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Erin Burnett Outfront

Nearly 100 Million People In Storm's Path; Police Arrest Suspect In Priest's Murder; Police Capture "Dead" Banker Accused Of Fraud; "Duck Dynasty" Stars Launch Line Of Guns; Embattled Toronto Mayor Files For Re-Election; Nearly 100 Million People in Storm's Path; Legal Pot Poses Challenge for Police

Aired January 02, 2014 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Up next, the northeast braces for a potentially historic winter storm -- 100 million Americans could be hit with heavy snow and frigid temperatures tonight.

Plus, a beloved Catholic priest found murdered in his church. A new development in the case tonight.

And a major announcement from the team behind "Duck Dynasty." What they have planned for gun lovers in 2014.

Let's go OUTFRONT.


LEMON: Good evening, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, in tonight for Erin Burnett.

As you can see, winter has arrived, bringing with it a whole lot of snow. This is the scene in New York City tonight that you're looking at. We're outside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. And there is Central Park right over my shoulder.

Still, lots of shopping happening right here. Folks are still out and about. You can still hear the holiday music playing.

This is our top story tonight. This is a dangerous storm. It is affecting about a third of the country barreling down at this moment, a full blown nor'easter. And it is in its wake and the coldest air of the season.

One hundred million people in 22 states are in the path of this major storm system. It is expected to dump more than a foot of snow and bring sub-zero windchills in areas from the Midwest all the way to Maine. Here in New York. Under a winter storm warning, and bracing for what is to come in the next few hours. The governor here has already declared a state of emergency and as governors have in nearby states as well.

So far, this is already proving to be a monstrous storm in other parts of the country. The snow in the Chicago area already cause someday big travel headaches. More than 2,000 flights have been canceled today across the U.S., most originating in O'Hare Airport, wouldn't want to be out there and those travel problems are about get to. Much worse thanks to the conditions in Boston.

About 90 minutes from now, all flights from Logan Airport are expected to stop due to the wet weather there. We've got every angle of the storm covered and we'll take you across the country from Boston to Chicago and then down to the severe weather center for a full report on what's straight ahead. We want to start in Boston up to 18 inches of snow is expected there. And our friend, Fred, is in the snow right now. How does it look where you are?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. You were saying Logan Airport will shut in a couple hours. If you look you can see exactly why. The winds are really starting to pick up and the snow is really starting to fall. If you long here, I would say we probably have about almost 5 inches of snow that has already come down, maybe even a little more. It has been snowing for a very long time. It is continuing on get more heavy and also more windy.

If you look at the streets, we've had snow plows going through every 10 minutes and still they are not even able to keep the street free. They're having a lot of trouble. Traffic is a big issue. The governor here has reacted. Most of the schools in Massachusetts are going to be closed tomorrow. Certainly all the schools in Boston are going to be closed. The government workers in the state were serve home at 3:00 p.m. because the weather is going to get so treacherous.

It is bad for people in Boston. It is even worse for people who live in the suburbs and who live out of town. Those people are going to have a lot of trouble when they wake up tomorrow. That's why the state is saying, if you can, try to stay at home -- Don.

LEMON: Good advice. And it is only just beginning. Thank you, Fred Pleitgen. Let's head out to Long Island, New York, which is under a blizzard warning until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. What does it look like where you are, Brian?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has started snowing here. The snow is moving out here toward Long Island and picking up pretty fast. It is kind of interesting. If you get on a smartphone, look at Boston, Baltimore, Washington, New York, turn on the traffic layer. You will see lots of spots where there are traffic tie-ups this evening because of the conditions that are deteriorating.

Here you see behind me, the Long Island Express Way, traffic moving at speed. It is starting to slow down a bit and there are fewer people out here thankfully. That's exactly what the state of New York wants. They say people should be getting off the roads by now. Now that the blizzard warning is in effect and after midnight, this highway will be shut down so people will not be able to travel on it overnight.

That's because road crews are going to have a heck of a time trying to keep one the snow. It is not so much the amount of inches, six to ten inches called for out here. It is really more about the temperature combined with the nighttime, combined with the blowing of the snow because of the high winds. All of those elements are what is going to make it so hard to keep these roads treated and plowed overnight. That's why this will be shut down at least for the overnight hours. Don, back to you.

LEMON: Brian Stelter, not only good out in the field reporting. Brian, thank you very much. We'll get back to you. Michael Schlacter is braving the cold with me here in New York. He is the founder and president of Weather 2000, a weather forecasting and research firm. You say this is extremely dangerous and unusual for a number of reasons. Why?

