tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 4, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
on our broadcast tonight, off a cliff. temperatures diving 40 degrees in some spots. dramatic weather moving from west to east and causing some big problems on the way. stranded in the ever glasd, dozens of whales. the journey home for wounded americans in afghanistan. tonight richard engle with the service men and women on board the first flight to safety. and making a difference. the woman who quietly saved up a fortune and did something that surprised the entire town. nightly news begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc nightly news with brian williams. good evening. if you're watching us from the dallas ft. worth area in texas
you can be prepared to watch. temperatures dropped 40 degrees in just about 24 hours. if you're to the east of there, this may be a preview of what to expect. and if you live where it's warm, you'll be the envy of the rest of the nation over the next few days as a big cold and crawling weather system is about to cause a whole lot of trouble as the weather is due when winter takes hold. it's already bad in the rockies. and we'll begin there in denver. good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. it never rose above 10 degrees in denver today. early this morning with the wind chill, it felt like it was negative 106789 bone chilling temperatures. and although it was bad here, there are other sections of the country that have it even worse. from whiteouts to wipe outs, the big chill impacting 33 million americans is bringing a brutal mix of snow, ice and sub zero temperatures to 27 states.
near duluth, minnesota, nearly 3 feet of snow in two days. >> it's going to be a white christmas. >> reporter: the arctic blast burying cars. conditions like these on the roads claiming at least six lives. by friday, it could be 20 degrees belzero. tonight, states are bracing for pockets of record cold. >> we haven't seen anything like this for a while, this early in the season. >> reporter: across much of the west, temperatures could plummet 40 degrees below normal. in denver it went from nearly 60 degrees to 6 in 2001 day, perfect for the polar bear at the zoo, not so ideal for this snowplow. >> you've got icy, snow packed roads. >> reporter: with an army of plows working around the clock, it is all hands on deck to keep the roads clear for the evening commute.
in utah, the highways a nightmare. more than 300 accidents today alone. in minnesota at least 175 crashes since midnight. the deep freeze is even crippling california's citrus crop. >> they'll go bitter on you fairly fast if they're frozen hard. >> reporter: 85% of the fruit in this multi-billion industry is still on the trees. they could lose it all in an overnight freeze. >> worst-case scenario, we'll lose about $2 billion worth of product. we'll have unemployment totaling 15,000 people. >> reporter: a winter blast battling half the country and tonight threatening to terrorize even more of the nation. across this region, warming centers are opening for folks who don't have heating. police are doing door knocks on the elderly to check on their welfare, and it's only going to get colder. >> miguel, thanks.
weather channel meteorologist mike seidel cannot catch a break. he's still in duluth, minnesota. good evening. >> reporter: hey, another wild day on the shores here of lake superior. 20 inches of snow so far. 45-mile-per-hour wind gusts. we'll get a few more inches tonight and then it winds down and then it's into the icebox. just about all of montana, sub zero cold. only 9 in minneapolis/st. paul. fargo only gets to 5 above zero. temperatures nose diving. nearly 80 in dallas, nearly 50 degrees colder by the afternoon. this is the perfect setup for ice. and we've got ice issues. and it will lead to tree and power line outages. this could mean memphis, little rock. it could mean power out for several days. it's going to stay very cold.
not a good time to lose your power and your heat. there will be widespread travel impacts going into friday and saturday in the midsouth. >> we'll keep an eye on it. thanks. it has been almost a year since the shooting at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. 20 children, six adults were killed in that massacre. today after a fight by families to keep them private, the 911 calls from inside the school on at that day were made public. nbc news has chosen not to broadcast the tapes. our chief education correspondent did listen to them today to see if they reveal anything new. good evening. >> good evening. a judge ruled just last week that while these calls could be a searing reminder of the horror on that awful day they could also support the professionalism and bravery of the adults involved. though the seven recordings made public included very little new information about what happened, what struck me is how calm everyone seemed during this
ordial, still, when you look at the faces of those innocent people, you understand why the release of the 911 calls is not only so sensitive to those who lost loved ones but also the entire newtown community. we heard from two teachers. both sounded remarkably calm in front of the children. we also heard from a custodian who stayed on the line with police through the ordeal. you could hear gunshots in the background as he spoke. but what did you not hear was chaos or screaming or children's voices. while many parents did not want these tapes to be released, i did speak with one father who wanted to listen to them. and he told me there was nothing that shed light on that awful day but it did show to him that there was, the dispatchers did all they could. >> tough time, tougher as the anniversary approaches. thank you for that. tre is a late development
tonight in a story a lot of us woke up to this morning about a stolen truck containing radioactive material on its way from a hospital in tijuana to a disposal site near mexico city. tonight the truck has been found near the gas station where it was stolen. and the critical cargo known as cobalt 60 has been recovered. mexican officials describe its radioactivity now as quote, low intensity. the commuter train derailment in new york city this weekend has thrust the topic of worker fatigue into the news. the investigation, as you may know, is now focused on the engineer and whether he fell asleep two weeks into a new shift in a 5:00 in the morning start. everyone gets tired, every shift has its own rhythms. we get our report tonight from tom costello. >> reporter: in the first minutes of sunday's emergency
