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CNN 10

Fall Nor`easter Makes The Weather Frightful In Several States; Marking 79 Years Since The Pearl Harbor Attack; Company Uses Drones In Reforestation. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired December 07, 2020 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz with CNN 10. This December 7th marks exactly 79 years since the attack that brought the U.S. into World

War II and we`ll have a report on that in just a couple minutes. December 7th is also exactly two weeks away from the official start of

winter in the Northern Hemisphere but don`t tell that to the folks in the U.S. northeast because they`re already there. A Nor`easter, the first such

storm of the season arrived over the weekend.

Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire appeared to be hit the hardest. Across those three states, more than 380,000 homes and businesses had lost

electricity by Sunday morning.

Some areas in the region recorded more than a foot of snow. It was described as heavy and wet snow and that can weigh down branches and make

it more dangerous to drive. Wind gusts reached up to 68 miles per hour according to AccuWeather.

The forecasting company also said that this storm met the definition of a bomb cyclone. That`s named for a process called bomb genesis, when a

weather intensifies very quickly in a very short amount of time.

So what were some of the effects of all this? Power lines were knocked down. Roads were in bad shape. People were told to stay home.

A CNN meteorologist says things could have been even worse though if temperatures had been a few degrees colder when the storm began. As utility

crews were assessing the damage, the storm turned toward the eastern Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and it seemed as

Jennifer Gray tells us the wind and snow aren`t the only effects of a Nor`easter.

What happens on the coast could change the look of a shoreline.


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: A Nor`easter occurs within the most crowded coastline of the United States, the northeast and it can occur

any time of year but is most common between the months of September and April.

That`s when weather conditions are prime for a Nor`easter. You start with a well. It`s going to travel from the southeast to the northeast and

intensifies. Nor`easters are stronger around New England as well as the Canadian maritime provinces.

Now we have very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and all around the coast of Florida. It`s going to warm the air above it and that warm air is going

to clash with cold air that`s coming in from the north.

Now Nor`easters carry winds out of the northeast at about 58 miles per hour or more and keep in mind, the wind direction out of the northeast is what

defines a Nor`easter. It`s also going to cause beach erosion as well as coastal flooding and very, very rough ocean conditions. Now not all

Nor`easters have snow but some of the most memorable ones have dumped lots of it.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these American ships was the only one not commissioned during World War I? USS Arizona, USS California, USS Nevada or

USS Oklahoma. The USS California was commissioned in 1921, five years after the other though they were all damaged in the World War II attack on Pearl




AZUZ: 2020 was historic for wildfires in California. Never before this year did that state alone lose anywhere close to four million acres, at least as

far as records go. For the United States as a whole, wildfires did not set a record.

The National Interagency Fire Center says there have been two years since 1983 when America lost more than 10 million acres to wildfires and 2020

isn`t one of them. It`s also possible that far more land burned every year in the early 20th century. But the agency says those figures shouldn`t be

compared because they`re not as reliable.

Regardless of where the records are, there are a number of organizations that replant areas that have been scorched. This can be done manually by

workers on the ground.

It can also be done by air using planes, helicopters and now drones though experts say these methods are not as effective as manually planting trees.

Still, it`s cheaper. And one of the companies doing this believes it`s a solution.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION CORRESPONDENT: Over eight million acres of land in the U.S. were scorched in 2020 about two million more than average.

GRANT CANARY, CEO, DRONESEED: We are losing more trees faster than nature can regenerate or humans can regenerate. So we`ve got to have better tools

to be able to reforest faster.


CRANE: A Seattle-based company called DroneSeed thinks that tool could be, as its name suggests, automated seed dropping drones, swarms of them to be


CANARY: This is something that`s sci-fi. There`s multiple drones operating to perform a task simultaneously.

CRANE: Typically, reintroducing tree growth is a slow, manual process that can take up to three years. It requires growing young trees in a nursery

that tree planters plant by hand.

CANARY: They`re superheroes. They`re carrying 40 pounds of one or two-year- old trees in these bags on their hips. And then they`re using a shovel and they burn the caloric equivalent of running two marathons every day.

CRANE: But automated drones can cover a lot more ground and get the job done faster. Grant Canary, DroneSeed CEO, says in groups of five, the

drones can cover up to 50 acres in a day compared to about two by human.

And he says the speed and automation can save landowners 30 to 50 percent of their reforestation costs. Can you explain to us what goes into the

operations of one of these missions?

CANARY: We come in with heavy lift drone swarms. They zip up and down those mountain sides, deploy seed vessels in very targeted, precise locations and

make reforestation scalable.

CRANE: Aerial seeding is not a new idea. But historically, raw seeds are dropped in precision and can land in poor terrain. So Drone Seed uses

advanced laser mapping to identify the best locations for their seed drops, targeting healthy soil and other ideal conditions.

CANARY: Those are the areas that are not gravel. They don`t have high competitive vegetation and so the seeds themselves are going to grow


CRANE: Eight-foot-long drones take off on pre-programmed routes carrying loads of nearly 60 pounds. But they don`t drop raw seeds.

Instead, Drone Seed has developed seed vessels that include a proprietary blend of every thing a seed needs to survive, like fertilizers, nutrients

and natural pest deterrents. Unlike seedlings, they don`t need to be buried in the ground.

CANARY: The vessel is a dry fiber so it absorbs moisture, soaking up and expanding so that helps it avoid drying out which is one of the biggest

causes of seed mortality. What we`ve done is instead of taking three years to grow a seedling in a nursery, we`re doing it in 30 to 60 days by

utilizing seeds in a seed vessel. That`s really what we see as the big difference between a --

CRANE: Drone Seed claims it can grow upwards of 140 trees per acre based on trials in New Zealand and Washington State. They`re promising results but

from a small sample size.

This year alone in California, over 4 million acres were consumed by wildfires and you can manage 15 acres in a day. What`s it going to take for

you guys to really be able to make a dent in this problem?

CANARY: There`s an automated process. We can have two trucks, two trailers, six aircraft operated by a team of four do thousands of acres in a year. We

copy and paste that.


AZUZ: The Arecibo Observatory Telescope in Puerto Rico was one of the most powerful telescopes in the world. I say was because this happened last

week. The radio telescope had been around since the 1960s but it was not in good shape.

This summer one of the cables that supported it`s 900-ton platform snapped. And then last month, another one broke and engineers say it was just a

matter of time before the whole thing came tumbling down.

They had a pretty good handle on the "scope" of the damage but we`d rather "observe" what it was supposed to "observe". Rather than having a "lens" to

see it go down the "tube".

It`s such an "aperture" lost for a finder that helped "finder" such scientifically "mounted" discoveries. Middle College High School gets

today`s shout out. It`s in San Pablo, California.

They did the one thing you can do to get a mention on our show. They subscribed and left a comment on the most recent show at

I`m Carl Azuz.