MICHAEL SCHLACTER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, WEATHER 2000: Like we previously said, it is not really the total inches that is that magnanimous here, but the wind and the snow and the cold temperatures combined. We really haven't seen this in about 20 years.

LEMON: It's coming down in a semicircle. That's why Boston is getting most of the snow now and then we're going to get more snow later.

SCHLACTER: Yes. The storm actually started in the Midwest and even clipped parts of the southeast. But it is a big cyclone so all of the northeast, all of New England. And of course, the I-95 Corridor is going to get hit pretty hard with this.

LEMON: Flooding to power outages?

SCHLACTER: Yes. The southerly winds are going to be making Atlantic facing beaches very vulnerable to some coastal flooding, but the biggest storm will be the bitter cold and the power outage that's are associated with the high winds.

LEMON: What do people do? As I said at the top of the newscast, people are still out shopping and you saw Boston. They're telling people to stay in if you don't need to be out. What should people be doing right now?

SCHLACTER: I think right now it is a lighter, drier snow. People can still do some things in the bigger cities. Once we get to tomorrow morning and during the day on Friday, those high winds and windchills overnight through Friday are going to be bitter, frostbite, hypothermia, all those things people need to worry about usually in Canada, they will need to worry about it here.

LEMON: It freezes on the ground and it's going to be very slippery, right?

SCHLACTER: Very, very icy. We're talking about below zero.

LEMON: All right, thank you, Michael Schlacter, we appreciate it, best of luck out there. Stay warm and stay safe. Still to come, more of our coverage of tonight's massive winter storm.

Plus, other stories we're covering for you including the latest details on the murder of a beloved Catholic priest. Police just made a major announcement and millions of dollars allegedly embezzled by a banker. A judge declared him officially dead in 2012. It turns out his death was faked.


LEMON: We're live in New York. A winter storm is just beginning to slam the northeast. We're looking now right across from Central Park where the snow is starting to come down in the city and boy, it will be bad. Looking out at Columbus Circle and why is this one so different? This is winter of it is supposed to snow. According to the meteorologists, and the forecasters, this is packing a real wallop and affecting more than 100 million people, 22 states.

More on that coming up, but now we want to go to Eureka, California where police have arrested a man suspected of killing a beloved Catholic priest. Gary Lee Bullock was taken into custody today in connection with the murder of Pastor Erik Freed, a 56-year-old priest was found dead inside the rectory at Saint Bernard Church on Wednesday after he failed to show up to morning mass.

And William Herbrechtsmeier has known Pastor Freed for the past seven years and taught with him, I should say, at Humboldt State University. He joins me now. William, I'm really sorry for your loss, for the loss of your friend. Any idea why someone might want to kill him?

WILLIAM HERBRECHTSMEIER, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY: No, really no idea whatsoever. I'm losing my ear piece here. No idea whatsoever.

LEMON: So let's talk about the investigation. Police have arrested Gary Bullock. He is a man arrested on New Year's Eve for public intoxication, released hours later. Do you know anything about this man or have any idea why he allegedly killed Pastor Freed?

HERBRECHTSMEIER: None whatsoever, never heard of him, and you're probably more up on the investigation than I am.

LEMON: How is the community dealing with this news?

HERBRECHTSMEIER: Well, of course, it is a great loss. Eric was one of the best priests that have ever been in Eureka. He has a valued colleague at the university. He has a wide network of friends and people that depended on him for emotional counselling and just the sheer joys of friendship. It is very hard for everybody.

LEMON: I'm going to sort of re-ask the first question I asked you. He was beloved by many people in the community. As you talked about him, you said he did many roles. Would you not of anyone who would want to do harm to him? Was there anything unusual about the last couple days or weeks of his life?

HERBRECHTSMEIER: No. I mean, I've been talking with him the last week or two. We're now between terms, but I went to a basketball game with him in the middle of December and he was in great spirits and everything was fine. And everybody I talked to in our network of friends and colleagues are just shocked and no one has any reason to believe that there was any rational cause for this. He was not a person who had enemies. He was a wonderful colleague and professional person. He always conducted himself with the highest of standards. I don't know of anybody that has any knowledge of any reason why this would have happened.

LEMON: When you heard it was a homicide --

HERBRECHTSMEIER: -- it was a senseless tragedy, just horrible, a horrible thing. The reaction, of course, of anyone who knows somebody who has suffered a violent death, we grieve for the pain that he went through and the shock of what he must have experienced. But beyond that, I think most of us are just in grief.

LEMON: Have you had a chance, the community or family members, have you had a chance to figure out what you're going to do for services? How you're going to honor him?

