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Bone Chilling Weather; Weather Outlook; Airplane Crashes on Expressway; Congress Back to Reality; Kerry Headed to Saudi Arabia; Bleacher Report

Aired January 5, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I checked out of a different grocery store earlier and that's what they asked me, if I was stocking up for the end of the world.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: As half of America braces for a deep freeze, the brutal cold is already blamed for road accidents.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A plane sliding off a runway in Chicago and more than a dozen deaths. In some places, wind chills may drop to 50 below.

KOSIK: Imagine driving down a major highway only to see this fall out of the sky. The plane that made an emergency landing in New York and the miraculous outcome.

BLACKWELL: And t minus 15 hours and counting. "Downton Abbey" is back. Finally, season four premiers in the U.S. tonight. The show's executive producer joins us to talk about all the drama upstairs and down. Another good show, actually, by the way.

Your NEW DAY starts now.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. A pleasure to have you with us this morning. It's 6:00 here on the East Coast. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

And we've got two words to wake you up this morning.

KOSIK: I bet one of them is cold.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the first one is brutally. Put them together, brutally cold. Temperatures the likes of which we have not seen in decades are about to grip much of the United States. Already winter weather is responsible for now 13 deaths in the past week.

KOSIK: It's causing havoc at airports nationwide too. More than 1,500 flights are canceled today. That's according to

BLACKWELL: Parts of North Dakota already buried in snow and slick conditions could see temperatures drop to, get this, 30 below zero. But with the wind chill, it's really going to feel like minus 50.

KOSIK: Now to give you an idea of just how dangerous this weather is, with wind chills down to negative 35 degrees, your flesh can freeze in 10 minutes.


KOSIK: If it gets down to negative 50 degrees, it only takes five minutes. Cold weather warnings are popping up everywhere.


KOSIK (voice-over): Get ready for bone chilling cold. Behind this snowstorm that hit large portions of the Midwest and Northeast, an arctic air mass will deliver some of the coldest temperatures we've seen in decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pretty bad. Yes, it makes it a little bit inconvenient to get around.

KOSIK: By Wednesday, nearly half of the nation, 140 million people, will shiver in temperatures of zero or below, which is why the Red Cross is warning people to be prepared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should have an emergency kit at home and an emergency kit in your car. That's really important if you should find yourself having to either leave your home or to hunker down for a couple of days or get stuck on a highway.

KOSIK: And people across the nation are already heeding that advice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I checked out of a different grocery store earlier and that's what they asked me, if I was stocking up for the end of the world.

KOSIK: Bitter cold will greet fans and players at Lambeau Field. Some say the playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers will go down in the record books as the coldest football game ever played. Former Green Bay Packer Mark Towser (ph) says the weather will be a big factor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes it very tough. There's some things that you can't do from, you know, an offensive execution standpoint. But both teams have to deal with it and, you know, you just have to figure out a way around it.

KOSIK: And the arctic blast threatens to plunge much of the deep south into single digits. Forecasters say Anchorage, Alaska, will be warmer Monday than Nashville and Atlanta. And while a lot of people will struggle with the cold this week, for others it's time to make some money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The broken pipes keep me in business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to have a lot of them probably in the next few days when the cold sets in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most certainly. The temperature is going to drop and there will be a lot of work for me.


BLACKWELL: We've got live pictures, although it's tough to see what this is. I think there's some flurries in there. This is Chicago. Feels like 15 degrees outside. Thanks to a brutal wind chill, it's going to feel more like 45 below tonight.

KOSIK: Yes, and as these states gear up for these brutally cold temperatures, more snow could mean more headaches. A winter storm warning has already been issued for at least five states. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is in CNN's Severe Weather Center.

Alexandra, what is on the way?


All right, well, take a look. You know, of course we're talking about this arctic cold air. It's a piece of the polar puzzle and we're going to see that come down. But we also have snow. Winter storm warnings, Detroit, Chicago, Indy, St. Louis. So we thought that it was going to start easy travel, right, but that's not the case.

Here's a look at the radar. The snow has begun. We're going to see it in kind of quite a narrow band. Chicago, KC, St. Louis, Indy. The snow is here. We're going to see the snow throughout the day today. And it really will accumulate.

Here's the movement of it. By the time we head into tomorrow at noon, it all moves out. But Boston, New York, Washington, not a snow game for you because the temperatures are going to be mild when the moisture moves in so the air temperature is about 18 hours too late. So it will be a rainmaker not a snow maker.

But here's where we're going to see that swath. Chicago, St. Louis, Indy, eight to 12 inches of snow. And, of course, we've got this arctic air coming in. This little polar vortex. Coldest air in the northern hemisphere. We haven't seen it in about two decades for us.

