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East Coast Digs Out After Monster Storm; Two Hours Away From High Tide; D.C. Transit Remains Closed Today; South Carolina Deals With Ice, Power Outages; Virginia Governor Urges People To Stay Home; Nearly 30 Inches Of Snow In Philadelphia. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 24, 2016 - 06:00   ET


[06:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: They have been using the time, since the travel ban is in effect, to try to clear the main thoroughfares and down here at Columbus Circle is one of those.

The other big concern right now is high tide, we are watching that one. We'll have a report in just a minute, but in the meantime, the overview of this storm, you just got to see it to believe it. Take a look.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): From above, the monster storm looks peaceful, almost serene. But on the ground it caused death and misery and destruction from fatal accidents to huge snow piles, flooding, and the complete shutdown of major cities. The blizzard of 2016 is one for the record books.

GOVERNOR TOM WOLF (D), PENNSYLVANIA: This is a historic snowstorm. This is a huge challenge for Pennsylvania. We are deploying all of our resources to try to make sure that people of Pennsylvania are safe.

SAVIDGE: As the weather begins to subside and people dig out of tons of snow, it could be days before life gets back to normal.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: Stay patient and to quote a line from one of my favorite musicals, we are all in this together. So just stay patient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything like it. Within minutes a rush of water from that bay came over into the harbor and essentially flooded our crew.

SAVIDGE: In New Jersey, coastal residents are assessing damage from tidal flooding that sent sea water and ice blocks onto town's streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came home from work early yesterday and cleaned out the bottom half of my house and boarded everything up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We learned from Sandy.

SAVIDGE: In Kentucky and Pennsylvania, stories of epic traffic jams, some motorists stranded for almost 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never been stuck on a highway this long before. We have been here for about 15 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: stuff like this is going to be hard to get out of here anyway. So I think we're going to be here for a long time.

SAVIDGE: Eighty five million people impacted by the storm. More than a dozen deaths, hundreds of traffic accidents, thousands of power outages and flight cancellations. It is a storm that won't soon be forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wet, sloppy conditions, and just trying to make the best of it and clean everything up as much as we can.


SAVIDGE: That cleanup is going to go into full force today in many, many areas. And that is the thing about this storm, just the span of how far it went from Nashville all the way up to New York and beyond. So an incredible impact on a lot of people.

Now what we are worried about, flooding, and that is still very much a concern. Even though the storm is about a thousand miles off the east coast, it's still having an impact.

Boris Sanchez is following things along the New Jersey shore and he is back with us again for an update. We are two hours away from that critical time?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just a few hours away, Martin. High tide here in the bay is expected shortly after 8:00 a.m. I can tell you, the wind is starting to pick up and we saw the water level rising inch-by-inch there on the bay.

I actually want to take you inside a bar here in Margate city called Mainars and one of the workers inside is Mike Speer (ph). He has been here since pretty early this morning helping to clean up. Mike, thank you so much for speaking to us.


SANCHEZ: So you've lived here for many, many years. How does the flooding yesterday compare to some of the other flooding you've seen before?

SPEER: It was pretty bad but is not as bad as Sandy. Sandy the water got up to probably about here and yesterday was maybe a couple of inches. It normally doesn't flood that bad. Only nor'easters.

SANCHEZ: Sure. When you came in here this morning, what did you see, mud, I'm guessing?

SPEER: A little dirt on the floor. Last night's flooding wasn't as bad as the morning before and said it came in the front foyer and probably back here but it wasn't too bad. SANCHEZ: How was moving along on the roads?

SPEER: Right out here is not bad because there is water here but icy down that way toward the bridge.

SANCHEZ: Got you.

SPEER: And some streets are really bad with debris and some aren't.


SPEER: It all depends on where you live, I guess.

SANCHEZ: Sure. I understand your mother also lives down the street.

SPEER: A couple of streets over.

SANCHEZ: How is she holding up?

SPEER: She is hold up all right. I mean, the water came up to steps. During Sandy, it got into the house all way up to the door but didn't come in, thank God.

SANCHEZ: Sure. How do you feel about the preparations here? Do you feel people did enough to try to prepare for that foot of water that rushed in early yesterday morning?

SPEER: Really nothing you can do. You got to let it happen. You can put sandbags and whatever, but the water is going to come in, no matter what you do. Came up so fast yesterday morning, probably within about an hour there was water in here. And that hardly ever happens.

SANCHEZ: All right, Mike Speer, thank you for speaking to us. Appreciate it. Martin, as you can tell, the damage is not extensive, but again that water is a major concern as we get closer to high tide and it continues to rise.

