tv The Situation Room CNN January 26, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
is it for "the lead" for today. i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." stay safe, everyone. stay inside. happening now, breaking news. life-threatening storm. tens of millions of people bracing for a blizzard of epic scale, an historic storm striking now. major cities facing up to three feet of snow. shutting down streets and highways they are about to close to private vehicles. our correspondents are out in the middle of all of this as the storm hits. near hurricane winds. the storm brings whiteout conditions frigid temperatures and the certainty of widespread power outages. what you need to do to stay safe. and white house drone crash. a shocking penetration of security by an unmanned quad copter apparently flying over
the white house residence before triggering an alert and lockdown. could the next one carry explosives? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's get right to the breaking news. a monster winter storm bearing down on the northeast right now. the national weather service calling it historic and life-threatening. it may be as bad as it gets. close to 60 million people could be affected and more than 20 million of them are bracing for a blizzard of epic scale. new york and boston they are shutting down with up to three feet of snow expected. along with the snow whiteout conditions winds approaching hurricane strength and coastal flooding throughout the region mass transit will soon grind to a halt. streets and highways are closing and thousands of flights already have been canceled. our correspondents and analysts and newsmakers are all standing by throughout the emergency zone. let's begin with brian todd.
he has been making his way toward the center of the target area. first, tell us where you are and what's going on. >> reporter: we are in point pleasant, new jersey and it is getting much more violent tonight, this storm. you mentioned the phrase life-threatening. we have also heard the phrase crippling to describe this storm. we are feeling it in earnest right now here in point pleasant. you can see the tide behind me on the ocean is getting more violent. the wind is really hitting us hard here. it's this wind that's creating these whiteout conditions. the snow right now is falling almost horizontally not vertically because the wind is so strong. these wind conditions the horizontal snowfall and the sheer volume of snow hitting this area make this a storm system unlike any we have seen in this region in many many years. >> get off the roads, get off the streets, get off the sidewalks as this emergency deepens. >> reporter: tonight, new york city is shutting down the streets at 11:00 p.m.
as the city braces for what could be a blizzard of historic proportions. up to three feet of snow is predicted to blanket parts of the east coast between now and tuesday. >> this will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of new york city. i'm asking everyone to understand that and to prepare accordingly. >> reporter: states of emergency have been declared. blizzard and winter storm warnings have been issued from maryland through maine and into canada. the weather system is taking aim at the northeast. nearly 60 million people could be affected. crews are ready to salt roads and highways across the region. new jersey's governor is asking residents to stay off the roads. >> this is going to be a significant storm with snowfall today and into tomorrow that will create really hazardous conditions including dangerous conditions on our roadways. so i have declared a state of emergency in new jersey. >> reporter: new york city's subway system will have limited service starting monday evening
and if the forecast gets worse, it could be shut down completely. >> this is not a storm to take lightly, and we are taking what we believe are prudent measures. >> reporter: in massachusetts, there is also concern about road conditions. >> whiteout conditions and treacherous roads will make driving anywhere extremely dangerous starting around midnight tonight and extending through most of tuesday. >> reporter: connecticut's governor already signed a state-wide travel ban that begins at 9:00 p.m. tonight. >> please prepare a plan to get home this evening safely and find a place to stay through the duration of the storm. >> reporter: the storm could also bring power outages and coastal flooding. some residents are boarding up ahead of the storm. >> what we want to do is we want to have protection against not only the water coming over the wall and hitting the house, but all the little stones and pebbles that oftentimes come with it. >> reporter: the system is also disrupting air travel. flight aware says thousands of
flights were canceled for monday and tuesday. officials say up to 70% of flights were canceled at new york area airports and even more are likely on tuesday. we have to point out this is an area that was hit very hard by hurricane sandy just a little over two years ago. some of these houses kind of still boarded up and still in bad shape. there is one right there, still in bad shape from hurricane sandy. again, we are seeing the new jersey state officials from the police to the governor everyone telling people stay off the roads. if you have to go on the road and you somehow get stuck, do not leave your car on the side of the road. it's going to get towed and it also makes it very difficult for the plows and the spreaders to do their job and create this cascading effect where everybody gets clogged up and stuck on the roads. that's what they're worried about tonight. >> with these near hurricane winds, the 60 mile an hour 70 mile an hour winds on the coast where you are, there is going to be a lot of flooding, isn't there?
>> reporter: that's what they're worried about, the tidal surge coming in possible flooding from all of this. we don't know if this is a surge right now or if it's really just strong waves in the atlantic. it looks to be just strong waves as some of these come in here. but yeah this is -- look at how close it is to some of these houses. you can see the tidal surge is going to be an issue, flooding could be an issue all along the atlantic seaboard especially here in the coastal areas of new jersey. again, i can't tell you how violent this wind is getting right now. it is very very strong. this is what's going to create the whiteout conditions later on tonight. >> hundreds of thousands of people could lose their power very quickly as well. we will have much more on this coming up. be careful over there. we will get back to you. new york city is moving very quickly into emergency mode right now. private cars will be banned from the streets later tonight. mass transit is being cut back significantly. the mayor is warning that this blizzard is about to hit very hard and very fast and may go down as one of the largest snowstorms in the city's
history. let's go to new york right now. cnn's miguel marquez is standing by. tell us where you are. >> reporter: on the west side of manhattan. if those predictions are right, by tomorrow the snow may be right up here to my waist. down there, that's downtown manhattan. you cannot see a thing. it's literally whiteout conditions as you look downtown. there is 1776 foot building down there that you cannot see. it is incredible how much snow and how hard it is coming down. it's been doing this for several hours. i want to show you the west side highway here. it is getting heavier, the traffic getting lighter, the snow getting heavier and the slush on these streets getting much heavier as well despite the many many snow plows that we have seen coming out of the sanitation department here on the west side of manhattan. these snow plows don't go in ones and twos. we saw six in a row driving all the way up down and back up the west side highway here. tens of thousands of pounds of salt in this one facility. hundreds of thousands of tons of
salt around the city trying to keep this city clear. the mayor telling residents it is time to stay home do not go out in this. when that wind kicks up it is starting to kick up here it is going to get worse out here and the snow will only get heavier. >> thanks very much miguel. the storm is wreaking havoc with transportation. more than 6500 flights already have been canceled and thousands more will be canceled tomorrow. our aviation correspondent rene marsh is over at laguardia airport in new york. what's it like over there? >> reporter: i can tell you, if you are trying to travel by air today, you really had bad luck. it was a rough go. i think this image says it all. it's 5:00 p.m. just after 5:00 p.m. and you can see the gates are down at the tsa checkpoint. that's a sign of how things are going here at laguardia airport. take a look at the signs for yourself. the boards here the arrivals and departures almost all red. the red means cancellations here. the major airlines we know they
are now suspending or are in the process of suspending the vast majority of their flights in and out of new york area as well as boston airports. the airports that are really hit hard just happen to be some of the country's busiest airports. we are talking about laguardia philadelphia jfk as well as newark. there is one company out there by the name of mass flight they tabulate they have lots of statistics on airlines they say so far, all of these cancellations costing passengers get this more than $100 million. it's expensive and frustrating. >> certainly is. what are you hearing about rail conditions? >> reporter: well we know as far as the trains go when it comes to mass transit here in new york city as well as in new jersey things are significantly slowing down. however, there are certain lines like new jersey transit trains and buses, they are completely stopping operations. amtrak, by the way, that's how i
got here we didn't have any problems early this morning. however, we are now checking with amtrak and we see later on in the evening, we are starting to see cancellations for people who are heading northbound. that makes a lot of sense because that's where the storm is really hitting. >> certainly better to be safe than sorry, especially with these kinds of conditions. thank you. let's learn more about this very very dangerous storm. joining us here in "the situation room" is the director of the national weather service. thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me back. >> what's your major concern right now? because the way i see it it looks like a quadruple threat. obviously two or three feet of snow within a matter of a few hours, near hurricane force winds, a lot of flooding potentially, and hundreds of thousands of people are inevitably going to lose power including elderly, they will have to be rescued. what's your greatest fear right now? >> well from a meteorological point of view the whole storm system is now coming together.
