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Northern Blizzard; Interview with Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island; Fugitive Suspect Still on the Loose; Wal-Mart Sheltering Stranded Drivers

Aired February 9, 2013 - 07:00   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Our team of reporters is all over this storm: Poppy Harlow is in Providence, Rhode Island, Susan Candiotti has been trudging through the snow in Boston, and then Mary Snow in Staten Island, an area hit by superstorm Sandy.

First up, though, Poppy Harlow.

Poppy, let's get the latest on the conditions where you are. Good morning.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Marty. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us on this snowy Saturday.

All across the Northeast, Providence, some signs of life. The sun has come up, the snow has slowed down, the wind gusts are less frequent than they were all through the night. It was torrential here through the evening.

I can see down the block, which is a good thing. I couldn't see that one when we join first in the 5:00 Eastern Hour. Thing are turning around.

Now, the issue is: how do you clean up? How do you remove the feet of snow that are here?

Another big issue, huge concern for Rhode Island folks is the amount of power outages. Right now, we've got 187,000 homes without power. That's a big chunk of the population here in this relatively small state. There's big concern about that. And we knew that going into this storm because the snow was wet, it was heavy, and the warmer temperatures actually made it more difficult because that snow weighed on power lines, weighed on trees.

And now you've got a lot of people without power, and that means likely that they don't have heat. And that matters because just about 20 degrees.

Let's bring in a man who knows very well what they're going to have to do here to come back. Let's bring in the governor.

Governor Chafee, thank you very much for joining us at this early hour. You and I talk about this before the height of the storm last night. Your biggest concern was power.


HARLOW: Look what's happened. How prepared are you guys? And when can people expect to see the power back on?

CHAFEE: We're well-prepared, but we have to make sure that the Rhode Islanders stay off the streets so we can clear the streets and then get the National Grid people to restore the power.

So, the critical thing is for people to stay off the streets. That's my message. Do not get out on the streets and get stuck. Then, we can't get the plows in to clear the streets, get the power back on.

HARLOW: Can you give me a sense of the calls you have been getting in terms of people without power? You know, most people will lose heat when they don't have power. I mean, you know, it's very cold here still.

CHAFEE: Yes, and the forecast is to even drop further this evening. So we have today really to really hustle and try to get as much power on as possible. We all have to do our best, especially with people staying off the roads. That's critical.

HARLOW: Can you give me a sense of what the National Grid, power provider here, is telling you? I'm assuming they're keeping you abreast of hour by hour. What are they telling you? How long is it going to take them to get this power back on? Are we talking 24 hours? Are we talking days?

CHAFEE: We haven't heard yet. I haven't heard an actual time frame.


CHAFEE: But we're working with them. They're well-prepared. There are crews from all over the country coming in there to this area to help in anticipation, good preparation.

So, we're ready. Now, it's time to clear those streets and get these crews to work.

HARLOW: You, along with the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut closed I-95 which is atypical, but this is an atypical storm. Is I-95 back open yet?

CHAFEE: No, no, absolutely not. We've got to keep people off the roads.


CHAFEE: And the travel ban remains in effect.

We're calling in guards men that are on some of the onramps. We couldn't get to them. Make sure people stay off the roads right now. That's critical.

HARLOW: Talk to me about that. We're seeing that in New York on the Long Island expressway. I think it wasn't as bad as people thought in New York. So, they got in their cars, headed out, now they're stranded.

Any idea how many people you have stranded at this point? You're calling in the National Guard to help them. So, it's serious, if they run out of gas, they run out of heat in their car.

CHAFEE: Yes. We saw them coming here. Many, many onramps, especially with the cars can get to those ramps, and also pushing the wall of snow up against those ramps, people getting turned around, stranded trying to keep their engines running so they can keep their heat on.

HARLOW: Right.

CHAFEE: So, just common sense, stay off the roads. You might look like the road's good here, but further down the road, you're in deep, deep snow. And that just snarls all of our efforts to get power back on to clear the streets. So common sense, please stay in your homes.

HARLOW: Governor, thank you. Appreciate it. I know you get a lot of work. So, thanks for joining us this Saturday morning. Good to se you, good luck.