Give you a little taste of the wind chills. This afternoon at 2:00, it will feel like 25 below in Minneapolis, 40 below in International Falls. Green Bay, where the game is, at 4:00, it will feel like 10 below.

So we're going to talk about the temperatures and how low exactly they're going to go. Again, it will be colder in the deep south because, unlike these other air masses we've seen, this will make its way into the southeast. So even by 8:00 in the morning on Monday, 51 below is the wind chill temperature in Duluth. So temperature comparisons, Anchorage, Alaska, 34 will be the high on Monday. Temperature in International Falls, 16 below. Colder in Chicago than Anchorage, Alaska. Colder in St. Louis than Anchorage, Alaska. The heart of this cold is Monday and Tuesday. Atlanta, Georgia, Monday, 24, colder than Anchorage, Alaska, and Nashville as well. We'll talk more about how cold it's going to go and how long it's going to last coming up in just a bit, guys.

BLACKWELL: There is not a hat, earmuffs, gloves that could protect you from some of those temperatures, although we should wear them anyway.

KOSIK: Not even the Snuggie.

BLACKWELL: Not even the Snuggie.

Alexandra Steele, thank you.

Three people are really fortunate to be alive this morning after crash landing on a busy New York City highway.

KOSIK: Yes, you know, it sounds like it's a scene right out of a movie, but somehow the pilot of a small single engine plane actually avoided hitting motorists to crash down safely near the snowy edges of the expressway. The pilot even remained calm while radioing for help before the crash. Listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May day. May day. (INAUDIBLE) Juliet (ph). We're losing engine. Tower, tower, (INAUDIBLE) Juliet, we're losing engine power.


KOSIK: Magdalena Doris of CNN affiliate News 12 has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh. They're OK? Oh my God, they're OK.

MAGDALENA DORIS, NEW YORK NEWS 12 REPORTER (voice-over): Drivers on the busy expressway shocked after witnessing nothing short of a miracle.

DORIS (on camera): The three people that were in this plane that crashed right here on the Major Deegan Expressway due to an emergency landing, well they only have minor injuries.

DORIS (voice-over): The small piper was traveling back to Danbury, Connecticut, after a sightseeing tour around the Statue of Liberty when its engine failed.

MIGUEL LOPEZ, SAW PLANE LAND: I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

DORIS: Miguel Lopez saw everything. He was working on the expressway filling potholes when all of a sudden --

LOPEZ: The plane hit the ground. They came straight down. They hit the tree tops.

DORIS: That's when he and his co-workers sprang into action.

LOPEZ: And we started slowing down the traffic so nobody would get hurt and the plane doesn't get hit by the cars.

DORIS: And it worked. The pilot and two passengers walked out of the plane and onto solid ground, alive and relatively unharmed thanks to the quick thinking pilot and the fast acting Department of Transportation workers.


KOSIK: And authorities are still investigating why exactly the plane's engine failed.

BLACKWELL: The founder of was evacuated off the Galapagos Islands after he developed kidney stones. Jeff Bezos was on a tourist expedition and he had to be flown out on an Ecuadorian navy helicopter. Now an Amazon spokesperson says that Bezos did not need surgery and he's feeling well now. It happened on New Year's Day, but Ecuadorian officials are just now talking about it. Asked about the ordeal, Bezos sent a comment relayed via Amazon responded, "Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars."

KOSIK: The U.S. Coast Guard is sending a heavy ice breaker to help rescue two ships stuck in ice. The Polar Star is now heading to the Antarctic to help carve a path for the ships to escape. The governments of Australia, China and Russia all asked the U.S. for help. The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon became stuck after bringing a helicopter which rescued Australian researchers from the Russian ship. It could take a week for the U.S. ship to get there.

BLACKWELL: In a surprising turn of events, New York is set to loosen strict laws barring the use of marijuana now.

KOSIK: Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to make the announcement during his state of the state speech on Wednesday. Now, Cuomo has historically long resisted the legalization of marijuana.

BLACKWELL: And his plan is still expected to be very restrictive. "The New York Times" reports the governor's plan will allow just 20 hospitals to New York to distribute medical marijuana and only to patients with cancer, glaucoma and other serious ailments.

KOSIK: Here's my guess, it's heavily restricted right now but, you know, once you crack open that door -

BLACKWELL: And we're seeing what's happening in Colorado. You know, we're going to have a conversation about this a little later, but the question -- questions I have is, first, is this financially based? Is this, you know, economic? Because New Jersey now has medical marijuana right next door.

KOSIK: Brings in a lot of tax dollars.

