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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Drivers Stranded For 12 Plus Hours In Kentucky; New York City Could See 16 Inches Of Snow; Thirty Three Million People Under Blizzard Warning; New Jersey Coast In Path Of Winter Storm; Thousands Stranded On Kentucky Highway; Blizzard Conditions Forecasted Through Tonight; New York City Under A Blizzard Warning; Governor Chris Christie On Epic Winter Storm. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired January 23, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The storm here in North Carolina turning deadly. At least four people have died.
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: You hope for the best. You prepare for the worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor is saying that 600 National Guard members are on standby in case they are needed.
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This will be a significant storm, but nowhere near the kind of storm that we've dealt with over the last six years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The snow here in New Jersey is going sideways especially near the coast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are told from the Virginia Department of Transportation is that they are preparing up for to 40 inches of snow in this area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to walk five miles and go over mountain again.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Christi Paul. I want to welcome our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world right now. Give you a live look at major cities across the east coast.
New York City, first of all, could see up to 16 inches of snow. Baltimore right now under near whiteout conditions. Philadelphia shutting down its public transit systems, and Washington is expected to be hardest hit, the entire city under a blizzard warning until tomorrow morning now.
Let's talk about Kentucky, 35 miles of traffic, packed highway is at a standstill. Snow and ice have crippled cars there, men, women, and children have been stranded, some of them for more than 18 hours. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
APRIL GILLIAM-MONTESINOS, STRANDED ON KENTUCKY HIGHWAY I-75 (via telephone): I'm kind of walking back and forth. He's talking to other people in vehicles, but it's very frustrating because, you know, you are in a car and you are not comfortable. You are crammed.
We've made multiple phone calls to the Kentucky state police. We keep getting the same story. Ten hours ago, they told us, we'll have you out in no time. We have not heard anything else.
My dad's a diabetic. I have two kids in here that are 14 and 4 that are hungry. We ran out of stuff a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So that's part of what's happening in Kentucky and we are going to continue to keep you posted there. But we do want to get you to New York with Martin Savidge. Martin, when you said you'd fill in for Victor this weekend, you had no idea what you were in for. How are you holding up?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Victor must have some great planning because he picked a good weekend to be off. New York City like much of the eastern seaboard getting hammered. Today it appears is the worst of it.
You know, some areas thought it was yesterday. No, it is clearly today. Near whiteout conditions here. We're on Columbus Circle on the edge of Central Park.
You got high winds that are blowing. You got snow that is falling, but in times it looks horizontal. In the coastal areas, the real concern for the possibility of flooding. So it is going to be a difficult day here.
You know, 85 million people I think are affected or impacted by this storm. A quarter of the nation. That's what makes it a massive brutal storm is just how many people are feeling all of it. And in many cases just how much snow they are getting.
Brian Todd is down there in the area of Washington, D.C. He's been patrolling the streets for us. Brian, I imagine as the sun comes up, it's still looking very much like a lunar landscape there.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Martin. That's a perfect description of what we are seeing here. We are now on the 95 southbound as it hits the Washington, D.C. beltway 495. Much of the roads are barely passable.
The major roads are barely passable. The exits, some of them are not passable. I will get out. Actually, we will inch forward here because we're on this exit here. We will show you out our dash cam right now.
We came on a vehicle stranded right in the middle of a major ramp that goes from 95 south to 495 east and south. These are two major arteries, Martin.
You can see that again this connection to those two major arteries is pretty much blocked off by this one motorist who can't seem to pass. We've got high winds here causing a lot of snowdrift.
But also because the roads froze a little bit overnight. They're a lot more slippery now than they were last night. This gentleman here was trying to go forward to get off the exit and back up. A state trooper just tried to help him.
Now earlier, just a few moments ago, we came upon a scene where an exit was blocked by two motorists who were stranded. First responders in a fire truck were trying to get off that exit onto a major highway the beltway to get to the scene of an accident or something. They were blocked. I talked to one of the motorists who was frustrated at that situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EGON LAWRENCE, STRANDED MOTORIST: I was trying to go to work. Then he was trying to go and suddenly he got stuck. So I can't go, I can't pass because of all this snow on the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: To give you an idea of just how tough a situation it has been from midnight, Friday morning until midnight overnight into Saturday. The state of Virginia had almost a thousand accidents reported, according to state police.
[07:05:09]Maryland state police told us in the same period they responded to about 130 accidents. Now the good news is that most of those were minor accidents, they are slow moving. There are people spinning off the roads, maybe clipping other vehicles.
Not many serious accidents, Martin, but the volume of accidents really does tell you something. Now I can tell you that, I mean, the wind is really kicking up. This is a huge problem out here because I can barely see in front of me.