HERBRECHTSMEIER: Actually, since I heard about this yesterday afternoon, we've been fielding questions from the media more than making any plans on how we would memorialize Erik or grieve his loss. Where I would be working most would be at the university and we've already been in contact with some of our students and some of our alumni. And they're all very shocked. And we will definitely be working at the university to memorialize him, to offer counselling and support to our students who will miss him and so forth. But no specific plans, we've not been able to make any of those yet.

LEMON: All right, keep us updated and again, we're sorry for your loss. Thank you. We appreciate it. I want to go to Georgia where police have arrested a former banker suspected of faking his own death back in 2012. He had been accused of embezzling millions of investors. Aubrey Lee Davis was captured Tuesday after spending a year and a half on the run and made his first court appearance today. David Mattingly has the story for you.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI never believed Georgia banker, Aubrey Lee Price really went through with a plan to kill himself. But for a year and a half, investigators had no body and no clue where he could be. The elaborate hoax fell apart New Year's Eve when police in Georgia stopped the now long dark haired and bearded Price for driving with windows too darkly tinted.

(on camera): Would you have recognized this guy?

WENDY CROSS, FRAUD VICTIM: Every time I see that shot, it doesn't get old how shocking it is.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Wendy Cross is among more than 100 people allegedly defrauded by Price in a $40 million investment scheme. A federal complaint says Price confessed in a 22-page letter that he falsified statements with false returns in order to conceal more than $20 million in investor losses.

CROSS: It was my life savings so yes. It was devastating. MATTINGLY: Cross lost $300,000. It put her food truck business in jeopardy and left her emotionally and financially ruined. A risk she says she never suspected she was taking.

CROSS: It was a clean cut, soft-spoken guy. That seemed extremely professional. That's how I know ever I knew him.

MATTINGLY: In 2012, law enforcement said Price told his family he was going to Latin America, but instead flew to Key West, bought diving weights and a ticket to a ferry to make it look like he drowned himself. Security cameras caught him taking his last steps before he disappeared. The video stayed on the FBI wanted page in hopes he would make a mistake.

(on camera): Did you believe he was dead?

CROSS: I never once thought that he was dead.


CROSS: Well, I saw the footage of him on the ferry in Key West and he had a backpack and a suitcase with him.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): An attorney representing victims said Price was declared legally dead last year. Now in the flesh, and very much alive, Price was in federal court for his first appearance. Shackled and flanked by marshals, he faces charges of fraud.


LEMON: David Mattingly joins me now. David, any idea what he's been doing the last year and a half?

MATTINGLY: Well, details about that question, Don, got a lot more interesting today as the day went on. We learned authorities in Marian County, Florida, actually raided the home where he had been renting. They found reportedly a couple dozen marijuana plants in various stages of growth. They're not exactly sure what sort of operation he had going on there and that investigation is ongoing. He was definitely representing a house.

I spoke to the man who was the landlord. He said that when he saw Price's pictures on the news that is when he went to check the house out because he recognized his tenant. When he went in, that's when he found marijuana plants.

LEMON: Any indication his family or people close to him knew he was alive?

MATTINGLY: Well, it is hard to judge how truthful he is being, but he did tell the police who arrested him in South Georgia at that traffic stop, not to contact the media until his family had been notified, saying that people close to him, his family did not know that he was alive and he was asking them to keep that quiet or keep that quiet from the news media until they had a chance to be notified.

LEMON: David Mattingly, thank you very much for that.

Still to come, the latest from the "Duck Dynasty" controversy, we're going to tell you what Phil Robertson plans to start selling very soon.

And a dramatic rescue in Antarctica, why part of the crew decided to stay behind.


LEMON: Tonight's "Money and Power," the "Duck Dynasty" empire now selling guns. The controversy over "Duck Dynasty" patriarch, Phil Robertsons, anti-gay comments doesn't appear to be slowing down the family's business. The gun maker has announced it will be launching a "Duck Dynasty" line of guns. Talking about that with Aaron Smith of CNN Money. What kind of guns are we talking about?

AARON SMITH, CNNMONEY.COM: Thank you, Don. There's a variety of guns, primarily shotguns. Mossburg has 12 guns that they're basically shipping out. They started with their selection of shotguns, 12-gauge shotguns used in bird hunting. There are also three semi-automatic weapons including two rifles and a pistol. One of the semi-automatic rifles is what might be described by some people as an assault rifle cynic it has similar military style features including a magazine holding at least 25 rounds.

It is a .22-caliber so that's not generally the caliber associated with an assault rifle and then the pistol is also .22-caliber and military design and the camouflage. And they have the duck commander logo of a duck in flight.

LEMON: These aren't usually the kinds of guns for duck hunting, are they?

