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Thousands Of Flights Grounded as Massive Snowstorm Slams Northeast; Terror Threat In Sochi; Stormy Days Ahead For Christie; What Caused the Crash?

Aired January 22, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then all of a sudden, boom, snow everywhere.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking news. Northeast people, take a look outside the window, we have a whiteout. Schools closed, highways crippled, thousands of flights canceled. Cars are cupcaked as tens of millions wake up to dig out. And we're in it with you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking overnight, dramatic new video of a private plane crashing in Aspen. Passengers walked away from it, but how could anyone survive this?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN exclusive, the man behind the sideline rant speaks out. The first television interview with Richard Sherman. Does he regret his outburst, and what he now says about the backlash?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is a wintery Wednesday, January 22nd, six o'clock in the east. I'm Chris Cuomo outside in a very cold and snowy New York.

BOLDUAN: And I'm Kate Bolduan from a much warmer and less snowy studio. We have a lot of news coming up including the latest crackdown in Russia ahead of the Olympics.

And a new call from within the Republican Party for Chris Christie to step down for a key post, but the big story, of course, is the weather this morning -- Chris.

CUOMO: Yes, I am freezing. Why? Subzero windchills and a foot of snow or more paralyzing the northeast, slowing or shutting down roads and runways in 13 states. Take a look at the totals for yourself here, parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, absolutely pounded.

In New York, especially the Long Island area, they're digging out this morning from well over 10 inches of snow. Take a look the driving conditions. This is the nation's capital. Roads choked with ice and snow. Federal workers are being told to stay home today or to come in late even though the government is officially open for business.

Let's map it out now along with the snow it will come to frigid cold. So if you don't dig out right away, you might have cement encasing your home and car. Windchills well below zero right now from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, imagine that big an area, that cold for this long.

Count on CNN for the most comprehensive storm coverage on television. Let's begin with meteorologist, Indra Petersons, in bitter cold Boston this morning. Indra, you put to shame in the cold. I'm already losing it.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, totally fair because take a look at my gear. You may want to try it, Chris. Let's talk about how crazy it's been the last 24 hours. We talked about some of these snow totals. I want to bring up a couple of more, Philly, about 13 inches, record breaking amounts of snow, down in Jersey, 15 inches of snow. In New York City, 11 inches and all of this came in just the last 24 hours.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Throughout the night, blinding snow and bitter cold temps impacting millions from the Carolinas to New England.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, boom, snow ever where.

PETERSONS: More than a foot of snow piling up along parts of the heavily populated I-95 corridor making it challenging for plows to keep up. At the storm's peek, the white stuff falling at a rate of 2 inches an hour. Stencil, New Jersey hit the hardest with over 15 inches.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: If you have any option not to go out, stay home. The safest thing to do tonight is stay home.

PETERSONS: Around D.C., icy roads sent this car spinning out of control. The Washington Monument barely visible by the snow fall as around 6 inches covered our nation's capital. The heavy snow putting federal offices under a two-hour delay and causing the president to scale back his schedule.

In Massachusetts, blizzard-like conditions blanketing Eastern Massachusetts with up to 12 inches of snow. Governors in several states declaring states of emergency. This morning, school districts in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston closing their doors, while New York City opting to remain open.

Some kids using their snow day to turn the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum into a sledding frenzy. But the dangerously cold temperatures continue to fall fast. Much of the east coast 25 degrees below normal through this weekend. GARY SCHENKEL, CITY OF CHICAGO, OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Windchill factors will be dragging temperatures into the negative teens. These are extremely dangerous conditions.

PETERSONS: In Chicago, officials are using tugboats to break up the ice covering 60 percent of the Great Lakes. And the frigid cold isn't going away any time soon. At least five states are forecast to stay below freezing through the end of the month.


PETERSONS: So here's the deal, yes, for many places we're talking about that snow already having stopped falling. Not really the case in Massachusetts. Regardless, the low that is currently lifting offshore is strengthening. So the winds, they are getting stronger.