The motorists can't see. Visibility here, you got to be careful out here. You have to watch your peripherals at all times. The visuals here. The visibility. We knew it was going to be an issue now. It is really compounded. You cannot see more than maybe 300 yards in front of you at a clip -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: I do not encourage anybody to go out and drive. I am wondering, are the streets passable? I'm thinking of first responders and emergency crews. Can they at least maneuver and get around?
TODD: You know, in many cases, Martin, they can. In some cases they cannot. When we saw that exit blocked, when a first responder, a large fire truck was trying to get onto the Washington beltway. He couldn't because there were two vehicles stuck completely blocking the exit because they couldn't get through. Some of the exits do not have plows and have punched holes through them to make those exits passable. It's really the issue this morning. They're just trying to make the main roads passable right now and so some first responders are having trouble just getting through those main arteries.
The exits right now you can forget about a lot of that. The back roads certainly not. We have major emergencies in subdivisions or back roads, those are some bad situations that will develop this morning.
SAVIDGE: All right, Brian Todd, thank you very much. Please be careful out there to you and your crew. We want to check in with Chief Cathy Lanier. She is with the Metro Police Department down in the D.C. area. Chief how is it looking? What is your greatest concern at this hour?
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN POLICE (via telephone): Actually it's been quiet. We anticipate the things being our biggest problems trees coming down and you know, major blockages from trees and poles coming down. That has not started yet.
The winds are very high. There's a lot of blustery snow blowing around, but people finally got off the road last night. Right now, it's pretty first responders and plows out there. Not seeing a lot of that stuff yet. I think that will come later today.
SAVIDGE: Yes, I think that will be a problem later today especially daylight. Your first responders out there. What are they doing? Are they checking on people? Are they looking for homeless people? What is the reason for our first responders to be out there?
LANIER: So last night overnight between probably 11:30 p.m. and about an hour ago, we went out with our partners and picked up another 30, 35 additional homeless folks and brought them into warming centers or shelters. So that will continue to go on.
A lot of people do not want to go to shelters. We do everything we can to persuade them to go and we were pretty successful last night getting them in.
But other than that, the officers are out in various different areas. We have about 25 Humvees we deployed last night, we still have 40 of our heavy duty SUVs along with our mid-weight SUVs out there.
So right now we are still getting around pretty well, but we asked them to kind of respond to call for assistance, but not to do a lot of active roving patrol right now as they are trying to let those plows get through.
SAVIDGE: What would you ask of your public right now?
LANIER: It's more important today than yesterday. If we can keep people home because if they come out today, they are not going to be able to get through the roads and they will be walking down the street. If you can put on the TV and stay home and maybe watch CNN for the day.
SAVIDGE: Chief, thank you very much for that update. We want to quickly now go to Boris Sanchez. He is in New Jersey where it appears the coastal flooding fears they had are beginning to show reality. Boris, what are you seeing?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martin, all this morning, we have been reporting about the water creeping higher and higher. We were just at about six inches roughly half an hour ago from coming over the bay as you can see behind me.
It has now come over within the past 20 minutes or so. The water has just rushed over several inches high. As you can see it's pushing huge chunks of ice down the street.
Fortunately, it is melting some snow, but we are still about half an hour to 40 minutes away from high tide. So the water -- a neighbor told us --
[07:10:06]SAVIDGE: You can see that we're having some signal issues due to the -- Boris, are you back? Sorry, pick it up.
SANCHEZ: Hey, Martin, we lost you there for a second. That may be because the water is hitting our truck right now. It's moving very quickly down the street. We are likely going to have to start moving soon.
We talked to neighbors here yesterday that told us the water will do what the water is going to do. Frankly, we didn't see very many homes or businesses prepped with sand bags.
They'd likely should have, but he said that during Sandy, when the water came through the sandbags didn't do much. So neighbors here didn't do much in the way of preparations.
The streets fortunately are clear for the most part, but again this water is coming out, high tide about a half hour away with the full moon. It will continue coming. We may see some serious flooding here, not far from Atlantic City -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: All right, Boris, the safety of you and your crew takes priority. But quickly, what's driving the water? It's not just the high tide. Is it the wind that is propelling it up?
SANCHEZ: A big part of that is the wind, also the snowfall and frankly geographically there is nowhere for this water to go. This is an inlet. So as it continues to rise from the ocean surge, it will keep going into this neighborhood -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: We will get you hopefully to a little bit safer place. In the meantime, we will continue to follow the situation down there on the Jersey Shore. This has been something that had been feared. Now it looks like it is coming into reality.
The water is beginning to come and rise and even threatening our live location down there. Let's go back to Christi Paul in Atlanta -- Christi.
PAUL: OK, thank you so much, Martin. We appreciate it. As we were looking at that situation in New Jersey. We were talking to Governor Chris Christie who has gone back to New Jersey to deal with the situation.