response, william rockefeller told police he zoned out just before the crash. his attorney said he was in a daze situation. a union rep said he nodded out. different descriptions for what sleep researchers say sounds like a sleep attack. >> when sleep intrudes involuntarily into the waking brain and seizes control of the brain so that the person who is doing their best to try to stay awake is overcome by exhaustion and fatigue. >> reporter: whether it's on the rails or on the road, an an attack is usually the result of sleep deprivation. researchers estimate 2 million people nod off at the wheel each week. sleep is thought to be a factor in 7500 fatalities a year and involved likely in a freight train accident in 2011 that killed two. at the ntsb lab today we talked
to debbie hersman. >> fatigue has been an issue. we've seen many rail accidents where fatigue has been a factor. sometimes working split shifts on the commuter side, sometimes working around the clock on those freight operations, working through the night. >> the ntsb has pushed for technology fix, including videorecorders in train cab and positive automatic braking systems. over industry objections, it is set to be mandatory in two years. tonight the nypd and prosecutors are asking a difficult question. >> there is a collaborative effort to determine if in fact this rises to the level of criminality. >> reporter: whether falling asleep on the job is criminally negligent. and we mentioned this at the top of the broadcast there's a massive rescue mission under way off the coast of florida to rescue dozens of stranded pilot
whales. mark potter has a rate report from everglades national park. >> reporter: our journey to find the strapped whales began in the back country of the everglades national park where we sped through creeks and bays to get to the gulf of mexico. there in an area known as highland beach we came upon scientists and officials tending to a bunch of pilot whales. they were discovered tuesday afternoon by a fishing guide and scientists arrived to find 51 whales. >> some of those animals might stay with their ill pod mates rather than swim out into deeper water. >> reporter: all day long veterinarians have been surrounding the whales trying to corral them and to try to keep them from swimming even closer to shore. right now the scientists are taking vac of the high tide on this sandbar to try to move the whales off into deeper water before the tide turns and the
whales are once again strapped. >> reporter: but a big problem is that the whales now face an obstacle course of sandbars stretching 20 miles toward the much deeper water where they are normally found. in recent years there have been other whale strapping, including this one near key west. 23 whales were strand then and most die. while rescuers say the prognosis for most of the whales is not good because they're too dehydrated and weak to be saved, they hope at least some of them can eventually be guided back to open water. and now that night has fallen, thes are cue workers have come back to the dock for safety reasons, but we're told they will be going back out tomorrow morning. >> mark potter, thanks. president obama called for a hike in the minimum wage to help with the dangerous and growing income gap which he says and has said repeatedly is eroding the american dream. one recent study showed almost
all the economic gains have gone to the very top, the 1%. tomorrow we'll be covering a job action among fast food workers in upwards of 100 cities across the country who plan to walk offer the job to protest low wages. getting out alive. richard engle with wounded american troops, including one who heroically risked his life to save others. and later, the moment the first dog got too excited making a new friend and what followed today at the white house.
we're back. and with all the talk of late about america's longest war and when the u.s. is leaving afghanistan, it's so important to remember there are still tens of thousands of american troops in harm's way. over the past 12 years, 51,000 u.s. service members have been injured in iraq and afghanistan, and sadly, that figure continues to rise. tonight, our chief foreign
correspondent richard engle takes us aboard the first flight to safety on the long journey home. >> reporter: the journey home for wounded troops began at 2:00 in the morning at bog ram air base. 18 patients loaded onto a massive c-17 marine corporal from marietta, georgia insisted on walking aboard. he was hit with shrapnel in his neck that nearly severed his spine. soon, it's time to go. eight hours to germany. he thought about the marines he was leaving in afghanistan. >> i don't want to leave them out there. i'm going home. i'm going to be home for christmas. they're not. >> reporter: specialist clarissa with a back injury cuddled a bear her husband gave her. the in-flight meal, rations. one baked an apple pie, gave
hall a slice. on the ground, the patients go to the medical center. care has come a long way since 9/11. doctors say 99% of troops who live through their initial injuries now survive. this doctor estimates he's done 1,000 surgeries on u.s. troops. >> all these guys are super positive. they're special individuals. they know they're getting quality, world class care. they know they're going to do well when they get out of here. >> reporter: corporal hall was doing well. he's lucky to be alive. he was with another marine when that rocket exploded, five feet away. >> he heard that and looked up. that's not what you want to do. >> reporter: hall tackled the marine to shield him from the blast. >> i just went, he was from me to you away and just lunged at him. and when i did that, that's when
the round impacted. >> reporter: and that marine whose life hall may have saved, this is him. he came in on another flight. hall didn't even know he was here. this is the first time they've seen even other since afghanistan. >> i don't even remember him tackling me, but i'm sure that something, you know. >> you were just standing there. you didn't know what to do. >> i didn't know what was going on. >> reporter: they are on the mend. but every day new flights arrive with new injured. richard engle, nbc news, germany. and we're back in just a moment with a big real-life promotion for a woman who was once the inspiration behind a hollywood movie.
