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Weather Conditions Getting Worse; Manhunt Continues for Christopher Dorner

Aired February 8, 2013 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We're covering two big stories this hour. First, the storm hitting the northeast. In New York, it's wet, it's cold and it is going to get a lot worse. And in California, police continue their manhunt for Christopher Dorner. Winter storm might actually help cover the tracks of the suspected cop killer.

This is the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We're getting to these two big stories.

Weather conditions right now in the northeast pretty bad, about to get a lot worse. There is a massive blizzard; it's about to hit tens of millions of people from New York to Maine. Here's what we're expecting: potentially record breaking snowfall, powerful winds, flooding along the coast. You got states of emergency declared now in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

Want to bring in our Susan Candiotti. She is live in Boston. We got Alison Kosik, who's in New York. Let's start off in New York. Alison, what does it look like? Everybody's got their CNN gear on, they're ready to go. What've you got?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hailing right now, so it's sort of wet heavy icy kind of snow that really makes you want to sort of walk really slow or you're going to slip and fall on the sidewalk like this. What's happening here now in New York, what I'm hearing, is a lot of offices in New York City, they're closing early because the trick is to get everybody home before the blizzard conditions really begin. Those blizzard conditions expected to begin at 7:00; that's when you'll see the highest accumulations.

So, yes, a lot of workplaces are closing early. The big push is to get everybody out of the city and, to do that, extra trains are being added to the schedule. And subway systems, of course, are being run more efficiently because the buses, the subways, the trains, they move 8.5 million people in and out of this city every single day. So it's a lot of people to move and a lot of people to move in a short time, especially because when the highest accumulations are coming, and that's right when rush hour is. And what New York City wants to see is sort of the streets clear so they can get those snowplows through, because those snowplows are expected to start rolling, Suzanne, at 7:00. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Alison, New Yorkers are pretty tough. How are they taking this so far?

KOSIK: They are a tough bunch, aren't they? But even after Sandy, they are more cautious. I certainly saw the grocery shelves wiped clean last night, because you can never be too certain as to what's going to happen. Gas lines were also forming last night on Long Island, 20 cars deep. So those gas lines were starting again, reminiscent of Sandy as well. So you are seeing more caution even though New Yorkers are certainly hearty, especially with a snowstorm like this.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Alison. Boston, of course, could get the worst out of all of this. They are prepared; they're used to big snow, but probably not this big. Susan, the governor now declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, is that right?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right and it gives them much broader powers to issue rulings and that kind of thing. It's very commonplace in a situation like this. And he also, just moments ago, issued a statewide ban on cars to get off the road by 4:00 this afternoon. Statewide, 4:00 this afternoon.

A similar snow emergency is now in effect as of noontime today in the city of Boston, where all vehicles must be off the road except for emergency vehicles. Authorities want to make sure that they can get all the proper trucks and equipment in place to prepare for the storm. And as you can tell, it's coming right at me right now, into my face. So the snow is really blowing hard.

Let me give you a sense of where we are. You see -- this is a dusting now, but obviously the winds pick up from time to time. Behind me, and I know you know Boston, and other people who have been here, tourists, they know Quincy Market. That's right behind my shoulder, as well Nathaniel Hall back there too.

And to show you out visibility is starting to get impacted just a bit, we can pan up and see the old Customs House there, a landmark here turned into a hotel now. But you can see where it's getting just a bit harder to see. And even though cars are supposed to be off the street, we are still seeing some go by from time to time. And there are people out here walking their dogs, taking a walk, looking around, obviously before things get any worse. But I will tell you this, the mayor held a news conference a little while ago and he said people really need to get serious about their preparations.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO (D), BOSTON: This is a very large and you powerful storm. However, we are encouraged by the numbers of people who stayed home today and who are moving their cars off the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Now, remember, patience is the key here. People have to be prepared to stay at home and not be able to go out. They're expecting up to 2 feet of snow, possibly up to 3 feet of snow. I mean, no one really knows how bad will this is going to be. But as you heard him say, a blizzard of major proportions. That blizzard warning remains in effect again until 1:00 tomorrow. Coastal flooding until noon tomorrow is expected, that warning, as well.