We are talking to him in just a little bit about what they're doing there to try to quell what we see is happening as the water is now slowly starting to come over there into New Jersey.
Also, a really frightening situation in Kentucky. There are people who have been strand on a 35 mile stretch of I-75 for up to 19 hours now.
We are talking to a band director, in fact, who is stuck right now with about 200 band students on a bus on that same stretch of highway. Stay with us for that.
Also the Carolinas have been hit extremely hard with ice. Why officials there are telling people do not let your guard down.
As I said, Governor Chris Christie, left the campaign trail. He is back in New Jersey this morning to handle the winter storm emergency. We are talking to him in a just a bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The circumstances got worse and clarified. So as soon as it did, then I came home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have everything, it's caring me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband bought a snow blower. That's exciting. We have been waiting every year. He finally gave into that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we are with food, gas and we safe at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: like I said, we have been through it before. We have stuff in there to keep warm with. You know and it's just a part of everyday living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's stressful. You have to make sure you have enough food and water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: That's some of the people in some of the ten states that have already declared a state of emergency with this massive blizzard. I want to talk to you about this snow piling up in Kentucky. There are dozens of people trapped on I-75.
Let's face it. We can say hundreds, possibly thousands, including four buses carrying members of a Michigan high school marching band. This is a stretch of 35 miles. Take a look at the pictures that some of the people in line that have sent us.
They have been sitting there some for 19 hours. Now these four buses have been making their way to Disneyworld in Orlando to march in a parade. They're stuck now and they're not sure they're going to make it.
Band Director Leslie Schwegler is on the phone with us. Leslie, thank you so much. First of all, I have to ask, how are you and the students holding up this hour?
LESLIE SCHWEGLER, LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL, YOSILANTI, MICHIGAN (via telephone): Surprisingly, we are doing very well. It was a perfect time of day to stop because it was night and we swept slept through most of it.
PAUL: OK, so how long have you been stuck then?
SCHWEGLER: We were stuck for over eight hours.
PAUL: Are you still stuck?
SCHWEGLER: We are moving slowly through Highway 25, but it's very hilly. So we are planning our trip uphill very carefully.
PAUL: So you are not on I-75?
SCHWEGLER: Not yet. We are making our way to I-75.
PAUL: OK, and you are going south. We know that that south bound lanes I believe are opened. So you are not in that 35 mile stretch, is that right?
SCHWEGLER: No. We just left it. Everything east or south of us was still stuck on I-75. We got to mile marker 69 to clear it out of the northbound lanes.
PAUL: OK, so you exited the freeway?
SCHWEGLER: We did.
SCHWEGLER: We are very lucky.
PAUL: Are they -- do you see if they are turning around traffic? Because as I understood, if the southbound lanes were opened, the northbound lane was closed?
SCHWEGLER: It depends where you are in relationship to Mt. Vernon.
PAUL: Mt. Vernon, OK. So you did see people turning around? SCHWEGLER: Yes. We are one of the people that turned around at mile marker 69.
PAUL: You said it took you about 8 hours, as you were sitting there. Have you gotten any news from the state highway patrol or police or did you see anybody there trying to hand out food or water?
SCHWEGLER: We were following their Twitter page. We did call them ourselves to get an update. Since we're in a charter bus and we are on our way, we have our own supply of food and heat and bathrooms. So we are very fortunate we have such an awesome coach company and drivers to get us through this.
PAUL: Did you get out at all of bus and talk to other people who were stranded while you were there? I'm trying to understand how people, you know, mentally get through those hours sitting there?
SCHWEGLER: We did not leave the buses for our safety. But I know that some people were out and about and there is patrolmen going up and down as they could checking on people.
PAUL: OK. We understand that they are -- we have a representative from the Kentucky state police saying they are sitting on a solid sheet of ice there. It's a rural mountainous area. When are you supposed to be in this parade and do you think you will make it now?
SCHWEGLER: Yes, we'll make the parade because we actually do that on Monday and our workshop is Sunday. We are missing a whole day down in Orlando, doing some events, but they're movable and our travel company is working with that.
PAUL: OK, Leslie Schwegler, we are certainly happy to hear that you are again on the move. There are some people stuck in that big stretch that is immobile at this point. It's not moving at all.
[07:20:05] But Leslie, best of luck to you. I hope that you and the students have a great time down there and best of luck for the jobs that you have ahead of you at Disneyworld.
SCHWEGLER: Thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you. Glad that everybody is OK.
I want to take you to some other areas where the storm is having an impact. In Virginia, for example, there is a state trooper who is injured when his patrol car was rear ended while trying to help a stranded driver.
Authorities say that they've responded to nearly 1,000 accidents as well as another 800 disabled vehicles. Now this storm as we said is hitting Tennessee.
