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Winter Storms Batters U.S.; Boston Belted By Winter Storm; Air Travel Misery; Four Arrested In Hoffman Case; Syria Will Miss Deadline; More Cheating On Military Tests?; Sochi Security Threats
Aired February 5, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, four people arrested in connection with the death of actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, accused of providing the drugs that likely killed him. We're live with the latest.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.
Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, February 5th, 6:00 in the east. Welcome also to the winter that just won't quit. Another monster storm is dumping ice and snow on 120 million people in 32 states. It is just not good enough to know about what's going on outside your window because the entire north east and really the eastern half of the U.S. is exposed to weather systems that will come in waves and dump a foot or snow or more in parts of New England.
The Midwest already reeling. Look at the whiteout conditions in Southern Illinois, forcing drivers to abandon cars on I-64, that's what you are looking at. Conditions so bad in Kansas City, this Southwest Airlines jet wound up stuck in a snow drift after it landed, not while it was taking off, after it landed.
If you're flying today, pack plenty of patience. Nearly 3,000 flights already scrubbed since Tuesday. So how will your world be affected by everything going on elsewhere? That's the big question. With the answer, meteorologist, Chad Myers in for Indra Petersons out there in New York Central Park. Chad, how you doing?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm doing OK. It's cold, though. This is not a day you want to be stuck in the snow or stuck with a flat tire and nothing inside to keep you warm. This is a day that you absolutely want to have that winter prepared kit because some spots are going to pick up a foot of snow. We are not going to see the on snow. We have changed over to ice. It's raining and it's 30 degrees and this is just round two of three.
MYERS (voice-over): From Wyoming to Maine, more than 100 million people are waking up to another round of snow and ice this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horrible. Horrible.
MYERS: Overnight, snow beginning to pileup in New England where more than a foot of snow is forecast in some parts. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been crazy. It's snowpocalypse.
MYERS: In the Midwest, up to 11 inches of snow blanketed parts of Kansas. Watch as this truck spins out of the control on the highway. Icy roads already claiming two lives in Crawford County. The state's governor has declared a state of emergency.
In Illinois, whiteout conditions coupled with sleet and ice sent car after car skidding off the road. Snow emergencies declared across Southern Michigan as heavy snow fell at a rate of an inch per hour creating these massive snow piles in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Down south icy roads leading to this fatal crash.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The temperatures right now are perfect for icy conditions.
MYERS: And in Oklahoma, a school bus transporting students had to turn around because the driver feared getting stuck. We're still six weeks away from spring, but people are already fed up with winter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's beautiful for a little bit, but too many times, yes, it makes it a hassle to get around.
MYERS: This is the seventh winter storm battering the Midwest and New England since December. Nearly 40 inches of snow have fallen in Detroit last month alone and across the country it's the coldest winter in 20 years.
MYERS: And these are the coldest my fingers have felt in 20 years too, Kate. It is chilling. When you get and cold and the wind blows that is the worst possible scenario. It's 30 and raining. You say how can that happen? Why isn't it snowing? Because at 3,000 feet it's 35 degrees, but down here it's 30 so it's rain because it's liquid up there where it's collecting and it's falling down here as a complete ice storm.. New York City will be a sheet of ice today. Now, it's over by noon, but I'll tell you what, it's already very slippery out here. Stay home if you can.
BOLDUAN: Way more dangerous than snow. Chad, thank you so very much. And parts of New England also getting hammered this morning. Drivers are being told to stay off the roads for good reason because a thick coat of ice is expected to form on top of 6 to 12 inches of snow. Let's get straight over to Margaret Conley who is live in Boston for us this morning. Margaret, how is it looking? I can see.
MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Snowy and cold, Kate. There is a winter storm warning in effect until 6:00 p.m. tonight. The National Weather Service expects snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches of snow. We are expected to see sleets from around 2:00 to 3:00 this afternoon.
