Return to Transcripts main page
The Situation Room
Killer Storms Strike Florida, The Iran-Iraq Connection, New Report Paints Grim Picture of Iraq
Aired February 02, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a slice of Central Florida wiped out, homes and lives shattered by a powerful tornado. Were residents warned in time that killer storms were coming?
Also tonight, the situation in Iraq dire and deteriorating, that finding by the president's own intelligence team and it's adding to doubts for the new influx of U.S. troops can actually make much of a difference.
And new calls for drastic action to combat global warming, a U.N. report points a finger of blame at all of us. Wait until you see how far some people are willing to go to try to protect the climate.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight, total devastation, that's the mood and the state of many structures right now in Florida's midsection. A killer storm and its spiral of death stretched across Central Florida from as far west as Sumter County and as far east as Volusia County. It bored down fast and with virtually no warning leveling homes and likely killing some people in their sleep.
Now in the aftermath, thousands are left to figure out just what to do next. CNN is pooling its vast resources to bring you the latest information. Our Carol Costello is standing by. We'll look at the human cost, but let's begin with our meteorologist Rob Marciano. He's down in the hard hit area of Lake County, and it is devastating. We can see right behind you, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Unbelievable, Wolf. The scenes of destruction go well beyond this neighborhood of brick and mortar structures just completely pummeled. People waking up to scenes like this, this morning, but yesterday when they spent to bed, for some it was a long night.
MARCIANO (voice-over): 3:00 a.m. and destruction swept across Central Florida -- a killer tornado jolting many people from their sleep in a real-life nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lights kept going off and on. When I heard my chimes going crazy and the wind is when I knew it was coming. And then we heard the freight train sound.
MARCIANO: A sound so loud that one woman who had taken off her two hearing aids for bed says she heard it clearly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without my hearing aids I don't hear a sound, peace and quiet. About 3:15, 3:20, I heard this strange noise that was so loud that I never heard of before, and the sound got louder and louder and louder. And it just clicked in my head, oh, my God, tornado.
MARCIANO: Homes and businesses flattened along the way. Counties of Sumter, Volusia and Seminole hard hit. But Lake County saw devastation and death in the county's worst disaster ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were at this house here. Some lady, I was trying to help her out, but she didn't make it. I tried my hardest. I feel real bad (INAUDIBLE). I was in there check her pulse and everything.
MARCIANO: Areas that just last night held houses and now look like war zones. The storms ripped some homes off their foundations and tossed cars around like toys. The Lady Lake Church of God bowed to Mother Nature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks just like a bomb when it used to be a church.
MARCIANO: The church's pews, altar and Bibles now piles of debris. Devastated church members consoled each other, but they say they will still hold service on the site this Sunday.
MARCIANO: The death toll now up to 19. Many more than that injured and here in Florida unlike the Midwest sirens for such events as tornadoes are not a commonplace. So many people were literally caught while they were sleeping. Still there are stories of survival, this brick and mortar home completely destroyed by this tornado. A woman was sleeping in this bed and the walls and roof collapsed on her -- same situation with her husband in the room beyond that.
They both survived miraculously. To give you an idea just how strong this tornado is, this is not a trailer home. This is a well- built home with a mortar foundation and brick siding, Wolf. This was a strong storm. The National Weather Service survey team is out to take a look at the damage to determine how fast the winds were going. But judging from what I see, it was a bad one.
BLITZER: When you say that, you're a meteorologist, Rob. A bad one, there are various categories, these tornadoes, as is the case with hurricanes.
MARCIANO: That is true. There's F-0 up to F-5. To confuse things even more, F-5 being the worst. Just yesterday they started implementing a new scale. But judging by what people remember of the old scale, F-3 is an intense tornado. This looks like at least an F-3 with winds up and over 200 miles an hour to do this sort of damage. But we'll see what the National Weather Service has to say. Either way, if you were in the middle of it, it was a scary night for sure. BLITZER: Stand by, Rob. I'm going to get back to you. I want to bring in Carol Costello. Carol you're looking at the human side of this, the human toll of these tornadoes.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I have been, Wolf. I have been gathering bits of information from our own correspondents and from local or (INAUDIBLE) reporters, "The Orlando Sentinel" describing how a 15-year-old was killed, his two triplet sisters survived, but his parents died as well. There are so many sad stories tonight.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It swept through the night, uprooting homes, stealing lives. A teenager died in her bed in Lake County, leaving friends in sadness and guilt behind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brittany's family, I'm so sorry. I really am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she THE 17-year-old?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know her?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I walked to the bus stop with her in the mornings. We waited on the bus every day together. It makes me sad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. Was her dad OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my whole family is OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But her dad, is he OK too?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I haven't heard anything.
