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Huge Blizzard to Reach North from New Jersey; Super Bowl Blackout Explained

Aired February 8, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello. Stories we're watching right now in the newsroom at 30 minutes past the hour. The opening bell getting ready to ring on Wall Street. Futures signaling a higher open this morning. Last night the Dow, P&P and NASDAQ all closed lower.

One place you won't find the new Blackberry 10, Japan. Company spokeswoman says the country isn't a major market for the device. And there are currently no plans to launch there. Researcher firm IDC (ph) says Blackberry carries just 0.2 percent of the smartphone market in Japan. Compare that to the 84 percent cornered by Apple and Android phones.

The northeast starting to feel the effects of a potentially historic blizzard. Meteorologist Indra Petersons is in Boston this morning. Good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, in the last few minutes we're starting to get some flurries headed our way. The temperature is not changing too much but the winds are picking up with the snow flurries coming down. It is getting colder. We know this is nothing like what we're expecting as we go through the late afternoon.

Let's talk about how this is expected to happen. We're watching two systems merging into one. Yesterday we saw some heavy showers around Atlanta, that's the warm, moist system that's made its way up to the mid-Atlantic, that is going to be merging with the cold arctic air that made its way down from Canada and brought some snow through the great lakes and is over the Ohio valley. When those two come together we get the big coastal bomber the nor'easter that's expected to bring the heavy snowfall rates.

Again, we are talking about two to three inches of snow per hour, wind gusts 50, 60, even 70 miles per hour are not out of the question. Visibility could drop to zero and late afternoon through the overnight hours we'll start to see some heavier bands. The heaviest bands are expected about 9:00 p.m. all the way through tomorrow morning and we'll see it taper off toward Saturday afternoon but don't forget the winds will be here. The snowdrift could be going over my head even as these bands exit out of the area.

COSTELLO: You sound cold now. Indra Petersons, thanks so much. Political buzz is your rapid fire look at the best political topics of the day, three topics, 30 seconds on the clock, playing with us Democratic strategist Maria Cardona CNN contributor and Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist who was the former spokesperson for Rick Santorum. Welcome to both of you.


ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning, Carol, good to be here.

COSTELLO: Good morning, we're glad you're here. Question one on the tortured subject of targeted killings I'd like to direct your attention to former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.


RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: For the life of me I can't figure out why George Bush got so much heat for waterboarding three people and President Obama has killed scores of people. From the point of view as a terrorist would you rather be waterboarded or killed?


COSTELLO: The Obama administration under fire for using drones to kill American terrorists overseas. Giuliani's point and our question, would it be better to capture terrorists than kill them? Alice?

STEWART: Absolutely. We've received scores of information from the three people that enhanced interrogation techniques were used in the Bush administration. We did receive actionable intelligence that led us to the capture of Bin Laden. Panetta even said so. But then the hypocrisy of the Democrats have lambasted that, but then Obama has killed scores of people with these drones. These are fine if they're used for actual surveillance and receiving good information, but they should not be used for just random fishing expeditions.


CARDONA: You know, Carol, in an ideal world, of course, it would be better to do that and that way I think the justice system would be carried out as we all believe that it should but at the same time we're not living in an ideal world and we're not living and we're not executing a war that is a kind of war that we have executed in years past where it's country against country. These are terrorists who are living under rocks, in caves, in Mali and in Yemen. And so to the extent that if there is one target and we know where he is and send a drone in and we know that person has killed Americans, a lot of Americans believe that is the way we should go.

COSTELLO: All right. Question number two, for Republicans it seems like out with the old and in with the new. Fox News parting ways with some of its more partisan contributors, Sarah Palin and Dick Morrison gone while Karl Rove starts a new super PAC designed to make sure more established candidates make it to the ballot box. In the mean while, RNC chairman Reince Priebus held a listening session with black leaders in Atlanta. You see him in the little chair there? This is part of the group's new outreach to minorities, but Rush Limbaugh still looms large. The man "Time" magazine calls "the GOP savior," Marco Rubio, meeting with the talk show host last week, went on the show to sell his new immigration plan. So the question: can you reinvent yourself and kowtow to Rush Limbaugh?