The big concern right now is this morning commute. The Department of Transportation is standing by with 200,000 tons of salt. They are warning drivers that visibility could be as low as a quarter of a mile. So be very careful, be slow on the roads out there. If you're flying, check those flights to make sure that they haven't been cancelled. We saw about 36 percent of cancellations at Logan Airport last night. They are holding a press conference at 6:00 a.m. this morning to address that issue. Boston's new mayor has declared a snow emergency here. There is a parking ban in effect. Public schools are closed, but city hall remains open -- Chris.
CUOMO: Margaret displaying a high form of skill broadcasting while getting pelted in the face with freezing snow. Well done.
CONLEY: It's coming directly at us this morning. Thank you.
CUOMO: You would never know, but I've been in that situation so I know how hard it is. Thank you, Margaret, for being out there for us. We need the reporting.
So now, for you, if you're watching us in the airport right now, get comfortable. If you're home and you're supposed to fly, please check first because you're likely going nowhere. That's because over 3,000 flights have been canceled since Tuesday, and that number is going to climb. Chaos at airports up and down the east coast that's the status.
Let's bring in Rene Marsh live from Reagan National Airport. Rene, what's the situation?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: It's a bad situation here, Chris. I'll tell you just looking at this morning alone. We're talking about more than 2,000 cancellations and nearly 2,000 delays. That's a lot for this early in the morning. Remember, an average day, we see about 200 cancellations. Well above that.
I mean, just take a look at the boards already here at Reagan National. Cancelled all the way this board. The problem airports this morning, Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, the usual suspects. And I want you to take a look at this video.
This video coming out of Kansas City where this Southwest plane, you talked about it earlier, it actually hit a snow bank as it was taxiing to the terminal there at Kansas City International Airport. Good news, no one on board was injured, but again, this is just how the weather is creating such a mess for air travel.
The sad part about all of this, Chris, it is 6:00 a.m. and we're already talking about cancellations and delays in the thousands. Usually early mornings, it's your safest best. Not the case at this point today -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right, Rene, we'll check back in with you. It sounds like it's going to go from bad to worse today and throughout the week.
All right, let's quickly get back to Chad Myers for the latest on this storm. So Chad, I mean, I guess, we can expect it. It's bad and you are saying this is only the second of three.
MYERS: Yes, there's another one coming on Sunday although I'm not as convinced about the Sunday storm as I was yesterday. This could be a Nova Scotia storm, not really New England or New York storm. We'll kind of get to that a little bit later on. Here is the snow. It's in New England. It's all the way back to Chicago. If you see reds or oranges over you, that is sleet in the sky, 1 to 2 feet of snow in that purple area. In the darker area, it's 12 inches or more.
Certainly be gusts and drifts over 2 feet. There's the ice. That's what we're in right now. Ice storm here of Pennsylvania to the Poconos all the way into New York City, I suspect we'll lose power in some spots because power lines and trees will be down with that much ice on the branches. Guys, back to you. It's cold out here.
BOLDUAN: You're starting to sound cold, Chad, and you're very strong. All right, we'll talk to you in a bit.
MYERS: Your lips start to not move anymore.
BOLDUAN: That's very true and hard for broadcasting that's for sure.
Let's get to the other big story that we've been watching overnight, that was breaking overnight, a drug raid in New York leading to the arrest of four people with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Officials tell CNN they are believed to be connected to the drugs found in the actor's apartment. CNN's Nischelle Turner is joining us with the very latest.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, big developments overnight, very big developments. The NYPD raided an apartment in Manhattan last night. They executed a search warrant. They arrested four people. Police are now questioning them about the drugs found inside Philip Seymour Hoffman's Manhattan apartment.
TURNER (voice-over): Overnight, police arrested three men and a woman in this New York apartment building who they believe are connected to the drugs found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment. During the raid, police recovered 350 bags thought to be heroin.
These as new details are emerging about his death, the result of an apparent heroin overdose. A law enforcement source says preliminary results show the heroin found in Hoffman's apartment was not laced with the strong painkiller fentanyl.
