The terminal operator tweeted a statement from Shawn Makinen, Vice President of Facilities for JFKIAT at 2 p.m. local time saying, "As a result of a water main break at JFK Terminal 4, which caused flooding in the Arrivals Hall, inbound global flights are now suspended".
The official Twitter account for the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey tweeted news of the break, which also led to a shutdown of worldwide arrivals into Terminal 4.
The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which operates the airport, said low temperatures after the storm made it more hard to operate ground equipment, some of which it said froze, causing further delays.
There were about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of water inside the west end of Terminal 4, Scott Ladd, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said in an email. That meant that all of the flights bound for Kennedy had to divert to other airports or turn around.
The Port Authority said there were 1008 arrivals and departures Saturday - and 94 cancelled flights.
The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey says passengers who have already arrived are being taken to other terminals for processing. He said the pipe that burst was an internal fixture, but apparently had not been weather-proofed. "But what is not clear is why the pipe was not weather protected". As the terminal flooded, power had to be turned off for safety reasons.
"Total chaos post bombcyclone", another traveler wrote.
Seeing Samsung's 'The Wall' MicroLED TV Made Me a Believer
By pressing a button, you can lower the screen into a box, where it wraps around a metal cylinder, kind of like a window blind. Also dubbed " The Wall ", Samsung's innovative TV uses MicroLED technology to deliver an amazingly rich 146-inch picture.
The arrivals and Customs and Border Patrol sections were shut down, and electricity to the entire terminal was shut off to prevent short circuits, he said.
The airport was experiencing arrival delays of more than two hours. Almost 50 flights were canceled and more than 300 delayed by Sunday afternoon, according to FlightAware. But when flights resumed, the number of planes coming in, particularly large planes flying internationally, outpaced the number of gates that could handle them, and a backlog began.
Further complicating the travel nightmare: On Saturday, two planes collided on the tarmac and a man was arrested with a loaded, stolen gun while going through security.
New Jersey and New York's port authority said there are so many flights that have been reschedueled since the snowstorm, they do not have enough gates to handle the reschedueled flights.
"These included frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages and heavier than typical passenger loads", the statement said.
"It's getting like a madhouse", traveler Steven Litvin told NBC 4 NY. "People are getting upset. But it seems that they're not very well organized", he said.
"We're exhausted", he said.