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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Nor'easter Dumps Snow From D.C. to Maine; Cape Cod Under Flood Warning, Power Outages Reported in D.C.; Injury Forces Kwan To Drop Out Of Winter Olympics; Rash of Church Fires in Alabama; Diamond Studded Chocolate; Muslims Still Protesting Cartoon; Rumsfeld's Three- Country Tour
Aired February 12, 2006 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN LIVE SUNDAY: They are preparing for the worst all along the Northeast corridor this morning. Blizzard warnings are out. Flights have been canceled. The salt trucks are loaded and ready, by the end of the day there could be up to 15 inches of snow to go with frigid temperatures.
Live pictures. You ready, Betty?
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, CNN LIVE SUNDAY: I'm ready.
HARRIS: Look at this. Brooklyn, New York. If you go north of Brooklyn into Manhattan and then go to Central Park, 11 inches of snow on the ground in Central Park. That was as of an hour ago.
NGUYEN: And more of it is falling.
HARRIS: Can you see the snow is still coming down. It is piling up. Good morning, everyone. From the CNN Center in Atlanta it is the 12th day of February. Good morning. I'm Tony Harris.
NGUYEN: Very cold February, mind you. I'm Betty Nguyen. We're going to take live to many locations along the Northeast this morning as we monitor the severe weather, but, first, let me give you a quick look at some of the other stories that are making news right now.
A 10th church fire in Alabama is now under investigation. The latest to burn is a Beaverton Free Will Baptist Church in rural Lamar County. Investigators say this fire appears suspicious. All 10 church fires involve Baptist congregations, and all of them happened this month, in fact, in the past 9 days.
American figure skater Michelle Kwan has withdrawn from this year's Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. The two-time medal winner from previous Olympiads has been suffering from a nagging groin injury. The Torino games were expected to be Kwan's last chance for that elusive gold. The 25 year old has won silver and bronze medals in earlier games.
HARRIS: Well, Iraq more allegations of brutality. This time it's British soldiers on video tape and under scrutiny. British military officials say an investigation is already underway after this amateur tape was released by a London tabloid. The tape was shot in 2004. It shows the soldiers, as you can see, beating three Iraqis after a stone-throwing incident.
In Baghdad this morning international health officials are discussing how to fight the spread of bird flu in Iraq. Health officials suspect as many as a dozen cases of bird flu in that country. Four people have died. At least one victim was infected with the deadly N5N1 strain of the virus.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains in critical condition after emergency surgery yesterday. Doctors removed nearly two feet of rotting tissue from Sharon's large intestine. Hospital officials say Sharon is out of immediate danger, but the 77 year old remains in a coma from a January 4th stroke. >
NGUYEN: Former FEMA Director Michael Brown has testified before a bipartisan committee looking into the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Under subpoena Brown's testimony was behind closed doors this time. Committee members say he provided documents they never had seen before, including emails between him and White House staff.
And 76 hours, 45 minutes later Steve Fossett breaks the world nonstop flight distance record. Low on fuel and battered by turbulence, the American millionaire made an emergency landing on the English coast. With a few naps along the way, Fossett flew nonstop -- listen to this -- 26,389 miles.
HARRIS: Well, here is what's coming up this hour. Packed, packed hour, Betty.
Michelle Kwan's quest for Olympic gold is over, at least this year. What does she have to say about it all? We'll take you live to the Winter Games.
And if you are thinking of buying diamonds on-line, before you click and give them your credit card number, you need to learn not your ABCs, but your Cs.
NGUYEN: Four Cs to be exact.
HARRIS: Yeah, just trying to blend it there. We'll explain.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, and are you feeling a strong tug on your heart strings? Well, are you definitely not alone. We'll take a look at the state of love and marriage in America.
ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN. You're severe weather headquarters.
NGUYEN: The advice is to stay put and bundle up. A paralyzing storm across the Northeast has traffic stopped, planes grounded. CNN is tracking the storm for you. Our Chief National Correspondent John King is on the Massachusetts Cape. You see him there with the winds blowing. Gary Nurenberg is monitoring delays and power outages in the Mid-Atlantic from Washington. From New York CNN's Chris Huntington starts us off with the latest there.
Chris, as we were talking in the last hour, 11 inches of snow in Central Park. What are you seeing now?
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to say that we can top out here in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. We're probably as the crow flies about 10 miles from Central Park, and I would say that there's 12 inches here in Brooklyn. We're at a high point in Brooklyn, up on a hill. I don't know how well you can get a sense for just how much of a whiteout we've got here.
The snow has really, really been cranking down, especially in the last hour and a half. The accumulation, I'm going to guess, in the last hour and a half, we've probably piled on close to three or four inches just in that time period. The plows are out trying to keep pace of this, but it's pretty much a losing battle.
Of course, you have in New York City, the five boroughs, some 63,000 miles of streets to deal with, and there are an awful lot that remain unplowed right now.
Now, we're going to take you up to Massachusetts, and John King on the coast up there, undoubtedly being buffeted by some wind -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the wind is picking up quite substantially here. Gusting well in excess of 40 miles an hour. We're told they could go as high as 60 miles an hour. Snow obviously one concern. They're saying perhaps up to 18 inches here in Cape Cod and parts of Massachusetts. Another concern is the possibility of coastal flooding (AUDIO GAP).
