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Five States Declare State of Emergency; Historic Blizzard Slams Northeast; Life Threatening Storm, Three Feet of Snow Possible

Aired January 26, 2015 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, an historic life-threatening blizzard that could affect nearly 60 million people bringing the nation's most popular city to a grinding halt. Tonight, we are live in New York City.

Plus, airports, mass transits shut down. Travel bans across the region. People are ordered not to drive. And for many, this storm is just beginning as it begins to head north, Boston may be hit hardest with a record-breaking 30 inches of snow. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we're following the breaking news, the blizzard of 2015. I'm right here in Central Park in New York City tonight which is right behind me. This is the epicenter of what could be the largest snowstorm in this city's history. This blizzard has been called a historic and life- threatening with snowfalls up to two feet or more in New York. As much as 30 inches, which could be a record in Boston. Gusting winds up to hurricanes expected to hit -- excuse me. With winds up to 65 miles an hour. You can actually see it from outer space, how enormous the storm is. It stretches from Maryland to Maine. As I said about 60 million Americans are in its path. The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, all have declared a state of emergency, forcing people to stay home. They have shut down highways, public transportations, airports, bridges and tunnels. That is historic.

Here in New York City, shutting down the subways for one of the few times in history. The city has closed 6,000 miles of roadway banning cars from the streets after 11:00 tonight. That in and of itself, a record. New York City highway is also closed. Trucks dropping up to 126,000 tons of salt on roads. And New Jersey is shutting down trains until Thursday to give you a sense of the scope of the storm. Boston's airport is closed, there are ground stops at LaGuardia and JFK and New York. The airports here, more than 6,000 flights have been canceled. And while it's been snowing all day, the worst of the storm is just starting at this hour.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: What you're going to see in the few hours is something that hits very hard and very fast and people cannot be caught off guard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: As we are waiting a press conference from New York's

Mayor de Blasio, CNN is covering the historic storm across the Northeast and Chad Myers is here with me at Central Park. And I know, I had a little bit of a frog in my throat. I think it was just the cold air here. But I mean, this is pretty incredible when you think about just the travel bans alone, what they are expecting is historic.

CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: It is. You know, what we're going to see whether it's going to be 20 inches or 30 inches, or even 12 here in New York City will be devastating for the city, at least for a while. Twelve maybe for one day, 20 for two days, three feet, I mean, the weather service is still doing 30 inches here possible. That would be a three to four-day cleanup in this storm. Yes. And I know Boston is going to get it no matter what. This is the story of the day for New York City. We already have about five inches on the ground right now. It's freezing and more snow is coming. It's just getting going right now as we speak. The storm is just off the coast gathering strength like a hurricane in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Relatively warm.

BURNETT: Relatively.

MYERS: Forty seven degrees. But compared to the air that's 15, that's a big difference. That's a big delta. And that delta, that change is just like growing hurricane in the middle of the summer.

BURNETT: And those winds that we're going to get, and I know tonight we could get also they call it thunders now. I mean, it could be truly epic what we see. So, Chad now, I want to go to Miguel Marquez who is OUTFRONT in Lower Manhattan. Because Miguel, I know, there'd been an army of plows. We're just starting to see some of them. But where you are, really the headquarters of that, you've been watching them load up with tens of thousands of tons of salt. How prepared is the largest city in the United States to actually deal with snow that could fall at two to four inches an hour?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems that they are trying as hard as they can. Sanitation workers tonight are the heroes of New York City. They have been going all day long. We're in a bit of a respite right now amazingly enough. Almost like a perfect hole over Manhattan in this storm. The wind starting to pick up again. For the first time in about seven hours, we can actually see the buildings in downtown New York. I also want to show you the roads here. This is the west side highway. And its temperature has gone up a few degrees, from 24 to 28 degrees now. And you can see that it's more liquidy rather than slush on the road right now. And this is where all of the action is going on. This is a massive salt pile in this building. They've been pulling from that all day and loading up the plows. They also have lots of garbage trucks that have been modified with snowplows in front and then they move through the city in sort of a row about five to six different trucks all at the same time, plowing as they go. This is the areas as well, the place where the mayor is going to come down to this area with the sanitation workers, meet and greet some of them and we will hear from him a little later -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you. And the historic storm

is expected to completely paralyzed Long Island which is just east of I am. Seven-and-a-half million people lived there. Hurricane-force winds or close to it are already battling that island right now. There's a severe risk of flooding.