Nashville is facing the biggest snow storm in 13 years with at least eight inches of snow expected to fall. Authorities are warning residents to stay off the roads as well. In Georgia, one of ten states under a state of emergency. Drivers have reported snow and ice on the roads. The concerns is that the ice is weighing down trees and power lines, which is causing some dangerous driving conditions as well as obviously watching for some power outages there.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is joining us with the latest. So Derek, here's the thing, I keep hearing that what we're seeing right now is just the middle of it. That the worst may be yet to come. What is the status of this blizzard right now?
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the status is that it is deepening, strengthening, and it's materializing into that blockbuster storm that we had forecast for several days in advance.
In many of the locations that we anticipate at some of the higher snowfall totals. Here is proof in the footings. Washington, D.C. already over a foot of snow. Some of the other locations across Virginia and Maryland in excess of 16, even 17 inches. There is still more to come.
This is the current situation, our low pressure system is now really starting to gather some steam and it's pulling in that Atlantic moisture, which is so necessary for the storm to deepen and strengthen and put in the heavy bands of snowfall.
Interstate 95, 78, and 81, these are going to be very treacherous areas especially those back roads just off of the highways, but anywhere from Washington to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and now we have included New York City and some of the heavier snow bands.
We have had snow in excess of four inches, downtown, into the Manhattan region. Look at this. We have winds gusting over 40 miles per hour along the coast of New Jersey into Long Island.
Stretching south into Virginia and Delaware. So we are meeting the criteria of blizzard conditions with visibilities dropping well below a quarter of a mile. Here's the additional snow we can expect going forward. Christi, back to you.
PAUL: My goodness, all right, Derek Van Dam, we so appreciate it. Thank you.
Listen, up next, we want to go live to Charlotte, North Carolina. There is a huge ice problem there this morning. Trees are breaking under the weight of it. Power is being knocked out. We'll talk about that.
Listen, New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie is joining us to talk about the winter emergency in his state. How he is juggling dealing with the storm, keeping the momentum on the campaign trail. He's with us in a bit. Stay close.
[07:25:57] PAUL: An update this morning for the New York area. It looks like at least 16 inches of snow is forecast for that area now. That's where Martin Savidge is taking a look at what's happening.
We know that Jean Casarez at one point said streets were pretty empty at one point. Martin, I know that you are in the Columbus Circle area. I'm sorry. You don't look comfortable.
SAVIDGE: I'm sorry I gave that away because it sounds really comfort about. I have to tell you the wind, we have a tent to try to protect the equipment. Wind is howling here. At any moment, it is going to take off and probably end up in New Jersey. So if that happens, bear with us.
It is a combination of the heavy snowfall coming down and the high winds starting to have an impact here. You will see, there are people out, it's New York. Not a lot of foot traffic given on a Saturday morning and not a lot of foot traffic. That is for sure.
Near whiteout conditions right now. I want to check in now with Frank McCarton. He is the deputy commissioner of operations here in New York City. He is the one who can best tell us at least from a (inaudible) perspective, how the city is doing.
Frank, thanks for joining us this morning. I hope you're well and how are things in the city? I can hear a count. Frank, are you there? It's CNN here. We are checking in with how things are in the city operationally.
FRANK MCCARTON, NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (via telephone): Yes, Martin, can you hear me now?
SAVIDGE: Yes, I got you loud and clear. Go ahead.
MCCARTON: Like you said, I think this is the most, worst time kind of storm now until late in the evening and the winds are starting to pick up, zero visibility. We had wind gust at JFK a little while ago, a 41-mile-an-hour wind gusts.
But this is the time where people should stay indoors. The Department of Sanitation, allow them to do their job, and stay safe really.
SAVIDGE: I know you got, I think I read like 1,600 plows and snow removal equipment that's out there. Their primary focus right now is what?
MCCARTON: The main roadways, to keep the main roads operational working together to make sure that we can keep traffic going. We are looking at some snow anywhere between one-to-two inches an hour could happen in the next eight, ten hours. We will keep the roads impossible.
If people stay off the road for us, we will get that done. It will actually help us tomorrow as we clear the rest of the city for our Monday commute. SAVIDGE: That's really what sort of you plan ahead for is that tomorrow was going to be kind of dig out day. What about rail service? What's happening there?
MCCARTON: There are no disruptions right now in the rail services. We just checked in with our (inaudible) operation center is activated and we have those folks inside. There is no disruptions. They are on a Saturday service on some of the rails.
Buses will be delayed because of conditions. They are running. They are as you have seen they have chains on them. I think it's really important for people to get on mass transit if they got to travel in New York City. Stay off the roads for us.