HARRIS: Just lost John King's mic. We'll try to get him back in just a moment, but meantime, let's go to Washington D.C. now and CNN Gary Nurenberg -- Gary.
GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Tony. It looks like we're having a little bit better time of it than John is in Massachusetts.
The snow that was falling about two inches an hour earlier this morning appears to have let up a little bit now leaving eight to 20 inches in the immediate Washington, D.C. area. It's a heavy snow causing branches to come down on power lines. At last check about 119,000 customers without power in the D.C. area; another 62,000 without power in the Baltimore area.
Washington National Reagan Airport closed at 7 o'clock this morning. Its crews were out all night cleaning runways. Those crews are getting a break. It's expected they will be back at work shortly after 10:00 and that Reagan National should open up perhaps at midday. Two runways are now being used at Dulles Airport outside of Washington.
It appears that the worst of it is now behind us. Pretty sights here in Washington, as we see a lot of picture takers in D.C. snapping images that they rarely get to see. Ten years ago and one month in January of 1996 is really the last major storm that Washington has seen. This one is nowhere near approaching that. But, Tony and Betty, we will monitor it here in Washington D.C. throughout the day and let you know how it's going as cleanup here begins.
NGUYEN: You know we're going to stay on top of it. In fact, we're going to try to get back to John King on the Cape. The winds are blowing something fierce.
John, can you hear us now?
KING: Can I hear you fine, Betty. I hope you can hear me. I hope we have the technical problems worked out.
Because I was talking about one of the things they are worried about is flooding along the coast, here; a coastal flooding warning in place all day today, as well as a blizzard warning. I want to show you what we're beginning to get, because of high winds. The snow is beginning to accumulate here, but it's starting to (AUDIO GAP) It's quite powdery snow. We're used to more of a wet snow. I grew up here in New England, and usually gets it a bit wetter than this. This is quite powdery, though.
You can see the wind is picking up, the snow going across. I'll want to ask Dave Ruff (ph) to take a turn with us, and see the Coast Guard storm warning flag blowing quite briskly here.
The hardy folks here at the Chatham Light are working even in these conditions. We haven't seen any hardy souls out on the water, but you can see the conditions here. The snow beginning to accumulate. This is a beautiful spot along Cape Cod. Most people know this, of course, for a summer resort, but the Cape is quite spectacular when it snows like this.
I'll tell you, most New Englanders are happy to see this. They're worried about the conditions later in the day, but this has been a relatively peaceful winter. They haven't had much of this, so we've been around the town a little bit. (AUDIO GAP) Stayed open, some hardy souls driving around. And if you grew up here, this is actually quite a nice sight. Obviously, they are worried about what might come a bit later in the day -- Betty and Tony.
NGUYEN: A nice sight from the inside when you have the heat on. But I have to ask you, John, where is your hat? You know it's cold out there. The winds are blowing, what, 40 miles an hour. What are you thinking?
KING: I'm not a hat person. I'm a snow person.
NGUYEN: Apparently. Doesn't seem to bother you. Go play. Go have fun. We'll talk to you soon, John.
HARRIS: Oh, man. Well, the massive winter storm has many would-be travelers going nowhere fast. More than 2,000 flights bound for the Northeast have been canceled this morning. Air travel expert Rally Caparas joins us with more on this storm's impact.
Rally, what's the latest on conditions from when we last talked to you in the 8 o'clock hour?
RALLY CAPARAS, TRAVELOCITY BUSINESS: Well, Tony, as you saw, where I believe it was, Chris -- oh, actually John. John was up in on the coast of Massachusetts. It doesn't look like Boston's Logan will get out of this any time soon, and it looks like the airport is going to remain limited capacity throughout the entire day. I have not seen any flights into or out of Logan on my radar over the last half hour or so.
The New York City metros are running very limited traffic. It's hard to believe that those airports are still open. Philadelphia International running very limited traffic. Massive cancellations, heavy delays throughout the entire Eastern half of the United States. As a matter of fact, Chicago, O'Hare has had 100 flights canceled that are going to or through to the Northeast. Miami International 100 flights canceled. Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson showing 95 flights canceled going into the region.
So you can expect cancellations to reach up wards of 3,000 before the day is over. It doesn't look like Boston, New York, or Philly are going to see much as far as traffic is concerned. However, as you saw with, I believe, it was John King in Washington, it looks -- or Chris Huntington, excuse me -- it looks like they're going to get out of the woods. Before the afternoon is over, you should see vigorous traffic into and out of all three major metro airports in the Washington, D.C. area there.
HARRIS: Rally, Betty has a question for you.
NGUYEN: With all of this going on -- and we know the Northeastern airports are dealing with a lot of delays and closures, what about the other airports across the country? Obviously, they'll be affected by this. Tell us about some big airports that are facing major, major delays because of this.
