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CNN NEWSROOM

Huge, Violent Storms; Hooker Scandal Hits Secret Service; Interview with NY Representative Peter King; Titanic's 100 Year

Aired April 14, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.

This just in to CNN. We have been telling you about the severe weather outbreak taking place in the Midwest. As we go on the air today, we have a tornado live on the ground. Our storm chasers are chasing it, south of Salina, Kansas.

Take a look at this video as we get to our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras, who is standing by, watching this with me as well.

Jacqui, we saw a huge funnel cloud on the ground. What's going on?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this is a large, violent tornado. Let's roll the video. This is a quick turn, this is what it looked like literally three minutes ago. And we're continuing to track this live. Sometimes we get spotty interception from storm chasers as they're live streaming.

But this tornado was reported first near Geneseo, Kansas, move near Little River, right now, this is near Langley, if you know that area. So, it includes Ellsworth, McPherson, and Saline County. So, it's a very large, dangerous, violent tornado being tracked at this time, and it's moving pretty quickly to the north and east, around 45 miles per hour.

Now, this is pretty rural at this point. We haven't heard any reports of damage yet. We're going to continue to track this. One of my big concerns is, is that this is moving towards Salina. Now, Salina is not in the warning as we speak, but this storm is heading your way, and you need to be on big time alert for this storm.

Let's show you, this is the storm chaser network. This is what that tornado wedge. We call it a wedge when you don't see a point on the bottom of the tornado. People say what does that mean. It means it is large and causing a lot of destruction which is out there.

I want to go to the maps and show you the areas that I'm talking about, give you a little more specifics. Here's Wichita, Kansas. And it's the area just to the west of there.

So far today, we've had a lot of tornados. Twenty-nine of them being reported so far, but they have been rural. So, they haven't hit a populated area. You might be saying to yourself, well, hey, what happened to this huge outbreak. Well, 20 tornados is an outbreak, and we are up to 29. And the concern is the sun is starting to go down, they're moving towards populated areas, and things are going to be hitting the fan so to speak unfortunately, Don, I think in the upcoming hours. So here is the tornado that we're talking about. That's what that signature looks like on radar.

We also had confirmation reports of tornados on each of the cells, and also one near North Platte, Nebraska. So, this is a very large area of the country that's being impacted by this today. And we have watches.

LEMON: And, Jacqui, can I just jump in? If we have that video, can we show -- we can't see enough of the video when you see that to get that on tape, and if we have anyone live out there to show you, Jacqui, as we continue to talk.

I just heard from -- I don't mean to cut you off. We're going to do this for awhile.

Rob Marciano was in Kansas. That's his shot there.

Rob is on the phone with us.

What are you seeing? We're looking at your shot now.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST (via telephone): We are to the right of the wall cloud, mesocyclone, all the stuff that Jacqui just told you about. A cell that moved through Medicine Lodge, tornado warm cell, we have been watching it. It was Woodward, Oklahoma. We're just dipping into a valley here, ands then you'll -- when we come up over this ridge, you'll see what we're looking at.

We are looking for this precip to tighten up just a little bit around the circulation. And get a little better organized, which it has been doing the past five or 10 minutes. There you see wind turbine. You see the precipitation coming down. That is the area where if a funnel were to form and drop, it would happen.

So we're driving to north, trying to stay ahead of it, because you get behind of it, it is a lost cause.

So, at this point, no tornado touchdown with this tornado warning, but it's starting to look more well-developed.

LEMON: Hey, Rob. You know, you're traveling. So, the signal is in and out. Stay with us here.

That's Rob Marciano who is doing some storm chasing for us, our meteorologist here. And there's an active tornado on the ground.

Jacqui Jeras, our meteorologist in studio, as soon as we get his picture back, we'll bring it back.

But, Rob, I want to ask you -- if can you tell our viewers exactly where you are? It says near Attica, Kansas. Which highway are you, I think you're traveling north? MARCIANO: Yes, we are traveling north at this point on the highway. There's a lot of farm roads that crisscross this part of the county. And when you get up on the storm, (INAUDIBLE) decided to stop. Need to be on the eastern flank, otherwise, no sense going after it, gets too dangerous.

So, I don't know if you're seeing the stream. A little more dense rain shaft there, who knows what's wrapped in that --

LEMON: We can't see it, Rob. We will -- but we're going to try to get it back up. Don't go anywhere, Rob, because Jacqui is pointing out exactly where you are.

