JFK Airport reopens two runways as crews clear tarmac of slush, ice

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — Two of the four runways closed Sunday morning at Kennedy Airport as crews worked to clear the runways of ice, snow and slush have been reopened, the Port Authority said.

Runways were reopening but delays will linger throughout the day. The airport was initially closed at 7:35 a.m, according to the authority, which manages the airport.

Newark Liberty and LaGuardia Airport were both operating but with delays. Essex County Airport in New Jersey has also been closed.

The storm that hit the area starting Saturday afternoon left several inches of snow at the airport, but the switchover overnight to freezing rain created a slick new problem that airport workers are coping with Sunday morning.

Kennedy got the most snow of all the area airports, with the National Weather Service reporting it received 4.5 inches as of 9 p.m. last night. LaGuardia came in with 3.6 inches.

Passengers took to social media to discuss the how the airport is handling the weather, with some people already on planes that are being de-iced but not going anywhere for a while.

A  picturesque , manageable snowfall gave way overnight to a far more dangerous situation — slick, ice-coated streets and sidewalks across much of the area as warmer air turned the snow to rain, which froze upon contact on the already slushy ground.

In and around New York City, 3-6 inches of snow fell before the transition to sleet and freezing rain. Long Island and coastal Connecticut received lesser amounts of 1-3 inches and an earlier changeover to plain rain.  North and west of the city, precipitation mixed with sleet later, and higher accumulations of 4-8 inches were forecast.

Precipitation will come to an end early in the morning on Sunday, and some breaks in the clouds will be possible in the afternoon.  Sunday will also mark a brief reprieve from the onslaught on snow and cold, with temperatures likely rising well into the 40s.  Winds will however pick up in the evening and temperatures will plummet as another Arctic front moves through.

Looking at the week ahead, more unseasonable cold air is in store for the region. Monday looks to be the coldest day, with highs barely cracking 20, in addition to gusty winds. More record breaking low temperatures are possible again Tuesday morning, with lows in the single digits. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s through the rest of the period, with sunny skies likely most of the time. The only potential wrinkle in the forecast would be if an area of low pressure impacts on Wednesday, which models currently keep offshore.