SMITH: Not the semi-automatics. Rifles and pistols usually are not used to shoot ducks because it is easier to hit them with a shotgun.

LEMON: Got you. "Forbes" estimates the "Duck Dynasty" empire about $40 million. I'm sure you know Robertson's comments. Fans got Cracker Barrel to put the merchandise back on the shelves that the company had them pull. How much of the controversy actually helped?

SMITH: It is certainly not hurting them and I think that fans of the show, well, they seem to be rallying around them and rather than being offended by his comments, they seem to be showing their loyalty by supporting the show. I don't really think his comments have hurt them at all. And I saw that the Mossberg web site actually crashed today after the story came out. I think there's a lot of interest in this product.

LEMON: Aaron Smith, CNN Money, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

SMITH: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: You can probably hear the wind and see the snow. It is really coming down. This is our coverage of this massive winter storm barrelling through the northeast will I'm standing just across the street from Central Park. You can see in the 59th Street, Columbus Circle, very big tourist spot. Very heavily travelled area in Manhattan and it is getting snowier by the moment, more than 100 million Americans in its path.

Plus a look at the people we turned to during emergency situations, are America's mayors doing enough to keep you and your family safe tonight? And speaking of mayors, Toronto's crack smoking mayor, Rob Ford, back in the public eye, we're going to show you what he did this morning.


LEMON: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT, man, it is cold and damp. The snowstorm that could affect up to 100 million people in 22 states, we're live in New York City. The storm is already hitting a lot of cities. You're at a live picture of the U.S. capitol in Washington, D.C. right now. You can barely make out the dome in the background. And the White House there as well. We'll have more on that in a moment.

But first some of the other stories that we're following tonight, first the campaign for the next mayor of Toronto officially began today. You may be surprised who is running again, embattled Mayor Rob Ford. That's right. The same man who refused to resign as mayor after admitting to smoking crack has filed the necessary paper work today to run for a second term.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: Things are going great, doing a lot of interviews. Things are going fantastic.


LEMON: I don't know about fantastic, but the scandal doesn't appear to be hurting his approval ratings too much. The latest poll shows his ratings in the 40s. Ford's new campaign slogan according to the "Toronto Star," Ford more years, two major newspapers making the case that NSA leaker Edward Snowden shouldn't to have live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Editorials in the "New York Times" and the "Guardian" call for a plea deal or clemency.

The "Times" writing, quote, "considering the enormous value of the information he has released and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service." So meanwhile he remains in Russia where he was granted asylum.

A bad omen after closing out 2013 with record highs, stocks today marked the New Year with a weak start. The Dow falling more than a 130 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also declining by about 1 percent a piece and this is the first time in six years that the markets started the year down. Peter Sher (ph) of TF Market Advisors tell us concerns about how strong economic growth will be and how much more the Fed can do will weigh on stocks.

Snapchat hacked. A group says it is accessed user names and at least partial phone numbers for 4.6 million Snapchat users. This is app that lets users share photos and use fours a limited time before they are erased. Well, the hacker group called Snapchat DB says they wanted to push Snapchat to tighten its security features. The hack comes after Snapchat recently turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook, one of the most popular apps, Snapchat, right now.

We're going to turn to our top story. A powerful winter storm bearing down on nearly 100 million people from Midwest, all the way to Maine, and more than a foot of snow expected in some areas. And all that snow, going to be followed by an arctic blast. A single digit temperatures to the north in Boston and Cape Cod, expected to bear the brunt of this nor'easter. By this time tomorrow, people there could be digging out, nearly 18 inches of snow.

Well, this is also having a ripple effect on many of the nation's airports. Already more than 2,000 -- 2,000 flights have been canceled. We're going to have more on the widespread travel delays in just a moment here on CNN.

But, first, I want to get to Richard Quest. He's live at CNN's state- of-the-art rolling coverage vehicle right here in New York City. We're under a winter storm warning.

Where are you, Richard?


Yes, the RCV, the rolling coverage vehicle. I'm obviously outside near to where you are as we get ready to start our move around New York. So join me, because the idea is over the next few hours -- we will be moving around the city and starting to bring you exactly live pictures of how this storm is affecting New York City, Don.

LEMON: Oh, my goodness. It started to come down just about 7:00, Richard, as we were about to go on the air. It comes down in sheets for a while and then it backs of a little bit. It's really freezing temperatures here. But right now, it's pretty flaky stuff. Not quite so wet. But it is pretty fluffy.

QUEST: Right. And what we are -- this is exactly what you would expect to see. As the bands of snow start coming in, it will get heavier, we are told, in the near future, in the next hour or two. And it's expected to go on, oh, I don't know, until 12:00, 1:00 in the morning.