SAVIDGE: Yes, definitely. We wish good luck to the cleanup effort there. Thank you very much, Boris.

We want to check in with Frank McCarton. He is the deputy commissioner of operations here in New York City. We pointed out the travel ban is supposed to be lifted.

[06:05:05]I guess the question mark and maybe the question for you, sir, is will that travel ban be lifted at 7:00 a.m. and what have you heard?

FRANK MCCARTON, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF OPERATIONS, NYC (via telephone): Yes, Martin. It is expected to be lifted at 7:00 a.m., but I think citizens and the people will be traveling in and around New York City still need to be very cautious. The primary roads have been cleared.

Secondary roads are still going to have to take time throughout the day and today is a good day to do that because as it is Sunday. So we are going to have some patience today as the train system will also be up and running too. Buses and subways reengage also.

SAVIDGE: What does it mean to lift the travel ban? Essential, what? That public travel and taxis, things like that, buses all begin to run or what does it mean?

MCCARTON: Yep. Everything goes back to the way it was in the big apple where you have folks, taxis and limousines and cars will be allowed in and out of the city.

But, again, people need to be patient with us. This is a lot of snow that we have dealt with. More than we probably have seen in a long period of time.

And patience and resilience is definitely for everybody who need to travel into New York City today.

SAVIDGE: You are encouraging if you don't need to get out, don't get out?

MCCARTON: I think patience. People will want to do things today and if they have to come to work and do things, they are going to want to do that, but patience needs to be happening. If you can wait until tomorrow, you should try to do that for us.

SAVIDGE: Yes. I think that is good advice. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much for joining us. Giving an update on the operations in New York City as we look for the travel ban to be lifted around 7:00 a.m.

Jean Casarez at Times Square. She's been monitoring things there in the heart of New York for us. Jean, it looks like that ban is going to be lifted, as was predicted.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure that was great information, Marty, for everybody in this area to hear. What we are seeing is that the few people that are walking right now are still walking in the streets because that is the plowed area.

That is the area that is easier to walk in. But with this travel ban being lifted at 7:00 and vehicles being in the street, I think that is going to present a bit after challenge for everybody.

I want to show right behind me those men and women in the red are beginning to shovel the sidewalks and they should be able to make some headway today because, yesterday, they shoveled as fast as they could, but it was coming down and they didn't make a dent into it.

So they are doing that now. It's very sad to report that in the New York area, officials are saying at least three people have died from the storm. This is the New York City area from shoveling snow yesterday.

So they are really saying that just limit yourself. Be careful and if you have health issues, just don't overextend yourself and for other neighbors, if you see somebody struggling, pitch in and help them.

But, obviously, cleanup is going to be the issue today and at 6:00, which we are right now, the 6:00 hour on the east coast, they are looking at the subway systems that are above ground.

They are also looking at the trains right now, the railroads they are looking at to see exactly how those railroads will fare in this bitter cold condition, but, obviously, the storm itself has passed -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: Yes, nobody should expect, Jean, that when they lift that travel ban, things go right back to normal. Clearly you have a lot of streets that are much narrower than they used to be because of the piles of snow and a difficult day of transition.

CASAREZ: And the black ice, the slickness!

SAVIDGE: Right. You're going to be sharing the roads, of course, with vehicles and people so, please, no matter where you are on the east coast, be careful today. Thanks very much. Let's go back to Christi.

PAUL: Martin, thank you so much. We have got several things we want to get you informed about right now that are happening this morning.

State officials, obviously, trying to keep everybody moving and informed. New York City is expecting to lift that travel ban at 7:00 a.m. today. That would include that cars and buses can get back on the road.

But we are going to hear from Governor Andrew Cuomo in a couple of hours. He is scheduled to speak this morning on the snow's impact and how the city is moving forward and we will take that for you.

Also New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holding his own storm briefing at 10:00 a.m. and he is expected to address that flooding we have been seeing.

It could hit that state again. High tide will hit the Jersey Shore in about two hours. We are going to be keeping our eye on that as well.

[06:10:03]Also some political news to talk to you about. But in terms of the storm, if you're sitting at an airport or you're wondering am I ever going to get out of here? Guess what?

We are hearing some of the earliest rebooking for your flights may not be until Tuesday. We are going to tell you everything we have learned on the other side of the break. Stay close.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a tremendous amount of snow coming off of the top of this building right now as these gusts come through and pushes all of this very powdery show off the roof and down here on to -- whoa, the drifts! We are getting drifts well above my knees and closer to the building and see if can I get there, which I probably can't. There is -- well, that is probably at least four feet of drift right here and I can't actually make it all the way there because it's just too difficult! Woo.


