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Special Storm Coverage

Aired February 09, 2013 - 00:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN World Headquarters, I am Brooke Baldwin. And I want to welcome all of our viewers in the U.S. and all around the world as we continue all night long. I am here with you with special live coverage of the blizzard pounding much of the Northeast and New England and the problems are beginning to pile up.


BALDWIN (voice-over): Take a look at some of these pictures. A state of emergency blankets Massachusetts along with a layer of snow that could top 2 feet in some areas. High wind gusts have toppled trees, causing widespread power outages; wind a huge concern here in the overnight hours.

And across the region, more than half a million homes and businesses have no power. In New York, the worst of the storm is hitting in these predawn hours. Here, too, a state of emergency is in place and rail service has been suspended all the way from Manhattan to upstate.

And in Rhode Island, snow has been stacking up as fast as 3 inches an hour. Look at this. Up to 2 feet of snow is predicted along with the winds possibly topping 60 miles an hour.


BALDWIN: As I mentioned, I am in the CNN Weather Cube where we're lifting the veil for you over the next five hours as we're taking this all night long, watching the snowstorm move across the Northeast. We are live throughout the night with continuous updates on the conditions. We'll have guests describe what they're seeing, what they're facing on the streets without power.

We have got reporters for you throughout this whole region. So I want to begin with who we have. We have meteorologist Indra Petersons. She is in Boston. Ali Velshi, braving the wind force there on the Cape, Cape Cod Sound in Dennis Port, Massachusetts.

In New York, we have Alison Kosik and Chad Myers, working the long, long hours right along with me, tracking the storm here from the Weather Center.

I want to begin, though, in Boston. More than a foot and a half of snow has already fallen. Look at these cars. Absolutely covered, 70- mile an hour wind gusts could whip up snowdrifts. They're saying 6 maybe 7 feet deep. Chad was just telling me at Logan Airport there in Boston, 76-mile an hour winds, just checked that. I want to get the latest here from CNN's Indra Petersons, who is in Boston.

And Indra, I see the snow coming here. Tell me -- tell me what it looks like where you are.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Little bit different from 24 hours ago, right, Brooke? I mean, now you're really seeing the heavy snow come down, I am doing everything I can just to be able to look into the camera right now. Chad told me to bring these clear sunglasses, which, of course, as you can see, I don't have.

And it is difficult out here. We're talking about snowfall rates, we're reporting anywhere from 2 inches an hour, even having rates as high as 4 inches per hour. So yes, these models still have a lot of areas, still there is a chance. We're seeing some of the heavier bands, you know, kind of going a little bit more inland.

But we're not going to rule out the chance that this could be our record-breaking storm here. We potentially have a good 30 inches when all is said and done.

Temperature: wonder how cold it is out here? Let me tell you.

BALDWIN: How cold? How cold?

PETERSONS: We're talking about temperatures dropping -- yes, right? Talking about 19 degrees. So we're going to add in these winds, right? We're talking about some of these gusts, like you said, 76 miles per hour. Just about a mile or two, we're here at Logan. With that, we're talking about a wind chill of -1. That's how this feels. I'm not (inaudible); I'm going to tuck this hair in before it breaks off later today.

But the -- I am standing here to give you the information. But next to me -- tell me your names, guys; come on in.

TAYLOR (PH): Hi, I'm Taylor (ph); this is Oliver (ph).

PETERSONS: And Sameer (ph). So are you guys from Boston?

TAYLOR (PH): We are. We live across the street, actually, so nice and close.

PETERSONS: So my question is, I'm standing out here giving everyone the information.

What are you guys doing here?

TAYLOR (PH): That's a really good question. We -- it's his first snowstorm so we thought it's, you know, puppy's first blizzard and we would take him out.

PETERSONS: And what are your thoughts --

(CROSSTALK) PETERSONS: -- thoughts so far? You think it's worse, about what you expected? What are you thinking here?

OLIVER (PH): Not really. I don't -- I don't think it is worse. I mean, it's just -- it's terrible, I guess.

TAYLOR (PH): I think it's about the same, but we got the day off from work. So no one can complain, right?

PETERSONS: Why go to sleep, right? Just hang out in the freezing cold? Who doesn't want to do this? Right?


PETERSONS: So you guys are going to be staying out here much longer? You're probably going to go warm up inside.

TAYLOR (PH): Time to go in. (Inaudible) time to go in.

PETERSONS: All right. Thanks, guys and Oliver (ph). You warm up, too. So, yes, definitely. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Yes, so that is a situation out here, as you can see. We're still seeing some of these strong easterly winds, north-northeasterly winds, and you know, it looks like we're still going to have definitely a long time to go here. We're just now in the thick of it, blizzard conditions are here. Checking the visibility here behind me; we've been doing this all yesterday as well.

This is the customs (ph) side, so you probably can't even see it. Visibility we know, it's just towing time. Going near, probably about less than quarter of a mile, no question. So I don't know if you guys can see that tower. That's what we were showing you yesterday, perfectly clear. It's less than a quarter mile --


PETERSONS: (Inaudible) if you can see that.