so we are going to get this storm, we will have very strong winds, heavy snowfall colder temperatures. the cold air is firmly in place. this is a storm that has to be reckoned with and i think people are taking the prudent actions not only to prepare but to protect. i have to say that the actions that are being taken will help them recover faster too. so some of these economic impacts will be mitigated. >> the cold weather is obviously very bad. when you have two or three feet or more of snow coupled with 60 or even 70 mile an hour winds, that's pretty extraordinary, isn't it? >> yes. and what we are seeing is we expect heavy snow from new jersey up to new england with the heaviest snow on long island southeast new england into boston and there could be several feet of snow with even more than several feet if these -- >> what does that mean several feet? >> one to two feet of snow. what we are seeing is where these bands form if they become stationary and stay stationary
you can get much heavier snow and of course chad -- >> you can get three or four feet, is that what you're saying? >> no no. one to two feet and maybe 30 inches that type of range. then you get the convective snow associated with this. that's something else we're looking for as the storm develops. where the bands set up is where you get the heavier snow. for example, we had a band sitting over long island in new york city all day. that's why they are getting heavy snows there now. we expect this to get worse after 9:00 tonight. >> after 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight. how long will this last? >> well we expect the snow in new york city/boston area to last all day tomorrow but we expect the heaviest snow in the city and long island to be over in the noonish, 9:00 to noonish time frame. that will progress up towards -- that back end will progress up towards boston during the day m to. >> so it might end around noon or 1:00 in new york but boston it will be later. the rest of new england even later than that. >> that's right. >> so your big fear is right now the people aren't prepared for this?
is that what you're saying? >> no. i think our forecasters have done a great job with all the models they have to work with in getting this forecast out and working with the emergency management community, the state, local, federal emergency management community. you see what's happening here on your news. people are prepared. the agencies are prepared and we haven't seen this type of preparation in storms 15 20 years ago and it takes so much longer than not only are people at greater risk during the storm but it takes longer to recover. i think what the states are doing is actually remarkable. >> whether it's new jersey or pennsylvania new york or massachusetts, connecticut, all of these states they are working around the clock to protect people. give me a little perspective. you have been in this business for a long time. i heard from the head of the emergency management service in massachusetts earlier today, they were bracing for one of the top five worst snowstorms to hit the boston area ever. >> the storm has the potential
to do that. for the boston area being the top five. for new york city it depends where the back edge sets up. but you know worst case scenario they will be in the top five as well. >> the top five worst for new york ever? >> yeah. but if it sets up that way. i would say that long island up to southeast new england and boston is the prime spot for the heaviest snowfall for this storm. >> and the advice you have for people and there are maybe 60 million people in the path of this storm, the best advice you have is what? >> pay attention to your local officials because they are out there to try to protect you and make the prudent decisions that will help you work through this storm and to recover faster. >> the fact that it's going to hit overnight, that it will really start blasting away 8:00 9:00 10:00 tonight and go through the night, then into the early morning hours, what's the impact of that? because it's happening overnight? >> that's an amazing plus for being able to recover from this storm.
most of the people obviously are off the roads so it gives the road crews a big head start in recovering cleaning up after the storm. if this would have happened during the day and people were caught at work you get people stuck on the roads, like what happened two years ago on long island. people trying to get back in the evening rush hour got stuck in very heavy snows and it took days to recover. so this will really facilitate the recovery from this snow event. >> i want you to stand by. we have more to discuss. this is a critically potentially extremely dangerous storm. it's a quadruple threat as i just mentioned and a lot of people hundreds of thousands of people are getting ready to lose power. we will have much more on this part of the story and more after this.
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this is an extremely dangerous storm out there right now and it's being taken very seriously by authorities all along the coast. let's get the latest forecast now from our meteorologist and severe weather expert chad myers who is joining us. everybody is saying this is of historic proportions potentially out there, chad. >> well it is going to get into the warm water of the gulf stream and warm is a relative term. not warm to you and me but 47 degrees, and this storm is going to get significantly stronger as we go into the night. by that storm which is right there moving into the warm water and up along there, cape cod. because it's in the warm water, it's like a hurricane that moves
into 85 degree water. a hurricane like that is going to get bigger going to get stronger, going to use that power of the water, that energy that latent heat in the water, to make the wind. that wind is going to be in this direction. that's why it's called a nor'easter because the wind comes in from the northeast, not because the low comes in from the northeast. it's actually from the southwest. but the wind comes this direction. it will also pick up moisture from the gulf of mexico from the gulf stream rather and it will plow it right back onshore. that is the ocean effect or ocean enhancement of what this bomb coastal bomb nor'easter will be. so the forecast has changed a lot over the past couple of days. we were talking about the back edge of the storm because you can see right from here about springfield, mass you are in the 12 to 24 probably somewhere around 18 inches. not that far east of i would call that schenectady, it's more
18 to 26. does it stop along the coast of connecticut, right through there? we know there's a guarantee of a big storm system for boston. we know it's going to hit new york city. it's already hitting it. if you get two to three inches of snow per hour for the next six to ten hours, all of a sudden you have a significant snow event on your hands. this town can handle 12 inches of snow. it's already seen probably four out there right now. but a significant difference between 12 and 24. i know it's only double but it's the mass of snow that you get when you get to that two foot range. in boston you are guaranteed to the two foot range because there's the wind right off the ocean right onshore, all the way up along the coast. big waves as well. but it's the onshore flow. it's that lake effect that we know this watertown, buffalo, coming in this direction, you get all that snow coming in this direction you can get equal amounts of snow.
blizzard warnings all the way up and down the coast. >> not just the snow or the cold it's the near hurricane force winds that are going to be causing so much damage including power outages all across that area. chad stand by. i will get back to you shortly. we are also going live to boston, already under a state of emergency from a blizzard which could dump three feet of snow. i will speak live with the mayor of boston marty walsh. and a shocking security breach at the white house as an unmanned drone apparently flies over the residence of the white house before crash landing in the complex area on the south lawn. what if the next one is armed? stand by.
