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Eighty Five Plus Million in the Path of Deadly Winder Storm; Drivers Stranded as Snowstorm Intensifies; Deadly Snowstorm Intensifies, 120K Without Power; New Poll: Trump Tops Cruz by 14 Points Nationally; Erin Burnett: Willow Bay Changed My Life. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired January 22, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:17 ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, following the breaking news, you're looking at live pictures right now of a snowstorm of epic proportions sweeping across much of the United States. Nearly 100 million people in this deadly storm's path. The amazing pictures that you're seeing show the breadth of the storm. This one is actually from outer space. So, from outer space, you can see just how huge it is and it is breaking record. Snowfall totals already breaking records, up to three feet in some areas predicted. And you can see how heavy it is coming down.

Strong winds, gusting as high as 65 miles an hour coming with the snow. It is moving up the east coast. New York City in its sights in just the next few hours. Icy conditions have turned roads deadly. Four killed today in North Carolina. Two in Tennessee. State and local officials pleading with drivers to stay off the roads. And 6500, that's right, 6500 flights already canceled. That number is going to go up. Almost every flight in the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia area now grounded. President Obama taking time out to watch the snow fall on the nation's capital. That city expecting one of the worst storms in its history.

And our reporters are fanned out across much of the country covering this epic storm. Miguel Marquez is in Baltimore. Nick Valencia in Fairfax, Virginia. Alina Machado in Charlotte. Sara Ganim in Philadelphia. Rene Marsh at Reagan International Airport.

We begin with Brian Todd who is actually on the road in Dale City, Virginia. Brian, you have been riding and obviously now you have got your special gear on. Officials telling drivers to stay home. What are you seeing?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, a short time ago a state trooper told me that the area that we're in right now is what he said, quote, "a hot mess." And we're about to show you what he means. I'll get out of the vehicle right now, we'll go to the dash camera and show you that this is an exit off 395 South heading to Southern Virginia off just coming south from Washington, D.C., and the road conditions are getting much worse. The visibility is getting much worse. They have just blocked this exit because people are having trouble getting off this exit. We're going to show you what we mean, switching to our other camera here. People down here have tried to get off the exit and go to the West

over here up this incline. And look, you've got two cars that are stranded trying to turn around and get up here. One of them did a 180 and kind of slid off into that ditch. The other one over there is having a hard time turning around. This other taxi cab down here is trying to back out of this exit. And that is kind of a microcosm of what people in this area are going through right now. Short time ago, the Virginia State police said that just between midnight and 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, four hours ago, there were more than 500 accidents in the state of Virginia.

It certainly has gone up since then because state troopers that we talked to along this stretch of highway are telling us that the conditions are just getting much worse. You can see the snow drifting, kind of from side to side here. That's a problem, too. High winds are going to be more intense as the night goes on and that's going to cause more of a snowdrift problem and a visibility problem. Our photo journalist Kan Tuey (ph) will pan to my right, his left. This is 395 south. It's really incredible how much volume you're talking about on the road right now. People were told to get off these roads. But still, you can see a lot of people not really heeding the warnings and that's what is leading to a lot of problems tonight.

We've witnessed multiple of strandings, some accidents. We saw one person spin out in a 180 right in front of us. And Erin, this is what people are going through. It's only going to get worse. The most intense part of this storm Erin starts about five hours from now. And as an example of what we're talking about, what state officials are saying, the Tennessee Highway Patrol tweeted a short time ago, they are saying we are desperately pleading for people to get off the state highways. That was in Tennessee. That's a sentiment echoed here in Virginia. You don't hear the word desperately when state troopers advise the public but that's what they are doing tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: Wow! And it is pretty incredible to see those pictures, amazing people are ignoring that at this point. As you say, it's only going to get worse and worse over the next few hours. We're going to go to this exact track of this massive storm in a moment.

I want to go to Baltimore right now though, just north of Washington of course. The snow there coming down fast. That city could get about two feet or more of snow over the next few hours. Miguel Marquez is there. Miguel, so what are conditions like where you are? As we know, over the next few hours, it's going to pick up and get really bad. But you already have a lot of snow.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know Baltimore well. It is cold and it is snowing hard and it's only going to get much worse. I want to show you the wind is really starting to picking up here. They are expecting to start to get much more -- sorry about that, guys. They are expecting the storm to get much more wet and that's a problem for the trees, for the power lines, for the roofs across the entire state, the entire state of Maryland in emergency conditions right now. You can see the roads here have been so cold for so long, the roads here are already packed with snow. They are urging you to stay off them. So, if emergency vehicles, that they get to fire for instance, they can actually get there.

