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Winter Storms Hit Northeast; Young Girl Who Performed at Presidential Inauguration Killed; Former LAPD Cop Accused of Murder Still At Large; Asteroid Heads Towards Earth; Stars Prepare for Grammys; Grammy Nominations and Performances Previewed

Aired February 9, 2013 - 14:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Deborah Feyerick, and here are the top stories we're following.

Bye-bye blizzard -- the huge blizzard that came and conquered parts of the northeast is headed out so sea, leaving a very white, powdery calling card. People across the region are digging out today, but while some are cleaning up, the storm is still causing whiteout conditions on the Massachusetts coast. In fact, we'll check in with Ali Velshi who is in the middle of all it in a minute. Connecticut was hit hardest, with some cities getting more than three feet of snow. And 650,000 customers across the region lost power. And they're right in the storm zone. That is straight ahead as we go there.

Well, first lady Michelle Obama is back in Chicago, not far from the Obama family home. She's there for the funeral of 15-year-old Hidiya Pendleton. She's the honor student that was shot and killed in a Chicago park just days after performing at the president's inauguration. Police are offering a $40,000 reward for information.

And near Houston, Texas, police say one person was injured at an explosion this morning at an industrial plant. The facility houses a mix of gases such as nitrogen and hydrogen. The blast started a fire that filled is the area with heavy smoke. Police are investigating the incident.

In Los Angeles police are back using helicopters to find the ex- cop they accuse of killing three people already. One of those who was shot dead, a police officer. Billboards are showing Christopher Dorner's face. He says he wants revenge on those he believes cost him his job. We'll show you exclusive video of Dorner during his days at the police academy.

And don't expect celebrities to be revealing too much tomorrow night. CBS send attendees a wardrobe warning of what not to wear. They want people to tone it down and button up. The boys club has a six-way tie on Mumford and Sons, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Jay-Z, with six nominations each. That is going to be fun to watch.

And now back to that snowstorm in the northeast. About two- thirds of the 650,000 customers without power are in Massachusetts. Ali Velshi is in Dennis Port on Cape Cod where the wind is -- it is fierce out there, Ali. You must be getting from the snow and the mist coming off the ocean there.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in fact, it's just in this last 20 seconds or so settled down. We've got a bit of a lull. It starts to pick up. It picks up every minute or so. We still have up to 25 miles-an-hour sustained winds in parts of Cape Cod, up 240 miles hour gusting, still under a blizzard warning for one more hour until 3:00 p.m. eastern time. It was supposed to end at 1:00. As you can see the storm is still about us. This is a rare clear moments that you can see out into the ocean.

No storm surge over here, but we're about halfway across the southern coast of Cape Cod about 30 miles to my east, you get to Chatham, that's the far east, and you make a left turn and go up the northeast coast of Cape Cod. This is the part that got storm surge that got difficulty. They feel had 50 people trapped in a bunch of houses that had to be rescued because waves came crashing in. There's shoreline erosion.

Let's talk about power. Of the 600 plus thousand people, customers without power in the northeast, more than 300,000 in Massachusetts, 90 percent of the customers around the area that I'm in in Dennis Port, Massachusetts, are without power, as well. The snow continues to come down. As a result, we are still seeing power losses. What you don't have is utility crews and bucket trucks out here yet because we still have a travel ban and we still have the snow and heavy wind. They're not putting the bucket trucks up in the wind.

The travel ban does expire at 4:00 p.m. eastern time today for all of Massachusetts. This is south, Deb, so Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are down there. Nantucket county has had its travel ban lifted already. People will start driving in Massachusetts in the next two hours. Please be careful because there are emergency trucks and utility vehicles that need to get around. It's 24 degrees right now. So it is cold. With that wind-chill, it's substantially colder pop for those people who don't have power, this remains a serious and potentially deadly storm. We got word of another fatality. A young boy in Boston was helping his father shovel snow, went to warm up in the car and was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning.

This remains a deadly storm. It is still a blizzard for the next hour in parts of Massachusetts. It's not over as much as it looks like it's over in other places and there are even blue skies in some places in the northeast, Massachusetts continues to get hard.

FEYERICK: That poor family. You look at it, and when the sun comes out and everything seems good, it doesn't seem as threatening. There are those incidents, cars skidding or branches that are falling or the people trying to keep warm. And then that happens. Do you see a lot of people out there, Ali?

