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Monster Blizzard Aims for Northeast; NYC in Path of Monster Winter Storm; Thousands of Flights Canceled; Manhunt for Accused Killer Cop; Bush Family E-mails Hacked; Relay Responsible for Superdome Blackout

Aired February 8, 2013 - 10:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello. You're just about to look live at New York and Boston. Both cities and the entire northeast bracing for a major winter storm and some places including New York City flurries have already begun.

More than 3,200 flights already have been canceled. Residents across the region are being told to stay home. We have live team coverage of the snow, the strong winds and the threat of flooding and the impact on air travel.

Let's bring in meteorologist Jennifer Delgado. A good place to start, this blizzard is expected to be huge. Tell us how huge.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. We're talking parts of the northeast as well as New England. They are all going to be affected by the storm system and the storm that we're watching is actually two parts.

Right now affecting parts of the Mid-Atlantic and then another one coming in off the great lakes. Now we're going to see a lot of precipitation changing to snow. Right now we're seeing snow coming down for areas including New York City, Newark, Boston, Hartford and it's only going to get heavier.

By the time, we hit 4:00. That snow is going to turn to snow across parts of New York. So it's really going to get heavier. So we track this for you. We started off at 10 a.m. and then we go through about drive time.

You can kind of see for yourself starting to get heavier in Boston. While in the evening hours as well as into the overnight, it turns to all snow. The winds start to pick up. You can kind of see how those isobars are getting tighter and that means with the snow blowing around, visibility will be down to zero.

That's why they're telling officials don't go out on the roadways. Now as we move through Saturday by the evening hours the low will finally pull away, but before it pulls away, we're talking three feet of snow in some of these parts, anywhere in purple. That's where we'll see the heavy snowfall. We are expecting Boston, well, I would say it's going to be the hot spot. It looks like the cooler of the snow spot. Now we talk about some of those winds, Carol, and how it's going to affect the temperatures.

And of course, when you have those winds around we're talking some of those hurricane strength at times. Now look at the wind chill factor. We remember a couple of weeks ago it got really cold.

Well, watch this, Carol, by 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning it's going to feel like zero in Providence, 14 in Newark and then for Boston, minus 7. Do you think that's bad, well, for Portland, areas up to the north, almost minus 20 is what it will feel like.

It will stay that way through Saturday because the winds are not going to subside, and that means we're still looking at travel delays. And then you add in the factor of possible power outages. You don't want power outages when you're talking about wind chill values like this and 3 feet of snow, I'm just bad news, aren't I, over here?

COSTELLO: You are. Go away. No, come back.

DELGADO: I'll let you talk to somebody else now.

COSTELLO: OK, Jennifer, thank you. In Boston, the schools are already closed. The subway is set to shut down at 3:30 this afternoon in preparation for this big storm. CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons is in Boston. Good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Things are starting to pick up here a little bit. We're seeing gusts 30, 35 miles per hour. Temperature is not dropping too much, and we're also starting to see some of these flurries, as you can tell.

All that combined it definitely feels like things has gotten worse, but this is not like we're expecting through the overnight hours tonight. Kind of a mild winter so far asking them do they think the city is prepared? They said, yes, we do think the city is prepared. Let's hear what the Mayor Menino had to say.


MAYOR THOMAS MENINO (D), BOSTON: It's a very serious storm. We have many staff that are going to be out there. Right behind me you see several departments that are going to be called onto deal with the emergency. But also remind everyone to use common sense. Stay off the streets of our city. Basically stay home.


PETERSONS: You know, the city is prepared. They have 4,500 units of machinery ready to clear the street. They have a thousand National Guard ready to go. They have another 5,000 on standby. Everyone feels confident that things will resume back to normal by the time Monday comes around. But remember the heavier band start to come in late afternoon. Overnight tonight into tomorrow is expected to be the heavier band. Visibility is expected to drop to zero. One thing we've been doing throughout the day is tracking the visibility.