CARDONA: Not if you want to reinvent yourself credibly. This is something that Republicans need to understand. They need to get rid of the idea that Rush Limbaugh is a real political leader. He's an entertainer and he's even said that himself and as long as Republicans believe that he's a real political leader, their makeover is going to be just very superficial and it's not going to work. It's like they've been punk'd for the last four years. I'm expecting Ashton Kutcher to come out and say GOP, you've been punk'd, Rush Limbaugh is not a real political leader. If you want a political future, you need to treat him as an entertainer.


STEWART: Well, every candidate for the most part will go down to south Florida and kiss the rRsh ring, that's just what you do. The fact of the matter is the party is still the party of limited government, of fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and strong national security. We'll continue to convey that and Reince Priebus did the right thing having a listening session with African Americans. We'll do the same with Latinos and the same thing with women and young people, we'll listen in and loop them in because we learned a lot in this last session, in this last election, and we're certainly going to make some positive changes heading into the midterms.

COSTELLO: All right, on to question three, Democrats bring out the big guns today, Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert. Both will rally House Democrats at their annual retreat. Hold on, you say, Colbert? Isn't his sister running for Congress in South Carolina?


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COLBERT REPORT: No free air time, Lulu. As a broadcast journalist I am obligated to maintain pure objectivity. It doesn't matter that my sister is intelligent, hard-working, compassionate and dedicated to the people of South Carolina. I will not be mentioning any of that on my show.


COSTELLO: Okay, but back to the retreat. Stephen Colbert rallying the Democrats, he'll take questions from minority leader Nancy Pelosi. So, the question: what advice will Colbert, a comedian mind you, give Democrats? Alice?

STEWART: Well, I'm a big Colbert fan but I'm afraid even a Colbert bump is not going to help his sister in that district. It's certainly going to go to a Republican. I would imagine as a comedian he'll probably look at the group and encourage them. I understand there was a bipartisan reach-out by former governor Sanford in an excursion to hike the Appalachian trail. I would imagine he'd encourage some of the Democrats including Bill Clinton to bypass on that.


CARDONA: If he goes in character, Carol, he will beg the Democrats to change their party name to Republican in order to confuse voters, but if he's serious about giving them advice he would just say look Democrats, don't do anything, don't say anything. The Republicans are doing a great job of sinking themselves.

COSTELLO: Oh, ouch! On that note we head to our political buzz.


COSTELLO: Maria Cardona, Alice Stewart, thanks so much for playing today.

CARDONA: Have a great weekend.

COSTELLO: You too.

The Mt. Washington observatory in New Hampshire already known as home to the world's worst weather, now a monster blizzard is bearing down, we'll take you there to see conditions there.


COSTELLO: Will it be one for the record books? Let's talk about that big blizzard to come and head back to New York City where wind gusts of 50 miles per hour could cut power to thousands of people. A foot of snow and coastal flooding are also predicted. This blizzard is on exactly the same path as superstorm Sandy and that could mean a lot more misery for people still trying to recover. Alison Kosik is at Columbus circle in the middle of Manhattan. Oh, already looks nasty there.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here it goes, it is getting nasty, a nice rain/snow mix happening here. I'm watching somebody salt the sidewalk here, back and forth. Hey. He's singing at least. At least he's happy about the snow coming. Commuters going about their day as usual but they know come rush hour coming home that is really when the brunt of the storm is going to hit and that's what's tricky. Even New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg says it's tricky to plow the streets because the streets will be busy, extra mass transit is being added, extra trains being added, to get people out of the city as much as possible before the brunt of the storm hits during rush hour around 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. today Carol.

COSTELLO: So, did Mayor Bloomberg come out and issue a warning for people to stay off the streets and in their homes and what time does that start?