[19:05:24] And then look at that inner harbor here, look at on this way. Typically there are a lot of people on the inner harbor here. This thing has been transformed over the last couple of hours by the amount of snow. They are expecting up to two feet here in Baltimore itself. Thirty inches in the area around it and perhaps more in other parts of this state. The big concern is really comes overnight when the snow drives even harder and that wind up to 65 miles per hour. Some of those gusts. The regular wind, just the wind speed itself between 25 and 35. Treacherous, treacherous conditions. Officials urging everyone to not only stay indoors but make sure and check on the elderly, the disabled, anybody that might need a little more help -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you very much. Just those winds drive this home of how dangerous it is.

I want to go now to Chris Geldart OUTFRONT. He is the director of Washington, D.C.,'s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Chris, thank you for being with me. You know, we just saw, you know, you hear Miguel talking about 65-mile-an-hour winds that are coming. You saw our Brian Todd on the road. People ignoring a lot of the messages. Desperate -- the word "desperate" being used by state police. Desperately asking people to stay off the roads. People are still driving. What do you say to those people right now to get them off the road?

CHRIS GELDART, D.C. HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (on the phone): Erin, I don't know what else it's going to take to let folks know that this is a dangerous potentially deadly storm. We all in the public safety community have been saying it for a few days now and you know, we just really, really need the folks to understand, when they go out there like this, as the storm is now and as it gets worse, they are not only putting their own lives in jeopardy, then they are going to put the lives of our first responders and others in jeopardy. So, we can't encourage them enough and stay strongly enough, we need folks off the road and to stay home.

BURNETT: And what is your biggest worry tonight, Chris?

GELDART: You know, Erin, we just got an update on the weather and it's even worse as we get the update as the storm moves even closer. You know, getting the -- the fact that we're going to have potentially from midnight until noon tomorrow snow coming down at the rates of six inches -- excuse me, 10 inches every six hours throughout that period of time with wind gusts rapidly at 40 to 50 miles per hour, even going higher than that potentially and even having lightning within these storms, this is just -- this is a big storm. And the potential for life-threatening things within that, those are our biggest concerns right now.

BURNETT: Yes. And I'm looking at those numbers, the latest forecast that you're sharing with us. You're looking then at north of two feet, right? That's 20 inches over that time. You already have a lot on the ground and you're going to get more after that. How do you then go about recovering from this? And that's also of course asking people to stay inside after a long time.

GELDART: Yes, it is. And you know, we have a full plan that we have in place for how we're going to start to do the clean-up on this and that's going to go into effect as soon as the situation allows us to get out there and really do it. We're plowing through the night as long as the situation dictates. Of course we want to make sure that our folks are safe as well, that are running the plows and doing all of that. We're continuously plowing now, we have been now for going on about three hours. Once our pre-treatment had been overcome by the snow, we've been plowing all along and we'll continue to plow until situations like the wind gets dangerous for our folks. We'll pull them back and get them right back out there as soon as possible. But really, really, we're focused right now on making sure we get the first responders where they need to go and asking folks to help us lessen that load by not becoming a victim of this unnecessarily.

BURNETT: Yes. And not risking as you point out first responders live as well. Chris, thank you very much.

Chad Myers is OUTFRONT now. So, Chad, you know, you just heard Chris saying they are getting the latest forecast --


BURNETT: -- that they are going to be getting at least two feet of snow.

MYERS: Absolutely.

BURNETT: It's going to get much, much worse over the next few hours, it already looks awful.

MYERS: And it hasn't even started. The low hasn't even developed yet.


MYERS: This is like -- I don't want to get too deep into this metaphor thing but it's like trying to make Thanksgiving dinner. You have to get so many things together for one event and everything has to be cooked. When you can't put these potatoes at the same time as the turkey because potatoes are going to be burked. So, we have one thing after another. The cold has to get there first. Then the humidity has to come in. Then the low has to come in and the high pressure has to move to the north. All of these things have added up to a perfect system, a perfect storm.

