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Massive Storm Moves Up East Coast; Joe Torre Talks About Abusive Father; Investors Fear Tax Hikes, Spending Cuts.

Aired December 26, 2012 - 11:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Record snowfall now blankets much of Arkansas. Nine inches fell yesterday in Little Rock. That broke an 86-year-old benchmark for snow on Christmas Day. Wow. The storm put a strain on local resources. The Arkansas National Guard was called out to help including providing four-wheel-drive ambulances.

The storm is now moving up the east coast bringing snow, rain and ice from Illinois all the way to New Jersey, and from South Carolina to Pennsylvania. This is a view in Indianapolis today. Look at that.

Alexandra Steele, tracking it all at the CNN Severe Weather Center.

The past 24 hours have created a lot of headaches in Arkansas, that much snow this far south. Wow.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Historic, Don, on so many fronts. And you know what, this storm has some long legs. We've seen it for a couple of days. We have two more days of it. So more severe weather and more snow from tornado watches and warnings to blizzard watches and warnings.

Here's the big picture. We start with the tornado watch. What that means is that here in the southeast, eastern north and eastern South Carolina have conditions that have the potential to form tornadoes. Tornadoes have been a history of this storm and we'll continue to see that. Those go into effect until 5:00 tonight. The potential for tornadoes is there. An awful lot of lightning as well. But then we're going to see that push eastward and move off the coast.

But there is the snowy side of this thing. And here's where we're seeing that. Southern Illinois, southern and central Ohio and we're watching it through Indiana as well. Really kind of the quadrant or the snow sweet spot will be right here along this I-70 corridor. From Indianapolis to Cleveland to Buffalo, and that's where we have blizzard warnings posted. And that's because not only will we see all this snow but the winds have been such a big component and will continue to be a big component with this storm. That's why travel has been perilous. And we've seen it and will continue to.

From today to tomorrow, here's where these blizzard warnings are, in effect until 7:00 tonight, not only for the six to 12 inches of snow but for the winds gusting 40 to 50 miles per hour. And then we have winter storm warnings posted. This I-90 corridor. So I-70, I-80, I- 90, all impacted. Incredibly difficult travel. Over a foot of snow in upstate New York. The balance coming tonight and this afternoon.

Here's the time line. You can see tonight at 11:00, we move out of Cincinnati in toward northeastern Ohio in toward western and central Pennsylvania, all of New York State. By tomorrow morning, still it will be -- the pictures of out New York State will be incredible. And also notice the wind component here. We're seeing these tight isobars. The tighter they are, the closer they are together, the stronger the winds. And winds, even if there's no snow, the wind impacts air travel. The next 24 hours will be difficult. Thursday night, finally in Maine and then we shake it off.

Don, here are the wind gusts. Indy, wind gusting up to 39 miles per hour. It's the winds and the snow that are the biggest components and we still have two more days of it.

LEMON: So you said this storm has long legs. I always wonder when you have these storms what's behind it. Is there a bit of a break or more behind this?

STEELE: There's more behind it. There's another storm coming into California that will cross the country. And in essence, it will take more or less the same exact dip to the south and come to the northeast, a very similar path.

Weather is very cyclical. You get into a pattern and it's very difficult to get out of it. Be it drought begets drought or the paths of snow and rain follow each other. That's what we're seeing.

LEMON: Storm begets storm.

STEELE: That's right.

LEMON: Thank you. Thanks, Alexandra.


LEMON: Appreciate it.

We always have weather. But 2012 brought weather we hope we never see again.

Our Chad Myers counts down the top-10 weather disasters of the year gone by.



LEMON: Tonight, millions of people throughout the Midwest are battened down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a second, the whole house was gone. We were looking up at blue sky.

MYERS: 75 tornadoes ripped through the Midwest causing nearly $300 million in damage. Number nine, Tropical Storm Debby.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tropical Storm Debby. This is what happens when you get hammered by as much as two feet of rain.

MYERS: This storm never developed into a hurricane. But it did leave up to 28 inches of rain in northern Florida.

Number eight, summer heat wave. Sweltering heat baked the nation this summer. March and July set U.S. records as the hottest of all time.

