NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 2,300 flights have been canceled at Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports because of the powerful winter storm hitting the region.

STORM WATCH: Forecast & Alerts | Radar | School Closings | Travel Guide | Roads | Video

“The situation at the airports is ugly for lack of a better word,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

At one point all planes in and out of Kennedy Airport were ordered held on the ground while crews cleared the runways.

Flight cancellations in the New York metro area and other northeastern states began Wednesday as the storm approached the region.

As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, arriving flights into Newark Liberty International were delayed by about 2 hours, and flights into Kennedy were subject to delays of nearly five hours.

“We’re trying to get the word out as best we can to all our travelers today to make sure to call their carrier in advance to make sure they don’t go to the airport and have a flight that’s already cancelled,” Port Authority spokesperson Steve Coleman told CBS2.

Coleman said flight activity is expected to pick up again at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty as the storm winds down.

One passenger stuck aboard a Delta plane bound for Miami International Airport spoke to CBS2 Thursday morning.

“Unfortunately, we pulled out and we were waiting to de-ice — we pulled out on time…and the auxiliary engines wouldn’t turn on,” she said. “Next thing you know, all the TVs went off, all the power went off on the plane.”

“No Florida for us today,” she added.

The storm is expected to dump more than a foot of snow on some parts of the New York City area by the end of the day.

The majority of flights have also been canceled at Philadelphia International Airport.

Most flights in and out of Bradley International Airport in Connecticut were canceled.

The National Weather Service predicted the city could see 8 to 12 inches of snow. Near whiteout conditions are also possible, with snow expected to fall at a clip of 2 to 4 inches per hour at the storm’s height.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App
Bloomberg WCBS Tri-State Business Index
Hear It On Demand

Watch & Listen LIVE