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Rain and Snow Storms Hitting Parts of California and Nevada; Palestinians Elect Man Who Will Succeed Late Yasser Arafat
Aired January 10, 2005 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning, it's not over yet. A huge storm in the west, snow levels higher than your house and more coming down. And where it's not snowing, it's raining. Trading life or death emergencies like this one also in California.
Celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians elect the man who will succeed the late Yasser Arafat.
And the unbelievable river of destruction in Indonesia. Amazing new pictures of the tsunami as it struck on this AMERICAN MORNING.
Good morning, everybody, just a tick past 8:00 here on a Monday morning. Welcome back here and welcome back to Soledad as well in New York City. Good to have you back.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Thank you very much. Very nice to be back. Some of the stories that we're following this morning, people in California going to be talking about this stretch of bad weather for a long, long time. Huge snow totals in the mountains, many inches of rain in other areas. We're going to take a look at just how much more is on the way in just a few minutes.
HEMMER: Also, in another part of the country this train collision in South Carolina. Four days later, thousands still being kept from their homes and even today, we don't know when they'll go back. Talk to one resident this hour, find out what he's being told about the threat from toxic gas. They're going to have to transfer this stuff down there, which is not easy to do. We'll talk about that this hour as well.
O'BRIEN: It's a mess there. It's a mess at the U.N. How's that for a segue Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a mess everywhere. Go back to bed. It's not worth it. Call in sick, take the day off.
Coming on the Cafferty file in less than an hour, we'll tell you how one county in Texas is funding lawn mower drag races which is a necessary part of the social calendar down there. Here's a hint. You're paying for it.
And porn for a penny. It's the same idea as those 12 CDs for a penny, only naughty. That will be in the file a little later. I said porn for a penny, your eyes got this big.
O'BRIEN: Because the 12 CDs for a penny. They're going to mail people porn and let them try it out and return whatever they don't want?
HEMMER: Welcome back.
CAFFERTY: You'll have to stay tuned for the details. This is only just a little --
O'BRIEN: Apparently so.
CAFFERTY: But it got your attention, didn't it?
O'BRIEN: It sure did.
CAFFERTY: Porn for a penny!
O'BRIEN: It was shock and disgust.
CAFFERTY: It was lonely over there, huh?
O'BRIEN: It was shock and disgust, Jack.
HEMMER: Pull the plug.
O'BRIEN: Kelly, I'd like to apologize as I segue to you with an awkward, and yet we have to go kind of thing.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll say moving right along, good morning. Good morning to you and good morning everyone.
Now in the news, amazing pictures really unlike anything we've seen so far of the tsunami in Banda Aceh. An entire city swept up in a wave of water, carrying cars, debris, entire homes, all along the Indonesian coast line. These unbelievable images were shot by a wedding photographer on a roof top. Much more on the recovery effort underway in southern Asia coming up.
For the first time in 40 years, Palestinians have a new president. Less than an hour ago, Palestinian election officials declared Mahmoud Abbas the winner in Sunday's vote with 62 percent of the ballots. President Bush says he is quote heartened by the election results.
In two hours, opening statements set to begin for the accused ring leader in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Army Reservist Charles Graner (ph) faces 10 counts, including assault and conspiracy, but says he's optimistic about the trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEC. CHARLES GRANER, U.S. ARMY: There's been ups and downs, but the ups have so outweighed the downs. We'll see. Whatever happens is going to happen. I still feel it's going to be, you know, on the positive side.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Graner's trial is expected to last about a week. And tickets to the presidential inauguration are being passed out today to members of Congress. A quarter of a million tickets will be distributed. The tickets have been redesigned with security in mind. They're now color-coded and embedded with chips to prevent counterfeiting. President Bush's swearing-in is set for January 20. That's next week and we also heard that demand is so high in red states, that lawmakers in those states are asking their blue state colleagues to turn over their tickets and some are saying OK.
O'BRIEN: Are they giving them out or are they charging people? I wonder what the black market value of a ticket.
WALLACE: How much a ticket to the inauguration is going for?