A perfect turkey dinner. What is going to happen is the low is here. It is going to hyper jump, it is going to jump around and over into this very warm water off the Gulf Stream right through here. The cold air is coming in. The cold air with the warm water is going to make the low intensify rapidly. It hasn't even done it yet. It will. And then run up the each coast as that major nor'easter. This is just starting. Honesty, this is just putting salt on the turkey. Let's move this ahead. [19:10:24] We're seeing snow in D.C. and Baltimore already now about

five or six inches in Midlothian, that's around Richmond, Virginia. We already have about seven inches of snow in Stanton. So, this is the precursor to the low developing as a nor'easter. This is just the moisture coming up. Roanoke, I-81, a mess right now. Farther down to the south, it's ice. Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, all ice. I'm even getting e-mails from Atlanta saying what is going on, we're getting snowflakes here? Yes, there will be some snow but not significant snow down here.

The event is farther to the north. It's in D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and even getting closer and closer to New York City. So there's our bomb, there's our bull's eye. Philly, DC, Charlottesville all the way down to Richmond and of course the nation's capital. Farther to the north, New York City, about 12 inches. Could be plus or minus two or three. Down to the South, Philadelphia, 20, plus or minus two or three. Baltimore. I'll tell you what, you're looking at -- in my opinion, you might be looking at 28 inches or snow, plus or minus two or three, more toward Timonium and Towson, 11, the models here for New York City.

But let's get a little sublime here and show you what the models are doing for New York City into D.C. farther to the South where the moisture and that low is going to be closer, 31 is the forecast for one model and 24 for the other. You average it out, you get 27. That's still an amazing storm with winds, of 50 miles per hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, these are stunning numbers that we're talking about.


BURNETT: All right. Chad is going to be with us as we go through the hour.

Next, more of our breaking coverage of this major snowstorm that is now blanketing much of the country. Ice storm in North Carolina paralyzing Charlotte. The mayor will be OUTFRONT and air travel at a complete halt. When you talk about the historic nature of this storm, this also is historic. We'll going to have a live report on that. And we'll be right back.


[19:15:56] BURNETT: All right. Breaking news as we track this monster snowfall that is slamming much of the nation tonight. Officials up and down the east coast urging, urging, pleading, even angrily so earlier on this program telling people to stay home. Fairfax, Virginia, is right in the cross-hairs.

Nick Valencia is with us there. He's with crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Nick, where you are, at this point, everything pointing to a major, major record-breaking snowfall. What are they doing? Are they ready? This is something they are just absolutely not in their normal line of thinking.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's show you. This is the epicenter of preparation here. The Virginia Department of Transportation. Let's see if we can -- one of this snowplow driver that has been working hard all day. Tell me, what's going on, man? How are you? What are the conditions like right now? How do you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's another storm. It's another big storm.

VALENCIA: You said you came out here as a contractor and you're expecting to be out here for a little while?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I work for Greg Williams (ph) out of Rappahannock, out of the Flint Hill area and I've been doing this for a long time so you can tell it's going to be another big storm, I believe. So --

VALENCIA: So, how does this compare to past storms? If you could just close up here with me, how does this compare to all of the storms that you have seen as a plow driver?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, you get the big ones. You know, you get your big snows and it's -- you know what I mean? It goes, it differs. You know, smaller snows are a little easier, big snows, it's harder on stuff. And you know, you're down here a lot longer.

VALENCIA: Now, you're clearing out -- you're clearing out this pathway right now. I mean, what do you guys working? Some working with salt? Brian, I mean, what do you guys working with here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mostly we have got salt going out now. We got -- we mixed up salt and sand up there for the neighborhoods but we got for the main roads we're sending salt out. Now, I just keep this cleared off so it doesn't get too deep.

VALENCIA: We appreciate your time. Thank you for taking the time with CNN. Lots of preparations going on, Erin. More than 4,000 pieces of heavy equipment out there on those roads. They've been preparing for this since 7:00 p.m. Last night of course the worst of the storm is going to happen throughout the weekend. Some officials telling us up to 40 inches around the D.C. area. That's an average of three to six inches per hour. This storm is really living up to all of the hype -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Stunning numbers now when you're talking about 40 inches. I mean, something I think a lot of people can't even imagine. And the impact of this is being felt, frankly, worldwide when you look at the flight situation. More than 6500 flights canceled already. That number is going to go up.

Aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT at Reagan National Airport. And you are very lonely there, Rene?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Very lonely. I even hear my echo here, Erin. It's 7:00, a little past 7:00 on a Friday night and, take a look, I mean, you don't see this very often. The only people here, essentially airport workers and the media. Airlines have officially suspended all airport operations here at Reagan National Airport and other northeastern airports that are taking a direct hit from this massive storm. We're talking about cancellations between today stretching into Sunday, nearly 7,000. That's a lot. And then you talk about that ripple effect. When you have so many flights canceled, that means planes aren't where they are supposed to be. And that means not only the people in the northeast will be impacted, other people nationwide, potentially some other international travelers could feel the pain of the travel woes here all because of this massive storm -- Erin.

BURNETT: Rene, thank you very much. Nearly 7,000 flights canceled and just an incredible image when her camera showed that that airport is completely empty. A ghost town. Our storm now hitting the Carolinas with icy roads, power outages there. And as we all now know, there's a lot more to come when you're talking about this 40- inch possible accumulations.

Alina Machado is OUTFRONT in Charlotte with the latest. And what are you seeing there? Ice I know a major issue for you?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin. That's the big concern tonight. But here in North Carolina, the storm has already turned deadly. Some four people have lost their lives already in weather- related accidents. Here in Charlotte, you can see the roads despite the efforts of crews are still slushy, they're still icy. They are not the kinds of roads that you want to be driving in tonight. And if you walk over here, I want to show you the big concern tonight, you mentioned ice. We're starting to see some ice accumulating in certain sections. You see it here at this pay station and also along this pole. And the reason is because we've been seeing sleet for the last few hours. So far, at least 114 customers from Duke Energy are without power in the Carolinas. And Erin, the concern is that the number will grow as temperatures stay below freezing overnight.

[19:20:45] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alina. And I want to go now to the Mayor Jennifer Roberts is the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina and she joins me on the phone.

Mayor, you just heard Alina reporting on the streets of your city. How are you handling this historic storm?

MAYOR JENNIFER ROBERTS (D), CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: Well, we had been dealing with ice pretty much all day and we had all the flights into our airports canceled today as well and we are telling folks to stay off the roads. This is ice and you can't always see it but it's below 30 degrees now. I think it's 28 or 29 degrees. So, all of that water is going to be freezing. We do have brine and salt on the major roads but we are just telling folks to stay out of the way of the equipment and stay home.

BURNETT: And hoping that they heed that. We've obviously seen some of the roads up in Washington. People ignoring some of those warnings, perhaps with deadly, deadly consequences. You have something major happening in Charlotte this weekend on Sunday. The panthers are hosting the Arizona Cardinals. That's the NFC championship game. Is that going to go ahead no matter what?

ROBERTS: Well, we are lucky that it's an evening game and so the temperature is supposed to get up to I think in the 40s on Sunday, which will help melt a lot of things. Our concern is people traveling here who are coming here in their team and even coming from our region and it's just going to be messy travel throughout the day on Saturday. So we are telling folks to be careful. I suspect some people may be rerouting and not taking planes but looking to drive and we just hope that it clears up enough on Sunday to keep those roads safe.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Roberts, thank you very much for being OUTFRONT tonight.

And next, the blizzard moving up the East Coast, snow is now starting falling in Philadelphia and New York City. Next.

And more breaking news, a new just poll released tonight. Donald Trump with a 14-point lead. This is a national poll. Is the Republican Party finally getting ready to back Trump?


[19:26:38] BURNETT: We continue to follow the breaking news tonight. Paralyzing and deadly winter storm now pounding much of the east coast. Eighty five million Americans feeling the wrath of this historic storm. I want to show you live pictures out of Washington, D.C., historic already. And now we were just hearing from the head of emergency management there that they could be getting 10 inches every six hours. Incredible snowfall rate. Nearly 7,000 flights already canceled. Snow and freezing rain blanketing roads, making it dangerous. Very dangerous, deadly for anyone to be out driving. Officials telling CNN crews are already responding to thousands of accidents.