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in boston a snow emergency goes into effect right at the top of the hour. major roadways will close at 8:00 p.m. eastern. let's go to boston. our meteorologist jennifer gray is right in the middle of what's going on. set the scene for us jennifer. >> yeah one of the main reasons they want people off the roads at 8:00 is because we have already started to see plows ride by. with all these people on the streets, they can't do their job. so they are wanting people to get off the streets as soon as possible. in fact a driving ban goes in effect at midnight so people are now leaving the city. they are going home they are
going to get into their home where it's nice and cozy and they are going to stay there until this storm is over. snow is already on the ground. this is from a storm system that happened just a couple of days ago. look at this. it is packed in and if we get two to three additional feet on top of this we could see snow covering this sign. that's how high it's going to be plus with the wind gusting at 60 to 70 miles per hour we will see snow drifts above my head. that is going to mean major trouble across the city. we are also going to be looking at the possibility of power outages. worst case scenario people could be without power for a week. when you talk about historical storms here in boston, you think of '03 where we had 27 inches of snow. you think about 1978 where we had almost 28 inches of snow. this storm could rival those. that's why people are saying do what the mayor, the governor is saying and just stay indoors, get prepared because this is going to be one that people in boston could be talking about for decades.
>> it could be a record breaker. jennifer, thanks very much. i want to bring in the mayor of boston right now, marty walsh. he is joining us on the phone. how bad do you expect things to get over there, mayor? >> well we are expecting 24 to 30 inches that was just reported. we have all of the precautions in place. we are asking people to get off the roads so that we can do our work and also keep people safe. we are asking people to check on their neighbors and check on their elderly neighbors in particular to make sure they're okay as the night goes on. we have crews out there who did some pretreating of the roads. we canceled school for both tomorrow and on wednesday in case of tomorrow because of the snow and wednesday for the clearing of the snow. we have additional firefighters on police officers emts, just to be prepared for anything that might arise. >> the fear isn't just the snow or the cold. it's also the wind right? because some of the areas, maybe not boston they are projecting
near hurricane force winds. >> what could happen we could have snow drifts where one side of a residential street could have very low snow and the other side could have feet four or five feet with the snow drifts. so the wind's going to be a problem there. and also we have additional crews on to take down any trees that might happen and we are watching power lines here with the snow and the power lines. hopefully we don't have that but we are preparing for the worst just in case. i would rather side on the side of caution and be prepared for the worst and hopefully it doesn't happen. >> i had heard earlier people maybe as many as several hundred thousand could quickly lose power not just for a few hours but as long as a week. are you ready for that? >> we are playing it by ear taking it a day at a time. i know the suburban towns outside of boston were concerned about that. hopefully that's not the case in the city of boston. when we have our planning meetings we have the utilities in our meetings with us so we are preparing and keeping the pressure on them as well so if
this happens, that they respond immediately with whatever happens. again, you can't -- it's hard to -- you can't fight mother nature and whatever happens throughout the course of the storm, we just have to do our best to be prepared going into it which i think we are as it's happening. i think we are, what the aftereffects are, we don't know yet what will happen. >> some of the other areas near the coast are worried about flooding. i take it that's not necessarily going to be a huge concern in boston. is that right? >> well there's a couple parts of boston we are concerned about flooding. we have some roadways and some neighborhoods that would be affected by flooding. not as much as cape cod but we certainly have waterfront property in the city and we have roads so we are watching that as well to see what happens, because the effects of the tide rising high and coming in and what that could do to some of the roadways. >> anything special you need right now from the state or the federal government? >> no. i have been in constant contact with the governor. we have a new governor in the commonwealth. i have been in contact with him several times today.
the federal government reached out to us as well. i have spoken to some of the mayors from around the country who have called and offered support, in particular mayor nutter in philadelphia. it was nice to hear that. so we are kind of preparing, holding down the fort. we will see what happens as the time goes by. literally this is an hour at a time storm. it started a little while ago so we've just got to be ready for anything that comes our way. >> if it gets up to 30 inches that would be a record for boston right? >> yeah it would be. a lot of people are comparing it to the blizzard of '78. from the sound of the wind and the thunder snow that they're talking about, i'm not sure what to expect here but as i said earlier, we are doing our best to be prepared for anything that may come our way. the best thing we can do people who are listening and watching from boston be smart here. err on the side of caution. don't go out and watch the snow or the high tide. stay home where it's safe watch it on tv. >> mayor, good luck to you. good luck to all the folks in boston. good luck to everyone in the path of this storm.
thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks wolf. thank you very much. >> mayor marty walsh, the mayor of boston. coming up motorists making a last minute dash to get out of the storm's path. we go live to our reporters on the roads. later, very scary moments today over at the white house. the lights suddenly go on as a drone, a drone penetrates security and apparently flies over the mansion. when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing. helping me stay more like me. [ female announcer ] boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams
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much of the northeast right now bracing for a blizzard of epic proportions. new york and boston are shutting down with two to three feet of snow expected along with gale force winds, whiteout conditions and coastal flooding. let's get some more on the travel and the safety concerns in new york right now. the subways and the bus service will be shut down later tonight. cnn's brianna keilar is monitoring all of this for us and is joining us from new york. so what's the latest? >> reporter: hi wolf. well travel is certainly treacherous here but some of the things you associate with new york are shutting down. broadway has closed its doors for the night. parks are shutting down at 6:00 p.m. that includes central park here behind me which you can almost barely see. but travel certainly treacherous and we are not just talking about flying where you have had 70% of flights canceled today, or rail. we are talking about driving and even walking. we have seen people slip in these really icy conditions. that's why crews are working to put salt down and they are even
plowing the sidewalks. but governor cuomo, this is something of note for the folks here in new york governor cuomo put in place essentially a curfew for those driving after 11:00 p.m., if people are on the road and they are nonessential not emergency vehicles they could face misdemeanor because of that and they could be looking at a fine of up to $300. here in new york city after 11:00 p.m. only emergency vehicles are supposed to be on the road. it's already difficult enough to drive and city and state officials want to make sure those emergency officials have a very clear way. so other ways of getting around of course there is the subway but that is going to limited service here in new york city around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. then after that there won't be as many trains running and you are also seeing for people taking rail out of the city whether it's long island railroad or metro north, those are expected to close tonight at 11:00 p.m. wolf? >> brianna, we are showing our viewers some pictures live
pictures on the left part of the screen from fifth avenue not far away from where you are in manhattan. it looks ugly and guess what? it's only going to get so much worse in the next few hours. they are bracing for horrible conditions in new york city. brianna, stand by. new jersey's rail and bus transit systems which nearly a million people rely on to get around every single day will be shutting down soon may not reopen until thursday. that leaves highways as the only way the get around and that will be treacherous. let's go back to cnn's brian todd. he's in new jersey right now. set the scene there for us. >> reporter: getting more dangerous right now in new jersey. we are on state road -- state route 18 just outside of neptune, new jersey and what we are told by state police is these are the conditions right now setting the tone here for the rest of the evening that are really going to start to get dangerous. the rail system the bus system all the transit systems in the state are going to shut down in
a little less than three and a half hours, at about 10:00 p.m. eastern time, and what we are told by state officials is starting at about 9:00 they believe the snow will come down at a rate in some of the regions around here of between one to two inches per hour between 9:00 and noon tomorrow. so they could get a couple of feet of snow in this area. the conditions here we will switch from my camera to the front of the vehicle here on state route 18 as we head out toward asbury park new jersey here. our photojournalist is switching the camera to the front camera here. again, the road right now is not too bad but it is starting to get much worse here and as we just experienced along the coastline, the winds are starting to get much much more violent. those are going to create the whiteout conditions that police have told us they are really concerned about. >> just be careful driving over there. brian todd moving along. thanks very much. let's bring in our chris welch right now. he is driving the streets of new york city.
where are you right now? >> reporter: well we are in lower manhattan right now, essentially on the west side. actually we've got a couple cameras hooked up here in our vehicle as well much the same way that brian todd's car has been rigged up. if you take a look outside our window right now, you see, we are actually just pulling up alongside here this city sanitation truck, garbage truck, essentially. these trucks have also been outfitted with plows on the front of them. so this truck we have sort of been keeping a safe distance behind to follow, just to see. i have to say, so far tonight, this is really nothing that here in new york we have not seen before but of course we obviously expect that to get much much worse tonight as the night goes on. we have not so far seen a whole lot of plows out but of course they might be saving some of that manpower some of their energy for when things get bad, when the winds pick up and when this snow really starts to
accumulate. so far, road conditions slippery and that's of course due to the snow that's packed up on the road. got to be a little careful but thankfully it looks like there are certainly fewer cars on the road tonight. >> and in new york as of 11:00 p.m. tonight, only emergency vehicles will be allowed on the streets. stand by. we have much more coming up. crews across the northeast, they are working right now to keep ahead of the falling snow and are getting ready for strong winds and blizzard conditions. up next a drone breaches security at the white house. yes, a drone. apparently flying over the president's home. how did the secret service allow this to happen? is there anything they can do about it? she inspires you. no question about that.
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more on breaking news, the dangerous storm hitting the northeast. we also want to turn to a disturbing story which has been unfolding over at the white house where an unmanned drone penetrated massive security apparently flying over the residence before crashing on the grounds. return to barbara starr. tell us what we know. >> reporter: wolf this was a security nightmare, because it under underscores the ability to opinion trait penetrate airspace. a man was operating this recreational drone, but it doesn't mean their worry isn't considerable. at first light, secret service personnel walked lawn. this is the drone they found.
the secret service said an individual called them early monday to report flying the drone that crashed on the white house grounds. all indications are the incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device authorities said. the president's spokesman was all about calm. >> a device recovered at the white house, early indications are that it does not poese a threat to the white house. >> reporter: there are security issues. >> this is a big deal. regardless of what anyone is saying. >> reporter: it was 3:08 a.m. when a secret service officer on the south grounds of the white house complex heard and saw a so-called quad copter device. it was flying at a very low altitude and ultimately crashed on the southeast side of the white house complex. the white house was immediately placed on lockdown until the device was examined and an all clear sounded. this was just the latest
security breach. in september, an army veteran jumped the fence and got into the east room before being tackled. in november 2011 a man fired a rifle at the mansion. drones like these are widely available commercially. but all airborne traffic over washington, d.c. is banned unless a flight plan is filed and it's under faa control. authorities have been struggling on how to integrate drones into u.s. airspace so they don't interfere with commercial air traffic or cause a security threat. what if it carried explosives? shooting a drone down, not practical. >> you are in a residential and commercial area in downtown d.c. >> reporter: what about jamming the radio signal? >> the only way to mitigate the threat from a drone is to attack it on the rf side which
actually guides the drone. >> reporter: it looks like the person who was operating this drone for some sort of recreational mission was actually someone who worked for the federal government. it's interesting. cnn has granted permission by the faa to test cameras on drones for news gathering purposes. rules have to be established about all of this. how drones really integrate into american society. >> very scary story potentially. let's get more on the implications. joining us is michael schmidt. tell us what you heard about the individual who flew the drone. >> he is standing in the middle of washington at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. it's a cold winter night. he is flying a drone. he says he loses control. it ends up over the white house. he wanted it to go south. it went north.
that's where it ended up. the real question is, is why was he out there? what was the reason for this? was this a recreational thing at that time of day? i don't know. that seems odd to us. >> because they're calling this individual a person of interest. is that right? >> yeah. look he hasn't been charged yet. he has been cooperating with the secret service. they say so far that they believe his story. what they were doing this afternoon was interviewing people that may have seen him at 3:00 in the morning or people he knows or people he spoke to in the past day to determine whether his story was really true. >> the fear is maybe not this individual but someone could be testing the anti-drone capabilities around the white house if they want to plan something that could be dangerous and sinister right? >> well i think he shows how easy it is and how little control the secret service has there. i don't think the concern is whether someone could take a drone and really damage the
actual white house. what happens when the president is actually outside, when he is getting on marine i, giving a statement, in the rose garden walking with denis mcdonough as he does? what risk is he at and how could they stop a drone -- small drone, just two feeltt? >> it could have plastic explosives on it right? >> yeah. it could have biological agents. it could have all sorts of things. it doesn't seem to be a way to bring them down. as you were pointing out, if you say shot one of those things down on pennsylvania avenue and it had explosives there's a dozen tourists there. >> a very dangerous situation. thanks very much for helping us. appreciate the significance of the story. more on the braining news. a blizzard of epic scale baring down on tens of millions of people right now.