BALDWIN: We've got it. We've got it. And I also -- it looks like you are teary-eyed, Indra, you're teary-eyed because of all of the snow and then the wind, it's pelting you. We appreciate you being up and with us here overnight.

And that poor dog, I am sure he was like I didn't really want to see my first blizzard, thank you very much.

Indra, we'll be coming back to you --


BALDWIN: -- we will come back to you and hopefully no one else will bring their little puppy dogs out and about or babies, as we saw a little while ago.

Indra, thank you, to you and your crew. We'll come back. We want us to get to Cape Cod now. Let's go to Ali Velshi in the town of Dennis Port. This is the easternmost point in Massachusetts. And we're sneaking a look at you, Ali, as I see the wind whipping, brief me on the conditions there?

ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Yes. It is a lot worse. It has turned a lot worse in the last little while. Winds are much, much (inaudible). The snow has increased. It's that sharp, icy snow. It hasn't changed for a few hours.

The lights went off in Dennis Port about 10 minutes ago. There is no light anywhere around me now. The lights that you are seeing (inaudible) generators on our satellite truck, which, from time to time loses its signal because it has got a big dish on the top. That's getting whipped around by these gusts.

The last I checked we had sustained winds of about 40 miles per hour, gusting up above 60. We are definitely getting higher than 60 gusts right now. You can see -- can see the surf behind me. It is roughed up a little bit but we are off of high tide. So it's pushed back. We are probably about 15 feet short of where we were an hour ago. But these winds are sustained at a higher rate than they have been for a few hours.

This is just turned in the last 20 minutes or so, Brooke, much, much higher winds, much more precipitation. Much more blowing and the lights are out. Just taking a look around, no lights on. We saw a transformer blow a few hours ago, didn't seem to have much effect.

We talked to some people who were walking around. They said they lost power for about a minute. That was about an hour ago. Now it is all gone dark. I thought it might be one of those things where it is just dark for a few minutes. But, no, the power is out in Dennis Port.

Now we are halfway down the southern coast of Massachusetts. So you've got to go about 30 miles further east that way to get to Chatham, which is the bottom right corner of Cape Cod. That is further out into the ocean.

This is the Nantucket Sound, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard are this way. That is south and Boston is over there. So we are getting something a lot worse right now than we were half an hour ago. I don't know whether this is gusting. I don't know whether this is going to go on for a little while, but I have not seen this kind of wind for about two or three hours, Brooke. It is a lot stronger than it has been for a while.

BALDWIN: You know when you talk about the wind, Ali, weren't you saying earlier your ears have been popping because of this?

VELSHI: Say that again, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You may not be able to hear me because of the wind, but I was saying because of all of this, your ears have been popping. That's just to show how tremendous it is at the moment. VELSHI: (Inaudible). That is interesting. At one point we felt our ears pop, a bunch of us, you know, as if you're going down a big hill or going down in a plane. And Chad was describing that that was where these two weather systems that are causing this massive storm collided. They came together and you saw a precipitous drop in atmospheric pressure.

He said if you were one of these people who has a barometer on your -- on your mantel, you would have seen it actually drop. And that sort of indicated a bit of a change in the weather. This storm has had such an unusual personality over the last 12 hours here in Cape Cod because it was actually warm, quite warm here.

So it came down as rain mostly. We didn't get much accumulation. We probably got about 6 inches here, now much less than they have in Boston and Providence and places like that. But it's the severity, the velocity and the wind speed that is really having an impact.

The other thing, by the way, is that we are on the coast. We're in a flood zone. We're in a flood warning area. We have not seen a surge. Tide has gone back. The sea is rough, but it's not -- we're not seeing flooding or surging here just yet.

But we are seeing obviously power outages. With this kind of wind and this kind of snow accumulation, particularly with that wet snow that we had earlier, clearly trees are down or something is taking power lines down.

And the water is having an impact on the transformers. So power at this point on a cold night seems to be the issue now.

Just as I am talking to you, Brooke, as I'm talking to you I am seeing some lights going on in Dennis Port. So I am going to investigate that as soon as I'm off with you to find out whether we got some power back. But I think it might be coming back on.

BALDWIN: OK. We will let you -- we'll let you go; try to figure that out, Ali Velshi. Thank you. We will check back with you a little later, Ali, down the Cape for us, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. And we'll talk also with Chad in a moment about -- I know there have been tremendous concerns about some of the coastal flooding. So we will get to that.

But we have to also talk New York. So the blizzard has actually grounded the New York Knicks, the basketball team; they had been scheduled to fly to -- back home, back to New York City after tonight's game in Minneapolis.

But they are stuck in Minnesota tonight because of this blizzard. It has dumped already several inches of snow on the city. There is much more to come here, of course, in the overnight hours. So I want to go to Alison Kosik, who is standing out there for us in Manhattan.

Alison, it looks a little bit calmer. It looks -- it looks nice.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, you know, Brooke, look, it is like a winter -- a winter wonderland here. I'm going to take my earpiece out here. It is. But remember, Brooke, it's a Friday night in New York City.