COSTELLO: An announcement came from local officials saying two teenagers were killed and another orphaned, the only survivor in a family of four.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver of one of the semis...
COSTELLO: Chaos on Volusia County Interstate 4, too. The wind caused five tractor trailers to topple, leaving drivers stunned to be alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) stuff blowing all over the road. And it all happened so fast. It's a miracle that more people didn't get hurt.
COSTELLO: But others weren't so lucky. Many were trapped beneath what was once safe and warm, their homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we could hear her. She was conscious and she was saying, I'm OK, I'm OK, I just can't get out. I just can't get out. And there was some -- a piece of plywood, a couple of pieces of two-by-four laying over the top of her. And we just pulled that stuff off and then lifted up the two-by -- the plywood and she was under there. And we helped her up and wrapped her in a blanket and walked her out to the -- he walked her all the way down to the clubhouse.
COSTELLO: Amazingly, she survived. But the Lady Lake Church of God did not. In a place built to withstand 150 mile per hour winds, prayer did not save it, but faith will build.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know the purpose, but it'll go back. It'll be built back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bigger and better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During hurricanes this is where people come and stay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a shelter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The building was rated for 150 mile an hour winds. And so evidently we exceeded 150 mile an hour or something happened. But, anyway, it's gone and it didn't stand and I'm glad there was nobody here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess God had a reason for it. We'll build it back bigger and better.
COSTELLO: One of many stories of horror and hope now on a day the wind brought death to Central Florida.
COSTELLO: Also "The Orlando Sentinel" reporting the twister picked up a man in his car, flipped it across the street. The car landed upright and the driver was actually able to use his cell phone to call for help. There will likely be more amazing and sad stories in the days to come, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're going to bring as many of them as we possibly can to our viewers, Carol. We're going to get back to you shortly. We're also getting some new images from the middle of the storm zone.
Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton has been looking at the latest I-reports coming in to CNN -- Abbi.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, we've been getting these pictures in throughout the day as people go out and survey the damage in their homes and in their neighborhoods. These pictures have just come into CNN. Alex Woods took these in Deland in Volusia County, started wandering around houses.
You can see in this one the light of day through the roof there and another room in that house, even though the roof has been ripped off, amazingly, the cups and saucers on the table seemed to be sitting there intact. Now many of the pictures that we've been getting in today have been from a large retirement community called The Villages in Central Florida.
Residents there like Jack Hurst surveying the damage in his neighborhood. Some houses with entire walls ripped off so you can see inside. Jack says that his house sustained no damage but houses nearby did. And you can see that from his photos. Take a look at this one in the background here -- this house here with its roof intact, though the house right in front of it across the street just a few feet away has been ripped apart.
Another resident there Rhett Boswell recorded this picture close to his home. He was saying people that just aren't prepared for this in the summer. They think about hurricanes but in February no one was anticipating storms of this kind -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Abbi thank you. I want to go to Jack Cafferty in New York.
Jack, you know, the video is so dramatic, but those still photos sometimes are even more dramatic, the heartbreak of this devastation.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well with the still picture you can just look at it and kind of soak it in. Sometimes the video is there and gone before it has a chance to register its full impact.
Wolf, there is an ominous warning about Iraq tonight -- 16 U.S. spy agencies betting against the Iraqi government getting its act together any time soon. The latest national intelligence estimate paints a picture of a country hanging in the balance. Not only do they not see sustained political reconciliation any time in the next 12 to 18 months, but they warn of grave consequences from events that could trigger even more violence in Iraq.
Things like an assassination of a powerful leader, religious figure, more sustained mass killings, could tear the fragile underpinnings of progress right out from under the Iraqi government and turn that country into a bigger nightmare than it is now. One of the things they warn could cause this to happen is if U.S. troops were to leave the country in the next 18 months.
So I guess what it comes down to is this, if we stay, it's terrible. And if we leave, well, it could be worse. Keep in mind the national intelligence estimate is a 90-page classified report. Only three and a half pages were released to the public today. Kind of makes you wonder what the rest of the report contains, doesn't it?