Jacqui, where is he?

JERAS: Right. And Rob makes a great point. Rob is right here. This is a storm he's talking, near Medicine Lodge. It does have a wall cloud with it. We've had some possible reports of tornados touching down with it.

The tornados we have seen in the last couple hours have been kind of spotty. But I think now, conditions are more favorable for these become large and stay on the ground. And I want to make it different.

So, let's have the video -- do we have that video of that large wedge tornado? That's the storm up here, the one we showed at the top of the hour with that big funnel all the way on the ground, that's the tornado near Salina. This is the tornado where Rob is on.

So, all of these storms are rotating, all of them are potentially producing tornados and causing a lot of destruction potentially as they move into populated areas.

LEMON: Jacqui, what's your Twitter address again?

JERAS: @JacquiJeras.

LEMON: @JacquiJeras. And I'm getting people here @DonLemonCNN. They are saying it's very windy right now in western Kentucky, too. And there are people who are on, talking about the weather.

So, if you have any information, you can tweet me, DonLemonCNN, or@JacquiJeras.

Our Rob Marciano is standing by. We're going to get back to him in just a little bit. We're get to Jacqui Jeras. Don't go anywhere. We're not going to go far from the story.

We have another developing story to tell you about that we're following tonight. This is the agency trusted with the life of the commander-in-chief, the unsmiling men in black, as they are known -- the guys with earpieces and the sunglasses, and talking to their sleeves.

But this flies in the face of that clean cut image -- hookers in their hotel rooms. About a dozen Secret Service agents have been relieved of duty in Colombia, accused of hanky-panky before President Barack Obama's arrival in that country.

Dan Lothian standing by live for us in Cartagena, Colombia. We're going to get to Dan Lothian in just a bit.

But, first, this is what he is reporting tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While President Obama was meeting with top CEOs and talking about energy and trade, his message was overshadowed by a scandal within the agency sworn to protect him.

Last Wednesday, before the president arrived in Cartagena, several women, some believed to be prostitutes, were brought to this hotel by Secret Service personnel, later involved in a dispute over payment according to several U.S. government sources familiar with the investigation.

REPORTER: When was the president informed about the investigation?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president was made aware of the incident in question yesterday. The White House was informed Thursday evening.

LOTHIAN: Former "Washington Post" reporter Ron Kessler was the first to reveal the scandal.

RON KESSLER, FORMER "WASHINGTON POST" REPORTER: One of the agents refused to pay one of the prostitutes. She complained to the police. They, in turn, reported it to the Secret Service. The Secret Service also involved the State Department and the White House and the agents were removed on Thursday and replaced.

LOTHIAN: In addition, the sources say about a dozen undercover Secret Service agents and uniformed officers were allegedly involved, relieved of duty and sent home. They were not in the president's personal protective detail, but part of a support team. Most but not all were replaced because it was determined the existing staffing was adequate.

Even though prostitution is legal in some areas of Colombia, law enforcement experts say this is highly embarrassing for the agency and a breach of conduct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are representing the president of the United States and U.S. ambassador. Their behavior is expected to be at the highest level at all times while conducting government business in a foreign country.

LOTHIAN: And in another allegation, the Pentagon confirmed five members of the military who are supporting the Secret Service in Cartagena may also have been involved in inappropriate conduct, allegedly at the same hotel.

The Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said in a statement that the agency takes allegations of misconduct seriously and that the matter was turned over to the Office of Professional Responsibility which handles internal investigations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LOTHIAN: Joining us now live from Cartagena, Colombia, Dan Lothian.

Dan, where does this investigation go now?

LOTHIAN: Well, that investigation continues, that internal investigation, I'm told by one U.S. official they will be conducting a number of interviews, trying to look specifically at who was involved and what happened on Wednesday. Again, this investigation is still early on.

As for the service members, we are told by Defense Department officials they continue to be confined to rooms. They're not allowed contact with anyone else, again, still here in country. One military official saying that he is, quote, "disappointed by this entire incident" -- Don.

LEMON: Dan Lothian, appreciate your reporting traveling with the president tonight. Thank you, Dan.

The Secret Service is overseen by Department of Homeland Security.

Now, I want to go to the phone where we have New York Congressman Peter King standing by for us. Mr. King is the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Congressman, you were briefed on this investigation. What do you know?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK (via telephone): Yes, Don, thank you.