So this is the time where people should already have gotten what they need and just be prepared to stay at home and ride this thing out. Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Susan, I don't know how they're going to enforce, three hours from now, all the vehicles off the road. That is going to be a tremendous challenge throughout the local state there.

Try to stay warm if you can. I know what that's like when you've got that wind coming at you. You're doing a great job. Thanks, Susan. Appreciate it.

Want to bring in our Chad Myers, who joins us. And Chad, I feel a little guilty, you and I inside like this. I mean, all our friends are outside. They've got their gear on. But it's going to get pretty bad, yes?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We haven't even started yet. Literally, this storm is just getting its act together. It's over the warm water of the Gulf Stream; cold air is still going to come in behind it. And what I'm seeing there in New York City is kind of a problem. It's just wet, slushy, sloppy, a little bit of rain mixing in.

But tonight the cold air rips in behind it and it continues to snow. There's going to be 8 inches of snow on top of that little layer of ice that's going to form from what's there right now. It's snowing in Boston. It's not going to change back over to rain for Boston, I don't believe. Providence, Hartford, the same story.

This entire area right here, every little spot right through there, has the potential for between 20 and 30 inches of snow. It's not going to happen for everyone. There will be areas here, mountains here, right through there, the River Valley, Hudson River Valley, will not pick up that much. It's lower. The mountains around, the hills around the Hudson Valley, will have more snow than the valley itself.

So here is what's going to happen. We're going to mix in a little bit of this rain with New York. And that's going to limit the amounts of snow for now. So maybe only 3 to 4 inches by midnight tonight. But by the time this storm slides off to the East, the cold air wraps in and changes all of that rain, all of that sleet or whatever the rain/snow mix you're getting right now, back over to a very sloppy and very deep mess.

Here is the snowfall forecast totals. 21.8 for Boston, 18 for Providence. I could se some of these numbers being higher in some of these cities, especially Hartford and Providence. I've seen numbers like 22, 23 inches. We only have to get to 27 or so to break that record in Boston. I don't think that's out of the question. We're going to very, very close to that. MALVEAUX: Wow, really, Chad? Because that was back in '78, yes?

MYERS: Yes, and there was another one in 2003 of 27.5. I think we'll get above that. There just wasn't as much of a blizzard in 2003 as there was in '78. That's why all the pictures are of '78. But there was as much snow to move and this is going to be heavy snow, too, so back-breaking, heart-breaking heartaches. No, if you ever feel yourself just out of breath moving this snow, you have to take a break. This is very -- we call it heart attack snow, but I don't even want to have to go there. Just take breaks as you're shoveling this.

And it will be blowing at 40, 50 miles per hour. What you shovel will be completely closed off again in 20 minutes. Let all this stop before you even get out there to shovel.

MALVEAUX: And Chad, I imagine we're better prepared now than we were back in '78, though. There's a lot of technology that helps us out. It's not going to be something that is potentially as deadly as you saw decades ago.

MYERS: Well, we knew this was coming four days ago. So we prepared people -- almost like a hurricane. The European model, again, we talked about that during Sandy - the European model did a fantastic job forecasting this combination of warm and cold coming together.

Now, the warm is here a little bit sooner than the cold. That's why it's raining or mixing with rain in Long Island, New Jersey and even into Manhattan, some rain mixing in with snow. The warm got here a little bit too soon for to be al snow. That's great. We don't want it to be all snow, because all snow in New York City is 25 inches. Not going to happen. Going to be 8 to 10, maybe 12 if it changes over. But watch it at midnight. If it's snowing in New York City at midnight, it will pile up maybe a little bit more than that.

