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THE SITUATION ROOM

Blizzard Targets Northeast; California Manhunt

Aired February 8, 2013 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, blizzard danger. Forty million people in the path of a monster storm that's starting to hit hard and fast. We're live across the northeast.

Plus, exclusive images of an alleged killer before he was on the run. The massive manhunt for the rogue ex-cop who's vanished. Huge stories unfolding on two coasts right now.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Very messy and dangerous right now, but the worst is coming. Millions, millions of people are getting snowed in under the northeast and two to three inches could be falling each hour in Boston.

Cars and trucks are banned from the roads except for emergency vehicles. Travel bans also are in effect for parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Planes are grounded at airports across the region. More than 4,000 flights already have been canceled, 6,000 National Guard troops are on alert in Massachusetts to respond to the storm.

New York's governor ordered a state of emergency just a little while ago as this blizzard bears down.

We have correspondents across the region out in the snow. They're covering every angle of this weather emergency.

Let's go to the city that may be the hardest hit, Boston. CNN's Jason Carroll is joining us now from there in Boston.

Jason, what's going on?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly feels like Boston is going to be hit hard, Wolf.

We have seen conditions deteriorate over the past hour, steady amount of wind and snow. You can see the cars here on this side street, the amount of snow just in the past hour or two that's covered cars like this one. These are some of the secondary streets in the city. As you know, it will be the primary streets, the primary arteries in the city of Boston that will be plowed first.

That's for a good reason, that's so emergency crews can get through. As you say, there is a mandatory rule in effect so that no -- the only cars allowed on the road at this point are emergency vehicles. If you're considering heading out, you could be arrested or fined up to $500 if you're caught out on the streets.

So people are staying inside. We have got Melissa and Neil here. They came out, saw that we were out here. They're doing the right thing.

You're staying inside, you're having a blizzard party, is that what you're doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We invited a couple of friends over here in South Boston. We're going to hunker down trying to stay safe through the blizzard.

CARROLL: I know you also invited Wolf to your party. But you know he's in D.C., he won't be able to attend. But you said you took the advice, stayed home today. You were -- quote -- "working from home" a little earlier today. Is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's absolutely true. Working very hard.

CARROLL: Obviously you have seen the city prepare for this. So far from the people that we have talked to, they say the city has done a fairly good job, pretty good job getting the snowplows out, getting the salt spreaders out early. What are your thoughts on that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I know I was on the highway yesterday, all the road signs said, state of emergency at noon, stay off the roads, work canceled early. Everyone was home, so closed. I think we're all trying to do the right thing and stay safe.

CARROLL: All right.

Melissa and Neil, we want to thank you very much. Thanks for staying safe and staying inside.

Wolf, as you mentioned before, the National Guard is going to be out in full force around the state. And 1,000 members of the National Guard already on the ground now. During the peak of storm, more than 4,000 members of the National Guard will be on hand just in case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: They're going to be really busy over the next several days. Jason Carroll in Boston for us, thanks very much.

Kate Bolduan is here. She's watching what's going on. It's only just beginning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's going to be a long, cold night for so many. As Wolf mentioned earlier, we have reporters fanned out all over the region. Our Ali Velshi is in Cape Cod in Dennis Port, Massachusetts.

Ali, you're on the beach there, snow is clearly a problem. But it looks like wind is a big problem where you are as well.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're another one. You're like Wolf and me. We're from places where we know snow and the complexion of this storm has changed very dramatically in the last half-hour since I spoke to Wolf.

Back then, I was telling him that these were the luscious, juicy big snowflakes I remember as a kid in Toronto. This is not what this is right now. This is a biting, icy snow. I have put my flaps down on my hat because it's just stinging my face. The velocity is incredible. The speed at which this wind, this snow is coming down and the wind has picked up quite dramatically. I wasn't really having trouble just keeping my place. Now it's really blowing in gusts.

We have got the storm coming in. We are still three, three-and- a-half-hours away from high tide and high tide will roughly coincide -- might come a little earlier than, but high tide will be here about 9:45 or 10:00-ish. This is south. The storm's out there and around between some time between 10:00 and midnight, that storm is going to reach the closest point to Cape Cod that it's going to get to. Chatham, Cape Cod is east of me. I'm about halfway down the southern part of cape cod.

Right between sort of 10:00 and a little after midnight is when the velocity, the wind, the amount of snow coming down and the storm surge are all going to come together and will cause some coastal flooding all the way down Cape Cod, the northeast coast of the United States, down to New York and at the same time, this snow will have accumulated.

An hour-and-a-half ago, by the way, there was no snow here at all. It's going to have accumulated on trees, on power lines. The wind is going to come in. That's when they are anticipating there might be some structure collapses, some power lines collapses. That's why they want everybody off the road.