SAVIDGE: One of the things that's a little different when you are dealing with a major city like this one here is the wind and the impact it has on high rises. You have a lot of people, of course, that live in these circumstances. What are the concerns when you got very strong winds, very high up in buildings?
MCCARTON: So our concern is the debris falling. We have worked closely with the Department of Buildings in the last couple of days is all their contractors have been notified to make sure they tie down all their equipment.
What we saw (inaudible) is debris falls off some of these building, but we asked them to tie it down, which has been very successful in the last several hours. We will continue to monitor it as we go throughout the day.
[07:30:00]SAVIDGE: Hopefully they've heeded that and things will remain tied. Frank McCarton, thanks, very much for that update on the operations here in the city. We'll continue to stay in touch.
Jean Casarez is out in it like I am. She is over in Times Square. Jean, I don't know if you are feeling the wind like we are, but it is howling?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Marty, it's coming down hard, fast. It's wet. The New York City of Emergency Management Department is saying one to two inches per hour. It is really desolate out here except we found some people behind us. Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gainesville, Georgia.
CASAREZ: Georgia. Your big vacation. You come to New York City. Did you expect this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, ma'am. It's our Christmas present.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is perfect.
CASAREZ: So it's perfect. Are you guys brothers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just friend.
CASAREZ: You sure look alike. What are you going to do today? You are pretty immobilized here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good news is not to get inside live, there are a few other people. We had a good time.
CASAREZ: Great, there are benefits of being here when nobody else can get in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Saturday Night Live," matinee today, hang out in the snow.
CASAREZ: OK, good point. Thanks for coming on. You know, the Broadway shows have not cancelled so that is a point. Very serious for a minute, 200 Department of Transportation plows are in the area because these roadways have to be plowed in New York City and also the outlying boroughs.
Also can say 400 people are on standby, 600 National Guard are ready to come out if they have to. As far as the subway, they took hundreds of subway cars in New York City area and put them underground overnight so that they would not freeze.
They're bringing them up today because they want the subways to run as usual and at 8:00 this morning, we are expecting Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City to issue a winter storm emergency for the New York City area -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: Yes. This is a storm that seems to have intensified and, in fact, grown stronger than of course the irst predictions were. Traffic wise, we already seen people there, cars, buses, things like that. You are still seeing that move through the area in Times Square?
CASAREZ: No, look behind me. This is Times Square. This is where you normally have so much traffic. It is virtually deserted. Very difficult to get a taxi. Cars on the roadway are non-existent.
Far and few between, but people are being asked to stay home. The governor, Governor Cuomo yesterday said stay home because you are endangering your life and the emergency personnel that are trying to keep us safe.
It is an early hour, but people are heeding this. They're trying to get roadways clear so that anybody that does come out is safe -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: You know in Washington, D.C., Jean, they took the extraordinary step of shutting down the public transportation system. That hasn't happened here in New York, has it?
CASAREZ: No, it hasn't because they are storing the subway cars underground. You know, one thing that the governor mentioned yesterday, because New York City has had so many disasters from hurricanes to tropical storms, hundreds of thousands of dollars has been put into the infrastructure here.
So that when there is an emergency, they're set they're ready to go and New York City is ready to tackle whatever comes.
SAVIDGE: All right, Jean Casarez, in the middle of Times Square. And the like her, we are struggling, too, you can see the snow falling down. It's propelled by the high winds. This is only going to get worse. Not only in New York, but Washington and other major cities here. A lot of people are feeling this one -- Christi.
PAUL: We can see you are feeling it too and thank you so much, Martin. You are such a trooper being out there. As Martin, it's not just the snow. It's the wind. Some areas anticipating 50 to 60 miles per hour.
It is the physicality of the snow. As you heard Jean say, it's very wet, heavy snow. With that, you have the possibility of downed power lines, therefore, a loss of power.
We've got 160,000 people reporting they do not have any power. Then let's talk about one of the big stories coming out of this today. It's Kentucky.
We talked with a woman who has been stranded there for I believe now it's 19-and-a-half hours. She has been stranded on a stretch of I-75 in Rock Castle County. This is south of Lexington.
April Gilliam-Montesino is sitting there with her two daughters, 14 and 4. These are some of the pictures they sent to us as well as her father who is a diabetic.
She says there was a police trooper that came up to the car at one point and graciously gave her father his personal snacks, that he had with him, to make sure the father would be OK in that situation.
[07:35:05]But we also then talked to Kendra Wilson with the Kentucky state police to find out why is it taking so long for people to get to these people?
They were looking at, like I said, some of them 19-and-a-half hours. I mean, now we are talking about real problems in terms of possible medical situations, running out of food out of water.
The Kentucky state police said they are doing the best can. They are sitting on a solid sheet of ice. We will continue, obviously, to watch that. When you think about the amount of people that sit in cars on a 35 mile stretch of freeway that is not going anywhere.