BLACKWELL: And politically you've got - as Susan Page - Susan Craig (ph), rather, wrote in her article that the new mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, is seen as the leading progressive in New York and is this political in some way that Andrew Cuomo wants to get ahead of that? So, we'll see. We will see. KOSIK: We'll see.

BLACKWELL: All right. The first family back from their vacation to Hawaii, but one family member gets to enjoy the sun just a little longer.

KOSIK: And it's time to brew some tea, bake some crumpets. "Downton Abby" returns tonight. We're going to be talking with the show's executive producer about the drama that lies ahead.


BLACKWELL: That is a beautiful shot. If you can't recognize it because you're not close enough to your television -

KOSIK: Get there (ph).

BLACKWELL: Live pictures coming to you of Mt. Rushmore. This is South Dakota. The high today, 2 degrees.

KOSIK: Whoo!

BLACKWELL: Get ready, South Dakota.

KOSIK: And let's go to the White House right now where the Obamas are back home in Washington after almost two weeks in Hawaii. But Mrs. Obama isn't with them. Sasha and Malia, they had to be back for school tomorrow, but Michelle Obama, she's going to stay behind in the warm weather, lucky her, with friends to celebrate her early - her birthday early. According to the White House, it's part of her birthday present from the president. The first lady turns 50 years old on January 30th.

BLACKWELL: She's got the rest of the month.

KOSIK: I know.

BLACKWELL: Oh, she's - she's going to celebrate early. So maybe she's not there through the 30th. I guess she'll be back for the State of the Union, of course.

President Obama has a lot of work to do now that the vacation is over for him at least, including what to do about unemployment benefits.

KOSIK: It's just one on a list of issues facing Congress when they come back tomorrow. Here's CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's vacation is over. He faces a colder reality now, Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're a glass half full kind of person, like I am, they're the number one most unproductive Congress in modern history.

SERFATY: Get ready for possible deja vu. SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I wish I had a magic wand to say I know things will be better.

SERFATY: This year Congress has a full plate. Right off the bat, a potentially easy one for the Senate, confirming Janet Yellen as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.

But next, a real battle over long-term unemployment benefits. Even before vacation was over, President Obama pressed this weekend to extend the payments.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Congress comes back to work this week, their first order of business should be making this right.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We would clearly consider it as long as it's paid for.

SERFATY: On January 15th, a major deadline to fund the government. A deal was reached last year, but it needs to be finalized.

As early as February, a deadline to raise the debt ceiling again, with both sides already dug in.

REID: I can't imagine it being done clean.

OBAMA: No, we're not going to negotiate for Congress to pay bills that it has accrued.

SERFATY: And an even heavier lift for a deal on immigration reform, which has escaped Congress for years.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: It can't be my way or the highway on such a big issue.

SERFATY: Not to mention continued attempts by Republicans to change Obamacare.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: This has been a failed launch, a flawed law and it needs real change.

SERFATY: Don't hold your breath for all of this to be crossed off the list. According to a CNN ORC poll released last year, two-thirds of Americans called Congress the worst ever. And the midterm elections will suck up much desire this year to compromise.

THOMAS MANN, CONGRESSIONAL SCHOLAR: These are not likely to be times of large fruitful legislative harvest.

SERFATY: Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's go to Israel now where doctors say Ariel Sharon is stable but still critical. The former prime minister is in multisystem organ failure and doctors say the machine that's stabilizing his heart and blood pressure is working fine, but it's not enough.

KOSIK: Meantime, Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Saudi Arabia to continue Mideast peace talks. He's already met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nic Robertson joins us now live.

Nic, first of all, how do - how did those talks go and why is Kerry going to Saudi Arabia?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John Kerry is saying that the talks are going well. They're still not there yet. Not by a long stretch. He's trying to get both sides to agree to a framework agreement that he says will help them get to this final status agreement on all the main really tough issues. But what he is saying is that there -- some of those tough issues are now on the table, that the path is becoming clearer, that the leaders are tackling those really tough issues, which he says is important. And he even goes on to say that there has been some agreement on some smaller issues. This is what he said.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I remain hopeful, as I have been, and I'm confident that the talks we've had in the last two days have already fleshed (ph) out and even resolved certain kinds of issues and presented new opportunities for others.


ROBERTSON: So, why is he going to Saudi Arabia today? The Saudis have a stake in the wider peace agreement. He's trying to sort of sell the Palestinians and the Israelis the benefits of the bigger picture and he says, you know, if there's an agreement here, then automatically, under the proposals put forward by Saudi Arabia in year 2000 that there would be 22 Arab nations recognizing Israel, 35 Muslim nations recognizing Israel. What he's saying is, business opportunities, educational opportunities for the children of Israelis and the Palestinians could benefit from this agreement. He's trying to get the leaders here to look at what they might get in the long-term, not get bogged down in what the media and the tough issues that they have right in front of them right now.