I want to now take tour viewers to Susan Candiotti who is in Boston. They got hit even harder with snow. They've got more than 400,000 power outages.

Susan, how is it looking there this morning?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they really got hammered, that's for sure and it's not over yet. But, certainly, a large part of the storm hit in the overnight hours, and whereas on Friday, it was a wet snow and really felt pellets hitting our faces.

Now, it is -- let me show you. It is much more of a powdery snow that you can't make into a snowball, which means we're going to be looking forward to snow drifts. Certainly, the wind has been picking up and the temperatures have dropped overnight. It was 30, now it's down in the high teens with the wind-chill factor of one degree.

Taking a look over here now, Poppy, we're going to swing over in this direction. You can see way off in the distance maybe might be too far away, but there's a snowplow at work back there, trying to keep this area clean.

And over here is part of Boston Harbor. You can see how well protected this particular section is. All those boats, they didn't go anywhere. They didn't move them elsewhere, and if you can see how calm that water is, it's like a sheet of glass right now despite the wind gusts that we're getting.

So with the power outages, more than 400,000 homes and businesses without power, and one of the places that got hit is a nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Now, the electricity went out at the plant itself, the local fire chief said he did not consider it to be an emergency. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission called it a low-level event and that all systems are all right as far as they're concerned. A backup generator went into effect and is keeping that power plant at least the power plant itself operating. The city of Plymouth itself, however, 90 percent of the homes and businesses are without power.

So it is the sun is coming up, it's going to be a very long day for Bostonians, but for now, people are staying home and staying off the roads and officials hope it stays that way.

Poppy, back to you in Providence.

HARLOW: Absolutely, Susan. I've been standing out here for far too many hours. Folks, you don't want to be out here. It is very cold, and there's plenty of snow for a while for you to play in. So don't worry about getting out.

I want to take our viewers to the extreme weather center in CNN, in Atlanta, to Alexandra Steele who's got an eye on the entire situation.

Alexandra, what are you seeing?


Well, where Poppy is, things are going to come to an end. We're going to see end beginning in New York City this morning.

So let's just show you what we've seen thus far. Hamden, Connecticut, in New Haven county, 34 inches of snow. Madison right along the shoreline on 95, 32 inches, in Bergen County, New Jersey, 15, Worcester, Mass, 10, Boston picking up, 10, New haven at 24, Islip, New York, on Long Island, 11 inches and in New York City at Central Park, eight inches thus far.

Pretty much, New York is over, it will wind down by 8:00, 9:00 this morning. Peak winds, they've been huge, as well. Hurricane-force wind gusts. We've seen them in Connecticut, in Rhode Island. Also Logan, 76 at the airport, Bedford, 75-mile-per-hour wind gusts, the Buzzards Bay, that Bourne Bridge, going over to the Cape.

So incredibly strong winds. We are going to see the winds quite that strong anymore, but we will see 40 and 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts even when the snow ends.

So, here's the big picture, it is ending, you can see in the Hudson Valley of New York. It will end also in New York City, western Connecticut, western Massachusetts. It will end from west to east. Again, New York City ending this morning.

As we put this in motion, as we head to 9:00, we could see beginning to end, Long Island still into it. But eastern Connecticut, eastern Massachusetts, still this morning in through the afternoon. Boston will end this afternoon, and then by tonight around 10:00 or so, we'll watch it and in Maine, as well.

So, still, though, even though that will end, we're going to see these very strong winds behind it. These are the wind forecasts throughout this afternoon. You can see 48, 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts. Even though tonight. So, again, even though the snow will be over, the winds will be blowing all that snow that is freshly fallen all around.

So, Martin, we're still going to se incredible wind gusts. Now, this is Sunday, finally, we're going to see things begin to calm down. But the good news, the snow will end this morning from west to east. And then, by tonight, it will be a fait accompli for everyone and the matter of cleaning up.

SAVIDGE: All right. All I can say, Alexandra, is thank goodness it's a weekend.

STEELE: Yes, safe, you know? Much safer.

SAVIDGE: We'll be checking back with you throughout the morning.


STEELE: -- the blizzard, of course, out in California, we've had one and we've had it and you can see I'll show you right here. In Big Bear Lake, of course, the other big story I've been watching is the manhunt and I'll show you where that is. Here's Big Bear Lake. It's about 90 miles east of Los Angeles and they had blizzard conditions there, as well.