Usually you've got this area packed with cars. I don't see really many cars here on the road here. A few cabs, (inaudible) tonight. I've seen a few buses, definitely the snowplows. Most certainly not seeing the number of people that would usually be out and about on a Friday night, not seeing them tonight in New York City, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Alison. Thank you.

I'm told we need to get straight to Boston because, look, it's Friday night. People are having a little fun. It's after midnight. So we have pictures of Julian Cummings, our producer. What are -- what am I look at, Julian? Is this a snowball fight?

JULIAN CUMMINGS, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, you're looking at an impromptu snowball fight. Started out with probably about 10 people. I guess the bars are getting out here and everyone is rushing down the street, running through it. The plows just broke it up and the fire department broke it up and they were serenaded with tons of snowballs as well. But it looks like people are having a lot of fun here, best they can in the snow.

BALDWIN: Serenaded by snowballs. Hey, I see a car in this picture and I know you have been driving around. Remind everyone, because you -- when you and I were talking earlier this afternoon (inaudible) the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, enforced this travel ban. You couldn't be on the roads after 4 o'clock in the afternoon; Governor Dan Malloy did the same thing in Connecticut.

So what is the deal? Why am I seeing cars?

CUMMINGS: There are basically a few cars here and there but they are usually following emergency vehicle plows or some people with plows of their own, like pickup trucks that are helping out. But for the most part, other than vehicles like ours -- we're exempt because we're media -- but I think people are not hitting the road. And we've been out here since 2:00 pm and it is getting really bad. It's pure white out conditions and, you know, we're taking it very, very slow, being careful out here.

BALDWIN: We are still looking at this snowball fight. I mean, it looks to be almost like what, 1, 2 dozen people out as the bars are letting out and this will be interesting as we will be doing this overnight as more and more bars continue to dump out folks who are probably just having their own blizzard parties.

You know, and when you are up there, Julian, I mean you're talking to these people in Boston, I mean, people in Boston say it is a hardy bunch of people and they have certainly been through blizzards before. I mean, is there any kind of a sense of panic? I mean, you look at this and it doesn't appear that way.

CUMMINGS: Yes, there wasn't a ton of panic. I mean, people were definitely aware, I think, (inaudible) careful, you know, in case the power did go out. You know, Hurricane Sandy is fresh on everyone's mind. But people were ready to enjoy the snow also, and clearly the ranks of Boston University, Boston College are all very close and they're having no problems at all (inaudible).


BALDWIN: I remember being in college here in a huge blizzard and it was a ton of fun. Julian Cummings, thank you, we will check back in with you, our roving producer on the streets of Boston.

As I mentioned, we are in the Cube. This is basically the nerve center of all things weather here at CNN. And so I want to bring in Chad Myers to just talk about really everything. But beginning with the snowball fight, how much fun does that look?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It didn't look like a snowball fight at all. It looked like a baby powder fight, because as they picked up the snow, it wouldn't pack together.


BALDWIN: (Inaudible) not good (inaudible) snowball (inaudible)?

MYERS: Yes, they try to throw it and it just kind of exploded and that is what we have now. That light snow is going to blow around a lot. So even though we're probably going to get 20-24 inches in Boston before it stops, maybe more, you'll never see that. It's going to be drifted up against your car, it's going to be a 4-foot drift on your door, trying to get out of your screen door.

BALDWIN: Yes, good luck with that.

MYERS: And then, you know, you have all of this stuff you can see; you can see the grass right next to it. But the big drift, it's the wind. Look at it, Boston Logan Airport, 76 (inaudible). And that was just in the past, what, that was 10:47, so that was just -- that was an hour and a half ago.

What Ali's feeling is that the low pressure is getting as close as it ever will to him now. That is why the pressure and the wind, pressure going down, wind going up. And that is why he is feeling what he is. There's no break --

BALDWIN: The ear popping, how bizarre is that?

MYERS: I thought that was bizarre. I thought -- I didn't think it was odd except he said they all did it at the same time. If you have four guys in the truck and they say, I felt it, you know, and then 8 minutes later, I felt it.

But he said it was like 30 seconds apart, so that is very strange. Like you're going down a roller coaster, you know, or going up -- (inaudible) landing in an airplane, you could feel your ears pop. That was the low pressure.

BALDWIN: So you have been basically talking about the storm as a football game. So we are in the third quarter currently.

MYERS: Yes, certainly.

BALDWIN: Has the worst of it hit?

MYERS: The worst of it is over for New York City.

BALDWIN: For New York City.

MYERS: I don't think the worst of the drifting is over for Boston. And New Haven has been in this band, this deprimation (ph) zone, we call it, where the storm is moving to the right. But the band is moving to the left.

And that -- and New Haven, Connecticut, has been right in the same spot, on that snow band for hours. I can imagine New Haven's already got 2 feet, easy, because just a couple hours ago, there were 19 inches. So it is just still -- and that's I-95 between Boston and New York City, you know, and it's just a mess.