BLACKWELL: All right. And very often these economic issues are paramount. Nic Robertson for us. Thank you.

KOSIK: Still to come on NEW DAY, the game must go on. With temps in Green Bay dipping well below zero, we're going to tell you how team crews, the unsung heroes of Lambeau Field, have been rushing in to prepare the frozen tundra and, of course, save the beer -

BLACKWELL: Save the beer.

KOSIK: Save the beer ahead of today's big football game.


BLACKWELL: How does a team keep its fans warm in temperatures that will dip below zero?

KOSIK: Blankets and Snuggies.

BLACKWELL: Snuggies, that's the word of the day.


BLACKWELL: Well, for starters, give out free coffee and free hot chocolate. No guarantee it will stay hot for long, but also 70,000 hand warmers.

KOSIK: Yes. And the Green Bay Packers are no strangers to the cold. They're giving out hand warmers in an effort to keep their cheese heads warm and safe during today's big playoff game. But they're still reminding fans to be prepared and be smart.

BLACKWELL: That's the new music for "Bleacher Report." That's actually very nice.

The team hopes those warmers will keep fans warm in Green Bay for about three hours this afternoon.

KOSIK: Crews at Lambeau Field, they've been working through the bone- chilling cold for days to get the stadium ready. Jared Greenberg joins us now for this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Are you ready?

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: I'm fired up. Just over 10 hours from kickoff for this great game. And trying to stay warm now, not just the task of the players and coaches and fans in the stadium, it's also the task of thawing out the most recognizable playing surface in the NFL. In search of a big old defrost button, stadium workers have the thankless task of getting Lambeau Field playable. Now, off the field, one of the bigger concerns, Victor, you'll appreciate this -


GREENBERG: They're trying to keep the beer taps from freezing. They had this issue back in December. The solution? Well, they're going to keep the concession stands closed, the doors insulated, until the last possible minute. And in addition to that, they've added some insulation to the restrooms. Certainly a tall task for the NFL.

KOSIK: Keeping beer flowing continually will help as well.

GREENBERG: Yes. Well, I'm sure they will not have a problem with that.

KOSIK: I don't think so.

GREENBERG: The problem is getting it started. 4:40 is the Packers and the 49ers. A balmy 25 degrees in Philly. You think they would take that in Green Bay. Last night Eagles home against the Saints. Fourth quarter, Eagles down six. Nick Foles finds Zach Ertz, but that left too much time on the clock. Look at this. A game winning field goal for Shayne Graham from 32 yards out. Who dat? Can I get one? Victor, who dat?

BLACKWELL: Yes, not from me.

GREENBERG: OK. Well, they're celebrating in New Orleans. The first time in franchise history the team has won a road playoff game. They will advance to play Seattle next Saturday.

Thirty-six degrees outdoors yesterday in Indianapolis. Good thing the Colts play indoors in a dome. The warm fans got treated to an historic performance. Down by as many as 28, the Colts outscored the Chiefs 35- 13 in the second half. Second year phenom Andrew Luck threw for 443 yards and five touchdowns. Colts win it 45-44, completing the second largest come from behind victory in NFL playoff history.

So the Colts will now either play the Patriots or the Broncos, depending on what happens in the outcome of today's Chargers/Bengals game. But everybody getting set for that big Packers game where temps could reach 40 below degrees when you factor in the wind chill.

BLACKWELL: I mean I'd like - I'd -- we're going to get some of the video of the game in. I'm going to watch the game just to watch the people in the stands to see who's painted -

KOSIK: I'm going to see who's streaking.



KOSIK: He's going to be watching for something else.


GREENBERG: Yes, of the 80,000 or so people there, how many shirtless people do you think we're going to see?

BLACKWELL: I think we're going to see probably 80.

KOSIK: Oh, come on.

GREENBERG: You got more than that?

KOSIK: (INAUDIBLE). No, I think less. I mean I'm joking -- I've been joking since yesterday about who's going to be naked, but, come on.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to go with 80. Some people are going to this game just to say they went just because they want to have those bragging rights that they braved the cold.

GREENBERG: I'm going to be excited to see those people that found the onesies that fit. You know those -- the adult onesies with the hoodies. KOSIK: Nice. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes. Those are comfy.

KOSIK: Good.

GREENBERG: Get you one for home.

KOSIK: All right.

BLACKWELL: Well, yes, I'll look into that.


