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Nor'Easter Slams Northeast; Midwest Deep Freeze; New Trouble In Antarctic Rescue; Two Americans Detained In Libya; South Sudan Peace Talks Start; Obamacare Contraception Mandate; Cyber Security Deal for $1 Billion

Aired January 3, 2014 - 06:00   ET



PEREIRA (voice-over): Breaking news, the nor'easter of 2014 overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a mess. The side roads are just horrible.

PEREIRA: The storm hits full force. Howling winds, whiteout conditions. Nearly two feet of snow in areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty slick all over the place and a lot of snow accumulation.

PEREIRA: One hundred million Americans in its path.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your time if you're out there. It's pretty bad.

BERMAN (voice-over): Major cities practically shut down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Temperatures will be extreme and that's a serious hazard.

BERMAN: Airplanes grounded, thousands of flights cancelled and leaving passengers stranded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very frustrated. We just want to get there.

BERMAN: And this is just round one. The next phase? A brutal subzero cold. We're tracking the monster storm with everything you need to know to make it through.

PEREIRA: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


PEREIRA (on-camera): Good morning! And welcome to NEW DAY, a very chilly new day. It's not subzero, but it sure feels like it. Eleven degrees, Time Warner Circle -- Columbus Circle, rather, just outside of Central Park. John Berman and I are here. Chris and Kate are warm and cuddly somewhere with their families inside. We're outside our home here at the Time Warner Building and the first nor'easter of 2014.

It's not letting up. We're standing right here where the crews in the city are busy trying to clear some of the snows off the sidewalk. We're told there's about five or six inches of snow in Central Park this morning. And as you can see, more is falling. But get this, in parts of Massachusetts, it has been hit hard.

They've got more than 20 inches of snow already. Check out the map. You can actually see where the storm is right now. We're going to follow it all morning long. Every major city in the northeast is covered, and that has forced cancellation of classes at schools across the region to the --


BERMAN: Kids are screaming in joy this morning.


BERMAN: Not everyone, though. I want to show you something else. Look at this. This is the Long Island Expressway, which is normally one of the busiest highways in the country, packed any time of day or night, but right now, it is completely empty. The state of New York shut this road down and other major arteries as well. And I got to tell you, the roads are not the only problem.

Today alone, about 1,500 flights have been canceled, that's in addition to the thousands canceled in the past three days. And folks, that could get worse. I have one other thing I can tell you, it's cold.

PEREIRA: Do you think it is?

BERMAN: It's really, really cold. We showed you 11 degrees with the wind chill just below zero. I want to put up a map. This is what it feels like across the country. Single digits in many spots, below in other spots. And what does that really feel like? Awful.

PEREIRA: Well, and we wanted to feel it ourselves. We also thought it might have been punishment for being so warm and cozy yesterday, but we wanted to get out here. In fact, we scrambled our teams across the U.S., covering this breaking situation throughout the night. We want to show you what the conditions have really been like throughout the night.

But first, we begin in Boston. We're going to tell you what conditions in the forecast are looking like. Boston itself is pretty much shut down. That's where we find Indra Petersons. How are conditions there, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They're not great. How are you guys liking it outdoors, enjoying a taste of my job?

PEREIRA: I feel like this might have been you.

BERMAN: She's the one behind this, no doubt.

PETERSONS: You send me far away, look what you get. It is negative 21 here. Take another 10 degrees off of what you're feeling. That is what I'm dealing with right now. Winds are gusting to 39 miles per hour. Six inches of snow already on the ground. There are almost 100 million people dealing with this across 20 states right now.


PETERSONS (voice-over): The massive nor'easter battered more than 20 states into the night, almost 2 feet of snow already on the ground in Boston. The onslaught of snow is producing white out conditions in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are closing state government. I am urging private employers to do the same.

PETERSONS: This year's first major snowstorm, forcing New York and New Jersey to declare a state of emergency.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: Please stay home tonight and stay off the roads.

PETERSONS: It's a disastrous mix for travelers. Thousands of flights canceled. Officials in New York closing several major highways overnight in hopes of saving lives. Several school districts from Philadelphia to Boston closed today as officials feared the commute to class would prove dangerous. Check out this elementary school bus in Missouri that skidded off an icy road into a ditch. The powerful arctic masses dropped temperatures in parts of the country to the coldest in years.


PETERSONS: Around 5 degrees below zero, this family in Maine took boiling water and check it out, it freezes immediately.