SAVIDGE: Meteorologist, Mark Robinson, the weather network there giving us a kind of human perspective what it's like to be buried in a snow drift at least a couple of feet deep there.

Washington, D.C. is still having to deal with the storm as well, the nation's capital. Looking to go back to business maybe on Monday morning, but it's definitely not going to be a typical commute.

Let's check in with Chris Frates to see how the next 24 hours is going to be.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martin. It's nice to be out here when it's not snowing. The snow started coming down on Friday, 36 hours of snow. We didn't quite get the 24 inches that we were calling for.

In fact, I want to show you here at our live position. We have a little make-shift yardstick that we put together and showing about 13 inches. That is a little less than the official estimate at Washington National that was 17-1/2 inches.

Although we did break some records in the area. BWI, Baltimore/Washington International Airport, that's between Baltimore and Washington on I-95, they got 29 inches of snow. That breaks a record from 1935.

But lots and lots of snow no matter what your inch count was and lots and lots of snow to clean up today. In fact, in the airport, both national DCA and Dulles out in Virginia say they likely will be closed all day. They need all day long to get those runways plowed.

Also if you think we can't go by air, let's go by train. Amtrak running a modified schedule. They are going from Washington to Boston on a modified schedule, but if you're heading south from D.C. to Virginia, that's a no-go.

[06:15:00]You're not able to make it down. Just so numbers to put it in perspective. Saturday and Sunday, 8,500 flight cancellations. There will be a huge backlog once those airports in the area start to come back online to get people where they are going.

Also, just to know on the roads, they are still working those roads, trying to get those cleared. I can tell you here in the District of Columbia, 50 loaders and 200 snowplows moving 39,000 tons, that is tons of salt to try to get the city up and running again.

But if you want to head out to northwestern Maryland, I-270, that is still closed until 7:00. That is off the capital beltway that heads up into northwestern Maryland and that is still closed.

So you have a while to wait there if you're heading that direction so don't do that yet. They are trying to get everybody back to normal here, but there are still a lot of snow to dig out and a lot of backlog to deal with -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Chris Frates, our numbers guy in Washington, D.C. with a lot of information there. Thanks very much. We will continue to check back with you.

Allison Chinchar now joins me. Allison, what is the forecast? Are we completely out of any danger of any more snow?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It depends on what type of weather. Snow, pretty much done but wind, not so much and will carry on today. The problem it takes all of the snow that fell and just blows it over roads and cars.

It's still going to make travel very difficult today. Just not necessarily from new snow coming down. We have had a lot of snow. Take a look at the numbers here.

The winner in terms of high totals of snow is Shepherdstown, over 40 inches of it. Cascade, Maryland, 37.5 and Round Hill, Virginia, 36 inches. Lehigh Valley Airport, almost 31.9 inches and Staten Island, New York, 31 inches of snow. These numbers are incredible.

As we were talking about earlier with the airports being closed, a good reason for it. Reagan may not have picked up that much, 17.8, but comparatively speaking look at the numbers.

Dulles, 28 and Newark, 28 and LaGuardia about 28 inches and the Philadelphia airport picking up around 20 inches of snow. Everybody keeps talking about New York because this was the one that really kind of blew people away with the amount of snow that they ended up getting.

And actually in many spots picked up a little more than some D.C. areas did. Look at this for comparison. This year, for this particular snowstorm, we picked up 26.8. That does not break the record.

But it barely doesn't, 0.1 inch was all of the difference that we had. So again, Martin, there is a lot of snow still on the ground that's going to take them hours.

If not even possibly a couple of days to remove it all and that is going to cause folks some delays, especially if you are traveling by road today or tomorrow.

SAVIDGE: Patience is definitely something you are going to need today, even though the sun may be out. All right, Allison, thank you very much.

You know, the tremendous snowfall that fell here in New York City can be a pain. It can also be a campus. We want to show you a dramatic little piece of artwork here.

You might see on the left-hand side somebody went to a lot of trouble to let Lauren know that she is loved. Someone decided this was going to be a camera that CNN uses regularly and it was their way to express their fondness for Lauren. We don't know who the artist is or who is Lauren, but there you go. You're loved.

PAUL: Hopefully, Lauren knows it's her. Thank you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

PAUL: Listen, we have obviously so much blizzard news coming your way this morning, but there is a lot of political news this morning as well.