Already you can see the traffic snarling very slowly. It is moving. Thankfully not too many people on the road, needless to say if I am broadcasting, I'm not driving at the same time.

LEMON: Absolutely. And, listen, the mayor and the city officials are telling people to be careful. They've got a number of snow plows out. They've been salting the roads and the sidewalks all day. This is a big challenge, the first big challenge for the mayor of New York City.

QUEST: Right. Because what you can't do, you can't start plowing the road until there's two inches of snow. So, it will be about 1,700 plows out on New York streets, 2,500 or so workers, working in two 12- hour shifts. We're seeing the glitters all around us. But you can't plow the streets until there is enough snow, if you like, to literally do some plowing.

And I think we're just behind one now which is why I might be a little yellow from the yellow lights.

LEMON: Yes. And we're seeing the mini plows here on the sidewalks.

Richard Quest, you're not watching cash cab. This is CNN. Richard Quest is actually inside the vehicle where he is roaming around the city. I would ask you the capital of Idaho, but you know, anyway. We'll move on.

Thank you, Richard. We'll check back with you.

QUEST: In fact, we'll just be passing you shortly. I'll give you a wave.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Richard.

And the snow has been piling up across the Midwest, shutting schools and making for dangerous driving conditions. Ted Rowlands, live in Naperville, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

Ted, this was snow in the area. New Year's Eve, another round today. Those cold temperatures aren't likely to help matters.

How long are going to they have to deal with this?

ROWLANDS: Well, we've had two and a half days of it, Don, with the snow -- about a foot of snow in the Chicagoland area and now, the snow has moved out and the morbidly frigid temperatures are moving in. Right now, it's about 10 degrees tonight. By end of the night, early tomorrow, it's going to be minus eight, where we are here, a little warmer in the city because of the light.

The bottom line is, what you people are feeling, we've had for the last two days and get ready for the cold temperatures. They are also following this storm. It is a doozy.

LEMON: Hey, Ted, listen, there's big trouble in Chicago, in the Chicago area, when you don't get the streets plowed. How are they doing so far?

ROWLANDS: Yes, they're doing great. Rahm Emanuel doesn't have to worry. The thing is with this snow, it came down, but it came consistently. But the plows were out 24/7. It wasn't a massive dumping in one -- you know, two, three-hour period, followed by another one. Everything has gone well. We haven't heard many complaints.

And I'll tell you why -- the biggest factor, it was a hospital week. There weren't as many people in the city working. Schools were out. That meant a huge, huge difference.

LEMON: Ted Rowlands, Naperville, just outside of Chicago. Appreciate it.

Boston area is expected to see some of the harshest effects of this storm, up to 18 inches of snow possible there.

I'm joined now on the phone by Rene Fielding. She's the director of emergency management in the city of Boston.

Ms. Fielding, thank you for joining us. We spoke with our reporter in Boston earlier in the snow. And he was showing us five or so inch of snow on the ground there.

How the conditions right now.

RENE FIELDING, BOSTON EMERGENCY MGMT. DIRECTOR (via telephone): Yes. So, it's still snowing. It's still coming down pretty good and we haven't even hit the heaviest period, which is supposed to be after 9:00 and goes through all the night and into the morning.

LEMON: I know you guys are used to this, but are you prepared for this particular storm in.

FIELDING: Yes. We are used to this. And we are prepared. Mayor Menino has called his snow team together a couple days ago. And so, we've been planning for this and we're ready. We've got about 700 pieces of equipment for our public works department and we've had our transportation and our police department warning everyone of the snow emergency and the cracking down (ph) that's in effect. The cars were off the roads so public works could do their job with plowing and pre- treating the roads.

LEMON: Mayors in cities all across, Northeast, including here in New York, and I think Mayor Menino as well in Boston, warning people, hey, listen, if you don't have to go out in this, stay inside. Are people heeding those warnings?

FIELDING: They are. We saw -- you know, during the evening commute, we saw very light numbers, but it helps the memorandums the governor has allowed state workers to go home early and I think some of the private sector followed that warning as well. So, it was nice. We didn't see the numbers that we normally see in an evening commute.

LEMON: I've got to ask you since we're a national broadcast and people are watching in the airport. You know, Logan is really going to be in deep trouble in just a few hours, because they're going to probably stop some flights. And people will be stuck there.

Do you have enough hotel rooms? Are you looking after the people who may be stuck in the airport?

FIELDING: Sure, sure.

So, there are enough hotel rooms around the city, and I'm sure the airlines are working to make sure that people have a place to go and don't get stuck at the airport for the duration.

LEMON: Ms. Fielding, can I ask you about the freezing because these temperatures are expected to make for a pretty complicated clean up. What is your plan there?