That is miserable and what is it going to take to get it going again? We will continue to talk about that as we get more information.
But we do want to get you to the D.C. area now. Brian Todd has been driving through -- Brian, do I understand you are in Maryland now?
TODD: That's right, Christi. We are in College Park, Maryland on the capital beltway, the largest major artery in the D.C. area. It is virtually paralyzed. There are whiteout conditions wherever you go. The wind has picked up. It's made the visibility almost down to nothing. We just came upon this scene, not dissimilar to something we saw about an hour-and-a-half ago, where an exit was blocked on this road. I will come out to the dash camera.
We came upon this scene where this exit was blocked. These people could not get off the exit here. You see it off the dash cam, these two vehicles could get off the exit.
They may have even hit each other so they are blocking this exit. This is a fairly major exit onto the beltway. This Greenbelt, Maryland police vehicle has tried to help them.
Now you have a Public Works snowplow that's trying to help them. I will switch over to this camera so we can have a little bit more flexibility. This is what we are up here.
Look at the visibility here. At its best it was a quarter mile of visibility last night. Now it is clearly much less. I mean, when vehicles are passing us by, they vanished into that grey mix up there.
We also got word, Christi, that from the Virginia state police, they updated their numbers, yesterday, they responded to a total of more than a thousand crashes throughout the state.
That is about five times the daily average on a normal day. About 35 minutes ago at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. They were on the scene of 17 crashes. That gives you a sense of what happens to people when they try to venture out in this stuff.
All right. Now, I'll go to your left, my right. This guy is backing up. We got to be careful here. This is what, the cavalry arriving. This is the capital beltway. They are trying to clear as much as a swath of it possible.
This is a huge relief for the people here, but here's the issue, when they clear this and again they're doing a good job. It creates a big snow drift. We can't get out of it.
PAUL: Yes, I was just going to say, I hope you can get out of there.
TODD: That's another issue -- Christie. We think we can possibly punch through.
PAUL: Go ahead, Brian.
TODD: Right. We do have a little bit of help, but -- sorry. Yes, we will see if they can get these vehicles out. Again, they have to keep these exits cleared for first responders who were coming around.
We have seen one other instance where a fire truck could not get on to the capital beltway. We can show you a picture as the plows go through. See where this does, if the tow truck can get these people out of here?
Now the tow truck may be a little stranded. He's going to maneuver out to see if these vehicles can come out. You have, let's see, a snow truck, a small plow, two stranded vehicles, a police vehicle trying to clear this.
You had about I'd say eight to ten major snow plows. This is what they are waking up to in the Washington, D.C. are. They frantically try to clear these major arteries. It's really this morning into the afternoon, it will be only the major arteries that gets cleared.
PAUL: I was just going to ask you about that.
TODD: Now these vehicles can pass fairly well, but again, keeping up with the volume of this snow as it comes down very heavy, very wet, and so rapidly, that is a huge challenge this morning.
PAUL: So are surface roads there impassable when you get off the freeways? You are just trying to be on residential roads or roads that are, you know, up against store fronts and grocery stores? Are they impassable?
[05:30:06]TODD: I'm sorry, Christie, I couldn't hear you. Could you repeat that question?
PAUL: Just wondering what the surface roads are like, you are on the freeway. We see them clearing that. What is it like when you exit the freeway and you might try to get around, is that impassible?
TODD: It really is impassable when you exit the freeways. Any secondary roads and certainly in the subdivisions of which there are quite a few here in Maryland right off the highways and in Northern Virginia.
You try to navigate those subdivisions this morning, you will not be able to do it. Vehicles like this are getting stuck. Any secondary roads are very much impassable this morning. The only way you will get around is on the major arteries and even that is a little dicey.
PAUL: All righty. Hey, Brian, do stay safe there. Thank you so much. You guys are working so hard. Wishing the best to you and your crew there. They will be with us throughout the day here. We really a grateful for what you are bringing us.
Listen, when we come back, we are going to check out some of the other areas where the snow is really dicey because again forecasters say we are in the middle of this, folks. This is not the end. It's not the beginning. It's the middle. There is a long way to go.
We do believe we speaking to Governor Chris Christie as well, who is back in his home state of New Jersey. First, though, you may want to think twice before say kicking an old couch to the curb. This week start small think big looks at four friends in San Francisco who's made buying and selling used furniture easier and better for the environment. Take a look.
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We have already diverted over 400 tons of furniture from landfills. It just further adds to the mission of making commerce sustainable. That's really what we stand for.
PAUL: All righty. Hands are full for New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, this morning. Not only trying to balance his potential candidacy but also trying to balance what he needs to do in New Jersey right now.
