tv CBS Evening News CBS January 23, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
slams the east. blinding snow brings the streets of new york to a frozen standstill and shuts down broadway. washington, baltimore, philadelphia are all buried. full moon high tides flood the jersey shore with ice water. the deadly storm leaves hundreds stranded on highways. >> it's been crazy, just one after another truck stuck. >> shut it all down! >> axelrod: thousands forced from their home in los angeles by a cloud of methane. tonight the gas company's c.e.o. gives his first interview. >> i've been out here almost every day since october 23. i feel totally safe. >> axelrod: and former new york city mayor michael bloomberg-- is he going to make his own run for the white house?
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news." >> axelrod: good evening. i'm jim axelrod. and this is a western edition of the broadcast. 85 million americans are now dealing with a blizzard that could well make history by the time it's over tomorrow. so far, at least 17 people have died in this storm. 40 inches of snow have already fallen in glengary, west virginia. up to 30 inches are forecast for new york city. hurricane-force winds of 75 miles per hour created blinding whiteout conditions in virginia. 11 states plus washington, d.c. have now declared snow emergencies. tonight, coastal communities are flooded, hundreds remain stranded on highways, power is out in many areas. planes, trains, and buses are all going nowhere. we have a team of reporters covering the storm beginning in new york with marlie hall.
>> reporter: by 4:00 this afternoon, new york city was on lockdown, no cars allowed or buses, and many trains stopped. this is why. there is a travel ban in the city until further notice. >> this is a very big deal. >> reporter: with 50-mile-an-hour winds and more than two feet of snow and ice, mayor bill de blasio said new yorkers need to listen. >> people have to take very seriously what's going on here and recognize there's a lot of danger and a lot of disruption that's going to occur because of this storm. >> reporter: just a year ago, the mayor was heavily criticized for overreacting, closing roads and shutting down mass transit for the first time in the 110-year history for a storm that turned out to be a bust. but today was different, significantly worse than predicted. earlier, new york state governor andrew cuomo helped a driver stuck in the snow. >> once the snowfall is over, about three inches per hour, the plows just can't keep up with it.
and that's when the situation becomes most dangerous. >> reporter: already, there have been more than 300 accidents, but none of them fatal. the n.y.p.d. threatened to arrest drivers who don't stay off of roads. this one was taking his chances but had second thoughts. >> we almost got stuck a few times. >> reporter: so don't follow your example. >> do not. >> reporter: broadway took the remarkable step of cancelling all shows, stranding people who had planned to ride out the storm in a theater, including ticket holder margo zimmerman. >> i am nervous on the roads that are icy and snowy, so i felt like everyone needs to get home and be safe. it's all good. >> reporter: bridges and tunnels are also closed. those who are here in the city right now are here for the night. many area hotels are offering special snow rates for people who are stranded. jim. >> axelrod: marlie hall, thank you. the full moon and high tides have joined forces with the blizzard to flood communities along the jersey shore. at cape may, the morning high
tide was over nine feet, breaking the record set during superstorm sandy in 2012. jericka duncan is up the coast breaking thn record set during se masasquan. >> reporter: chunks of ice the size of coffee tables flowed down flooded streets in ocean city, one of dozens of towns along the new jersey coastline with roads shut down by the storm. officials in barnegat issued a mandatory evacuation. >> that's when i started getting like, how much water are we getting in here? and that's kind of sort of getting into a little panic mode. >> reporter: mantoloking police chief stacy ferris worried high tides tonight is might cause major flooding. >> all of the water is going to dump into our side streets. >> reporter: how many homes are we talking about that could be impacted? >> probably over 200 in our local back bays. >> reporter: here in mantoloking, a 45-foot wall built after sandy is the only thing between this tremendous surf and these homes.