FIELDING: They are. Yes. We're concerned and we're tracking the (INAUDIBLE). They're going to stay throughout the night and tomorrow as well. And, you know, they're not going to stop until the streets are cleared and we're ready for, you know, the day's operations.

LEMON: Rene Fielding, thank you in Boston. We appreciate it. Good luck to you guys.

Still to come here on CNN, the latest information on the massive winter storm affecting as many as 100 million Americans tonight. Look at the forecast and the impact on flights. That's next.

Plus, a dramatic rescue in Antarctica and why part of the crew decided to stay on that ship.


LEMON: Welcome back to our coverage everyone. We're going to talk about our "Outer Circle" in just a moment.

But, first, we want to talk about the snow standing outside here in New York City where the snow has been coming down for almost an hour now. It is getting heavier really by the moment. CNN has you covered from the Midwest, all the way to the Northeast, from the Midwest to Maine.

This snowstorm dropping about a foot of snow in the Midwest and then it's going to continue here in the northeast. Boston expected to get 18 inches of snow -- 18 inches of snow.

Let's to go Washington now. There you go. The White House, you can see the snow is falling there as well. Washington expected to get its share of snow and cities all along the East Coast, they'd better hunker down and brace. This is going to be a big challenge for all those mayors. They're going to have to get that snow plowed. More on that in just a moment.

But now, let's continue with our "Outer Circle". Tonight, we're going to Antarctica, where all 52 passengers stuck on a ship aboard thick ice were finally rescued after a 10-day ordeal. The weather finally cleared enough for a helicopter to fly in and rescue most of the people who were aboard that ship.

Well, I asked Matthew Chance why the crew decided to stay behind.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's an Antarctic adventure that is finally over, at least for the 52 passengers on board that stranded research ship. It was a Chinese helicopter that airlifted the scientific research team accompanied by tourists off the Academic Shokalskiy, which has been frozen in packed ice since Christmas Eve. They kept high spirits throughout the ordeal, but an Australian vessel is now taking them to dry handled.

The Russian-registered ship has not been abandoned. Its Russian crew has chosen not to be rescued but instead to stay on board for what could be weeks before the Antarctic ice melts enough for them to sail by themselves.


LEMON: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much.

I want to check in now with John Berman, who's in tonight for Anderson Cooper, with a look at what's ahead on "360".

And, John, you're in that warm studio. I'm going to come in there and punch your lights out, buddy.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Someone has got to do it. You know, you were standing, though, right in the middle of our lead story. You and so many others, CNN represented, from the Midwest, all the way to the East Coast. We're checking on every angle here.

There's about 100 million people will be affected by this storm. It's getting going tonight. It will be heavy overnight and we'll bring you the latest throughout our hour.

Also ahead, the heart-wrenching story of Jahi McMath. The 13-year- old, she's been declared brain-dead by doctors and the judge now. She's legally dead under California law. But her family is fighting for her life, even arguing that she could recover. Their medical complications make for a messy legal fight. And I'll be joined by CNN legal analyst Michael Geragos and Areva Martin, an attorney in children's advocates to sort this all out.

We'll have those stories at the top of the hour.

Don, back to you in the cold.

LEMON: Every year I remember, I forget in the summer but I remember how hard it is to talk in freezing temperatures. I get all tongue tied. Did you ever experienced that when you're out in the live shot?

BERMAN: You need to do vocal exercises, lip calisthenics, Don.

LEMON: Thank you, John Berman. We'll be watching. See you in just a bit.

BERMAN: Tonight, we're following the massive nor'easter. The snowstorm that's threatening nearly 100 million people all across the East Coast and the United States.

Alexandra Steele in the CNN severe weather center at this hour. Alexandra, I've been watching you all day. You have been doing double, triple duty. Give us, tell us what's going on.

What can folks expect over the next few days?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. Well, Don, I was trying to prepare you.

All right. This is what we're seeing right now. The snow has finally made its way into New York and Washington and Boston. And we're going to see this come through the overnight at a rate of one or two inches an hour. A bull's-eye time frame is between 9:00 tonight and 9:00 tomorrow morning.

Accumulation totals: 8 to 18 in Boston, 6 to 8 in New York, Albany, 8 to 12, Philadelphia even gets up to 7, and Washington as well. We saw the beautiful live pictures from the snow in Washington.

Now, this snow and the consistency of is it pretty light in nature. So, that's why we're going to see a lot of problems with it, because the winds are going to get so strong as well.

So, overnight, there's the snow. You can see it. It is clearly delineated in white -- very heavy through the overnight hours. Believe it or not, by 11:00 tomorrow morning, Don, the snow will have exited, but behind it, we've got brutally cold temperatures, and that is what's coming in.

