Heavy Rain Cancels and Delays Hundreds of Flights in Midwest, Plains

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Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed across the nation by heavy rain early Friday despite signs the severe weather battering the Plains and Midwest was set to ease.

Meteorologists predicted heavy rain, stormy weather and possible isolated tornadoes throughout the day, with the worst affected areas in Minnesota, Nebraska and the Ohio Valley.

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By 5:30 a.m. ET some 170 flights going in or out of U.S. airports were canceled and more than 130 delayed, according to FlightAware.com. Most of these came at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, which had seen heavy rain on Thursday evening and overnight.

But these stormy and rainy outbreaks were expected to come in patches rather than larger, organized systems, according to Michael Palmer, lead forecaster at The Weather Channel, who said the day was expected to be calmer than the storms and tornadoes seen across the region earlier in the week.

"Things have quietened down a little bit from what that area has been experiencing the past couple of days," he said. "There will be isolated patches but no organized severe weather - the worst thing is going to be the heavy rain."

O'Hare saw more than 300 cancellations on Thursday — a third of the country's total. And in Minnesota, where in Minneapolis has already had its wettest June on record, the rain caused a 100-yard patch of land to collapse near a medical center in the city. Some 20 workers were evacuated from a nearby building but no patients were affected.

The week has seven significant tornado activity for the week, with 14 reports on Thursday alone according to the National Weather Service. One Monday, two people were killed after a rare twin tornado touched down in Pilger, Nebraska.

— Alexander Smith