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happening now, blizzard emergency. a storm, a snowstorm threatening millions of americans in the northeast. it's more dangerous every minute. information from new york connecticut and rhode island. road weararriors, rolling out thousands it of snow fighting vehicles and crews. the most populated area in the nation is shutting down as the storm hits. travel crisis, more than 6,500 flights have been canceled. how many people traps and for
how long? welcome our viewers in the uns united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." breaking news a blizzard now intensifying. 58 mmillion people in the path. this could be one of the most crippling winter storms to hit the region. it's a dangerous threat. up to three feet of snow or more is expected along with near hurricane-force winds, coastal flooding and power outages. states of emergency have been ordered through the region. the one in philadelphia is taking affect right now. we have correspondents across the storm zone. they are getting information all the time on this weather emergency. congressman peter king is standing by. a massive snow removal operation
is under way. it's going to get more significant. >> reporter: new york city department of sanitation are the here heros tonight. downtown new york you should see buildings. the snow coming down hard. we are at the department of sanitation. that's tens of thousands of tons of salt that they are pouring on the streets here as the streets get mushier. the city is on high alert. states of emergency issued throughout the northeast. >> i'm declaring a state of emergency effective immediately. >> reporter: the national weather service describing the storm as life-threatening and historic. officials warning residents stay home, stay off the roads. >> i want our first responders to do their work safely so we want everybody to get home and off the roads. >> reporter: the storm could drop up to three feet of snow on
boston and new york before it's over. officials have issued blizzard and winter storm warnings reaching from maryland all the way up to canada. with up to 58 million people in its path. in new york city it's an all-hands emergency, 2,400 sanitation workers removing snow. thousands of snowplows rolling 24 hours a day, tens of thousands of tons of salt ready to did he distributed. schools closed traffic banned after 11:00 p.m. services across city halted as people brace. the state of nor has putew york has put the national guard on standby. >> all non-emergency vehicles need to be off the streets of new york city by 11:00 p.m. tonight. we will continue that emergency declaration until the situation is safe.
>> reporter: in connecticut, the governor ordered a state wide ban on travel starting at 9:00 p.m. more than 100,000 people could loose power across the state. >> we will get through this together. >> reporter: in massachusetts, the governor there has deployed 500 national guard troops and warns residents, be ready. >> this is a top five historic storm. treat it as such. >> reporter: shelves bare as people make preparations. some boarded up homes to save them from the hurricane-strength waves. >> protection against not own the water coming over the wall but all the stones and pebbles that come with it. >> reporter: thousands of flights canceled. the nba canceled two games played tonight in new york. the traffic along the west side highway has gotten thinner as the snow has gotten heavier.
the road conditions out here are slushier and more slick. 24 degrees out here. not only are private vehicles bannedage 11:00 edned after 1ek. the city is bracing. >> no subway service or bus service, is that what you are saying? >> reporter: no subway no buses after 11:00 p.m. tonight in new york city. they will shut the system down. the new jersey transit will shut at 8:00 tonight. >> thanks very much. weather experts say this could be among the five worst to hit the area. chad myers is checking conditions across the region. update us on the very later forecast. >> still very heavy snow new york boston on up into vermont, new hampshire, maine, massachusetts. just where we knew it was going to be. the big question is when the
storm tips to develop and it develops out here and begins to push its moisture and wind like this new york city get in the way. this is a pinwheel. i said it this morning, but it's true. think of what with the inside of a cross-country hoho looks like. cream on the one side and dark and cream again. this is what this storm will look like eventually as it gets here. snow, no snow, snow no snow. it depends on what part of the filling you are going to get with this storm as it rotates up the east coast. we talk about the models. we talk about the models a lot whether it comes to the hurricane. this is almost a hurricane-type storm. it's not warm core i understand. but hurricane-force winds. what does the european model say in from new york city all the way up to maine, over two feet. a lot of snow for new york. we go to the american models.
the north american scale model. same story. almost 30 inches of snow for the model here in new york city. same story for boston. now we go to the improved gfs model, using the best technology and computers. down here to new york, about six inches of snow. i can't make a forecast that says six to 24. i think 10 to 14 with the potential for more. if we get those two to three inch snowfalls with thunder snow, all of a sudden we could get higher amounts. i think the numbers, 10 to 14 for the city certainly boston you will push 30. >> you don't take all the models and do an average of all and try to come up with the best estimate along those lines? >> that's called cancer. you can't do that.
you can't just say, throw them together and divide by three. doesn't work. >> thanks very much chad. we will get back to you shortly. travel in and out of the northeast is grinding to a halt. it's more than 6,600 flights canceled. la guardia has been hardest hit. rene is on the scene for us. there are no flights coming in and out of new york. and there won't be any tomorrow i suspect. >> reporter: it's 6:00 p.m. on a weekend evening. take a look at the ticketing area. pretty much empty with the exception of these passengers here. they are probably trying to get last-minute rebooking done. i can tell you they will not be leaving out of la guardia today. thousands of flights canceled. we are seeing major airlines suspend all operations today and tomorrow as well.