Ana Cabrera is OUTFRONT live in Montauk right at the tip of Long Island where they're going to really get the worst of this. And Ana, I know they are bracing for the worst and some of those incredibly strong hurricane winds that could be coming your way.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And those winds blowing the snow sideways as we speak, it's definitely picking up out here, the storm. And you can see behind me, the wind blowing that snow and already creating some snowdrifts. And this is just a few inches of snow. But you can see how it's piling up quickly and it's going to get worse and we're expecting two to three feet of snow before it all starts drifting. And then add in those 70-mile-per-hour hurricane-force winds, and we're talking zero visibility and those winds are also going to drive the ocean to swell. In fact, they are expecting two to four feet above normal tide and that's with high tide hitting around 2:00 in the morning. And so that is threatening coastal areas with flooding, with the beach perhaps causing some erosion in that area and so damage and danger are the two words out here. The reason that it is a virtual ghost town in Montauk tonight. People are heeding the warnings. We're told they've stock up on supplies, they have gas for their generators because power outages are a real concern in this area. And being somewhat removed from New York City, somewhat isolated, they could take even with the national guard troops, even with those 4 by 4s that the New York State police have, it could take a while for people to get out here as the storm really bears down -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Ana, we're going to be checking in with you in a few moments. Chad is just telling me that you have less than 30 minutes now until Ana is hit completely in deluge by that storm and that snow. There are also extremely dangerous conditions already in New Jersey at this hour. The mass transit system there will start shutting down in less than three hours.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT along the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park. There are major concerns there tonight about the storm and flooding. And Brian, obviously, this is an area that is still at its knees from super storm Sandy. How worried are they that this storm could actually do all of this damage again?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are very worried, Erin, and you can see why. Look at the way that the wind is hitting me here on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. I heard you talking about thunder snow and crippling winds, hurricane-force winds, we feel like we're getting a combination of that right now here on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Yes, Hurricane Sandy just a little over two years ago, a lot of this area still not recovered yet from that and now they are getting hit from something like this again. We just talked to the two young ladies who were walking along the boardwalk. They say they are worried about that. A lot of this area is still recovering from Sandy and they say they are going to band together again like they did just over two years ago and get through this. We mentioned the tides. I heard you talking to Chad and some of the others about the tide come being in. The tide here now just off Asbury Park, it's not at high tide but it will be at high tide at about 1:00.

That's what they are worried about possible flooding in this area. These wind conditions, though, right now are really what are crippling this area. It's just hitting me square in the face. This is what is going to cause the whiteout conditions later on and the zero visibility. You know, the wind here is really what the police and local officials are worried about. They are telling people, absolutely do not try to venture out in this, even for ten minutes. You'll really regret it if you do. You could get stuck, you could get in a situation where you just can't see two feet in front of you. And we're told that this area is going to hit, it's going to start getting really clobbered with the snowstorm in the next couple of hours -- Erin.

BURNETT: And already I can see the wind looks like it's really -- I mean, you could see the snow kind of drifting behind you. Are you already feeling the wind pretty aggressively?

TODD: We really are, Erin. I mean, I've heard Ana talking about hurricane-force winds up on Long Island. We feel like we are starting to get that here. We don't know if the wind is going to quite reach that strength but it certainly feels like it. And when you're out in it, when you're trying to drive in it, when you're trying to walk in it, it certainly feels like hurricane-force winds along the boardwalk because it's just catching every bit of swirling wind and, again, this is what is going to cause the whiteout conditions that officials here in New Jersey are really worried about. They think they might get one to two inches of snow per hour starting in a couple of hours.

BURNETT: All right. Brian, stay with us. I want to bring in our meteorologist Chad Myers. I mean, this is exactly what you're talking about. Whiteout conditions, hurricane-force winds. You can already see it behind Brian but it's going to get so much worse.

MYERS: What was really interesting to that shot to a meteorologist was the wind direction. Almost right down the beach. If you take the wind and you put your back to the wind, you take your left arm and you go that way.


MYERS: That is the direction of the low. The low isn't even as close to Brian as it is going to get, which means the winds are not as strong as they are going to get. They are going to pick up. The storm is just getting going right now off the Maryland coast, off the Delmarva coast and then it travels right up towards Boston. He's going to have a very interesting night.

BURNETT: And, you know, the thing I keep wondering about is, I mean, this storm is epic, it's just historic, it's crippling, it's life threatening. These are the words that officials are using. And they are not just talking about it, they're acting on it. Right? Shutting down all the transportation. But yet, 72 hours ago we weren't even hearing about this storm.