And NASA just releasing a new satellite animation of the storm. Its sheer size forcing seven states already to declare states of emergency. And officials are worried now, when you're looking at snowfall totals that could be 40 inches and higher, that roofs could be collapsing, power lines could be falling, heat could cut off to hundreds of thousands. This is something that could last for days. It's incredible deadly.

And Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT live in Baltimore where a blizzard warning is now in effect. Miguel, the snow is now, even just the past few minutes as I've seen you are already picking up.

MARQUEZ: The snow is picking up and the wind is picking up as well. I want to show you what is going on here. They are talking about the snow being much heavier. But you can see that wind really is picking up. These are the streets of Baltimore. Tonight people are trying to keep the sidewalks clear. The snow is sticking to the roads very, very quickly and piling on there. They are trying to keep them clear. This is what the inner harbor looks like, just completely baron, for the most part. Very, very few people out. Baltimore itself expecting up to two feet of snow. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): It take as view from outer space to capture the sheer size of this monster storm. West to east, 85 million Americans in 22 states, fully one-quarter of the country's population in its path. The storms already turned deadly. At least four people in North Carolina and another in Tennessee killed in storm-related car crashes.

But it's the nation's capital that may be hardest hit of all. The storm there predicted to be unlike any that has hit the city in almost 100 years. Mayor Muriel Bowser preparing for the absolute worst.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D), WASHINGTON, DC: We see this is a major storm. It has life and death implications.

MARQUEZ: The predictions are staggering. More than 30 inches of snow, record-breaking totals expected in many areas. Powerful winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour crippling ice, turning roads dangerous, snapping trees and power lines causing power outages. Seven states in Washington, D.C. have declared states of emergency. Hundreds of car accidents reported over the past two days in Virginia alone. The overriding message from the city and state leaders --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't have to drive, don't drive. If you don't have to leave your home, don't. Stay inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay indoors, stay safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please be very careful. Stay off the roads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I would plead with everyone is don't go on the roads.

MARQUEZ: At airports, more than 6,000 flights have been canceled and many more cancellations expected. This united flight skidded off the runway after landing at Chicago O'Hare and while no was injured, it is a sign of a horrendous weekend ahead.


[19:30:05] MARQUEZ: Now, the worst is yet to come here in Baltimore and for many areas across the east coast. That wind is really starting to pick up as this snow starts to gets heavier and more wet. They are concerned about the trees coming down, the power lines coming down. Roofs perhaps damaged as well. The Baltimore and much of the East Coast in for one heck of a night -- Erin.

BURNETT: One heck of a night, as you say. And it's going to get worse and worse as the time goes on. It's going to be striking New York City in just a few hours.

Let's go to Washington. Jennifer Gray is OUTFRONT live there.

Historic snowfall now almost certain from the numbers. Jennifer, what are conditions like where you are? JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Erin, we're continuing to see

conditions deteriorate minute by minute. In fact, just a couple of hours ago, out here on the lawn, you could see just grass. We didn't see any snow. It was coming down very light. And now, you can see a blanket of snow behind me.

I would say it snowed about two inches so far. It started at 1:00 on the dot this afternoon, but in the last hour or so, it has really started to pick up. You can see this very fat, wet flakes. It's heavy snow. And that on top of the winds we're expected to see, 30 and 40-mile-per-hour winds, with gusts even higher. We are at risk of those trees coming down, as well as power lines, and that's going to result in power outages.

Luckily, no one is on the street. Every now and then, you'll see a car. We have seen a lot of plow and salt trucks. So, that is good news that people are heeding those warnings. I think a lot of it has to do with what happened a couple of days ago when D.C. got an inch of snow and the entire city was at a standstill.

It's good that people are at home and now coming up on a weekend, we should be good to go. People are staying at home and not getting out on the roads.

But we're going to get far worse before we get better. Erin, we're going to see snowfall rates at 2 to 3 inches per hour as we get into the overnight hours. We're going to see possible blizzard conditions, and that's going to extend all the way up the 95 corridor.

So, we're going to be in this for the long haul. It's not a fast moving storm. It's a slow mover and so, we're going to see a lot of snow here in D.C. two to three possible over the next 24 to 36 hours -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And, of course, the main blessing here is that it is on a weekend. You got so many kids who are absolutely thrilled about this epic storm.

I want to go now to Chad Myers.

