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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dozens of flights were delayed and many were canceled after a lightning strike briefly shut down a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday, officials said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the three major airports in and around New York City, said the approach area of one of the airport's two main runways was damaged after it was hit by lightning at 11:18 a.m. ET. The damage was quickly repaired and the runway was reopened at 12:40 p.m., it said.
LaGuardia, which serves U.S. and Canadian cities, mostly in the eastern half of North America, continued to operate during the runway closure as all landings and takeoffs were diverted to its second runway, the Port Authority said.
The squeeze of flights onto one runway, in addition to the effects of stormy weather in New York, led to reported flight delays and cancellations.
The Federal Aviation Administration did not have an immediate estimate on the extent of the disruptions, but FlightAware, a private service that tracks global flight data, put the number of LaGuardia's delayed incoming or outgoing flights at 159 and the number of cancellations at 35.
Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Andrew Hay