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Water main breaks shuts down terminal at JFK airport, causing even more delays after winter storm

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York announced that a terminal had been shut down on Jan. 7 due to a water main break. (Video: conorspudmoran/Twitter)

A terminal at John. F. Kennedy International Airport was evacuated Sunday afternoon after a water main broke, causing flight delays and exacerbating other lingering effects of  Thursday’s winter storm.

Images from a CNN report showed standing water in Terminal 4 in the busy New York hub.

Passengers should expect flight delays and check with their airlines before heading to the airport, the airport tweeted.

Terminal 4 is a major gateway for international arrivals at JFK and serves as an international hub for Delta Airlines, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Sunday’s flooding is the latest of many troubles at the airport since Thursday’s storm.  Scores of flights have been rescheduled since Thursday, leaving hundreds of travelers stranded. Travelers Saturday faced a series issues, including frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages and heavier-than-typical passenger loads, the port authority said.

The problems prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to divert more than a dozen flights Saturday night.

“Frigid temperatures continue to cause equipment failures and slower than normal operations,” the Port Authority said in a statement Sunday. “Customers may experience residual delays, particularly for international flights.”

Airport spokesman Scott Ladd said the water main break occurred just before 2 p.m.; the cause is being investigated.

“There are about three inches of water inside the west end of Terminal 4,” Ladd said. “We have maintenance crews on the scene mopping and cleaning up. The inner roadway at the arrivals area is closed due to excess water, but the outer roadway is open.”

International flights to Terminal 4 have been suspended, he said. Passengers who have already arrived are being deplaned and taken to other terminals for processing.

The airport’s runways and taxiways were fully operational, the port authority said earlier Sunday, but airlines remain in recovery mode after the storm, and many hundreds of passengers are stranded from canceled flights.

Some frustrated travelers turned to Twitter. One woman photographed an enormous pile of unclaimed luggage at the airport. “The rumors are true: JFK is a nightmare,”  she tweeted.

The Port Authority said there were 1,008 arrivals and departures Saturday — and 94 canceled flights.

The FAA diverted 17 flights Saturday, officials said. Terminal 1 was closed to incoming flights at 7 p.m. Many arriving planes experienced long delays in reaching gates, particularly international flights at Terminals 1 and 4. Buses ferried in passengers to the terminal from 25 planes at Terminals 1 and 4.

“These challenges left passengers on planes for extensive periods, as the airlines and terminal operators experienced delays in getting aircraft in and out of gates,” the authority said in a statement.