PETERSONS: The winds off of the lake caused wind chills of 25 degrees below zero in some parts of Chicago. Salt spreaders blanketing streets as countless spinouts litter roadways along the northeast and New England highways. Millions, now waking up to a beautiful but dangerous winter wonderland.


PETERSONS: So there are a lot of things to be concerned with. We talked about the temperature. Negative 20 is what it feels like in Boston with the wind chill. That means ten minutes outside that will give you frostbite. Let's take a look around. You could see the snow very easily blowing around. You can see right now, streets they're trying to clear, but they're not really salting them at this point.

Once the temperature on the ground gets below 15 degrees Fahrenheit it doesn't really help anymore. That's the concern. This is so powdery. It is very dry, blowing around. The visibility now is down to less than a quarter mile. A lot of things to be concerned with, the storm itself is continuing to drop. We see it throughout the morning hours. Hopefully people not going to work today, as you can imagine, the commute would be dangerous and visibility is poor.

But also those temperatures, so yes, the snow will blow until late morning. By early afternoon will clear except for along the cape we have ocean effect snow. Think about lake-effect snow and what you know about that. The temperature difference will still cause snow even though the system will start to clear out from west to east and make its way offshore. Temperatures behind it, once you get the clouds out of here are going to drop. It will be very cold.

Keep in mind, even though the storm lifts out today, there is another storm behind it. For the beginning of next week, they'll bring temperatures colder than what we're looking at today. Hard to believe we have kind of a two-punch system here on the way -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: This is the key, Indra. Look at this. You have to have a -- find a friend. Misery and I love company.

PETERSONS: I'll remember that. You're coming with.

PEREIRA: We're good at this. We can do it. Blizzard conditions we've been talking about really hitting parts of Massachusetts right now. The worst of it is hitting Cape Cod right there on the water, which is dealing with whiteout conditions this morning. Let's look at this picture. We cannot believe the picture. This is our reporter Laurie Segall, her live truck completely covered in snow and ice. This brave woman has been in the elements all night in Chatham and she joins us with more. How are you holding up, Darling?


PEREIRA: You look fabulous.

SEGALL: This snow that's been gathering, you'd think I've been out here all night. I literally ran from the truck to come out here and it still looks like I've been out here all night. That should give you a sign of what it's like out here. It's the wind, blowing in your face and it's really the combination of the snow and the wind. You know, lucky for you guys we decided to document it throughout the night. Yes. There's another gust.

Check out, we take you through our trip to here to see the worsening conditions. Check it out.


SEGALL (voice-over): The snow continuing to pile up here on Cape Cod, as fierce winds, frigid temps and coastal flooding threaten residents of the beach front homes. Eastern Massachusetts is expected to be among the hardest hit with blizzard warnings in effect in some areas through the morning. It's not just the snow that's a concern. Limited visibility is making driving conditions treacherous.

(on camera): We're on the road, about 6:00 p.m. We're seeing the first signs of the storm. You can see the ice forming on our wind shield right here, temperatures dropping rapidly. We just passed two accidents, another car pulled over, trying to scrape that ice from their wind shield.

(voice-over): Into the night, crews out in full force plowing roads, emergency services on call.

CAPTAIN MARK HIGGINS, CHATHAM FIRE DEPARTMENT: Stay inside, stay safe. Don't be on the roadways unless it's necessary.

SEGALL: Sparks flying off power lines and crews are on the ready to respond to outages when the storm passes. As much as 2 feet of snow could accumulate overnight with wind chills dropping well below zero and winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour.

(on camera): Right now, I'm holding up our wind meter. We're looking at gusts of winds up to 20 miles per hour. It's only expected to get worse. That's why you see these streets are empty. Everybody is at home weathering the storm. As you can see, conditions have worsened. I have the wind meter right here. You can see the gusts of wind blowing. Right now we're looking at 20 miles per hour. It's been higher and conditions just continue to worsen.


SEGALL: So I guess, you know, guys, this is what I get. I said I really wanted to go to Cape Cod. This is my first time here, pretty unbelievable. I will say, the folks here in Chatham, they say that they're used to this kind of storm. They were actually at a bar last night bringing in the storm together. I'm pretty sure they're not there anymore, one would hope. The driving conditions are very bad.

Once we were driving to our live shot, we almost got stuck and then as you see, our satellite trucks didn't work because of the weather. I think we actually have some images of our satellite truck, you know, it was as almost impossible to transmit. You can see the wind, the weather. We're at a blizzard warning until 11:00 a.m.