Because look at that, they got -- they got snow thrown on their windshield. I tried to explain to these guys how you don't need to use your wipers during a snowstorm, but they didn't quite figure it out. If you don't have your defroster on the windshield and you have the heat on your feet, but you roll down the window so it doesn't steam up the car, that snow won't melt on your windshield.

BALDWIN: Spoken from someone who knows some snow.

MYERS: Someone who's driven in Nebraska for most of his life, yes. You shouldn't -- you should not have to use your wipers if it's this cold and this dry. But I -- Julian and I, (inaudible), they're really like, do I have to use my wipers? Will I have to use my washers?

BALDWIN: Oh, Julian.

MYERS: It's OK. He's doing great stuff out there.


MYERS: And this is what I was worried about, he's been following police around all night long. He has -- he's been protected, he knows where he's been. He's been behind snowplows. And they know who he is and that's why they're letting him without stopping him.

But if you get something like these -- this much snow on an interstate and you can't move and the snow is blowing all around you, that's when I was concerned that people were going to perish in their cars. It doesn't appear like we've had any of that, because people knew it was coming --

BALDWIN: Knock on wood --

MYERS: -- and the mayors and the governors did a great job getting people off the roadway in time. BALDWIN: They did. They did. And we're going to keep talking about this as we keep getting pictures in from our different crews around the whole northeast region, New England. They're coming up one issue, of course, is in the overnight hours, is the winds are really picking up, as you point out, the trees are starting to topple.

We're going to talk power. Obviously the lights are on right there in Boston, but some places, not so much. We're talking power with the power official here, coming up, special coverage of in this northeast blizzard, right after this.


BALDWIN: It is 20 minutes past midnight here and these are live pictures, thanks to Julian Cummings, our producer, who's been on the ground, driving the streets of Boston. You saw the snowball fight a moment ago here. Looks pretty from this vantage. What's not pretty, those of you who are sitting in the dark.

Those of you who do not have power, in fact, more than a half a million people are in the dark as this blizzard has slammed the Northeast. Massachusetts is hardest hit by the power outages. More than 300,000 people do not have electricity right now and those numbers, of course, will change.

Michael O'Brien is the city manager of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Michael O'Brien, are -- do those numbers hold in terms of power outages for you?

MICHAEL O'BRIEN, CITY MANAGER, WORCESTER, MASS.: Well, I'll tell you, Brooke, we're lucky so far with our partners at National Grid. We have very few people without power here in our community. But we do know that in Massachusetts and some of the harder hit areas, particularly the coastline, they are without power.

BALDWIN: What is concern number one for you right now?

O'BRIEN: Well, concern number one is clearly the heavy snows coming down, somewhere between 1 and 3 inches an hour. With that type of rate, it is all hands on deck to just try to keep our roads open, safe and passable. That and the high winds that we're experiencing and the blowing and drifting snow, and the threat of trees coming down, which could result in power outages.

BALDWIN: For people who don't have power, obviously they're not sitting and watching television right now. Maybe they hear us on the radio, what is the best piece of advice for folks who are sitting there in the cold?

O'BRIEN: Well, if they have access to a phone that works, that's not bundled with their cable service, to call in and let the National Grid, the utility provider know that they're without power. That's very important.

Also reaching out to our customer service center, letting them know that they are without power and any other issues that may be affecting them at this time.

And then with that kind of information, we're working hand in glove with the utilities, with our entire city team in our emergency operations center, working on plans to make sure that we keep our community on its feet and address these issues as they arise.

BALDWIN: Michael, since I have you, are you in Worcester right now? Tell me -- tell me how conditions are where you are.

O'BRIEN: Well, I am in Worcester at the emergency operations center. We're dealing right now with about a foot of snow, heavy snow falling, somewhere between 1 and 3 inches an hour. And considerable winds, let's say, ranging from, you know, 15 miles an hour to peaks at 35 miles per hour, depending on where you are in the city.

BALDWIN: OK, Michael O'Brien, we thank you so much for calling in. We know you and the folks you're working with may have a long night ahead of you, a long 24 to 48 hours. Michael, thank you so much.

And here as we talk about some of the power outages and some of what you're dealing with right now, if you're in this New England area, some people are having a little fun. We saw the snowball fight a moment ago. There was actually a woman that was a doctor. Here's a baby, a baby in a blizzard. We have some of that from Ashleigh Banfield in Greenwich, Connecticut.

And also, hey, if there's snow, grab the skis. Back after this.


BALDWIN: And we're back. We are here with you all night long until the 5 o'clock am hour, as we're covering this massive Northeast blizzard. And we've talked a little bit about Boston tonight and we saw snowball fights. We've talked about how you can't be driving, according to this travel ban from the governor of Massachusetts and also the governor of Connecticut.

Speaking of Connecticut, you know, in times like these, people get a little creative in terms of transportation. And so we saw a woman earlier tonight; she was talking to our correspondent in Greenwich, Connecticut, Ashleigh Banfield, who is a doctor, had to get home from work. Can't exactly drive. So what did she do? Strapped on the skis. Roll it.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: I got to ask you, it's 11 o'clock at night. What are you doing cross-country skiing, M'lin (ph)?

