NYC's JFK airport closed due to blizzard

13:34, December 27, 2010      

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Passengers check the fight information on the airways counter at the John F. Kennedy International Airport as snow falls in New York, the United States, Dec. 26, 2010. A blizzard storm hit New York on Sunday, causing flights delay or cancellation. (Xinhua/Wu Jingdan)

New York City's JFK Airport was shut down after a severe snow storm caused disruptions in flight activity, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Sunday evening.

Officials said the airport will remain closed till at least 5 a.m. Monday.

More than ten hours of heavy snow and strong wind have caused massive delays and cancellations in New York City. Local media reported about 2,000 flights in the area's three major airports had been cancelled.

The U.S. weather service issued a blizzard warning for NYC from Sunday to Monday evening. The forecast said 11 to 16 inches of snow was expected.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg encouraged people to stay off the roads by taking mass transit or staying indoors.

Meanwhile, mayors of Philadelphia, Boston, Providence and Portland, Maine, also called snow emergencies, while on the state level, governors on Sunday made emergency declarations for Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, as snow storm hit northeast U.S..

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for New York City, Virginia and Maryland's Eastern Shore through 5 a.m. Monday eastern U.S. time (1000 GMT). The agency predicted the heaviest snow will come late evening and eventually pile up between 25 and 38 cm.

In addition to that, Connecticut coast, Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, coastal New Hampshire and Maine also have blizzard warnings in effect through Monday evening, with expected snowfall of 30 to 40 cm and wind gusts reaching 96 kph.

The storm came at the last day of the Christmas weekend. Officials predicted the blizzard's impact on the economy might be somewhat muted, as many people had the holiday weekend off and fewer were expected to turn up for work than usual on Monday.

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