Basically my understanding is, it was 11 Secret Service agents. They did bring women back to their rooms. There was -- one of the women did not leave her room in the morning, the hotel manager tried to get into the room, finally, the police came, the woman did leave, Secret Service agent apparently she said owed her money and that was basically it.

Then the police finally report with the American embassy which they were required to do whenever they deal with a foreign citizen in the country. Secret Service saw that, saw the report. They immediately began an investigation.

Also, the special agent in charge at the field office in Miami, she began an investigation. The investigation moved very quickly and 11 agents were removed from the country. They were backfilled immediately. There was never a gap in security. Each of the positions was filled from agents from Miami and from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

LEMON: I have to ask you this. What's the possibility of some sort of shake down, just asking, going on here? Because as we have heard, prostitution is legal in some parts of Colombia. Is there something going on at this particular hotel? Or could the agents have been set up in some way?

KING: No, I don't think -- first of all, my understanding, there is no allegation of any crime being committed. What it does, it violates Secret Service code of conduct. Their job is to protect the president of the United States.

They cannot put themselves in compromising position where they're open to be blackmailed or threatened. Nor can they -- nor should they be bringing prostitutes into a basically security zone 48 hours before the president of the United States is arriving.

So the main problem here for the Secret Service agents is not so much a criminal violation, but really it is a dereliction of duty, not doing their job. I know you asked before about investigation. My understanding is all day today at Secret Service headquarters, these 11 agents were being interviewed and questioned because Director Sullivan wants to know what happened and why it happened.

LEMON: Congressman Peter king, thank you very much. We appreciate you taking out time to speak with us. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much.

This is our breaking news story today. We told you about tornados hitting a big part of -- the middle of our country. You saw some -- there we are. That's our live storm chasers who are out. You saw one, an active one on the ground.

Our meteorologist Rob Marciano, from his vantage point. He is a storm chaser out today. Our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is here in the CNN severe weather center.

We're going to keep you updated on this very incredible situation going on in the country -- so dire, so important that they gave more than 24 hour notice of severe tornado outbreak in the mid part of the country and it is happening now. You're going to see it live here on CNN. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. We are following the severe weather here on CNN. Our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is helping me out. Our meteorologist Rob Marciano is out storm chasing today.

Jacqui, at the top of the broadcast, we saw live from Rob's point of view. That's a funnel cloud, right?

JERAS: Yes.

LEMON: Yes.

JERAS: He's been watching what's called a wall cloud, which is where a tornado would drop out of. But we've also been also live-streaming storm chasers on a cell north of Rob, that is producing a tornado. That's one from Nick Nolte (ph), I'm thinking of the actor, though, right, the storm chaser, on that cell.

And this is near McPherson, and the closest town to this storm right now is called Marquette. So, that is one angle and one view of that situation. Here's another one. As you can see those dark, ominous clouds.

Sometimes, the live streaming live this is a little pixelized, Don, it's kind of hard to see things from time to time. But we'll continue to monitor those. We know from multiple reports that's a large wedge tornado about a quarter mile wide that will produce damage, anything in its path.

So, thankfully, it's pretty rural, and we'll continue to pass that information along to you.

Let's show you where we're talking about here on the map. This is Interstate 135 right here, this is Salina, Kansas, along I-70, where the two intersect, and this is the most dangerous one, this is the large tornado that's on the ground right now, and it's moving to the north and east about 40 miles per hour. So it is a pretty quick moving storm.

We can show you some video now of what this storm looked like about 10 minutes or so ago where we saw that tornado making that connection with the ground at the time. And one of the big concerns is that the storm is that very intense, and it's on the ground, and it's heading towards a populated area.

Salina, Kansas, is not in warning but you're under the watch. This storm may be a good 20 to 30 minutes from you. So, we will watch and wait and see as it gets closer whether or not you get into the warning. But it's taken a little hop to the west, the center of rotation. So, that concerns me that Salina is a little more into the window as that storm continues to develop.

Now, let's show you two other storms that we're talking about. The one near Hutchinson has just weakened. So, that's good news. That storm has been cancelled now in terms of a warning on it.

And this is the one that Rob is on, this storm south and west of Wichita. So, things have been rural so far throughout the day today, but we're heading into those populated areas and we're heading into nightfall. And that's what makes this dangerous.