Things are much better now, drier conditions, 19 degrees, again, wind- chill at 10, but they did have a foot of snow, those mountains, Martin, are about 9,000 feet and the lake itself is about 7,000 feet.

SAVIDGE: And it was -- you read my mind because that's where we are headed next, talking about the snow and talking about the big manhunt that is taking place -- the search that is on for an ex-cop who allegedly went on a deadly rampage.

The manhunt for Christopher Dorner is our other big story of the day. Right now, the focus is on the popular resort area. That's Big Bear Lake, California, home to a lot of woods and a lot of cabins where someone could easily hide out.

So, let's go right now to CNN's Nick Valencia. He's live at LAPD headquarters. That's in downtown Los Angeles.

And, Nick, what's the latest on the search? Are the teams heading back out there soon?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Martin.

No major developments overnight according to Los Angeles Police Department media relations. But as you mentioned, that scaled back the search team was scaled back overnight because of those heavy storm conditions. Lots of snow up that's there hampering the search for Chris Dorner. There's helicopters that aren't able to fly. There's no aerial view of the search team.

As Alexandra mentioned, just really, really bad conditions. But as soon as the sun comes up this morning, search teams are expected to go back out there. They're really concentrating their search, Martin, in an 8-square-mile area there in Big Bear, which is about two hours east of where I'm standing here in downtown Los Angeles -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: All right. Nick, we'll continue to follow you throughout the morning, as well. Thanks very much.

And, of course, stay with us as we continue to give you the latest on the blizzard, where it's going next. But also some of you are making the best out of being stuck at home. We'll have more of your iReports.


SAVIDGE: Good morning, Hartford, Connecticut. Taking a live look there. And you can see the traffic is light to nonexistent. That's because it's against the law to drive unless you've got an emergency.

We want to give you another view of the storm. One of our favorites, actually -- your view.

George Howell is keeping track of all the pictures, the videos sent in by our iReporters.

George, what are you seeing from people who are living through this?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, you know, you talk about Connecticut. I want to start out on the lighter side of things. These images that people took just as the storm came in.

Look at Abby and Sophia here, and this big snowman. It's a lot bigger than them. That's how much snow fell there in Guilford, Connecticut.

And, you know, that's what you see throughout the Northeast. A lot of snow fell in a very short amount of time. And this morning, there will be a lot of kids, like Abby and Sophia, who will have that ability to go out and make big snowman. So, that's pretty cool.

I want to go to another image here. And this is sort of the situation you'll find in Rochester, New York, upstate New York. These roads are rough, and it's going to be rougher this morning as people wake up and find, you know, several feet of snow that fell overnight.

So, a lot of people heeded the warning of officials to stay in doors, that's the good news. They'll wake up this morning, find that the town is the ghost town. Nobody on the roads and it'll be a lot of digging and shoveling out to get about.

SAVIDGE: You can't have a camera every place, but, of course, they can supplement it with all of our friends out there who can show us these images. And it gives you a neighborhood feel, a real look at what's going on in their block, their part of the world, as they go through all the snow that continues to pile up here.


SAVIDGE: So, George, thanks so much for bringing those to us and thanks to our viewers for sending them in.

Remember, don't take any risks trying to get us the video. Don't go out there if you don't have to. But we love to see the pictures.

Moving on to another story now. Hadiya Pendleton, that is the teen that was gunned down just a week after performing at President Obama's inauguration. She will be buried in Chicago today.

We are taking a special look at the young life that ended all too soon.


SAVIDGE: Opening day looks a long way away when you look at Fenway Park as it is appearing this morning in Boston. Hello there, everybody.

We are continuing to watch the blizzard. More live reports coming up just ahead.

In other news, Michelle Obama will attend today's funeral for 15-year- old Hadiya Pendleton. The Chicago honor student and band majorette was gunned down a week after performing at President Obama's inauguration.

CNN's Athena Jones has more.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First Lady Michelle Obama is returning to her hometown to attend a funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, a bystander shot dead in a Chicago park a week after she performed at the president's inauguration.