brand name in the news business is coming back in print after disappearing last year. it had 3.3 million readers at its height. this new print version will be sent out on a subscription only basis starting after the first of the year. mike tomlin, head coach of the pittsburgh steelers made a very expensive misstep a few months back. the baltimore ravens kick returner jacoby jones screaming down the sidelines. tomlin stepped in front of him. jones was then tackled, and the nfl ruled that was over the line. they were hit with a fine. who with forget the kelly
mcgillis character. now it can be said the basis for the female lead was none other than christine fox, the very real defense person making hear to be the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the pentagon. the canadian national image of unfailing politeness and civility has taken a hit of late with the rob ford saga unfolding in toronto, but it's clear that canadian spirit is still alive and well. kathryn jones bought a lottery ticket last year and promptly lost the ticket. it was the winning number. it paid off close to $50 million. canadian lottery officials tracked her down. they proved she bought the ticket. they verified her purchase and award her the unclaimed jackpot. a touch and go dog incident
at the white house today. it all began with a startle and ended, luckily, with warmth and affection. sun eye, sister of bo obama was just greeting a little girl when she knocked her over. mrs. obama, as you see was right there on the case. and then when little girl and shopping bag got right side up, all was well. there were kisses all around. pats on the head. then they bonded and then some. crisis more than averted. when we come back, the secret millionaire making a difference very close to home.
and finally tonight, here, our making a difference report. this one involves a small town, a woman who lived there for many years, and a secret that turned out to be worth a fortune. her story tonight from harry smith. >> reporter: sims bury connecticut is a classic town whose roots date back to the 1600s. when kathleen died, she was remembered fondly. >> she loved the little kids. and that's where she put her energies because she built a
foundation for them for the rest of their lives. >> reporter: tara serves on the board of ed. >> she was all about giving, not getting. >> reporter: single all her life, she lived simply with her twin brother bob in the house their parents left them. but no one knew she had a secret, a very big secret. turns out, she was a millionaire, several times over. and when she died, most of that money went to the institution she loved. including the simsbury public schools. >> you just couldn't believe that she'd have that kind of money to give. >> reporter: kathleen herself didn't know how much she was worth. >> she thought she had $40,000. >> reporter: an attorney soon found kathleen was rich, really rich, blue chip stocks her family had held for more than 50 years. it looked like the twins rarely
touched their inheritance. >> she lived a very modest life and the money was not a priority to her. >> reporter: more than a dozen institutions will benefit from their thrift, including st. mary's catholic church, $374,000. >> when i heard that amount, i was literally astounded. >> reporter: a difference maker for the busy parish says the father. >> she's going to affect the future of our parish. >> reporter: as the children of st. mary's study their catechism and prepare for christmas, no doubt they will also learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive. harry smith, nbc news, simsbury, connecticut. thank you for being with us. this night is better known as the night they light the tree out back with thousands clogging the streets and the plaza to set
a glimpse on this thankfully mild night here in new york. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. goodnight. >> good evening. thanks for joining us. >> we begin with the chill playing out across the entire bay area. you're looking at a live look at san francisco, just one of the cities where a freeze warning is in effect. >> thisst what we'll see tomorrow morning, much like what we see this morning, ice. while the chilly weather is bad news for a lo of people, it means big business for others. damiian trujillo has that part f the story. but we begin w jeff ranieri.
>> palo alto at 30, half moon bay at 32. and the san francisco zoo at 35 degrees. so yes, it was frigid this morning, but it is going to get even colder as we head throughout tomorrow morning. freeze warning now extended for the eastbound and also for the southbound at in this point. all areas pretty much except for san francisco will experience temperatures 25 to about 36 degrees. right now, the mercury is already dropping, so to speak. 44 right now here across san jose. you can see the south bay continues to cool off at this hour with temperatures that are even getting close to the 30s back here towards camel. los gatos at 38 and saratoga at 36.