And I also want to point out the watches that are in effect. So, a watch means that conditions are favorable for tornados to develop, a warning means it's happening now, take cover. So, really important to keep that distinction in mind tonight and have your NOAA radio on because those storms are wrapped in rain. You can't see them all the time.

That beautiful picture that we just saw of that storm near Salina, we're not getting pictures like that a lot, I think, throughout the rest of the evening because there's so much rain with the storms.

The watches that are in effect are what we called PDS watches. And when you hear that term, PDS, it stands for particularly dangerous situation. It means it's not your ordinary tornado watch. It means this is a biggie.

It's a high risk day. Only a handful of days happen like this per year, Don. And there are about 5 million people potentially in the path of all these storms or at least in that risk area tonight.

LEMON: And, you know, you were telling people about their weather radio. I just want to look right here because -- and this -- it's a little thing sometimes. Someone tweeted me, please tell folks to put up trampolines, and things in their yards like lawn furniture or that sort of things. Strong winds can hurl them, they become projectiles and deadly.

JERAS: They become projectiles, yes.

LEMON: That's great advice. Thank you for sending me that.

And you also mentioned, Jacqui, stand by, don't go anywhere.

Rob Marciano -- Rob is on the road near Attica, Kansas.

Rob, when we last saw you live, you were looking at a wall cloud. What are you seeing now?

MARCIANO: Well, (INAUDIBLE) moved to the north and our west. So, we changed it north and east. And we just pulled over to the side of the road. I don't know if the router is pulled up or if we can actually connect. Amazing the technology we have nowadays, and how folks chase used to be, you had some fancy roving satellite technology with laptops, but with smart phones and iPads and connection from time to time, it will get you by.

But what we're seeing visually right now as we head to the northern (INAUDIBLE) of Harper County, is this cell, in more visual standpoint, is not stopped to organizing at least on the southern southeastern flank of it where the mesocyclone would be, where the tornado may drop.

Basically right now, (INAUDIBLE), Don, focus on the next batch that moved through Woodward, Oklahoma, that's been tornado warned for probably 30 or 40 minutes. And from what I understand, I think there's been a couple of reports of a tornado on the tornado on the ground somewhere with that cell.

So, we're going to peel off, let this fly by. It's moving 40, 50 miles an hour. So just on these roads, once it gets by you, they're tough to chase.

So we will wait, Don, and reposition ourselves to the Woodward, Oklahoma, cell that moving in this general direction --

LEMON: Rob, as you're talking there, we're going to put up the one that was just a couple minutes ago when you were on live, the pictures of that. Can we get that up?

This is -- there it is. Rob, that thing is huge. I mean, that was -- we were looking at it, is this from Rob? That's the other one. This isn't Rob.

JERAS: And Salina is under the warning now, too, by the way. We mentioned that Salina could be in the path of this storm. Well, you're now under that tornado warning.

So, very dangerous, Salina. You need to take cover immediately. Get to a safe place, put on a helmet, lowest level of your home, away from doors and windows.

LEMON: That was the one that was moving towards Salina.

JERAS: Right.

LEMON: The other one that Rob was on is near Attica.

Hey, Rob, thank you. As soon as we get your signal back up, we'll get you back in the air. Be safe out there, OK?

MARCIANO: All right, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thanks, Rob. Thanks, Jacqui.

They're not going far. Stand by. We'll keep you updated. This is a dangerous outbreak of severe weather and deadly tornadoes, possibly deadly tornadoes. So make sure you keep it here on the breaking news on CNN.

It's time to pay Uncle Sam. You know it. Think you're taking a hit. What about Mitt Romney? What about President Obama?

We're going to tell you about their tax returns right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Mitt Romney is going to miss the April 17th income tax deadline. He and his wife Ann have filed for a six-month extension for 2011 taxes. Romneys estimate, excuse me, their tax liability at $3.2 million. They paid $3 million in taxes for 2010 tax year on more than $21 million in income. A Romney campaign spokeswoman says the couple will release their 2011 tax return when it is filed.

President and Mrs. Obama have also released their tax returns. The Obamas had an adjusted gross income in 2011 of $789,000. They paid more than 162,000 in federal taxes, about 20.5 percent.

The United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution that would send international observers into Syria to monitor a shaky ceasefire. Today's vote comes more than a year after the outbreak of violence between government forces and anti-government activists and it's not clear if it will do any good.

