New York

Whipping Winds and Heavy Rain Slam Region, Wreaking Havoc on Holiday Travel

What to Know

  • Dreaming of a white Christmas? Storm Team 4 says not so fast, but lots of rain and strong winds may make your holiday travel a pain
  • Anywhere from 1 to 3+ inches of rain could swamp the tri-state area from late Thursday into early Saturday
  • Christmas Eve may see a few showers or snow flurries, but Christmas Day will be sunny with highs in the 40s

Whipping winds and torrential sideways rain hammered the tri-state area overnight and into the day Friday, triggering a number of severe weather warnings across the region and causing hours-long delays for travelers trying to fly out of town ahead of Christmas. 

Flood warnings and watches were in effect for dozens of counties into the evening across the tri-state area. Click here for all severe weather alerts. Flooding remained a concern through Friday night with a widespread 1-3 inches of rain pouring onto the tri-state 

By 9 p.m., parts of Nassau and Suffolk saw nearly 3 inches of rain, while Central Park and JFK and LaGuardia airports saw around 2 inches of rain each. Nearly 2 inches of rain fell in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Stamford, Connecticut had nearly 3 inches of rain. 

Accidents were reported across the region as roads turned slick from the rapid rainfall. Part of the Bronx River Parkway had to be shut down due to flooding. Flooding was also reported on Route 22 in New Jersey's Somerset County. Get real-time transit updates here.

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All three major local airports reported hours-long delays as the storm threatened wind gusts up to 50 mph and intermittent downpours through the day. Flooding compounded problems near JFK, which tweeted an advisory and urged travelers to get to the airport via mass transit.

At LaGuardia Airport, it took an hour and a half to travel just two miles to go from Terminal A to Terminal B Friday night. Once inside, thousands of flights were delayed or canceled. Track your flight here.

The powerful winds also took down wires in parts of the area, with local utilities reporting thousands of customers without power before dawn. A giant tree was seen felled across a street in Montclair, New Jersey. People lost power there, too.

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If there's an upside, it's that it was quite warm. A southerly flow pushed milder air back into the region, sending highs above 60 degrees on Friday. Record highs were set at LaGuardia and JFK airports, which saw temps hit 64 degrees and 60 degrees, respectively, breaking 61 and 59 degree records set for the day in 2011.

Don't get used to the warmth, though. Temps plunge back into the low 50s on Saturday with lingering winds.

Travel is expected to be difficult through much of Saturday, returning to normal holiday gridlock later in the day into Sunday.

Christmas Eve may see a few showers or snow flurries, but Christmas Day will be sunny with highs in the 40s, Storm Team 4 says.

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