Vice President Biden memorialized the young honor student in remarks to House Democrats.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was no ordinary child. She was a child who had used social media urging her friends to speak out. Don't join gangs. And now she's gone.

JONES: Pendleton was killed a mile from the first family's home in Chicago, a city facing an epidemic of gun violence. It's an issue President Obama has raised numerous times, including in a speech after Newtown.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown, a shopping mall in Oregon, house of worship in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, countless street corners and places in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

JONES: And in a video message to Chicago last August.

OBAMA: All of us have to make safer streets our cause so the most challenging part of a kid's day is that algebra test or physics exam and not the walk home from school.

JONES: But some say the president should be doing more for his adoptive home. A "Chicago Sun-Times" editorial noted the president visited Newtown two days after that shooting, and asked, "How many more children must die in Chicago before the president does the same here?"

A call echoed by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson who wrote this message to the president on the Web site Politic365. "In this crisis, we need the president's leadership. Come home, Mr. President, your city needs you."

Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


SAVIDGE: And back to the blizzard now. We know that Hartford, Connecticut, is getting hard hit, especially by this blizzard. Some spots have seen more than 30 inches of snow.

Meteorologist Alexandra Steele has been following all of that for us and she joins us now.

Hello, Alexandra.

STEELE: Hi, absolutely. New Haven County getting pounded, as well.

Here are some of the snow fall totals thus far in Connecticut. And Connecticut is beginning to wind down first, in Fairfield and Litchfield County and then move eastward. Manchester, Connecticut in the Hartford, County, 28 1/2, 24 in West Hartford, and Avon, Connecticut, as well. Storrs in Tolland County, 15 inches, plus, Hamden, 34. These are the big winners.

So, some incredible numbers there and why? It's because -- here's a picture of Connecticut. And we're watching the clearing from west to east, this is the Litchfield Hills. That will clear first. Also, Fairfield County clearing first, near New York City.

But where it's the bright white colors that's bright banding, and that's where the snow was coming down in two and three inches per hour. It is all minimizing and it is all moving eastward. But I-91 from Hartford down to Wallingford and even all down the shoreline, all the moisture coming off the water, allowing Madison and Guilford and Brantford to get pummeled with between 25 and 30 inches of snow.

So we are going to see an end. New York City will end this morning, Boston ends by this afternoon. And then Maine will end by tonight. So, here's that area of low pressure moving out from early this afternoon. You can see 1:00, still, though, in southeast Mass, the Cape and the islands, as well.

But even as we see this whole system push eastward, we're going to still have those winds. So, Martin, even though the snow will be done, certainly the problems in terms of blizzard-like conditions with all of the blowing of snow with 40-mile-per-hour wind will certainly be a problem throughout the day.

SAVIDGE: It certainly will. And that's why we'll stay in touch with you. Thank you very much, Alexandra Steele.

Joining me now on the telephone from Hartford, Connecticut, is the mayor. And that's Pedro Segarra.

And, Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

MAYOR PEDRO SEGARRA, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT (via telephone): Thank you. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: How are you doing? How is your community doing?

SEGARRA: Well, everybody's pretty much in their homes. We're asking everyone to just stay indoors. The governor as well as myself have issued traffic ban, so there's no driving on city and state roads. We've gotten over two feet of snow. We were doing our best last night to remove the snow as it fell. Unfortunately, it got to a point where it was in excess of four inches per hour.

And our crews were not able to see where they were heading. We have to suspend operations. All those crews are back out there in full force working on our primary routes, which are the ones that provide us with access to hospitals. So, we're going to continue to dig out during the weekend. Just hope folks are patient with us and hope that people stay off the roads.

SAVIDGE: And, Mayor, what's your biggest concern going forward now?

SEGARRA: Just the sheer volume of the snow. Last time we had this amount of snow, it became very difficult to remove such large amounts of snow from the streets. We've hired some heavy equipment that we've contracted out in anticipation of these items should be able to remove as much snow as possible, which is carting it away is a real challenge.

And some of our streets don't lend themselves too well, the narrower streets to do as effective cleaning as quickly as we would hope. But we're going to be out there in full force (AUDIO GAP) out there, crews are out there. So we'll just have to continue to work as hard as we can during the weekend and try to get back to normal.

