NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The first major snowstorm of the season hit as millions were traveling home from the Thanksgiving holiday. Making matters worse, Sunday is the busiest travel day of the year.
FlightAware.com says Newark Liberty International Airport currently has one of the highest rates of delayed and cancelled flights in the country. However, passengers attempting to fly out of John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports are experiencing problems, too. Some people trying to fly home for work on Monday might not make it, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
Late and cancelled flights have been lighting up departure boards at Newark. FlightAware says about a third of all flights — more than 500 — are delayed this Sunday after Thanksgiving. Joel Foote was waiting to go back to Austin, Texas, after visiting family in the Westchester County town of Bedford.
“I gotta get home for work, so it’s kinda all or nothing tonight,” Foote said.
“I’m starting a new adventure, a new job, so it’s really important to be there,” added Giuseppe Oricci, who was traveling to Chicago.
“I’m irritated, I guess because I wanna be home,” said Shaela Dennis of Atlanta.
Nearly 10 percent of flights at Newark are cancelled. Some passengers that Rozner spoke to Sunday night that were trying to get to Toronto, Canada had been waiting to fly since noon.
“We won’t be able to get a flight out right now until Tuesday,” a woman said.
The average delay is more than two hours at Newark and travelers at JFK and LaGuardia are experiencing around one-hour delays, Rozner reported. Bobby Jones of manasquan, N.J. was trying to get home from Orlando, Fla.
“We weren’t able to land in Newark because of the ice and rain. They sent us to JFK. We sat there for four hours,” Jones said. “I think we were taxiing for three hours and we were starving.”
Earlier Sunday, anticipated delays and cancellations at airports all over the country compelled some travelers to start taking matters into their own hands.
Dorothy and Robert Todd told CBS2’s Marc Liverman their original flight was scheduled for Monday morning, but they switched to an earlier flight to Tampa.
“His one daughter phoned us this morning and said you better look at something, it looks like we are going to get hammered,” Dorothy Todd said.
“Looking at the weather, we knew we weren’t going to get out. We tried Manchester, where we were going out of, couldn’t get out, couldn’t get out of Boston. Then we got a flight out of here,” Robert Todd said.
What’s going to make travel even more difficult is the wide impact the weather is expected to have.
“We had a six o’clock flight Monday morning and first off, the plane probably won’t get in Sunday night, so that’s the start of it,” Robert Todd said.
American Airlines is offering travel waivers for passengers traveling through the northeast. Delta is also waiving fees for flight changes or cancellations.
With all the bad weather, one of the best things you can do is check your flight status before you had to the airport and anticipate traffic and delays even on your way there.
According to the National Weather Service, the amount of people across the country under a warning, advisory or watch on Sunday is in the millions.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed National Guard personnel on standby and activated New York’s emergency operations center to enhanced monitoring mode in response to the winter storm.
Drivers are urged to be careful as road conditions become dangerous with the mix of snow, rain, ice and poor visibility we’re seeing in points north and west of New York City.
WATCH: Storm Causes Slick Driving Conditions North Of NYC:
The slow-go continued on Sunday night as CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon saw quite a few accidents on the slippery roads.
It took Dhillon two hours to get to the Dutchess County town of Beacon from Midtown, Manhattan. Freezing rain made the driving conditions extremely treacherous. The roads were slippery and wet, with visibility extremely compromised, so many vehicles were traveling at a snail’s pace.
The freezing rain is expected to turn into sleet and continue overnight into Monday. Many of the streets were quiet as people retreated indoors. Still, the few Dhillon was able to find outdoors said they’re not pleased with the weather.
“Immediately, right off the bat we get hit with this. It’s rain-sleet. It’s icy snow. It’s not powdery, they can come out and plow it. It’s a problem,” Beacon resident Philip Condyles said.
Rain and freezing rain in and around New York City is expected to turn into snow later in the day on Monday and possibly last into Tuesday.
Cuomo announced until further notice no buses will leave Port Authority Bus Terminal for Binghamton, Rochester, Ithaca and Syracuse.
Speed limits have been reduced on some state highways, including the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, which is 35 mph.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy postponed a trip to California to monitor the storm. He said motorists should expect black ice through Monday morning.
“If you come across any road crews, please stay clear and give them room to work. Do not try to pass, and if they are behind you, please let them pass so they can treat the roadways,” Murphy said.
Watch: Gov. Phil Murphy, NJ Officials Warn Residents Of Winter Storm:
NJ TRANSIT anticipates regular service Monday, as does the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority subways.