KOSIK: He is telling people to use common sense. If you don't have to go out don't because it is going to start to get bad. Who could forget 2010 blizzard when the city was hit by the monster storm, 20 inches at least hit this area, and the city got a lot of flack for not responding in the right way, a lot of ambulances couldn't get through because the streets weren't plowed, not enough public notice was given. Even the mayor admitted that the city fell short in its response, that's why you see Mayor Bloomberg come out yesterday and try to get ahead of this storm saying we have hundreds of salt trucks ready to go, hundreds of plows at the ready when this storm really hits.

COSTELLO: Alison Kosik reporting live from New York City this morning.

Two former presidents hacked. We have details on the security breach that sparked a secret service investigation.


COSTELLO: 46 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

Los Angeles police are on the hunt for ex-cop Christopher Dorner. Dorner is accused of killing three people including one police officer and the daughter of another. Right now, the search is focused on a resort area near Big Bear after a burned-out pickup truck belonging to the suspect was found on a road in the area. Police believe other tips that he received in San Diego were likely a hoax.

Senate Democrats are working on a plan to avoid the deep automatic spending cuts set to kick in on March 1. A source close to discussions says potential plans include reducing tax breaks enjoyed by private equity funds and closing loopholes for companies that keep profits overseas.

Michelle Obama will attend funeral services for 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago. The teenager was gunned down last week just days after she was in Washington performing in the inaugural parade. The President called the family and offered his condolences.

The Secret Service investigating the hacking of Bush family e-mails; a spokesman for the former President George H.W. Bush adds that a criminal investigation is under way. According to published reports the unidentified hacker accessed e-mails, photos and personal information about both former presidents.

And the snow is starting to fall in New York City as the northeast braces for a massive storm. Airlines have already canceled thousands of flights and meteorologists are predicting as much as two feet of snow in cities like Boston. In towns like Milton, Massachusetts public works departments are preparing for the worst.


CHARLIE BOSWORTH, MILTON PUBLIC WORKS HEAD MECHANIC: Well, just checking to make sure that nothing is broken to begin with. Cutting the edges on all the plows, snow blowers are ready. It will probably be a long four days, you know, which is tough on anybody.


COSTELLO: Four days. Let's check with Jennifer Delgado. Is he right?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know what; we are looking at potentially a historic storm. And when you combine in winds in some of these locations that are going to be hurricane strength with three feet of snow, well, you get the idea. We're talking about potentially problems across parts of New England and well as the northeast.

As we look at the radar right now, notice for yourself still some rain out there but a lot of that changing over to snow for parts of northern New Jersey, including Newark and into New York City, Providence, as well as into Hartford and snow through Boston.

In fact we have a live shot coming in to us and look at this live shot here, well, you're looking at Fenway Park and we're starting to see that snow coming down. Even in the very bottom of the park you can start to see that snow starting to blow in a little bit.

As I take you over to our graphic very quickly, I know a lot of people want to know how the day is going to play out. We're going to track this for you. Again, we're still watching two storms that are going to come together. Once they do, this is going to create that weather bomb and that's going to be producing all that snow especially arriving late tonight into the overnight hours.

But for 10:00 a.m. you can see where the snow is lining up right now, verifying with our forecast. And then as we go to 4:00, all snow for New York City, more snow for Boston, and then those winds pick up in the evening, and then we're going to start to see those blizzard conditions rolling through so that's why officials are telling you do not get on the roadway. Eventually by tomorrow we will see that storm system pulling away.

Carol, we'll send it back over to you and we're going to talk wind chill values as well. We're talking minus 15 in some of these locations --

COSTELLO: I know. Talking about wind chills, New Hampshire's Mt. Washington Observatory is bracing for a whiteout this morning. It's the self-described home of the world's worst weather. The winter storm now brewing in the northeast could deliver wind chills of 25 degrees below zero.

I'm joined now from North Conway, New Hampshire, by weather observer Brian Fitzgerald. Good morning, Brian.


COSTELLO: So the fact that a big huge storm is brewing, does that excite you?

FITZGERALD: It certainly does. Though, I'll be honest, this isn't that out of the norm for us. We'll be seeing wind gusts by tomorrow evening around 100 miles an hour, which actually is a pretty typical situation for the winter time up here.