Our photojournalist Khalil Abdallah and our producer Brian -- wow, this is painful -- went for a little drive. As media, you're allowed to drive, even though there's a ban on all travel here. They went out. There are still people on the roads. There's one gas station open that still has some gas. There are still some supplies out there. There are still some people driving around. But generally speaking on Cape Cod, about 750,000 people here today, most of them are indoors. They are by law not allowed to be driving right now.

BOLDUAN: I was going to ask you just that. It looks absolutely brutal where you are right now. Ali, are you seeing anyone out there where you are on the beach?

VELSHI: No. No. Not at all. This isn't like Sandy where it was otherwise warm weather and some people were walking around. This is not comfortable.

Even one hour ago, it was comfortable. I was sitting here thinking, how can this be deadly? This is just beautiful, lovely snow. No, no, this is something else altogether. This is painful.

BOLDUAN: All right, hunker down. We will be coming back to you. You always seem to find yourself in the middle of it. Ali Velshi, we will check back with you.

Ali is in Dennis Port, Massachusetts, right there on Cap Cod, Wolf.

BLITZER: Pretty messy and pretty ugly.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BLITZER: And it's only going to get worse.

(WEATHER UPDATE)

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Ali, does it feel like a blizzard yet?

VELSHI: Yes, it feels like a blizzard. And it feels like a blizzard, not the fun kind, as I said.

What you described is remarkable, because earlier I was feeling those light snowflakes and they looked good and they felt good, the kind that as a kid I would try and catch with my tongue. This are the kind that you do everything possible to stay out of the way because it hurts.

It's like little tiny ice pellets. You described it perfectly.

MYERS: It's like an underdeveloped snowflake. It starts as a snowflake, these little dendrites, all these little arms of the snowflake.

VELSHI: Yes.

MYERS: They start to go out and then they melt just a little while, just about maybe two minutes on the way down. They halfway melt. Then they refreeze and then they sting you.

You said you're seeing some accumulation on the beach. I would suspect maybe for you where you're standing about 12 inches by the time you're done. What are you seeing now?

VELSHI: Yes. Yes.

Look, an hour ago because it's been raining all day here because it's been just around the freezing mark -- an hour ago when the sun went down and I don't know what else meteorologically happened, but it got much colder here. And we have now seen accumulation of about an inch on the beach within the last hour.

But I think it's still a ground temperature issue because there's more snow falling than is accumulating on the ground here in Cape Cod.

MYERS: Well, certainly because the ground is warm and you're getting cold air to come in aloft. This is the second storm you're feeling now, the second storm that was over Michigan and Wisconsin, is now mixing in its colder air with the warm air because we had rain here in Georgia.

The two storms are coming together. It's about to get really ugly for you between about 10:00 and midnight tonight. Where are you going to be at that point in time? Do you have some kind of shelter?

VELSHI: Yes, we have got high ground here.

We're actually very, very well-sheltered. It's almost deceiving, Chad, because it doesn't look like a place right now that's going to get that kind of a hit. But we have got good shelter. We have got a very, very experienced crew here, the same crew -- part of this crew was with me in Sandy. We have done other hurricanes like Gustav before.

But this is deceiving. There were still people around Cape Cod. You know, Chad, these are hearty New Englanders. Right? They're not entirely scared of a storm. But the change in the complexion of this storm in the last hour has meant that those people who are gradually walking around and trying to get a sense of this flavor are going to stop walking around because this is not pleasant to be out in.

MYERS: Something else you're going to see, too, Ali -- I'm going to let go -- go warm up -- but you're going to see some of that melted snow as it comes down start to be liquid, at least for a little bit. But then it's going to hit a tree or it's going to hit a power line.

And then it's going to stick to that power line.

VELSHI: Right.

MYERS: And we're going to start to see the trees come down.

Wolf, here are the snow totals we're expecting, New York City, six to 10. And right there where Ali is, 20 to 30. Maybe there on the arm of Cape Cod, maybe only a foot, because it is kind of sticking out there in the warmer area, warmer water. Warm is obviously a relative term. Ask Ali how warm he is -- 20 to 30 though from Boston down to Providence and Hartford.

This is a big storm. And with the wind, we could see wind gusts and probably drifts at five to seven feet.

BLITZER: Wow. That's going to be huge. All right, Chad, don't go away. We have got more. We're going to be picking your brain throughout this hour.

MYERS: Fair enough.

BLITZER: Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, I want to get to another location in the path of this massive storm. We have reporters really everywhere.

I want to get to Greenwich, Connecticut, where our Ashleigh Banfield has been.