M'LIN (PH): I'm a physician who always tells people they ought to be exercising on their way to work, so I skied to my office just now.

BANFIELD: You have got to be kidding!

M'LIN (PH): I kid you not, just up the street.

BANFIELD: You're from Wisconsin, aren't you?

M'LIN (PH): I'm from Wisconsin.

BANFIELD: I can call it. I can call -- well, I don't want to stop you having your fun on your way. That was really lovely to watch. So have a good time. Enjoy yourself and just be careful as you get a little bit later on.

Come and meet little tiny Savannah (ph).

Why are you out walking with your baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Savannah (ph) is about nine and a half months old and she's always looking for adventure, so we figure, why not? This is her first big snowstorm. So we're excited. She loves Nemo.

BANFIELD: And cooped up all day, I'm sure, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right, exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She actually was at her boyfriend's place --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- about 15 minutes ago. He's a couple months younger than she is.


BANFIELD: Hi, Savannah. Can you say hi to Anderson Cooper?


BANFIELD: All right. You guys get home. It's starting to really come down. OK. Take care.


BALDWIN: So there you have a baby in a blizzard and a skier doctor heading home from work, folks. It's just 12:30 in the morning. Could get more interesting than that if you're with me in the overnight hours.

Want to take you back here. Look at these waves, and really it's the wind is the story. This is Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Specifically, if you know the area, this is Dennis Port, Ali Velshi there getting battered by some of the wind. We're going to take you back there live to the Cape when this special 5-hour edition of the Northeast blizzard continues after this.


BALDWIN: Back here live talking about this Northeast blizzard, as it's still very much snow coming down for so many of you in all the states in the Northeast area. Let's take you to Boston, to Indra Petersons, who is there in the thick of things.

Indra, just tell me, how cold is it?

PETERSONS: You know what, I can't even tell you how many layers I have on. So I'm actually OK. I mean, we got the foot warmers, the hand warmers. OK, I'm a California girl. We got to do what we got to do, right?

Now if you're wondering what this is, this is my anemometer. I'm waiting for one of these really strong gusts. About an hour and a half ago, we had a 76-mile-per-hour wind right there at Logan, the airport. That's only about two miles away.

So if you see me just throw this up really quick, it's going to be a big gust, a big drift coming over my head. I mean, right now we're not seeing any strong gusts. Right now we have winds probably 30, (inaudible) 40 miles an hour right here, but it really doesn't feel that way where I'm standing right now, and again, it may just be all the layers I have on.

Either way, we're talking about 1 to 2 inches an hour snowfall, right, we've been hearing reports as high as 4 inches per hour. Here is my yardstick. You know, oh, wait, there we go. No, not getting anything exciting. But I thought, you know, it was a moment there, right?

BALDWIN: False alarm. False alarm.

PETERSONS: (Inaudible). All right.


PETERSONS: So there's our yardstick, yes, you know, right now we're seeing probably -- it's under a foot. I'm looking about 11 inches here. So we're still (inaudible) the thick of this. We're seeing these winds coming out of the Northeast. We're not done any time soon; wouldn't be surprised again at the end of this, we could break the record models, some of ours saying we're going to be below it.

Some of the bands are maybe going too far inland. Some of the models saying, you know what, we got a long way to go. We haven't even gotten to the back side of this, so we could still break that record of 271/2 inches. That was set back in 2003. We're going to keep checking the visibility. Oh, customs are getting harder to see this time around.

And again, that is less than a quarter mile away, and that's kind of what we take a look at to see whether or not we're having moderate or heavy snow right now. I can see it. I don't know if you guys can.

But I'd say visibility, pretty good for me. It looks to me about a half a mile. So I would say moderate snowfall. But again, we're going to be here and I'm pretty sure there's going to be a time I stand here and I get a nice big, fat gust and I won't be able to see that tower at all.

(LAUGHTER) BALDWIN: We'll be ready for it. Hey, do me a favor, Indra. Just grab some of that snow. Tell me what kind of snow are we talking? Is it lighter snow, is it thicker, heavier denser snow? Snowball snow?

PETERSONS: With my mitts I have on, I can't feel anything. But I will say what's hitting my face, I can feel really well. That is, yes, it's pretty wet to me and it feels pretty light, kind of like wind-driven snow out here.

And again, it's going to be piling up pretty quickly, but right now it doesn't seem, until we get those strong gusts, like you said, wind- driven, that we're going to be seeing too much piling up here. But wet, wet and cold, I'll give you that.

BALDWIN: OK, wet and cold, we'll take it. Indra, thank you so much. You're doing a fantastic job. We'll come to you a little later here.

But as we talk about this wind, we have to talk power again. Jackie Barry is on the phone with me with the National Grid Power Company. She is in Northborough, Massachusetts.

Jackie, what information do you have as far as any outages so far?

JACKIE BARRY, NATIONAL GRID POWER COMPANY: Hi, Brooke. Thank you for having me.


BARRY: I'm about -- I'm -- just for your information, I'm located about 30 or 40 miles west of where your reporter is in Boston and I wish I had her anemometer because the wind is absolutely howling out here. It's unbelievable.

