Chaos at NYC airports as rain delays flights and swamps streets, creating nightmare traffic

Dec. 21–It’s a good thing Santa uses a sled.

The start of Christmas weekend arrived Friday with potentially record rainfall, leading to problems at the three local airports, flash flooding on the Upper East Side and delays for many morning commuters.

The pounding rainstorm was expected to last into the evening rush hour, with thunderstorms possible as the temperatures climbed toward near-record high in the 60s, according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding at JFK Airport created heavy traffic in and around the Queens facility, with officials urging those taking flights out or picking up holiday passengers to allow extra time to get to their terminals.

Dozens of delays and cancellations for both arriving and departing flights wreaked havoc at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports — with the number expected to increase as the day and the rain continue.

As of 12:30 p.m. ET, Newark reported 48 canceled flights and 209 delays, while LaGuardia had 42 cancellations and 452 delayed flights.

Passengers at Kennedy fared the best Friday morning, with only 13 flights canceled and 333 delays.

Air travelers who were met with gridlock at JFK this morning took to Twitter to express their rage.

The unseasonable temperatures and steady rain were accompanied by a 92% humidity reading in Central Park, making for a sweaty and sloppy trip to work.

More than two inches of rain was already reported in parts of northern New Jersey and Westchester County, and wind gusts of 40-plus mph were recorded around the region. The whipping wind topped out at 51 mph in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Upper East Side residents awoke to an Amber Alert warnings of flash flooding in the neighborhood, while the Bronx River Parkway was shut down in White Plains and Yonkers due to severe flooding.

Things weren’t much better underground, where the MTA reported major delays and service changes on seven lines due to the wet weather. The PATH trains between New York and New Jersey were also afflicted with rush hour delays.

A coastal flood advisory for the region was in effect through 11 p.m. Friday, with a flood watch declared for the interior sections of the area through Saturday morning.

The multiple flood watches for Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Nassau County.


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