Ashleigh, you have seen powerful storms before and what they do to Connecticut that often means -- powerful storms mean power outages. How are things looking right now? ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm glad you brought that up because actually the governor of this state has now suggested that at least 30 percent of the customers in this state of 3.6 million people can pretty much expect to lose their power.

That is a big deal. They actually pre-staged power groups from out of the state even. They have contracted out the work. They have brought them in and they have got them standing on location just to make sure that they can try and restore things quickly. It's always a nightmare.

And, Kate, you hit the nail on the head. I want to show you something specific right behind me. See that big tree that is lit up right behind the guy who's driving illegally because there's a ban right now? That tree over there was planted in 1914, which makes it 99 years old. That's also the exact kind of tree that causes the problems in Connecticut, big old trees that when they're confronted with massive winds and very, very heavy snow that drops their boughs and takes out their roots, they topple over, they take down the power lines, and shazam, you have what we have, the governor of Connecticut recommending is going to happen later on.

Be prepared. Be ready for this. Not only that. I just showed you those drivers. There are very few of those drivers around, very few people flouting the driving ban. But there have been a couple of recommendations about what would happen to you if you're out on the roads when you're not supposed to be.

There is a maximum fine, a maximum penalty of $1,000 or up to a year in jail. Not everybody who's out driving is going to get that. If you cause an injury or damage or an accident, you could face that. But generally speaking, that's not what people are going to face.

But, nonetheless, they don't want people out driving. It's snowing. OK? I have got those soft flakes that Ali and Chad were just talking about. I have got the nice, big, soft pointy flakes. They haven't turned into the icy flakes yet that hurt, the ones I had in New York earlier today.

But they do make for a big accumulation. So we are just starting to get those big accumulations. And I want to show you how I have been measuring it. These nice steps of this monument out in front of the old post office here are a good barometer.

When I got here, that first step was nice and deep. Now it's almost flush with the snow. I have been doing my handy-dandy presidential second grade measuring technique. I'm measuring the snow by a president. When I got here, we were at John Quincy Adams, about three inches.

I'm going to take you down now. We're at William Harrison. We have gone up about five inches or snow. And just as I was standing here -- we got some snowplows coming through. Yes, take a look over here, guys. This is what we have been watching. They're just trying to keep up with things. A constant steady stream of plows just trying to make sure that each job is not going to be really difficult. If you just keep the plows coming over and over, you're not going to deal with three feet at one plow. They're taking out about three to six inches with some of the drifting each time they go by.

But you can hear some of the people yelling. I think they're a bit cooped up because they're being told not to leave. And they're doing the right thing -- Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Ashleigh, thank you. We will check back in with you, Ashleigh Banfield in Greenwich, Connecticut, for us this evening.

Weather is also affecting the manhunt for that fired cop in California who's accused of killing three people in a war of revenge against the LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Department. We will tell you where the search stands right now.

Also, the nightmare on the roads in the blizzard zone, in some places, driving isn't just dangerous. It could land you in jail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The blizzard is only beginning.

On the right-hand part of your screen, you are seeing the live pictures coming in from Boston right now. It's windy, it's messy. It's ugly. And guess what? it's only going to get worse over the next several hours.

We have reporters all over the Northeastern part of the United States. You see this car. It's driving through the streets of Boston right now. We will check in with all of our reporters momentarily.

But there's another huge story we're watching on the other coast. That would be the West Coast. Police fear that a fired cop and alleged killer could be anywhere right now plotting his next move, stalking his next victim.

We have gotten hold of some exclusive images of Christopher Jordan Dorner firing a gun back in 2005 at a firing range for Los Angeles police officers in training. Right now, Dorner is the target of a round-the-clock manhunt. But there's been no trace of him since yesterday.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Los Angeles. He's tracking the investigation for us.

Miguel, what's the latest?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest is we have some new details about Big Bear, the last place that he was known to have been seen, his truck burned there.

Law enforcement officials telling CNN that they found the two guns that were burned inside the truck. They believe he has as many as 30 guns with him and they say those tracks that went in the woods, they now they say doubled back right into Big Bear Village itself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In the mountains east of L.A., a feverish search in Big Bear, despite near whiteout conditions.

JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, SHERIFF: We're going to continue to several primarily up in the mountain area, to make sure. There's a lot of cabins up there that are abandoned. We want to make sure that he didn't find a place to hide out for the night.

MARQUEZ: Today, parts of Southern California on lockdown. Some 17 million people terrorized by an ex-cop on a murderous rampage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of scary. You don't know where he is and you have friends -- we have friends that live all over the mountain. And, you know, I was concerned about them and officers, too.