The question then is this. Should dire intelligence estimates about the future of Iraq prevent the United States from withdrawing its troops? E-mail your thoughts on that to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a good question and a real dilemma for everyone, Jack. Thank you.
Coming up, a life and death question. Were Florida residents in the path of those tornadoes warned of what was coming? We're going to examine that and return live to the storm zone.
Experts on global warming are laying more blame than ever on people. Is there now a climate for taking action and might some take it too far to get anything resolved?
Also, they're powerful enough to take out a tank. Is this Iran's way of going after U.S. forces in Iraq? We have a special report on that coming up.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: America's spy agencies today issued a brutally frank appraisal of the overall situation in Iraq. It shows very little light at the end of the tunnel and a lot more obstacles ahead before U.S. troops can start thinking about coming home.
Let's get the latest from our White House correspondent Ed Henry -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that's right. This report basically suggests the violence is only going to get worse and that hopes of political reconciliation are fading fast. The White House's response is basically, look, we realize the situation is desperate. That's why they want more time for the president's plan to work, though even aides admit it may not work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's going to be hard, and the president made it very clear it's going to be hard. And there's no assurance for success. The case the president has made is he's looked at all the alternatives and the alternatives have little, if any, prospect for success, whether it's so slow failure, as I talked about, or fast failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now this national intelligence estimate also challenges the president on some key fronts, though the White House continues to refuse to use the term civil war to describe the conflict. The report says that the term civil war does apply here, at least in terms of some of the key elements that they can see in this conflict do describe a civil war -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right Ed. Thanks very much. The national intelligence estimate outlines three worst-case scenarios that could make the blood shed, the instability and the suffering in Iraq even a lot worse. The first, chaos leading to partition of the country. The report acknowledges that fighting could split Iraq into three antagonistic parts, a collapse that could league to general violence for at least several years. Worst-case scenario number two, emergence of a Shia strongman. The report says a security implosion in Iraq could lead the nation's potentially most powerful group, the Shia, to assert its lightened strength.
And the national intelligence estimate also warns of total anarchy and a fragmentation of power. The report says a checkered pattern of local control would present the greatest potential for instability in Iraq. We're going to have more on this report coming up. Michael Ware is standing by in Baghdad with that.
Meanwhile, they're high-powered, high-tech explosive devices that can take out a tank. U.S. officials say these weapons are from Iran and they are taking a very heavy toll among American troops in Iraq.
Let's turn to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, more than 1,300 U.S. troops have been killed, more than 11,000 wounded by explosive devices in Iraq, now the threat is growing even more dire.
STARR (voice-over): In Iraq, U.S. troops are now being killed by weapons coming in from Iran. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates is warning that commanders are on the hunt.
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: What we are trying to do is, in Iraq, counter what the Iranians are doing to our soldiers, their involvement in activities, particularly these explosive formed projectiles.
STARR: Explosively formed projectiles, EFPs, are not improvised explosive devices. These are manufactured bombs with precision- machined parts made in a factory. In an EFP, a disk of metal shoots out at such a high-speed it essentially becomes a molten dart just before it penetrates a target. Gates was briefed on the threat during a recent trip to Iraq.
GATES: I've been told when I was out there that they can take out an Abrams tank.
STARR: Iranian bombs that can shred the heaviest U.S. combat armor has put a new dimension on trying to stop the networks of operatives that now bind Iran and Iraq Shia militias together on the battlefield.
GEN. PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We are working day and night to disassemble these networks that do everything from bring the explosives to the point of construction to how they're put together, to who delivers them, to the mechanisms that are used to have them go off. STARR: In a series of recent raids in Iraq, the U.S. military captured Iranian-made weapons, documents, and suspected members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
STARR: Yet Gates has delayed releasing evidence of Iranian involvement until he is sure all the information is accurate and he has a full picture -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Barbara, thanks.
A U.S. Apache helicopter went down today in Iraq. The U.S. military says two American soldiers on board were killed. Four helicopters have now been lost in the past two weeks alone. Take a look at the pattern of this chart.
Fifty-seven helicopters have gone down in Iraq since May of 2003. At least 27 of them were brought down by hostile fire. The Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace concedes that ground fire against U.S. aircraft now getting, in his words, more effective.