MYERS: Right. Really, this came on the radar, or on the models Sunday morning and we all went, look at this bomb. And a bomb means that when a storm moves offshore with a lot of cold air in it and hits that warm water of the Atlantic Ocean, it bottoms out, it make as very big low-pressure center, sucks in air from all directions and when you suck in air from the south, it's cold all the way from Maryland and then right up and around and back in it. We're actually going to get ocean-effect snow or ocean-enhanced snow. The humidity, the moisture, all of that relatively humidity coming off the ocean is going to get into the snow, make more snowflakes and enhance the snow all along the coast. There could easily be spots with 40 inches of snow.

BURNETT: So, I mean, 40 inches of snow, I mean, it's just stunning when you hear about it, when you hear about such a large amount of this country, the most populated part of this country affected. The other thing that is amazing to me, given that we just find out about this yesterday morning which just in the modern feet of weather, shocking, right, is how long it's going to last.


BURNETT: I mean, we're talking here, it could be two to four inches an hour and we're talking about 12 to 15 hours of it.

MYERS: Uh-mm. It is a slow turn to the left.


MYERS: And this is only going to be going about 30 miles per hour. So, our snow is going to be here for about 20 hours. If we get the inch per hour that we have most of the afternoon, do the multiplication. Twenty times won. That's 20 additional inches. If you get that thunder snow with two to three inches an hour every once in a while all of a sudden your 20 inches can easily go to 30 and the weather service is they're saying that potential is in the city here but I know the potential is in Boston. There could be bigger numbers than that in the Berkshires. No question.

BURNETT: Bigger numbers. And that's where you're talking about the 40 plus inches or so possible?

MYERS: Because of the lumbering storm. It doesn't want to go away. If it's an Alberta clipper, this thing does 70 miles an hour and it's flying. This is not a clipper.

BURNETT: So 30 miles an hour is slow?

MYERS: Very slow from lumbering up the coast. And then let me think about it. That's about as fast as a cruise ship can go.


MYERS: How long will it take to go all the way up to Maine? A long time. It take you a couple of days to get there. A day and a half. That's how long the storm is going to take to get away from us. BURNETT: It gives us a sense of how still nature is so much more

powerful than humans in every way. We didn't know about it until yesterday and it's going to completely shut us down for a week.

MYERS: And it still could trick us here and be heavy snow in new haven but never get back to New York City because that's the blow back around the storm. It's called the wrap-around. We have to get on the backside. If we don't get there, what you see is what you get but the forecast is for it to get very, very intense.

BURNETT: Very intense overnight. And some pretty stunning theatrics you might see up in the sky if you're up at 3:00 in the morning, if you don't have to go to work with the thunder and the snow.

Next, we're going to go live to Connecticut, we're talking about new haven, a state of emergency across that state. A travel ban going into place in less than two hours. In Massachusetts, a statewide travel ban begins in a few hours as well. Boston, looking at up to possibly three feet of snow. That would be an easy record. And we're going to take you live to the streets of New York. All city roads in New York are going to be shut down tonight at 11:00. Let me say that again. This city is shutting down. And as we go to break, here's a look at the biggest snowstorms in New York City, the worst actually in 2006, nearly 27 inches felt at that time. And here's what it looked like back then.



CUOMO: The roads are already very, very dangerous. And they are going to be very hard to clear, at the rate of snowfall, we expect with the wind gusts we expect so it's dangerous to be out there now. And now, it's only going to become more dangerous.


BURNETT: And back with our breaking news now, a state of emergency in effect in five states as an historic blizzard bears down. Much of the region of the northeast already at a standstill. In New York City, roads closing at 11:00. The city also closing the subways used by five-and-a-half million people a day. This is a drastic move. It's one of the only times in the city's history that the subway has ever been shutdown. In Massachusetts, roads were closed at midnight. Cars parked on major roads in Boston will be towed and in Connecticut, less than two hours from now at 9:00, a travel ban will go into an effect for the entire state.

Randi Kaye is in New London, Connecticut tonight. And Randi, we're getting closed to that time. The question is, are drivers listening? Are they getting off the roads?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it seems as though they are. You mentioned that travel ban coming up at 9:00 p.m. According to the governor, he wants everybody off the road. And we've been hearing, this is a pretty busy area actually for New London where we are. Usually a lot of foot traffic, a lot of cars going, you can see here, the streets are pretty empty, a random car here and there. In fact, mostly we've just seen plows coming through. We're told this area, they are priority streets so do they want to keep them clean. But the homes here have been pretty much dark. We haven't seen anybody coming and out. So, maybe people did listen, they got home early like the governor asked. Let me show you this park here, though, where we are standing as well, this is a park where a lot of people come through. There's usually a lot of foot traffic, a lot of people walking their dogs tonight.