>> honestly, we feel a form of post-traumatic stress. they've rebuilt, right. they've come back bigger and stronger, and then you have another one at your door. >> reporter: governor chris christie, who declared a state of emergency friday night, made several stops throughout new jersey today. >> this is my 17th snow emergency in six years, so we know how to do this. >> reporter: tonight, the road along the masasquan inlet is deserted. jim, the water behind me is rising by the minute as another high tide moves in. >> axelrod: jericka duncan on the hard-hit jersey shore. jericka, thank you. there are worse places to be snowbound than aboard a cruise ship. a royal caribbean ship en route from the bahamas was due to dock tomorrow at the port of baltimore. that won't be happening until at least monday now. for more on the weather situation in baltimore, let's bring in mike hellgren of wjz tv. mike. >> reporter: jim, the snow keeps falling and the winds keep whipping here outside the maryland emergency command
center where we have seen more than 22 inches of snow, making this one of the top 10 winter storms on record. even plows had trouble getting through, and the roads remain treacherous across the state. we even saw a modified military vehicle with massive four-foot-high tires. the driver tells us he was rescuing plows and four-wheel drive vehicles that got stuck on the eastern shore in the coastal areas. and in ocean city, maryland, this has been a flooding event with moderate flooding and some damage. the best advice here is stay home and stay warm. jim. >> axelrod: mike, thank you. moving south, just a ways now to the nation's capital, kris van cleave shows us how the blizzard is redefining the idea of washington gridlock. >> reporter: the trip up a snow-covered hill took a dangerous turn when this car got stuck and burst into flames. conditions are treacherous for first responders. even the plows found themselves stuck.
and whiteout conditions almost blotted out the washington monument. a dangerous game of chicken played out on city streets. pedestrians and drivers checking out the storm competed for space with snow plows and emergency vehicles. mayor muriel browser: >> there are too many people on the streets, both driving and walking. we need you to stay home. >> reporter: we found myles matteson riding his bike down the middle of 14th street. do you think it's safe, though, with the cars out and the people out? >> definitely avoiding the plows and slowing down and, yeah, just trying to stay upright. >> reporter: all flights in and out of town are canceled, and mass transit shut down, but logan hardware, opened their doors. >> the past couple of days, we sold about 800 shovels. >> reporter: 800 shovels. >> yes, 800. >> reporter: and they'll need them. this time lapse shows how the snow piled up. do you have a sense for the timeline of digging out once
thew snow stops? d.c. emergency manager chris geldart: >> that's a big question right now. it's a big question for us as well. >> reporter: washington, d.c. averages 19.5 inches of snow a year. this storm is on pace to bring that and maybe more in just one day. jim, both the secretary of defense and the vice president were supposed to fly into washington today. their flights have diverted to florida. >> axelrod: kris, thank you. as kris just mentioned, the winter weather is also creating major disruptions for air travel. so far, more than 10,000 weekend flights have been canceled, and that includes all flights in and out of philadelphia tonight. as david begnaud reports, philly is expecting up to two feet of snow before the storm is done. >> reporter: these are basketball players from duquesne university trying to push their charter bus through thick snow on the pennsylvania turnpike. they have been stranded since last night. tom wolf is pennsylvania's
governor. >> some places, two to three inches per hour, and that is making it really, really difficult for us to use all our resources to keep our roads open. >> reporter: tonight, there are more than 2,000 trucks plowing nearly 40,000 miles of state highway here. it is an area almost as big as new york, new jersey, and all of new england combined. overseeing the effort is pennsylvania secretary of transportation leslie richards. >> historically, they were saying this could be the biggest storm we've seen here in 90 years. >> reporter: outside philadelphia, there have been more than 80 rescues of drivers stuck in snow. in downtown, nearly 18 inches made for a playground with street skiers and sledders. bernard chanin wants nothing to do with it. >> i'm well beyond the idea of winter wonderland. you know, there's no romance to a blizzard in my mind. >> reporter: we have been told that pennsylvania's governor is using the national guard and every resource he's got to get that team and those people off of that turnpike tonight.
in montgomery county, pennsylvania, where we are right now, the measuring stick shows 22 inches. jim, among the reports of problems in this area, there are ambulances with patients inside of them that have actually gotten stuck in the snow. >> pelley: david begnaud up to his knees in it, thank you. david mentioning the stretch of the pennsylvania turnpike closed in both directions, among those stranded are members of the temple universities women's gymnastics team. earlier i caught up with their coach, umme saleem-beasley. coach, i'd ask you how's it going, but i don't think it is going. >> no. we are stuck here on the pennsylvania turnpike. and we have been here since about 6:15, 6:30 yesterday. >> axelrod: have you had any law enforcement knock on the door of the bus and check on you? >> yes. about 6:00 a.m. this morning, they came back again to bring us some water and to check and make sure that everybody was okay.