SAVIDGE: Yes. And, just by looking at these live images we've had up while you've been on the telephone, we don't see cars moving about. It appears that people really have heeded that warning that came from both of you and the governor. So, you must be pretty happy with that so far. The worry is that people will now think, oh, the worst has passed and get out on the road.

SEGARRA: Yes, and we're discouraging that. First of all, at this point, the conditions in our city for the roads are so bad that you're not going to get very far and you're just risking getting stuck in traffic and then you'll be towed and there's a fee associated with that. So the best thing for people to do is to stay indoors and not to drive around. The quicker that we get the roads done, the quicker we can force people to have mobility.

SAVIDGE: And, you know, just looking forward to Monday morning, you think by then you ought to have a good handle on things?

SEGARRA: We're hoping, we're hoping, but it's a lot of snow out there. I've never seen so much snow fall so quickly all at once. And we haven't had to suspend snow removal operations. So we've been able to sort of keep up with it.

We got overwhelmed at one point and had to stop for several hours and, of course, that increases the volume of snow that's currently on the street.

SAVIDGE: All right. Well, we've been talking with the mayor of Hartford, Connecticut. That's Pedro Segarra. Thank you, sir, for joining us. Good luck to your city.

SEGARRA: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: We'll keep hoping the best.

Meanwhile, more than a half a million people will wake up today cold, because the power is out. We are talking about a fair number of power outages actually. More than 650,000 people. More on that coming up in a moment.


SAVIDGE: Now for a mortgage update. Rates are down slightly from last week. Take a look.


SAVIDGE: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Martin Savidge. Thanks very much for starting your day with us this morning.

It's a snowy start for many people, because that blizzard up in Northeast has knocked out power to more than 650,000 customers. That's over nine states in the Northeast. In some places, the winds are gusting, get this, more than 70 miles an hour.

And that is, of course, tearing down tree limbs and when they go, they bring the power lines with them.

Thousands of families are starting the day without electricity and in many cases, without heat. And that is the real concern with the snow still falling, officials can't say exactly when that power will be restored.

And, of course, we're keeping an eye on all of the flights that have been canceled by the blizzard this morning. So far, live FlightAware tracking reports that nearly 1,700 flights have been canceled and more are expected. We're talking about today alone. There will be no flights out of Boston's Logan until Sunday. And New York airports are also experiencing similar situation. Remember, best thing -- best advice, I should say, check with your airlines before you head out towards the airport to se if you're still going.

Meanwhile, dozens of flights are also canceled today at Green State Airport and that, if you didn't know, is in Providence, Rhode Island, which is where our Poppy Harlow has been all morning. She's monitoring the storm there.

The impact and hopefully now maybe the way they start digging out, right, Poppy? Hello, good to see you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've got a lot of digging out to do. Good morning, Marty. Good morning, everyone.

If you're in Providence, hope you like snow. A lot of it here. Feet of snow. That beautiful white powdery snow, though, now, not that whipping ice pellets that we got all last night.

The wind has died down. The whiteout conditions have dispersed. I can see the end of the block, which is a positive sign.

Let's pan out a little bit if we can for our viewers here. You might see some of our equipment, as well.

But this is downtown Providence in front of city hall that is actually still completely desolate. You've only got emergency vehicles.

The big challenge for Providence, the governor just told us at the top of the hour is the power outages, not only in Providence, but the entire state. Nearly 200,000 homes without power, but 20 percent of the population of the entire state that has been hit, no power, no heat, major concern. No reading yet from the power company on how long it's going to take to get those power lines back up.

What happened here is that wet, thick snow that we had all night because the temperatures are a bit warmer, that weighed on the power lines. It weighed on trees that fell on power lines and this is the problem.

Governor here saying is still staying off the roads because they need to be cleared so that the power company can get to where they need to address the issue. But overall here in Providence, things are looking up. In Rhode Island, they have opened up some of those big bridges out to Newport closed overnight because of that gusting wind. So things are getting progressively better here by the hour.

Let's go to Mary Snow, she's in Staten Island where I know things have subsided a lot in just the past few hours, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Certainly has, Poppy. The snow has stopped here.

Staten Islanders are waking up to at least a foot of snow. One person, though, who did not wake up because he was up the whole night is Sebastian Cina. He's joining me here.