Syrian activists today reported that at least 20 people were killed when government forces once again targeted opposition neighborhoods, even though the ceasefire has been in place since Thursday morning.

The tension may be easing slightly in the standoff between the West and Iran. Representatives from the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany, and Iran met in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Western nations want Iran to rein in its nuclear program which they believe is for military purposes. Iran says it's not, and an E.U. spokesman said today's talks had a positive atmosphere. There's another meeting next month.

A new movie tells women to think like a man. What some women are saying about that idea we can't say on the air. But we'll talk with a clinical psychologist who says maybe women should think like a man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. Onto some dangerous territory right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)(

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Act like a lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But think like a man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The movie "Think Like a Man" is based on a book by comedian Steve Harvey.

And even though it comes out next week, it's already got people talking and arguing, even me and clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere. I spoke to him earlier. He agrees that women should think like men, but first wanted to clarify exactly what that means.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PYSCHOLOGIST: Certainly thinking like a man is not like acting like a man. And that's not -- we don't want women to do that, because two wrongs don't make a right. And we know women are close to perfect. I think both you and I agree on that.

LEMON: OK. You're trying to get yourself out of trouble. Jeff --

GARDERE: No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Who is to say -- who is to say that men have the right way of thinking? Maybe n should think like women. Maybe women are better thinkers than men. Why would someone tell a woman to think like a man, and that's better for her? I find that insulting and I'm a man.

GARDERE: No. And I understand exactly where you're coming from, where the critics are coming from. But I'm siding with Steve Harvey on this one, OK, even though he's not a shrink and I am. I'm siding with him, because basically, what he's saying, Don, really act like a lady because you are the superior sex, but think like a man.

Thinking like a man means getting into the head of a man, understanding how men think, understanding that we are much more simplistic in our thinking, that we're much more thinking in skewed ways, in ways that are not very productive. So therefore, if you know how we think like men, it will make you much smarter in the relationship. That's all it is. Getting that inside information. What's in the mind of a man, knowing that.

LEMON: Why should women even care?

GARDERE: Well because men do think different than women. And John Gray had it right. Women are from Venus and men are from Mars. We are created equally, absolutely, but we are created different. And therefore, if you treat a man the way you think most people think, most women think, you're not going to have a productive relationship. Know that you're dealing with an inferior species, know how they think, and you will do much better as a woman in a relationship.

LEMON: OK.

GARDERE: That's all he's saying and I agree with it.

LEMON: All right, you know, I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here. You know that. It is not really that serious stuff.

GARDERE: I think you see the light now.

LEMON: No, no, I don't see the light. Because I grew up in a family of all women, the only boy. And I mean, I think the world would be better off if more men thought like women than the other way around. Just because we shouldn't be lowering -

GARDERE: I agree with you.

LEMON: - women's intelligence telling them to think like us. If we are Neanderthals, maybe we should try and do think like them. That's all I'm saying.

GARDERE: No, (INAUDIBLE) their intelligent and that they know.

LEMON: How many times have you ever heard someone say think like a woman. Hey Jeff, think like a woman, How many times has someone said that to you?

GARDERE: Let me tell you, that's going to be my new book - it's called "Think Like a Woman and Act Like A Gentleman." That's going to be the next book. That's right, Steve Harvey. I can do it, too.

LEMON: You're a good sport. Thank you, Jeff. Good to see you.

GARDERE: All right. Don, good to see you, buddy.

LEMON: Well, you thought, that's not it. You think that was hot? You got to watch tonight. We're going to tackle should women think like men and other issues, it has been all about women this week, and oh, my gosh, women stay at home, stay at home mom, the war on women. What is that? Join me, comedian (INAUDIBLE) and a whole panel of guest and we got the authors of the manual and the rules. Make sure you set your DVR, just watch us, 10:00 Eastern. Expect some fireworks.

I want to tell you that we are going to keep a close eye - we're keeping a close eye on tornadoes all over the plain states. You've seen some of them on air live here. Our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras will join us live after the break.

Also, (INAUDIBLE) with a live update on the situation in Kansas from the state emergency management agency, what they're saying as well after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK, everyone. This is breaking news that you are following here on CNN. We're talking about severe weather. Forecasters have predicted the worst, and it looks like we could see some of the most powerful storms in recent memory tonight across the nation's midsection.