Maybe we've seen Erin, a couple of people walking their dogs trying to stay home, it seems, certainly trying to listen to the governor. They expect maybe to be home not only for tonight and probably for the next few days. Since we've been here, the roads have certainly gotten much more slippery. The snow is expected to come down about four inches an hour here in the area of New London. Winds could reach 60 miles per hour. Hundred and twenty thousand people, Erin, could be without power after tonight's storm hits here. And the problem is, if the winds get anywhere above 40 miles per hour, Erin, then the guys can't come out and fix those live wires. They can't touch them. So, it could be days before this town gets their power back, if they do indeed lose it -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Randi, thank you very much. You talked about that again, four inches of snow an hour possible in some places, winds 60 to 75 miles an hour. Hurricane force.

Lieutenant Paul Vance is the spokesman for the Connecticut State police. And he joins me now on the phone. No doubt. Lieutenant, you have heard those numbers again and again. And that's your big fear tonight. We are nearing the beginning of that travel ban in the next couple of hours where you are in Connecticut. How bad are the roads right now?

LT. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: Well, I've got to tell you that certainly the Department of Transportation has been out there doing the best job they can do and certainly making them passable. We're anticipating that the storm comes in Tuesday in Connecticut, that we're going to see it diminishing travel ability. We think the roads will become even more dangerous than they are right now. And we place all of our off-duty state troopers on call, ready to respond in the event that the situation here in Connecticut diminishes that much.

BURNETT: And what is your biggest fear heading into the worst hours of the storm, given what we understand, of course, which is that this storm is moving incredibly slowly. If you're looking at 20 hours or so of steady and very heavy snowfall?

VANCE: Well, certainly we're concerned that, you know, people are not paying attention to the media and the announcements. The governor has put a ban in place which we certainly wholeheartedly adores because, you know, by 9 p.m. this evening, the snow begins to really start impeding the state of Connecticut, it will become more dangerous. And we would not put all of our off-duty troopers on call if we didn't think that this could be a dangerous situation. Having, you know, my career worked and live through a previous storm similar to this, it's frightening and it truly can be very dangerous to people that don't heed the warning.

BURNETT: And another thing, you know, I understand, you know, these travel bans are going into effect. But we're not sure when they are going to stop. And I guess that's partially because you're not sure, right, how bad it will be. How bad will the roads be? Will there will be downed power lines but how long do you think it will be where you're telling people, look, you're essentially banned from the roads?

VANCE: You know, that's a tough one to call. And certainly we would encourage people. We'll keep the media informed as our customers, that the people we serve here in Connecticut and surrounding states and certainly we would encourage people to pay attention to the announcements as they comfort. We're going to watch this storm, we're going to see how the roads are, we'll see how DOT and DPW and local communities are doing and the minute we can open these roads up, we will certainly do so. But we must remind people, also, in Connecticut it's necessary that you clean all of the snow off of your vehicle before you even begin to venture out once the roadways are open.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Lieutenant. I appreciate your time.

And now, let's head north to Boston where Brooke Baldwin is tonight. And Brooke, where you are really could be incredible. Thirty inches of snow, possibly even more by the time this is done. That would easily be a record. I know, the highest official total ever recorded in Boston, 27.5 inches back in 2003. I know it's already started. Are people there doing as they are told, heading home early? What are you seeing?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, they seem to be so far. I mean, we've been standing here. We've basically in the Boston harbor area, Faneuil Hall, this way, the water is this way. And you can see, if you take a look at the roadway, the road is pretty clear. We've seen some cars, we've seen some cabs, we've even seen some buses. So far, you know, people are fine to be out and they appear to be a-okay driving. But, again, you know, Erin, with what these other leaders in these other states are saying, you can't be on the roads in Massachusetts past midnight and here in Boston, they do not mess around when it comes to towing. Right? So, if you have park car on the main through fair, you have to move it or that will be one of the big stories. Let me just show you really quickly, Erin, you know, obviously we're in Boston, it already snowed.

So, here I am in my snow boots a little bit, maybe two inches, three inches on the ground. But as we watched, as you point out, we'll ride this out all night, it could be three feet. Here we are. I was here in Boston, actually, for a family event over the weekend and everyone here was talking about two things, especially yesterday. It was, can the New England Patriots get out of Boston and get to Arizona before this happens. And, two, everyone's remembering the blizzard of '78 which was, I think a little over 27 inches as well. So we're here. The snow is definitely starting to fall and picking up in the last half hour or so. Huge concerns for people on the cape as well because of those winds could be hurricane-force winds. So stay with us. We're watching this snowfall and hoping everyone heeds those warnings, do not drive on the roads after midnight tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: Brooke, thank you very much. We'll be checking on in with Brooke as the hour continues.