I want to show you some pictures of what was happening there in Margate City, New Jersey in the inlet. Just a short while ago, Boris Sanchez, was there. You can see behind him how quickly the water is flowing because water has overtaken the harbor now.
It came up over the wall there. Boris said it's actually sending chunks of ice into the residential area there and a business area that is just beyond where he is standing.
This is precisely the reason that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went back to his home state yesterday, taking time off on the campaign trail in New Hampshire to go back to New Jersey. The governor is with us now.
Thank you so much, Governor Christie, for being with us. I'm wondering, as you look at these pictures in Margate, what resources do you have at the ready to help them?
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY (via telephone): listen, we're ready for any eventuality in Margate. I want to point out that Margate is one of the few towns around the coast of New Jersey that is fighting our dune system that the Army Corps of Engineers is building in the aftermath of Sandy.
They said that the wall they have was more than enough to stop the water. As you are seeing this morning, it is not. This is just another example of the real, real bad judgment being exhibited by people in Margate for having not done that.
Now we don't expect it to be a whole lot worse today than the three flooding you just saw even in a place that has not pursued the dunes like Margate. We're ready, we have the National Guard on call.
More evacuations, if necessary, although we don't believe there will be evacuations necessary today along the coast and we have shelters in every county in New Jersey.
If they lose their power and need to stay warm, they can't shelter with trends and family, which is obviously the first choice that they can shelter with us.
We have shelters in every county in the state. We are ready to have local police help them if they need assistance in getting to those shelters.
If they can't get to the shelters, that's what they should do. Call their local police and those folks will help them get to a shelter.
PAUL: So Governor, at this point, at this hour, as we wait. We know at 8:00 high tide is supposed to hit. Outside of Margate, are there vulnerable areas that you are looking at right now that are in need and what is the most urgent need at this hour?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think the most urgent need for our residents is to stay inside. Not only because the weather is incredibly nasty as you can see, but because we're doing a good job so far of keeping our roadways passable for emergency vehicles and for the plows to continue to clear them.
Because we're getting two to three inches of snow an hour at this point so the plows have to work hard to try and keep up. So for everybody, please stay inside. Don't drive today unless it is an absolute emergency.
If you do lose your power, please report it immediately to your utility company so that you can be placed in the cue to get your power restored.
So right now I think we're not worried about coastal flooding all that much. It should be street flooding like the kind that you saw in Margate.
We're going to have a lot of snow, though, inland. We will have upwards of a foot to two feet of snow in certain places, and so getting our mass transit system back up, it's something we are working on already.
We closed it down at 2:00 a.m. as a precaution. All those things are things I think we are working on, but you know, this is my 17th snow emergency in six years as governor so our group is ready. We're prepared.
The people of New Jersey should know, we're on the job. We will do everything we can to make this as easy a process for them as we can.
[07:50:05]PAUL: Yes, this clearly is not foreign. This is not a foreign situation to you by any means.
PAUL: Now, this is a critical time for you, however, because you're on the campaign trail. We've got New Hampshire coming up. I know you tweeted yesterday, sorry, New Hampshire we've got some snow in New Jersey so I got to home, but I will be back home.
What did you hear, Governor, in that last two or three hours before you made that decision that made you say, I need to go back home? Because you were adamant, initially, that you didn't need to go.
CHRISTIE: No, really what I said in the beginning was that I had no plans to go home because it was too early to make a judgment and when I said I'd continue to monitor the situation as necessary.
If I thought the circumstances were that I go home, I would. By 11:00 yesterday morning, it was clear to me that this was going to be a significant to me that this would be a significant snow event in the state.
I don't mean to pick on weather man, but oftentimes, they don't get it exactly right and the storm veers off when it was supposed to hit at.
By 11:00 yesterday morning, I was convinced it was going to hit New Jersey. It was going to be a significant snow, but by then I had no choice at all.
My first responsibility is for the people of my state as governor. We were home here last night before the first snow flake hit the ground in New Jersey. Coordinating all the efforts as we have been by phone. Now we were doing it in person.
And I will be on the road all day today across the entire state to see the situation for myself and to be able to make any adjustments that maybe necessary to the plan that we've worked over the last 72 hours.
PAUL: I'm wondering, how do you balance this storm with the campaign, though, at the end of the day? A lot of people are sitting back, trying to decipher, as they do, every one of your moves, saying, OK, what's more important at this juncture? New Jersey, the people in New Jersey or New Hampshire? How do you answer that? CHRISTIE: The people of New Jersey, that's my job. When you're governor, you never have a day off. Every day that you are governor, something can happen and people expect you to be on it and doing your job. So, there was never a choice in my mind.
I mean, listen -- I'm enthusiastic about my campaign for president. I'd like to get back to New Hampshire as quickly as I can to talk to those voters, but I'll tell you, it was always my intention to take care of my job.
