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Snowed in

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Snowed in

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This morning, the three major New York-area airports — Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy — remained closed due to bad weather, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Newark is scheduled to reopen at noon, LaGuardia at 2 p.m. and JFK at 4 p.m. ET Monday.
American Airlines canceled 171 Monday flights in and out of major airports from Washington through Boston, airline spokeswoman Mary Sanderson said last night. Those cancellations follow more than 262 flights that the airline canceled Sunday.
On Sunday night, air traffic in and out the three major airports in the New York area came to a halt.
Eric Schorr, a passenger aboard El Al Flight 002 from New York to Tel Aviv, said the plane was supposed to take off from John F. Kennedy Airport at 6 p.m. But six hours later, he was still sitting on the tarmac — with no end in sight.
“What happened was they boarded us, de-iced us, taxied us … We were ready to take off, but JFK closed when we were finally able to take off,” Schorr said early this morning.
He said passengers have been told they were not able to go back to the terminal because the airport had cut off official movement and taxiing services on the runway. About 3 a.m. ET Monday, Schorr said the plane was back at a gate, and passengers were deplaning.
Jason Cochran, who was scheduled to fly from JFK Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday evening, said he spent several hours on a plane that was “pretty sweltering” because the air conditioning was turned off for much of the time. In addition, Cochran said, one of the lavatories wasn’t working.
He said the mood aboard the plane was “pretty tense. People felt like they (had) no control over the situation.”
After passengers were allowed to get off the plane, Cochran said he ended up sleeping between a vending machine and a vacuum cleaner at a JFK terminal.
The New York-area airports, like many others throughout the Northeast, had gone largely quiet by Sunday evening. Many would-be travelers avoided the airports, thanks in part to many airlines’ pre-emptive cancellations.
Governors declared states of emergency in Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts on Sunday ahead of the approaching storm, a bid to get crews ready and expedite recovery funding depending on its impact.
The mayors of Philadelphia; Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine, also called snow emergencies, while New York City launched a winter snow storm operation and encouraged people to stay off the roads by taking mass transit or staying put.
“Unfortunately, our city is directly in the path,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday afternoon, amid a blizzard warning that extends until 6 p.m. Monday. “It’s hard to stand up in a 55-mph wind, so this really is dangerous.” (CNN)