tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC December 24, 2015 5:30pm-6:00pm CST
holiday. the mounting death toll and destruction in several states. more than two dozen twisters. one that touched down may have traveled more than 100 miles on the ground. >> oh, wow. looks like there's two. >> the storms so powerful, a tractor trailer hurled off the road. tonight, the stories of survival. white-hot christmas. record-breaking temperatures along the east coast. the images you never see this time of year. what this weather pattern means for the rest of winter. crackdown. theelan for a nationwide swede of undocumented immigrants. hundreds of families facing deportation. officials saying they pose a threat to national security. and, tracking santa. inside the government's top secret mission to follow that flying sleigh. you won't believe how it all started, 60 years ago. and good evening. great to have you with us on
i'm tom llamas, in for david tonight. and we begin with those deadly tornadoes and the communities torn apart. the dark cloud of destruction moving in here. a wild string of rare december tornadoes and violent weather, from arkansas to michigan, that left 11 people dead. and so many taking stockf their lives on this christmas eve. scenes of devastation like this across the ravaged south. people returning to their homes, trying to salvage what's left. abc's phillip mena n n with the story in mississippi. >> reporter: tonight, severe weather still on the move. with blinding rain in alabama and flooded roads south of atlanta. this after a devastating christmas week tornado outbreak. >> oh! i think that's a tornado brewing up! >> reporter: over 24 hour nay does reported. >> i looked up, the roof was blowing off the house. >> reporter: watch as these twowo tornadoes merge into one massive twister. swirling winds lifting this
careening onto its side. the national weather service says this tornado was at least an ef-3 and may have tracked over a hundred miles across two states. >> it was like a war zone. >> reporter: first responders helping to the injured, including retired nurse sherry keel. she was on her way h he from last minute christmas shopping. >> there's a lady in the ditch over there who's in bad shape who needs help. she kept asking about her child. >> reporter: that child, just seven years old, didn't survive. >> i can't believe what this woman is going to feel, when she's told her child didn't make it. >> reporter: so, this is where you and your daughter and your granddaughter hid during the storm? gwendolyn jones had no storm shelter. she and her family took cover in the safest place they could find. >> we laid here on the floor and holding hands and praying all the while. >> reporter: the room her daughter and granddaughter live in, now destroyed. losing so much so close to christmas, but this family feels blessed. >> christmas will still be christmas, so, whether i have
that's not going to change christmas for me. >> reporter: the community here now coming together. donanaons pouring into this shelter, hoping to salvage some kind of christmas. tom, this motor home was parked 100 yards away. and the only thing that stopped it was a two-story building, now obliterated. and, the trailer, attached to that rv, tom, they found it up in those trees, a quarter mile away. >> incredible. all right, phillip, thank you. and now we want to bring in rob marciano, outside in new york city. rob, those powerful storms, are they over at this point? >> reporter: still happeving, tom. especially across the southeast, where it wass a mess today. eight to ten inches of rain falling across southeast alabama and still flooding rains happening from mississippi through the i-10 and i-20 corridor. we have flash flood watches that are posted across these areas. look at the future radar for tomorrow. the same areas could see some rough weather on christmas day. and the flood threat, tom, both
flooding could last through the weekend. >> rob, the calendar says december, but it looks like you are dressed for july. how long is this worment going to last? >> reporter: it is absurd, isn't it? no jacket required. 68 degrees today in northern vermont. all-time record for the month of december in burlington. and more records are going to fall tomorrow, though it will be a little bit schooler, 10 to 15, 20 degrees above average. warm and humid in the southeast. here at this holiday market in manhattan, where the venders are breaking down for the season, they are breaking a sweat tonight. tom? >> good point. all right, rob marciano for us toninit. rob, thanknkyou. after the brutal winters of the past few years, many may be finding the balmy weather is a nice holiday gift, but others rely on the cold to make a living. abc's gio benitez with a look at the wild winter. >> reporter: tonight, an unusual christmas eve in the northeast. a record in new york city -- almost as warm as the fourth of july.
being the warmest on record ever. it is so warm that here in new york city, you can walk on the street wearing short sleeves on christmas eve. >> i'm loving it. everyone should have a hot holiday. i don't have to go to california or florida. i'm fine right here. >> reporter: up and down the east coast, people are walking around@in shorts and flip-flops. even the ice cream trucks are out. 1984 was the last time you brought the ice cream truck out? >> yes. >> reporter: but the nice weather comes at a price. weather weather-relatesales are down dramatically. loss of at least $421 million. ski resorts are feeling it, too. only 16% of ski trails have opened at 12 major resorts in the nortrtast. still, more people are eating out and malls are seeing a jump, too. and tom, here in new jersey, it's also the warmest christmas eve on record. but this little christmas miracle is just that. next week, temperatures start dropping dramatically. in fact, in parts of the northeast, snow is in the forecast. tom? >> all right, it's coming our
gio, thank you. we want to turn to chicago now. protests over the shooting death of a black teen by white polole officer.r. more than 100 the ghoe stray torps staged die-ins, where they laid on the pavement. it's the latest protest since the release last month of a video showing officer jason van dyke shooting laquan mcdonald 16 times. he is charged with first degree murdern that killing. meanwhile, some christmas eve chaos at one mall, as so mama are already on edge of a year marked by deadly shootings. shots fired at a north carolina mall, shoppers running for cover. the investigation unfolding tonight. here's abc's ron claiborne. >> reporter: it happened again. this time, a shooting in a north carolina shopping mall, packed with last-minute christmas shoppers. gun fire sending many in the crowd fleeing in panic. inside, this man finding safety huddling behind a clothing rack. >> we were just walking and people just started running, yelling, screaming.
