tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 16, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
thanks, henry. henry wofford used to be my friend. >> good night, everyone. see you at 6:00. on our broadcast tonight, out of nowhere. a dozen tornadoes tear through texas. entire neighborhoods wiped out. at least six people are dead. and tonight, they're still looking for the missing. crisis mode inside the obama white house. the president now on the offensive as a string of controversies threatens to dominate his second term. sudden impact. new crash test results are out. the results aren't good in one of the most popular vehicle categories on the road. and the amazing race. a life-changing discovery for two young women at the finish line. "nightly news" begins now. good evening. as night fell to the west of ft. worth, texas, last night, they say they could feel that charge
in the air. people knew bad weather was coming. they didn't know how bad. it turns out at its height, the storm system was visible from space down to the circulation of one tornado just minutes before it dropped down and was reported on the ground. one of a dozen tornadoes to strike last night. some of them producing the most severe and damaging winds on earth. the death toll has been growing as some of the missing have been found. nbc's gabe gutierrez starts us off from granbury, texas, tonight. gabe, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. this is what an ef-4 tornado looks like. homes obliterated. the death toll stands at six. they are just starting to release the names of the dead, and seven people are unaccounted for. in granbury, texas, first light shone on a new and devastated landscape. homes shredded, cars tossed, and this couple's life ripped apart.
>> shaking uncontrollably, unbelievably. what's five, ten minutes seems like hours. >> reporter: their house in the hardest hit area, a development largely built by habitat for humanity less than five years ago. >> when you can put a name and a face that you work beside the people that built that house and you know how much that home means to that family, it is very devastating. >> reporter: residents here were alerted to the danger. warning sirens shrieked for about 26 minutes before the tornado hit, giving many time to take cover. the national weather service estimates the ef-4 tornado had winds of up to 200 miles per hour. the howling and hail began at sundown. >> oh, my word. look at all that. >> reporter: when it was over, more than 100 homes were damaged, at least six people were dead and dozens more injured. >> it was like hell. >> amazed that we all lived through it, really. just scared to death. >> reporter: the fast-moving
storms barrelled east toward the heavily plated dallas-ft. worth metro area. >> at least get inside of a closet, a bathroom. get away from windows. >> reporter: 25 miles away, another twister, likely an ef-3, tore through the small town of cleburne, and a third storm destroyed more homes west of ft. worth. >> we were sound asleep, then this piece falls atop of me, then this piece falls right beside me. it was unreal. >> reporter: but despite the death toll in granbury, officials credit the early warning system here with saving lives. >> i knew this was going to be one of the worst i've ever seen, and it was. >> reporter: now a massive effort is under way to find those still missing, reunite families. >> it was bad. it was the scariest thing i've ever been in. >> reporter: and clean up the debris. as for the missing, authorities are hopeful that they're not trapped in the rubble but maybe simply haven't told officials exactly where they are. still, emergency responders plan to keep searching, brian. >> gabe gutierrez starting us off from granbury, texas, tonight.
gabe, thanks. let's go to weather channel meteorologist mike seidel, also part of our team there. mike, this was a long wind-up. a 26-minute siren blast will get your attention. the problem is, so many structures are no match for an f-4. >> reporter: that's true. and you know, it's been a long time coming. we've had a very quiet spring. this is peak of tornado season, brian. but so far, since march 1st, we've only had 22% of the average number of tornadoes. that did change late yesterday here in north texas. take a look at the ingredients. upper level wind support, cold air aloft over this warm, humid air at the surface. that is the perfect setup for instability. also notice the wind direction aloft, west-northwest. now we go to the surface, and the winds there are blowing in from the southeast, bringing in sticky, warm, tropical air from the gulf. this change in wind direction from the surface to the higher levels is what we call wind shear. that was extreme yesterday and led to the spinning motion and tornadoes. and last night most of that energy was concentrated in this one supercell that produced the
first ef-4 in texas since 1994. there will be some severe weather tonight and friday, but we think the bigger show, higher risk will be saturday. look at the red on the forecast map. from south dakota to north texas. then we shift it east on sunday to include oklahoma city and des moines. and brian, this as today iowa set a state record for the longest stretch without a tornado. 356 days and counting. we hope it continues, but more than likely we'll have twisters to cover on the weather channel all weekend. and that concern will continue east toward chicago by early next week. brian? >> mike seidel, part of our team. they have a busy couple of days ahead. mike, thanks. it's been almost a month since another disaster hit texas, in the small town of west, texas, near waco. first there was that raging fire, then the massive explosion that killed 15. 12 of the killed were first responders who were trying to fight the fire. well, tonight, investigators say they still do not know what caused the initial fire. they've ruled out smoking or weather conditions, spontaneous combustion. they say they'll continue to look for clues in what is still
classified as a criminal investigation. there's news tonight on the boston marathon bombing investigation, specifically, a previously unreported message that one of the suspects left as authorities were closing in on him. tonight it's providing clues to a possible motive in this case. our justice correspondent, pete williams, has details. >> reporter: as dzhokhar tsarnaev lay wounded and bleeding in a boat stored in a watertown backyard, investigators say, he picked up a pen, perhaps believing he was dying, and wrote on the inside of the wall boat was which later riddled with bullet holes when police fired on it. law enforcement officials say he wrote using crowd language that the marathon bombings were in retaliation for the u.s. military operations in iraq and afghanistan, which he said were attacks against muslims. and officials say he wrote he expected soon to be joining his older brother tamerlan as a martyr in paradise. according to investigators, he said much the same while he was questioned in the hospital during the weekend after his arrest.