MARQUEZ: Police stations across the city under guard. The homes of LAPD homes and their families are also under guard after being called out in Dorner's angry 11-page diatribe.

Thousands of police across the state called on to duty, tension to high, twitchy police officers shoot up a pickup truck resembling Dorner's. It wasn't. Inside, a 71-year-old woman and her daughter delivering newspapers. The 71-year-old in intensive care, the daughter, OK.

A Torrance police officer hears those shots, sees a different blue truck leaving the same neighborhood, rams it and fires off rounds into it, still not Dorner, just a man going to work. Luckily, he's OK.

The rampage started Sunday in Irvine. Monica Quan, the daughter of a police official and her fiance, shot and killed. On Wednesday, near San Diego, Dorner tried to steal a boat. On Thursday, 1:25 a.m. in Corona, Dorner allegedly fires on to two police officers. One is slightly injured.

Twenty minutes later in Riverside, two officers ambushed at a stoplight. Again, Dorner suspected. One officer dies, the other hospitalized.

Finally, Thursday, Dorner's manifesto goes public. In the mountains east of L.A., his burned-out truck is found, two guns in it, and footprints leading into the woods.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, some new information as well, Wolf.

There's a search warrant that is now being served on Dorner's mother's House in Orange County. That also may be his last place of residence. They have forensics experts in there to look through his computers, hoping to figure out exactly or at least a clue as to where this guy might be -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And people out where you are in the L.A. area all the way down to San Diego and beyond, they're pretty nervous right now, aren't they?

MARQUEZ: Southern California is freaked out, to say the least. The place is on lockdown. We're at a police station right down the street from where CNN is in Hollywood.

They have the roads blocked off. They have been like this all day. This was one of the stations that was mentioned in that 11-page manifesto that he put out. But, across Los Angeles, all of the substations, all the police stations, even the L.A. H.Q. itself, extra security. Every patrol has to have at least two officers with it. They're taking no chances with this guy -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Miguel Marquez watching the situation for us closely, we will stay in close touch with you -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing when he says that he could have as many as 30 guns with him and he's still on the run.

BLITZER: He's an expert marksman, too.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. We will be following that, of course.

But still ahead, most drivers in the blizzard zone are supposed to be off the roads by now, but getting anywhere was a mess all day today. We will check in with our CNN crews, especially one that got as far as Rhode Island.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Take a look at these pictures coming in from various parts of the Northeast. Roads in the area, they're an icy mess and they are getting worse. And guess what? They're going to get a whole lot worse. Regular traffic is now banned in several states.

BOLDUAN: For most of the day, the interstates were bumper to bumper and moving at a crawl.

Poppy Harlow was lucky to make it as far as Providence, Rhode Island, today.

Poppy, but it was a long, tough trip. What's it like?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was.

It took us five hours. And we can show you some video. We passed by a lot of accidents, including tractor-trailers jackknifed, running into the median. One semi literally tipped over the edge of the highway. Treacherous driving. And that was about three hours ago. Right now, no cars except for emergency vehicles and necessary vehicles are allowed on I-95, that whole corridor from Massachusetts through Rhode Island and into Connecticut totally shut down. That hasn't really happened since 1978, the great blizzard there.

This is downtown Providence, guys. It is at a standstill. There is no traffic. No one's really working in any of these buildings here. It's been this way for the past few hours. The governor, we had a chance to speak to the governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, earlier today, and he echoed the concern that so many here have, because as these winds pick up, they're really concerned about downed power lines, especially because the snow is so wet and heavy.

Take a listen to what the governor told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. LINCOLN CHAFEE (R), RHODE ISLAND: We couldn't be more prepared because we had so much advanced warning and that's good. Our big fear is power outages. You can see this wet snow. It's about 33 degrees and with that heavy, wet snow, if the wind kicks up and brings down trees and power lines, that's really our fear. We're ready with the plows. We're going to clear the streets, but if people get out of power with low temperatures, that's our big fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: That is the big concern.

I literally minutes ago just got back from the emergency command center, guys, that they have set up here. And the technology they have tracks every single plow down to the exact route it's taking.

And they have got all their emergency vehicles on the roads, plus all of those they could get from emergency contractors here. They told me, the officials here, they're expecting a very long storm. They don't think they will be anywhere close to normal here until Sunday.

And then not only do they say they have to plow. They have to actually remove -- they think they're going to have to remove snow from Providence. So, it's a big, big concern here. And I got to tell you guys this snow is getting thicker. The wind is getting stronger by the minute.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Poppy, we can actually see it accumulating on you as this live shot was progressing, you poor thing.

HARLOW: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Keep up the good work. We will check back in with you. Poppy Harlow, she is in Providence, Rhode Island, for us this evening.