Still ahead tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM, one eyewitness says the Florida tornadoes left neighborhoods pulverized. We'll speak about that with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. He toured the area.
And a shot of controversy. A governor's order aimed at fighting cancer. Will parents' rights groups now protest?
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Carol Costello is in New York monitoring stories coming into THE SITUATION ROOM from around the world. What's crossing the wires right now, Carol?
COSTELLO: Well here's what I got, Wolf. With (INAUDIBLE) today the governor of Texas has made his state the first to require school girls to be vaccinated against a virus linked to cervical cancer. Governor Rick Perry signed an executive order effectively bypassing opposition within the legislature and from parents' groups. Girls entering the sixth grade generally aged 11 or 12 will have to receive the Merck and Company's new vaccine GARDASIL. The requirement takes effect on September of 2008.
And this today on the cost of caring for U.S. veterans wounded in the line of duty. A Harvard University study predicts medical costs for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan could soar to as much as $662 billion over the next 40 years. That includes medical care, disability payments and other benefits. The study credits better battlefield medicine, which, in turn, means more long-term survivors.
Italy's soccer federation has canceled all matches this weekend after this deadly riot between fans and opposing teams. Take a look at that video. Just hours ago in Cantina (ph), on the island of Sicily a police officer was killed, dozens of people hurt in this violent fight. According to police, the officer was killed by a homemade explosive device while he was sitting in his car.
After a day of talks with the so-called Middle East quartet, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to answer reporters' questions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But she did not mind talking about football. Rice is a longtime Cleveland Browns fan and has said in the past that her dream job would be NFL commissioner. Diplomatic as always, she said this afternoon she likes both teams set to square off in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but she did predict the Colts would beat the Bears and Wolf, I think she's underestimating Rex Grossman. It will be the Bears.
BLITZER: It's not the Bears. It's da, da...
BLITZER: ... Bears. You don't know that?
COSTELLO: I do, but I didn't want to take any liberties not being from Chicago.
BLITZER: I think she likes the Denver Broncos, too, but I could be wrong. We'll have to double-check with the secretary of state. Thanks very much, Carol, for that.
Just ahead, what can be done to protect yourself if a killer tornado is bearing down at you at 3:00 in the morning while you sleep? Our Brian Todd is standing by with the answer.
And the just released national intelligence estimate includes a very, very frank assessment of the dire situation in Iraq. Is there any hope? Michael Ware in Baghdad standing by.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM and it's happening right now -- $100-billion request. That's how much the Bush administration will ask for additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this according to a senior administration official. The administration will also request another $145 billion in war funding for next year. The official says the request will be laid out in President Bush's new budget. That will be released on Monday.
Also, guess who is being blamed for global warming? You. A new report puts part of the blame for climate change on humans. Mary Snow is standing by with a report on how we might be able to help change that.
And the defense secretary says the U.S. is not planning for a war with Iran. Robert Gates says he's reiterating a point made by President Bush. But Gates says the U.S. is trying to counter activities against U.S. troops in Iraq allegedly done by Iranian elements. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's a tragic loss of life, home and belongings. Back to our top story -- parts of Central Florida are literally wiped out after killer storms ravaged the region. Authorities say now that 19 people are confirmed dead, thousands of others are without power.
Let's bring back our CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano. He's joining us now from hard-hit Lake County. As bad as it looks, I'm sure up close and personal where you are, Rob, it's so much worse?
MARCIANO: Well, it is. And what you see when you're up close are two things. One, you see the tremendous force that this storm had in order to uproot these massive trees and to demolish brick homes like the ones you see before me. And also when you're up close you see these people's lives literally turned upside-down.
This couple who lived in this house we mentioned earlier, lucky enough to survive. There's lots of survival stories like this, but when you look at what can happen to a home when somebody goes to sleep at night with the comfort and security of their own bed, not thinking that they would be woken up at 3:00 in the morning to the sound of what many describe as a freight train and then the walls and ceilings literally collapsing on you. This was a huge thunderstorm, a super cell like thunderstorm, much like you'd see in the springtime in the Midwest. This is their time of year, in Florida, the wintertime, when they get that strong, southerly jet stream. They can get thunderstorms that produce tornadoes like this. They had a bad outbreak similar to this back in 1998.
But here in Lake County, they're calling this the worst natural disaster in their history. We'll be here tomorrow to sift through the rubble and hopefully find some more survival stories -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Best of luck to all those people. Rob, thank you for that.
