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Severe Winter Storm Alert; Manhunt in California Still Underway; Preparing for a Massive Winter Storm; Many Flights Canceled This Weekend

Aired February 8, 2013 - 11:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, , CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, everybody. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

We are looking at a monster storm potential of a lot of stress and a lot of action that's going to happen over the next 24 hours here.

I want you to take a look at what we're watching here. This is Boston. Two-to-three inches of snow expected, perhaps even up to three feet that is predicted in Boston for the weekend.

This is being compared to the great blizzard of 1978, if you can believe that. That is when the city literally shutting down after a monster storm

So, what are we watching here? Shoppers, gas station lines. Folks who are going to be hitting the stores, hitting their neighborhoods just trying to see -- hunker down if they can for the weekend.

Right now, if you're going to travel, it's a pretty bad time to get around. More than 3,000 flights have already been canceled. That is for Friday and Saturday going into the weekend.

We are watching Boston, as well. There are a lot of requirements, of course, to make sure that people are safe, transportation as well as hospitals, getting around, and, so, they are requiring that all the vehicles get off the roads by 12:00 noon.

We are also watching some real changes in the public transportation system. The public rail stopping at about 3:30, we understand, this afternoon. There are already folks who are getting out there.

You can imagine the officials. You can imagine the resources, the technology, the equipment that they are putting out onto the roads, 600 snow removers that are out there already in place for this monster storm that is expected all the way from New York to Maine. Quite an amazing thing that we're watching here.

We're going to be bringing this to you, minute by minute, hour by hour, as this unfolds over the next 24 hours.

I want to bring in Boston here, Indra Petersons who's live outside. Indra, it's already snowing. I see you there. You're already bundled up. What can we expect?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I can tell you it's definitely already snowing.

And what a difference from even just an hour or so ago. Just an hour ago, we had people hanging out. They were going for their morning job. They were taking their dogs out for a run.

Now that this snow is starting to get wet and sticky, even stick to the ground a little bit, it's just us out here.

Now, let's talk habit this monster blizzard is expected to form. We're watching two storms merge together into one.

Now, what matters here is that first storm that was in Atlanta yesterday bringing some heavy thunderstorms moved up to the mid- Atlantic and that's a warm moist storm. Then we have the cold, dry air out of the arctic from Canada and that's the second storm that's now right around the Ohio Valley.

When these two merge together, that brings us the coastal bomb we like to call it. This nor'easter that's going to be bringing snowfall rates of two-to-three inches per hour. Winds are going to be blowing. Anywhere from 50-, 60-, even 70-miles-per-hour are possible and visibility could drop to zero.

Now, all day I'm going to continue to do this. I'm going to show you, once again, here is the Customs Tower behind me. We like to talk about, with blizzard criteria, visibility if it goes down below a quarter mile.

That is less than a quarter mile away, about two-tenths of an inch away to be exact, and we can still see it.

So, this is the thing. I feel like I'm cold. I'm kind of wet out here right now, winds only about 30-, 35-miles-per-hour, but I'm still just on that upslope of the roller coaster, waiting for the scary part through as we go through the overnight hours tonight.

Of course, we'll continue to keep you updated here as we go through these evening hours.

MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, Indra. I know what it's like to be out there. I covered a lot of weather out there in the Boston area. I went to school in that area.

I want to bring in, of course, Ashleigh Banfield who is in New York to take us through a lot of the snow, the rain, the ice, the sleet, everything that's going to happen over the next 24 hours.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": You know what? You know New York too well, Ms. Malveaux, the snow, the rain.

Look at me. I look like I'm in a bit of a rainstorm, a sleet storm, a snow storm. I am. That's what it is here.

In fact, we're in a morphing pattern right about now, and it is not going to last. While these people are all making their way where they need to go, commuting like New Yorkers do, taking the yellow cabs, maybe having a visit with Central Park, that's not going to last.

Because as we move into about 2:00, 3:00, it's going to start getting really ugly and that's when things are going to start shutting down.

They are looking to revise all the transit in and out of this city. And look, you're revising transit all up and down the Northeast right now.

But New York, as a major center, a commerce center, they have been through this before. It was only a couple of months ago we dealt with Sandy. This place shut down. No one wants to get stuck back in the city again.

