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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 4, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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5:00. up next, lester holt continues the coverage of the east coast storm on "nightly news." tonight, from snowy rockefeller plaza, the powerful blizzard emergency blasting the east coast. new york, d.c. and boston delivered a knockout blow. the so-called bomb cyclone paralyzing cities up to 18 inches of snow and hurricane force winds shutting down airports and triggering dramatic storm surge rescues. >> none of that we expected. it's kind of like an apocalypse vibe to it. a dangerous wind chill on the way. how about 40 below? a major milestone for the economy. the dow soars past 25,000 for the first time. what it means for your money. president trump is firing back with threats against steve bannon, the publisher of that bombshell new book. a new alert about something that's on a lot of dinner plates right now.
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why consumer reports is warning people to stop eating romaine lettuce. and a new twist in the fight over legalized pot. days after california became the latest state to light up, the feds may be cracking down. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening from our snowy doorstep here in midtown manhattan. it is only january 4th, but tonight some are calling it the blizzard of 2018. a deadly storm that has raced up the east coast with blinding snow conditions, bringing hurricane-force wind gusts in places and snarling travel from coast to coast. and in boston, where they're catching the worst of it right now the storm is prompting dramatic rescues from a powerful storm surge that's sent water crashing over sea walls, floodwaters leaving people trapped. massachusetts is where we start tonight. nbc's blake mccoy is in scituate, mass, with the latest. >> reporter: the fierce storm blew in
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quickly. freezing rain then snow making for blizzard conditions along coastal massachusetts. high winds and waves battering homes. >> this is our house. oh, my god. >> reporter: misery and danger for so many who live near the water. >> this is probably the worst i've seen it since i've been living here. >> reporter: linda vegan is holding her breath, waves carrying ice and debris crashing over the sea wall behind her scituate home. >> in came up into the home, didn't it? >> it did. >> on cape cod, water spilled onto roadways. snowplows struggling to get through. >> let's go. straight back. >> reporter: further north in rockport, the weather channel's jim cantore and his crew helping this driver out of danger. >> where should i go? >> out of the water. just keep going. just keep going up into the street please. the calling card here, storm surge, three feet of storm surge. not taking that car back out of the bay, but actually bringing water into these basements right here where we actually had the fire department on hand as water and electrical wires and
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water heaters did not mix. >> reporter: in boston, rare thunder snow. the storm surge cutting a path right through the heart of the city. >> definitely isn't normal. >> i've never seen this before. >> reporter: high water leading to rescues along historic streets. >> the city's well prepared to handle the snow and a blizzard. the tidal surge is just a little different. >> reporter: it's potentially the highest storm surge in 40 years for boston harbor, levels not seen since the catastrophic blizzard of 1978. tonight, massachusetts' governor urging people to stay home. back in sciutate, that's where linda vegan will be. >> hi tide's now passed. >> yes. >> what's the concern now? >> the next high tide, 1:30 in the morning. >> reporter: it will be dark then. you won't see what's coming. >> all you hear are the waves splashing against the house. >> reporter: her and
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so many others planning for a sleepless night. the wind continues to blow snow here along massachusetts' coast. and on the back end of this storm comes bitterly cold air which threatens to turn all of this snow into solid ice. the danger here not over. lester? >> blake mccoy starting us off. thank you. this powerful storm is having a significant impact on air travel around the country. with more than 4,000 flights canceled, 2,000 delays and dozens of international flights diverted to cities outside the storm zone. now all those passengers are stranded. and nbc's tom costello has more on the misery at the airport. >> reporter: across the east coast an all-day losing battle to stay ahead of the snow. in new york wind and whiteout conditions at jfk and laguardia shut down flight operations, nothing moving. security checkpoints, even airport stores closed. >> we don't have any plane. we need to stay here during four nights, and then we need to wait to goo directly to paris.
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>> reporter: flight radar 24 shows very few flights over the northeast corridor. even the charleston, south carolina, runways were closed with five inches of snow. >> you can leave on saturday morning at 8:17 a.m. >> reporter: even way out in los angeles, travelers settled in for a long wait to fly east. >> we had a nonstop to boston. now we're going to san francisco with an hour layover, then to boston, if we're lucky. >> reporter: mario castillo and his family will be on an airport floor tonight when their flight to honduras was canceled. >> i have to stay in houston and go to honduras tomorrow. >> reporter: dozens of international flights heading from new york delayed from chicago, washington, charlotte and baltimore after their own cleanup. >> in the air they rerouted us to here. now we're currently stuck here. >> reporter: this massive singapore airlines a-380 from frankfurt landed at an old air force base in new york. also affected tonight, amtrak service up and down the east coast,
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canceled or operating on modified schedule. flight aware is reporting tonight already more than 800 flight cancellations for tomorrow. the airlines have waived the ticket change fees but because this is an act of god, if passengers need a hotel, they'll have to pay for it themselves. out here on the ramp, snow and ice and wind. and it's going to be a long recovery. the airlines hoping they're back up and running some time over the weekend. lester, back to you. >> tom costello, thank you. this monster snowstorm has crippled a huge portion of the country, from florida to maine. satellite capturing the massive size and scope of it all from space. for more on the impact up and down the east coast, we turn to rehema ellis in hard-hit long island. >> reporter: the massive blizzard slamming the east coast. >> it's bad. >> reporter: turned dangerous and deadly. outside charlotte, north carolina, two people were killed in this crash. and near raleigh, a desperate rescue attempt when a 13-year-old boy fell through ice into this pond. >> i was just walking, and the ice cracked
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and i fell in. >> reporter: across the south, thousands without power due to strong wind gusts. in virginia beach, residents turned to shelters for safety. in connecticut, it was near whiteout conditions. >> it's freezing. if you don't belong to be out here, you shouldn't be out here. >> reporter: the snow was too much for some structures to hold. >> there it goes. >> reporter: watch as this roof of this gas station collapses in new jersey. a state of emergency declared in the state as well as in new york. >> from my point of view, nothing is worth endangering human life. >> reporter: on long island, homes burned on oak island. what's worse, fire crews were delayed getting there by boat because of heavy ice conditions on the water. for others, it was a day of digging out. 69-year-old ann got help from friends clearing a half foot of snow from her driveway. but she's also on another mission. what are you looking for? >> i'm looking for my newspaper. he may not have even delivered.