CAPARAS: Well, Betty, I would recommend anyone flying in the domestic or continental United States today, if you are flying to the East Coast, regardless of where you are departing from and connecting through, you should go online and check with your airline's web site to make sure your flight is still active.
As I said a moment ago, Miami International, fort Lauderdale, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, Chicago O'Hare, Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, just about every major airport, the hub in the United States, is seeing massive cancellations because of the flights that are being canceled to and from the Northeastern shore, the Mid- Atlantic up to the Northeast.
We'll see crews displaced, airplanes displaced, and essentially it's going to be a better idea, if you have flexibility in your travel plans that you go ahead, contact the airlines immediately, and start scheduling for late tomorrow or Tuesday. That's the best way to go. Because as of right now, horrendous conditions throughout the Northeast. It's going to cause more cancellations and it's going to be a long, long day for many travelers. NGUYEN: So, Rally, just because you don't have a flight to the Northeast, that decent mean your flight won't be delayed or canceled today?
CAPARAS: Betty, that is absolutely correct. We will see crews get displaced and equipment get displaced causing people that are flying the opposite direction, end up seeing their flights canceled because of those conditions.
HARRIS: That's a good point.
NGUYEN: Good advice there. Be flexible today. Pack some patience. Rally Caparas, thank you for that information.
HARRIS: All right, Betty, we've got 119,000 people without power in Washington, D.C. Bonnie Schneider, 62,000 people without power in Baltimore, Maryland this morning; 21 inches of snow in Columbia, Maryland. That was last hour.
NGUYEN: It's still coming. It's not over, is it, Bonnie?
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Not at all. The storm has been strengthening as we watch some of this area, the low-pressure area work its way across the ocean, and that is going to intensify the storm.
The blizzard warning continues for the Boston area through 7 o'clock tonight, 4:00 p.m. in New York City where the snow -- really heavy snow bands are coming from New York right now.
As we take a bigger picture, a look at the storm, you'll see even by later today, the center of circulation is just off the coast of Massachusetts. The winds are where John King was in Chatham, Massachusetts, will pick up. The gusts could get as strong as 60 miles an hour. The current sustained winds in Boston at this time are about 23 miles per hour. The gusts are certainly stronger than that. Nantucket sustained winds at 35 miles per hour. We're seeing winds pick up there, as far as the gusts go from Martha's Vineyard and for Nantucket.
Now, when you are talking about wintry weather like this, when you have the snow, you have the really strong winds, it's definitely the makings of a blizzard. Now, a blizzard has certain perimeters, though. It means sustained winds, or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, falling or blowing snow that reduces visibility to a quarter of a mile or less. We're talking about a complete whiteout, which is what we've been seeing from our live reports.
All this has to happen over the course of at least three hours, and that's exactly what we have been seeing over the past day really into the morning hours when it started to snow around midnight in some areas, and then yesterday in others. Severe weather expert Chad Myers joins me now. And, Chad, I know you have covered many, many of these Nor'easters in your career. How does this one compare to others in the past?
CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: Well, it depends where you are. If you are in the Poconos, and your typical, you're regular Nor'easter blows snow back into Wilkes-Barre (ph), and Scranton, through the Poconos, 20 inches back in 1993, this is nothing for you.
But along the coast right here, I've changed the color from white to the greens and the blues here. New York City you are really now under very heavy snow, and it's been in that same pattern for three hours now. Into Kings and Queen's and eventually on and up into looks like Greenwich now picking up very, very heavy snow. So for the coastal sections, this is probably Cat 3 or Cat 4 for you, but east, inland, and places like in the Poconos and the Catskills, this is really nothing more than a wind maker.
SCHNEIDER: We saw the storm yesterday slow down a bit by about six hours. How -- I know you have been getting in all these reports of the latest snowfall totals. How do you think that has all come into play?
MYERS: The slowing down of the storm adds snow to the ground because if the storm doesn't pull out very quickly -- this storm could have been gone by now. It could have been 12 hours out to sea into New Foundland. It didn't do that. It made a little loop in the current here, in the warm water off the East Coast. That slowed it down, that added to the snowfall totals because the snow continues to go.
I have some snowfall totals here, Bonnie, and kind of reads like a telethon here. Wilmington Airport at nine inches. Atlantic City just a couple of inches here. Along the coast, where this snow is so heavy, we're seeing places in New Jersey from 13 to 15 inches, even Hillsborough about 17. Allentown Airport, in Pennsylvania, 14; King of Prussia, 17; New Holland in Lancaster County, 17 inches of snow. Now, for Connecticut 14 for New Fairfield and Danbury at 12. New Jersey, Lodi, 15.
We're going to bring the camera over here because we were just talking to Rally about the snow and how the planes are really getting affected. I just saw one plane, literally one plane leave Boston. Right there. Let me turn the radar on and off so you can get an feel for where the coast is. There's snow, no snow.
This plane right there just left Boston. That's the only plane to leave that city in an hour, and it's a Thai Airlines going to El Salvador. Unless you are going from Boston to El Salvador, you are not getting out of Boston this morning.
A couple of planes here. These are all Continental Airlines. One coming from Orlando, one coming from Tampa, and the other coming from Miami trying to get into Newark right now, but Newark, your visibility is zero. Don't think they're going to let you land. May make you circle until this very heavy snow band moves away.