And, Chad, the other major concern tonight is the storm surge, right? And because it's so slow moving, pick up all of the warm water, that could be deadly.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. And we have a full moon which means the higher tides already and we have the wind blowing all of this water towards the shore and we'll have wave heights of 15 to 20 feet. There's no question. Those waves will be smashing into New Jersey and into Long Island, and that water will funnel through Long Island Sound. It will go into the East River and it will try to flood the coastal areas.

Look at the wind speeds. This is late, late tonight, 55 miles per hour in ocean city. By tomorrow morning, those winds will approach 70. So, this in itself is almost a tropical storm that will batter the coastal regions. We're also going to see this water begin to build up. It's piling.

If you push the water long enough, it's going to start get higher right along the coast and up into the Hudson and up all the way up into Delaware and Wilmington and into the Chesapeake as well, possibly. Now, one thing of the Chesapeake, the winds are going across the bay and not up into the bay so it's slightly less than what we could have had the position of the low been slightly different.

But it is going to be the wind with the snow, the wind making waves and the wind making storm surge. We're going to flood subways in New York City. Don't worry about that. This is not Sandy. This did not make landfall like Sandy did, but it's the push of water, it's the surge of water, three to four feet above high tide, and these are the highest tides of the year. The king tides that we get in the spring, it's almost spring, and, of course, a full moon.

BURENTT: Yes, the full moon. Wow. Thank you very much, Chad.

And OUTFRONT next, much more of our breaking news coverage of the massive blizzard.

Plus, more breaking political news. A new Republican poll just out and a major Republican magazine calling Donald Trump a menace.


[19:38:15] BURNETT: Breaking news, we're watching a deadly blizzard is barreling up the East Coast right now. More than 85 million people in its path, more than 120,000 already have lost power. This is going to go on for hours and hours. Perhaps full 24 hours of snow, several inches falling a minute at the peak. An incredible and historic storm.

First though, our other breaking story tonight. That is a new poll in the Republican presidential race, there is a big headline here. It gives Donald Trump a huge margin nationally, ahead 14 points of his nearest competitor Ted Cruz. It's a national poll and it's 14-point margin. The fight tonight isn't just between Trump and Cruz. It's between both men and the Republican Party.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT from Des Moines.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People don't even think about the "National Review".

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an unprecedented move, the conservative magazine, "The National Review", out with a complete and total take down of Trump, calling Trump "a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it under foot on behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as The Donald himself."

A special issue with 20 respected conservatives piling on.

Trump is trying to brush it off.

TRUMP: That's a dying paper. Pretty much of a dead paper.

SERFATY: And Cruz is continuing to be raked over the coals by establishment Republicans with take down this week from Iowa's Republican governor, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, and former presidential nominee Bob Dole, who called Cruz an extremist who would bring cataclysmic and wholesale losses to the party if he wins.

The chaos underscores just ten days to the Iowa caucuses how much the establishment wing of the Republican Party is still deeply dissatisfied with the front-runners. But with Trump and Cruz on top in the polls, the decision the party is now forced into facing, who will do more harm to the party long term.

[19:40:05] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?

SERFATY: As both men face incoming from their party, the two continue to inflict serious blows on each other.

TRUMP: Cruz is going down. He had his moment and he blew it.

SERFATY: Trump unloading on Cruz, releasing his first negative TV ad today, a hit on Cruz, painting him as pro-Amnesty.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want immigration reform to pass.

SERFATY: And Cruz now hammering Trump in his own ad on eminent domain, the government's power to seize private property for public use.

TRUMP: I think eminent domain is wonderful.

SERFATY: Portraying the real estate developer as just a power hungry, land snatcher, an issue that resonates with New Hampshire voters.

CRUZ: He supports using government power to seize private people's home to give them to giant corporations to say hypothetically build a casino.

SERFATY: Trump today shooting back, tweeting in response, quote, "Without it, we wouldn't have road, highways, airports, schools or even pipelines."


SERFATY: And the RNC has responded to "The National Review's" takedown of Donald Trump. They have basically disinvited "The National Review" from participating in the Republican debate that's coming up next month right here on CNN -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much in Des Moines tonight. One of the few places without snow.

OUTFRONT next, more on our breaking news. That deadly snowstorm slamming the entire East Coast well into the middle of the country.

Plus, a very special story for me about the amazing woman who changed my life.