as for his older brother, who was the subject of a background assessment by the fbi in 2011, fbi director robert muller responded today to complaints that the boston police chief was never told about that until after the bombings. muller said police in boston were part of a joint terrorism task force that had access to all the information the fbi gathered after the assessment of tamerlan tsarnaev was closed for lack of evidence. >> others on the task force may have participated in some way or shape, but because it was closed, it was not of serious -- serious enough to be taken up to the leadership. >> reporter: and investigators say they're still not certain where the bombs were assembled. officials say the fbi thoroughly searched tamerlan tsarnaev's apartment, including swapping the drains. while they say they found potential pieces of bomb components, they did not find what they considered signs of a bomb factory. investigators say they believe his window, katherine russell, could tell them more than she has, though her lawyers say she has been cooperating.
pete williams, nbc news, washington. an awful day in afghanistan today. six americans, two service members, four military contractors, among the 15 people killed when a suicide car bomb exploded in kabul. dozens more injured. one of the deadliest days in the afghan capital in months. 2,087 american servicemen and women have been killed since the war started there over 12 years ago. back in this country, president obama is now on the offensive, trying to assure the public he's taking seriously this confluence of three separate controversies really that have erupted at the same time. we also learned tonight another top official at the irs is stepping down. our political director, chief white house correspondent chuck todd, with us from the north lawn. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. damage control, day two. in what's easily been the president's toughest week politically since winning re-election. all of these presidential
pronouncements today all designed to show that he's on top of these bubbling controversies popping up all over his government. today's weather in the rose garden, a fitting metaphor for a president who suddenly may think he's got a dark cloud following him. at one point out of concern for his guests, he asked marines for umbrellas. >> there we go. that's good. >> reporter: the president reiterated his pledge to clean up the irs in the wake of the agency's bias targeting of conservative groups. >> we will be putting in new leadership that will be able to make sure that following up on the ig audit, that we gather up all the facts, that we hold accountable those who have taken these outrageous actions. >> reporter: today, he appointed a new acting irs commissioner, daniel werfel, a high-level career krivl servant who has served under president obama and president bush. mr. obama also stood by his beleaguered attorney general, eric holder, for the justice department's unprecedented decision to subpoena associated
press phone records as part of their investigation into national security leaks. >> he's an outstanding attorney general, and he does his job with integrity, and i expect he will continue to do so. >> reporter: and as for benghazi, the president tried to turn the debate away from how it was handled to how to prevent another attack in the future. >> i've directed the defense department to ensure that our military can respond lightning quick in times of crisis, but we're not going to be able to do this alone. we're going to need congress as a partner. >> reporter: this week's swirl of controversies has some comparing obama to an unpopular former president. >> how do you feel of comparisons by your critics to this week's scandals to those that happened under the nixon administration? >> i'll let you guys engage this those comparisons, and you can go ahead and read the history, i think, and draw your own conclusions. >> reporter: yet another controversy, actually, that's
popping up in this government, the sexual assault issue that's hitting the military. late this afternoon, brian, he met with military chiefs about this issue. and listen to what he said -- "not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but is going to make and has made our military less effective." he said defense secretary chuck hagel would be having weekly meetings on this issue until the military gets its arms around it. >> chuck todd at the white house tonight. chuck, thanks. some folks are already calling the president's problems the curse of the second term. and yet, it's tough to know the staying power of any given scandal in the making along with the effect any of this might have on his overall planned agenda. that story tonight from nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: controversies on all sides. republicans and even some democrats at the gate and a president who often sounds more like observer than chief executive. >> i first learned about it from the same news reports that i think most people learn good this. >> reporter: there's already pressure for a special counsel to investigate the irs and unflattering comparisons to
richard nixon. not watergate. >> if that were directed by the president or those directly under him and he was aware of that, now you're talking about a comparison that would be, in fact, valid. i don't think that's the case. >> reporter: but doesn't the buck stop in the oval office? >> americans are right to be angry about it and i am angry about it. >> reporter: even former aides say president obama was slow to act. >> i think they could have reacted more quickly to these events and demonstrated more concern and more anger. >> reporter: it's partly a matter of style, famously no-drama obama. >> he doesn't let himself get distracted. he tends to be centered and focused, sometimes in an almost zen way. >> reporter: some fault the president for not making friends in washington sooner with democrats or republicans. >> why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell, they ask. really? why don't you get a drink with mitch mcconnell.
