Nightly News   |  December 27, 2010

Snow takes a bite out of the Big Apple

New York City took the full force of a historic winter storm that closed airports, brought local transportation to a standstill and left record snowfall in its wake. NBC's Jeff Rossen reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good news, bad news about this storm happening right now. traditionally not much business gets transacted during this kind of week in a city like new york. the bad news, so many holiday travelers who need to get back home to their lives and jobs and they can't. we mentioned air travel , absolutely paralyzed. jeff rossen is out at laguardia where most has been coming in and out.

>> reporter: good evening. after all the bad news we have been delivering a bit of a bright spot tonight. all new york major airports, newark, laguardia and kennedy, opened this evening and will stay open. they have one runway open, but it could take days and that's crippling air travel nationwide. the day started like this, exhausted travelers sleeping at laguardia . the airport closed.

>> if i can shave and get a bench, i'll be happy.

>> reporter: this evening, they're still sleeping in the terminal, but there's new hope. laguardia will have one runway hope tonight, what do you think?

>> i think having a runway open is meaningless unless you have planes to be using that runway. if you have ten runways and no planes, it's meaningless.

>> reporter: she's right. planes were flown out of town ahead of the storm to avoid getting stuck. at laguardia , the gates are empty.

>> the weatherman said that the blizzard is over, but for us it isn't.

>> reporter: just because the airports are open doesn't mean the airlines can or will fly. today, delta canceled 875 flights. us airways canceled 690 flights. american, 509. canceling another 44 tomorrow. on top of the 2,000 cancellations in the northeast sunday. the backup is rippling from atlanta.

>> all i want to do is go home.

>> reporter: to washington, d.c.

>> i'm hoping my flight gets out today.

>> reporter: all the way to los angeles .

>> all of our plans thrown out the window. we're going to do everything we can to make our vacation happen, but mother nature , she's in charge.

>> reporter: airport crews are working around the clock de-icing aircraft, hoping to resume normal operations sometime tomorrow. any idea when you're getting home?

>> we're confirmed to go out on wednesday.

>> reporter: today is monday.

>> yeah.

>> reporter: if you're going to get there by train, brian, that may be the better bet. at least tonight and through tomorrow, amtrak has resumed service in the northeast. better than sleeping here.

>> jeff rossen out at laguardia tonight. jeff, thanks for that.

>>> we mentioned this other casualty of this storm, and if