Severe flash flooding in and around New York City has caused major disruptions at the region’s three major commercial airports.

Posts on various social media sites on 29 September showed flooded streets and highways. Subway trains were halted on some lines as tunnels also filled with water.

By 13:30 local time, John F Kennedy International airport had logged more than 15.2cm (6in) of rain, with 9.3cm falling at Laguardia airport.

LaGuardia airport

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Flooding shuts down Terminal A at Laguardia airport

At 12:45 local time, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for most of western Long Island, where both Laguardia and JFK are located, due to further expected rainfall later in the day.

“Weather conditions have caused JFK Airport flight disruptions,” the airport posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Laguardia airport said that its Terminal A, used by Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines is closed “until further notice”. Video posted to social media from the terminal show that it too is flooded, about knee-deep.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, both airports are currently experiencing ground delays.

New York governor Kathy Hochul declared an emergency across the city, Long Island and the Hudson Valley “due to the extreme rainfall we’re seeing throughout the region”, she said. New York City mayor Eric Adams also declared a state of emergency for the city. 

The Northeastern USA has experienced numerous bouts of severe, unpredictable weather in the past months. Coupled with a critical air traffic controller shortage in the region, airlines have had to deal with several instances of operational difficulties.