All the snow that's on the ground, expect that to still blow around and really impact your day. On top of it, we talked about those temperatures, a bitter cold temperatures. A good 20 below average for most of you out there, really for the entire eastern half of the country. Look for all that snow that you see on the ground to stay there for a while -- Chris.

CUOMO: Gusting winds are making it nice also, Indra. It's a good touch on this situation. Let's go from Boston where Indra to New York to where I am, to New Jersey whereas Indra mentioned, some areas have seen nearly 16 inches of snow. These gusty winds created blizzard- like conditions there. Windchills made temperatures feel well below zero.

We have CNN's Maggie Lake live in Red Bank. Maggie, what's the situation?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. And this is one of those hard-hit areas that Indra was talking about. This is a commuter parking lot, usually hundreds of people, but I can tell you, a few brave souls coming in. This is what they have to deal with. It's not easy. We have snow that is drifting well over foot.

If they're able to dig out their cars from all of this, which is blowing around, the next thing they face is the roads despite the fact the plows have been out all night, we are looking at packed ice on all the side roads. That's a bit better over there, but all of this is packed ice.

The roads very slippery, very hard to get around. Once they get here, they're not exactly sure how they're going to get into the city. Trains operating on a weekend schedule. Buses are doing their best. But I just talked to the local dispatcher and he just kind of shrugged.

So there's not a lot of information. People showing up and just hoping they're going to be able to get in. But, Chris, I think a lot of people are heeding advice of officials and deciding to stay home today. CUOMO: Yes, you got to put safety first. Boy, this is not a day to be waiting inside with no end point in sight. Maggie, thank you very much. Stay warm.

Now with this bad weather hitting several major cities, flights around the country, of course, have been slowed or stopped. More than 4,400 flights canceled since yesterday. Let's check on that situation. Rene Marsh is at Reagan National Airport with that part of the story for us. Rene, what do we know?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris. Good morning. You know, we could tell you -- we'll set the scene here at Reagan. Just for example, people snuggled up on the heaters here at Reagan. They spent the night here because they're simply going nowhere fast. Airlines have pinned out operations this morning so that means more cancellations and more delays already this morning more than a thousand cancellations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Canceled. Canceled all across the board probably three times now so far.

MARSH (voice-over): A frustrating reality for thousands of air travelers as a massive winter storm wreaks havoc up and down the east coast. And it could take days before things are back to normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My flight was scheduled to go out this afternoon and I got a call it was canceled. And I couldn't reschedule until Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in New York for the night. I have a 2:00 flight out tomorrow. It's the earliest they can do for me.

MARSH: The powerful snowstorm is hampering flights from North Carolina to Maine forcing travelers to change plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to be missing work definitely and today is my wife's birthday. I definitely wanted to make it home, but unfortunately, didn't happen.

MARSH: More than 3,000 flights were canceled on Tuesday due to the storm and mechanical issues according to Flight Aware. For some, it will be days before they get to their destination.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to figure something out. I can't get out until Thursday. I'm kind of wrecked.

MARSH: Airports are monitoring every aspect of this storm from operation centers like this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're looking at the snow. You're looking at the temperature, it's like a dance.

MARSH: This is the second major snarl to air travel this month caused by weather. Three weeks ago, JetBlue partially shut down operations impacting nearly half of their flights in order to recover. Some customers reporting being stranded for almost a week, a nightmare airlines hope not to repeat.


MARSH: Well, at this hour, New York City, Boston, as well as Philadelphia and right here in D.C., those are the airports getting hit the hardest with the cancellations. The big question is, if you are stuck at an airport, when do things get back to normal? Well, once this storm finally fully gets out of here, it takes about another day or two for airlines to truly catch up to themselves -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Rene, at least you got that smooth jazz to keep you company there in Reagan National Airport. Here in New York City, it's starting to snow again here. Wind is picking up. Some of the snow is pretty big. Indra mentioned earlier that that's a sign of what the temperature is here. Plenty cold here in New York City.