Traffic was really light getting into Manhattan today. Methinks it's probably going to stay somewhat light, as well, because just -- well, they just know too well.

Look at this guy right here. He is right now using a skimmer just to make sure that people at Columbus Circle in Manhattan here don't skid along in the slushy mess, but mark my words. He's going to have to get rid of that skimmer and get himself a big old shovel like the rest of us.

A couple of things I want to let you know about here. FEMA has already put out the warnings to New Englanders. Get ready. Don't wait for us. Get prepared. Get out there. Batteries, shovels, candles, gasoline. There are already lines for gasoline.

We went through this in Sandy. Many of us waiting for days with dry -- my town was dry up in Connecticut, couldn't get gas for days, so people are doing that.

There are blizzard warnings in effect for these states, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. There are coastal flood warnings along with the blizzard warnings.

It seems a bit weird to connect those two, but they have them. They're expecting the floods to be three-to-five feet of storm surge for a lot of the coastal areas, as well.

And here's the thing. It's kind of like Sandy all over again in terms of the patterns converging, cold air coming up the coast and a big, old wintry storm coming out from the Midwest.

Jennifer Delgado is actually monitoring the science of this thing with those radars and maps, much better than I can give you. I can just tell you what it feels like, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You did a good job. I think you've been studying with Chad Myers and we just don't know about it here.

But we are certainly following this storm and we're watching two areas, as Ashleigh just said. One of them is the low off the coast. It's getting stronger. Then another merging in off the Great Lakes.

What this is going to do, this is just going to produce a tremendous amount of snowfall. We're talking crippling, potentially historic. At some of these locations are going to see three feet of snow. Snow's already coming down through New York as well as into Newark.

You can see for areas, including Providence, into Hartford, Boston, all reporting snow, and it's only going to get heavier, especially as we go through the day.

By 4:00, New York, you're going to see all snow working in. As we go later into the day into evening and the morning hours, more of that snow coming down, combined with those strong winds. We're talking some of these winds up to about 60-miles-per-hour.

That is going to create the blizzard conditions. We're expecting that to arrive tonight as well as through tomorrow. And then notice for yourself, that low continues to move up towards the north.

We're talking this low is not going to make its way away from the storm -- or, away from the coastline until tomorrow night.

Now, in addition to the snow as well as the strong winds, anywhere you're seeing in areas like Boston, 21 inches of snowfall, New York, nearly 11.

So, Suzanne, Ashleigh, we need to make sure you've got those shovels ready. I think Ashleigh said she had one. I'm finding it hard to believe you have one next to you, but hey.

BANFIELD: I have a snow blower.


BANFIELD: I have a snow blower. I am Connecticut, girlfriend. Two years ago, when that 17 foot snow in one year.

Hey, by the way, Jennifer, before you go, what do you call it when the snow comes down and feels like tiny razor blades hitting my face. What's that called?

DELGADO: It's time for you to get a summer vacation home.

BANFIELD: Amen, sister. And you know what? Speaking of our bosses, I hope they're listening because one of our bosses was supposed to fly out today and leave here and go back to Atlanta where we are and I said, hey, Janelle (ph), call the airport.

Some 3,600 flights are being canceled. In fact, Zain Asher has been dispatched to LaGuardia, one of the big centers here for flying, and I guess the best way to put it is it's a bit of a drag, right, Zain?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Ashleigh, I mean, it's pretty much crazy here right now.

Just a quick update for you, first of all. United Airlines stopping flights into New York at 3:00 p.m. United Airlines stopping all flights into New York at 3:00 p.m., just to give you an idea of how severe this storm is predicted to be.

We've been here since 3:30 this morning, so pretty much for the past eight hours and I was able to chitchat with some travelers who were explaining their travel woes to me.

One person saying that he had been on the phone with United Airlines -- with American Airlines, excuse me -- for about an hour and a half yesterday trying to get his flight rescheduled. He was pretty lucky.

Another family saying that their flights out of Boston were completely canceled, so they had to drive all the way to New York to get out of here. They were also pretty lucky.

But the bottom line is anyone planning travel today should, of course, call the airline beforehand. And, look, I'm going to show you why right now.

