A backlog of flights at LaGuardia Airport and an ambulance fire on the Grand Central Parkway created nightmare traffic gridlock on the roads around the airport Monday afternoon and evening.
Cars, buses and taxis were stuck for hours, crawling along in bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles leading to and from the airport Monday evening.
Some impatient passengers simply got out of the vehicles they were in and resorted to walking with their luggage to the airport, weaving in between cars on the slushy highway and access roads in attempts of making their flights.
Traffic monitoring agency Total Traffic said people should expect to wait a minimum of two hours going into and heading out of the airport Monday evening. The wait for taxi lines leaving the airport was about two hours. But taxis weren't picking up because they had nowhere to go.
"We've been standing four hours in the cold," said Andrew Trip of Crown Heights.
"A lot of things happen at LaGuardia," Trip added. "This is -- I've never experienced anything like this."
Planes were having a tough time getting fueled up because fuel trucks were getting stuck in the traffic, forcing Port Authority police to try to escort them through the gridlock, according to Port Authority sources. The traffic situation threatened to worsen existing flight delays.
Airport officials said a backlog of flights from the weekend's blizzard crowded the airport, creating an extremely high-volume situation.
An earlier ambulance fire on the Grand Central Parkway near Flushing Meadows Park exacerbated the vehicular traffic around LaGuardia. It's not clear what caused the fire.
The Grand Central Parkway from the end of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was affected, along with Runway Drive, Astoria Boulevard and Junction Boulevard.
The Port Authority was trying to direct traffic leaving the airport onto Astoria Boulevard and Ditmars Boulevard.
"This is epic. This will go down in the books as a complete management failure on the part of the Port Authority," said one driver stuck in the traffic.
Some fliers stuck in traffic tweeted their worries about missing flights:
--Additonal reporting by Pei-Sze Cheng