The images of what happened in Florida are so compelling, but they don't begin to convey the scope of this disaster. Within the past hour, I got a briefing from an official who witnessed the aftermath firsthand.
BLITZER (on camera): And joining us now from one of the hardest hit areas in Lady Lake, Florida, is Florida Senator Bill Nelson.
You've been touring this area, Senator. The pictures are awful. But what was it like to see it up close?
SEN. BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: In one of the devastated areas where they lost 13 people, Wolf, it's like a pulverized war zone. It's about three football fields wide where this high-intensity wind just came through. And unlike here at Lady Lake where, you know, the church just collapsed, and you've got the sticks of the trees remaining, that one area over there near Paisley, it's pulverized, like a war zone. It's like a moonscape.
BLITZER: Had you ever seen anything like this? Because we know the hurricanes in Florida over the years have been devastating, but these pictures are awful.
NELSON: They are. It's concentrated wind. Hurricanes, they cover a much broader territory, And they just don't get to the intensity of winds like this. This is the effect of a Category 5 hurricane, or greater.
BLITZER: And the survival stories, it's amazing. It's almost miraculous, that people could survive these kinds of wind storms. I know you have spoken with some survivors. What have they said to you?
NELSON: Well, they're dazed. When you try to say, how are you doing? They can hardly respond. In that place, Paisley, where they lost 13 people, you know, their grief is intense, because of the loss of life.
BLITZER: Senator Bill Nelson speaking with me just a little while ago. Let's get a little bit more of the snap shops from the path of the destruction in Lady Lake, Florida.
A 31-year-old church, built to withstand 150 miles per hour winds, simply demolished. Parishioners gathered amid the ruins today vowing to rebuild. Not far away from the church in Lady Lake, we take in the scene on Griffin View Drive. It's a bird's eye view of a community in ruins. Homes are reduced to fragments of wood and metal. Access to parts of the neighborhood have been closed off because of the danger of ruptured power and gas lines.
Let's move on to Deland, Florida and Volusia County, where we see another hard-hit patch of destruction. You're looking at a trailer park blasted to its foundations. Check it out. Authorities say the damage goes on for some two miles. But a nearby middle school apparently came out of the storm intact.
The killer storms caught most Florida residents by surprise. Was there any way, though, to actually warn them, or any way to prevent the terrible death toll? 19 people already confirmed dead. Let's turn over and check in with Brian Todd; he's picking up this part of the story -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, those tornadoes so deadly, in part, because of when they hit. Together weather officials talking a lot about this. It's a device that can save your life when you're sleeping at the crucial moment.
TODD (voice over): From the air, house after house flattened. On the ground, victims pick through them, and talk about tornadoes that came while they were sleeping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got off the bed, and down beside the bed, and it was -- it happening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought we were going to die.
TODD: National Weather Service officials tell CNN residents in central Florida had eight to 16 minutes of lead time from when tornado warnings were issued, to when the twisters hit. But the warnings went out at about 3 o'clock in the morning, most residents fast asleep.
This could have been their difference maker. A NOAA weather radio. You can hit it any time to get a local forecast. But it's also an alarm. Just set it to your local county.
DENNIS FELTGEN, NOAA METEOROLOGIST: On these short-fuse situations, such as a severe thunderstorm, flood or tornado warning, these radios will go off with an alarm, the instant that warning is issued. And that is goes to rouse you out of bed in the middle of the night. I don't care how sound of a sleeper you are. You're going to hear it.
TODD: NOAA's Dennis Feltgen knows another way to protect yourself, a safe room. Already in some Florida homes, they're re- enforced by extra concrete or steel in the walls. But that's expensive. If you don't have one, pick a room on the bottom floor, middle of the house, away from exterior doors or winds like a bathroom. Inside --
FELTGEN: You want to make sure you have something to protect yourself, some heavy blankets. And as silly as it sounds, put on a football or motorcycle helmet. The reason? Most tornado injuries are to the head.
TODD: Injuries from projectiles that can easily go through walls. All day, Wolf, weather officials telling us don't ever underestimate the force of a tornado.
BLITZER: That alarm that you have, that NOAA gave you over there, where you are at NOAA headquarters, Brian, I want you to play it for our viewers again. It's not a very expensive piece of equipment for people to simply purchase, and punch in their area code.