The folks are worried that there will be coastal flooding. We're going to keep you updated with all of that. I promise you my face will not freeze over if I have anything to do with it.

BERMAN: This is just the vacation on the cape that you were looking for, the beach trip that Laurie Segall always wanted.

BERMAN: These are seriously cold conditions.

PEREIRA: Seriously cold conditions.

BERMAN: It's causing major problems in the air, too, breaking news coverage continues with a look at the skies where right now virtually all you see is snow. This monster storm is forcing the cancellation of some 1,500 flights. That's today, adding to the thousands grounded yesterday. Thousands more are delayed. So many families trying to get back home after the holiday vacations are having a really, really tough go of it.

I want to go to Pamela Brown. Normally we like Pamela a lot. She is the least popular member of the CNN family today as she stand warm and toasty inside LaGuardia Airport.

PEREIRA: There's resentment.

BERMAN: Pamela, make it count.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I definitely have the primo assignment today, guys. I cannot complain about this. I'm here with all the passengers stranded at LaGuardia Airport because their flights are cancelled. I have to say this winter weather wallop has been wreaking havoc on these air travelers ever since last night.

You see the board behind me lit up in yellow, that's all the flight cancellations just today. In fact, at last check, 1,410 flights canceled in the U.S. just today, already more than half the flights canceled. Yesterday, a majority of them -- the bulk of them at airport hubs in the Midwest, the northeast, creating a domino effect for air travelers across the U.S.


BROWN (voice-over): Heavy snow, strong winds and limited visibility have stalled air travel this morning. More than 1,000 flights already canceled and more than 2,000 flights canceled Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Supposed to leave today. It's been scheduled to leave on Sunday and so now I'm trying to find a way to get out of here.

BROWN: Boston's Logan Airport remaining open during the storm but not many flights going or coming. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport the hardest hit with more than 650 halted flights accounting for most of the country's headaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first flight to Chicago was cancelled and now my next flight is delayed. I don't know when I'll be back.

UNIDENTIFID FEMALE: We're freaking out right now because we're running out of time.

BROWN: The storm causing a ripple effect for air travelers and nearly every state.

ROB YINGLING, AIRPORT SPOKESPERSON: Even though folks may not be flying to places like Boston and New York because those airports are such important components in the aviation network, that can have a domino effect on flights not even going to those locations.

BROWN: One stranded traveler snapped this wintry photo at LaGuardia Airport in New York where flights were grounded at 8:00 p.m. last night. Air travelers should be patient and expect lots of delays.


BROWN: It seems at this hour, the airports impacted by the storm remain open. Flights are expected to resume at Boston Logan Airport at around noon today. If you take a look behind me here at the ticket counter you'll notice it's desolate. No passengers checking in for their flights. That's an indication passengers have been checking with their airlines and perhaps changing their flights.

In fact, there is good news for those of you supposed to be traveling today by air. Several airlines, including United and American are actually waving the cancellation fee so it's a little bit easier to change your flight to perhaps another day so that you don't have to pay that fee.

PEREIRA: Yes, that's the best news of it all, Pamela. I've got to tell you because it is stressful if you are trying to get somewhere, trying to get home somewhere, trying to get home in time to get back to work on Monday. It's certainly great that the airlines are stepping up and making that move. We're going to check back in with you. Make sure you're warm and cozy throughout the morning.

BERMAN: Get some coffee, Pamela.

BROWN: I'll be just fine. Don't worry about me.

PEREIRA: All right, thanks so much. We've been talking about the size of this storm. It is socking in the northeast this morning, also taking a bone-chilling toll on the Midwest. Let's talk about Chicago. Over a foot of snow fell in the area, up to 10 inches blanketed the state of Michigan. But what's worse, are the dangerously low temperatures in the region with the wind chill, some places could feel as low as 25 degrees below zero. The sad news is, it's not going to end anytime soon. CNN's Ted Rowlands is live just outside of Chicago and that's what the issue is there is that dangerous cold -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Michaela. It is freezing. We're at 8 below zero. We have our big thermometer showing us below zero here. We have our completely frozen CNN t-shirt, which is crispy. We're at 8 below now. It will get to 10 below where we are today. It will warm up a little on Saturday and then it is going to get to about 15 degrees below zero without the wind chill, starting on Sunday.