It's interesting to watch how the conditions are so different in various parts, when we were starting -- speaking with Ali Velshi and those ice pellets that he was describing. And it looked like thick wet snow.

BLITZER: She grew up in the Midwest. So, she can handle it.

BOLDUAN: We can all handle it. We can all handle it.

We're looking at some live pictures. I believe this is -- and correct me if I'm wrong, guys -- I believe this is from Dennis Port, Massachusetts, in Cape Cod, where Ali Velshi is hopefully hunkering down at the moment, because look at those winds. They're absolutely whipping.

Some of the worst yet to come.

But we want to go over to -- now we want to move over to Boston, Massachusetts, where our CNN producer Julian Cummings has been driving around all day long. We're looking at live pictures here from his vehicle.

Julian, can you hear us?

JULIAN CUMMINGS, CNN PRODUCER: I hear you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: How are things looking right now?

CUMMINGS: Things are getting a little, little sketchy here. The roads are definitely getting worse.

We're seeing basically no vehicles at all, other than emergency vehicles and the occasional taxi here and there. But we're taking it slow through. But there are still people out. We're seeing a lot of people out to enjoy the snow.

BLITZER: Is it getting increasingly worse or just marginally?

CUMMINGS: I would say, in the past 20 minutes, we're seeing increasingly worse, winds picking up for sure. The snow's whipping a little bit more.

And the accumulations are just really picking up. We're seeing it on the roads. The plows are trying their best. You can see in our shot here on the right here, there's a lot of plowing. But they have stopped. I don't know if they can keep up anymore.

We just -- we were on this road maybe five minutes ago and we're seeing a fresh layer of snow on it right now.

BOLDUAN: And it looks like -- it almost looks as if like there's ice accumulating on your windshield. Have you noticed that the temperature's really been dropping as well?

CUMMINGS: Yes. We're struggling to keep the shot clear. It's definitely dropping in temperature.

There is also some ice developing on the road. We have seen a few cars spinning out of control right in front of us. We're trying to keep our distance when we're going there. But on our left here, we're on Commonwealth Avenue, which is a big double huge avenue in Boston. We're seeing people walking their dogs, making snowmen. It's definitely still -- people not quite...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: And, Julian, it's illegal for people to be on the road driving on the road right now unless it's an emergency vehicle or news media vehicle. Are you seeing violators?

CUMMINGS: Not a ton. There have been a few cars. We have seen a lot of taxis on the road. I don't know if that applies to the ban, but less and less vehicles, for sure. And we're even seeing less emergency vehicles as well.

BLITZER: All right, Julian -- Julian Cummings driving around Boston for us, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Keep the pictures coming. Thanks, Julian.

BLITZER: Yes. He's doing a great job for us.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BLITZER: Even if you're far away from a snowstorm that's walloping the northeast, it could affect you. That's because more than 4,725 flights...

BOLDUAN: Wow.

BLITZER: ... in and out of the region have already been canceled. We just received that updated number. The back-up can ripple across the country.

Brian Todd is over at Ronald Reagan National Airport here in Washington. It's going to get worse. There's going to be a lot more cancellations, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot more cancellations, Wolf and Kate. As you just mentioned, more than 4,700 cancellations now across the country. Now, a lot of airlines preemptively canceling flights through Saturday, Sunday and maybe even beyond because of the storm. You know, this is a fairly normal traffic load for passengers walking through the terminal here at Reagan National for a Friday evening.

But you won't see a lot of the long lines of people, you know, angry and waiting and just trying to figure out where they're going to go next. Because a lot of people found out ahead of time that their flights are canceled.

The boards here tell it all. New York LaGuardia, Newark Airport, New York JFK, Boston Logan, Toronto, canceled down the line here.

We can go over to my right, your left here, the U.S. Airways shuttle counter, dead as a doornail. They have not had much activity there. This is a scene repeated at airports throughout the Eastern Seaboard and beyond.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Taking off from Washington, Ray Castro had a weekend of sightseeing planned.

RAY CASTRO, PASSENGER: We were planning on going to Buffalo to go up to Niagara Falls. They canceled the flight.

TODD: Amber Craig almost took off under the gun -- almost.

AMBER CRAIG, PASSENGER: They just told us that our flight was canceled. They started boarding us, and within about a minute or so, they said, "The flight's been canceled. We need you to get your bags and head back out of the airport."

TODD: More than 4,500 flights were canceled due to the blizzard hitting the northeast. United Airlines is canceling 900-plus flights over two days, affecting 31 airports. We got access inside United's brand-new network operations center in Chicago. Jim DeYoung, one of its managers, took us through.