TODD: Not at all. This runs between $30 and $80. You can get them at your local electronics store or discount store. This is what it sounds like. Let me set the thing here. And then -- it may not come across as quite so loud on television, but it's very loud. They say it can wake you from anywhere in your house. Again, you set it just to your local county. And whatever emergency it is, whether it's a tornado, a flash flood, a severe thunderstorm, this thing is going to go off and tell you about it. It will really jar you out of bed.
BLITZER: I believe it will. And I think it's a vital piece of equipment for so many homes. Bryan, thank you for that.
Meanwhile, might violent tornadoes and other natural disasters have anything to do with global warming? There's a new grim report out today from the Inter-Governmental Panel On Climate Change. It says there's a "very high confidence" humans caused warming. That warming is "unequivocal" And that global warming is very likely caused by greenhouse gases.
It also says there is an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity. That hurricanes are likely to become even more intense. And cites an increase in what scientists calling "heavy precipitation events" and the reports cites widespread melting of snow and ice. Droughts are likely to increase in this, the 21st century. And it says heat waves are to become even more frequent.
Amid this grim new report are urgent calls to action on global warming. Let's get some more with the latest Mary Snow standing by in New York -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, some scientists are calling this global warming report a turning point. They say the focus must shift from the problem to solutions.
SNOW: The globe is warming, the outlook is grim. With ice sheets melting and sea levels rising, a major study from a U.N. backed panel of scientists is prompting an urgent call for government to reduce carbon emissions. Environmentalists say individuals nee to act, too. Starting with smaller things, take cell phone chargers.
LAURIE DAIVD, PRODUCER, "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH": When you leave the charger in the wall, you take your cell phone off, it's drawing energy and wasting energy.
SNOW: The kind of car you drive, even the light bulbs you use can save energy. Some are looking for alternatives. People like Jim Gordon are hoping to harness energy from the wind. He's working to build the country's first off-shore wind farm like the one seen here and using it to provide electricity to Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the surrounding area.
JIM GORDON, PRESIDENT, CAPE WIND: The wind will power these wind turbines, and spin a generator, produce needed electricity, which will be transmitted by undersea cables and integrated right into the existing electric grid.
SNOW: But some scientists worry not enough will be done to cool the planet before the damage is irreversible. They say drastic measures may be need. Astronomer Roger Angel has been developing sun shades in an emergency effort to cool the planet. They would be used as a way to deflect the sun's rays. It's just one technology that's part of Geo Engineering.
GAVIN SCHMIDT, NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE: There's another plan to stir up the oceans, to increase the amount of sea salt in the atmosphere, which might have an effect on clouds. But it's all very speculative.
SNOW: Climatologist Gavin Schmidt calls some of these ideas bizarre and says they are no substitute for reducing carbon emissions.
SNOW: Now the astronomists developing those sun shades says if they were taken seriously, it would take at least 10 years, and trillions of dollars for them to be operational -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What are these scientists saying about when we're really going to start seeing the effects of this global warming?
SNOW: Most scientists that we talked to said it's not time to panic, that there is time to prevent consequences from beyond repair. But they are saying in about 10 years there could be some significant developments in terms of climate change.
BLITZER: All right, thanks, Mary for that.
Let's get another look now at some of the dire predictions being made by that new climate change study release earlier today. We'll bring in our Internet Reporter Jacki Schechner.
Jacki, what do you see?
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, the climate change working group put their report online, so you can read it for yourself. And at the same time, NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released some new animations to help illustrate what's in that report.
Let me show you, for example. Take a good look at this. This shows you what fraction of the Arctic on average is covered by sea ice in the summertime. And as this animation model simulation runs through, it shows you that that sea ice might be totally gone by the end of the 21st century.
Another one of the animations that they put online, is this one, that shows you the surface air temperature anomalies. And basically what it will show you here is that the continents warm more quickly than the ocean does. You can see here, they are the first ones to get to red as it moves along. These are animations, among the ones that were examined in Paris. And NOAA put them all online with summary reports of their own so you can read for yourself. We made it very easy to find them online. Go to CNN.com/Situationroomblog and all of the links are there for you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jacki.
Up ahead tonight does a grim new intelligence report on Iraq get it right? We're going to get a "Reality Check" from our own Michael Ware. He's on the ground for us tonight in Baghdad. I'll ask you what he thinks about this new assessment.