O'BRIEN: Do you think?
WALLACE: On eBay or something. We'll look into it and report back.
HEMMER: Four years ago, it rained for five straight days. I hope those folks are getting their money's worth.
O'BRIEN: That inauguration day was a long day four years ago. Kelly, thanks lot.
More snow expected today in the Sierra Nevada region of California and Nevada. Winter storm warning is in effect this morning. The area hasn't seen this much snow in nearly 80 years, 19 feet they're talking about in some parts. CNN's meteorologist Rob Marciano live from Tahoe City in California for us this morning. Hey Rob, good morning.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad. The Sierra Nevada mountains, one of the snowiest spots in the world and certainly proving to be the case now, even the locals amazed at how much snow is being dumped here. Tahoe sits at about 6,000 feet. So snow is no stranger to these folks, but you go 50 miles north and east of Reno, it's in a desert, they've had six and a half feet of snow since December 28. That's what they're talking about. Since 1916, they haven't seen that sort of stuff.
Here at lake level, look at all the snow. In order just to clear the sidewalks, they've got to cut a path there and it's just a tunnel of snow on either side of me. It's like being a two-foot tall kid again, except now I'm six feet tall. Clearing the roads is no kids stuff. The roads have been closed on and off over the weekend. The major highway 80, coming in and out of Tahoe, was shut down for a while. It is now back open but they have been working overtime. You better believe it, on that road and some of the other feeder roads that roll here into Tahoe.
It's been a tough go to get up here. But if you do get up here, the skiing has been pretty good. But it's always a "Catch-22" with weather. Avalanche has been an issue. Visibility is a problem both on the slopes and driving also. That has really been the main concern as far as the authorities are concerned. Driving through low visibility, that's always extremely treacherous. What has been snow here has also been snow in Las Vegas. They saw a couple inches of snow over the weekend on the strip. And one of the ski resorts close to that area, unfortunately, there was an avalanche and there was one fatality of a 13-year-old child.
You go west into the valleys, to California, tremendous amounts of rain falling, 12 inches of rain in 12 days before this storm in L.A. and they got another half a foot over the weekend. So flooding there and then mudslides an issue with the San Bernardino mountains and some of the torched areas from the 2003 fires.
It does look like we're going to start to see some drying out, but here in Tahoe, the next push of moisture is going to comes through. And when that happens, we expect to see another two feet of snow here at lake level tomorrow finally, ending on Wednesday. The good news here is that we do expect the snow to stop for a significant amount of time, Soledad. Hopefully it won't warm up too much because with all this snow pack, if we get any sort of melting, we'll see another round of flooding down in the valley. So we'll watch that. In the meantime, winter storm warnings up through tomorrow. Two feet of snow expected again here at lake level. Back to you.
O'BRIEN: All right. Rob, thanks a lot for that update. And you always have to remember of course, the snow and rain so dangerous, a lot of times fatalities always seem to come out of these reports. Rob, thanks.
Let's get right to Chad Myers at the CNN center. Chad, give us a look at the snow totals elsewhere.
CHAD MYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it seems like a great thing. You get a lot of snow. The skiers are all happy. The problem is, there were some wind gusts on top of the mountains yesterday, Soledad, 163 miles per hour. That's up into the jet stream. Mt. Rose, 84 inches, Heavenly Valley now, five to six feet, Kirkwood, five feet. Sierra at Tahoe, 60 inches of snow. That's just from the last storm. Sierra at Tahoe has had 305 inches of snow so far this year, 24 feet of snow already on the ground, Burbank, six inches as Rob was saying, downtown L.A., five inches. This is rain, obviously not snow down there at that level.
Still raining in L.A., raining up in the San Bernardino's although you get above about 3,000 feet and it's snow, pleasant weather up the east coast. Not one airport delay to worry about right now. Some showers in parts of, well, we'll call it Missouri into the Ozarks. But this is the last storm, Bill, Rob was talking about. It is the last storm to affect the west. It will affect L.A., all the way down to San Diego, three to six inches of rain. Even back up into San Francisco, San Jose, picking up significant rain. Then you get up the mountains, get up about 2,000 feet and it will all be snow, another one to three feet. Back to you, bud.