Back to you, guys.
HARRIS: Chad, just a moment. You know, we're talking about these power outages, and I don't want to make too much of it. I don't want to underplay it at all, but we're talking about 119,000 people in D.C. without power; 62,000 people without power in Baltimore. You were talking about the weight of the snow being a problem breaking off branches and landing on power lines, snapping those off.
MYERS: A lot of times too, Tony, those power lines that are down are in older neighborhoods.
MYERS: Two different things. Bigger trees, and also power lines that are above ground. A lot of the new homes bury the power lines. You don't have that type of problem. Well, the older homes don't have as good of insulation and windows either, and those folks are getting cold now.
HARRIS: That's the point I'm driving at. There's a real public safety concern here, Betty. And it is because folks want to keep warm, and that's when we start to see some of the home fires sometimes when they light the stove or anything else, the space heaters.
NGUYEN: Anything they can do to stay warm.
HARRIS: Trying to stay warm. We're just warning folks to be careful with all of that.
NGUYEN: Yes, Chad?
MYERS: One thing I want you to be very careful of, you typically will always have natural gas. Even if your power is out. You don't want to just lee your oven on as a source of fuel, as a source of heat because that's carbon monoxide in the air as well. It will over -- it will take you over before you know it. You need to be very careful. If you can go to a shelter, maybe to a mall, someplace with power, let the power come back, it will be a while. Some of the crews will have to deal with snow to get out of the way to get the power lines back up.
NGUYEN: True. It's just one problem on top of another.
HARRIS: And that's the point. Just to make sure the folks are aware of the inherent dangers. Some of the stories that we see related to this kind of severe weather, all the time.
NGUYEN: And you know we will, as the day goes on, as it progresses and more snow falls, we're going to see, unfortunately, those kinds of stories.
HARRIS: Yes, good information. Thanks, Chad.
NGUYEN: Hopefully there won't be many and people are taking heed to the warnings. Well, CNN is your severe weather headquarters. You know that. We've been monitoring blizzard conditions all along the Northeast Coast this morning for you. We're going to continue to do so. Bonnie and Chad will be back in just a few minutes.
NGUYEN: We want to give you more of the tastes of the sights and sounds of this Nor'easter. Boy, it is a sight to behold. Here are some of the images captured by one of our brave and hardy photographers. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're probably going to he wanted up with close to a foot in the city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conditions will be very, very, very hazardous. Visibility down to about a quarter of a mile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a row of sanitation trucks lined up along the Westside highways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In all, there will be 1,500 plows out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Richard Palladino (ph). I have been running heavy equipment for about 28 years. Check your fluids. You know, make sure everything is all right, your mirrors are OK, you walk around the truck. You are out the door.
Just an unusually quiet this winter. Even with the warm weather, you know, you -- we have done this for so many years, you get in the truck, it's like riding a bike. You don't like to see anybody inconvenienced or anything like that, but you do, you do look forward to it once in a while. Keeps you sharp.
There's going to be cars parked all over the place. We have to plow. People get a little upset when they see you coming down the road. Even if you are trying to go slow and, you know, not trying to push the snow back in them.
I've had fruit thrown at me. I've had shovels bounced off my windshield, snowballs, eggs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now it's snowing heavily. Also encountering some very strong wind gusts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as major storms go, I think we're pretty well equipped to handle pretty much whatever is dished out. After it stops snowing, nine times out of 10, within 24 hours all our roads are clear.
You can never, never relax when you are plowing. It's constant, constant, tension. You are not home. You are not with your family. I don't know what it like to sit home during a snowstorm. I'm proud of what I do. I think we do a hell of a job.
NGUYEN: What a job it is in these type of conditions. The guy has gotten fruit thrown at him. Is he just trying to do his job so he can clear the streets, but I understand people are going to be plowing down their walkways, their driveways today because there is a blanket of snow on the Northeast.
Look at this, live pictures of Philly. Speaking of plowing through, some of the sidewalks and driveways. There's someone out there doing it right now. Get used to it. This snow is not stopping. It's going to be going for some time today, and we'll stay on top of it. CNN is your severe weather center.
HARRIS: Fanfare! Wow! So far, Norway has the most medals, although none of the gold variety. Germany has scored two gold medals. France, right now, behind them with one gold and one bronze. That gold medal from a late upset in the men's downhill skiing. What happened to Bode?
NGUYEN: What happened to Bode?
HARRIS: Austria has posted two silver medals, and the U.S. has one gold medal. That from Chad Hedrick's (ph) win in speed-skating.
Well, the big story out of Torino, this morning is the pullout announced a few hours ago by American skater Michelle Kwan. CNN Sports' Larry Smith joins us now from Italy with the latest.
Good morning to you, Larry.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. Good afternoon from here in Torino.
I have to say, listening to all of those weather reports, I don't mean to make you guys jealous, but it's almost balmy here in Torino. We should almost have the Olympic Winter Games on the Eastern seaboard because it's -- coats are optional on this Sunday afternoon here in Torino.