BOLDUAN: All right, we won't keep you out there much longer. Thanks so much, Chris.

We're also following another big story this morning. With the Sochi Olympics now just 16 days away, security is a growing -- is a growing global concern. Russian authorities are searching for more so-called black widow terrorists who they fear could target the winter games.

CNN's Phil Black is following developments live in Volgograd, Russia for us this morning. Good morning, Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. And a sign of just how broad the security challenge is for Russian authorities trying to protect these game. We know they have now detected potentially two separate terror plots involving black widows. One of them targeting the Olympic torch relay and the suspected window for that attack is open right now.


BLACK (voice-over): An intensifying security crackdown as the threat of terrorism grows and the leader to the Sochi Olympic games. Explosive new images amid Russian state news reports, the police killed a suspected militant leader in this shoot-out in Dagestan Tuesday. In addition, reports that the leader of the caucuses Emirate terrorists cell has been killed in Dagestan. This region east of Sochi has become a hotbed for Islamic insurgents after years of unrest.

CHRISTOPHER SWIFT, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: From their point of view, they don't have to succeed with an operation, it's just enough to try. Whereas the Russian security services, they have to have a zero percent failure rate in order to have a successful outcome here.

BLACK: President Obama offered full U.S. assistance during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. U.S. officials say the Joint Chiefs have discussed the idea of providing Russia with high-tech aid to help with IED detection and jamming equipment. Still, there is concern.

SWIFT: The ring of steel doesn't help you deal with a single individual or small teams of individuals who are already in place and already ready to move.

BLACK: Possibly already on the move, three suspected women terrorists known as black widows. Hotels in the area distributing fliers warning people to be on the lookout for these female suicide bombers. Police believed one of the women may have been killed in a gun battle over the weekend. While another, 22-year-old Ruzanna Ibragimova is believed to already be in Sochi.

SWIFT: They tend to be more ruthless. They tend to be more focused and they also tend to hit civilian targets rather than security services and that's a big change and poses a substantial risk for people at the Olympics.

BLACK: A challenge being met with growing force.


BLACK: As for that offer from President Obama to President Putin, we don't know what the Russian leader's response was. But here in Russia, these games are seen as very much a reflection of the president's prestige. So don't expect Russia to easily admit or ask for help in protecting these Olympics -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And they are just 16 days away, Phil. Thank you very much, Phil Black in Russia for us.

So we have more trouble ahead it appears for Chris Christie. The scandal-plagued governor is now facing a new call to step down from his prestigious role as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a position that is considered a steppingstone to a presidential run. Erin McPike has the details.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Christie was kicking off his inauguration day in prayer and song, the New Jersey legislature special committees investigating the George Washington Bridge access lane closures joined forces Tuesday morning to share their hired special counsel and investigator (inaudible) and streamline efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the Hoboken front, we have an allegation by the mayor. We have a strong rebuttal by the lieutenant governor. We don't have all the facts.

MCPIKE: Wesniewski said the probe would be quiet until early February when the new super committee of sorts review subpoena documents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of resources were used to try to make it look like some governmental research project when it was nothing more than an attempt to cover up the lane closure. MCPIKE: Meanwhile, Christie began his second term -- brushing aside the scandals that overshadowed a ceremony originally intended to catapult him from Republican star status to White House contender. Referring to his state struggles, he said --

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Now each one of these challenges have been met by a new unified force in public life, New Jersey setting the tone for an entire nation.

MCPIKE: GOP insiders in Washington say he's handled himself well and remains a strong option to take on a Democrat like Hillary Clinton in 2016. But a brand new Quinnipiac poll shows him losing ground to Clinton in a hypothetical presidential matchup. He was running a point ahead of Clinton a month ago, now trails her by eight, was leading her by 15 points among independents. Now she's ahead by one.