JIM DEYOUNG, MANAGER, UNITED OPERATIONS CENTER: The airplanes will need to be de-iced. The airfield needs to be cleaned. The ramp areas, taxiways all need to be cleaned, as well.

TODD: Meteorologists work the weather maps. Other boards show all the flights in the air. There's even a bridge where the division heads coordinate schedules and operations, work with flight dispatch and incident response teams. How do they work so many cancellations at once?

ALEXANDRIA WARREN, UNITED AIRLINES: Well, we do have what we call operations managers that handle the cancellations. So partnering with crew scheduling, we do a combination of manual and automated, depending on the size of the event. And we -- that was how we tactically pull down the schedule, if you will. And then assure we have the flights as the operation resumes, that we have crews and aircraft in the appropriate places.

TODD: Multiply that interconnected routing system by several airlines, and you've got traffic all over the U.S. and beyond affected by this storm.

(on camera): With Richard Aboulafia now. He's an aviation analyst for the Teal Group. Richard, all these cancellations in the northeast don't affect just one region, right?

RICHARD ABOULAFIA, AVIATION ANALYST, TEAL GROUP: It's far broader than that. Nationwide, we're seeing two types of impact on the traffic. One is point to point, for example, Los Angeles to New York, one of the biggest travel markets in the world. Also down south to Miami, north/south routes being an important travel market, too. But also into the Hudson spokes, that route networks that the airlines depend upon out of Atlanta or Houston, for example. These are major markets that will no longer have so much traffic fed into them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Aboulafia says the airlines are going to lose tens of millions of dollars this weekend, especially because so many or the airports affected by this storm, like New York's JFK, Boston Logan and Newark, are international hubs, as well. So the airlines are going to be losing those flights and the revenue that comes with them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much. Brian Todd working the story over at Reagan National.

And flights, even though they're canceled out here, there's the ripple effect all over the country.

BOLDUAN: That's a big problem. It happens all over the country.

BLITZER: Check with your airlines.

Thousands of Superstorm Sandy victims are bracing for the worst all over again. We're going live to Staten Island where one person told us he has nothing more to lose.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're continuing our coverage of the blizzard. Up in the upper left-hand part of your screen, you're seeing Boston. One of our vehicles driving through the streets of Boston right now.

Down over on the left-hand side -- that's Boston right there. You see what's going on. And it's only going to get worse over the next few hours.

Let's talk about what's going on in Hartford, Connecticut. Joining us on the phone right now is the mayor of Hartford, Pedro Segarra.

Mr. Mayor, thanks very much, but tell us what's happening in Hartford right now?

PEDRO SEGARRA, MAYOR, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT (via phone): Well, we have about 5 inches of snow already on the ground. We're getting into the intensity of the storm, just about. We expect the conditions will continue to deteriorate overnight. We have issued a traffic and parking ban in our city. So trying to get all the cars off the streets. Make sure that once the storm subsides that we'll be able to continue our plowing operations and dig out.

BLITZER: Are the folks paying attention? Are they staying off the roads?

SEGARRA: For the most part, yes. The governor has issued a traffic ban in the state, even though we don't have one within the city. Our residents are being pretty good in terms of staying off the roads. And we're hoping that the rest of the people on the roads continue to get off the roads.

BLITZER: Ashleigh Banfield is in Connecticut. Reported a little while ago there's fear that maybe a third of the people in Connecticut could lose power as a result of this blizzard. Is that what you're hearing?

SEGARRA: Well, it's very intense. We're expecting over 20 inches. In the past, we haven't fared too well in terms of power outages. And we've had blanket outages throughout the state.

In our city, we've been a little bit more fortunate. A lot of our infrastructure is beneath the ground, so -- but we have a very old tree canopy in our city that lends itself to a lot of downed trees when the winds and the snow put weight on the trees.

But we have our crews ready. We've been preparing now for about 2 1/2 days. So we're hopeful that we'll get our crew out there and continue to attack each and every problem as they arise.

BLITZER: Because if you do lose power in some parts of Hartford, I'm worried about the elderly, for example, maybe poorer families with young kids. Have you made arrangements to help them?

SEGARRA: Absolutely. We have our three emergency shelters that are ready to come into full gear if we need them. One of those shelters is specifically designed to accommodate the elderly. We do have our 911 service up and running. Luckily for us, we just opened up a brand-new state-of-the-art complex that houses both the fire, police and emergency telecommunications which gives us a much better ability to manage these type of emergencies.

So all our crews are out there. And we hope to continue to work together with our governor and our surrounding towns to make sure we recoup as soon as possible.

BLITZER: The governor again, he said that National Guard troops are standing by, as well. Do you need any of them in Hartford?