as la guardia airport, this woman was rebooked twice to hear that dreaded world canceled again. three flights canceled within 15 minutes this morning? >> as i was attic the ticket counter. she said that canceled, that canceled, that canceled. >> reporter: some of the busiest airported in the eded hit eds hit the hardest. the port authority says half of the flights at la guardia war cancel were canceled. airlines started cancelling before the storm arrived. that can actually help. >> they don't want us in their terminals any more than we want to be there. once they realize, after a certain time things are going to get bad, they proactively cancel flights. >> reporter: it's not just flights. service on new york city subways, buses and commune
computer trains will shut down at 11:00 p.m. at a new york penn station, amtrak train were canceled. >> i came into work early. i can leave as early as possible. >> reporter: the storm will impact transportation around the country. for travellers like kathy, it may be days before she gets out. >> at this point it looks like pennsylvania at 2:00 in the afternoon. >> reporter: you are looking live at what we have been looking at at the morning and evening and afternoon wears on. flights canceled. tsa check point, gates are down because there is really no activity going on here at one of the busier airports in country. mass flight, which is a company that tabulates the statistics
they estimate the cost $150 million. the cost to airlines estimate around $10 million. that's just for right now. >> getting started with that. thanks very much. travel bans have been ordered in the blizzard stone, include includes new york city. more on the paralysis and danger. what's the latest you are seeing and hearing? >> reporter: so much -- so many things that you associate with new york city are shutting down. broadway is shut down. central park behind me is supposed to be shut down as of now. all parks closed because of high winds, she haveheavy snow. taxicabs have been lining up to pick up people. they will take some of the last fares. here in new york city after 11:00, if you are not driving an
emergency vehicle, you condition be on the road. that's the case across new york state as well. the difference there being, there is an up to $300 fine that we heard govern more cuomo say that people may be assessed if they are caught out driving out and about. certainly, you can see the roads behind me there is so much snow accumulation accumulation even though there are plows coming through new york city there are 6,000 miles of roads that they need to plow. the mayor reminding people toes today, that's driving to los angeles and back. >> they deserve credit. thank you very much. the governor of rhode island is urging drivers to get off the road before a travel ban takes affect. the governor is joining us. thanks for joining us. what are you bracing for in rhode island? >> caller: we are bracing for
one of the worst storms that we have seen. i am asking all rhode island people to hunker down. it's an extreme winter weather coming together. we're bracing for two to three feet of snow. and winds up top 60 to 70 miles an hour along the coast. >> are people in rhode island ready for this? >> caller: well we are ready. i have been on the television and radio today urging people to get prepared. i'm anticipating that we could have people without electricity for days. it's going to take days to clean this up. i'm asking -- i have asked people get prepared. make sure you have what it takes to survive for a few days. most of all, get off the streets. i issued a very stern warning to all rhode island people which i'm doing again now, get off of the road by 8:00 tonight. i have signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency. as of midnight there is a
travel ban. if we can keep folks inside they will be safe. we need rhode islanders to be safe and we need crews to get out there and do their work. >> we are concerned about flooding. two-thirds of your state is seaside from the atlantic. there could be some major flooding given the fact there will be a lot of snow and very cold but there could be near hurricane wind conditions. >> caller: yes. we are obviously watching the flooding possibility at this point. we are more concerned about the snowfall and the wind. we believe that because of the 60 or 70 mile and hour winds along the coast, there's going to be widespread power outages. of course it's very cold wolf. i'm most worried about rhode islanders being without heat which is why we have to work as fast as we can to -- i have been coordinating with national grid who is our primary power
provider to make sure that they will be ready to get folks back online. >> thanks very much. good luck to you and everyone in rhode island. >> caller: thank you. >> appreciate it. still ahead, a forecast on where the blizzard is hitting hardest right now. the dangers ahead. live to boston one of the cities likely to get hammered hardest. before larry instantly transferred money from his bank of america savings account to his merrill edge retirement account. before he opened his first hot chocolate stand calling winter an "underserved season". and before he quit his friend's leaf-raking business for "not offering a 401k." larry knew the importance
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joining us is the spokesman for connecticut's department of emergency services and public protection. thanks for joining us. how much snow are you bracing for? >> caller: good evening. we are bracing here in connecticut for a high impact storm where we will see possibly 24 to 36 inches of snow through tuesday. and some pockets of 40 inkchlesses of snow. >> with near hurricane-force winds at the same time and very very cold. there's a potential for a lot of people losing power, especially really concerned about the elderly if they go withoutdays. >> caller: we are asking residents to check on elderly neighbors if they feel they are not repaired. help them to be prepared to be without power for a few days and
be able to weather the storm without power for a few days. we have been down this road before, wolf in connecticut. february in 2013 we had record breaking blizzard here in the state. connecticut residents are resilient. we're ready to deal with this storm and weather this storm. >> the governor deployed national guard personnel? >> caller: yes, national guard personnel positioned in the state to be able to assist the state police should we need to deploy them to stranded motorists. >> what about roads? what is the time non-emergency vehicles have to be off the road? >> caller: the governor instituted a state wide travel ban which will begin at 9:00 this evening. if you are planning to be anywhere or get anywhere, we're
asking asking all connecticut resident dozen that before 9:00. >> how long will this emergency continue? >> caller: we are preparing for this to go through tuesday and possibly into wednesday. as i said earlier, we are anticipating a high impact storm for the state of connecticut. >> when you said 40 inches in some areas, have had you 40 inch flz snow in connecticut? >> caller: close to it as i said before the blizzard of 2013. we were in the 30 35 40-inch range in some places. we will get through this. the public needs to stay off the roads so crews can do their job. >> the national weather service is warning this could be deadly. right? >> caller: yes. if you attempt to travel after 9:00 p.m. today, you are not only putting yourself in danger but you are putting first
responders' lives in danger. >> don't travel. stay indoors. if you lose power, deal with that. there are emergency personnel who are ready to help. scott of the department of emergency services of public protection in connecticut, thanks very much. good luck to you. >> caller: thank you, wolf. >> as this intensifies, coastal areas are bracing for more than snow and wind. they are risking very very dangerous flooding. what's it like out there? >> caller: this is the eastern tip of long island where they are expecting the brunt of the storm. we are seeing conditions deteriorate since we have been here over the last several hours. you can see the wind picking up. the snow blowing around down the street here. this is main street if you can believe it. seeps like residents are heeding warnings to stay indoors and prepare for the worst. we're in front of the one restaurant on main street that remains open tonight.
a few people staying warm grabbing a quick bite to eat. four cars on the roadway. they are bracing for two to three feet of snow in the next few hours. 70 mile per hour wind ghosts sgusts and coastal floods. we saw the waves crashing. we are anticipating the tide to be high tide about 2:00 right at the height of the storm. they are expecting the ocean to swell two to four feet above what is typical tide overnight hours. coastal flooding beach erosion and blizzard conditions on the roads making for a very dangerous and damaging situation here. >> i have been talking about a quadruple thread that has emerged between the snow the wind the flooding and the power that is going to be lost. this is a potential nightmare for so many hundreds of thousands -- millions of people out there. thanks very much. be careful out there in long
island. joining us is peertcongressman peter king. congressman, thanks for many coulding ing coming in. what are you hear? >> i concur with everything she said. this is going to be brutal. the storm has just begun. the brunt will start. it will be horrific. the concern is not just snow. that can be taken care of. power outages and flooding along long island. all of them have the highway crews ready ss rdz ss ready to go. >> you think the hurricanes you don't think of this time of year. if there are 606 or 70 mile an hour winds, that could be devastating. >> i was talking to my daughter. she said snow is wet. that means it will stick to the
branchs. they can come down cause power lines to come down power outages. up with thing i'm confident about, town zs are ready to go. they are ready to be deployed. efrp is everyone is coming together. >> you think the governor is doing a great job in? >> yeah. everything the governor says about getting off the roads, anyone out on the roads is crazy. what it can cause for others. >> i know you represent your district here in washington, d.c. is there anything you need from the federal government right now that is not being made available? >> right now, federal government is doing all it can do. if there's damage, i would expect the federal government to give us the relief we need. right now, we have enough troubles and it's to get the job done, get the snow off the ground and get get power lines if they go down. >> at some point, they will assess the financial damage that
all of this is going to cause. at some point somebody will have to help pay for this right? >> we had a bad experience during sandy. i hope the federal government does what has to be done. the flooding along the south shore of long island that can be dove stateevastating. >> you had serious problems not only with democrats but republicans didn't want to come through with the cash either. >> that was rough. hopefully everyone learned their lesson lesson. when something like this happens, we have to stand together. >> let me quickly pick your brain on this drone that flew over the white house at 3:00 a.m. this morning and then sort of crash-landed if it did near the south lawn of the white house. not very far away. you are on the homeland security committee, intelligence committee. this is very worrisome. >> yes. not just secret service, this could replicate in sports arenas outdoor facilities through the country. there are countermeasures.