Number seven, western wildfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. There's smoke in the air.

MYERS: The heat wave helped fuel a string of wildfires that charred the west. Colorado experienced two of the state's largest and most destructive wildfires ever.

Number six, the derecho in June.

STEELE: It began in Iowa, moved through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and moved into Washington, D.C. It's just a fast-moving, long-lasting violent thunderstorm complex.

After charging 800 miles, 22 were dead and five million were without power.

Number five, the Dallas 22. There's an old myth that tornadoes don't hit big cities. April 3rd proved otherwise when twisters hit Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was scary. It was so scary. Remind you of "The Wizard of Oz" when the tornado hit and everything gets going around and around.

MYERS: Caused nearly $1 billion worth of damage within 24 hours. 0 Number four, deadliest tornadoes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take it away from us, Lord.

MYERS: Tornadoes took up three slots in our top-10 countdown. But this was the deadliest. March 2nd and 3rd, 70 confirmed tornadoes killed seven people in the northwest.

Number three, Hurricane Isaac.

Isaac descended on Louisiana Tuesday night nearly seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck. Isaac wasn't such a monster but it was still a killer.

The country held its breath as the levees were tested yet again. In the end, a new levee saved New Orleans. But Plaquemine's Parish was tested.

Number two, the drought that rivaled the Dust Bowl. All of those big rivers all very dry this year.

By September, 66 percent of the U.S. was in some degree of drought. The dry weather is expected to continue into 2013. And this could become the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

And number one, Superstorm Sandy.

UNIDENTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: This historic superstorm made landfall over the most populated areas of the United States. Even snowstorms are threatening the lives and homes of people from Virginia to Massachusetts.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: Never seen devastation like this in my life.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the surf here getting much more violent.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Curfew is under way right now. You are not to be on this street.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Keeping an eye on the possibility of flooding.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Superstorm Sandy has crippled the nation's biggest transit system.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talking about flooding, possible power outages. That could last for days.

JIM MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: In the city to the countryside, people need to be self-aware.

MYERS: The storm killed at least 113 people in the U.S. and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. Total repairs will take decades.

Chad Myers, CNN.


LEMON: And make sure you join me for the biggest stories of the year in crime, politics, money and even the most scandalous. "The Top-10 of 2012," Sunday night, 8:00 eastern, only here on CNN.



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Torre, he's one of the most successful baseball managers in the past 40 years.

JOE TORRE, FOUNDER, SAFE AT HOME FOUNDATION & FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER, MANAGER: I can't tell you what the emotions are. They're just running all into each other. I can't tell you how happy I am. Never been this happy in my life.

GUPTA: Just as he was reaching the pinnacle of his career, winning four World Series titles in five years, he began opening up about his childhood and growing up with an abusive father.

TORRE: My older sister, Raye, came from the kitchen into the dining room and she has a knife protecting my mom. And my dad was going into the drawer in the dining room to get his revolver. I did witness that. And I still remember vividly going over to my sister and grabbing the knife and putting it on the table.

GUPTA: For young Torre, who grew up to be an all-star player and is expected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, baseball became his sanctuary.

TORRE: I had low self-esteem. I was lucky I played baseball. I had an opportunity to go someplace to hide.

What time do you guys have to be in class?

GUPTA: Today, he's giving back by providing a real sanctuary for other abuse children.

TORRE: The perpetrator, we do them favors when we don't talk about things like this. Awareness is so important.

GUPTA: Torre and his wife, Ali, have started the Safe at Home Foundation, which funds dedicated spaces inside schools where kids can speak openly and get counseling about domestic violence.

ALI TORRE, WIFE OF JOE TORRE: It's very serious what's happening to kids and the abuse and the people that are abused. And they don't have advocates for them. And we're trying to be those advocates.

GUPTA: Torre names each site Margaret's Place, in honor of his mother, who was physically abused by his fathers.

TORRE: Youngsters are strong. They bounce back a lot. But I don't think they realize that it hurts them. I get choked up when I start talking about it.

