Chicago bracing for major snowstorm of up to 18 inches.
The National Weather Service has issued an urgent blizzard warning on Sunday for portions of Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. REUTERS

Airports in New York reopened on Tuesday after the city saw the heaviest December snowfall in nearly six decades, causing severe disruption to travel services.

Central Park had 51 cm of snow on Monday morning, the most seen since 1948, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 6,000 flights were canceled from the three major airports in New York, leaving passengers stranded without food or proper accommodation.

Though airports are open, it will take two or three days to get back to a sense of normalcy, given the amount of flights that have been stranded in the storm, Steve Coleman, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told NY1 Television.

Taxi drivers abandoned their cabs in the middle of New York's snow-clogged streets. Even the New York City subway system - usually dependable during a snowstorm - broke down in spots, trapping riders for hours, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The blizzard also disrupted various other services, including the Wall Street. Though the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market kept normal hours, the New York Mercantile Exchange delayed the opening of the floor trading till 11 AM, media reports said.


New York is only the latest in a line of countries to be hampered by heavy snowfall across the world.

Last week, several airports and train services were disrupted by heavy snowfall in Europe. Nearly two thousand people were stranded at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, and flights were also canceled in Brussels.

The Parisian airport ran short of de-icing fluid, resulting in the cancellation of 50 percent of the flights.

London's Heathrow airport begun resuming normal flights on Christmas Eve, after being hit by a severe snowstorm that resulted in both the airport as well as trains connecting the airport to the city being disrupted. Terminals were turned into dormitories as most people camped overnight on the luggage trays.

It was the second time Heathrow saw such severe conditions. In February this year, Britain witnessed the worst snowfall in 18 years, causing cancellation of airport, train and bus services.

BAA, the operators of Heathrow, have been facing criticism over the way delays were handled.

Venice was rained out during the week preceding Christmas Day, leading Italian officials to move people from their homes due to high water levels.

Such increasing disruptions to travel services, particularly during the peak holiday travel season has caused much frustration among travelers. Protests broke out in the Moscow airport by exasperated air passengers, media reports stated.

Over 200 flights were canceled in the city, as it was pelted by freezing rain, causing power failures that shut down a second airport for hours.

More than 400,000 people in the Moscow area were left without electricity, BBC reported.

Passengers remain frustrated about the lack of information, as well as food shortage, media reports said.

There are strong questions raised about airport management, particularly in situations like these, which are fast turning into an annual event.

Snowfall is a common factor in most of the world during the holiday season. Yet, planes, trains and buses are canceled, leaving passengers stranded without any alternatives every year.