Let's get to the big story of the day. Michelle Kwan, as you mentioned, for the past decade she has been the face of figure skating, but the rest of these games, she will be only a spectator. CNN's Mark McKay has more.
MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONENT (on camera): Larry, a solemn Michelle Kwan announced that her Torino Olympic experience is now over.
The five-time world champion picked up a new injury to her hip during her first training session on Saturday prompting a late-night decision to withdraw from the Winter Games.
MICHELLE KWAN, U.S. FIGURE SKATER: I don't think that I can be 100 percent, and I respect the Olympics too much, to compete. And I don't feel that I can be at my best.
DR. JIM MOELLER, U.S. TEAM DOCTOR: With this type of injury, in her sport, at her level, we felt that to continue to train and compete would put her at risk for further injury.
KWAN: It's one of the toughest decisions I've had to make, but I know it's the right one.
MCKAY: Kwan came to her third Olympics sporting an outside chance of claiming her first gold medal. Still, her personal pain of having to leave Torino is felt by her nation.
PETER UBERRROTH, CHAIRMAN, USOC: She's a great ambassador for her sport, for all of sports, and the way she conducts herself, Americans should be proud.
KWAN: I love and respect this sport. And I think it's all about, you know, the United States bringing their best team to the Olympic Games, and I wouldn't want to be in the way of that.
MCKAY: Kwan emotional exit presents an opportunity for Emily Hughes, the younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, and the third place finisher at the U.S. Nationals, arrives here later in the week -- Larry.
SMITH: Thanks, Mark.
By the way, talking about Bode Miller and what he did, he did not medal in the men's downhill. He was upset by the surprise France winner -- French winner, Antoine Dinari (ph). Miller finishing fifth, Darren Rawls, 10th. We can add to those medals, though, for the U.S. Tony. As we talked earlier, the men's snowboard half pike, and it was in that one. Sean White taking gold and Daniel Cass silver. So, a couple of more medals in the half pike. Let' go back to you.
HARRIS: The half pike, I have to watch a couple of these events event so I know what the heck we're talking about here.
HARRIS: All right. Larry Smith in Torino. Thank you, Larry.
NGUYEN: You don't know about the half pike?
HARRIS: I -- uh --
NGUYEN: You need to get out more.
All right. Guess what, folks. There is a blizzard warning all along the Northeast Coast. Take a look at this. This is Providence, Rhode Island. We have been monitoring the severe weather all morning long, for you. White stuff on the street, on the houses, and the trees causing lots of power outages in D.C. and that area. We'll be talking about that, too. Bonnie and Chad will be back in just a few minutes with the forecast.
TONY HARRIS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Plus, another church catches fire in Alabama. We will take you live to the scene.
Danielle, good morning.
DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. That's right, Tony. Coming up next we'll tell you why March is the time to march. Keep it here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
HARRIS: Well, welcome back everyone to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. And boy, do we have weather and plenty of it for you.
NGUYEN: We have so much weather to talk about this morning. Where should we begin? How about Bedford, Massachusetts? Look at this, the snow on the ground it's covering trees. You don't see many people out and about, Tony, and that's for good reason. A lot of this is really coming down on the ground and sticking, 11 inches in Central Park, some 13 to 15 inches in New Jersey. Oh, we have so much snow to tell you about.
First of all, we want to welcome you back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. What a morning it is. Good morning everybody, I'm Betty Nguyen.
HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. Let's get you right upstairs now, to the CNN Weather Center and meteorologist Bonnie Schneider.
Bonnie, good morning.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning Tony and Betty. We are still tracking this powerful Nor'easter storm as it works across the New England area producing a tremendous amount of snow in its wake. Not only snow, but blustery strong winds that have been gusting up to 40 miles per hour. Sustained winds also, very impressive here.
Atlantic City, those winds continue to crank up, 28 miles-per- hour. Actually it's interesting to note, notice the direction, we're starting to get that wrap-around as the low sits off shore. It's pulling down the coldest air of the season, so we're going to see not only, not only snow and blowing wind, but we're also looking at very chilly conditions as this storm pulls down this colder air and tightens and that we see this pressure gradient kind of deepening, meaning the winds will really kick up, especially for coastal areas of Massachusetts and temperatures there, unfortunately, as a result, are feeling pretty chilly at this hour. Very, very blustery, indeed.
But, what is a Nor'easter? The Nor'easter is a low pressure system that affects the mid-Atlantic and the New England states. Now, if you're wondering why do we call it a Nor'easter? It has to do with the wind. It gets its name from the steady, strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean. And that's exactly what we're seeing with the storm, unfortunately. I was mentioning how cold it is outside right now. Here are the current temperatures around much or the Northeast, Boston right now at 22 degrees. Factor in those strong winds, and it feels like it's only six degrees. Chad Myers, our severe weather expert, joins me now.
And Chad, I understand a really intense band of snow is working to the Boston area right now.
CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: We are watching this line move into New York City. It was actually coming in from New Jersey kind of trancing (ph) eastward and going eastward across the city, and now it's down to about, oh, Greenwich. But Boston, you're getting into this green zone here too. It's kind of a colorized radar, just so you can kind of see where the heaviest snow is and the colorizing in the green means two to three inches per hour.