KOSIK: Moving on. Thanks, Jared Greenberg.

BLACKWELL: Congress is just like everybody else.

KOSIK: That's what the NSA is says when it comes to their privacy.

And --

BLACKWELL: The online scavenger hunt that's stumping millions.


KOSIK: Mortgage rates dipped this week. Take a look.


KOSIK: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Alison Kosik.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for joining us on this cold morning, at least for most people.

We'll get to the five things we've got for you this new day.

Number one, if you think it's cold now, just wait. Parts of the Midwest and the Great Plains are due to see temperatures dip to 30 degrees below zero today. Nearly half the nation will freeze in air that's zero or below.

Now, it's going to make for a pretty cold game in Wisconsin. We just talked about it with Jared Greenberg. The Packers host the 49ers in what could go down as the coldest game in NFL history.

KOSIK: Number two. Police have charged a New York man with hate crimes in connection with seven knockout game assaults in Brooklyn. This is a sketch of the suspect police were looking for. Now Barry Baldwin (ph) faces six counts of assault as a hate crime and other charges. The attacks were on women in a predominantly Jewish area. The knock-out game is when a suspect tries to knock a stranger unconscious with a single blow.

BLACKWELL: Number three, the NSA is not exactly giving a straight answer about spying on Congress. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont asked the agency in writing whether members of Congress are under surveillance. He defined spying as looking at phone records and e- mails. While (ph) the return letter said, Congress as the same protections as everyone else in the U.S. when it comes to privacy.

KOSIK: Number four, Barbara Bush is out of the hospital. The former first lady was treated for six days for pneumonia. She thanked doctors at Houston Methodist for makings sure she got great treatment. On Monday the 88 year old will celebrate her 69th wedding anniversary with former President George H.W. Bush.

BLACKWELL: Number five, is it a hoax, a recruitment program or is this just a game? It's not clear what the Cicada 3301 scavenger hunt is all about but according to CBS News, images just like this could reappear online any day now. They've been showing up since 2012 and have been called the most mysterious online puzzle ever.

KOSIK: All right. Live in the Midwest? Here's some advice. You may want to just stay inside today. An arctic freeze is set to rip through the region.

BLACKWELL: The National Weather Service already has issued a winter storm warning for at least five states. Chicago could get as much as a foot of snow.

KOSIK: Many states are going to be battling brutal subzero temperatures, fierce wind chills in North Dakota are expected to make it feel like 50 below. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is in the CNN severe weather center. I want to know when some relief is on the way.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, right. Not in the short-term any way. Half of the United States, about 140 million people will feel temperatures at least zero between now and Wednesday. So here's a look. And these are current temperatures. Nine below is the current temperature in Minneapolis. 16 below is the current temperature in Duluth. So, I mean a lot of the population, obviously, doesn't live there, but we're going to get a piece of this polar vortex, the coldest air in the northern hemisphere. It will drop south and east and bring colder temperatures than we've seen in 20 years to even areas in the southeast. So, we also have snow. This is kind of two stories going on. One is arctic air and two, the snow. This is a different scenario. We have got snow falling this morning, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City. It will snow throughout today and into tonight by 6:00. Detroit, Indy, St. Louis, six to eight inches of snow. It all moves eastward.

But the timing of the arctic air and the moisture that's incoming, don't mesh for the northeast. So, we're going to have the rain move in, believe it or not, where it's going to be about 50 degrees in Washington and New York, in the 40s in Boston. So it's a rainmaker. The rain moves out and then the cold air sets in. So could have been a snow maker had the arctic air come in about 18 hours earlier. But it won't. Snow accumulation, the snow stays here in the Midwest. Kansas City, three to five. St. Louis, 8 to 12. Chicago, Lansing, Detroit, Indy, so travel troubles for sure there today and tonight. But let's talk about the cold. Coldest day is Monday and Tuesday. So, Minneapolis, the high of 14 below on Monday. 29 below air temperature it will fall to. Chicago, Monday, 14 below is your high temperature. But then look at dropping to three and then we're going to see the temperatures pick it up to 16. So in Nashville, the coldest day, Monday, a low of 4. And then temperatures coming back up into the 20s. Atlanta, Georgia, even could see the single digits on Tuesday morning. First time Atlanta has had single digits since 2003. So very cold. Temperatures in the 20s only and then we warm up on Wednesday into the 40s.

So, this cold air drops south. The coldest air gets to the northeast, though, on Tuesday. Have these been reversed it would be a snow maker for Boston and New York. Believe it or not, it will be 50 degrees in Boston with rain on Monday and then we drop precipitously to 19. So, a massive temperature drop. That will be the big thing, guys. We're going to go from 50s to teens even in New York on Tuesday. So we'll talk more about the timing of the snow and the cold coming up in just a bit as well and how where the travel difficulties will be today and tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Single digits here in Atlanta. I don't even know if I have a coat to prepare for six degrees.

