Rain and Winds Lash City As Travelers Begin Thanksgiving Commutes
NEW YORK CITY — Rains walloped New York City Wednesday as thousands of travelers began to make their Thanksgiving journeys on flooded roads, crowded trains and delayed planes.
The National Weather Service said a wind and flood advisory were in effect early Wednesday with wind gusts predicted to reach 50 mph and possible flooding in southeast parts of the city, where as much as 2 inches of rain could accumulate.
LaGuardia Airport and JFK Airport reported 60 minute arrival delays because of the strong winds, but most other transit including regional rails remained close to normal early Wednesday.
"I'm happy to be leaving this morning. It'll be a mad house later. I wanted to avoid the after-work crowd. It'll be crazy with people trying to get out," said 29-year-old fashion designer Kristina Paulsen as she headed to Providence from Penn Station.
Bad weather reports prompted others to opt out of driving early Wednesday.
"We were going to drive, but we were afraid the roads were going to be too slippery," said Consuela Benjamin, 39, in Penn Station.
The heavy rain and winds are caused by a disturbance west of the city that's meeting a low-pressure system from the southeast. The combined weather fronts are pushing upward in a northeast direction, said NWS spokesman, Joey Picca.
"The rain and wind will be dying off as we head through the morning, but will pick up again later today as a cold front moves through," Picca said.
"There's rain from Maine well down to the mid-Atlantic. It's going to have an impact throughout the day especially up through the northeast and especially as we're beginning to see flights take off," he added.
JFK Airport was reporting 20 minute runway delays for departures because of a high volume of planes and about 50 minute delays for arrivals because of heavy winds.
LaGuardia Airport reported more than hourlong delays for arriving flights.
Other regional airports appeared normal early Wednesday. Travelers were advised to check with their carriers.
Amtrak was running without problems Wednesday morning.
Long Island Rail Road trains on the Hempstead and Ronkonkoma lines were running slower than normal because of a broken gate, but other lines were running normally. LIRR will run additional trains throughout Wednesday to accommodate holiday travelers.
Metro-North lines had some service changes, but were mostly running normally. Metro-North will also run additional getaway trains for holiday travel.
New Jersey Transit was running normal one morning after a stalled train sparked delays Tuesday night. NJ Transit was running getaway service throughout Wednesday before it switches to weekend service for the holiday.
Many roadways within the city were experiencing heavy traffic, especially those leading to airports. Commuters can check traffic conditions on live maps like CBS New York's which can be seen here.
The MTA asked drivers to slow down while heading over bridges because of strong winds and rains.
Some scattered delays and service disruptions were reported throughout the subway.
6 trains were delayed due to signal troubles between Middleton Road and Zerega Avenue in The Bronx.
J trains were delayed because of signal problems at 111th Street in Queens.