We are covering all angles of this dangerous and fast-moving blizzard. OUTFRONT tonight from New York City, the roads and subways shutting down tonight. The nation's most populated city literally grounding to a halt. We'll go to Rhode Island, all roads are closed to private cars in anticipation of up to 30 inches of snow. And a look at one of Boston's worst blizzard in history. The nastiest storm there hit back in February, 2003. That was a 27-and-a-half inch marker and here's what Boston looked like during that storm.


BURNETT: Breaking news, a massive and life-threatening blizzard blanketing New York City and much of the northeast. I'm right here outside Central Park in New York City which is right behind me. The snow has been piling up quickly. There are sort of bans coming through. We had about an inch an hour earlier, we're up to two to four inches per hour expected to fall at the peak later tonight. The storm is shutting this entire city down, the New York subway, that is the nation's largest, will be closed at 11 o'clock Eastern. That's also when all cars must be off the roads. The storm even shutting down Broadway and just moments ago, New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio sounded an alarm, warning the eight million residents, that conditions are about to get much worse.


DE BLASIO: This is literally the calm before the storm. And it's about to start in earnest and when it does, it's going to come in very fast, very hard, and people have to be very, very careful.


BURNETT: Across the northeast, 58 million people affected by the storm. Hundreds of National Guard troops have already been called into help. Airports across the northeast have closed down and 6,600 flights have been canceled. The roadways so far littered with accidents as you can imagine. We'll show you a picture of a tractor- trailer that lost control and overturned spilling beer, Bud Light across a Pennsylvania highway. To give an idea of how big this storm is, we want to show you a satellite image obviously from space of the blizzard as it actually formed.

And again, just to emphasize, what is so amazing about this is it didn't even show up until yesterday morning.

Chris Welch is driving around New York City tonight, inside one of our roving vehicles. And, Chris, you know, the mayor is warning the residents not to

underestimate the storm, saying it's going to hit hard, it's going to hit fast. The snow is obviously just about to get started again at that possible 2 to 4 inches an hour rate.

What are the roads like right now as you've been driving around?

CHRIS WELCH, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Erin, yes. We've been driving around for the last few hours or so. You know, the mayor mentioned that calm before the storm. For the last hour or so, it really hasn't been snowing. Just within the last couple of minutes. We started seeing some flurries.

Take a look out the dash cam camera here, looking south here. We're actually driving on Broadway just a few blocks, really, north of where you are there in the heart of Columbus Circle.

And we're driving now and obviously you can see this is not a lot of traffic on the road.

So, thankfully, it looks like from everything we've seen from driving on the roads, they are slick but thankfully they are not as many cars out. It's 7:30 right now. This would still be a very busy time of day for commuters, for people leaving work to get back home, driving through the city, taking mass transit and, of course, mass transit, as you mentioned, is going to be essentially shutting down at 11:00. We also in addition to the subways and the traffic ban on the roads, we know that the George Washington Bridge, the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, all major thoroughfares here into Manhattan, those will all be shut down as well.

I have to say, we haven't seen a whole lot of snowplows out here and I would imagine that they are sort of saving that -- their energy, their manpower for when the brunt of this storm hits. As you mentioned, when that hits, a couple hours from now, we could be seeing 2 to 4 inches per hour and very, very high winds. We know that there will be about 1,800 snowplows out in force later tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Meteorologist Chad Myers is with me out front, along with the borough president of Manhattan, Gale Brewer.

Thanks to both of you.

Gale, let me start with you. I man, it truly is historic, just when you look at the preparations, right?

The roads are being closed, the subways are being closed. The major tunnels and bridges are being close. I mean, when you put all of this together, it is something that hasn't happened before. Is all of it necessary?

GALE BREWER, MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Well, we hope that there's a storm and that preparations are worth it. I think they are. People are ready. At Trader Joe's, on 22nd Street, there was an hour to get in. And when they get in, a lot of goods were off the shelves. So people are taking this very seriously and I think that there will be a storm.

Chad knows -- you know better -- nobody knows exactly, but I think the preparations -- I've never seen the subways closed before and I've never seen this kind of preparation before. So I think it's good to prepare. Let's see if this storm comes. But we are prepared.