On Tuesday, Hoffman's former partner, Mimi O'Donnell was seen here at a local funeral home. O'Donnell reportedly told Hoffman to move into another apartment in the city, not with her children, when she discovered he was abusing drugs, an ongoing battle he recently shared with magazine, John Arundel.
JOHN ARUNDEL, MAGAZINE WRITER: He took off his hat and he said, I'm a heroin addict. TURNER: Arundel says Hoffman made this confession two weeks before his death during a one-on-one chat at the Sundance Film Festival. Hoffman saying he just got out of rehab.
ARUNDEL: He seemed like he was having one of those coming to God moments where it just struck him as, you know, this is the revelatory moment.
TURNER: The night before Hoffman died, CNN has also learned that he withdrew $1,200 in six transactions from this ATM at the grocery store near his apartment. A witness telling investigators he saw Hoffman talking to two men wearing messenger bags.
The next morning, Hoffman was found dead in his bathroom, a needle still in his arm.
MATT DAMON, ACTOR: He was a really special human being. He was one of the best actors to ever live, without a doubt.
TURNER: Hoffman's friends and colleagues mourned his lost at New York The Moments Tuesday night.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I had dinner with him a couple of months ago and I have to say he seemed pretty good shape. There's no way to explain it.
DAMON: Does something ever come out of it? Is there somebody watching who goes, wow, that guy was amazing maybe I should stop doing this or maybe I should try to find help.
TURNER: George Clooney also echoing what Matt Damon was saying he said he hopes that if anything positive comes out of this, maybe it can be a teaching moment. Although, he did say he doesn't know there's any great lessons now that someone so important to him is gone. Philip Seymour Hoffman's representatives have announced there will be a private funeral service held in New York for the actor's family and close friends, also a memorial service later on this month.
BOLDUAN: It does shine a very bright light, a needed bright light on the heroin problem.
TURNER: You guys were talking about that yesterday. The good thing, if there is anything good about this, it has started that conversation again about how important and deep this problem goes.
PEREIRA: Twenty three years sober. That's the thing we got to point out.
BOLDUAN: It's always right there, though.
PEREIRA: All right, Nischelle. Good morning to everybody. Let's take a look at your headlines at this hour. The White House is pushing back on an explosive new report about Obamacare and jobs. The Congressional Budget Office says the health care law could reduce the workforce by the equivalent of over 2 million jobs. But the report says that is because many people will opt to work less hours so they still qualify for federal health insurance subsidies.
Syria will miss a chemical weapons deadline. So says the watchdog group helping to oversee their elimination. Almost all of the chemicals and precursors are supposed to be removed by today. But only 4 percent of the chemicals will have been destroyed. Russia blames logistical problems at Syria's port, but it says all chemicals should be out of the country by March 1st. Syria's entire chemical arsenal supposed to be destroyed by June.
Another cheating scandal is brewing in the military. The Navy is now investigating whether sailors training on nuclear reactors were cheating on written tests. At least 12 sailors are believed to be involved. The number could be as high as 30. Now this is the third time in just three weeks that branches of the military have addressed charges of cheating on proficiency exams.
We have new video of a jail break caught on tape. Take a look at the moment that Willie Hollis literally runs by the security desk at the Orange County Jail in Florida Monday. Look at that. The sheriff's office said Hollis ran from a holding area, hopped into awaiting car, and hasn't been seen since. He had been arrested at the jail after a court hearing on another matter.
New this morning, Clay Aiken best known as the season two runner up of "American Idol" announced that this morning on his web site that he will run for Congress. He is already shaking up the Democratic state primary turning Houston Barns reportedly plans to withdraw from the race today to throw his support behind Aiken.
BOLDUAN: Another race to watch.
CUOMO: Very interesting, a kid, now a man, made his name being edgy and different, and bringing out differences about himself and now he's running for Congress. He's starting to morph into much more of what we're used to see.