HEMMER: Let's talk more about that in a second here Chad, thanks for that.
Sergeant Corrie Quillinan is with the Placer County sheriff's office in Tahoe City, California. She's up early this morning. Sergeant, good morning to you.
SGT. CORRIE QUILLINAN, PLACER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Good morning to you also.
HEMMER: What are you doing to deal with all this?
QUILLINAN: You know, we are prepared for every winter here in Tahoe. This one just happens to be a lot heavier than usual. What we've been dealing with is road closures. We now have the roads clear but prior to that we had some road closures, which were actually trapping people in the Tahoe basin. I-80 was a literal parking lot which caused gas stations to run out of gas, grocery stores not to be able to get deliveries. So we did have a lot of problems here.
HEMMER: Are people being snowed in or are the roads cleared enough now for them to be able to get out if, indeed, they have to travel?
QUILLINAN: Right. The roads are, in fact, clear now. But like, you know, Rob said, we are in a winter storm warning and we are expecting one to two feet more of snow in the next 24 hours. What we hope is that people who drive up here enjoy the sights, drive slowly. Don't stop in the middle of the road to put on chains that sort of thing and just be cautious of the driver next to you. As far as people being snowed in right now, we don't have that issue like I said. The roads are, in fact, clear.
O'BRIEN: I'm counting here on the calendar. 13 days, going back to the 28th of December, 19 feet of snow. How unusual is this, Sergeant?
QUILLINAN: It is extremely unusual. I believe it's been many years since we've had this kind of snowfall. The one thing I can say is that we have great skiing. Coming up for in this holiday weekend, we are going to have absolutely wonderful powder.
HEMMER: I bet you are. Listen hang in there. Sergeant Corrie Quillinan in Tahoe City, California bringing us the latest from...
QUILLINAN: Thank you very much.
HEMMER: You're most welcome and thanks for your time and getting up early too.
That relentless rain in California made for a dramatic rescue for at least one man in California, a harrowing first attempt over a river. Firefighters able in the end to rescue this man from the swollen waters but not after a close call right there, almost missed that concrete support on the bridge. His two daughters already pulled to safety at this point. The man slips off that rope. He goes down another two miles downstream before rescuers were able to pull him from that water. Lost his BMW, lost his pants. You might have seen that a short time ago. Said to be doing OK last time, a lot of concern about hypothermia. His body temperature dropped down right around 92 degrees. We believe he'll be OK in the end and so too will his daughters. But close, close call there in California from over the weekend Soledad.
O'BRIEN: hit that support and it looks like it came within inches. He would not have survived to complain about it.
Much more ahead this morning including we're updating you on this story out of Aiken, South Carolina, where the folks are still out of their homes, thousands of them. We'll tell you exactly when they think they're going to get back home after that collision with the train.
HEMMER: Also, after the holidays, tips this morning to help you get out of debt faster and start saving cash too. Well talk to David Bach about that idea.
O'BRIEN: And our big political story this morning. Palestinians have a new president but is he already being set up to fail? Kamber and May (ph) will take a look at that.
HEMMER: Also will Ray clean up on Oscar night? The biggest clue may come tonight. We'll explain in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING.
O'BRIEN: More than 5,000 residents are still not allowed home this morning following Thursday's train wreck in South Carolina tat killed nine people. Officials say they have stopped the train from leaking its chlorine cargo. Donald Staley is one of those residents who is still evacuated from the area. He joins us this morning from Aiken, South Carolina. Nice to see you Mr. Staley. Thanks for talking with us. Give me a sense of where you were when this collision happened. Did you hear it?
DONALD STALEY, EVACUATED FROM HOME: Yeah. I was in the house, in my house on Main Street.
O'BRIEN: So you're very very much within what they're calling the hot zone?
O'BRIEN: You're relatively close to where this is, which is part of the reason you can't get back into your home now. What exactly happened? You heard a collision. Did you run out the door? Did you call 911? What did you do?