Take a look right there. You can see that -- you know, it's all yellow, pretty much all across the board. Yellow, the words in yellow, signify all the flights that have been canceled and I'm going to break that down for you.

Thirty-six-hundred flights across the Northeast canceled. In terms of airport, at LaGuardia alone, 300 flights canceled today; JFK, 400 flights canceled; and Newark, 700 flights canceled.

And even though at the airport right now it's pretty much calm, we predict that in the next few days it's pretty much going to be mayhem here as everyone descends on the airport all at once, trying to get out at the same time.


BANFIELD: OK, Zain, thanks. Keep an eye on that for us. Do appreciate it.

So, you know, we've been covering the two huge stories. The country is a bit of a bookend now with really massive developing stories.

This big weather system is going to paralyze a lot of people and affect tens of millions here on the East Coast. And then on the West Coast, there is this outrageous manhunt under way where police are trying to find a guy before he finds them.

Suzanne Malveaux has been tracking all of the developments in that remarkable story playing out in California. Suzanne, what more do you know now?

MALVEAUX: Ashleigh, it's really quite amazing because the manhunt is continuing as this hour continues.

The former Los Angeles police officer who is now suspected of killing a fellow cop and two other folks is still on the loose. Christopher Jordan Dorner says he is bent on revenge for being kicked off the force. That happened back in 2008 after accusing another officer of brutalizing a suspect, but Dorner's burned out pickup truck, it turned up yesterday. That was near Big Bear Lake. It's about 100 miles east of L.A., but Dorner, he is still out of sight.

Police, they are expected to update the reporters in the next hour. We're going to get a live report from our Casey Wian about what is happening with that search. That is happening just moments from now. We're going to bring that to you as soon as that starts.

And, of course, we all remember the Alabama boy who survived a six-day ordeal as a hostage in an underground bunker. Remember that? Well, we are now seeing the first pictures of him. There he is.

He is Ethan. He just turned six on Wednesday. That was two days after he was rescued. Well, he's now celebrating with his family, but plans in the work for even a bigger party to happen, and the whole community is going to get involved. Good for him.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to Manhattan, New York City, where the snow feels like rain that's frozen and in poisoned darts, I'll be honest. A terrible storm that's developing here in the northeast and a very big story developing, as well, in California on the opposite coast.

Our Casey Wian is joining us from Los Angeles where police all over Southern California have been watching their backs, literally, trying to hunt down a man who is frying to hunt them down, too.

Casey, tell us the very latest on Charles Dornan and the effort to find this man who has basically promised he's going to kill LAPD officers anywhere he can find them.

Casey, I think -- I don't think you can hear me, and I certainly can't hear you. My apologies while we work to establish Casey's -- his IFB, which is our listening capacity from coast to coast, I'm going to throw it back to Suzanne Malveaux who's also got other news that she's covering. And we'll certainly get back to this lead story, as well.


MALVEAUX: Well, as a matter of fact, you're absolutely right. The manhunt continuing for the former Los Angeles police officer who is now suspected of killing a fellow cop, two other people, still on the loose.

I want to bring in New York attorney, former prosecutor as well as our CNN contributor, Paul Callan. And from Tampa, the retired chief of police in Montgomery County, Maryland, Charles Moose, who led a successful manhunt for the Beltway sniper in the D.C. area a decade ago.

Chief Moose, first of all, I remember that very well, very clearly. I was in the D.C. area at the time. It was very frightening for a lot of us who were ducking and dodging while we went to go fill our cars up at the gas station. People who were shot at bus stops, at stores, the sniper investigation that continued for week weeks and weeks as you try to search for the killer. Are there similarities here?

CHARLES MOOSE, FMR. CHIEF, MONTGOMERY CO., MD. POLICE: Well, certainly one of the things that make it different is that they know exactly who they're looking for. But whereas yesterday felt like hot pursui, as we get into the day and maybe tomorrow, it's starting to feel like maybe it's an investigation.

And if it is an investigation, then certainly they're going to need probably some type of organizational structure, some type of command structure. I realize the police officers there in Southern California are well-networked, but as we look at Nevada, New Mexico, Southern California, there may have to be some type of way to prevent stove- piping, put some kind of organization in place to coordinate the investigation, as opposed to the hot pursuit manhunt that it felt like yesterday.