And look at this. Most dramatic video we've seen, this is from Salina, Kansas. This was live on CNN just a short time ago. More than a dozen twisters have been reported across the region so far. And unfortunately, things will get worse as the night goes on. We have meteorologist Rob Marciano, he's out storm chasing. Our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is here right there. She's in the CNN's severe weather studio, and she is watching all of this for us.

Jacqui, stand by for a moment please. You can help me out with this next interview. Because joining me by phone is Sharon Watson with the Kansas emergency state management agency. Miss Watson, thanks for joining us. Don Lemon and Jacqui Jeras here. What are you seeing where you are?

SHARON WATSON, KANSAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Well, right now we are watching the same thing you are regarding the area, the funnel clouds around Salina, that's a great concern. And of course, we have been monitoring this storm all day. And it has reports of damage in certain parts of Kansas, then western portions, central portions of the state as well. Most damage up until now, fairly minor damage. Power lines down, and trees down, and things like that. But of course we know the worst is still ahead of us.

LEMON: Jacqui, you have anything for Miss Watson?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we are watching two different storm chasers right now that are on separate storms. The one in Salina, Kansas that we're talking about is this storm right here. So you can see this is what we would call a wall cloud, this low-hanging area, and the tornado would come out of this area potentially. There is a tornado warning on this. There's been a confirmed tornado from time to time. Very strong wording has been issued by the National Weather Service out of Wichita. This is something new that they're trying starting this week, believe it or not. The timing couldn't be better. They're using terms like, you know, large tornado is on the ground. They're using terms like homes could be destroyed. So hopefully this will cause people to take more action, and that's the whole point is that we don't want people crying wolf on this kind of situation. Now there are multiple tornadoes that have touched down across Kansas. And I guess Sharon, I would want to ask you, what are you hearing for damage reports? It is sounding pretty rural so far.

WATSON: Absolutely. Yes, Rush county and Russell county, reports of some farm buildings impacted as well as trees and power lines affected. Some minor flooding in some rural areas as well as an old school building. Things like that, nothing significant that has been reported to us in terms of damage, but of course, we'll be watching for more information and as things really get much worse overnight, we would anticipate more damage. So our emergency operation center is activated, we have staff here who will be working all night to make sure we're getting information -

LEMON: Miss Watson, can you just stand by for a second - I'm sorry to interrupt there. I just want to say as you are talking there, we want to get you to Wichita, Kansas. KSNW is our affiliate there and this is their live coverage. We're just going to look at it a little bit. We are going to continue to watch Miss Watson - you were talking about damage. And also, you know, this was predicted 24 hours in advance with these new systems that we've had. I'm sure that helped you out in this situation, at least it looks like it so far.

WATSON: Absolutely. We were grateful to have this kind of advanced warning, where we can start getting information out to the public and really urging them to take action. Because as you know, in Kansas, we see tornados on a regular basis throughout the year. And people have become used to them. So this information being in advance where we know this is a particularly dangerous situation has been very helpful to make sure everyone understands the crisis that could be ahead of us if we don't heed these warnings.

LEMON: All right. Sharon Watson is with the Kansas emergency management agency. Jacqui Jeras is our meteorologist here. Jacqui, we were looking at affiliate coverage from our affiliate, KSNW. Jacqui, we're going to check in with you. So stand by. KSNW reporting this - there in Wichita, we just heard from Kansas. We're also hearing from the Iowa State Police as well. They're giving us information and we're monitoring all of our affiliates, all of our feeds. We got storm chasers on the ground.

Our meteorologist Rob Marciano is on the ground, and we're following several other storm chasers as well. So don't go away. We will keep you as safe as possible as we can here on television, and update you on the breaking weather situation happening in the mid part of our country.

We got other news, which includes the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, up next. We'll take you on a cruise ship that is retracing the Titanic's tragic voyage. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. It has been 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic. This weekend marks the anniversary. And CNN's Chris Welch aboard a ship that is retracing the fateful voyage into the bottom of an obsession shared by some fellow passengers. And Chris tells us what the mood is like aboard the ship now. What is it, Chris?

CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I know the last time we spoke it was lighter out, a little easier to tell that I was on a ship. But you might be able to see the lights behind me on the side of the ship. There's a balcony just back there, a few decks down. That's where they will be throwing a very special wreath later on tonight. As you mentioned, it is all for the 100th anniversary.