VELSHI: No, no. First of all, there are about 250,000 people in the winter on all of Cape Cod. Which is you know, 600,000 or 700,000 in the summer. The folks that winter are hearty New Englanders. They understand weather. They're not that interested in walking around. It's not that icicle biting snow it was last night. This was a very soft snow. But the bottom line is there's no particular reason. Some people are having cabin fever. There are plows out so when the driving ban is lifted, people can move in and out. There's so much snow piled up, it's not easy. The only thing you're going to do is walk around and check out what's going on. I haven't seen a human for 12 or 13 hours.

FEYERICK: Ali Velshi, I'm just curious because we have those images of you standing out in the water during hurricane Sandy. Which is better?

VELSHI: This is less dangerous to cover. There's no question about that. There's no danger other than the actual cold at this point. But it's cold. It's cold, and that wind is just biting.

FEYERICK: Ali, you are doing yeoman's work out there. Thank you so much. Try to get warm and try to knock the frost off that microphone. We'll check back with you in a little bit. Thank you very much.

Six states are still under a state of emergency roads closed, power out to hundreds of thousands. After pounding the northeast, where is the storm heading now? Let's check in with Chad Myers.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's headed out to Nova Scotia, to Newfoundland, and it's going to be there for a while. We're going to see Halifax picking up equal numbers, from Yonkers 23 inches, Scarsdale 22.5, White Plains, 14 inches. That's Westchester County there. In Milford, there was a line of snow that wouldn't move. It sat there over central Connecticut for hours. And I could tell that will New Haven was right in the middle of something, 34.3 in New Haven.

And there's just as much rain or moisture or heaviness in the snow in Boston. We've got 24.9, that's the brand-new number for Boston, 24.9. But there's at least 36 inches worth of weight there. If you watched at all last night, Ali Velshi had microdermabrasion going on. But there was sleet pellets flying sideways. And the sleet doesn't pile up as much. It still weighs as much as snow, but one inch of sleet is that much. But one inch of snow would have been that much. That's why Boston didn't break a record.

There goes the storm. It's off into the Atlantic Canada and the Maritimes. It will be a decent day for New York City. The sun's coming out. Don't let it fool you. Watch the generators, all the carbon monoxide. You can't turn your oven on and hope it will warm your house because that's just putting carbon monoxide in your house. The oven runs because there's natural gas running it, but it's very dangerous to try to do that, Deb.

FEYERICK: You can understand the people are desperate to kind of keep warm, but it's better to err on the side of caution when there's so much unknown. Chad Myers, thanks so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

FEYERICK: On the west coast, police will use helicopters to try to find an elusive and accused killer. They're going to use infrared to try to spot him as he remains on the run. Christopher Dorner used to be one of their own, a former Los Angeles police officer. Now, he blames many in law enforcement for losing his job. He is now vowing revenge.

Dorner is accused of killing three people already. Paul Vercammen is live in Los Angeles. How confident are police, Paul, that there's going to be catching someone who's got the kind of training that Dorner seems to have?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say, and they have vowed from the get-go, after the killing of those twos officers and wounding of another, they say they're going to find him, that he can't hide from everybody. But testing that confidence level, I'm on Big Bear Mountain right now, there's a couple mixed signs here. One, the snowboard ski resorts are open. People are coming up here. On the flipside, we just took a little bit of a tour, and we saw armed SWAT officers and other officers teams of four going door to door, peeking in windows, trying to see if there's any sign of Dorner.

They also got the helicopters back up in the air and beginning aerial searches you alluded to. The weather, the snowstorm that roared through here, hampered those efforts over the past two days.

A clue also, Dorner's mom owned property up here in Big Bear. Perhaps that gives him very, very intimate knowledge of the area. Let's hear from the San Bernardino County sheriff's department about that property owned by Dorner's mom.


CINDY BACHMAN, SPOKESWOMAN, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SHERIFF: There is a property owned by Dorner's mother. It is about 35 miles from here in Arrow Bear. It is an undeveloped piece of property. There is no house on it.


BACHMAN: It has been checked out. That area has been checked out.