SEGARRA: Well, not at this point. But, you know, when we get these events with a lot of precipitation, you know, in a city with a lot of wind drifts, it's very difficult to sort of manage the snow. So I assume that at some point post-storm, we're going to have quite a tasks in terms of clearing out the snow. And we might need some help in that area.

BLITZER: Probably will. Mayor, thanks very much. Good luck to everyone in Hartford. Good luck to everyone suffering from this blizzard.

SEGARRA: Thank you, sir.

BLITZER: Pedro Segarra, the mayor of Hartford, Connecticut. BOLDUAN: Well, our next topic is going to be New York's Staten Island. It's one of the places tonight's storm is hitting the very same people who are still suffering and trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

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BLITZER: Thousands of Superstorm Sandy victims, they are bracing for the worst all over again.

BOLDUAN: Our Mary Snow is on Staten Island, which is already getting hit very hard. She's joining us now with that part of the story.

Mary, how are they preparing for this round of storms?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kate, the feeling is, is that it's like a punch in the gut to people who have been through so much and are struggling to recover. People here are bracing, but there's just a general sense of disbelief that, yet again in such a short amount of time, another major storm is at their doorstep.

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SNOW (voice-over): Snowstorms should be a time for Nick Camerada to make money fixing snow blowers. But his repair business was destroyed by Sandy, and he's working out of a badly damaged home. He can't afford another setback.

NICK CAMERADA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: As you can see, I got as far as I could trying to rebuild, you know, and I'm in week -- what are we into, week 15? Fifteen weeks of living in hell. And you know, under these conditions, I couldn't bear another tidal surge or water coming into the house and causing any more problems than we already have. I mean, we've been through enough.

SNOW: We first met Camerada when Sandy ravaged the first floor of his home, and he refused to leave with his family. The toll, more than physical. Camerada tells us he suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder. His biggest struggle right now, he says, his emotions.

(on camera): How big of a setback do you think this storm is, even if it doesn't do widespread damage? How big of a setback is it just in your psyche?

CAMERADA: I'm sorry. You know, you've got to-- you've got to just keep moving forward, you know, one step at a time. You know, you can't mess with Mother Nature.

You don't know -- it may not -- you know, at this point, I could weather any storm. There ain't no storm that I can't handle after this, because you can't take anything more from me. So whatever it is, it is. I'm destroyed. I'm destroyed.

SNOW (voice-over): Not far away, Steve Chati comes to this tent. He comes for meals after he and his family were displaced. And he can't imagine anything more going wrong.

STEVE CHATI, STATEN ISLAND: To be honest with you, I'm becoming numb as far as any weather-related issues. We don't have anything left to lose anymore. I mean, we lost everything. So I couldn't worry more about it. And it's not going to help with anything. So just trying to stay strong, and, you know, hopefully better days will come.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: People here are just hanging onto hope that Staten Island will be spared the brunt of this storm. And they are just hoping that this won't deliver a big setback to their efforts as they try to recover from Sandy -- Wolf and Kate.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, that's so sad. Obviously, a heart-wrenching story.

BOLDUAN: I think one of the men that she spoke with, what he said is so powerful and so sad. He says that, "I'm only numb to it at this point." I can only imagine that is felt by so many people that are still trying to get back from Sandy. And now they're getting hit with this. A tough night for them.

BLITZER: In just a minute, we're going to get the latest on the storm. Right now, Chad Myers is standing by.

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BLITZER: These are live pictures from Boston right now where the snow is coming down. This blizzard is only just beginning. The next several hours are going to be critical.

No one is supposed to be on the road right now. We have a camera in that vehicle; we have permission to do that. But nobody is allowed to be driving unless it's an emergency vehicle.

BOLDUAN: There are few exceptions. Definitely, if you don't have to, you don't need us to tell you, stay off the road.

BLITZER: Don't want to get stuck on one of those roads and be in deep, deep trouble.

Our severe weather expert, Chad Myers, is tracking the storm for us, who's joining us from the CNN weather center right now.

Chad, what's the latest? How much longer is this going to continue?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, for some people at Boston it could continue for another 18 to 24 hours.

BLITZER: Wow.

MYERS: For New York, we're going to get a little break in between the next band. We're kind of in a little dry area where the air is not that moist and the wraparound's not quite to it.

But if you look at Boston, the wind beginning to pick up in Nantucket, just had a wind gust over 50 miles per hour. And just looking at Long Island Power Authority. You can go to their Web site, LIPA. Now, you can see that they now have over 5,000 customers without power on Long Island since the beginning of this storm.

This storm is over for Buffalo, for Youngstown. Youngstown, over a foot of snow, Youngstown, New York. And then back up here into Burlington, just about ready to slide out of your area. But there's so much more to come for the people here just winding up the storm right there.