STEELE: That's right. There's even a chance for flurries. 20 percent chance for some snow Tuesday morning in Atlanta, Georgia.

BLACKWELL: Wow. I do have boots, though.

STEELE: So, you're covered. We're good.

BLACKWELL: I'm ready. Thank you.

KOSIK: We get a new jobs report this week.

BLACKWELL: As well as new mortgage rules. Zain Asher has a look ahead at the week on Wall Street.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Alison. It's the first full trading week of 2014 and superstitious investors will be watching stocks closely. It could give us a clue on how the markets will do for the rest of the year. The thinking is if the S&P 500 post the gain in the first five days of January, it will be up for the entire year. But it's more than just a belief. According to the Stock Traders Almanac, it's correct. Nearly 85 percent of the time. Most analysts do expect the bulls to keep running this year. Just (inaudible) than in 2013. But a few things could move the market this week. The monthly jobs report is out on Friday. Analysts are expecting a gain of 190,000 jobs in December. A decent number, certainly, but not enough to bring down the unemployment rate that currently stands at seven percent and it's expected to stay there. And finally, new mortgage rules kick in on Friday. Banks have to make sure monthly mortgage payments are affordable and low documentation loans won't be allowed anymore. The change in requirements are due to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform passed in 2010. Victor and Alison, that's what's coming up this week on Wall Street.

KOSIK: OK. Zain Asher. Thanks. BLACKWELL: The Marine Corps is backtracking on a proposed physical fitness rule for women after a majority of recruits failed to meet the new standard. Up next, what it means for women in combat.


KOSIK: Checking headlines around the world this morning, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is facing imminent death, but doctors also say he's holding on for now. CNN's Ian Lee has more from Jerusalem.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison, fighting like a lion, is how doctors describe former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon despite multiple organ failure and a blood infection. They say his heart is strong and blood pressure is stable. Ultimately, doctors are pessimistic saying that he's in critical condition and he's in significant danger. All treatments are being made available, but it's a matter of time before the 85 year old passes on, they say. Meanwhile, his family is keeping a constant vigil by his side. Alison.

KOSIK: Ian Lee, thank you.

Now to the Vatican and a symbolic change for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis reportedly is abolishing an honorary title for some priests. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in Rome to explain why. Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pope Francis wants to cut back on careerism in the Catholic Church, and so he's eliminated the title monsignor for secular priests under the age of 55. That according to the Vatican insider. The title was seen as a way of rewarding priests for their loyalty and service, bestowed by the Holy (inaudible) at the request of local bishops. But Francis says no more. Although those who already have the title will get to keep them. He says he wants priests focusing on service, not on developing their careers. Alison.

KOSIK: Erin McLaughlin, thank you. Now over to China, northern China where one of the most fantastic winter festivals you'll ever see is getting under way in the city of Harbin. CNN's Karl Penhaul reports from Beijing. Karl.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Alison. If you think you are pretty handy building a snowman, you might want to get yourself to northeast China where most builders one of the coolest shows on earth, the Annual Harbin Ice Festival kicks off on Sunday. Now, thousands of workers have been hacking blocks of ice out of the river to carve giant sculptures and make fairy tale palaces and castles. One of the main attractions this year, a replica church set to tower 150 feet high. All of ice and illuminated with computer controlled displays. Of course, if you are coming, don't forget your thermal underwear. Organizers say you could catch frostbite. Back to you, Alison.

KOSIK: Karl Penhaul, thank you. Victor, that is amazing. You see that?

BLACKWELL: Really nice. And a lot of work goes into that. Alison, thanks. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, they are blaming the Obama administration for recent violence in Iraq. Now, the Iraqi army and al Qaeda linked militants are fighting for control of Fallujah. It's made for violent protests in the area and McCain and Graham say the decision to withdraw troops so early was a bad move. Here is a quote, "While many Iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame. When President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America's enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national interests." A rep for the State Department says it's the terrorists creating the violence, not the U.S. And that they are partnering with the Iraqi government to help stop it.

The Marine Corps is delaying a new fitness requirement for women after a majority of female recruits failed to complete the minimum of three pullups. The new mandate was set to take effect January 1st. The critics say the delay raises new questions about women in combat and whether pullups are really a fair test of strength. Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has the latest. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Alison. So few female Marines pass this test. Officials started worrying that they were setting a standard that would push a lot of women right out of the corps.


