations in Chicago, Denver

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
A rainbow appears in the skies above a Hong Kong office building on Wednesday, August 7. Click through to see other images of weather around the world. A rainbow appears in the skies above a Hong Kong office building on Wednesday, August 7. Click through to see other images of weather around the world.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: There's a four-plus hour delay at Chicago's O'Hare airport; 300 flights canceled
  • The Chicago area is hit with hail, strong winds and heavy rain
  • 400 flights are canceled in Denver due to snow
  • A blizzard warning is in effects for parts of central Colorado

(CNN) -- Hundreds of flights were canceled Wednesday nationwide -- including Chicago and Denver -- because of bad weather, airport officials said.

Airlines reported 400 cancellations out of 1,700 flights daily at Denver International Airport because of a storm that was forecast to dump 7 inches of snow in the area, the airport said at 2:50 p.m. (4:50 p.m. ET). The announcement came before the heavy snow had arrived.

Delays at the Denver airport averaged just over two hours and 15 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. And there would be no home runs flying out of Coors Field either, as snow prompted the postponement of Wednesday's night baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets.

The city's National Weather Service forecast calls for snow continuing into Wednesday night, when temperatures should dip to as low as 15 degrees. The weather should take a marked turn for the better later in the week, with a 49-degree high and mostly sunny skies predicted for Friday.

Strong storm causes damage in Oklahoma

Other parts of Colorado -- specifically northern El Paso County, including Monument and Black Forest -- were under a blizzard warning through Thursday morning. The National Weather Service forecasts that communities in this area could see up to 6 inches of snow and winds averaging 20 to 40 mph, with gusts blowing at speeds of up to 60 mph.

At O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, meanwhile, more than 300 flights were canceled because of strong rainstorms.

The Chicago Department of Aviation reported the cancellations at 3:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET), though the situation didn't necessarily get better as the day wore on. At 6 p.m., the FAA reported that flights were arriving more than four hours later than usual.

Delays for flights that were still on -- both in and out of the busy Illinois airport -- averaged one hour or more.

Airlines reported delays of 30 minutes or more at Midway, another Chicago airport, the city department said.

The showers and thunderstorms hitting the region Wednesday are expected to continue into Thursday. The weather service said these storms could produce small hail and gusty winds in Chicago, in addition to heavy rains that could cause flooding.

Video: What is dark lightning and how dangerous is it?

Testing planes to withstand wild weather

CNN's Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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