We actually serve a large chunk of Massachusetts, not Cape Cod, but (inaudible) parts, Rhode Island. We operate the system on Long Island for the Long Island Power Authority, and we have a big chunk of upstate New York.

So the good news for upstate New York is that we have no problems up there. On Long Island, there are approximately 13,000 customers without power; Massachusetts, approximately 150,000 customers without power. And Rhode Island has about 170,000 customers without power right now.

BALDWIN: I have to ask you, you know, how long do you think it will take, with all these trucks and teams I know you have at your disposal, how long will it take to help these folks to get that power back on, you think?

BARRY: Well, you know, it's a little early to make predictions because we're still at the height of the storm. But what I can tell you is that we have an army of crews here. We brought tons of extra crews in from outside. And we've prestaged them around the service area where we suspected that the hardest hit areas might be.

And from what we've seen so far, it's been primarily along the coast, both in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts. So as soon as the winds die down tomorrow and it's safe to get out there, we will have an army of people hitting this really hard.

It probably will be at least a couple of days before everybody has their power back, just because of the widespread and severe damage that the storm is causing. But we're on it and we'll be working on it until we get everybody back.

BALDWIN: OK, Jackie Barry, talking about this unbelievable howling wind here near Boston. She's with the National -- she's with National Grid spokesperson in North Marlborough, Massachusetts. Jackie, thank you so much. You stay safe as well.

Getting some news here as we continue to cover this storm. Chad Myers, I want you to just hop in and tell me what you're learning. This is -- these are people trapped?

MYERS: Yes, the emergency manager of Suffolk County says that there are cars stranded on the LIE and also on the Sunrise Highway that they can't get to with their fire department. So it's actually snowmobiles have gone out to get those people out of their cars. And that just -- you know, I knew this was going to happen.

This was my worst nightmare, that somebody was going to be out there that -- I suspected there would be thousands of people (inaudible). But good news is at least everybody knew -- oversight everybody knew to be inside.

This is just not the time to drive around, because once somebody slides around in front of you, you're -- even though there's a couple inches of snow, you don't realize that, you know, you can't go for a couple hours. That snow is going to start pile up. So there you go.

Saturday, midnight, that's right now, that's the low. This is the reason why the winds are howling so badly in Boston, and right here where Ali Velshi is right there on the Cape, because this is the closest approach that we're now going to get to the U.S.

Unlike Sandy that made the left-hand turn like this, this storm is going to take a right-hand turn and head out to sea. So that's the difference here. But it will continue to push snow like this for the next at least 10 hours into Maine, New Hampshire, parts of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. don't you like it how I know all my states there?

BALDWIN: (Inaudible).

MYERS: There you go. That's pretty good.

BALDWIN: A-plus, A-plus.

MYERS: There goes the low. By 3 o'clock, we start to move away from the Cape, and so the winds start to die down. The snow, though, still at about 10 o'clock in the morning tomorrow morning, still blowing around with flurries, but other than that, it's over. It's over for New York City probably here in the next three or four hours, as that storm heads out to sea.

BALDWIN: Chad, take me back, though, quickly to the -- what you were reporting, LIE, Long Island Expressway. Do we have any idea how many people?

MYERS: We do not. No.

BALDWIN: You do not? No?

MYERS: We're making phone calls right now. We got it confirmed from the emergency manager right to the National Weather Service that there were cars out there stranded and the snow was so deep. And that because now we have reports on Long Island of snow 20 inches deep, so it takes -- it's going to take a snowmobile to go get those people.

Not even a Hummer at that point now probably, if it starts to get packed down and starts to get blizzard-like conditions with drifts probably 4 to 6 feet right now with the winds are blowing 60 or 70. This is that fluffy white snow that does blow around. It's going to be tough to get to people.

That's why we need you in your houses and we hope that at least everyone that we could talk to right now is at home safe and sound and at least warm.

BALDWIN: Yes. Chad, thank you. And that is precisely why several of these states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts -- basically said you can't be on the roads after 4 o'clock this afternoon for reasons like this.

And so we're going to actually talk to a "Boston Globe" columnist about this unprecedented travel ban in the state of Massachusetts by the governor, Deval Patrick there, and also just the federal response, how prepared they are, what their biggest priorities and concerns are.

We're going to talk to her after this short break, but I want to leave you for now with these pictures, live pictures. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the winds, the storm, flooding, coastal flooding could be a huge problem. We'll talk about that as we cover this massive Northeast blizzard, live special on CNN.


BALDWIN: Just about here 1:00 in the morning. Look at these pictures with me, live pictures. Thank you, Julian Cummings, our intrepid producer, braving the streets because we can, media can. But you know the deal.

Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, said no cars on the roads after 4 o'clock. We're going to talk about that here in just a moment and why that is really unprecedented. And if you hear about the penalties, he's not messing around. This blizzard here has forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights. Prompted Massachusetts and Connecticut, as I mentioned, to ban driving.

