NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nearly 300 flights were canceled at New York City’s area airports Wednesday, as a storm packing rain and snow throttled the East Coast, — disrupting plans for travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations.

The tracking service also reported thousands of flight delays well into the night Wednesday.

As of 9:30 p.m., delays of 40 minutes were reported at LaGuardia Airport, 25 minutes at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and a whopping two hours at Newark-Liberty International Airport.

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Travelers had been advised to take earlier flights, if possible.

As early as noon, 295 flights had been canceled Wednesday at Newark, LaGuardia, JFK and White Plains airports, according to

The Port Authority, which expected more than 1.4 million passengers to travel through its airports during the holiday getaway, said it was lined extra staff and snow-removal equipment in the event of a heavy snowfall. Crews were prepared to work in 12-hour shifts if necessary, officials said.

“We have a fleet of modern, state-of the art snow removal equipment,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Thomas Bosco. “We believe that we have enough resources on board today to make sure that we have a seamless operation.”

Even ahead of the storm, the snow also affected regional carriers operating express flights for major airlines. They include the Delta Shuttle between Boston and LaGuardia.

Travelers at LaGuardia, however, were trying to stay optimistic.

“We’re hoping for Thanksgiving in Miami — a nice, sunny Thanksgiving,” one woman told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

“We’re going to make it to Chicago today,” traveler Rose Spielman said.

“It’s tough to sit and wait and not know what’s going to happen, but we’re hopeful,” added Sol Zlotchenko.

But some travelers might get stranded — a scenario Bosco said the Port Authority is ready for.

“If, by chance, your flight is canceled, and you find yourself an unexpected guest, we’re going to do our best to make you comfortable and minimize your inconvenience,” he said. “We’ll provide cots, pillows, blankets and other amenities to help you out.”

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