LEMON: Yes. Those cold temperatures are not going away for much of the country and that's what's so unusual about this. That cold system that's coming right in behind it, right?

STEELE: Oh, that Arctic air the Upper Midwest has been dealing with, with 40 and 50 below zero wind-chills. The coldest air Boston has seen in three years since January 2011. And this temperature, overnight temperature, Saturday morning getting out, or late Friday night. Air temperature alone falls to 5 below. Wind-chills will be 20 to 30 below. New York as well, all these temperatures well below average.

So, factor in the sheer arctic air that's in place, hour by hour wind- chill.

Look at you, Don, if you're going to be outside, temperatures will feel like 4 below. In the morning, Boston, Albany. By Friday night, 15 to 20 below zero. So, that's really -- and that's why the blizzard warnings are in effect for Long Island and the Cape, because the winds blowing all the snow that's coming down.

The visibility will be a quarter mile or less.

LEMON: Hey, Alexandra, you know, as I told the emergency management person in the Boston area, the national newscast, a lot of people watching this across the country have travel plans and people are watching us in the airport. It's affecting travel.

Talk about the delays in cancellations that are happening so far.

STEELE: Well, actually, right now, we don't have a ton of delays. Look at Chicago at a ground stop. We saw Ted Rowlands. It started for him days ago. So, they're kind of still in it.

Ft. Lauderdale, that's a whole separate deal. But also, as we head through tonight into tomorrow, it's kind of precautionary. A lot of these areas like Boston has no flights leaving after 8:30 tonight. So, that's kind of indicative of what they're doing. Anticipatory changes which we've really seen developed over the last couple of years.

But for tonight and tomorrow, New York metro, the snow, the wind gusts, that will be a huge factor. Boston, tonight, tomorrow, Hartford and Albany in New York, and even Providence.

So, those are the areas with the snow and the wind and the gusts which certainly will be affecting travel, today into tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon, the winds begin to subside. But then it's catch-up time for the last 24 hours.

LEMON: All right. Lucky you're inside, Alexandra, but we need through because we need you watching the models and guiding us through this. Thank you very much. Appreciate that.

So, how are people in the airports handling these cancellations that we have been talking about.

Sunlen Serfaty is at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National airport.

Sunlen, how are things looking where you are?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, well just the anticipation of this storm has unfortunately ruined the travel plans of so many. I'm here at Reagan National Airport, this is just outside D.C.

And take a look at these boards. This is what people are encountering today. If you can see, they're seeing a lot of canceled flights especially to the Northeast corridor heading towards New York or the Boston area.

Now, Logan Airport in Boston announced that their last flight tonight will be at 8:30 p.m. and then they're shutting it down until potentially noon tomorrow because of the high winds that are supposed to come through, and we're really seeing that sort of bleak picture nation-wide.

Let me give you the numbers, Don -- 2,000 flights nationwide have been canceled, 6,400 flights have been delayed. Most of those were from Chicago O'Hare. So clearly, this is really reeking havoc on travel and certainly, in the day ahead, too.

Don, back to you.

LEMON: Sunlen, appreciate that.

This fast-moving nor'easter challenging some of the nation's newly minted mayors. Here in New York this is the test for Mayor de Blasio's administration, and Boston's new mayor who takes office on Monday will face the daunting task of dealing with the storm's clean up.

And as we have seen time and time again, these storms can make or break a political career.


LEMON (voice-over): Another storm, another chance for political gain or pain. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came under fire in December 2010 when he continued his Disneyworld vacation during a storm that dumped three foot of snow in his state. He insisted he is just a phone call away.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This is not the 1800s when nobody can get me.

LEMON: Christie blasted Democrats and the media for making a big deal of his absence and insisted everything in New Jersey was under control.

CHRISTIE: Believe me, my cell phone was ringing more than it was, much more than I would prefer it to on normal circumstances when I'm away on a family vacation.

LEMON: Next door, during that same so-called snow-mageddon, New York City Michael Bloomberg got hammered for being in Bermuda when the storm first hit. He returned to the city to face frustrated residents wondering why their streets were clogged days after the blizzard.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: The response to the storm has not met our standards or the standards that New Yorkers have come to expect from us.

LEMON: Weather can make or break politicians everywhere. When Chicago got pummeled by two huge blizzards in two weeks in 1979, it's Mayor Bilandic took the heat for the botched cleanup. He had the misfortune of a primary the following month, when voters had fresh memories of unplowed streets and uncollected garbage. Jane Burn defeated Bilandic in the Democratic primary and was ultimately voted in as Chicago's new mayor.