BURNETT: And, Chad, what you're saying is, sort of the way this storm is, you had this afternoon, it was a whiteout outside of my window, it was a whiteout, about one inch an hour. Sort of right now, maybe a little bit of a lull and we are just waiting for the wallop to hit.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Think about a pinwheel. Or even a hurricane. You have the arms of the hurricane and the arms of this storm, one rotating around after another. It will snow, it will stop. It will snow, it will stop. And we hope it stops before it keeps going up and up and up.

I have a question for you. What do people do with their cars when the mayor says you have to get them off the street? Where do they go?

BREWER: Well, first of all, you know New Yorkers, they love parking. They love that. The issue for me is not so much the cars but the subway. Workers who have to take the subway to get home after 11:00, I am concerned. I've ever seen the subway closed for a snowstorm. So, I'm more concerned about that and I'm mostly concerned about people who don't have heat or hot water, all the issues that go through a normal blizzard. And the homeless.

BURNETT: What about the cleaning up, too? Today what I noticed is when it was coming down fast and furiously, there was a strategy. Maybe wait until it finishes and comes through. Are they going to be ready? I mean, obviously, this mayor has been heavily criticized. Clearing snow in New York City is something very important to do. Last time it didn't happen so much.

BREWER: Twenty-six hundred sanitation workers on every 12-hour shift. We do have 6,000 miles of roads, but with 2,600 workers on every shift, I think we're ready.

BURNETT: And, Chad, what areas do you think will get hit hardest in the coming hours in when you talk about the pinwheel, Montauk, which is a couple hours east of where we are right now, it's about to get hit with the big one as it moves in.

MYERS: Yes. My concern is, yes, we're going to get snow. People know it. I was down at the fairway on 74th --

BURNETT: A grocery store, right?

MYERS: A grocery store. You had to wait in line to get your stuff and then go back outside while you're waiting to get inside to the cashier. There's 150 people in queue just to go get it. So, I didn't get anything. Anyway, my problem is, I think we're going to lose a lot of trees

and if you lose trees in these outlying areas, the power lines are going to go down. People can't heat their house because the furnace won't work, they'll be turning on their gas range because it will work and they'll be putting carbon monoxide into their home and that's the worst thing you can do.

BREWER: That's the concern. Manhattan is underground but the other boroughs are aboveground, and when the trees, the power lines go. It's a big problem.

MYERS: All right. And there is going to be cold coming after this. A lot of cold.

All right. Thank you very much to both of you.

MYERS: Thank you.

BREWER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, we're going to go live to the Jersey Shore. Snow is slamming the coast. Already, those heavy winds are coming in, near hurricane-force.

And the science behind this monster blizzard, why is it hitting so hard so quickly? Why did we not know about it in advance?

And as we take a quick break, here's a look at what the weather is usually like in New York City in January. You may think of it as a cold northern city. But actually, on average, the city usually only sees less than four inches of precipitation in the month of January. Tonight, obviously, we could get as much as 30.


BURNETT: And we're back with our breaking news coverage of the historic winter storm, near hurricane-force wind, at three feet of snow expected in states across the Northeast. The storm will intensify with every hour throughout the night.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT in New Jersey, right along the coast, the town called Asbury Park.

I know the conditions change, Brian, where you are. How much worse has it gotten in the past half hour? I can tell by looking at your shot of the wind, that it is getting gustier.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Erin. It's got much worse in the last half hour. The wind has really picked up. You know, I don't actually know if it's hurricane-force or not, but it sure feels like it. You can see that this wind is really whipping around here in this boardwalk.

And I can tell you, just kind of motioning out here, the tide has come a little bit closer. High tide is going to be in a few hours at about 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, but I can tell you the wind has gotten much worse and that is what officials here in New Jersey are worried about. The wind creating whiteout conditions, zero visibility, people are not going to be able to see where they are walking. They certainly won't be able to see where they are trying to drive.

And as bad as it looks right now, it's going to get worse because the snow really hasn't hit hardest here yet. It's going to hit in the next couple of hours and then continue overnight. So, you've got this kind of wind coupled with the snow that is going to come and you are going to have some real just very, very difficult conditions on your hands here along the Jersey Coast.

This area could get maybe a foot and a half to two feet of snow, conceivably. Maybe not quite that much, but it is still going to be a crippling snow storm here. They think maybe one to two inches per hour, starting in about 9:00.