GUPTA: Now retired from managing teams, Torre is still in the game, overseeing operations for major league baseball and also giving his time to end violence.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


LEMON: Fears of the fiscal cliff are taking some of the holiday cheer right out of Wall Street.

CNN's Alison Kosik watching the post-Christmas trading, as well as a threat to the economy that could come even sooner than the cliff? Alison, let's start with the stocks, though. ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, stocks, very quiet today, very quiet session. Not many investors in the game today. Expect that to be the case the rest of the week.

The funny thing, this is usually the time we see the Santa Claus rally. Investors like to put the icing on the cake, push stocks 1 to 2 percent on average. But the Dow down 46 points. No deal on the fiscal cliff, if I'm not mistaken. That's spoiling the rally so far. It could be worse, though. We've seen much harsher reaction to all the congressional shenanigans in the past. It could be a sign the economy is in better shape this time around. The S&P 500 is still on track for a 13 percent gain for the year -- Don?

LEMON: Alison, tell us about what some are calling the container cliff. What is that?

KOSIK: You've heard of the dairy cliff. You've heard of the fiscal cliff. This is s the container cliff. It could be serious stuff. It could be a major threat to the economy. But it's also something that can be avoided. This container cliff is the name the National Retail Federation has given to this situation if workers strike at 14 of the country's ports all along the east coast, the gulf coast, from Maine to Texas.

What's happening here is members of the International Long Shoreman's Union, they're at an impasse with management over wages, as well as container royalties. These are royalties, fees paid to dock workers based on the wait of cargo that's unloaded. They were created five decades ago as an alternative to paying higher wages. You can think of it as bonuses for longshoremen.

But here's the thing. Cargo companies say the bonuses are squeezing their profits and limiting their ability to compete. The deadline for this situation is Friday at midnight.

Dock workers, they they've got some big leverage here. The clear thing is we need our ports running. It could have a huge and negative ripple effect on the economy. The strike could stop truckers and railroads right in their tracks. It can cause delays at factories and keep goods off store shelves.

Remember, we got a taste of what this could be like. There was an eight-day strike in Los Angeles and Long Beach earlier this year, costing an estimated $1 billion a day. You can imagine what this could wind up being if cooler heads don't prevail -- Don?

LEMON: Talk to me a little bit more about the impasse here.

KOSIK: It is about wages. It is about these sort of bonuses that they get for the weight of the cargo. The thing is, some are asking President Obama to step in because what President Obama could do, he could invoke a federal law to get everybody to kind of step aside and come to some sort of agreement. So it's going to be interesting to watch because the deadline really is fast approaching -- Don?

LEMON: Can the government do anything, Alison? KOSIK: Well, if President Obama steps in, it could. But this really is a battle between the workers and the union, and wages and these bonuses. So we're going to see if President Obama steps in. We do know that President Obama is coming back from his vacation in Hawaii early. Who knows? He may address this situation as well -- Don?

LEMON: Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

There hasn't been very much. There hasn't been an east coast port strike since 1977.


LEMON: 2012 was a great year for the world of showbiz. It brought us some spectacular and unforgettable moments that captured our hearts, and tragic ones like the passing of some of Hollywood's best.

Entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, takes a look at CNN's top-10 most fascinating entertainers of this year.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Catchy dance tunes, celebrity breakups and the tragic death of a singing icon, just a few topics that had people talking in the world of show business.

Here's a look at CNN's top-10 entertainment news stories from 2012.


TURNER: The song was almost inescapable. Carly Rae Jepson's viral sensation "Call Me Maybe." It earned her two Grammy nominations and countless reenactments online like with the U.S. swim team.


TURNER: The force is now strong with Disney. In a move that caught many by surprise, the "Star Wars" franchise's fiercely independent creator, George Lucas, sold his company, Lucas Film, to the entertainment empire for more than $4 billion. What's more is Disney announced plans for three more "Star Wars" films.

It's the superstar relationship that has Hollywood asking, are they or aren't they? Chris Brown, who beat his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009 said, in October, he renewed his friendship with the singer. Is it more than just friends? Song collaborations and vague tweets from Rihanna have suggested otherwise.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want to keep everyone guessing, and they don't want to explain what's going on with their relationship to anyone in the world.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Jacksons, the family drama turning into one big reality show.