>> axelrod: you've been at this now nearly 24 hours. is it still an adventure, or is it starting to get a little bit scary? >> it is getting to the point where we're a little bit-- have a little bit of cabin fever, but we've been watching our movies and rewatching them. so we're doing okay. >> axelrod: coach umme saleem-beasley, who is making lemonade out of lemons. thank you for being with us. >> you're very welcome. >> axelrod: ice has been the problem throughout the southeast, causing widespread power outages. hre than 85,000 people have lost power in north carolina alone. mark strassmann is in charlotte. >> reporter: across the carolinas, more than 7,000 utility workers spent saturday turning the lights back on. they're working 16-hour shifts and making progress. >> right now, this our storm center for the carolinas. >> reporter: inside duke energy's war room, john smith's team coordinates the utility's emergency response. generally, are the outages in clusters? >> yes.
they're in the areas that were hardest impacted. any time you have ice on trees, you get a little bit of wind, the tree falls, hits another line, could possibly bring it down. >> reporter: this map shows the storm's path. the dark pink area was the hardest hit. ice there can be a half inch thick. and what's the challenge in restoring? >> well, in restoring right now, one of our challenges is just travel. first you have to be able to get and assess the damage that's out there. is the pole broken? is the wire down or is a limb on a line? once you've assessed that, then you can go and start the restoration. >> reporter: duke energy was actually bracing for a worse storm. it originally forecast 800,000 people would be without power. the worry now is high wind, winds up to 40 miles an hour, jim, winds that could keep knocking down power lines and keep those crews working. >> axelrod: mark strassmann, thank you. eric fisher is chief meteorologist at wbz in boston. he's on cape cod for us tonight, where it's apparently bad enough for the goggles. eric?
>> reporter: jim, it is clear-on blizzard conditions here. if it's possible for a storm you talk about all week long to overproduce, we might have that tonight. looking at tremendous snow totals, coastal flooding and, of course, here in cape cod, it is an extreme winter night. let's take a look at some of the totals coming in. new york to d.c., astronomical figures. now, the latest reports are as of 1:00 in the afternoon. they only do official reports every six hours. later this evening we'll get an update. it's been snowing all day, both cities likely to go over 20 inches of snow and come close to the greatest snowstorms on record. huge totals there, even bigger just to the west of d.c. parts of west virginia reporting over 40 inches of snow. closing in on four feet from this storm. now, as we head through the overnight hours, very slowly, the storm is now what we call stacked. it's the same low pressure from the surface all the way up. it's slowly going to drift its way out to sea and pull these snow bands farther off towards the east. finally, by tomorrow morning, all the snow will be finally out
and into the atlantic. things will wind down. the other concerns tonight, we have seen wind gusts over 70 miles per hour up and down the coast. the strong wind will be continuing into tomorrow morning and finally leaving us here on cape cod as we head into sunday afternoon. jim, a blizzard that is living up to the name, very similar to what we saw in 1996, one of the most infamous on record. >> axelrod: eric fisher in the brutal conditions of sandwich, massachusetts. thank you, eric. in other news, a gas cloud has turned a los angeles neighborhood into a ghost town. we will hear from the gas company c.e.o. when the cbs evening news continues. company's c.e.o. when the cbs evening news continues. a winning smile.
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but the c.e.o. who is responsible for the leaks says the danger has been overblown. he spoke exclusively with mireya villarreal. >> reporter: how far are we from the well right now? >> we're probably less than a mile. >> reporter: southern california gas company c.e.o. dennis arriola asked to do this interview as close to the leak as possible. so we're closer than the homeowners. are you uncomfortable? >> no, absolutely not. i've been out here almost every day since october 23. i feel totally safe. >> reporter: arriola says the gas company is close to finishing a relief well to cap the leak. it's more than 8,000 feet down. >> when we intercept the leaking well, we basically have to hit the size of about a watermelon. we have to be very exact. >> reporter: once the leak is fixed, the bigger question-- what to do with the gas? >> shut it down! >> reporter: people, clearly, want this well and this area as a whole shut down. >> there's a lot of emotion and passion out there. gas storage is an integral part of our state's energy
environment, not just for natural gas but for electricity. >> reporter: so then that's a no, you can't shut it down. >> what i'm saying is it's necessary to serve the residents that live here, as well as the 21 million consumers that we serve throughout all of the los angeles basin. >> reporter: last week, california congressman brad sherman said the gas company needs to get its priorities straight. >> they may think that this natural gas is an asset. for those of us in porter ranch, we view it as a toxin. >> methane is not a toxin. >> reporter: nose bleeds, nausea, headaches, things that are unexplainable by doctors. i mean, it doesn't go away, though. >> the odorant that people are smelling that is unfortunately causing a lot of this inconvenience is a short-term issue for people. once we finish solving the leak and closing the well, the issues go away. >> reporter: but with constant hearings, the issues facing the gas company won't end any time soon. mireya villarreal, cbs news, porter ranch.