LAWRENCE: Military training can be excruciating at its highest levels. But at the bare minimum, a Marine has got to be able to do three pullups.

ELAINE DONNELLY, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS: Why I want to ensure that every Marine is successful at maxing out their pullups on their PFD.

LAWRENCE: But more than half of the female recruits couldn't do it, so the Marines are pushing back the day when it becomes mandatory.

DONNELLY: If you have a failure rate of 55 percent and 99 percent of the men are succeeding, obviously this is not going to work.

LAWRENCE: Men have to do three pullups minimum to pass the Marine's fitness test. It takes 20 to earn a perfect score. Women had to meet the same minimum, but only need eight pullups to score perfect. Because so few passed, the Marines will let them choose to hang on the bar for 15 seconds and pass without doing any pullups.

DONNELLY: Wide grip stance that works best for you.

LAWRENCE: Marine Corps officials admit pullups are better and "The flexed arm hang elicits little muscular strength adoptions necessary for common military tasks such as pulling oneself over obstacles or carrying equipment.

ZOE BEDELL, FORMER MARINE CORPS OFFICER: Generally, I'm not in a favor for blurring any standards.

LAWRENCE: Zoe Bedell is a former Marine Corps officer who commanded trips in Afghanistan.

(on camera): Could you do three pullups?

BEDELL: I was at one point able to do five pullups, but it was that first one that probably took me the longest to get to.

LAWRENCE (voice over): Bedell says women have to learn how to do pullups. Something many have never done.

BEDELL: You sort of experiment with different techniques. You figure out what other exercises to do.

LAWRENCE: Critics say the big push over pullups is part of a bigger problem. Pressure from the White House to make the military gender neutral.

DONNELLY: Something is wrong here. And it's not the women's faults. It is the policy that the Marines are pursuing.


LAWRENCE: Still some women are clearly ready. 13 female Marines have just passed the grueling 60-day infantry training course, but this postponement is a setback for the plan to move thousands of women into combat roles by 2016. Now, the Marines could impose the three pull-up standard next year, there's no guarantee. Victor. Alison.

KOSIK: Chris Lawrence, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, the wait is almost over. "Downton Abbey" comes back to U.S. TV screens tonight. After the break, we'll hear from the show's executive producer about last season's heart-breaking cliffhanger and all of the new additions to the cast.


KOSIK: It is finally here. We can all relax now because tonight at 9:00 Eastern on PBS, the Earl of Grantham, his family and their servants downstairs return to the U.S. premiere of season four of "Downton Abbey." Viewers have been in mourning over the sudden death of Matthew Crawley at the close of last season and now they are going to be thrust back into the life of his grieving family at the start of the roaring '20s, with new characters and new story lines and not to mention the stunning scenery, the gorgeous costumes and a (inaudible) proper protocol that have become staples of the Blockbuster British series.

So, big question. How is all of the drama going to unfold? Joining me now via Skype from London is executive producer Liz Trubridge. She's been with "Downton" ever since the very beginning. Liz, hello to you. You completely stunned viewers in the final seconds of the last season. How hard was it for the cast and crew to adapt to the departure of actor Dan Stevens and then the new story lines that are triggered?

LIZ TRUBRIDGE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "DOWNTON ABBEY": Yeah, what of course none of us wanted Dan to go, but at the same time we did understand that he had committed to three seasons and that it was a great opportunity for him to go and work in the U.S., which is something he'd always wanted to do. So, of course we knew went ahead - we knew about a year before that he was going because Julian had to write him out. And we wanted to give him a proper sendoff and of course for us in the U.K., that meant Christmas. So we were in big trouble when we did that at Christmas time. But we just felt that we had to -- it had to be a big story. And we couldn't do it any other time except for the end. But, you know, the thing about these stories is that when you lose a beloved character, it does give you an opportunity to take the stories further and develop it more with merit. So that's what we're doing is starting season four with, of course, Mary is still in mourning but gradually through the series, you will see she finds herself again and that gives us up - opens up a whole new world for us.

KOSIK: OK. So, season four introducing down the first black character, Gary Carr who plays jazz singer Jack Ross. How does he along with a new modern vestiges of the 1920s change the show's dynamic?

TRUBRIDGE: Well, I mean that's what is so lovely about being able to do these series as it goes year after year. Because, of course, the '20s, there were massive changes, massive social changes and fashion changes. And music. So, music and dance features heavily in season four and it was lovely.

KOSIK: And "Downton" fans in America are finally going to get their fix again tonight. And we know a fifth season is in the works. But let me ask you this. Can you give viewers in the U.S. a little peace of mind. Will "Downton" last forever?