But, yes, we knew it was coming. People are prepared. They got gas. Hopefully they're not standing in lines and they need to be off the roads, because what's going to happen, especially by 2:00, 3:00, people are going to try to get home, there's going be a wreck on the highway in front of them, they're going to be sitting there for hours waiting for that wreck to clear. By the time the wreck clears, they're surrounded by 8 inches of snow unable to move and the whole place is a parking lot. Winds pick up to 40. You're in a car, blizzard-like conditions, trying to keep yourself alive and hopefully not your family alive. We don't want that to happen. Go home now and stay there.

MALVEAUX: That's excellent, excellent advice, Chad. Is there any reason why -- we saw Sandy, Superstorm Sandy before, why is that happening again? I mean, do we know the conditions? Is this happening more often than it used to?

MYERS: No, just a typical nor'easter. This is exactly how nor'easters happen. Cold air comes in from the back side, warm storm runs up from the northeast coast. We had one in '93, another one in 2001. As they run up the East Coast as a nor'easter, they gather strength from the jetstream out here, from the Gulf Stream, rather, and there goes the low right through here. It's a deepening low. Hurricane force winds as this low spins here, slows and just throws snow back into Maine, into Massachusetts, and then finally by Saturday afternoon, it's all over. This is done. Other than the wind, it's is done.

This is not - I would say, what time is now? Noon, Eastern Time or so? A little bit, 1:00? So in 48 hours, this is history. It's so far long gone into the Atlantic, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland will get it. But other than that, the U.S. will be done.

MALVEAUX: All right. We're going to follow every single hour until it is over. Thank you, Chad. You're going to be working hard this weekend.

If you're traveling today to or from the northeast, it is time to change your plans. Airlines now canceling flights already.

And we're also following this. As quickly as he appeared, Christopher Dorner has now disappeared. Hundreds of officers are now on the hunt for him.

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MALVEAUX: We're watching live pictures here. Look at this -- this is Fenway Park. This is in Boston. It's a snowy day there. Next few hours it will get a lot worse. We've got a major winter storm about to slam into the northeast. This is going to be creating treacherous blizzard conditions for we're talking about tens of millions of folks. You've got the governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, they've all declared a state of emergency. More than 3,500 flights now have been canceled. This is just ahead of the storm.

Here is why, OK. This could be a record breaker. You could see more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. We are talking about huge drifts, high winds and flooding all along the coast.

We are also watching this, the funeral that's going to be held tomorrow for a teenager who really became a symbol in the fight against gun violence. First Lady Michelle Obama, she is going to be at that funeral. Why? This is Hadiya Pendleton. She was gunned down in a park just a week after performing with her school band at the president's inauguration. She's a majorette, an honor student who was apparently just caught in the crossfire. The First Lady is now described at being heartbroken over this girl's death.

And we're also following the snowy mountains of California. That is where police are using armored personnel carriers, snow cats, to search for Christopher Dorner. You see him there. He's a former police officer, a Navy lieutenant, now suspected of killing three people and he is believed to be hiding somewhere in the Big Bear area. That is where people say they found his torched pickup truck. Officers have now been conducting door to door searches. They are tracking footprints from that truck. But the tracks have now disappeared, covered by the weather, the snow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN MCMAHON, SHERRIFF, SAN BERNADINO COUNTY CA: They did lead around in the wooded area where the truck was found. We continued to follow them until we lost them where the ground got frozen. We couldn't continue to track. As it relates to the people in this community, I told you once before, our primary concern is to make sure that these folks in this community are safe. We've brought additional resources from other areas in the county to help patrol this area. We're doing everything we possibly can to make these folks feel safe and do what we can to catch this guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Police say Dorner is an expert sharpshooter who is seeking revenge on the Los Angeles police department after he was fired. Want to go live to L.A. Miguel Marquez is at a police station in Hollywood. Miguel, I can't imagine what it is like. First of all, these police officers are targeted. The manifesto says they are targeted as well as their families in and out of uniform. So what do they do? Are they patrolling or laying low?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's fair to say southern California is on lockdown today. People are scared throughout this entire area. We're at Hollywood station here in Hollywood. This station has extra security because it was actually mentioned in Mr. Dorner's manifesto. But across the entire city, substations and stations have extra security on today. Even the Los Angeles police department, Parker Center, the famous iconic Parker Center in Los Angeles is on heavy armed guard because they're not sure how he will come at them. He has said he is going to commit himself to asymmetric warfare against the police department, and not only police officers, but their friends and family. I