BOLDUAN: Addressing the part.
CUOMO: It's amazing what it does. It's like a virus. All right, we're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, we're just two days from the start of the Winter Olympics and we're learning U.S. intelligence officials are monitoring several specific security threats in Sochi. We are on this issue hard to make sure that the athletes and everyone else are kept safe. So we have a live report from the Pentagon right ahead.
BOLDUAN: And I know you are asking it, since we've been asking it, what the heck is going on with all the snow? Cities like New York, Boston, and many, many more, just keep getting buried under the snow this season. Is this part of a longer trend of extreme weather or something else?
CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.
Moments ago, the Olympic torch arrived in Sochi. The opening ceremony beginning in just two days and the question of safety is rightly on everyone's mind.
Check this out -- just released CNN/ORC poll says 57 percent believe it's likely a terrorist attack of some sort will occur during the Winter Olympics. Forty-one percent feel that's not likely. But surprisingly, that's now much higher than how Americans felt before the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Fifty-one percent thought an attack was likely then.
Now, if you think that media reporting on the threat is driving the concern. Listen to this. U.S. intelligence officials are monitoring a number of specific threats against the Sochi Games. So, let's take it seriously and go to CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon.
Barbara, what do we understand?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
Well, just yesterday, President Obama had another briefing, perhaps the final one before the games begin about the threats and what the U.S. is prepared to do if there is an attack, if Americans are hurt and the Russians ask for help. The Russians would have to ask for help.
But as you say, the head of U.S. counterterrorism told Congress yesterday, they are monitoring specific threats. He says no intention terrorist groups in the region are what they are looking at and he also said they are working with the Russians to potentially disrupt those threats as they see them.
So, where are we? There is an op center, security law enforcement personnel from the U.S. have already been there for weeks. But here at the Pentagon, there are also arrangements.
By later today, those two U.S. Navy warships are expected to be in the Black Sea. A number of aircraft will be on standby to evacuate Americans if that is needed. And Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has promised to stay in touch with his Russian counterpart throughout the games -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Barbara, thank you so much.
So, the security of the games, a very serious and important, albeit just one part of making it all happen. And the question really is, is Russia ready to handle the threat? And also, the giant crowds of people that will be descending on Sochi.
CNN's Ivan Watson is live in Sochi with much more on this angle of the story. Good morning, Ivan.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.
That's right. The Olympic torch arrived here after traveling all across the biggest country in the world, Russia. And that people are starting to arrive, too.
But we're hearing more and more stories of glitches that are leading some to ask, is Sochi going to be ready in time for the Olympics two days from now?
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, let me declare that 126th session of the International Olympic Committee open. Thank you.
WATSON (voice-over): Russia is counting down to the opening of the Winter Games. And Russia's Olympic City has been rehearsing its fireworks display. But it seems like there's a lot more work to be done. As hoards of journalists arrive, many discover their accommodations are not yet ready.
That includes members of our own CNN sports team who also found finished construction in Sochi's Olympic Park.
Russia's organizing committee insist everything will be completed in time.
ALEKSANDRA KOSTERINA, RUSSIAN ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: We're dealing with it. We're on it. So we apologize again for any inconvenience. Thank you.
WATSON: Mother Nature may be harder to deal with. After several days of cold weather, there's a warm front on the way. But a Sochi snow specialist says he's got enough snow machines to compensate for warm weather.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, don't worry about the snow. Snow will be guaranteed.
WATSON (on camera): Guaranteed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): Some of the Olympic athletes are impressed.
LAURA FORTINO, CANADA HOCKEY TEAM MEMBER: This is my first Olympics. For me, this is absolutely incredible. It went above and beyond my expectations of what the Olympic Village will be. WATSON: As for the lingering question of security, there's a reason why they call it the ring of steel. Tens of thousands of Russian security forces have been deployed to protect these Olympic Games.