Officials here telling me that they are -- they are telling everybody to stay inside, do not venture out, do not leave your car along the side of an interstate or major roadway because it's going to get towed. That really does kind of hinder the ability of the spreaders, the contract plowers to get the snow off the roads so it can be passable tomorrow when this passes, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Brian, stay with us.

I want to bring in now, Michael Schlacter, chief meteorologist for Weather 2000, along with Chad Myers.

As you see the condition, Michael, where Brian is, with that gusting wind that's getting worse and worse, as Chad said it would over the past few minutes, I have to ask you the why. Chad telling me this didn't really show up on the radar until early Sunday morning. I remember we got this little dinky snow storm on Friday, I can't believe we're not getting any snow this year, and we didn't have it on the forecast. And, now, all of a sudden, we're getting an epic snowstorm, historic proportions, crippling and life-threatening across the Northeast and we didn't even know about it.

Tell me how.

MICHAEL SCHLACTER, CHIEF METEOROLOGIST, WEATHER 2000: The conditions were ripe with tropic conditions and cold weather and cyclo-genesis likely to form. But the wind and how intense was actually pretty uncertain, up until about Saturday or Sunday morning, before we see storms. I was actually kind of shock that the computers did not pick up the magnitude of this. And the intense low pressure as can be explained is causing these fierce winds.

I really think that's the most notable aspect of this storm. We've had other blizzards.

BURNETT: Is the winds?

SCHLACTER: Yes. I mean, we had 19 inches here in New York City exactly four years ago to this day. We've had big snowstorms in the last 12 years, six of them, in fact, that are over 15 inches, but the winds are really what's standing out. And all the way through New England, it's the amount of snow fall amounts.

BURNETT: And, Chad, winds and also what we can see, which is I used the word theatrics, but that's what it seems like. You're saying we could see thunder and lightning and snow at the same time.

MYERS: Right.

BURNETT: If you're up at 3:00 in the morning, which a lot of people might be because they don't have to go to work for the next couple of days.

MYERS: It's called convective snowfall, and we could easily have, with the vertical velocities that we saw.

BURNETT: It was going whoosh over my head.

MYERS: I was saying, this could be really a 4-inch-per-hour snow event.

SCHLACTER: Absolutely. I mean, it's almost the intensity of a Hurricane Sandy, for lack of a better word, but at 25 degrees Fahrenheit so all of the precipitation in the form of snow, but just fierce pressure, vertical velocities, thunderstorms occurring with precipitation, quite rare.

BURNETT: And, Brian, you're aware of where Hurricane Sandy hit along the Jersey Shore. Some of those winds, you could see the snow whipping up your feet. I mean, that -- I know you said you can't quite tell if it's hurricane force. It sure looks like it's going to get there.

OK. I don't know exactly what happened there. It sounds like he didn't hear us. Brian, if you can hear me now, I was just saying, do you think you're going to get the hurricane-force winds?

And it sounds like he's definitely not hearing us.

TODD: Are you talking to me, Erin?

BURNETT: Yes, I was. Yes, I was asking you about the winds and if they were going to be hurricane-force.

TODD: We think they are. I mean, they are certainly coming close to that right now, Erin. I mean, I don't know exactly the wind speed but I know hurricane force is 75 miles an hour or more. It certainly feels like that here.

I'm not sure what the forecasters are saying but with the wind and tide coming in, that's when they are expecting some potential flooding in this area. So, you've got really kind of a triple whammy -- you've got the snow coming in, wind whipping around and creating whiteout conditions and zero visibility and the danger of coastal flooding in this area of New Jersey. This is a little more than people can take here, just a little over two years after Superstorm Sandy.

BURNETT: All right. Brian, thank you.

And to your point there, you're starting to have difficulty with the communication and the shots as our viewers could no doubt see. That's how bad it is getting.

MYERS: You have no friction over the water and that wind is going to slide over the water, it's going to slam into the Long Island, it's going to slam into Boston, slamming the Cape, and then we have friction here with buildings so the wind won't be quite as strong here. But that's where the 75-mile-per-hour winds will be.

SCHLACTER: Yes, and to be a little technical, we probably won't see sustained winds beyond 25 to 50 miles per hour, but it's the gusts up to 75 miles per hour.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you.

And next, perhaps no city in the northeast will be hit harder than the city of Boston. They are expecting possibly up to 3 feet of snow. The mayor of Boston is our guest next.

And you are looking at today, actually people went to work on Wall Street and some companies did incredibly well, companies like Generac, which makes generators, and Douglas Dynamics had a ticker PLOW appropriately, it makes snowplows, and Powersecure International, products and services to electrical companies, all of them surged today if you happen to be lucky enough to own them.


