WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Travelers looking to head back home after a lengthy holiday vacation saw their plans changed on Thursday, as an expected snowstorm forced Westchester County airport to cancel all flights.
According to the National Weather Service, as many as 8 inches of snow are expected to fall on the area overnight. A winter storm warning and coastal flood advisory have both been issued, and winds are expected to reach nearly 25 miles per hour and sub-zero wind chills.
Countless travelers were displaced on Thursday, when the airport announced that most flights departing and arriving in Westchester were cancelled, including every flight set to arrive after 6 p.m.
Elizabeth Noble, who came to Westchester to celebrate the New Year with friends, had a flight to Orlando, scheduled for 1:55 p.m. that was cancelled. She was forced to reschedule for a flight on Saturday, and was stranded at the airport for several hours after her ride made its way to Manhattan.
“I’m not too happy right now,” she bemoaned. “Now, I guess I’ll stay and enjoy the snow.”
Other travelers were forced to make accommodations to appease Mother Nature. Scott and Erika Accardi, New Rochelle residents that visited family in Alabama, were forced to get up at 5 a.m. to take an earlier flight to return home before the storm.
“It’s been pretty smooth,” Scott said, adding that the duo didn’t hit any snags or delays. “It’s surprising, but this is the nice kind of surprise to have.”
Metro-North officials were fortunate that the weather didn’t cause any delays as of Thursday night, but made advanced preparations for the snow by salting platforms and adding additional engineers and signal maintainers to ensure that the weather doesn’t hinder the morning commute.
“Today’s commute was fine, but the weather hasn’t hit us yet, so we’ll see what happens come [Friday],” New Rochelle resident Kevin Jenkins – who commutes to Manhattan for work each day – said. “They’ve been better recently, but when things go wrong on the railroad because of weather, they go really wrong.”
The storm is expected to be so bad that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that stretches of Interstate 84 and 87 would be closed at midnight, when the snow is expected to peak.