MALVEAUX: Does it feel like the tracks are cold now? Because we know he's already dumped his truck. Apparently tried to steal a boat as well. So we know there is a pattern, there is at least a path to follow him. Do we know where he might be going? And do we have a sense, as time passes on, that the trail is cold?

MOOSE: Well, I think that's why that it moves towards investigation as opposed to pursuit. But I think that we also think we need to realize -- and based on the D.C. experience -- how fearful the police officers must be, knowing that at any moment he could be targeting them. So the stress is extremely high.

But I don't imagine that it's a cold path. It's just that the investigative pieces haven't all come together and certainly a lot offing the information probably won't be released, because there's no doubt, I think, in anyone's mind that he's also paying attention to the media, trying to follow the investigation over the airways.

And so there's going to be that balance of putting out information to keep people aware, but also the knowledge that he's trying to gather intelligence in order to protect himself. And so he's going to be looking at the media to try to gather that intel.

MALVEAUX: And I understand, too, that there are police officers who are normally on motorcycles who have been taken off motorcycles, normally who are in traffic. Cops who are on the beat, who are now inside their cars because they want to protect themsevles and obviously everybody is on alert at this point.

Is it a good idea for them, perhaps, to even to get out of their uniforms, for them to hide in some way? I mean, how safe are the police officers who are on the streets now, all of them out there looking for them, who are clearly targets?

MOOSE: Well, certainly, I think all people in law enforcement will appreciate your concern and that certainly is well thought out on your part. But the reality is, I think, that they sign up to send that message in uniform to the public that they are there, that that blue line between the good guys and the bad guys. And so I think the police officers will stay visible, will stay in uniform, because that's what they sign on to do. That's their mission in life. And, yes, it is dangerous, but it's always dangerous. This is a more specific target. But I really don't anticipate that the police officers will make any effort to hide or disguise themselves. Their goal is to be on the alert and to bring this person to justice.

MALVEAUX: OK, all right. Thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

We're following the other breaking news, of course. That is the massive storm that is coming. Let's listen to Boston mayor, Tom Menino.


MAYOR TOM MENINO (D), BOSTON: -- under a blizzard warning until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. We're also under a coastal flood warning from 8:00 p.m. tonight until noontime on Saturday.

This is a very large and powerful storm. However, we are encouraged by the numbers of people who stayed home today and who are moving their cars off the streets. And all city buildings are closed as of noontime today, because the MBTA will not service -- be out of service at 3:30 this afternoon. I want to make sure the city workers have the ability to get home from their jobs.

The snow emergency goes into effect at 12:00 p.m. Teams will be out tagging and towing vehicles that remain parked on those main arteries. Reduced rate garages are open now for city residents, so please get your cars off the streets. You have to show a city parking sticker to get one of those reduced rates. You can go to the for further information on where the 19 parking lots are.

City Hall will be closed today, as I said earlier, to allow employees to get home. Our 24-hour service will remain open and ready to help. The number, once again, 635-4500 is that number. We have a team here monitoring all operations and residents' concerns. Our public works crews are out now. We have 34,000 tons of salt and now over 600 pieces of equipment ready to be deployed throughout the storm.

Again, this is a storm of major proportion. Stay off the roads. Stay home. Let the public works crews do their job over the next 48 to 72 hours. Make sure the public safety vehicles are able to get through the streets of our city.

So the message really is we are here if you need us. Call our hotline: once again, 617-635-4500. Or 911, if it's an emergency. If it's an emergency only, call 911. If it's a question about snowplowing or parking, call the 635-4500 number.

Please check on your neighbors. We'll continue to update you as we receive more information over the next few hours. We'll continue to update the constituents out there about what's happening in the City of Boston. I'd like to have the public works commissioner, Joanne Massaro, say a few words about what public works is doing at this time.


MALVEAUX: Boston mayor Tom Meninon, he knows what he's talking about. Of course, Massachusetts and New England used to getting a lot of snow, but this could really rival the record of back in 1978 when they had a massive storm.

I want to bring in -- back Ashleigh Banfield. Asheligh, New York is going to get it as well. Probably not as bad, but pretty significant because it's a different ball game when you're talking about New York and dealing with a lot of snow and a lot of ice.