TURNER: More turmoil for the Jackson family last summer as Paris announced on Twitter that her grandmother and guardian, Katherine Jackson, was missing, forcing a judge to suspend her guardianship of Michael's three kids.


BALDWIN: Katherine Jackson is back home, and she says she wasn't kidnapped.


TURNER: Michael's siblings disputed the claim, saying their mother was resting in Arizona under doctor's orders. A judge later restored Katherine as permanent guardian of the children.




TURNER: Whether it was a pleasure or a guilty pleasure, audiences couldn't turn away from TLC's hit reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," about a child beauty pageant contestant and her family.


TURNER: Rapper Psy went from an unknown perform to her a worldwide phenomenon after his catchy dance tune, "Gangnam Style," hit the web.


TURNER: The song and trademark dance shattered records online, becoming the number one watched video on YouTube with more than 970 million views.

But Psy's newfound fame wasn't without controversy. Harsh anti- American remarks he made during a performance in 2004 resurfaced online. He apologized, saying his lyrics were emotionally charged and resulted from events in the war with Iraq.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: New sexual misconduct accusations against the former voice of Elmo.


TURNER: One of the most surprising stories of the year, Elmo puppeteer, Kevin Clash, was forced to resign after accused of engaging in sexual relationships with minors. His lawyers say the cases are without merit, but Clash still opted to leave "Sesame Street" after 28 years. "Twilight" stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were one of the hottest celebrity couples, until a highly publicized fling between the actress and the man who directed here in "Snow White and the Huntsman" rocked Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kristen Stewart moved on. She released a very public statement asking Robert for forgiveness.

TURNER: Pattinson did forget just in time for the premier of the Twilight saga, "Breaking Dawn, Part 2" in November.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The celebrity split sending shockwaves through the entertainment world.

TURNER: After nearly six years of marriage, Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise in June, blindsiding Hollywood's biggest movie star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was so incredible is how Katie Holmes had everything just so well-prepared.

TURNER: Although Holmes asked for full custody of their daughter, Suri, they settled amicably on the divorce just two weeks later, ending one of the most high profile celebrity marriages.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, PIERS MORGAN: You're watching CNN with breaking news of Whitney Houston's death.

TURNER: It was a tragic end to an iconic singer's successful but often troubled career. Whitney Houston, who battled with drugs and alcohol for decades, died February 11th in a hotel bathtub at the age of 48, the night before the Grammy awards. Houston's death was an accidental drowning with the effects of heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.


TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


LEMON: Please join me for the biggest stories of year in crime, politics and money and the most scandalous. "The Top-10 of 2012," CNN, Sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Let's check the top stories right now.

Former President George H.W. Bush is still in a Houston hospital. His wife, Barbara, and other relatives were at his side yesterday. The 88-year-old has been in the hospital for more than a month with a lingering cough and recently had a low-grade fever. Doctors remain cautiously optimistic about a full recovery.

A claim of a Facebook privacy breach within the Zuckerberg family. The co-founder's sister says a family photo was reposted by another woman to Twitter. Randi Zuckerberg called that woman out on Twitter, and the woman apologized and thought it was public because it was in her Facebook news feed.

And in China, the world's longest high-speed railway opens. It connects Beijing with Gwangju. It's just under 1500 miles. It's slashing the time between the two stories from 22 hours to eight. But the tickets, starting at $138, a little pricey for some. And many travelers say it's still cheaper and faster to fly.

I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for watching. NEWSROOM with Suzanne Malveaux starts right now.


Here's what's going on right now. The news today is the weather, of course. If you're in the eastern half of the country, chances are good the weather outside is intense outside. We have heavy snow stopping highway and air traffic across the Midwest. It's all moving toward New England. Down south, tornadoes ripped across the gulf coast in the past few hours, and could be more today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at them. That's like two tornadoes. It's two funnels on the ground. Oh, lord. Look at there. Wow.


MALVEAUX: Wow is right. This is how people in Mobile, Alabama, spent much of Christmas day. They were hunkered down. They were watching --