t has put everyone on extremely high alert across from San Diego all the way to Big Bear. A huge area, about 100 miles the entire way from one to the other. Police officers are so twitchy here, they were protecting a house in Torrance, California, this was LAPD. They see a blue truck that appears to be -- that looks like Mr. Dorner's, and they shoot it full of holes. It was a 71-year-old woman delivering papers with her daughter. She is recovering in intensive care right now. Amazing.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Just so much anxiety, I can only imagine. Miguel, we're going to let you go. We have the New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg now, a press conference talking about blizzard preps. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Winds of 10 to 30 miles an hour, gusts up to 40 or 50 miles per hour. And this combination of snow and high winds and the reduced visibility are hazards for travel. And that's why we remain under a blizzard warning through 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

As New Yorkers know all too well, high winds can also disrupt electrical service in neighborhoods with overhead lines as trees topple will down, branches shear off trees, and do serious damage. Let me just remind you, if you have a tree come down and there's a power line down, don't go near it, don't touch it. Pick up the phone, call 311 and they'll tell you what to do and we'll get a professional crew there to remove it. The power lines are dangerous and every time we have a storm like this, or many times, we do have tragedies occur.

A final potentially hazardous element of this storm is some coastal flooding. It is likely to happen during high tide which will wash up shortly after 7PM and along the Long Island sound shores of northern Queens and Bronx several hours later. The reason it's much later there is the water has to go around Montauk and come all the way down Long Island sound before it hits northern Queens and the Bronx. Whereas the water from the Battery comes straight in from the ocean. Many of the same communities that were inundated by hurricane Sandy's tidal surge, just about 100 days ago, are likely to see moderate coastal flooding this evening, likely to produce the kind of coastal flooding that can be expected in these areas during such storms and people know how to deal with it.

If you are -- if your house has been damaged by Sandy and still without heat, call 311 and we'll be sure to find you shelter. And certainly if you are someone you see has symptoms like uncontrolled shivering or disorientation, that may very well be hypothermia and hypothermia can be deadly. So anyone with these symptoms should get someplace warm immediately. Also, please do not use gas ovens or ranges to heat your homes. That can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.

Now, as we do during all emergency weather conditions, our city has a plan of action for keeping New Yorkers safe and we've already put that plan into motion. And I would like to describe a little bit about what our different city agencies are doing. And stress some things that we would ask all New Yorkers to do. The first is stay off the city streets. Stay out of your cars and stay in your homes while the worst of the storm is on us. That's for your own protection during potentially hazardous outdoor conditions. It is why we've canceled all Friday after school activities, including the public school athletic league games, Saturday classes and activities at public schools have also been canceled. Staying off the streets will make it easier for city workers to clear streets of snow so that emergency vehicles can use them. And any vehicles found to be blocking roadways or impeding the flow of traffic will be subject to towing at the owner's expense. And by keeping ourselves out of harm's way, we'll reduce the hazards our first responders have to confront, as well. So double value in doing this.

Also, there is no need to panic buying gas for your cars. All indications are the gas supply is plentiful and distributors -- deliveries will not be disrupted. Tonight what's a good idea? Cook a meal, stay home, read a good book, watch a movie, just take it easy. Remember, there are a lot of people who will be out there shoveling the snow and starting to plow it to the side and just don't want to get in their way. And also if you're out there shoveling snow, be careful, don't overexert yourself with that task. This snow can be very heavy snow, very wet snow, and you really can strain yourself or worse. Also as I said this morning on my radio show, it's good to look at your neighbors who may need a little help getting through the next several days. And if you see someone homeless on the streets or in a public place, just pick up the phone, call 311, this is no night to be out in the elements. And we will send a staff right away to help that person. Last night, I did order all department of homeless services staff to double their outreach efforts to protect unsheltered New Yorkers and that will be true tonight, as well. And during this high alert period, homeless services staff will check on vulnerable clients every two hours or four times per shift and putting on an additional number of outreach vans in the streets to respond to 311 calls.