TRUBRIDGE: I think it would be very funny if we did. Because heaven knows how old some of those characters would be by the end of it. But it will carry on for a while. That's for sure.

KOSIK: What do you say to viewers who have not yet watched "Downton." Can they just get into after missing all of the seasons? I mean what suggestions do you have for people who haven't seen it yet?

TRUBRIDGE: I think one of the skills of Julian's writing is that, you know, there's lots of layers and if you just joined it now, I think you pick up quite quickly. You would miss some of the references obviously, but I don't think it would be impossible to follow at all.

KOSIK: I want to ask you very quickly, you know, you paid such great attention to historical detail, but so few of your viewers actually have the inclination, much less the knowledge to know whether china is set properly or the ladies hemline's at the proper length, why is it important to get all these little details right? TRUBRIDGE: Well, to me, I think, what happens is, it's like, you know, I don't have great knowledge of how great wonderful painting is done, but I do know - and I don't know how I know, but I know what's good and what isn't. And I think that's what it is. I think it's - there is something that gives it - lends itself to an authenticity if it's right.

KOSIK: OK. Lis Trubridge of "Downton Abbey." Thanks so much for your time. We look forward to watching tonight.

TRUBRIDGE: I hope you enjoy. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: A lot of watch parties across the country. So here's a question I have for you. If I were to ask you if you had your granddaddy purple or your strawberry diesel, how about that alien technology? Would you have any idea what I'm talking about? Well, if you live in Colorado, maybe. Recreational pot purchases have begun to let the jokes begin.


BLACKWELL: Can you tell your sour diesel from your blueberry yum-yum?

KOSIK: My blueberry what?

BLACKWELL: Your blueberry yum-yum. If you don't know your blueberry yum-yum.

KOSIK: If the answer is yes, you know, this was a big week for marijuana lovers.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, not just smokers, but also the journalists who flocked to Colorado to cover the legalization of marijuana sales. Jeanne Moos looks at the highs - of course, the highs, and the lows of the past week.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's like going to the deli.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll help who's next.

MOOS: But instead of half a pound of ham, it's an eighth of an ounce of pot. Each type described lovingly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a euphoria (ph).

MOOS: Customers seem to it even before smoking. A few online hid from the cameras, all you have to do is show I.D., to prove you're over 21, then pay cash. 55 bucks or so with tax for an eighth of an ounce that makes five to seven joints.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a really nice fruity juicy fruit. It tastes very much like it smells.

MOOS: Customers were doing a lot of smelling, sniffing the bouquet as if it were a fine wine or a ponging cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really nice structure on there.

MOOS: Appreciating bud structure rather than ordering a bud, weed has gone mainstream. The Denver pot - I mean, "The Denver Post" even reviews pot. The paper has gone to pot with a website called the Cannabist and a marijuana editor who appeared on the "Colbert Report."

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Are you high right now? Are you high right now? You are not high now, but do you smoke pot at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't smoke pot. I do eat it, though.


MOOS: On the Cannabist, you can use a handy map to find a pot store near you or learn about cooking with cannabis. The site has two reviewers who try strains like granddaddy purple and tell you how (inaudible) you'll get. "Initially, the granddaddy gave me a nice uptake of energy that had me pondering a walk with our Shelty. I could string together the concepts like socks before shoes, but by the time I made it to the shoes, where had the socks gone?" Now that it's legal, everyone is playing name that pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you hand me a green crack (inaudible) sleeves?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The strawberry diesel has a great flavor, it gets energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sour alien. It's a cross of sour (inaudible) and alien technologies.

MOOS: Even reporters can pronounce golden goat. Some of these names can get your goat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Babakush. Is it Babakoosk or Babakush?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Babakoosh. There's the experts.

MOOS: But if you're really nice to the clerks, maybe they'll sing it to you. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


KOSIK: And thanks for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We've got much more ahead on our next hour of your "NEW DAY." It starts right now.

KOSIK: And good morning. I'm Alison Kosik.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 7:00 here on the East Coast. 4:00 out west. It's "NEW DAY SUNDAY." And you know what?

KOSIK: What?

BLACKWELL: It's cold.

KOSIK: I had no idea.

BLACKWELL: It is cold, cold, cold.

KOSIK: The temperatures today and in the days ahead are going to be among the coldest that we've seen in decades. Already winter weather is responsible for 13 deaths in the past week.

BLACKWELL: Now, parts of North Dakota already slippery and buried in snow could see temperatures drop to 30 below zero. But with the wind chill, it's going to feel like minus 50. In that kind of weather your skin can freeze in five minutes. And if you live in the Midwest, get ready for more snow. We've got live pictures here, I think.