On the flip side, handling a snowstorm well can go a long way. Back in that New Jersey 2010 snowstorm that dogged Christie, Newark's then- Mayor Cory Booker managed to win hearts and minds with his hands-on approach literally, one shovel of show at a time, tweeting about his efforts every step of the way.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: If you want to get to get a lot done, you've got to give up something to get it. And so tonight -- today what I'm giving up is sleep.

LEMON: Booker went on to a win a seat in the U.S. Senate representing New Jersey.


LEMON: Not a lot of sleep for the mayors and the cities in the Northeast in the coming days.

And still to come here on CNN, it has been a historic week in Colorado. Recreational marijuana now on sale, most are celebrating but some have real concerns. We'll tell you why, next.


LEMON: Colorado made history this week with retail pot dispensaries selling recreational marijuana for the first time. Residents across the state are celebrating but Colorado law enforcement officials worry that the new law would bring a host of unexpected problems.

Miguel Marquez has more on the story.


DOCTOR DB KUSH, RADIO HOST: It's 4:20, I'm smoking marijuana --

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out of the cannabis closet and into a new era of legal recreational marijuana. The great Colorado smoke out is on.

DOCTOR DB KUSH: Right now, we're smoking Medicine Man's finest. This is the Bubba Kush. But for my recreational users, this is some weed.


MARQUEZ: Weed, a powerful drug coming from across the country to partake.

(on camera): You were able to walk into a store and buy marijuana today. What did that feel like?

ERIK MEISNER, TRAVELED FROM OREGON: It is overjoying like, to not have to hide it and, you know, be able to use what makes me feel better.

MARQUEZ: So, I take it -- you guys are excited about this?


MARQUEZ (voice-over): At Medicine Man Denver, one of the state's largest dispensaries driving snow, wind or cold didn't detour the faithful -- the line in the hundreds all day long.

What does today feel like?


MARQUEZ: With new freedom comes responsibility. Signs are everywhere, the dos and don'ts of pot, illegal for under 21 to light up, public health officials fear abuse.

At greatest risk, kids.

DR. JEFFREY GALINKIN, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, CU TOXICOLOGY: Over half of the admissions for addiction in this state in kids under 15 and teenagers are from marijuana.

MARQUEZ: And drivers can get busted. The legal limit 5 nanograms of THC in your blood.

(on camera): I don't smoke.


MARQUEZ: But if I have one puff of a marijuana cigarette, will that put me over the five-nanogram limit?


MARQUEZ: For how long?

GALINKIN: After -- by two hours, it will probably be gone.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): THC dissipates to lower levels relatively fast, even in habitual users.

LT. MARK DRAJEM, DUI UNIT SUPERVISOR, DENVER POLICE: If they fail a test, we go to our DUI room and we do a series of other tests that take up to two hours to complete.

MARQUEZ: It is possible to be pulled over high and hours later, get a pass on the blood test.

For now, pot aficionados, law enforcement and policymakers settling in for the long ride.


MARQUEZ: Now, one disturbing incident in Longmont, Colorado, today, that highlights the concern with kids, a 2-year-old little girl ingested a marijuana cookie her mother says that she found on the lawn outside of her positive. She tested positive for THC.

Public health officials and doctors across the state are rising chorus of concern that young people, especially as edibles come online will be caught in the crossfire -- Don.

LEMON: Uh-huh, I see you're sitting in the room with those kids, I'm sure you've got a contact high, Miguel, but, reporter involvement --

MARQUEZ: Not in this room.

LEMON: Not, in your story. I'm talking about in your story.

Thank you, Miguel Marquez. Appreciate it.

MARQUEZ: Oh, yes.

LEMON: And while it is pretty chilly here in New York, on CNN tonight, we're taking you to a place much colder. At 9:00, make sure you tune into "March of the Penguins", right here on CNN.

"AC360" starts right now.

BERMAN: Don, thank you so much. John Berman, in for Anderson Cooper tonight.

And we do begin with breaking news, especially if you're traveling pretty much anywhere. than 2,000 flights canceled as the first big storm of the season hits hard. And by big, I mean big. By this time tomorrow night, about 100 million people, nearly a third of the country, will be affected. Plenty of people already are.

Winter weather advisories up from Minnesota, all the way to Maine. Blizzard warnings posted across New England, and Boston, where it takes a lot to close the schools, the schools are closing. New York and New Jersey governors late today declaring states of emergency, announcing highway closings.

New York City transit now on emergency footing. This is the first week in office for Mayor Bill de Blasio, and shaping up to be doozy.

And as we said, it is no better for air travelers. More than 2,000 flights canceled so far.