And later, she's going after one of the most eligible bachelors in the White House who happens to be a real dog. Stay with us.
BLITZER: There was another wave of insurgent attacks today in Iraq, and more of the sectarian violence that's ravaging the country; 23 bodies were found in Baghdad alone. Little wonder that today's report from America's intelligence community amounts to a dire warning about the road ahead.
Joining us now, our correspondent in Baghdad, Michael Ware.
Michael, this national intelligence estimate that the U.S. government put out, the declassified version, paints a very bleak picture of what's happening in Iraq. It says it's not good if the U.S. forces actually stay, and it's not good if the U.S. forces actually leave. You've had a chance to read it. What's your assessment?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN BAGHDAD CORRESPONDENT, Well, Wolf, I mean, to be honest, these national intelligence assessments or certainly these declassified summaries that we have come closer to painting a more realistic picture than a lot of what we've seen in the past from the administration, or at least publicly, from the intelligence community.
I mean, there's no real shock value to this report or its grim assessment. I mean, this is merely the public statements catching up with the reality. Indeed, there would have been a Neverland quality, or shocking aspect, if it hadn't said these things.
So it does paint an accurate picture. It's interesting to see that now the intelligence community is prepared to say that this is, in fact, what's going on in Iraq.
BLITZER: Because at the end it suggests that it's not by any means out of the question that a nightmare scenario would develop either leading toward anarchy in the streets of Iraq, a partition of Iraq into the various ethnic sectors, or some sort of Iraqi/Shiite strongman emerging who dominate the political scene.
WARE: Absolutely, all of which are very real possibilities, particularly in the vacuum of any immediate or rapid U.S. withdrawal. The situation has become such that sometimes it's difficult to know what's holding this country together as it is.
Indeed, this country is fraying at every seam. It's not even barely holding itself together. Nonetheless, the United States is now responsible for it. It's holding the baby. It's as though you broke it, you've now bought it. They have to step up, and they have to fix this situation somehow, that they have portrayed in the national intelligence assessments. No matter how grim it may be, this is what the United States is now stuck with.
BLITZER: But can it be fixed, Michael?
WARE: That is the very great question, Wolf. I mean, here on the ground, to be honest, to be completely frank, it's hard to see how. BLITZER: I think that's the bottom line of this assessment as well. They leave out some hope over the next 12 to 18 months, but not a whole lot if you read it carefully. Michael, thanks very much for joining us.
WARE: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Still ahead tonight, here in THE SITUATION ROOM should dire intelligence estimates about the future of Iraq prevent the U.S. from withdrawing its troops? Jack Cafferty standing by with your e- mail.
Plus, riots in Italy, chaos in the streets, and an officer dead. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're getting new pictures on those riots in Italy that Carol was just telling us about. Carol, I know you're watching this. Tell our viewers what's happening.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really serious stuff. Unbelievable pictures coming into us right now.
This is a riot outside a soccer stadium in Sicily. Two Sicilian teams playing inside the stadium. At one point during the game it had to be suspended because people were rioting outside the stadium. The riot police were throwing teargas, the teargas wafted into the stadium that just made the situation worse. Then everybody started rioting.
After the game was over someone threw an explosive device, and it a police officer sitting in his car. That police officer was actually killed. Now the Soccer Federation in Italy has like suspended all games to try to figure out how to improve security. They say they have the security right now, in fact, the riot police were right outside the stadium. And all of this broke out.
So they're trying to figure out how to calm things down. They're not playing any more soccer matches in all of Italy, until the situation is resolved, Wolf.
BLITZER: They take their soccer very seriously there. Sometimes way too seriously. Carol, thanks very much.
Let's check in with Jack Cafferty, for the "Cafferty File"?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to get a little peek at a new national intelligence estimate today, Wolf. And it contains mostly bad news about the future in Iraq. The question we ask is, should dire intelligence estimates about the future in that country prevent the United States from taking its troops out of there?
David in Santa Cruz, California: "Absolutely not. We heard all this about Vietnam, too. After being ravaged for 60 years with the French and the Americans trying to save those people, what finally worked was everyone leaving. Look at Vietnam today. They're doing very well. They go their act together only when their decisions were in their own hands. I suspect the same thing will happen with Iraq.