Sebastian, how worried were you last night?

SEBASTIAN CINA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: Very worried. The whole family was worried. We thought the water was going to come back in again and another disaster ready to happen.

SNOW: You look out at least a foot of snow.

CINA: Snow is good.

SNOW: But you were very relieved?

CINA: Yes, very relieved no water came in.

SNOW: And talking to people around here, so overwhelmed, one man said yesterday, he was just numb, he couldn't handle anymore. How much of a setback is this?

CINA: It's a lot. It's mentally frustrating between, you know, for the whole family. You know, and you've got to work. My wife takes care of the crew that comes in. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work.

So you do become numb from all this.

SNOW: Yes, and it's certainly so overwhelming. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

CINA: Thank you, Mary.

SNOW: But Sebastian was saying, Poppy, his first reaction when he woke up this morning was thank God because his worries were so high this could have been a lot worse.

HARLOW: Absolutely because of what happened from hurricane Sandy and in the wake of that storm and how long it has taken people in Staten Island to get back on their feet. I guess a little bit of a blessing they didn't get hit harder and as much snow as we did here in Providence.

Mary, thank you very much.

Marty, I'm going to send it back to you now in Atlanta.

SAVIDGE: All right, Poppy. Thank you, both, very much.

We want to check in now with Jerry Greek. He's the manager of a Wal- Mart out there in Long Island. You may have heard there were a lot of people stranded on the highway.

But first, we're going to go to Rene Marsh? Is that what you're telling me? At Reagan International Airport for a check on the situation there.

Let's go ahead, Rene. RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martin.

You know, since this all began, we can tell you that nearly 5,000 flights have been canceled. And we're seeing the ripple effect here at Reagan National Airport this morning.

I want to check out the boards and look at the situation. New York, canceled. You can se the situation doesn't look very good for those going to New York, Portland, Maine, canceled. A total of 83 arrivals and departures canceled today out of DCA. The majority of those flights, I can tell you, it is because of weather situations here.

Now, as far as the airports go and those areas that are really hard hit, we do know that many of the airlines say they'd like to resume those flights starting today. We also know that in really, really bad areas like your Boston, we're not going to see any kind of activity until maybe about Sunday.

Now, here at Reagan National, we got a chance to speak to some people who know firsthand. We're calling this waiters row here. Some of these people have spent the night here because they are stuck.

We met one man who is trying to get to a wedding. We met another man who is trying to get to his sick mother. However, they can't get there because guess what? Their flights are canceled. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my friend's wedding is today. And I found out yesterday morning that all my flights got canceled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm sitting here debating, I'm charging up my computer and cell phone and stuff, I'll contact my family. Maybe in a hotel or maybe crash here for a couple of days. I'm not sure.


MARSH: All right. Well, that man here, he's been here since Friday night. He believes he's going to be here for another three days. His destination, Portland, Maine.

Martin, back to you.

SAVIDGE: Yes, he could be there a while longer.

Rene Marsh, thanks very much for joining us from Reagan International.

Here are five other stories we are watching this morning:

First, at daylight, the search teams headed out to Big Bear Lake in part for that hunt for the accused cop killer. But it's not clear if the suspect, Christopher Dorner is even still in the area. Police say they will keep looking until they find him or they're sure he's left. The former cop is accused of killing three people, including a police officer and a daughter of a retired officer. Number two, Michelle Obama will attend today's funeral for 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. The Chicago honor student and band majorette was gunned down a week after performing at President Obama's inauguration. Police told our affiliates that Pendleton had no gang affiliation and was likely not the intended target. We will have a report from Chicago that will be coming up later this morning.

Number three, former Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson J. has signed a plea deal with prosecutors. The well-known civil rights leader was under investigation for misusing campaign funds. Details of that are unknown, but according to local reports out of Chicago, he could still face prison time.

Number four, a judge in Cleveland sentenced an Amish man behind a string of beard-cutting attacks to 15 years in prison. Samuel Mullet was convicted of hate crimes, kidnapping, and conspiracy. Several of his followers received shorter sentences.

And then number five, in Phoenix, the murder trial of Jodi Arias took a dramatic turn this week. Arias took the stand and admitted to killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. She described how she stabbed him 27 times, shot him in the face, and slit his throat in self-defense.