WATSON: Now, Chris and Kate, these stories of hotels that aren't ready yet, they even apply to these buildings behind me here, where foreign journalists are supposed to stay. We all know that reporters, you know, their second profession is complaining, but people have been having a lot of fun with this on Twitter. One Canadian reporter, he's been tweeting that the slogan of the Olympics here is warm, cold, yours, only two of those words applied to his shower this morning in his hotel, cold and yours.
And those are some of the conditions people are facing here. You've just got to wonder, though, what's going to start happening when the families of the athletes and tourists who have spent a lot of money to try to get here, when they start showing up if they start facing some of these conditions -- Chris and Kate.
CUOMO: Hopefully creature comforts are the biggest of their concerns there, you know?
Ivan, thank you very much for the perspective in the reporting. We'll be back to you there.
Let's take a break here now on NEW DAY. How about this for a headline? Slammed again -- 100 million people, 32 states buried in snow. Record shattering totals so far this winter in cities like Boston and New York.
Question, is climate change finally catching up to us or is this a knock on global warming? Answers ahead.
BOLDUAN: Also, new details about Target's massive security breach. Retailers testifying on Capitol Hill again today. Is there any way to stop from future -- stop future hacks?
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Let's take a look at your headlines at almost half past the hour.
An enormous winter storm is hammering the Northeast after pelting the Midwest. We saw our Margaret Conley out there getting a face-full of snow. We are going to show you some of the snow that's falling around the area. Look at all the images on your screen.
More than a foot of snow expected in parts of New England. New Yorkers could see a half a foot of snow and dangerous icy conditions. In terms of air travel, nearly 2,000 flights canceled today. The hardest hit airports, Washington, Boston, and the New York City area. Breaking overnight, four people believed to be connected to drugs found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment were arrested in a drug raid. Police tell CNN they also recovered some 350 suspected bags of drugs. Officials now say tests on some of the suspected heroin found at Hoffman's apartment have not turned up evidence of the often deadly narcotic additive Fentanyl.
Eight Los Angeles police officers are now facing discipline after opening fire on two women during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner. Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez were shot in their pickup truck which was very similar to the one owned by Dorner, a former police officer who killed four people last February.
The L.A. police chief says he sympathized with the officers, but the shooting did not meet department standards for deadly force.
New developments in a Florida crime lab scandal. A lab analyst is now free on bond after he was arrested on charges of selling stolen prescription drugs -- drug evidence rather, after switching them with over the counter meds.
Investigators say they're reviewing 16 cases that may be related. They say (INAUDIBLE) processed 2,600 cases in 35 counties since 2006.
And new this morning imagine this, George Zimmerman versus hip hop star DMX in a celebrity boxing match. According to the fight promoter, the rapper was selected from a poll of 15,000 applicants who apparently all wanted a piece of Zimmerman.
The bout will be three rounds, proceeds will go to charity. The exact time, date and location will be announced at a news conference next week.
Back to our top story now: 120 million people are feeling the effects of that massive, massive winter storm, including right here in New York which has already seen more than 20 inches above the average winter snowfall. Boston has also experienced about a foot above normal.
What exactly is behind this unrelenting winter and when is it going to stop? OK, that was , addition to the intro.
Radley Horton is a climate scientist with Columbia University's Earth Institute. He also works with Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Rumor is he actually snow shoed here this morning.
Radley, good to see you.
I think the big question, all of us, and maybe just me because I relocated here recently -- what is this and when is it going to end? Is this really unusual?
RADLEY HORTON, EARTH INSTITUTE: This is not particularly unusual. If we look at winters in the past, we can get this signed of setup with a very wavy jet stream. Cold air spills into one side of the country, while the other side of the country has extreme warm weather, the kind of drought that we're hearing about in California.
There is research suggesting that in the last few years, what people may feel may actually be right, that we're seeing a little bit more of this kind of extreme. The average temperatures for the U.S. and globe continue to be near record highs.