First of all, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg considering throwing his hat into the presidential bid. What would that do to the race we have seen thus far?

And Donald Trump making a really controversial statement that has a lot of people angry this morning. We will break it all down for you so stay close.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's awesome. It's kind of nice to have the day off from work. Kind of having some time off is pretty sick.


PAUL: Making the most of it there. There are some areas affected by this snow, other than New York. Let's talk about Maryland. At least one person died and parts of the state are shoveling out at least three feet of snow this morning.

This video was shot from the point of view of the person who is obviously working to plow it which is no easy job this morning. From Largo, Maryland, fire trucks stuck in the snow and you know they were on their way to help somebody so we hope everybody is OK.

Let's go to Virginia together here dealing with over three feet of snow in parts of that state. Governor Terry McAuliffe is riding with the snowplow workers. He is urging people, please, just stay home even today.

That storm has moved out but it's imperative they get things up and running for tomorrow as we start the workweek again. In Kentucky, some drivers were stranded along a 35-mile stretch of Interstate 75.

This was just unbelievable yesterday and they were there for as long as 20 plus hours. The National Guard and firefighters worked to remove those stranded vehicles. Police say traffic is moving again this morning, which is good news, but who could forget these pictures? That's what people looked at for 15 to 20 hours apiece.

Tennessee, officials digging out the worst snowstorm to hit Nashville in 13 years. Drivers there getting stuck on the snow and icy roads.

It is supposed to warm up today but the Tennessee Highway Patrol is still asking that you stay home. So they can get things prepared for Monday morning commutes.

Our Sara Ganim is on the streets of Philadelphia where they received more than two feet of snow. Here is a look at what they are dealing with this morning.

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Philadelphia, this was a record breaking 24 hours. The Office of Emergency Management recording nearly 30 inches of snow, far beyond the previous record for that amount of time.

Only good news here. No major incidents, no major power outages, but I do want to show you what this snow looked like that fell here. This is so telling to us because this is such wet, heavy snow.

The kind of snow that really takes a lot of effort to shovel! Quite the workout here and the blizzard effect will remain in Philadelphia until 7:00 a.m. this morning, as officials are asking people, please, to stay inside and not to hit the roads as you do see some people doing here.

Because they are really working overnight to try and clean up and get everything back to normal and they are asking people to stay inside and stay safe while they do that -- back to you.

PAUL: All right, thank you so much, Sara.

In about half an hour, we should know whether New York is going to be lifting that travel ban. We are going to take you back to New York real quickly on the other side of this break.

[06:25:09]Also, talking some politics, a lot going on. Is Michael Bloomberg jumping into the race? Trump has made another statement that has got a lot of people on edge. The "Des Moines Register" has their endorsements. All of that and more in a moment.


SAVIDGE: I'm Martin Savidge in New York. You can see the sky changing color behind me. Dawn is approaching and it looks like they need every bit of that sunshine to help them through the dig-out.

There is a lot we have to look forward to today. Still a half hour from now, we are expecting that travel ban to be lifted and then in the 8:00 hour, I'm talking Eastern Time, there are still concerns about coastal flooding. A number of news conferences are coming up and we'll bring to you including from Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York will update the situation in this state.

And neighboring state of New Jersey, Chris Christie is going to talk about the flooding potential and where they stand there. So still a lot more information we have bring you today.

It's looking a lot better but, by far, it is not returning to normal. Travel, whether it's on the ground or in the air is still a problem -- back to you.

PAUL: Martin, thank you so much.

State officials trying to, obviously, keep everybody moving so we will keep you informed what is happening as we are just about a half hour away finding out whether that travel ban will be lifted, which means you can get back on the roads, even though they are saying, maybe not want to do that so quickly.

But, listen, we are going to hear from Governor Andrew Cuomo in just a couple of hours and he is scheduled to speak on the snow's impact and what they are doing from this point forward.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holding his own storm briefing around 10:00 and expected to address the flooding we have been seeing that has hit that state again.

High tide hitting the Jersey Shore in just about an hour and a half as well. So we have got cameras there and watching that and let you know what happens.

We want you to know there is political news out there breaking this morning. First of all, the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, seriously considering a possible presidential run.

Sources tell CNN he would run as an independent candidate and looking at making a decision sometime in March. "The New York Times" reports he would be willing to spend $1 billion of his own money on the White House bid.

Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, feeling so confident about his presidential campaign that, yesterday, he said his supporters would stay loyal even if he shot someone in a busy street.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My people are so smart. And you know what else they say about my people at the polls?