was get safe. >> reporter: images from the northlake mall in charlotte captured the chaos and confusion. >> started shooting. >> reporter: authorities say the shooting occurred after two groups of people inside the mall got into an argument. an offduty police officer intervened and fatally shot one person who they say was armed. >> this is not a random act of violence. this is something that happened between two parties who were beefing back and forth. >> reporter: this incident comes just two days after a shooting at one of the country's biggest malls on new york's long island. there, too, scenes of panic when a robber allegedly fired a gun in a struggle with a store security guard. in north carolina tonight, the mall where today's shooting occurred is closed. at least four people gone to the hospital, and yet another community on edge. ron claiborne, abc news, new york. now to a developing story that could affect moneys of shundreds of families here in the u.s. the department of homeland security is finalizing plans to
immigrants living here illegally since 2014. is the government really ready to conduct raids to round up thousands of people? abc's senior justice correspondent pierre thomas on the case. >> reporter: they camee over the southern border by the thousands. children and families, in some cases, fleeing violence and persecution in central america. many bussed beyond the border. inside the u.s. some facing angry crowds while the government determined their fate. now, with illegal border crossing spiking again, hundreds of those families are being targeted for deportation in a series of sweeps that could begin as early as next month, if approved by the white house. >> i think what they're trying to do here is send a message to central america, saying, don't come. and in order to do that, i think ey believe that images o o families being offloaded on planes in central america, that it's going to deter people from coming. >> reporter: the families targeted for deportation had their requests for asylum rejected by immigration judges. but the removal is sparking controversy, because the obama
focused on deporting criminals, not families. >> very tough day, frankly, for this news to break, on christmas eve. >> reporter: some administration critics said the plan is symbolic window dressing that will do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration. and others, includingemocratic presidential candidates call the plan draconian. martin o'malley tweeted today, a christmas refugee roundup sounds like something donald trump would concoct. and hillary clinton's campaign released a statement, saying she has real concerns about these reports. >> and pierre thomas is live with us from washington. pierre, how would authorities actually go about executing this plan? >> reporter: tom, in many cases, these families have to be tracked down. but immigration and customs enforcement agents are confident they can be located. they say it's simply too difficult for families to hide. but we'll have to see what happens. opposition to this plan is already fierce. tom? > no doubt a delicate situation. all right, pierre, thank you. now, to politics and the race for president. the rhetoric not easing up on
the latest polls show hillary clinton and dond trump running inin a dead heat. that's within the poll's margin of error. and now trump's campaign is turning up the heat, taking aim not just at hillary clinton, but at bill clinton's scandals, as well. here's abc's jim avila. >> reporter: no christmas eve quiet for donald trumptoday. retweeting this, why is hillary even allowed to run? she's a criminal. last night, his campaign spokeswoman even summoning the ghost of her husband's scandals. >> hillary clinton has some nerve to talkk about the war on women and the bigotry towards women when she's got a serious problem in her husband. >> reporter: trump's campaign upping the rhetoric after he described clinton's loss to president obama by using offcolor slang of the male anatomy. >> she was favored to win and she got [ bleep ]. she lost, i mean, she lost. >> reporter: trump insists his
vulgar nor misogynistic. >> to me, that's really a reference to getting beaten and really pretty decisively. and when i said it, nobody in the audience thought anything about it. they clapped, they didn't view that as being a horrible thing. >> reporter: but clinton's campaign called trump's language degrading and disgusting. >> i really deplore the tone of his campaign and the inflammatory rhetoric. it's's not the firir time he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism. >> reporter: and that brought this vailed threat from trump last night. "hillary, chenwhen you complain for a penchant for seamtism, who are you referring to? have great. >> reporter: for women. be careful." >> i can think quite a few women that have been bullied by hillary clinton. >> reporter: no comment from the
trump and his family go to church near his palm beach home, so, perhaps there will be a momentary truce. jim avila, abc news. and tonight, a bit of closure for the american hostages held captive in iran back in 1979. they are finally being compensated for their ordede, which dominated the headlines after years of their legal claims being turned down by courts. they will finally be paid millions. tonight, more than 30 years after those american hostages were paraded before the world, a measure of justice. the 53 americans seized by an angry mob that stormed the u.s. embassy in tehran in 1979. >> spend at least another night imprisoned in the american embassy. >> reporter: they game international pawns. their ordeal dragging on for more than a year. rodney sick month was one of them. a 22-year-old marine serving as a security guard at the embassy. >> being held hostage for 444 days of a bad nightmare. each day, we woke up, we thought
>> reporter: finally, on the day ronald reagan was sworn in -- >> they won freedom for 52 americans. >> reporter: in all the years since, the former hostages fought for compensation, and it's finally come. they will each receive up to $4.4 million. that's $10,000 for every one of the 444 days they spent in ptivity. sick manncalls it justice. when he heard the news, he actually pulled over to the side of the road and cried. all right, we want to turn now to the holidayayhat is upon us, and the celebrations taking place around the world on this christmas eve. here's the scene in bethlehem tonight. the biblical city celebrating the traditional birthplace of jesus. and the vatican lit up. pope francis celebrating midnight mass. tens of thousands are expected to attend tomorrow's christmas day mass. and there is still so much more ahead here on "world news tonight."