We were looking at this flight explorer a little bit ago and we were looking at three plains trying to come in from Florida. This one right here from Miami to Newark, it got down to about 1,100 feet, turned around and said no, I don't think so. This one here coming out of NCO, Orlando, it is now being diverted Baltimore. And the one here just ahead of it, that was supposed to be a Continental Airlines flight from Tampa to Newark, it is being deveteraned to Raleigh- Durham. Trying to get the planes in and out of here, it is absolutely impossible. Visible at Newark right about zero, here.
Let me turn the radar on and off. You see the island, here you see Cincinnati, Boston and such. The whole area as I flash you on, find the brightest blue, the darkest blue right through here, all the way from Bedford through White Plains down into La Guardia. This area here two to three inches of snow and it isn't moving, two to three inches of snow per hour. Many of these areas are going to be picking up in the neighborhood of 18 to 20 inches before it's finally done.
Bonnie, this is going to be one heck of a snowstorm for many areas where that one band of heavy snow you talked about just sits on top of them.
SCHNEIDER: That's right and some of the snowfall totals we're forecasting now have advisory gone up since yesterday. We may see as much as 20 inches of snow even on the parts of the east end of Long Island. We actually had some reports of 21 inches of snow already into Pennsylvania, at this hour. And as we travel up to the North, you'll see the snow continues to pound New England, as Chad was showing you, for the Boston area, and look at these winds. These are sustained winds right now in Nantucket. Out of the northeast a classic Nor'easter, for sure.
We're looking at the winds right now sustained at 35 miles-per- hour. The gusts are even stronger than that. Before the storm moves through the area, we could see winds as high as 60 miles-per-hour, so those winds are going to be very, very fierce.
And Chad, we were also talking about the weight of the snow. John King was reporting how the snow where he was was lighter and fluffier and more blowing about a little bit more, but you were saying that down in New York that's a different situation.
MYERS: It's all about dewpoint. It's where your dewpoint is. A number that we rarely use, and I wish everyone at home at home knew what the number meant like a meteorologist does. The closer your dewpoint is to 32, the heavier juror snow is. If your dewpoint is minus seven in Minneapolis, your snow is powdery snow and it just blows around. The dewpoints here in New York are in the 20s, upper 20s and lower 30s. That means it's heavy, heavy snow. Boston, right now, a little lighter, but it is going to pick up moisture content, and therefore, get heavier as we go. Remember, lighter snow blows more as well, so that's the ground blizzard potential as the winds pick up. Back to you.
SCHNEIDER: Right and the heavier snow, of course, is going to be more difficult for those to shovel out, and we're talking about dewpoints, it's the temperature at which the air gets saturated. And it's interesting to talk about that in the winter, as opposed to the summer, but, unfortunately, it's making a difference now.
MYERS: Dewpoint and 70 in the summer means you are getting a thunderstorm.
MYERS: Yeah, not today, unfortunately. All right. Thanks, Chad. Let's go back to Betty and Tony.
NGUYEN: You know what this all means? Problems.
NGUYEN: More problems. All right, we'll talk to you both soon. Thanks for that updates.
There is some other news that we want to tell you about this morning. A suspicious fire overnight in an Alabama church is the 10th church fire in that state in just nine days. Beaverton, Alabama, is the site of this latest fire. CNN national correspondent Bob Franken joins us from there.
And Bob, is it still just too early to know if there's any connection between last night's fire and some of the other fires?
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've not gotten official word. The official word only is that they are considering this suspicious and are looking at it. You can see that the church is now a shell. What's interesting about that is that the fire department is very close by, responded almost immediately about 4:15 local time, yesterday afternoon, but still, it burned quite rapidly, and obviously, that meant that the people from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency and all the hundreds of other investigators from the many agencies that are involved just swarmed all over these grounds looking for evidence, looking to see whether this was another one that was arson.
There have been a series of fires, suspicious or confirmed arsons that have occurred. All of them at Baptist churches, but that's about the only thing in common. Many of the congregations are predominantly white, like this one, others are more African-american. So, for the moment, at least, investigators are saying that there is no racial motive. However, there are laws, federal and state, about burning a house of worship and, of course, they would apply, and of course there's a possibility of an application of a hate crime.
In any case, in the next half hour or so, we may get a briefing from some of the officials to tell us what it is that they have learned. Right now, this property is closed off as investigators want to make sure that they keep everything intact until they can figure out just what's going on and try and see if they can come up with some way of finding the people responsible for these rash of fires and arrest then. I should point out that there was another one of these rashes of fires about 10 years ago, and in many cases they never arrested any of the people involved -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Oh, no one wants to hear that. You're right, 10 fires, nine days, there's a lot of people scratching their head. Bob Franken in Beaverton, Alabama. Thank you, Bob.
The Danish government is now urging its citizens to leave Indonesia.
HARRIS: But, Indonesia says the decision was made in haste, and there is no real reason to leave. With more on this we're joined by Danielle Elias at the International Desk.