I want to show you the customs tower behind me. That is less than a quarter mile away. That's whether or not visibility drops below quarter of a mile. We can still see it. We'll keep tracking it for you and people are listening to the mayor. They're staying home.

As we mention, the schools are closed. By noon today, we're going to see cars off the street. By 3:00 p.m. it looks like public transportation will close as well. That's the fifth largest public transportation in the United States. So yes, it's going to be a quiet weekend as long as we hunker down and ride the storm out.

COSTELLO: Well, it's interesting that people are listening. I suppose Boston is used to this sort of thing and they know exactly what to do.

PETERSONS: Absolutely. I mean, people are listening to the storm. Like I said, all the people I talk to are very confident that the city is prepared. They have seen storms like this before, the fact that the timing is on the week.

They feel confident they're going to hunker down. Even though the system moves out by late Saturday, the winds are still going to be kicking up. So we could still see the snow blowing overhead. Visibility will still be poor. So planes will come in Sunday, but only to get ready for transportation on Monday.

COSTELLO: Indra Petersons is live in Boston this morning. Let's head to New York City now where flurries have also begun. The blizzards on the same path as Superstorm Sandy and some residents are back in survival mode, including our own Alison Kosik.

She is in Columbus circle. Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And I'm very comfortable rain/snow mix continues to fall. I'm watching somebody salt the sidewalk here because it's getting really slippery. He's finding it hard to keep up because it's coming down at a good pace and New York City is trying to get ahead of it, already saying that it has 250,000 tons of salt available. The sanitation workers will be going on 12-hour split shuts.

The bulk of the storm is going to hit tonight. Bad news is some of it is really going to hit during rush hour. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is concerned about getting the plows through the streets, a lot of traffic when people are trying to get home. A lot of it is happening over the weekend so the workers can try to clear those streets. They have a lot of streets to plow, Carol, 6,000 miles. Can you believe it?

COSTELLO: Wow. Residents still suffering from Superstorm Sandy. Some of them are still without power. How are they doing this morning? I can't imagine that?

KOSIK: Obviously it's a one-two punch, very tough situation. It was only the end of October. Here we are in the beginning of February. You know, how fresh and new it is. You know how fresh and new it is? People react when they hear an epic storm like a blizzard.

On Long Island I saw gas lines, 20 cars deep waiting for gas in the middle of the street. These lines were forming. People are afraid they wouldn't be able to get gas, just like what happened after hurricane sandy when there wasn't -- it didn't seem like there was enough supply.

So you're seeing people kind of react that way. Of course, they're running to gaucherie stores, taking everything they can off the shelves. I got the last apple, as I told you, off the fruit aisle. So people are trying to do their best. Definitely seeing people react because of what happened with Hurricane Sandy.

COSTELLO: Alison Kosik live in New York City this morning. Across the city in Queens this nasty weather is causing all kinds of travel delays at LaGuardia.

CNN's Zain Asher is there. Tell us more.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it is absolutely crazy here. I'm just going to step aside so you can possibly see behind me there is a departure board right there and there are a lot of signs in yellow. That means canceled flights.

You see a whole list of flights being canceled, a lot of flights after 2:00 being canceled here and those arriving after 2:00 also canceled. In total, as you mentioned, 3,300 flights canceled.

My prediction is that pretty much in the next few hours this airport, this departure land will be empty. Bottom line is anyone with travel plans today, especially if you're leaving roughly around 1:00 through tomorrow just make sure you call your airline to make sure you know what the situation is.

And just to give you an idea of how bad LaGuardia alone will be impacted on any given day about 1,000 flights take off and land from LaGuardia airport. When this snowstorm comes and goes it's going to be mayhem here at LaGuardia. And in terms of when flights resume back to normal, we have no clue. It's pretty much up to the individual carrier. You have to check with your airline for that as well -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So if you have a plane taking off after 1:00 this afternoon, call the airline. What about train travel?