i can't go into whether they were used here whether or not they were broken. this requires and is getting attention from the secret service, homeland security, brafrns s branchs of government. this is the latest version of the car bomb. it's going to be difficult and they could strike anywhere. we have to make sure that we're fully ready for it. >> the drones they are very available. if you put a plastic bomb on it or some sort of anthrax or whatever, that could hebe devastating. >> if the president is having an event, that's number one. a football game baseball game any type of athletic event, will is real concern. there are -- there's research going on, a lot of work happening. it has to be done. this is a new weapon that could be utilized. >> there are all sorts of capabilities, anti-aircraft missiles and surface to air missiles around washington, d.c.
you can't use that with a small two or three foot drone. >> the iron dome wouldn't work. this is something that has toss be done. it's getting effort a lot of research. but we still have a ways to go. >> i have spoke within officials are who are worried that this is nothing, this is some individual at 3:00 in the morning deciding to go ahead and fly a drone out there and he got carried away for whatever reason. but it does give -- this is what officials say. this gives ideas. >> that's it. this is a concern we have had. but now that it has happened and it was a harmless event, we hope but the fact is others are going to see it. this could incentivize people lone wolves or just the average nut out there can feel to act. >> is there legislation -- you
have studied this -- that's needed to deal with this problem out there. the easy availability of commercial drones? >> we're going to have to look at this. we have to have restrictions in place. again, the danger is there. yes, i'm saying yes and i can tell you, homeland security committee, others are looking at this and also the fbi, homeland security are very very concerned. >> it's a very worrisome development. congressman, thanks for joining us. peter king of new york. we are tracking the monster blizzard as it intensifies. details of where it is hitting. check in on the jersey shore recovering from sandy. now, get this now facing potentially disastrous flooding once again. eeeeeeeee financial noise financial noise
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look at this. we have pictures of the george washington bridge right now. at of 11:00 p.m. tonight, it will be closed to traffic. lincoln and holland tunnels closed as well. driving in and oust new yorkt of new york is impossible. this is a blizzard of potentially historic proportion proportions, threatening 60 million people. three feet of snow possible maybe more along with winds near hurricane strength.
states of emergency are in effect across the region. officials in state after state are sending the same message to everyone in the storm's path. you are risking your life if you don't stay home. massachusetts is implementing a state wide travel ban at midnight. general jennifer is in boston. what are the conditions and what are they bracing for? >> reporter: the national weather service uses words like life-threatening they mean it. they don't use it very often. we are seeing the roads quiet down. definitely quieter moments ago. they are getting ready. they are staging. we have 800 trucks here in the city of boston. they are ready to concur what is ahead. we have seen a dusting.
we can show you sidewalks. starting to accumulate. we had snow on ground sfr thefrom a storm a couple of days ago. we are talking about two to three feet of snow. if you see this sign behind me that could be covered tomorrow. we will look at incredible snow drifts. if you get 50 and 60 mile per hour winds, the snow blows around. the snow drifts could be above my head. coastal flooding high tide is about 10:00 tomorrow morning. we are going to see very strong winds that the time. we could see coastal flooding. power outages a concern. people are talking about the storm, comparing it to the 1978 storm. they are comparing it to the president's day storm in '03. that's when they got 27 inches of snow.
this could rifleval. everyone is heeding warnings and trying to stay safe. >> people are bracing for 30 inches of snow in other parts, some places 40 inches of snow. this is going to be awful. thanks very much. alexandra field is on the streets of boston. she's joining us now with more. i take it driving is going to be impossible. anybody who is in a non-emergency vehicle will be stopped. >> reporter: physically it's basically impossible. you have no visibility. it's too dangerous to be out on the road. also you want to make room and space for emergency responders and then as soon as that snow begins to let up you want the roads to be ak saysccessible to snow removal vehicles. we are driving around. we are seeing people hustling home at this point. this storm hasn't quite come together and really hit here with the full force that we will
see developing over the next few hours. we are seeing a lot of snow removal equipment on the street. they have been out here and a number of cars. we are starting to see empty buses. frankly, this city is preparing to shut down in a few hours. starting at midnight, you will no longer see buses on the road. buses will stay closed tomorrow t is being shut down, because at midnight the driving ban goes into affect. the other issue here in boston is parking. we know that the city has declared a snow emergency which will start at 6:00 this evening. they are asking anyone with their cars on a major thorough fair to remove -- >> i think we lost audio connection with alexandra. we will check back with her. new jersey is under a state of emergency. we are learning the new jersey transit systems will shut down at 8:00 p.m. tonight, less than
90 minutes from now. brian todd is in asbury park. what's the latest over there? >> reporter: wolf you mentioned transportation they are shutting it down in a little over an hour. they were going to shut down at 10:00 p.m. you can see conditions here in asbury park. the wind is the telling factor. that's what's going to cause whiteout conditions. i'm along the boardwalk. you mentioned transportation. state officials shutting it down light rail and bus and train service shutting down in a short time. in these areas, coastal areas, near where i am check out the tide. tide is not high. at 12:55 we're told that's when high tide is coming in. that's when the danger of flooding may occur. that's also going to be the time of the evening when we're going to be getting slammed here with the snow. the weather folks me this place could get 18 even 24 inches of
snow. it's about to hit in the next couple of hours. the wind you can see the way it's hitting. right into my face. that's what's causing the whiteout conditions later tonight. that's what officials here in new jersey are worried about, whiteout conditions. if you don't have to go out tonight, do not go out. it's simply too dangerous. state police were telling me earlier, they get frustrated when people are leaving vehicles either on the road or just to the side. they say you have to try to get completely off the road completely off the interstate if you think you are going to get stuck, because that's going to create a cascading affect for plows, tow trucks spreaders to try to do their job and get some of the stuff cleared by the morning. >> it wasn't that long ago that the same area along jersey shore, they suffered from super storm sandy. now once again, near hurricane-force winds, 20 inches
of snow cold temperatures power outages. these people are going to have to endure something like this. >> that's right. they will endure it again, a little over two years after hurricane sandy. a lot of these places are still recovering. this place is abandoned. it's miserable out here. yes, they are getting the double whammy when some still have not recovered from hadn't sandy. we will talk to some of those folks in the coming hours and into tomorrow about how they are coping. this is something they don't need right now. >> be careful over there. brian todd in asbury park, new jersey. in new york the governor has announced a travel ban starting at 11:00 p.m. later tonight. all roads in the city and beyond will be closed. the mta, port authority will shut down four hours or so from now. a little bit more than four hours from now. chris, where are you? what are you seeing?