>> axelrod: also in southern california tonight a manhunt is under way for three violent criminals who escaped from a jail in orange county. the men, who have records for crimes including murder, kidnapping, and torture, were last seen at 5:00 a.m. yesterday. up next, another name-brand new york billionaire may enter the race for president. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go talk to your doctor. you're not indestructible anymore.
"des moines register," is out with its endorsements tonight. hillary clinton is the paper's choice for the democratic nomination. marco rubio gets the republican endorsement. and today, word that former new york city mayor michael bloomberg is now considering a den as an independent. julianna goldman is in washington for us tonight. julianna, how real is this? >> reporter: well, jim, here's the thinking behind this. mike bloomberg feels this campaign has been dominated by the extremes in each party, and he wants to jump in if it looks like the election is going to come down to donald trump or ted cruz versus bernie sanders. he's not ruling out running against hillary clinton if she emerges from iowa and new hampshire seriously wounded, but it's an even less-likely scenario. now, bloomberg will do a round of polling after the new hampshire primary february 9, and from there, he's given himself a deadline for a final decision in early march. his advisers believe that would give him enough time to qualify as an independent and get on the ballot in all 50 states. the electoral map would be a huge challenge for him, but one area where he is okay is on the money front. he's indicated he's prepared to
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hitting stores to stockpile groceries. >> winter was coming. we had to know that. >> reporter: shoppers go nuts over two stapeles. >> every snowstorm, the first two things that go are bread and milk. >> reporter: bread orders tripled this winter for store manager scott goldshine. >> no matter how much we order extra, they're gone. >> just that basic comfort, toast and hot chocolate, concept. >> it's the first thing that goes quickly, so if i see sort of that scarcity, i'm always going to grab it. just in case. >> reporter: which is why bread and milk sales are documented diligently on social media. "it has begun," this woman omsted. "time to make those milk sandwiches." >> the bread-o-meter. >> reporter: our cbs affiliate in washington, d.c. even came up with a bread-o-meter to show how bad the storm was going to be. >> okay, so, on a scale of 1-10, it's going to be a 10. yup, run for your lives. >> i gotta get the bread and milk. >> reporter: perhaps nothing compares to the hysteria this comedian created with this satirical video back in 2014, generating 14 million views. >> they said snow!
i gotta get the bread and milk! oh, my god! >> people feel like if they're stockpiling, they're safe. >> reporter: psychotherapist lisa brateman said there's a theory for this phenomenon. >> whatever is going on outside in the world, whatever is going on outside my door, at least i know i can have eggs and toast tomorrow. >> reporter: and if you stockpile too much, another tradition-- that little bit of control goes bad by the time all the snow melts. jamie yuccas, cbs news, new york. >> axelrod: finally tonight, a little girl named lucy, who melted our hearts. she couldn't play outside today. she's at the national institutes of health in maryland getting a bone marrow transplant. so a nurse brought the snow to lucy. she made a cool little snowman. and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. later on cbs, "48 hours." for now, i'm jim axelrod in new york. for all of us here at cbs news, thanks for joining us. we leave you with a snow day celebration panda style at the national zoo. good night.
properties are crumbling aw. an east coast blizzard brin major cities to a standstil burying roads, stranding drs and grounding flights. and... super bowl city taki shape. the excitement building along san francis's waterfront. and what you need to know to get around. kpix 5 news is next. tonight -- setting the stage for the biggest game of the year. ,,,,,,,,