Juliette Kayyem is a columnist for the "Boston Globe," and she also has a lot of experience working for state and federal government. Her most recent post assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

So, Juliette, welcome. Before we delve into your piece and about this travel ban, I just have to ask, where are you and how does it look where you are?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, "BOSTON GLOBE": We are inside. A lot of energy in the house, but we are doing OK and will plan on staying here at least until tomorrow night, I think. But it's -- it got very, very ominous and kind of freaky actually in the last two or three hours. It was romantic for a while, I have to admit, but now it's just a bad storm.

BALDWIN: Not any -- the romance is over and it's now (inaudible).

KAYYEM: The romance is over, yes, that is true.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you about this. You write about this in the "Globe," this unprecedented travel ban. And really what gets me -- and I said it this afternoon. I said it again. The governor, he -- this is no joke. I mean, if you are caught after 4 o'clock --


KAYYEM: (Inaudible) and he was absolutely right. I used to serve as this governor, Governor Patrick's homeland security adviser. And I think people -- you know, people's responses, oh, he's overreacting, or the state is overreacting and, you know, we're -- you know, why can't we go out in our cars?

And there's -- one reason is to keep the streets clean so we can plow them so they can be plowed and people can get back to normal. But as we're seeing in Long Island right now, the main reason to do it is if you go out there and you get stuck or your car gets in a snowplow or whatever, people are going to have to save you. And then that adds another level of danger. They could get hurt.

And so there's serious penalties for us being in cars right now after 4:00 pm, including up to a year in jail. I don't think they're going to do that. I think they are reserving that crime for, you know, if I get into a car and then someone has to save me and they get hurt.

And so part of this is just to make it pretty clear that you're not only, you know, sort of putting your own -- yourself in danger and your family members who might be in the car, you're also putting the safety professionals who are going to have to rescue you.

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes, it's those first responders, from what I understand. That was really one of the big reasons, right, why they want people off the roads.

Let me just ask you this, because as we've been talking so much about the storm and, you know, people are saying things like this could absolutely be record-breaking. People are talking about the '78 storm or 2003.

Do you get the sense -- I don't know how long you've been in Massachusetts, but do you get the sense that this one felt different? KAYYEM: Yes, I mean, I think -- I think it felt different because we haven't had one in a while. So I've been back here and had lived here before I moved down to D.C. So it was just, I think, you know, people's memories fade about what a storm like this is.

I think the recovery is going to be the biggest issue, how quickly can we get rid of this snow so that people can get back to normal? I think the governor's decision to put the travel ban has probably eased a lot of the stress on public safety and allowed the plows to be out there, so we might see a quick recovery.

But part of this is we haven't seen a storm like this in a while with winds like this and how quickly it's come in. So we just all have to relearn the drill, which is essentially, you know, sort of stay put. It's not -- we got -- we had plenty of notice and now it's just sort of a lot of patience and, to be honest, a lot of TV.

BALDWIN: You write in your column, I saw a lot of people -- this is back when you worked DHS, saw a lot of people do a lot of stupid things during emergencies. I could never tell if it was arrogance, youth or for a good laugh. It doesn't matter.

Juliette Kayyem, excellent point. Stay safe. "Boston Globe" columnist, we appreciate you calling in here.

And again, just a quick reminder, as Chad was reporting, is we're now getting certain things to start popping up, including some folks trapped on the Long Island Expressway. Want to let you know, we are making phone calls. We want to find out how many people are trapped, if help is on the way, when help gets on the way. So we'll keep you posted on that.

As we go to break, as we're covering this massive blizzard here, you can see the visibility of the Manhattan skyline. Can't see a whole heck of a lot here. Live pictures from New York City, we're back right after this.


BALDWIN: Hi. Want to take you back out live to Ali Velshi, who has been standing alongside quite the surf and the wind and snow really picking up. He's in Dennis Port, if you know Cape Cod. It's Dennis Port. This is the easternmost point of Massachusetts.

Ali, we're in the worst of it right now. Tell me, how does it feel, as it's pelting you?

ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Well, I actually am able to stand upright and look at you, which is interesting, not something I've been able to do for a long time. It's still pelting me a little bit. But, you know, we're getting gusts. We'll probably get a couple as we're talking.

When we talk about the power situation though, when I last talked to you, we lost power. It came on for about five minutes. Then we lost it again for about 20 minutes and then it came on again. In the last two hours, the number of people without power has tripled, from just over 130,000, to more than 500,000, of which more than 300,000 are in Massachusetts alone.

Now a lot of that is because we have Cape Cod, we have Nantucket behind me and Martha's Vineyard. But Massachusetts is getting very hard-hit by power outages. (Inaudible) the kind of power outage we had, some kinds of power outages are self-mending because the electricity can automatically be rerouted through other transformers and things like that.

But if you lose power because your local transformer blows, or because a power line is down, that cannot be mended without a work crew.

I saw something as I drove up here yesterday, coming up 95. I saw something that I saw before Hurricane Sandy, convoys of work crews heading to the Northeast, positioning themselves to be ready. So there are work crews ready to go. The National Guard is ready to go.

Here in Massachusetts 600 National Guard have been activated. There are, I think, 2,000 active, maybe it's a thousand active and 3,000 standing by.