>> reporter: we are currently in midtown manhattan. since we spoke to you last hour we have noticed the snowfall diminished significantly. everyone still warning folks to stay on alert because the brunt of this storm expected to come hours from now. take a look at the camera we have mounted on our dashboard. you will see really what many people call the crossroads of the world, times square. normally at 6:40 this is prime rush hour time here in new york approaching times square. this is usually pretty backed up with cars with taxis, traffic. it looks like from the looks of things people are heeding the warping, heeding warns from officials to get home early. everyone preparing for a big storm. two to three feet. this could be the biggest in new york's history.
we know that folks are preparing not worst. it could beat the record that was set in 2006 of 26.9 inches. obviously, if the city -- if new york gets three feet of snow as is potentially predicted to happen that would certainly be a record breaker. >> it would be. chris, be careful over there. we're following breaking news. we will get more on the latest conditions across the northeast as this major blizzard moves in. this is only just the beginning of what will be a very very long and dangerous night. live to rhode island under a state of emergency facing potentially catastrophic flooding.
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following breaking news the blizzard on the northeastern part of the united states. it's being called historic. some areas are expect totd be buried under three feet of snow if not more. near hurricane-force winds will create drifts higher than that. officials are warping that millions of people will be without power for days. states of emergency are already in effect in rhode island. what are you seeing george?
>> reporter: wolf let's talk about what we are seeing and not seeing. right now, we are seeing a light snow. the winds are picking up. snowplows are out. seeing more of that downtown. what we're not seeing is what we saw for most of the day. look on the streets. it's a ghost town here. we're in the center of providence rhode island. people are heeding the officials to get off the roads. there is a curfew to keep people off the streets. outside of providence on the coast line keep in mind that 22 of the 39 seaside communities, they're in low lying area. they risk flooding due to high tide that will coincide with the worst of the storm overnight. officials are about flooding and, wolf the other big thing here is the loss of power as trees go down as power lines go down. that's what officials are try looking for as the storm pushes
in. >> george howell thank you. the blizzard is not just a major weather event, it's also a social media event. tom foreman is tracking what people are sharing online. >> they are sharing everything. we have the front edge of this storm and great pictures coming in. times square pushing in there. this is one of the train stations there in boston. people just packed in there trying to get somewhere over to hoboken. look at the scene there in the courtyard there. this is people trying to buy boots into new york. and this is penn station, people trying to get out before it gets terribly bad. one of my favorites, 5500 tons of salt in yonkers ready to be spread out. it looks like snow but it's salt. lots of people lining up in grocery stores buying all of the groceries that they can leaving the shelves completely empty
there. you've heard about people trying to line up parties, people getting lined up for all of this. it's really unbelievable how many things are going on out there. i thought i would tweet about this but gave up after the comedian said i'm already sick of the tweets. most of them were mine but it's getting ridiculous. let's hope the power stays on. >> let's hope. it's going to be a dangerous situation over the next several hours. tom, thank you. more breaking news coming up. our coverage of the historic blizzard will continue. ♪ ♪ ♪ you're only young once. unless you have a subaru. (announcer) the subaru xv crosstrek.
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take a look at the live pictures coming in from asbury park new jersey. a blizzard of historic proportions hitting the northeast part of the united states and it's posting a threat to tens of millions of people in its path. near hurricane-force winds and 3 feet of snow in some areas and flooding expected in the coastal areas and millions of people will be without power for days. much more on the breaking news coming up. first, isis is now calling for more attacks on the west as it suffers a major defeat on the battlefield. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is here. he's got details. what's the latest jim? >> wolf the key moment today came when senior kurds raised their flag on a hillside in eastern kobani. this is the same hillside that four months ago isis raised its black flag signaling its rapid
advance through this northern part of syria. now central command says 90% of the town is back in the hands of syrian kurds. victory celebrations in kobani after four months of intense fighting on the ground and relentless strikes from the air, the key city on the syrian/turkish border is nearly free of isis. it's an important coalition wind on the ground in syria in a down that u.s. officials originally dismissed as not strategically important. since then three out of four coalition air strikes in syria targeted kobani. despite one high-profile defeat in syria, isis is again setting its its sights further afield in the west. urging followers, quote, in europe and the disbelieving west and everywhere else to target the crusaders in their own lands and wherever they are found.
a threat may not be an empty one. a similar call in september was followed by a string of attacks in canada and australia and an attempted plot in belgium disrupted just in the nick of time. u.s. officials say the coalition air campaign has weakened isis leadership eliminating, they claim, half of its senior commanders. but the effect on isis' operational capability is not yet clear. >> so i think the bigger question is how are we doing in terms of the overall trend. i think plainly, we still have a lot of work to do. >> reporter: now, japan who has not challenged isis militarily is scrambling to save the lives of one of its hostages kenji goto. an image showed goto holding a photo of the headless body of fellow captive haruna yukawa.
the isis release, however, has key differences from past hostage videos. raising questions about its authenticity. a japanese foreign ministry official is now in jordan across the border from syria. he says his sole mission is to bring mr. goto home to japan safely. wolf? >> on top of all of this the u.s. is closing, at least temporarily, its embassy in yemen? >> well they are closing it for the visa services and will be able to carry out limited emergency services, many of the yemenis who have dual citizenship with the u.s. >> all right. jim sciutto reporting for us thanks very much.
that's it for me. remember you can always follow us on twitter. go ahead and tweet me @wolfblitzer. join us tomorrow in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next breaking news an historic life-threatening blizzard could bring the city to a grinding halt. we are live in new york city. plus airports, mass transits shut down. people are ordered not to drive. it's beginning to head north, boston may be hit hardest with a record-breaking 30 inches of snow. let's go "outfront." ♪ and good evening, i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, we're following the breaking ne