It is absolutely not only uncomfortable, but dangerous to be out for more than a few minutes if you can help it. This is just not Chicago. It is the entire Midwest and as this moves to the east, you people will be feeling it as well. I tell you what, the snow is a little bit of a hassle this cold, freezing temperatures are painful. Get ready. It's coming toward you guys and it is not fun.

BERMAN: Yes, Ted, I'm ready already. I'm feeling it already, no, not fun at all. I think you put your finger on it. It's not just the snow. There are some impressive snowfall totals up in Boston and Cape Cod, but the cold here is the big, big story, bone-chilling temperatures, zero or below in some places. It could be very, very dangerous. We'll be watching that very closely in the days ahead. Right now, I want to go back inside to Ana Cabrera who has some of the day's other stories.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Come back inside and join me, John and Michaela. Let's take a look at your headlines this morning.

New this morning, the Australian ice breaker carrying those 52 rescued passengers is staying put because now there are worries that the Chinese vessel, which deployed the helicopter involved in the rescue could itself get stuck in sea ice. The Chinese ship plans to try to get out of this thick ice on Saturday at a point when the tidal conditions are a little more favorable.

Happening now, two Americans are being held by the Libyan Army in Benghazi. A source telling Reuters both were basketball players and they were arrested on the campus of Benghazi University. Now, the State Department is looking into this matter. This as word comes that a Britain and a New Zealander were found dead with gunshot wounds in Western Libya.

We're also following breaking news out of South Sudan as peace talks began between two battling parties there, U.S. Embassy personnel have now been ordered to leave the country. All Americans are being urged to get out of the African nation because of flaring violence between rebel groups and government troops. Over 1,000 people have been killed in less than three weeks of the escalating violence.

Police in Eureka, California, have a man behind bars in the death of a priest. Father Eric Freed was found dead in the rectory of his church. Investigators say he was the victim of blunt force trauma after a violent struggle. And now, they believe Gary Lee Bullock was the killer. Bullock was arrested for public intoxication the night before Freed's body was found.

Facebook is a defendant in a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs say the social network has been intercepting private messages between friends and then giving that information to marketers. Two Facebook users filed the suit in California. The company says the allegations simply aren't true and it will vigorously defend itself in court.

Back to you, John. You've been inside.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Ana.

And update, still 11 degrees here outside the Time Warner Center, very, very cold. This storm affecting so many people.

Next up on NEW DAY, some other news, Obamacare still in its infancy, facing a big test today at the Supreme Court. Justices could rule on a key provision that stoked controversy among religious groups.

Plus, the dead man busted. A banker declared dead. Oh, he's very much alive. One of his alleged fraud victims says she knew his suicide was a fraud, too.

We'll be right back.


PEREIRA: All right. NEW DAY is back. We're indoors continuing with our news today.

Obamacare's contraception mandate has hit a legal snag, the Supreme Court. Hours before this mandate was to go into effect, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary exemption to Catholic groups.

CNN's Jill Dougherty is following the new developments for us from the White House.

Good morning, Jill.


So days from dawns (ph) of Obamacare, with a key part of that law on hold at least temporarily.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): It's the last days of President Obama's two- week Hawaiian vacation and he spent Thursday playing golf with the New Zealand prime minister and his son. But in Washington, as life returns to normal after the New Year, it's back to Obamacare.

Today, the Supreme Court could order the Obama administration to allow certain religious affiliated nonprofits to remain exempt from the law's requirement to provide birth control and other reproductive health services to their employees. This comes after a group of Colorado nuns asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a temporary injunction from complying with the law.

A White House official responded saying, "We defer to the Department of Justice on litigation matters but remain confident our final rules strike a balance between contraceptive care and religious objections.

Coverage began January 1st for the 2.1 million Americans who have enrolled in Obamacare since October.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been waiting a long time for January 1st, 2014.

DOUGHERTY: And President Obama's allies at Organizing for Action continued to promote the new law. Mr. Obama himself sent out a New Year's tweet saying, "I signed the ACA for kids like Marcellus Owens. He lost his mom because she couldn't afford coverage. Today, millions of Americans finally can."

But the White House has not said who those millions of Americans are. A fact some Republicans say indicates an overall lack of trust.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: If they keep putting a flowery spin on everything, how are we really going to ever -- how are we ever really going to trust that we're getting the best, accurate information about the prospects for the law?