[19:45:12] BURNETT: We're OUTFRONT tonight with the breaking news. The monster storm crippling the Eastern Seaboard and well into the nation. It's now snowing in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Here in New York, just hours away from a whiteout.

A state of emergency has been declared in Delaware. So, you now got eight states with states of emergency. We're looking here at likely records. Forty inches possibly with 100 million people in the path of the storm. Blizzard warnings, winter weather advisories, coastal flood watch for much of the nation.

I want to go back to Brian Todd who is now driving through Woodbridge, Virginia.

And, Brian, on the road where you are, what are the conditions like?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, conditions are very bad and steadily getting worse. They have been for several hours now. We're in near whiteout conditions here in Woodbridge, Virginia.

We're on route 1 heading north. I'm going to switch from my cam, to our dash cam, our photojournalist David Burgess (ph) controlling that. He's going to switch to the dash cam now.

Looking at some of these conditions, normally commuters are going to and from Washington. Now you can see that they heeded the calls to stay off the roads, but those people on the roads are having a lot of problems tonight. We have witnessed several strands. We have seen people trying to get off an exit not long ago, not being able to get off that exit off of 395 South and they've had to then shut down that exit.

Then, we saw people trying to go the opposite way, the wrong way out of that exit and slipping and sliding as they were trying to get out. That's how desperate people are getting at this time of night, just trying to get from point A to point B. And, again, we can't stress it enough, that's why Virginia state officials and officials in Maryland and D.C. have pleaded with people, absolutely do not come out.

The mayor of Washington said only first responders should be out. Right now, it looks like people around this area are heeding that call. But I think we're going to go back to one of the main arteries, 95, and see that there may be some other stranded there, Erin. So, conditions steadily getting much worse right now.

BURNETT: Much worse. And even as Brian has been talking, you didn't see a single snowplow. A lot of this part of the country is not used to these kinds of storms. So, it could be very dangerous, that people getting stuck could be there for quite some time in frigid conditions.

Let's go to Sara Ganim in Philadelphia, as the storm starting to bear down there.

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It just started snowing here, Erin, about an hour ago, but very quickly, we see that accumulation building up. It's still kind of looks like a difficult Friday night here in Philadelphia. You see plenty of people out. Some were even ice skating not too far away from here.

Going home on a typical Friday night commute, right? But that's where the officials here are hoping that people will stay here this weekend because they are looking at between 12 and 22 inches of snow over the next 24 to 36 hours. That's more than this city gets in an entire month of January. Officials began prepping for this as far back as Wednesday, brining the streets. They will have 400 plows out here tonight, 450 in the greater Philadelphia area.

Here's the good news on this storm, Erin, is that last year at this time, many cities like Philadelphia, their budgets were already tight because this was many storms into the season already. This is the first big snow they've had so far this season and so, they are ready for it and their budgets are full -- Erin.

BURNETT: Hopefully, that will mean a quicker clean-up. Thank you, Sara.

Well, all this week, CNN anchors have been bringing you stories of a person who changed their life. And for me, choosing that person was an easy call. It all started with a newspaper article about her and the stalker letter that the story inspired me to write.



BURNETT: I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a plan, oh, I'm going to go into television and this is the way I'm going to go about it.

If I look at my life, there was one person that really changed things for me.


BURNETT: I do have these thoughts that my life really has come full circle.

New tonight, Hillary Clinton comes out swinging and Donald Trump --

I started out as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. I knew pretty early on when I did the game of, where do you want to be in five, ten years from now, even though I didn't know the answer to that question, I know I didn't want to be a banker at Goldman Sachs.

One morning, I stayed up all night working on doing what we called a pitch book for a pharmaceutical company. So I had had one of those all-nighters, which was very common for investment banking analysts.

And I went home and my sister called and said, you've got to see this article in "The New York Times." There was an article about Willow Bay.


[19:50:09] BURNETT: She used to be the face of Estee Lauder. She went to business school so she was beautiful and incredibly accomplished and successful and, all of a sudden, she ends up with this amazing job at "Moneyline News Hour" at CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN special report: The Microsoft decision.


STUART VARNEY, TV ANCHOR: And I'm Stuart Varney.

BURNET: So when this article came out in "The New York Times", my brother and law sister said you should write Willow a letter.