[ laughter ] >> reporter: after iran-contra, ronald reagan shook up his staff to regain control. >> a few months ago, i told the american people i did not trade arms for hostages. >> reporter: bill clinton had to overcome impeachment, george w. bush, the iraq war and failure to reform social security. the obama team seems confident its second-term problems will blow over, despite warning signs. >> when you're under siege, when your whole legislative agenda and your legacy are in danger of being swallowed up by conspiracy theorists, that's when you have to be more direct and more aggressive. >> reporter: tonight, signs that the message may be sinking in. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. and still ahead here tonight, new crash tests designed to be more like real-life crashes. not good news here for a lot of people who own a lot of popular brands. and later, an unbelievable chance encounter at a high school track meet that changed two lives forever in a way that you'll see.
attention car owners and potential buyers. they are among the fastest selling vehicles in the u.s. these days. you're going to recognize a lot of these brands. they are the family car for a lot of american families. there are an estimated 11 million of them on the road in this country, but now the new crash test results we have for you tonight are raising questions about safety. our report from nbc's john yang. >> reporter: of the 13 models tested by the insurance institute for highway safety, 11 rated poor or marginal. >> we only have 2 of the 13 vehicles performing well in the new test. that being said, i'm optimistic that in the future the other vehicles will be redesigned to perform well. >> reporter: the top two, the subaru forester and the mitsubishi outlander sport. the new test replicates what are called small overlap crashes like hitting a tree or utility pole or an oncoming car. >> when we look back at what kind of frontal crashes are still resulting in serious
injury and death, small overlap crashes account for about 25% of those. >> reporter: small suvs are among the hottest selling cars in america today, 1.5 million sold this year alone. they're becoming the family car of choice. >> small suvs are selling about three times faster than regular automobiles in the united states for a couple of reasons. one, people want the cargo and the utility. and two, they want greater fuel efficiency. >> reporter: but in some cases, drivers could be at risk. in the nissan rogue, the front door frame ended up almost touching the driver's seat. the jeep patriot's steering wheel was displaced so far, the crash test dummy's head missed the airbag. nissan says it will review results as we seek opportunities for improvement. chrysler, when makes jeep, says, "the patriot meets or exceeds all government regulatory requirements and has performed well in real-world scenarios."
the insurance institute still ranks 2013 and '14 jeep patriots a top safety pick along with eight other models that fell short in the new test. but, the group says, they could still be safer. john yang, nbc news, chicago. >> again, we've put the entire list of crash test results on our website tonight. we're back in a moment with the secrets we learned today that so many folks are keeping from their spouses. for our families...