Danielle, good morning.
ELIAS: Good morning. Thank you, Tony. As you said, Denmark finds itself at the center of a global storm. By now you're probably familiar with the world-wide protests surrounding the Prophet Mohammed cartoons; they were first published in a Danish newspaper. Well, in Pakistan political parties have come together on one thing. They're calling for a nationwide strike on March 3 to condemn the caricatures. In London, thousands of Muslims peacefully rallied Saturday to protest the cartoons. And the Danish government is now urging its citizens to leave Indonesia for security reasons.
Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, says he's kicked off a three-country tour of North Africa. Rumsfeld is visiting Tunisia before going to Algeria and Morocco. These are three countries the Muslim world the U.S. is working with to build alliances. Rumsfeld and Tunisian officials have discussed an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to exercise with their forces.
Now, I know you said you're looking for a special gift for your wife for Valentine's day, right, Tony?
HARRIS: Yeah, Danielle, that's true. I'm looking, yes.
ELIAS: You are, well, here's something a bit more unusual. A South Korean chef in Japan has come up with what could be the world's most expensive valentine's chocolate for music lovers. The chef spent over five hours delicately placing more than 100 diamonds into a chocolate sculpture in the form of a music score.
NGUYEN: That's chocolate?
ELIAS: You got it. Now, the score is Mozart's "Turkish March," which is one of the most popular pieces in Japan. The piece also commemorates Mozart's 250th birthday. The diamond chocolate Mozart music score is on sale this weekend in Tokyo.
Now, Tony, take a guess. How much do you think this desert might cost?
NGUYEN: Yeah, Tony. Take a guess.
HARRIS: What about, $20,000 or something?
ELIAS: Twenty thousand? Try a bit more.
NGUYEN: Yes. We're talking diamonds here.
HARRIS: All right, five hundred thousand dollars?
ELIAS: Five million.
HARRIS: Five million dollars?
ELIAS: Five million bucks. It features a seven karat diamond on the chocolate, of course, worth $170,000. Any girl would want that, right, Betty?
NGUYEN: Oh, yes. You know what? I may not eat the chocolate, but you know I'm going to get those diamonds out of it some way or another.
ELIAS: You got it.
NGUYEN: I'm just being honest. That's all. Thank you, Danielle.
HARRIS: Danielle, thank you.
It is something more people are putting on hold longer than ever before.
NGUYEN: Yeah, we're talking about diamonds here too, aren't where he, Tony?
NGUYEN: And getting married. Brides and grooms are getting older and older. What's that all about? Stick around, we'll tell you.
HARRIS: All right, this is such bad form. We're arguing with our guest. Valentine's Day, well, you got us thinking, what is the state of love in America right now? Well, if you are single and looking to get hitched, here's the bad news, more than half of all adults in the U.S. are already married. The census bureau says 57 percent of men and 54 percent of women have tied the knot. Well, here's the good news, that leaves about 90 million who are single and ready to mingle. The majority of those have never been married. The numbers also show people are waiting longer to take the plunge for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think marriage is sacred. Lovely. It's beautiful. It's a beautiful thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking to be complete. You know, right now I'm half. I'm looking for my other half.
HARRIS: Young love can certainly be romantic, but mature love is what's hot these days. Those are getting married later in life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAUSE TETREAULT, MARRIED AT 32: We gotten gauged in South Carolina.
COLETTE TETREAULT, MARRIED AT 32: In Charleston.
HARRIS (voice-over): Colette and Claus took the plunge when they were a mature 32 years old.
COLETTE TETREAULT: I've always been somebody who wanted to know that I could stand on my own two feet before I made a life with somebody.
HARRIS: Since 1970 the age of first marriage in the U.S. has jump from 21 to 25 for women and 23 to 27 for men.
ELISABETH BURGESS, ASSOC. PROF. OF SOCIOLOGY, GSU: People are thinking marriage is something I'll do when I grow up and that age of "when I grow up" keeps moving up.
HARRIS: Now four years later Colette and Claus have two children.
COLETTE TETREAULT: Here she comes baby. And here she comes.
After we got married and I knew we wanted to have kids right away and I think it had been about six months, and I said, well, you know, my eggs are coming down the tubes in wheelchairs. I don't know if they're going to make it.
HARRIS: Colette is busy keeping up with her 2-year-old son, Sabastian now, but in her 20s she was climbing the pyramids in Guatemala and caving and snorkeling in Belize. COLETTE TETREAULT: I was kind of a nut and I was traveling, and I wasn't ready for kids and dogs and cats and settling down. So, when I had gotten through all that and experienced pretty much most of what I wanted to, you know, I was ready.
HARRIS: She completed a graduate degree in nursing at Georgetown University in D.C. Today she's a nurse midwife. Socialologist Dr. Elisabeth Burgess says Colette's typical of many women today. They've got a lot to accomplish in their 20s.
BURGESS: Nowadays it's a larger percentage of women who are in the work force. Larger percentage of women who get bachelor's degrees who go on to graduate work, who go on to professional schools, become doctors and lawyers and dentists.