STALEY: I didn't hear it, but my girlfriend, she heard it. She said something hit. And I told her, I didn't hear nothing. Because I had worked for about 12 hours and I was a little tired (INAUDIBLE) and I was little tired and I was sleeping. But -- I looked out the door, see the friend of mine from Augusta. He's worked on third shift and he came. He was coughing and stuff. I went out there and he said too tall -- they called me over there in Augusta, too tall. I said how you know me? I got close to him, then I found out he was Jerry.
O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a quick question. At what point did you realize that it was toxic? You say your friend was coughing. Obviously, he'd started breathing in some of this. At what point did you realize this was really actually a dangerous collision?
STALEY: I walked up the road. When I walked up toward train track, I looked down and I saw a lot of lights. I said did something happen? And then I came on back down and got him up, carried him on in the house and called 911.
O'BRIEN: At what point did the folks come and tell you you had to get out, that you were so close to where the collision had taken place, you were unsafe?
STALEY: That was that morning. He said don't go out the house. I said, what? It ain't that bad because I was just going to get up and walk off to the store.
O'BRIEN: But it turned out it actually was that bad. What are they telling you about when you're going to be able to get back into your house?
STALEY: One of the officers said, he said he hope it might be Friday, but someone said Wednesday.
O'BRIEN: Let's hope it's Wednesday as opposed to Friday and let's hope they clean it all up.
STALEY: Sure enough.
O'BRIEN: And you get back in safely. Donald Staley, joining us this morning from Aiken, South Carolina, good luck to you. We really appreciate your time.
HEMMER: That matter's not over yet. Might take another week in fact based on what we're hearing.
If you're stuck in debt and have not started saving for the future, our personal finance coach, David Bach, is back today. He says paying off all your first debt is a mistake. He'll explain that in a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING on this Monday morning.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. David Bach is back. The author of the best selling "Finish Rich" book series says it's never too late to try to fix your financial future. His latest book is called "Start Late, Finish Rich" and David joins us with advice on how to spend less and get out of debt. Nice to see you.
DAVID BACH, AUTHOR, "START LATE, FINISH RICH": Good to be back. Happy New Year.
O'BRIEN: Same to you. Long time no see. When you say start late, how late are we talking about because usually you tell me when you start saving when you're 21, blah, blah, blah. BACH: That's what led to this book. Last year, I had the automatic millionaire out. And surprising that a lot of people in their 30s, their 40s, their 50s and even older kept saying, but David, is it too late for me? So this book "Start Late, Finish Rich" is a whole new book for me. This is a book where I really focus on how do you catch up? And what we found is that people are really drowning in credit card debt. So we needed a plan to help them shrink the debt, turbo charge the shrinking of the debt, but also really grow their income fast and they can grow their savings.
O'BRIEN: OK, those are two big things to have to try to tackle. So does that mean that you can make a difference at 40, but 50 is too late? Is it 55 that's too late? What's the cut-off date?
BACH: Soledad, it's never too late if you start now.
BACH: That's the great truth. It doesn't mean - look, if you're 60 and you're starting at zero, you're not going to be a millionaire by 65 realistically. But it's never too late to take massive action and to make yourself feel better financially, have more confidence and so where do most people need to start? They need to start on their debt. But it's the opposite of what you think. Most experts say pay off your debt first, then save.
O'BRIEN: Your first piece of advice says don't do debt first.
BACH: Don't do debt first because if you pay all your debt off first and then save, you'll never get around to saving. So the "Start Late, Finish Rich" plan says here's a way to shrink your debt and save at the same time. Let's look at how do you shrink debt. Most people have a plan to pay their debt off over their whole life. It doesn't work. We have an example of $10,000. Average American family has $10,000 right now in credit card debt. If they make minimum payments, what you'll see here is at 20 percent, it takes 37 years to pay off the debt.
O'BRIEN: So basically they have it forever?