VERCAMMEN: And so they didn't find any clues or so said the of sheriffs, on that property. So the speculation could be, what if Dorner ditched the truck that he burns and maybe stole another car? They say they have no reports whatsoever of stolen vehicles here in the Big Bear area, Deborah.

FEYERICK: You know, it's interesting. I spoke to a source yesterday who said there was some indication ta Dorner had sort of circled back to head into the village. Clearly police right now working under the assumption that he's still in the area. But for all they know, he could easily be back on his way to Los Angeles, no?

VERCAMMEN: Absolutely. We pressed the authorities on that notion of him doubling back on his tracks. And they say no way. In fact, the San Bernardino County sheriff himself, Mr. McMahon, had said he thought they lost the trail because they got into icy conditions. It's easier to track in soft or fresh snow.

Now, as for where he could be, not only could he be in Los Angeles, given the lead time that he had from when he was last seen in Riverside, California, he had a very long time to where he could have easily gone into Nevada, he could have tried to make a run for the Mexican border. He could have gone north. So it's anybody's guess right now where Dorner is. Of course, the last real sign they had of him was two days ago here on Big Bear mountain, Debra, when they found that burned out truck.

FEYERICK: Paul, it's just so clear that he's said that everybody in the LAPD is a potential target. And he's warned them that groupings of police, for example, at incident command posts they are what he calls target-rich environments. And he's labeled cops high value targets. So this is main clearly not kidding around. Paul Vercammen for us there, thanks so much. We'll check back with you in a short while.

And people ran for their lives in southern Columbia today when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit. No reports of deaths or injuries. It was felt in the capital of Bogota and across much of neighboring Ecuador.

And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has waded into the drone debate. He is slamming the U.S. government for saying it has the right to stage drone strikes against U.S. citizens perceived to be, quote, "imminent terror threats."

And first lady Michelle Obama is part of a group of Washington dignitary who have returned home to Chicago to say good-bye to Hadiyah Pendleton. She's the 15-year-old band majorette and athlete shot and killed in Chicago just days after performing for the Obama inauguration. CNN's Athena Jones is on the south side of Chicago at the funeral. And Athena, you've had a chance to talk with some family and friends. What are they saying?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we've been viewing the ceremony from our truck out here. We have a live feed in. This has been a very emotional day certainly for Hadiyah Pendleton's friends and family, and particularly emotional last half hour or so. We've seen more than a dozen young people, many of them young women who described themselves as best friends of Hadiya Pendleton and a few young men talk about what she was like. A common theme is she smiled a lot. That she was a mentor and filled with laughter. Let's listen to what one of these young people had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like the vibrant color purple, she chose spirituality and imagination. Hadiya, you're beautiful like diamonds in the sky. And you've already begun to shine.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: And you heard her refer to the color purple. That is said to be Hadiyah's favorite colors. And as you also heard from that young lady, quite emotional. Some people said one young lady said they had planned to go to college together. We know Hadiya Pendelton wanted to major in either journalism or pharmacology. She was very, very active in school with debate, mentoring, volleyball and her majorette team. They also came and spoke as did her coach, talking about how much they'll miss her.

So it's been a celebration of her life but with an understanding that this represents a tragedy that is all too common in cities like Chicago and around the country. And President Obama sent a handwritten neat is included in the program. A copy is included in the program saying we realize that our words, President Obama's words and the first lady's words, can't soothe the family's pain, but they're going to work as hard as they can to try to end this senseless violence.

FEYERICK: She's become the symbol of the national tragedy. Maybe her last days were happy days having performed in that inauguration. Athena Jones, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Well, the Grammy awards are tomorrow. And this year, men lead the ladies in some of the biggest categories. Bruno Mars is one of them. He's next in the newsroom.


FEYERICK: Well, all the a list singers and musicians are in Los Angeles getting ready for the biggest night in music. The 55th Grammy awards this year could be a huge night for the guys. They're dominating some of the biggest categories. Tonight, we are young




FEYERICK: OK. Well, you know that band. You can't have missed that particular song, Fun featuring Janelle Monae. It would no surprise if they won record of the year tomorrow night. Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, they also got a nod in that category.