Arias will be back on the stand when trial resumes on Monday. If convicted, she does face the possibility of the death penalty.

Now, back to that intense manhunt in California. We will take you out there live and that will be next.


SAVIDGE: And you're looking at a live picture of Hartford, Connecticut, where they have had more than two feet of snow. Some places more than that, up to 34 inches. We've continued to follow that, and will do so.

There's another developing story regarding the snow, and that is what's happening on Long Island. Out there when the snow came down, some people, many people, actually, got trapped on the highway. That's the Long Island Expressway. And when they were trapped, they had to find shelter and they did that at a Wal-Mart.

Jerry Greek is the manager at that Wal-Mart and joins us now on the telephone.

Good morning to you and thanks for joining us. How are things there now?

JERRY GREEK, MANAGER, MIDDLE ISLAND, NY WAL-MART (via telephone): We're OK. It's like I said, the snow's pretty deep here, but everybody's safe and warm in the Wal-Mart in Long Island. And we have coffee and donuts for everybody. And everything's OK otherwise.

SAVIDGE: How many people are you sheltering right now? And are their spirits good? Are they all in good shape? GREEK: Everybody's in good shape. Everybody's safe and sound in the store and around 20, 25 people, it's some associates and mostly people that were stranded that walked through the snow to get in the store when they saw the light was still on. We were close, but we led them in to find shelter and give them some place to go.

SAVIDGE: We're dealing, also, with a bad signal, I know. But we want to keep talking.

The store was closed at the time. When did you start realizing you were turning into something more than just a shopping experience?

GREEK: Well, like I said, first couple of people came in and said they were waiting out for like hours out on the road and found the store (ph). There was like 20 accidents getting stuck in the snow. And then they started -- people started calling the store to see if we were open, so they could come in and get warm and their cars were running out of gas from sitting in the lines for so long.

So, naturally, we let them come in. We don't want anybody getting hurt.

SAVIDGE: And it was good you did that, Jerry. Is the situation improving now? I know daylight certainly returned.

GREEK: Yes. They're plowing. The roads are still closed out here in Suffolk County. And we have our guys plowing our parking lot. But right now, everything's pretty much stand still out here.

SAVIDGE: Jerry, have you seen anything like this at the Wal-Mart?

GREEK: Not since I've been here. Not this bad.

SAVIDGE: Well, we hope it improves throughout the day. That's Jerry Greek who is joining us from the Wal-Mart out there in Suffolk County where they opened the doors and let people in, many of whom trapped out on the roadways as the snow continues to fall.

Thank you very much for joining us.

Now back to the other big story we're following and that's the intense manhunt. This one in California. We'll have a live report and bring you up to speed, next.


SAVIDGE: Now more on today's other big story. That's the hunt in California for a former cop accused of killing three people. Police say suspect Christopher Dorner is extremely dangerous. He is also believed to be heavily armed.

CNN's Nick Valencia is following this investigation for us. He's out in Los Angeles.

And, Nick, what's the mood of police officers there? You've been talking to them and, of course, they have to have safety concerns. NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Martin, it's not just police officers. I think throughout this entire city, there's a lingering sentiment of anxiety. Some of us have looked behind our shoulder, no doubt in the last couple of days.

But nowhere is that anxiety more than here in the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. Yesterday I spoke to Commander Andy Smith about those safety concerns. Take a listen.


COMMANDER ANDY SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE: Every officer in this department's a little bit paranoid right now, I think. You know, some people that have contact with this guy, obviously, are more concerned than others. But all of us are concerned. And we always are.


VALENCIA: And he's just one of 40 officers. More than 40 officers, Martin, that are receiving detailed protection. So you can just imagine the strain on resources here for the LAPD -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: And that search has been focused, at least for the time being, out there in Big Bear Lake. They had pretty heavy snow. That caused them to dial it back a bit, haven't they?

VALENCIA: Yes, their search was scaled back overnight. They're scheduled to resume their search as the sun comes up here this morning. They're really concentrating on an eighth square mile area in Big Bear, which is about two hours east of where I'm standing in downtown, Los Angeles.