COSTELLO: Typical. So give us a few tips because a lot of people in the northeast will be trying to survive over the next couple of days.

FITZGERALD: I would say stay put, hang out. Make sure you're well- prepped at home. Certainly with some of these winds that are going to be along the coast that we're going to see around Portland, Boston, Portsmouth, those areas certainly you're going to want to make sure that you're ready for any sort of power outage.

COSTELLO: So two storms, two weather systems are going to collide. We heard Jennifer talk a little bit about that. Tell us how dangerous this is when this sort of thing happens.

FITZGERALD: Yes, when this thing comes along, I mean certainly there's just going to be a ton of accumulation. Luckily this will be some pretty light powdery stuff and we're just talking about snow, not a lot of ice. But in this situation when you get a lot of snow, very heavy stuff, it can start weighing down on some tree and power lines and certainly on some rooftops if you're getting a lot of snow here.

And this is certainly -- I mean this is the most we've seen in a long time so hopefully folks are remembering how to drive in winter conditions and then also just the fact that you should just stay off the road this evening.

COSTELLO: Good advice. Brian Fitzgerald at the Mt. Washington Observatory. Thanks so much.

FITZGERALD: Yes, you're welcome.

COSTELLO: All this nasty weather is already causing huge travel delays. Thousands of flights already canceled.


COSTELLO: Mystery solved. We now know what caused the Super Bowl outage. Apparently it was an electrical relay device. Say what? John Zarrella is in New Orleans to explain. Good morning.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. That's right. Entergy, the electric utility here announcing just a short time ago that they believe they have isolated the problem to a relay. Now we heard a lot during the last few days about what they call the vault. And inside that vault was switch gear that basically controls the power that goes into the stadium from the feeder lines coming into that vault.

Well, the relay is considered the heart and soul, the brains of that switch box and according to Entergy statement this morning, that relay opened up, basically opening the circuit, instead of staying closed, which then shut the power to half of the stadium. This comes just as the city council's energy committee is about in less than five minutes now to hold an emergency hearing on what caused the outage.

Well apparently now we know it was a relay device, newly-installed to protect cables, literally to protect the equipment in case there was a cable failure. It had been installed back in December is what we understand -- Carol. COSTELLO: I'm just kind of laughing that there's an emergency meeting scheduled now for something that happened Sunday.


COSTELLO: Well, at least mystery solved.

ZARRELLA: Yes, it struck us -- it struck us odd a few days back as well.

COSTELLO: John Zarrella reporting live from New Orleans.


COSTELLO: This is weather. The weather already causing travel problems is what I'm trying to say. As we told you, thousands of flights already canceled. CNN's Zain Asher is at LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Tell us about the misery.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. You know, we've been here since 3:30 this morning. When we got here it was relatively calm. But now you are now seeing more and more passengers desperately trying to board their flights before the storm hits.

I just actually popped over to the board over there looking and seeing the number of cancellations have actually increased. Looking at the board right now I can see a number of cancellations. I mean the board says canceled, canceled, canceled for all flights pretty much after 2:00. And just to give you an idea of how many flights are canceled 3,200 flights initially; now that number has increased to 3,300 flights.

And I also just want to pull up the flight tracker right now so you can see what's going on in the skies. The blue dots hopefully you can see represents the number of planes in the sky right now. So pretty much right now there is activity. But that of course, probably will change as the storm draws closer.

So the bottom line is anyone with travel plans today, especially if you're leaving after 1:00, please, please check with your airlines. You don't want to be stuck at the airport. And just to give you an idea of what people are saying. One person said that he was on the phone with American Airlines for over an hour and a half trying to get his flight rescheduled, on hold. So that gives you an idea of the chaos.

And also one couple saying that they were supposed to fly to Boston, their flight was cancelled. They drove here through the night just in time to make another flight so there is pretty much chaos here in terms of transportation -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I feel for folks. I really do. It's just time to find an igloo somewhere, right? Zain Asher, thanks so much live at LaGuardia.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a short break.