our neighbors... and our communities... america's beverage companies have created... a wide range of new choices. developing smaller portion sizes and more.. low and no-calorie beverages... adding clear calorie labels so you know... exactly what you're choosing... and in schools, replacing full-calorie soft drinks... with lower-calorie options. with more choices and fewer calories... america's beverage companies are delivering. the journal "science" online is reporting melting glaciers are contributing in a big way to rising sea levels. this report says glacier water adds the equivalent of a lake erie to our oceans every two years, and melting glaciers account for 30% of our rising ocean levels currently. in the wake of sandy, new jersey governor chris christie announced today he is devoting $300 million in federal funds to buying back upwards of 1,000
damaged homes. some homes will be bought just to be destroyed, to keep people from building in harm's way in future storms. 24-year nascar veteran dick trickle has died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. fans remember him at the wheel of the miller lite 84 car. his best year was '89. he got used to his name being a late-night punch line in over 300 career races at the top. the wisconsin native was remembered fondly by his fellow drivers today. american airlines unveiled a new policy today. if you're traveling light, you board before the other passengers. this rule is if you're only carrying something that fits snuggly beneath the seat in front of you, then you can board before folks flying with more, including rolling bags in the overhead bins. the airline hopes this will help their on-time performance, among
other things. when we put this story out today over social media, it fired people up, so we're thinking this may be a low-ball number, but 12% of married american adults now admit to being guilty of netflix adultery. that's when you skip ahead and watch episodes in advance of your spouse, despite the fact that you had a deal to watch them together. 51% said they've thought about it. many netflix adulterers admit to rewatching and then playing dumb even though they already know what's coming up in any given episode. 21% of cheaters said they did their cheating in bed while their innocent spouse slept next to them. when we come back here tonight, a case of mistaken identity that led to an incredible emotional reunion.
what a story we leave you tonight, the story of two young women who have lived in the same city, washington, d.c., for 17 years, attending different schools. they never crossed paths until one day on the racetrack. life took a surprising turn. and knowing the rest of the story now, it all makes sense. nbc's ron mott has their story. >> reporter: robin jeter and jordan dickerson are like many
kids their age. different schools, similar interests. both smart, popular, athletic. but they knew their families weren't like most others. robin, a senior, grew up in foster care. >> going from like foster home to foster home, i only grew up with my one brother. and that's like all i knew. >> reporter: jordan, a junior, was adopted, something her mom never hid. >> her telling me that i was adopted really wasn't that big of a deal really. i just wanted to know more about it. >> reporter: strangely enough, jordan joined the track team. something happened that sent her heart and robin's soaring. this past winter at a track meet of all places, one of the great mysteries about their childhoods was suddenly revealed. and their lives have been dramatically different ever since. jordan's teammate william was watching. >> i said, "go, jordan, go, jordan, go, jordan, go, jordan!" when they crossed the finish line, she turned around. i was like, yeah! that's not jordan. >> reporter: it was robin, a mixup he related to jordan.
>> i was like, "she looked just like you!" >> reporter: moments later, another student cleared up the confusion. >> i was like, oh, i know that girl. her name's robin jeter. and then jordan just started crying. >> reporter: jeter, jordan knew, was also her birth name. >> i just started crying in the middle of a track meet, in the middle of the bleachers. i was freaking out. i was hysterical. >> reporter: at long last, two sisters met. >> i couldn't even say anything. >> i was like, hi. the only thing i could say was, you know we look a lot alike. >> reporter: jordan was aware she had a sister out there somewhere. for robin, it was a complete surprise. >> who you look like? >> you. you. you. >> reporter: her friends have been wondering where she's been lately. >> i told them i was like, "i'm still going to be here, but i got to catch up on 17 years that i missed out and never known his a sister." >> reporter: divided by time and a few miles, now inseparable.
ron mott, nbc news, washington. >> how about that? incredible story to end on for a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. goodnight. williamspo nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. the breaking news is happening in san jose, a pp÷bta train and a car collide, good evening. >> i'm raj mathai, taking you to live pictures from our helicopter, once again a train has hit a car in san jose on first and metro drive, first avenue and metro drive near the san jose airport. just a short while ago a woman was trapped inside that red prius after the car was hit by the train. she was able to be gotten loose,
but no word on the condition or the train service for vta if there are any delays in the san jose area. we'll continue to follow this story throughout the news cast as warranted. also, new details tonight about the two homicide investigations in the south bay. it has been a violent 24 hours and now the hunt is on. san jose police are needing the public's help to find a man who they say brutally murdered a woman in a hotel room. it now triggered a state-wide alert. we now have information about a stabbing that left a child and her grandmother dead. we have team coverage tonight. more from the san jose police department. and we begin with kimberly terry and the search for the suspect, kimberly. >> reporter: police say they have identified a suspect but could use help from any additional witnesses or the public, anyone who has seen the 43-year-old man.