In November, 49 percent said he'd make a good president, now, just 35 percent. His political problems run even deeper, this time in his own party. Tuesday evening, the first prominent Republican called for him to leave his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), FORMER VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It makes sense for him to step aside in that role. He does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as chairman.

MCPIKE: The severe winter weather forced Team Christie to cancel the evening inaugural festivities on Ellis Island. All the pre-ordered food is going to local food banks and instead, Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey. Erin McPike, CNN, Trenton, New Jersey.


BOLDUAN: All right, Erin, thank you for that.

Now coming up in the 8:00 hour, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and close friend of Governor Christie will be joining us live to talk about the scandals as well as Christie's presidential prospects.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at our headlines at this hour, strong words from Secretary of State John Kerry this morning. He says Syrian Leader Bashar Al-Assad won't be part of any transitional government.

But Syria's foreign minister responded saying only the Syrian people have the right to make that decision. The two men spoke in Geneva where world leaders have gathered to try and find a solution to the violence in Syria.

A candlelight vigil over night on the campus of Indiana's Purdue University, following a deadly shooting that left one student dead Tuesday. Police say 22-year-old Cody Cousins is now being held on suspicion of homicide. His alleged victim, 21-year-old Andrew Boldt, both reportedly students in the Electrical Engineering Department. Police say the victim appears to have been targeted specifically. Cousins, for his part, is being held without bond. Purdue has canceled classes today.

Former Virginia Bob McDonnell and his wife now facing corruption charges. A federal indictment accuses the couple of accepting thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from the head of a diet supplement company looking to promote his products. McDonnell claims the businessman was just a friend and that there was no quid pro quo. He says prosecutors are guilty of what he calls unjust overreach.

Toronto's embattled Mayor Rob Ford admits that he has fallen off the wagon after damming video surfaces on YouTube. He now says he was drinking a little when he was caught on tape babbling in a phony Jamaican accent, and criticizing the city's police chief. Take a look for yourself.




PEREIRA: It's kind of hard to make anything out, but the "Toronto Star" says that Ford used Jamaican slang that is highly offensive to women. Ford's defense, he says he was with friends and what he does with his own time is his business.

This morning, the passengers rescued from that ship that was stranded in Antarctica. Well, they are back on dry ground for the first time in nearly a month. The 52 passengers arrived in Australia, three weeks after the ice breaker they were on became trapped in sea ice on Christmas Eve. You recall they were air-lifted to safety on another ice breaker which made that week-long excursion to Australia -- a great opportunity I think that week-long journey to write a book, or a blog --

BOLDUAN: Definitely some good blog posts.

PEREIRA: Hey, look, who came in from the cold.

BOLDUAN: Oh, look, who also made out the ice breaker. Just kidding.

PEREIRA: Regretting the lack of ear muffs now.

CUOMO: No. Violation man law.

BOLDUAN: A man law at 6:17 in the morning? That's too early, that's too early.

CUOMO: Still a man.

BOLDUAN: All right. We're going to defrost Chris and we're going to take a break.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, incredible new surveillance video of a deadly plane crash in Colorado. No official cause yet, but can these images help investigators figure out what went wrong? CUOMO: And we are facing an energy emergency in 25 states as temperatures plunge. Millions of Americans facing a critical shortage of propane gas at the worse possible time. The question is obvious, why are the supplies shrinking? And we're going to find out what's being done to solve this serious probably.

Stay with us.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Stunning new video this morning out of the fatal plane crash in Aspen, Colorado. A warning, though, these images are disturbing and not suitable for all viewers this morning. But the images were taken by five infrared surveillance cameras at the airport in Aspen, where one person died and two were seriously in the crash. It happened earlier this morning.

Now, the different angles could offer new includes into what caused it.

CNN's Ana Cabrera is in Denver -- Ana.


Why the plane crashed is still under investigation. But this new surveillance video does give us a detailed look into what happened and provides perhaps a better understanding of how this tragedy unfolded.