Mark, retired U.S. Air Force major: "No, the dire intelligence estimates should have precluded us from invading Iraq. We're now left holding a tiger by its ears and it was too predictable that we would end up here. If U.S. troops leave now Iraq will descend into chaos. If U.S. troops leave later, Iraq will descend into chaos. I chose now, it saves U.S. lives, treasure, and just maybe our reputation."
Carl in Miami: "It was dire intelligence estimates got into this horrendous quagmire. This is a repeat of the Vietnam disaster. Delaying withdrawal will only compound the problem, more deaths, more destruction. And a waste of many billions of American dollars that are needed to address domestic crisis. Haven't learned?"
Tony in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "Absolutely not. If these religious fanatics want to duke it out, let them. Get our people out of there, home with their families where they belong. There are far too many widows now. If President Bush wants a surge, let him go over there and pick up a gun."
Finally, Jim in Grants Pass, Oregon: "If there is one Shia and one Sunni left in Iraq when we leave, they will start fighting each other the day after we leave."
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and read more of them online. Have a good weekend, Wolf.
BLITZER: Looks like most of our viewers really want us to leave right away.
CAFFERTY: That's been prevailing sentiment in this country for -- I don't know -- since the second hour after the invasion, I think. Once we figured out it wasn't going to work the way we decided, and that we'd been lied to about the intelligence that got us in there. All of the polls indicate the American public wants the troops out of there.
BLITZER: Jack, have a great weekend. See you back on Monday.
Let's find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour. Paula standing by for that -- Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Hi, Wolf. Thanks.
We're going to shine a light on America's hidden secrets, bringing intolerance out into the open. We're just two days away from a history-making Super Bowl as two black coaches face off there for the first time. But how far has the NFL really come in erasing its racist past?
Also, a popular singer and actress behind the wheel in a fatal car crash, but are they singling her out for investigation because she's famous. All that, and more, coming at the top of the hour, Wolf. Hope you'll join us then. You have nothing better to do on a Friday night, do you? BLITZER: Yes, I always stay and I watch your program. Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: And when you can't I'm sure you TiVo it, too.
BLITZER: Absolutely. The only way to do it. Thank you very much, Paula, for that. We'll see you in a few moments.
Up ahead, Jeannie Moos, she has a terrific story. You're going to want to see it tonight. The Bush family's Scottish terrier. Get this, is being courted. We're going to show you the lengths one suitor is going to get a date with the first dog. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: One couple is turning to the Internet to get a date with a famous resident of the White House. CNN's Jeannie Moos is on the story.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When a girl's got her sights set on the most eligible Scottish terrier in the world, she better make a great dating video.
Kenzie, the Scotty from Seattle, has two words for Barney.
DOG GROWLS: Hot Dog!
MOOSE: Her owners, Ben and Shelby Dobbs, are crazy about their Scotties. Since they're planning a trip to Washington in April, they figured a date with Barney would be fun. After all, he likes to play ball. She likes to play ball. He has his own web page. So she does. And she looks good in jeans.
We know how you feel, girl.
(On camera): We actually sent the White House a list of questions. For instance, does Barney like women half his age? She's three, he's six. The White House didn't bite.
Kenzie even has her own calendar. Bu there is one thing she doesn't have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has never had a boyfriend.
MOOS: Speaking of actresses, Kenzie's owners got the idea for this from a documentary called, "My Date With Drew".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have 30 days to get one date with Drew Barrymore. She has no idea who I am.
MOOS: Eventually Drew saw his stunts and granted him one little lunch date. So there's hope.
After all, he's manly enough -- to scare little kids. He's well- read. Kenzie may be better on a speaker phone.
(On camera): Here, Kenzie. Kenzie, do you normally date men twice your age?
(DOG GROWLS OVER THE PHONE)
(Voice over): We've heard Barney occasionally catches the news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to watch the news and see what's going on?
MOOS (on camera): If only Barney could only see this report, see the hot Scotty whose yearning for him.
(On camera): Hey, that's not nice. Bad, Barney.
Kenzie has been getting e-mails from Scotties like Scottalicious, saying, if things don't work out with Barney, there's always me.
Can a Libra like Barney find romance with a Sagittarius who describes herself as fuzzy and twangy. Straight white female seeks black terrier living in White House. Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Only Jeanne does those reports. They're here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Please be sure to catch us on "Late Edition" this Sunday. Among my guests, Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Lugar, "Late Edition", 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
Let's go to Paula, in New York.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com.