Singer and songwriter Bruno Mars is also nominated for a Grammy. CNN's Piers Morgan sat down with him just before the Grammys last year. And get this. He says he was almost a has-been before his career took off.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": The thing I like about your story is it hasn't all just been easy. A lot of entertainers your age, it all goes crazy young and it carries on and then it burns out. In your case, you had this big wake-up call. You were 18 years old. You come to Hollywood. Motown signs you up, and you thought whoa.


MORGAN: I have arrived.

MARS: Yes.

MORGAN: I, Bruno Mars, am a Motown sensation. And then boom. Almost as fast as you got it, they dropped you. How did that feel, that time in your life?

MARS: It was it was taking a step back. I used to be able to walk into a room and say I'm Bruno Mars signed with Motown Records. And then now I have to say, I got dropped from Motown Records. You lose leverage. You lose people believing in you because they go, well, why didn't it work?

MORGAN: How did you get told the news?

MARS: It was like this. Hey, we don't want you anymore.


MORGAN: As brutal as that?

MARS: It wasn't as brutal as that. It's not Motown's fault. I was too young. I didn't know what it was like. I knew I could sing. But there's so much more that I had to learn. I didn't come from the recording background. I came from doing live shows and performing with bands, and that was my craft. I didn't know what it took to be, you know, to record and be a recording artist. Now you've got to the write songs and establish who you are. I don't know if anyone knows who they are at 18 years old.

MORGAN: Did you react well or like most 18-year-olds --

MARS: I'm might have cried. I might have shed some tears.

MORGAN: Did a part of you believe that maybe you weren't good enough?

MARS: You definitely have those nights where you feel a little insecure. But I didn't want to give up. My goal was I'm not going to go back home. I'm not going to go back to Hawaii and face my friends and my family, saying it didn't pan out. I got to do something.


FEYERICK: And we have so much more coming up for you. So stay right here. A.J. Hammer and his showbiz at the Grammy special is coming up at 2:30 eastern right here on CNN. Lots of artists, lots of music, lots of interesting things.

And an asteroid is hurling towards earth. This one is going to be close. How close? The answer is coming up ahead on the other side. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Well, it is half the size of a football field, and it is hurtling to earth at 17,000 miles an hour, 17,000 miles an hour. The asteroid is expected to pass inside GPS satellites which are orbiting our planet. If that's too close for comfort, you're not alone. Tom Foreman gives us a look at the close encounter to come.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In cosmic terms, this is a very close encounter, the closest one that NASA has ever seen for something this big.

Let's get some reference points here. When we talk about the earth many of us like to think the moon is close to us. But the moon is really not as close as you think. It's almost a quarter million miles away. So what is close in space? Satellites. We've been launching these for many decades now. We filled the sky with them. Some of them are fairly low. Others are quite high. The highest once out there are communications and GDP satellites which are about 22,000 miles up in the air.

So where is this asteroid going to be? It is going to shoot out of the sky and cut right through the top of the satellite belt at about 17,000 miles. Is that dangerous? No, not really, in part because of the size of this thing. The official name by the way is 2012DA14. It's only about 50 yards long or wide no matter how you want to talk about it, it will be traveling 18,000 miles an hour, almost. If it were to hit earth, it would have a huge explosion equal to more than 2 million tons of dynamite.

But that wouldn't be enough to harm the earth unless it hit a populated place. Yes, it would knock down trees and destroy several hundred miles, but that would be all. And most importantly, scientist who have been tracking there thing for more than 2 million miles already say it's not going to hit the earth. It is going to miss even though this is a very close call.


FEYERICK: A lot of people blamed Beyonce for that embarrassing power outage during the Super Bowl. It wasn't her fiery performance. It wasn't her fault. We'll tell you why the lights went out.


FEYERICK: Well, now let's check the stories trending on the internet right now. This one is definitely not for vegetarians. Food safety officials in the U.K. have ordered the testing of all beef products. The move comes after horsemeat was discovered in beef lasagna sold by the company Find Us. Testing revealed between 60 to 100 percent horsemeat in the samples.

And that power outage at the Super Bowl is being blamed on a newly installed electrical relay device meant to the protect equipment at the New Orleans Superdome. The power company and the device's manufacturer do not agree on whether human error was to blame.

I'll be back with Ashleigh Banfield at the top of the hour with the stories of the day. Right now, it is "Showbiz at the Grammys" with A.J. Hammer. See you in just a bit. Enjoy.