CABRERA (voice-over): Chilling new video shows the terrifying moment this private jet crashes into the runway of the Aspen, Colorado, airport earlier this month, bursting into flames, sending a plume of smoke rising into the air.

Surveillance cameras positioned around the runway capture each harrowing moment of the plane's failed landing. The small plane first approaches the runway, then aborts the landing because of difficult conditions.

PILOT: Missed approach, November 115 Whiskey Fox, 33 knots of tail wind.

CABRERA: Minutes later, in the eerie black and white video, the pilot appears to attempt to abort the second landing as well. But tragically he's too late. The plane nose dives, flipping upside down on impact, and skids down the runway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These pilots were attempting to land at a high altitude mountainous terrain airport, with a tail wind, which is very, very challenging.

CABRERA: Ground workers raced to the scene, watching in horror as the plane burns in the distance. One kicks a box, perhaps in frustration. Three people were on board the Bombardier Challenger 600. One injured co-pilot was just released from the hospital last week while one remains hospitalized. The third man was killed at the scene of this horrific crash.


CABRERA: It's going to be a while before we know the exact cause or the official cause of this crash. But a preliminary NTSB report does confirm that it was dealing with tail winds gusting up to 25 knots. An official and final report is due out in 12 to 18 months -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Ana, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. Let's take a break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back, 25 states facing an energy emergency. Propane gas, the prices are skyrocketing, supplies are dwindling, leaving millions of Americans wondering if they're going to be able to heat their homes, especially in this deep freeze.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a CNN exclusive. He shocked the nation with his angry rant. Now, Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman sits down with Rachel Nichols to set the record straight and to have a conversation about it all. That's coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to CNN's breaking news coverage of the monster storm that has millions of Americans buried in up to a foot of snow or more this morning. The numbers really tell the story. The heaviest accumulations recorded in parts of New York, New Jersey, and in Pennsylvania, where the state has already blown through half of its snow removal budget, if you can believe it.

Take a look at this live image of driving conditions in Boston. The roads there are in absolute mess.

CUOMO: In New York, the situation is not good. It's too cold, I can't hack it. But many here are braving the snow and the shivers and reports of six-hour commutes are their reward.

Major arteries like the Long Island Expressway re crawling because of all the ice and snow obviously. There is a state of emergency and a level one driving in effect in Delaware. The governor there is authorizing the use of the Delaware Guard if emergency officials make the request.

We have the story covered like no other network can.

Let's start with meteorologist Indra Petersons live from bone-chilling Boston, Massachusetts.

Indra, I was forced to come inside by other news, otherwise, I would still be outside.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Can't hack it with me, right, Cuomo?


PETERSONS: See how it is.

Yes, a good 10 below right now. That's what it feels like in Boston. Winds still gusting 15 to even 30 miles her hour. That's really going to be story as we go throughout the late morning hours here. That low starting to make its way offshore. And with that, we're not going to see as much snow falling, but the winds are going to intensify.

So, you think about all of the snow, about a foot of snow in many places on the East Coast on the ground. That's still going to be lifted up and blowing around today. Just south of me, they have 18- inch snow drifts out there. So, really, a lot of snow that we're continuing to deal with this morning.

But the next story is going to be the snow. It's really going to be these cold arctic temperatures. I mean, you're talking about temperatures this morning in many places below zero, 20 below in the Midwest, and 10 to 15 below into the Northeast. Even as we go through the afternoon today, temperatures only expected to be in the single digits and the teens. So, that's the big concern moving forward.

Keep in mind all the snow that's on the ground is not expected to melt. It's expected to stay there as that cold air is going to be remaining here with us as well. So, really kind of a tough weekend ahead of us, but hopefully, many people can stay indoors today and kind of, I guess, clean up after the big mess here in the last 24 hours.

BOLDUAN: Can be very pretty, but definitely will be very cold.

Indra, thank you for that.

And if a blistering cold weren't bad enough, it is going to get worse. Another cold front is moving into the northwest today. This, while much of the country is in the grip of heating crisis, if you can believe it.