Nightly News   |  January 03, 2014

Travel Mess Follows Frigid Snow Storm

Throughout the Northeast, the side roads remain the biggest trouble areas. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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

>> storm hit as millions of americans had plans to travel home after the holiday break , both by road and by air. nbc's tom costello spent another oh day watching the impact on all of it for us tonight.

>> reporter: on the ramp at new york's jfk airport tonight.

>> you look cold.

>> i'm good. layered up.

>> reporter: as jetblue dug out from a foot of snow that shut down the airport until 10:00 a.m .

>> usually have about 30 minutes to load a flight. even in this weather we have to make sure everything gets out on time.

>> reporter: nationwide more than 2600 flights cancelled, another 5,000 delays. among the airports hit most directly,s boston, new york, philly and chicago. both o'hare and midway where thousands were stuck on the ramp and in the airport for hours overnight after their planes landed but there were no open gates to pull into.

>> they were unprepared. they are supposed to have contingency plans for a case like this.

>> reporter: the ripple effect reaching across the country. 5500 passengers affected in los angeles . meanwhile on the roads an armada of snow plows cleared most of the major interstates by midday. but travel on the side streets has been with a mess from philly through new england.

>> it's a sheet of ice.

>> reporter: late this afternoon via iphone we caught up with the thomas family on the road. they were supposed to be flying from vermont to washington.

>> got a call this morning around 10:00 from the airlines saying our flight had been cancelled. they couldn't get us on another flight until monday morning to get back to the d.c. area. we rented a car. we're driving down today.

>> reporter: a long day of travel. for millions of americans, many more miles to go. when the thomas family gets to d.c. they will find it's mostly clear, but it's a balmy 18 degrees here. meanwhile amtrak reporting all of their trains expect ed to be back up and running. normal service tomorrow. brian?