BAY: I was new to this job, and I get this letter from a young analyst at Goldman, an analyst at Goldman saying, "I want to come work on your show."

Right now, we will focus on Wall Street. At 1:00 Eastern Time today, the markets were in freefall.

BURNETT: OK. Here is the thing about the letter. It's an honest letter. It admits I was a stalker.

It's very nerdy. It's a very nerdy letter.

BAY: You know, I don't remember anything other than being impressed with Erin. Impressed with how bold she was, impressed with how ambitious she was, impressed with how skilled she was, impressed with how willing she was to just plain do the work, to pursue this dream of hers.

BURNETT: Willow called me. I went in to meet her, and that was the moment that changed my life.

The job that she hired me for was to be her assistant. So I was going to be doing assistant tasks. I would be answering her phone and getting her lunch and things like that, but she really wanted me to do was research for her for the show.

JENNY HARRIS, FORMER EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN'S MONEYLINE: When Erin came over to "Moneyline", I was executive producer of the show and I remember with Erin the answer to every question was yes. Can you look into this? Yes. She always did it, whatever it was that we asked her to do.

BURNETT: I think without question what I did on "Moneyline" has made me better at what I do now.

Those basic things that I learned, even though they were -- I was such a junior player in all of it really paved the way for me to be able to do it myself and to be able to hit the ground running when I had the opportunity to be myself. I'm Erin Burnett, covering the Salomon Smith Barney Transportation

Conference in Miami, for this edition of "Executive Spotlight".

2002 was another tough year for mergers. Total volume of $1.2 trillion with nearly 30 percent lower than 2011.

I was lucky and Willow was coming to New York and she agreed to come to CNN see me.

BAY: There you are.

BURNETT: And it turns out I still have the letter and I was able to surprise her by reading it to her on the set.

BAY: Is that the letter?

BURNETT: That's the letter.

BAY: You found it?

BURNETT: Willow Bay.

BAY: Let me see.

I notice the recent "New York Times" article about your new position at the "Moneyline" news hour, followed your career. This is the part I read. I'm a financial analyst in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs, ding ding.


BAY: I continue to be intrigued by a career in business journalism.

BURNETT: So, this started off -- luckily that is what you read because here is what I remember. I noticed the recent "New York Times" article about your position. I caught my attention because I followed your career since you appeared in the Estee Lauder ad that used to be in the front of "The New York Times" magazine. I'm fascinated by your background and specifically by your decision and your business broadcast journalism.

So, I laugh because I remember thinking, should I put that reference to the Estee Lauder ad in there? She's going to think I'm stalker. That's why I call it a stalker letter.

BAY: You know that we're in this story of you writing me the letter is in Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In".

BURNETT: Yes, it is.

BAY: It's such an important message, I think, about, you know, what it means to look for a mentor or look for a sponsor, somebody who advocates on your behalf, on your workplace that the relationship really is a mutual relationship.

BURNETT: Even when I was doing things at CNBC and NBC, I always knew I had Willow to thank for it, but somehow coming back to CNN really brought it home, that this is -- this whole trajectory of my life that ended with this amazing opportunity where I'm so happy has been all because of her.

BAY: I have to admit I'm humbled by being singled out by Erin as somebody who changed the course of her life. But honestly, there was never a doubt when Erin set foot in that office that she was going to be successful, and I don't say that lightly. I mean, it was just very clear about her.

BURNETT: When I returned to CNN, it wasn't just coming back to CNN to do a show. It was a show that ended up being same time of day as "Moneyline."

[19:55:01] Our show is at 7:00, hers is 6:00. But it was an incredible overlap. It was as if the world really came full circle.


BURNETT: Sort of brings tears to my eyes to think about everything that she did for me. I want to add that Willow who has made many meaningful career moves throughout her life is now the director of the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California.

We filmed her teaching helping young men and women learn how to tell stories, cover the news. She's so passionate about her students there. She's mentoring them. And I'm sure they know just how lucky they are to learn from her talent, her commitment and as you can see in that piece, her incredible graciousness.

You can see more of our anchor stories at and be sure to catch Sanjay Gupta's story on "NEW DAY" tomorrow, and Sunday night, you can see them all. "The Person Who Changed My Life". It is a two-hour primetime special right here on CNN, and it airs at 8:00 Eastern.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us.

Breaking news coverage continues with "AC360" now.