BACH: They have it forever. So in "Start Late, Finish Rich," I go through how to get out of this debt in 22 months. There's a very specific plan. It starts with this. Number one, today, in 2005, the credit card companies are struggling for new clients so they're offering 0 percent interest for nine months. Some credit card companies are offering zero percent interest for the whole year. If you call your credit card company today and tell them, I just received an offer for one of these credit cards, be very specific, use a specific credit card company. You can go to like bankrate.com to find the offers right now. Say look Mr. Visa man, Mr. Mastercard is offering 0 percent interest for nine months. I want you to cut my interest rate in half. Shrinking that interest rate just on the phone in less than 60 seconds can make it so that when you make a payment to your credit card company, you're paying off the principal and not the interest.
O'BRIEN: You've saved the money with just a phone call.
BACH: What that does is it takes you from 37 years down to less than three years, because you're now paying principal, not interest.
O'BRIEN: You also say you can pay $10 more a day than your minimum. You don't mean per day. You mean --
BACH: I do mean per day.
O'BRIEN: So $300 a month more.
BACH: Exactly. If a person pays $10 a day extra on their credit card debt, use that $10,000 example, that's how you get that down to 22 months. Now, someone says where do I find $10 a day, David?
O'BRIEN: Don't eat lunch anymore?
BACH: Here's what you do. In the previous books I've talked about the latte factor. Everybody knows the latte factor, small amounts of money on little things like lattes. In this book, I've turbo charged it. I call it the double latte factor. What's the double latte factor? We want to find things that are right now we're paying every month, an example being your cell phone. Let's say you have a cell phone that's $50 a month for 500 minutes. J.D. Power just did a recent survey that said 40 percent of the minutes are not being used. So maybe you reduce your cell phone bill from a premium plan to a regular plan. That can instantly put $20, $30 a month back in your pocket.
O'BRIEN: So you don't have to suffer. You have to be just sort of smart about all the things you can give up.
BACH: People don't want to give up their luxuries Soledad. What we need to do is not make you give up your cell phone or give up your cable, but just reduce the cost of the plan. I had somebody yesterday who saw me talk about this last week. She came up to me and she said David I've called my cable company and I changed my cable plan and just my cable plan, just changing my cable plan put $500 back in my pocket for the year. That's found money. So in "Start Late, Finish Rich," I go through all these ways to help you find your money so that you can shrink your debt faster. And then tomorrow, we'll go through how you save faster because you're going to have to pay yourself first, but pay yourself first faster if you're starting late and you want to finish rich.
O'BRIEN: You stole the tease from me because you're going to be back tomorrow to talk a little bit about that, David Bach. The new book is called, "Start Late, Finish Rich," thanks very much.
BACH: In stores now.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. Always nice to have you David. Appreciate it.
BACH: Thanks Soledad.
HEMMER: All right. So the U.N. apparently can use some advice on money. Back with that and Jack now.
CAFFERTY: If they can find it. The reports are out, Bill, on the U.N. oil for food program. It's just awful. Overpayments to contractors, failure to abide by recommendations of their own auditors, general lack of supervision, billions of dollars missing. Nobody knows where the money is. So the question we're asking this morning is what does the U.N. have to do to restore its credibility?
Laura writes this. Simple, fire Kofi Annan. He was the CEO so to speak. He is responsible.
JT writes, to restore order or to restore and/or develop its credibility, it needs the support and leadership of every nation. It's not a matter of what do they have to do, but what do we have to do? All nations are in this together.
Peter in Bitterford (ph), Maine, simple, disassemble. Now that you know why several countries didn't want to go into Iraq. Could they have been involved in the oil for food scam? Get the U.S. out of the U.N. and get the U.N. out of the United States.
Sharon in (INAUDIBLE) Michigan, United Nations, the name says it all. Seems to me it's not that any longer and it's not been for a very long time. Dump it and the mishandling of both money and forces all over the world. I've seen better communication and management at a PTA meeting.
HEMMER: You struck a chord, a lot of answers quickly too. Thank you, Jack.
California crying uncle, a hellish stretch of weather pounding the golden state yet again today. Now there's an issue out there about whether or not the worst is yet to come. Say it ain't so. That's ahead after this on AMERICAN MORNING.
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