BURNETT: Breaking news: a massive and historic blizzard bearing down on the Northeast tonight. When all is said and done, up to three feet of snow likely would fall in some places, up to 40 inches in some places.

The National Weather Service warns this storm will be crippling. Already nearly 7,000 flights have been canceled. Up to 70 percent of flights canceled in the New York area airports. Of course, it will probably be all of them tomorrow. The ground stop now in effect for all flights into LaGuardia, and Newark Airport.

George Howell is in Providence, Rhode Island.

And, George, the brunt of the storm is headed your way right now. Are folks ready for what's coming? I know you already have travel bans starting pretty much imminently.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, you can tell that people are prepared, Erin.

Take a look over here. You can see plows are already out. They're doing their best to keep these streets and roads as clear as possible.

Here's the thing, we heard this from officials, it will snow faster than they can plow the streets. The most interesting thing, though, you don't see any people on

the streets. People are heeding that warning to get off the streets after 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Midnight there is a curfew in Rhode Island, where you can't be on the road. You could get a ticket.

And also, Erin, here's another sign, if I can catch this. But there's plenty of salt out here. The trucks are doing their best to keep the roads salted, as best they can. But keep in mind, this is going to be a very strong storm system. And the efforts that they're making, you know, it will be tough to keep up with this one we're hearing from the guys on the ground.

BURNETT: Yes, that's a big challenge. They only have so many people and so many snow plows. And when you have up to four inches an hour falling for 20 hours, you can see in different places, how challenging that will be.

All right. Thank you so much, George Howell.

And OUTFRONT tonight, the Boston mayor joins me. Marty Walsh joins me by phone.

Mayor Walsh, thank you for taking time out of what I know is a busy night for you. The worst of the storm going to be hitting Boston overnight. The airport closed, that in and of itself obviously a major step.

How big of a storm are you expecting, sir?

MAYOR MARTY WALSH, BOSTON (via telephone): We're expecting a pretty big storm here in Boston. All the broadcasts pretty much right on target. It's snowing pretty heavy now in Boston. We don't have an inch yet on the ground, but it's coming.

We've been preparing for this for a few days. But today, we pretreated our roads earlier today. We have about 800 pieces of equipment ready to go. We closed school down for tomorrow and Wednesday. We're out there now making sure folks are in shelters that need to be.

And we're asking people to check on their elderly neighbors, and anyone who might be not able to help themselves in their homes and just ask them to stay put and let this thing come through and then we'll begin the removal tonight and tomorrow.

BURNETT: Now, I know you have a statewide travel ban starting that's effective starting tonight. Cars parked on major roads in Boston are going to get towed. Are people complying so far?

WALSH: Yes, they have been. I mean, the government called a state of emergency starting at midnight in Massachusetts. And I put a ban into effect starting at 6:00. And we're moving the cars now that are still out there on the main thoroughfares, that is because we want to make sure we get the roads plowed overnight in case of emergencies.

We have the fire and ambulances and police can get through the different neighborhoods in the city. So, it's important for us to make sure we keep those roadways cleared.

BURNETT: And, Mayor Walsh, how long will it take to clean up from this storm? I mean, I know you're used to getting a lot of snow, but getting the warning yesterday that this is going to come, having to close schools for multiple days, 30, even maybe more possible of snow. Are people going to be possibly stuck at home for three or four days?

WALSH: You know, I hope not. It really depends on the snow and how much we can stay on top of it. You know, we have what's called snow farms set in three, multiple locations in the city where we'll be able to take the snow off the street and get it to those and melt it away.

But really, it's about making sure that people stay off the roads so we can get our plows and apparatus down the streets. I'm hopeful by tomorrow, once the snow stops, we'll be able to hit the main thoroughfares down and focus on the secondary roads. Although we'll be plowing the secondary roads the whole time. But it's really a matter of keeping -- getting people off the streets so we can get it cleaned up as best as possible.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us tonight. The mayor of Boston expecting up to 30 inches of snow.

More on this historic storm ahead. Our breaking news coverage continues. We'll be right back OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Welcome back to our breaking news.

What's being called an historic, crippling, life-threatening snowstorm barreling up and down the Northeast at this hour. Snow scheduled to fall two to four inches per hour tonight. Travel bans going into effect in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut. In New York City, the streets are pretty much abandoned. The subways are going to shut down, which is something that is rarely happening in history.

Anderson is here in New York covering the storm as well.

Anderson, you have a lot more coming up. But it's pretty incredible to me that they're even shutting down the subways. That is a big moment.