Now in just a few hours, it will be exactly 100 years to the minute that Titanic hit the iceberg, April 14th, 11:40 p.m., ship's time. We're about an hour ahead Eastern time. So at 11:40 p.m., there will be a moment of silence. There will be a very special tribute. They'll play, read the names of all those 1,500 who died on Titanic on that fateful evening. And just a short time after that, about two and a half hours later that is the time it took the Titanic to sink and fall below the surface of the sea. That's when they will throw the wreath. Now this is a ship - we left New York City a few days ago and we will be ending up exactly over the wreckage site. And in fact, just a couple of hours ago, right before we talked the last time, Don, we arrived over the spot where Titanic put out its distress call. So that's where we have been hovering for now. When they get to the ceremony later this evening, we will be directly over the stern of the ship essentially.

LEMON: As you said, it is a bit of obsession for the people that you are on board the ship with and for others, and there are other people who say why, I don't get it, it seems kind of creepy, kind of eerie, why would you do that?

WELCH: Yes, there's a lot of people saying, "Yes, this is creepy. This is macabre." A lot of folks who are on the ship have been hearing it for months,. They booked tickets months ago. But every time they hear that from friends and family, that kind of thing, their response is "Look, we don't feel this is in poor taste whatsoever. This is our way, you know, they can't think of a better way to pay respect, memorialize those who lost their lives 100 years ago. For one woman, she lost her great grandfather, great grandmother made it out."

You know, for one woman I talked to, she lost her great grandfather, her great grandmother made it out. For her, this is a chance to say hello to a man she never met and say good-bye to him at the same time. She said it will be a very emotional evening. We don't expect much of a dry eye in the house. Now for others, it's really just because they're into Titanic the others, and the history, the stories, the history buffs.

Here's what one woman told me about why she wanted to be on this ship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONNIE JEFFERS, PASSENGER ON THE "AZAMARA JOURNEY": I am really surprised that the number of people that we talked to, and told that we were going to go on this trip said "That's creepy, I wouldn't do that." And I thought I don't find it creepy at all. I love history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WELCH: And I think you could see in that video, she was wearing period clothing. There will be a lot of folks dressed up in period clothing tonight as they pay this very special tribute. Don?

LEMON: All right. You can believe that Chris Welch is out on a ship, he's not just standing against a black background. We can't see anything. Retracing the Titanic. Thank you, Chris, appreciate it. Be safe, have a good time.

Chicago native Chaka Khan adds jazz and funk to her music and she doesn't plan on changing. Chaka Chan.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: Love Chaka Khan. Remember Rufus and Chaka Khan? For those of you old enough. She still listens to music on cassette tapes, yes, cassette tapes. And she recently discovered her own meaning behind the female anthem "I'm Every Woman." The one and only - yes, that was a Chaka Khan song before Whitney Houston. The one and only, Chaka Khan, after the break.

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LEMON: It is only a matter of time before this singer is inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. She's known as the queen of funk, and ranks 17th on VH1's list of the top women in rock and roll.

Come on, does she really need an introduction? There's only one way to say her Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan.

CHAKA KHAN, SINGER: I've been singing for, what, 30 years. Plus.

LEMON: Chaka Khan.

KHAN: I'm still in the discovery process of who I am. I can tell you how I got started. I got started at the age of a bold 16, when I ran away from home, and I started singing with local bands in Chicago. Got my first record deal at 17 after I joined Rufus. Rufus, we were - I have to say, you know, without that chemistry, without that band, you know, who knows where I would be.

I don't write the majority of my music, but I make it mine, if you know what I mean. I don't do a song unless I feel like I've written it.

When I first recorded "I'm Every Woman," I felt a little silly singing it. I think I wasn't experienced enough to feel comfortable singing that lyric. Just almost kind of recently have I really begun to feel that. Right now Whitney is walking her true spiritual walk. And I feel from here that she's good now. She's OK. And it was of course a great loss for me and for us, of course. But you know, this is only part of her walk.

The anthropologist sometimes comes out in me, you know, when I'm traveling, and I get to meet people, interesting people. You know. I try to go off the beaten path and see what it's really like. Challenges are of course flying a lot. I don't care to fly. I don't like flying. I do it because I have to. My - in a perfect world every time I toured I'd be on a tour bus. That's my favorite way to travel, on four wheels - on some wheels.