DOUGHERTY: And that information about who is signing up, for example, are they young or old, et cetera, is important. Because the big concern is long term, how will this be paid for? And the White House says that they will be releasing updated information in mid-January -- Michaela, John.

PEREIRA: Many things for us to be watching. All right. Thanks very much, Jill Dougherty.

Including this -- just in from the cold.


PEREIRA: The news man lean.

BERMAN: It is money time. A little warmer inside here. The ear muffs --

PEREIRA: The ear muffs, oh.

BERMAN: I had to take them off because money time is so important.

Christine Romans is here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Because the Dow was down yesterday, you don't want to hear any bad news about your 401(k).

Look, it was the best year for stocks since 1997. You had a great year. And then yesterday, the year started with a stumble. The Dow lost 135 points, the NASDAQ and S&P also fell.

But, you know, early predictions for how this year will go from analysts surveyed by, everyone wants to know what happens this year?

In short, analysts predict a year-end target right there, you can them, on the Dow and S&P, that means they think stocks are going to go up about 6 percent this year. That's after nearly 30 percent rise in 2013. So, more to go but not as great as last year.

Auto sales for the month of December, and for the year are out later this morning. Ford has already said it will be the best-selling car brand in the United States for 2013. Ford got there this year with big sellers like the F-150 pickup truck, the focus, which is likely to finish as the world's most popular car this year, the Ford Fiesta and the Ford Fusion.

It's a good sign of how strong the economy is when car sales are strong. So, we'll be looking for those today.

And a billion dollar deal in a very hot industry, cybersecurity. With headlines about companies like, oh, Target, Snapchat, Skype being hacked, we got news yesterday that a company called FireEye would buy Mandiant for a billion dollars.

What is Mandiant? Mandiant is that computer forensics firm that specializes in tracking down hackers. Analysts say expect more of this kind of cyber deals as hackers get more sophisticated and ambitious.

PEREIRA: And to stay ahead of them, they have to be even more sophisticated and ambitious.

ROMANS: Absolutely. And they have to find out where these hacks are coming from. I mean, Mandiant is a firm that sort of focused in on a bunch of server farm in Shanghai for some these hacking deals. So, that's going to be a really important space for the stock market.

PEREIRA: Don't you think you want to do money time from outdoors with us next time?


BERMAN: Outdoor money time.

PEREIRA: I just wanted to invite you.

ROMANS: I am bearish --

BERMAN: Cold hard cash. Cold hard cash.

There you go. I just invented that right now.

PEREIRA: All right. Right here on NEW DAY, next up on the program, he was missing and declared dead but he was very much alive. In court, where he came face to face with the people who say he swindled them out of millions. We're going to hear from them.

BERMAN: And then the breaking news. We're right in the middle of it. The nor'easter of 2014, 100 million people in its path. And next, dangerous below zero temperatures. It is very cold out. We're going to take a closer look at New York City. Some major highways around the city are closed and it's a huge test for the city's brand new mayor.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. If it's not cold where you are, then you're the lucky ones -- a third of the nation covered by this massive nor'easter that's moving through the northeast. It's already dumped almost two feet of snow in parts of Massachusetts. And we're told the totals are increasing in other areas.

Look at the map. About 1,500 flights are canceled for today already. Many of them in and out of Boston, New York and Philadelphia, where the snow is making for dangerous conditions. If you have to fly today, call because your plans are probably being changed.

BERMAN: Call and prepare to be unhappy. Once the snow is gone, we have another major concern. It could be the big story of the storm. The ice cold temperatures literally colder than your freezer in many places. And it's not warming up anytime soon.

So, icy roads could really be with us for a while. We have this weather covered from all the angles today.

We want to the start with Indra Petersons who's up in Boston where almost 2 feet of snow has fallen already.

You can just see, Indra, how cold and awful the conditions are up there.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so true. I have this new thing everyone was talking about this morning. It looks like my teeth hurt.

I think they do. That is a new level of cold for me. The difference though this time from when I was here in Boston for the blizzard almost about a year ago is how dry this snow is. I mean, look at the cars right now on the road. You can see the berms banking these cars in.

But keep in mind, the last time it was a wet snow. They had to shovel out the cars. This time, watch my foot as I kick this.

This is pure powder. Notice how the wind picks it up and flies it away. So, good thing, if you're trying to get your car out of the snow. Not a good thing when you talk about visibility. That's the reason places in Massachusetts and long island have blizzard warnings. You're talking about this dry snow, you have winds going anywhere from 30 to 40 miles per hour.