My job is being governor of the state where I was born and raised and it was never a choice. The people of New Hampshire were wonderful, too.
When I told them yesterday I had to go home, everyone was understanding. The good news is that my wife, Mary Pat, has stayed in New Hampshire and she's doing some of the events today that we have planned.
So that folks can at least get some representation from the Christie family up in New Hampshire. But the guy who is governor is going to be down here doing his job and that's exactly what I'm doing today.
PAUL: I know you've also really been paying attention as everybody has to this overt and contentious divide within the Republican Party. I'm wondering are you concerned that that divide alone may be enough to hand the presidency to the Dems?
CHRISTIE: I am concerned that if we don't bring ourselves together, that every time we tear each other a part, every time there's a negative campaigning that goes on. Certain folks are big purveyors of this.
Senator Rubio and Governor Bush has been big purveyors of negative campaigning. I have not because I believe you got to keep our eye on the balls here, to unite our party, and defeat Hillary Clinton.
So I'm not going to participate in that kind of stuff. I'm going to continue to talk about my plans and my vision for America's future and for our party. So, we're going to bring our party together ultimately.
But you need voices to stop shooting at each other. I wish Senator Rubio and Governor Bush would stop all the shooting at people because it's counterproductive. It's not going to help up defeat Hillary Clinton in the end. Quite frankly, I think it's going to hurt their chances to be the nominee as well.
PAUL: It's not just those voices, but what do you make of the "National Review" dedicating an entire issue to defeating Donald Trump?
CHRISTIE: Listen, there are conservatives -- they're a conservative organization, who gives out opinion, and so, that's their opinion. And they want to defeat Donald Trump. They think there are better conservatives in the race to represent the conservative movement. They have every right to say what they're saying. I admire the fact that they're saying what they're say before anybody votes. Not wait until after votes come in, but they're attempting to influence voters.
That's what publication like "National Review" is there for. They're a conservative voice in our country. They're giving their opinion. People will read it, I'm sure, hear about it on programs like yours.
They'll make judgments whether they think the "National Review's" opinion is valid or not. It's certainly a function of an organization like that. They have every right to do what they're doing and stand up for what they believe to be conservative values.
In the end, I think that just helps to inform the debate, rather than to do damage.
PAUL: It certainly does inform the debate. It certainly does get people talking.
[07:55:04]I'm wondering at the end of the day, whether it's you, whether it's Donald Trump, whether it's Ted Cruz. How confident are you that the Republican Party as a whole will get behind whoever the electorate says is the nominee?
CHRISTIE: Well, if it's me, I'm very confident they'll get behind me because I've had experience overtime in uniting discrete parties. I'm from New Jersey where there is 750,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
And so you know, I've had -- we have more independents than we have either Republicans or Democrats. So, I've had experience in doing this. I can't speak for how well the others will work to bring people together.
But people just need to look at my work in New Jersey and know that I've been able to bring Republicans, Democrats and independents together, which is what you need to do to win the election.
We're not going to win the election just with the votes of Republicans. We're going to have to win independents and we are going to get our share of Democrats to come over and say that they want a change from the last two terms of Barack Obama.
That they're looking for something new and different. I think we're the folks that are able to offer them the kind of alternative to ignite the party. As we did in New Jersey, we got two-thirds of the independent vote and nearly a third of the Democrat vote.
PAUL: But if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the nominee, will you get behind them, and do you think the Republican Party as a whole will do so as well?
CHRISTIE: I will support the Republican nominee whoever that person is. I made that pledge at the beginning of this campaign. I'm a Republican, I believe in my party and I also believe in the voters of my party. If they select someone other than me, I will support that person.
As for the rest of the Republicans in the country, they're going to make that decision based upon the conduct of the nominee, that's why I said, I'm confident I'll be able to bring people together.
But for Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz, that's going to be up to them to be able to do. But they should know if either one of them is the nominee, they'll have my support because I promised that and I'm still (inaudible) my word.
PAUL: All righty, Governor Chris Christie, we really appreciate you taking the time because I now that you've got an awful lot on your plate today. Best luck to you and to all of the crews there trying to keep people safe in New Jersey to get through the storm. Thank you.
CHRISTIE: We appreciate it. Thanks for giving us the time. People in New Jersey, stay in your home, stay safe and stay warm. To CNN, thanks for giving us the time to be on and for bringing all these news to our citizens. You're being helpful.
PAUL: Thank you, Governor. We do our best just like everybody. Thank you, again best of luck to you and all the people in New Jersey, and in New York, and in Virginia, and Georgia and Tennessee, there are ten states under a state of emergency right now.
New York, one of them, we're going to talk live with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about the winter emergency that is underway there. They are in the thick of it. How is the city coping with the massive amounts of snow and ice, and wind that's coming their way? Stay close.