I'm always honored and happy when somebody covers my stuff. At least they're picking some good music.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ah. Chaka, Chaka, Chaka. Rufus and Chaka Khan. I grew up - that was amazing. Thank you, Valerie Thurman, the producer who put that together. Great stuff. Sunday, the woman behind the music, Chaka talks more about her foundation, her personal connection to autism, and why she's so passionate about the Trayvon Martin story. Chaka Khan, coming up Sunday night again, right here on CNN.

We're keeping a close eye on tornadoes over the plain states for you, and we'll check in with our meteorologist Jacqui Jeras right after this break.

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SHIRLEY GROVES, PARENT: MY question for Dr. Perry is about the participation of home schoolers in extracurricular activities such as football or high school band, things like that.

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Shirley, it may come as a surprise to you that a recent Heisman trophy winner and NFL player, Tim Tebow, was a home-schooled student. And there are many children who are being home-schooled. And I actually feel like they should be able to participate in their nearby schools' sports. This is a big challenge that the districts are going to have to come up with because as more and more parents are deciding to pull their children out of traditional school but they still want them to participate in some of the schools' activities, I think that the districts are going to have to find a way to make sure that this is possible.

You as a taxpayer paid for a seat at that school. So the school still has an obligation to provide you with some level of education. And part of the educational experience is extracurricular activities. So whether it be band or chorus or anything else that happens after school like football, your child should be able to participate in that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: OK. These are live pictures, right? OK. Live pictures now. They just froze, but - there we go. And this is the technology these days. We're able to track storms as they are happening. Sometimes the technology will work with us. Other times it won't. Now it's working. This is between Wichita and Chaney. We were looking just moments ago at what appeared to be some sort of either a wall cloud or a funnel cloud that was happening between Wichita and Chaney. And you know what? The experts can tell you better. Jacqui Jeras is a meteorologist here. Jacqui, what is it? What was it?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's tough to tell. You know, you look at video streaming like that and the resolution isn't very good, Don. So, I'd hate to say that's definitely a tornado. But I do know that storm spotters are confirming that tornado in Kingman and Reno County. So we do know that there is one on the ground. And you know, it's hard to tell as it's a developing situation. You see the dark clouds, but you don't see a signature in that video, not right there anyway, that tells me that there's a tornado.

So we're relying on the people on the ground that we're in touch with to tell us that. I've got another picture here, if you want to see it. Where we could see it a little bit better. This is from KAKE TV, which is an affiliate in Wichita. And I for sure see a rain shaft. So you can se where the rain is coming down all in here and possibly behind that rain shaft is where we're seeing that tornado.

These are what we call rain-wrapped tornadoes, and it's tough to see them, and you're not going to always get that beautiful stovepipe picture of a tornado. This is the area that we're talking about right here. This is Kingman and Reno counties. There's a very strong hook signature there on the radar that you can see. Now, something else we're watching, if you remember, if you were with us earlier in the hour, we were talking about a tornado warning for Salina, Kansas. That has expired for the Salina part of it. But there's a confirmed tornado on the ground about three miles north and east of the city. So Salina you're clear of this storm but we'll have to watch for more storms developing throughout the evening.

This is going to be a long go of it. Things have really been erupting. We're also watching a few storms down here into parts of Oklahoma, and then look at central parts of Nebraska. Right here storms have been firing up. And we've had a couple of reports around the north Platte area but no significant damage has been reported thus far. So we're continuing to close in on many of these areas, Don, where people live. It's a little bit more populated now where these storms are going. So that heightens our concern along with the darkness which is setting on.

This is near New Cambria. Is that the same storm outside of Wichita? You see the dark skies. Another storm chaser there. Literally dozens of storm chasers out there. You know, this is a high-risk day. People have been planning for days to come into this area and watch for these storms.

LEMON: Yes, we have just a couple of seconds before we move into the next show here. But if something happens, we'll certainly bring it to you. We'll break into our taped programming, Jacqui. But it's interesting because it's about to get dark, you won't see it coming. You need those weather radios. JERAS: You do.

LEMON: You need to stay tuned to CNN because we will keep you updated. Our Jacqui Jeras is going to be staying -

JERAS: I'll be tweeting too, by the way.

LEMON: @jacquijeras. Also @donlemoncnn. Thank you, Jacqui. Thanks for watching. Stay tuned. We'll keep you updated. See you at 10.