ASHER: I mean, train travel, it's difficult as well because Amtrak actually just said that basically all their trains leaving Penn Station after 1:00 heading north are going to be canceled as well. So it's pretty bad news all around -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Zain, thanks so much. Stay with CNN for continuing coverage of this incoming storm. We'll keep checking in with our reporters on the field and get the latest from the CNN Weather Center on how much snow you're expected to get throughout the weekend and throughout the day.

Now to other stories making headlines, this morning in California, the manhunt intensifies and the leads seem to fade. Police say the possible sighting of accused killer Christopher Dorner near an Indian reservation in San Diego County, they think it was a hoax.

That leaves the fired Los Angeles cop on the loose and extremely dangerous. Authorities say he has declared war on the police and that the military trained sharp shooter has already turned the hunters into the hunted.

Police officials say Dorner gunned down three police officers in Riverside, California, after killing an off-duty police officer and his fiancee. The woman was also connected to the LAPD. She was a daughter of a retired officer. Just days earlier, Dorner railed against his firing in a bizarre package he sent to Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": -- mailed a parcel that arrived on the first of the month. My assistant opened it, inside he found this hand labeled DVD accompanied by a yellow post-it note reading in part, quote, "I never lie lied," which apparently is in reference to his 2009 dismissal from the LAPD.

Now the DVD shows testimony by a man who says he was kicked by an LAPD officer. According to Dorner, it confirms the story that Dorner told the LAPD. The story that he says got him kicked off the force. Today by the way is the eighth anniversary of his hiring.


COSTELLO: CNN's Casey Wian is outside the police station in Hollywood, California. Any new leads at all, Casey?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a few, Carol. And part of the intensity of this man hunt is made more difficult by the fact that police are trying to cover a very large geographic area. You mentioned those three separate shooting incidents.

They started on Sunday in Irvine, California, in Orange County. There was another shooting in Corona. Another shooting in Riverside, California, maybe 60 miles or so to the east of where the first incident happened in Orange County.

But this suspected killer, Christopher Dorner, has been leaving tracks basically from near the Mexican border to the mountains north of Los Angeles. One of the first clues that investigators found was he attempted apparently to capture or take a boat in the community of Point Loma, California, near San Diego.

Then on Thursday a briefcase linked to Dorner and his former LAPD badge was found in San Diego. And of course, in Big Bear, the mountain community north of here, his burning truck was found just yesterday. Police officers say that perhaps it could have been a diversion tactic because they've been searching that big bear area all night long.

And so far have been unable to find him. One other thing I want to mention is some of the tactics that the LAPD is taking to make sure their officers stay safe. They and other police agencies are required now that officers travel in their police cruisers in pairs so they have some protection there.

Also we've been outside this police station all night long and we have seen several precautionary security measures that have been employed. I'm not going to talk about those on air because I don't want to compromise them. But rest assured, police are taking this very, very seriously and are prepared -- Carol.

COSTELLO: What does he want? I mean, why is he doing this?

WIAN: Well, he says in that manifesto, he talks about wanting his name to be restored, his good name. He was fired from the LAPD and he disputes the circumstances of the firing. He also talks about reforms that are need about the LAPD. It's very unclear what he wants. I think that I'm no psychologist, but it sure seems the main thing he wants at this point, Carol, is attention.

COSTELLO: Yes, Casey Wian reporting live from Hollywood, California, this morning.

We now know what happened when the lights went out at the Super Bowl. We'll tell you next.


COSTELLO: Let's head outside for just a second now. It's snowing already in New York City. They're expecting maybe 30 inches or so. Boston is going to get it a lot worse. The shot on the far side of the screen is from a ski resort.

They're hoping for a lot of snow this morning and in the coming weekend because snow conditions have been really poor this season. In fact, the slopes are icy, so they're excited in Maine. At least someone is happy about the storm.