Bottom line is, it's not getting fixed tonight. And this is where it gets serious. If you lose power, if you have not prepared yet, it's going to get cold and you're going to start fumbling around for things to do. So we have to take this seriously. If you are enjoying watching this blizzard from home and you are -- you have not lost power, you've got to make sure that you prepare to lose power.

You fill the tub with hot water. Have you figured out how you're going to get yourself around with flashlights? Have you got blankets at your house, warm enough? What will you do when you -- can you account for everybody around you? Can you make sure you don't start your car in your garage to keep warm.

This is where we have to intersperse the coverage of what's going on with that warning to make sure people are safe because, at this point, this gets dangerous. We're below freezing in most of the Northeast. These wind chills are making it very, very cold. So that's one thing we have to worry about.

And as I said, Brooke, as we started talking, we're going to start seeing those gusts again. And here we have them. The gusts are coming in now, we've probably got 55, 60 miles an hour, if that's what it feels like, given what I'm seeing. You can see the surf behind me is starting to retreat. That's a good sign. You can go further east than I am in Massachusetts. You can go to Chatham, which is 30 miles to the east of me.

And then you get that northeast Coast of Massachusetts, that's still in some danger, but at this point, we're hoping -- we're hoping we're in the worst of it and that it only gets -- it only gets better from here. But that doesn't mean we're not going to see substantially more power outages through the course of the night, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Absolutely. And Ali Velshi, we're going to come back to you because I want to talk about -- as you talk about these flickering lights, how many people really live on the Cape. So we'll come back to you at the top of the hour, Ali Velshi. For now, go get some shelter for the next 10 minutes.

Meantime, as we go to break, let me just give you a head's up. This is affecting basketball teams. Let me just glance down here at my email. A team spokesman for the San Antonio Spurs confirms to CNN Sports that the team's travel plans, they were affected by the blizzard.

The Spurs, they played Detroit. They played the Pistons tonight in Michigan. They were supposed to hop a plane and head to New York tonight after the game. Yes, that's not happening. So they're going to be staying in Detroit tonight and hopefully flying into New York early tomorrow afternoon. Special coverage, Northeast blizzard, after this.


BALDWIN: So we've been getting lots of different tweets, by the way. I'm tweeting @BrookeBCNN. But I want to jump to a tweet. This is from one of our correspondents , who is in this storm. This is from Gary Tuchman, this is a photograph actually in Staten Island, and so you see New York police van. You see this Christmas tree. It's just a reminder.

You know, listen, a lot of people, 40 million people were in this storm's path and the folks in Staten Island, they really suffered, because when you think of superstorm Sandy, that was just in the end of October. And here they are again, so many of them don't even have roofs over their heads, let alone power and heat.

So just keep Staten Island and the folks really who were hit so hard from Sandy in your thoughts and we're going to check in throughout the night in different parts of Staten Island, the region here.

But I want to talk about travel, because it's been banned in two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut. People paid attention to that. In Greenwich, Connecticut, tonight, the only souls in sight are Ashleigh Banfield and the driver of a snowplow. Watch.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: It is quiet in this area. People are really heeding the travel ban. 4 o'clock today, Governor Malloy said, everybody off the road and that's that. We're one of the four states in the state of emergency.

I want you to just see (inaudible) Greenwich on this beautiful like party area on a Friday night looks like when there's a blizzard. It's just a plow, one plow. That's what we see. A lot of these contractors have been coming down the street, and trying to keep up with the snow, 3 to 5 inches per hour expected. And this is how we measure the snow at CNN.

We use the president ruler. It's the second graders' version. So I've been watching it all day. Brooke, (inaudible), go to the same spot so it's always accurate. But we are officially just getting beyond Polk. All right? That's where we are now. But you can bet your bottom dollar, I think we're going to be up to Cleveland by tonight.


BALDWIN: Ashleigh Banfield with her presidential ruler in Rhode Island.

The snow is already more than a foot deep and it will continue falling for the next several hours. Poppy Harlow has been in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island, which is really in a virtual lockdown.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: There's a restaurant, that tall hotel, can't even see it anymore. That's the change we've had in the last hour. The pellets that Ali and Jason are feeling are coming right at us.

And there goes my hat. I'm sure CNN will give me another one. Guys it is whiteout conditions here. This is wet snow because it's 34 degrees and that's the huge problem. That's why you have 87,000 customers in Rhode Island alone without power, because this snow is building up on the power lines. It's bringing them down.

We just talked to the mayor's representative. He told us in Providence alone, they've had 60 calls of downed trees or downed power lines. They have 120 vehicles on the road alone here in Providence. They closed the entire I-95 corridor down about five, six hours ago. They haven't done that since the great blizzard of '78. They made it at 5 o'clock illegal for any cars to be on the road.

And this is why. We're standing in the center of Providence, downtown, complete whiteout. And it's going to be like this at least through 6:00 am.

BALDWIN: Poppy Harlow in Providence, Rhode Island. We're now getting word on a death in New York as the blizzard pounds the Northeast. So this is now officially a fatal storm. More on that breaking news next.