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CNN Today

Northeast Prepares for Battering by Winter Storm

Aired December 29, 2000 - 4:22 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Folks from the Carolinas to New England brace for that nor'easter that forecasters believe will batter those areas over the weekend.

CNN's Bob Franken is in Philadelphia, where storm preparations are under way. Gary Tuchman is on the weather watch in New York.

Gary, let's start with the Big Apple.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, any city worth its salt has a lot of salt, and that certainly is the case here in New York City. We come to you from a snow mountain, one of 32 snow mountains in New York City. Each of these salt mountains, actually -- hopefully, you won't ever see a snow mountain this big -- but, a salt mountain. But each of these salt mountains have between 100,000 and 500,000 pounds of salt, a total of four million pounds of salt here in New York City.

This is one of the many front loaders that loads up the salt, puts them on the salt spreaders and those salt spreaders are expected to be out in force. Up to 16 inches of snow in the city of New York. It's been very quiet here lately. Consider this year, there's only been 1.4 inches of snow this year -- that's less than Atlanta, Georgia. In the last four years, 45 inches total over the last four years, including the winter of 1997-1998 when there was half an inch of snow up until March, but then they got five inches. But it gives you idea.

They haven't had very much snow here in New York City, and they're expecting an awful lot tomorrow. Blizzard-type conditions, they're expecting 1,272 plows to hit the streets of the Big Apple in all five boroughs; 353 salt spreaders and about 5,000 employees from the Department of Sanitation will be out during the day to clear the snow tomorrow -- 5,000. That's the size roughly of a good-size small city. It gives you an idea of how much work they'll have here in New York tomorrow.

The most snow they've ever gotten in a day in New York City was 25.5 inches -- it was this week, 53 years ago. That record is not in jeopardy. But back in March of 1888, the second most snow in a day, 16.5 inches -- that record could be in jeopardy.

Now, if you get in your car from here, if you go down the West Side Highway, go through the Lincoln Tunnel, go 100 miles on the Jersey Turnpike, cross the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia, that's where my colleague Bob Franken is right now to talk about what's going on in the City of Brotherly Love -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we'll see just how brotherly the love is when the snow hits. Probably not a good idea to make that drive if the weather forecasts are true, which are that sometime after midnight, 8 to 12 inches will be dumped on the Philadelphia area with most of it actually outside the city along the Jersey shore.

It is probably that when the Founding Fathers gathered in Independence Hall, which you see behind me, they probably did not discuss when they were drafting the Constitution, did not discuss the right to snow removal. However, the elected officials here realize that if they want to keep their jobs, they'd better provide snow removal and they are prepared.

They are mobilized throughout the area, we're told, ready for a storm that's been predicted for several days now, and as a matter of fact, those predictions have meant that there's been a run on the hardware stores. There have been any number of people who have been taking every snow shovel they can find, buying snow blowers left and right, making sure that they're ready to remove the snow if and when it comes. They're also in the grocery stores, we're told, crowding in, buying milk, all the essentials -- getting ready for a little bit of a siege over the weekend, where there may be quite a bit of snow.

And also, they're making preparations at Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium. Turns out that, of course, this is a playoff Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to be playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have borrowed a special tarp from Pittsburgh to put on the field to make sure that snow is not a factor in the game on the field.

Also, and this is uniquely Philadelphia, they're bringing in special equipment that is going to blow the snow out of the stands, because Philadelphia fans have this very bad habit of making snowballs and throwing them at the opponents, throwing them at the officials because well, they're Philadelphia fans. They have a reputation for being really tough. It's a reputation they probably earned.

One other point, Lou. They borrowed the equipment to get rid of the snow from New York, where the fans can be kind of tough, too.

WATERS: I guess so. Bob Franken and Gary Tuchman, bundled up, getting ready to be buried in the snow in the Northeast, which probably will come. How much, we don't know.

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