It's 16 minutes past the hour. Time to check our other top stories, the Secret Service is investigating the hacking of Bush family e- mails. According to published reports the unidentified hacker accessed e-mails, photos and personal information from both former presidents' accounts.

NASA scientists say a giant asteroid about the size of a football field will pass close to the earth by Friday. Fortunately for us that's a relative term. It shouldn't get any closer than 17,000 miles. The probability of it hitting the earth is really, really low.

The company that provides power to the Superdome is explaining what caused Sunday night's Super Bowl blackout. CNN's John Zarrella is in New Orleans with the answer. Hi, John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. That's right. Charles Rice is the first one up this morning at this emergency hearing of the city council's utility committee. Some of the thunder was already stolen because before he testified, Entergy, the utility company that he is the owner of, issued a statement saying they found the source of the problem.

Rice reiterated that a minute ago during his testimony. They say they have isolated the problem to a relay. All during the course of the week we've heard a lot about what's called the vault. Inside the box is what's called switch gear that controls the flow of electricity from the main feeder lines to the switch gear and then out to the Superdome.

This relay inside that vault apparently tripped off opened for whatever reason, and that is what cut the power to one-half of the Superdome during the third quarter of the super bowl game. The equipment has been removed. They're evaluating bringing in new equipment now, going to test out the new equipment.

One of the things they did say of course is this piece of equipment that was in there, and actually it's new. It's only been in there six to eight weeks. It worked final during the Sugar Bowl game, during the New Orleans game.

It worked fine just before that, but now it's failed. They are again, as I said, going to evaluate this piece of equipment, and they had also said both Entergy and AMT that they are going to bring in a third party to analyze the problem. Now they have to go back and look at that. It may no longer be necessary because they are sure that the problem is with this relay.

COSTELLO: Got it. John Zarrella, live from New Orleans this morning. We're going to talk a lot more about the weather and the big blizzard to come. We'll be back.


COSTELLO: If you're planning to fly anywhere in the North Eastern part of the United States, please call your airline. We just got word that 3,600 flights have already been canceled. These are pictures from New York, Boston and Maine planes are already up in the air, but soon there won't be so many blue dots on the air.

That's Eastern Time is when they're going to start canceling more flights. Also if you're traveling on Amtrak, Amtrak will cancel all train travel north from New York City that will start in the middle of the afternoon around 1:00 Eastern Time.

Please keep that in mind. What happens when a wintry blast barreling across the country meets an east coast cold front? It's a monster blizzard. It's just beginning to unfold this hour across the northeast and it could be more than a day before it's all over. Tori Dunn is tracking the weather from storm.


TORI DUNN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The earlier you arrived at LaGuardia airport Friday morning the better the board said your flight was on time, rather than canceled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really tired. I would rather get out on time and safely.

DUNN: Passengers are lining up at Northeast Airport hoping to get out of town before a monster storm gets in. In New York, the mayor is optimistic. The city can handle whatever comes its way.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: Having it happen overnight Friday into Saturday is probably the best timing we could have.

DUNN: From New Jersey to Maine, thousands of pieces of equipment are standing by.

JOE LYNCH, DIRECTOR, MILTON, MA PUBLICA WORKS: We're really watching as the frigid cold temperature and the driving wind and the lightweight snow blowing right back on the roadway. So we have a real prolonged flight.

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, BOSTON: Stay off the streets of our city. Stay home.

Earlier it marked the 35th anniversary of the blizzard of 1978. Forecasters say there are some similarities to the historic beast and what's brewing today. The outcome will not be as dramatic. It stalled for quite a while. Instead of stalling for two to three day, it may be more like 12 to 24 hours.

DUNN: There's been a run on supplies at hardware and grocery stores.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have to prepare in case we lose power.

CELEBERITY CLIM: How with refrigerators stocked, everyone is being advised to go home, hunker down and ride this out.