HARRIS: A CDC report shows that after 10 years of marriage younger brides are twice as likely to divorce or separate than older brides, 48 percent versus 24 percent. Marriage therapist Michael Chafin says older couples are usually better at working through conflict.
MICHAEL CHAFIN, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST: The older you get the more you realize you how much you don't know and the more you realize about how much you don't know, then the more accepting you are of other people's differences.
HARRIS: Claus says he is definitely reaping the benefits of maturity in his marriage.
CLAUS TETREAULT: I probably wasn't quite ready for marriage at 25, so I had a little probably wilder time when I was single. In the 20s or mid 20s I was still not there yet.
HARRIS: OK, marriage and family therapist Susan Boyan joins us now. You've been working with families in Atlanta for 20 years now, Susan?
SUSAN BOYAN, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST: Twenty-four.
HARRIS: Here's the thing. It makes sense, doesn't it, to wait longer to get married? You're got a little more life under your belt, you've had a few more relationships. Doesn't it make sense to wait a little longer?
BOYAN: Yes, but it depends on how long you wait.
HARRIS: You don't want to wait too long?
HARRIS: All right, we've to get to some keys here. What do healthy marriages, in your experience, have in common?
BOYAN: Well, the first thing is they're committed. They're very committed to each other and also to the institution of marriage. They don't see it as disposable, so they go into it believing that it really will work. They also are -- they take the time because they are committed. They find time to be together, to talk, to go out with each other.
HARRIS: Yeah, communication.
HARRIS: They talk.
BOYAN: Right. Right. And listen.
HARRIS: And, you know, the issue sometimes is that, you know, after so many years of marriage, we feel like we've developed a short- hand, and we don't really -- we don't really talk and in expansive ways we just sort of, here, here, there because we're all moving around, but it's absolutely key to spend time talking, correct?
BOYAN: Right. Without interruptions, no blackberry, cell phone, TV, children, to actually be committed enough to find that kind of time, even if it's just 10 minutes a day.
HARRIS: Some of the common problems that you have experienced in your work with families.
BOYAN: Well, they come in because they're not making time. They've sort of developed parallel lives. They're focused on career.
HARRIS: What is that, parallel lives?
BOYAN: They're just going about their lives without connecting much. They might sleep together, live in the same home, talk about just basic things, but they're not spending time together and the relationship has, like, shifted down to sort of low priority. So, you see that, loyalty issues come up, extended family, in-law problems, step family issues, mine versus yours. They come in with all kinds of problems like violations of trust. Besides infidelity, there's secrets of any kind, and internet porn has become a real problem in marriages.
HARRIS: Give us one thing to focus on very quickly. Just as we close in on Valentine's Day. Redirect us, give us something to focus on as couples.
BOYAN: Well, to have a long-term relationship besides the commitment, there needs to be a basic friendship there where you like the person. When all is said and done, that this is somebody that you enjoy spending time with and that you make the time, and learning what issues to make big, which ones to let go. A healthy long-term relationship has learned that balance of knowing this one I can slide and they know when to seek assistance.
HARRIS: Susan, good to see you. Good to talk to you. Thanks for taking the time this morning. We appreciate it.
NGUYEN: It's all about balance, Tony.
Well, we do have an update for you though, speaking of the weather conditions outside. Want to get you those airport closings because there are new closures. You'll want to stay tuned for that coming up right after this break.
NGUYEN: Well, the severe weather is here and it's going to stay at least throughout the day, and look at the snow falling in Boston right now. We do have some airport closures to tell you about for those traveling today. There's several of them. The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport closed. La Guardia, in New York, closed. Newark is closed. Some of the smaller airports, Nantucket Memorial, Massachusetts, Atlantic City International in New Jersey, Philadelphia Northeast, and Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and Martinsburg. Lots of airport closures.
I do have to tell you, with this live picture of Boston and the snow coming down, Logan Airport has not been closed as of yet, but when we spoke with a reporter out of Boston just a little earlier, 90 percent of the flights had already been canceled.
HARRIS: OK, and up stairs to the CNN Weather Center and Bonnie Schneider,
Bonnie, what's the latest with all of this?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Tony, we're watching heavy snow bands work through New York City, for example, in Queens. The areas in the bright white indicate snowfall rates of two to three inches per hour. You already have snow on the ground, but more is still coming. That's especially true for Boston. The blizzard warning goes tonight until 7:00 p.m. And look at the area in bright white, right through here, through the Boston area. That's where we're looking at heavy snow that's falling at this hour. And that snow sure is accumulating.
Here are the latest numbers for you for snowfall totals across New Jersey, Connecticut, and into New York, as well, 18.8 inches in Elizabeth, New Jersey, not far from New York City. Unbelievable numbers and what's unfortunate, though, the snow is still coming. So, we're going to have to keep tallying these throughout the day and into the night as well. Betty, Tony.
NGUYEN: All right Bonnie, we're going to keep a watch of it all day long. CNN is your severe weather station.
HARRIS: "Reliable Sources" is next, followed by "Late Edition" and "On the Story," so don't go anywhere. And of course, monitoring the blizzard conditions all day long.
NGUYEN: Have a good day.
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