plenty of deals still to be had. which stores will stay open late on the chase for the best deals and, can you believe, the best deal out there, possibly, and hone 6 for just a buck? and, a tourist adventure takes a scary turn. what caused this chopper to swirl out of control? today people are coming out to the nation's capital to support an important cause that c c change the way you live for years to come. how can you help? by giving a little more, to yourself. i am running for my future. people sometimes forget to help themselves. the cause is retirement, and today thousands of people me to race for retirement and pledge to save an additional one percent of their income. if we all do that we can all win. prudential
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now, to hollywood and robert downey jr. getting a pretty nice christmas gift. the "ironman" star who spent time in priso after police found heroin, cocaine and a pistol in his vehicle, was granted a pardon by jerry brown. downie has stayed out of troubte since his release in 2002. voting rights now restored. now, to an indiana woman getting this christmas surprise of a lifetime. >> oh! >> we call that the holiday freakout. her sonn r rurning from service with the air force and a brand new baby. her son and daughter-in-law kept the baby's early adoption a secret andlew home to share the good news. a moment of pure holiday joy for that family. so nice. and when we come back, keeping track of santa tonight. norad protects our skies, so, how did they get into the busiss of tracking jolly old st. nick? the phone call that started it
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because it's never just a cough. wife... a potentially life-saving gift for her this christmas season. and it was wheels up for the hawkeyes, as they head to california to prepare for the rose bowl against stanford. see these stories and more tonig finally, santa is on his way. the team at norad tracking his every move as they've been doing now for 60 years. tonight, how and why the government launched this high-flying mission. here's abc's clayton sandell. >> reporter: tonight, santa claus is under the watchful eyes of norad. >> you see the last place we've seen santa claus, which was in russia. and then it tracks the number of gifts delivered, which is just over 2 billion. >> reporter: usually on alert for things like missile attacks, norad takes this very seriously. how important is this mission? >> oh, this is a no fail mission.
back to the cold war, as t story goes, back in 1955, a sears newspaper add gave kid as number to call santa. but that number was off by one. so, instead of reaching the man in d, they were calling the red phone. >> that red phone was some secret. >> reporter: the colonel ordered his men to play along. >> he was military through and through, but he loved kids. and he loved christmas. >> reporter: and a tradition was born. norad has been playing along now for 60 years. >> santa loves cookies and milk. >> reporter: 1,500 volunteers taking 135,000 calls from excited kids in 235 countries. >> headed for india right now. >> reporter: you might just reach terry, taking calls today for the first time ever. >> have you got cookies for him? >> reporter: the colonel was her dad.
>> it's great. better than i even thought. it's wonderful. >> reporter: she says that went for her dad, too. a simple mistake he helped turn into 60 years of magic. clayton sandell, abc news, coloradodoprings. >> and our thanks to those 1,500 volunteers that take the calls. thank you so much for watching. "gma" first thing in the morning. i'm tom llamas. for david andnd all off us here, a merry christmas and happy holidays.the hawkeyes leave for southern california a little more than a week away from their battle in the rose bowl. volunteers help a linn county homeowner clean up last night's storm damage. and an iowa city man gives the gift wf life this kidneys to his wife. you're watching kcrg-tv9. now,
source, this is kcrg-tv9 news at 6. the iowawaawkeyes have made it to southern california where they'll continue getting ready for the rose bowl game on new year's day. they arrived there a couple hours ago. kcrg t-v nine's chris earl was at the eastern iowa airport when the team flew out this afternoon. chris, traveling on the holidays is usually hectic and stressful, but not for this crew. definitely no sweating out making that connection at o'hare. now at 18 days since the news that iowa would play in the 2016 rose bowl against stanford, the businesesof getting everyone e and everything to pasadena - became a procession at the eastern iowa airport. ... the people arrived at the eastern iowa airport by the busloads -- not fans -- but all of the student- athletes, the coaches, the administrators for a historic trip to pasadena. some of the players, like freshman offensive lineman landan