But, as you mention, as we've been reporting throughout the morning, heavy storm conditions have really hampered the search operation there in Big Bear -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: And, also, CNN has obtained some exclusive images of Dorner firing a gun. Tell us about them.

VALENCIA: Yes, CNN obtained exclusive video of Chris Dorner during his cadet training days in 2005. Some very chilling video, considering circumstances for his search right now. He's still on the loose right now.

The video we have shows him firing his weapon, training, exercise training and it really shows the strength of this man, 270 pounds, six-feet tall, he's seen carrying a 300-pound dummy just effortlessly. We received that tape yesterday. That's exclusive video to CNN.

So, just a new development, new images and sort of gives you a sense of background looking at him and the type of person that the Los Angeles Police Department and other authorities in southern California are dealing with.

SAVIDGE: And police have said that Dorner is extremely dangerous. It's not just his police training, is it? He also had some military background.

VALENCIA: Yes. He has extensive military training, Martin. He is a marksman, a pistol expert.

He also has underwater sea training as well. If you remember a few days ago there were reports that he allegedly tried to take a boat in the San Diego area.

So, there's a lot of components there and he is a very trained person. And, in fact, the officers I've spoken to, some of them say, listen, we're not taking any more added safety precautions. This guy is a trained killer. If he wants to hurt us, he can.

So, it's a very scary situation for everybody involved.

SAVIDGE: All right. Nick, thanks very much. We'll continue to follow it through you. Thank you.

Travel chaos. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Modes of transportation are also impacted. We'll get to the bottom of all of it next with the director of aviation at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


SAVIDGE: More now on that massive blizzard that keeps slamming parts of the Northeast. So far, the storm has caused nearly 5,000 flights to be canceled. That's today alone. And that number is expected to rise.

Susan Baer is the deputy director of aviation at the Port of New York, that's the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and she joins me now on the telephone.

Thank you very much for being with us. And let me ask you, where do things stand right now?

SUSAN BAER, PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Well, are looking good at all of our airports. They are all open. We already have had some activity, some cargo activity at both Newark and JFK. And, LaGuardia, we're expecting the first passenger activity around 9:00.

So we had a lot of snow. Not as much as, perhaps, predicted, but quite a bit of snow. We had a got a foot at LaGuardia, almost that much at Newark. So, it was a tough overnight, but we're in great shape.

And what has to happen now is, as you know, we run airports. We don't fly planes. So we're ready. We're working with all the airlines as they resume their schedule.

What happens in a big storm like this, as you know, they cancel a lot in advance and then they work on their recovery plan to get everybody back on a plane over the next couple of days. Where we could use your help is in making sure that everybody out there knows that even though we're open and even though planes are starting to fly, their flight may not happen today.

And so call first. Go on their Web site. Make sure that you actually have a seat on a plane before you head out to the airport.

SAVIDGE: Yes, that's very good advice. We actually have been throwing it out there every chance we get to remind people of that.

BAER: Excellent.

SAVIDGE: So, are you up to full force here as far as your operations, or are you slowly sort of coming back?

BAER: Well, we're slowly coming back. We don't have every runway open yet.

You focus on the ones you're going to need first thing in the morning. So, at JFK, that's two out of the four, which is enough to accommodate the traffic as it -- air traffic as it begins to grow. So, it's a recovery process. I mean, for us, as well as the airlines. But we are ready.

And so, we'll start -- if you look up and you're near an airport, you'll actually start seeing planes over the next couple of hours.

SAVIDGE: And, of course, getting the flight in is just half the battle. What about the roads getting to and from the airport in your area?

BAER: Well, part of our battle plan -- it really is a battle plan that we have. We have a snow plan for each airport. We spend a lot of time planning and training to get ready for storms like this, is that you can't ever forget that you also have to do the roads.

And so, we do -- we're responsible for both the runways and taxiways, as well as the roads leading into the airport. Now, I probably can't help you with the Long Island expressway, but the roads when you get to our airport, we're very conscious of the fact that they have to be ready as well. And we have a whole team that has worked all night long in keeping our roads in good shape.

SAVIDGE: All right. Susan Baer, thank you very much. Very positive outlook coming to us from the major airports and the New York Port Authority. Thank you.

BAER: You're welcome. Bye.