Also please use 911 wisely. Only for genuine emergencies requiring a response from the police, firefighters or emergency service vehicles. Use 311 for all other calls or inquiries to city agencies. We brought on additional 311 call takers to handle what we expect to get the higher than normal volume of calls, but if you want to know whether the plow is coming or whether the school is closed, do not use 911. When you do it, somebody with a real emergency can't get through. And they may suffer and may die.

Let me walk through what city agencies are doing in response to the storm starting with preparing to clear streets and highways of snow. City sanitation workers are on a full mobilization and have been since Thursday night. They're on -

(END LIVE FEED)

MALVEAUX: Mayor Bloomberg getting the city ready. All of those people who are going to be impacted by the blizzard happening over the next 72 hours, of course we'll give you minute by minute updates on how that's developing.

We're also following this story. He is a trained sniper, former police officer. Now Christopher Dorner is on the run. Ahead, a closer look at his mindset.

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MALVEAUX: We're following the storm, this is what we know so far. Massachusetts has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the blizzard. Last night on Long Island, and all around New York City, there were long lines of cars just waiting to get gas. Well, this morning there are no lines at many of the airports because of the thousands of flights that have already been canceled.

Tomorrow more than 12,000 students who were scheduled to take the ACT, well they're not going to be able to do that. The test has been canceled in eight states that are affected.

And Boston's mayor, he has a message for the people of his city. Stay home. Boston, it's one of the cities in the path of this huge winter storm taking aim at the northeast. Mayor says folks seem to be following the advice to at least get off the roads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMAS MENINO, MAYOR OF BOSTON: Since yesterday, the national weather service has increased the snow totals for Boston. We're currently under a blizzard warning until 1:00p.m. tomorrow. We're also under coastal flood warning from 8PM 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: On the phone, Rene Fielding, she is director of the city's office of emergency management. And, Renee, having covered the area for years, I know bad weather is pretty common in Boston, they know how to deal with this. What's your biggest concern right now?

RENE FIELDING, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Hi Suzanne. Yes, we're used to bad weather. Right now our big concern is making sure that people are off the roads. Pretty shortly we'll start to see snow that's coming down 1 to 2 inches an hour. And we'll get into some blizzard-like conditions. And so it will be difficult for people to be out in that kind of weather. And then we'll see really high winds. And so that's also concerning to us because we're going to see drifts up to five feet. We could see damage to buildings. We could see trees being brought down. And of course causing power outages. So we really want to make sure that people stay in their homes and they're safe.

MALVEAUX: Who is most vulnerable right now?

FIELDING: Right now, everyone's pretty much safe. We have public health has been working with the homeless population, they're making sure that they're sheltering in a place and they're getting them out to the shelters and calling 911 if you see anybody that is out walking around, call 911 and we'll get someone there to pick them up and bring them to a shelter.

MALVEAUX: And we know the power is very likely to go out in some of the areas there. How should people prepare for the possibility that they might not have electricity, they might not have light for days?

FIELDING: Sure. So hopefully by now they heeded our warning and they saw that there was the potential for power outages. So they were able to go to the store and get some food and get batteries for their flashlights and all of that. It's very likely that they could see power outages. Of course if they want to report that in, they should call their local energy provider to make sure that we're tracking that. And we'll be staying on top of that all night, tracking those numbers.

MALVEAUX: I know it's too soon to tell, but some folks are actually comparing this to the great blizzard of '78 when you had thousands of folks stranded. Even people who died from that blizzard, from that superstorm. Give us a sense of how you're prepared now, compared to back then. I assume there's a lot more that you can do ahead of time so that doesn't happen.