It's almost the center of circulation like you'd see in a tropical storm. And almost like fingers or arms in all of those outer bands come from in a tropical storm.

But what we're watching is the very heavy snow moving into Boston proper. It was over Ali Velshi. See that little bit of blue area over there, and then over Plymouth, and now it's just about ready to get into Boston proper.

Follow that back toward Providence. Follow it back toward Hartford, just about ready to get to Hartford, and a couple of lightning strikes rolled right through there.

We talked about this earlier, that there could be thunder snow, and now we know that there is thunder snow. We even have a couple lightning bolts there on this map over Brookhaven there in -- so if you see it, it kind of flashes. You don't even know what that was, was that a power -- was that a power failure? And then all of a sudden you hear the boom. And it is kind of a muffled boom. But it's out there. Thunder snow tonight. That means there's so much air going up and down, there's shear coming in. It's like using your feet with leather shoes, and putting it on the carpet and touching your brother. You can get a good shock. And that's how we do it. That's how Mother Nature does it.

Two point three million people right now in blizzard warnings and still more to come. Probably about 2 to 3 more inches to go in New York City before it's all done. And I know we have live shots there, too, so we'll keep watching.

BLITZER: We will watch it together with you, Chad. Thanks very much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chad. Long day for Chad, as well. Thank you, Chad, so much.

Coming up, our planet is in for a close encounter, come next week. An asteroid half the size of a football field. Anything to worry about? We will show you what to expect next. Tom Foreman standing by.

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BLITZER: Right now, it's being described as a mini planet, about half the size of a football field, is hurtling toward Earth.

BOLDUAN: Thankfully, it's not as scary as it sounds, but this asteroid will get unusually close to us one week from today. Tom Foreman is in the virtual studio, breaking it down.

So Tom, what's going on this time?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Kate, Wolf, this is a very close encounter in a cosmic sense. Let me give you some reference points. This is, in fact, the closest encounter that NASA has ever seen since they've been tracking things of this size.

When we think about the Earth we think about the moon as being something that's kind of close to us, and we imagine it being about like this. But this is not correct. It's depicted this way many times in artwork. It's, in fact, very far away. Almost a quarter million miles away.

But you know what is close to us? Satellites. We've been launching these things for decades now. We filled the skies with them. The highest ones out there are, in fact, about 22,000 miles up above the Earth. Those are the ones that we largely use for our cell phones, communications, GPS systems.

So, how close is this asteroid going to come? It is going to come streaking out of the sky and cut right through the top of our satellite systems at about 17,000 miles. So 22,000 miles is the top, 17,000 miles is where this thing.

Is that dangerous? No, not really. Mainly because of the size of it. Sounds big to us, but it's really quite small in space terms.

The official name of this thing is 2012 DA14, a nice lyrical name. It is about 50 yards long or wide, however you want to describe it. It will be traveling close to 18,000 miles an hour. A lot of things in space travel that fast.

And if it were to hit the Earth, it would explode with the force of more than 2 million tons of dynamite. That still would not be enough to do a whole lot of damage. Yes, it would wipe out several hundred miles, but it wouldn't damage the whole worth. The bottom -- the whole Earth.

The bottom line -- the bottom line on all of this is it's not going to hit Earth, and they know it because they've been tracking it for more than 2 million miles before it reached here. They know it's going to go by. But it is going to be on February 15, the day after Valentine's Day. So Kate, you might want to be a little extra- generous just in case.

BLITZER: If that asteroid were to hit a major populated area, God forbid, that would be a disaster.

FOREMAN: Yes, that would be huge. That would be huge. But it's actually going to go over the Indian Ocean, sort of near Sumatra. It's not going near any major population centers, even where it passes over the Earth.

But yes, if it hit a city, or something like that, it would be a huge, huge impact. And the truth is we have these things fly by us all the time. Not this size. But the day could come when we could have a visitor.

BOLDUAN: What did you say? How long have they been tracking this one for?

FOREMAN: They've been tracking it for more than 2 million miles. Spotted way off in space out there. And in fact, you will not be able to see it with your naked eye. But if you had a pretty good telescope, you would be able to see a little pinpoint of light passing by on February 15.

BLITZER: All right.

BOLDUAN: Keep it a pinpoint of light. It never needs to get any closer than that.

BLITZER: Looks like an astronomer.

BOLDUAN: He's -- he's just a magician.

BLITZER: Thank you very, very much.

Remember, you can always follow what's going on here in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. You can tweet me, @wolfblitzer.

BOLDUAN: You can always tweet me, @katebolduan.

BLITZER: That's it for us. Thanks very much for joining us. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.