BANFIELD: Can we show you? Come over here, take a look at this design. See what's over here? Those are kids and they're already aware that the cameras are here. So let me tell you something about kids, Suzanne. There are school closures all over the place. Connecticut has a number of school closures. Manhattan's likely dealing with school closures or early dismissals. It's going to be thousands and thousands of kids up and down the Eastern Seaboard, like these kids, looking for something to do today.

And it's not good to be outside because tree limbs fall. Trees fall. There are plenty of deaths that are reported in these storms because of it. So maybe these kids are headed into this mall nearby to find something to do while school's out.

In any case, there is also the issue of the transpiration. And in fact, Connecticut, the mayor (sic) of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, has already declared a state of emergency. They're expecting up to two feet in Connecticut of snow; in Boston, two to three feet.

When we come back after the break, just how bad it's going to get as you move up the coast.


BANFIELD: As we continue to watch this huge developing nor'easter colliding over New York and Connecticut and Massachusetts and a number of New England states, we're also watching a very serious development over in the West Coast as well.

In the Los Angeles-San Diego area, SoCal is on alert. It's a manhunt underway for Charles Dornan (sic). He's the ex-LAPD officer and ex- Navy lieutenant who has vowed revenge on the LAPD by hunting down and killing officers anywhere he finds them, at work or at play. And not just them -- their families, too.

Joining me is our CNN legal contributor Paul Callan, who's watching the story as well. Paul, as the police and officials try to find this man before he finds more agents -- he's already killed three and injured two -- are prosecutors working alongside of them trying to build a case so if and when they do catch him and hopefully alive, they're ready to go in a prosecution and my guess is a death penalty prosecution? PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, prosecutors are standing on the sidelines right now. I don't think they're actively involved. This is a police investigation. In terms of how a lawyer would look at this situation and, you know, the lieutenant -- and I call him a lieutenant because he was, of course, in the military -- has to understand that his only way out is to voluntarily surrender.

He'll -- with law enforcement mounted against him like this, he knows that in the end, if he gets into a firefight, he's going to wind up dead. So his primary thing is coming out alive, and he can do that by surrendering. He can reach out to a lawyer; he can reach out to a member of the press. A peaceful surrender can be arranged. That's really his only way out at this point.

BANFIELD: That's why I want to ask this, because he is a media junkie. He has contacted CNN. He knows people by name on this network. It is possible that he's watching the developments, because he's gone underground after shooting at will. He's gone under the radar. So if he's watching, is there something he should know about what that would mean for him if he surrendered. Would that mitigate his case? If he surrendered, does this tell people, maybe we don't go for the death penalty? Maybe there is a way out legally for him? Quite possibly not a way out of a lifetime in jail but a way out of the death penalty if he comes forward voluntarily?

CALLAN: Well, the lieutenant should understand that it would heavily mitigate his case. And, also, I've read his manifesto and his point basically is the system has been totally irrational and unfair in the way he was treated. For him now to surrender -- now his message has been broadcast. And it certainly will be broadcast in a trial to follow. But for him to go down in a hail of gunfire and die and kill other people, he will look like an insane, crazy person. And he will totally destroy his own credibility.

To keep his credibility and to get his story out there, he should be reaching out to a lawyer, to a reporter, to anybody that he feels he can trust so that a peaceful surrender can be arranged. And he'll come out of it alive, and his story will continue to be told.

BANFIELD: All right, Paul Callan. It's good information. I appreciate it.

And here we are in this Eastern storm. And there's also a storm on that's bearing down on the West Coast as well, and it's also something that's causing problems for the investigators the there, those that are trying to track Charles Dornan (sic). It's Great Bear, is that - oh, Big Bear, East of Los Angeles, where this storm is expected.

Christopher Dorner, the person they're tracking, and apparently snow there making it a little bit more difficult. Not just for them, but probably for him as well.

When we come back after the break, as it continues to get colder and a little bit icier, and the wet snow turns into sleet and painful snow, there are emergency management recommendations for everybody who is going to bear the brunt of this storm. And coming up, we're going to speak to one of the emergency management officials who can tell us what it's going to be like and what we can expect.

It's all coming up.