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>> reporter: and the tough part about digging out is the furious winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour. and authorities say another problem is on the way, plunging temperatures dangerously cold. and that's expected to last through the weekend. lester? >> rehema ellis on long island, new york, thank you. blizzard conditions will continue well into the night tlouhroughout parts of new england and a dangerous freeze is moving in. dylan dreyer is in boston for us. looks like you're still catching it there. >> reporter: hey, lester, yeah. the winds are starting to get real gusty. they have been for the last several hour. but this storm has been playing out as expected and will continue to race to the northeast overnight. so let's take a look at the radar. you can see that the snow is already winding down back across the mid-atlantic. we'll see it end in a few hours across southern new england, but it will last through the night across northern new england. we are still dealing with blizzard warnings. they'll expire at 1:00 a.m. across eastern long island. they'll begin to
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expire across northern new england at about 4:00 in the morning. as for additional snowfall 2 to 4 inches still possible here in boston on the back side of this storm. down east maine could see about 4 to 8 inches before all is said and done. the concern will shift overnight to the gusty winds. they'll continue to usher in the coldest air we've seen this season. and for those folks who have lost power in the storm, it is going to be a major concern going through the weekend. lester? >> dylan, thanks, hang in there. we'll turn to the new record high on wall street today. the dow finishing about 25,000 for the first time. stocks continuing to soar. good news for your 401(k). nbc news business correspondent jo ling kent has more on what it means for your money. >> reporter: the dow flying by another milestone at breakneck speed. >> there it is. dow 25,000. >> reporter: the dow has now skyrocketed from 18,500 the day after president trump was elected, and jumping a thousand
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points in just the last five weeks, crossing 25,000 today. this record tying the fastest 1,000-point move in dow history. the strong performance propelled by a positive private sector jobs report showing 250,000 jobs were added in december. and wall street bullish on the new year under president trump's new tax law with tech and energy stocks leading the way. >> we've got an economy that's firing on all cylinders, not just here in the u.s. but around the world. interest rates are still low. now we've got this tax reform which can further boost corporate profits. >> reporter: the stock market doesn't tell the whole economic story. only half of american households own stock. >> i think it's the people that are driving the economy, i don't think it's as much of the political game that they like to take credit for. >> reporter: wage growth remains sluggish, up just 2.5% in the last year. today sears announced it's closing 100 stores this year as macy's shutters 11 more, eliminating thousands of jobs. tomorrow the monthly
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jobs report comes out with a more complete picture of how all americans are doing. jo ling kent, nbc news, los angeles. let's turn to the growing fallout on the feud between president trump and his former chief strategist steve bannon. the president reportedly furious at bannon even as bannon tries to temper explosive remarks he made about the president and the trump family in a new book. now, the president's lawyers are threatening legal action against bannon and the book's author and publisher. nbc white house correspondent kristen welker has more. >> sit down, everybody. >> reporter: tonight president trump publicly holding his fire amid a mounting feud with his former top aide, steve bannon. >> i don't know. he called me a great man last night. so, you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. i don't talk to him. that's just a misnomer. >> reporter: bannon playing cleanup on his radio show. >> the president of the united states is a great man. i support him day in and day out. >> reporter: but behind the scenes the president still fuming
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according to several aides after bannon questioned the president's grasp of policy in the new book "fire and fury" and even accused trump's son and son-in-law of treason for meeting with a russian lawyer during the campaign. on wednesday the president excoriated bannon saying he's lost his mind. now the president's legal team is threatening to sue bannon, the publisher. the white house lashing out. >> there are numerous mistakes. but i'm not going to waste my time or the country's time by going page by page talking about a book that's complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip. >> reporter: but tonight new shock waves after author michael wolff raised questions about the president's mental fitness in an article in the "hollywood reporter" writing the president repeats himself. everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions. the white house defiant. >> it's disgraceful and laughable. if he was unfit, he probably wouldn't be sitting there and wouldn't have defeated the most qualified group of candidates
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the republican party has ever seen. >> reporter: and tonight growing questions about whether steve bannon is losing his influence as a number of republicans are siding with mr. trump. the white house asked if bannon should be fired from conservative media outlet breitbart news. >> something they should look at and consider. >> reporter: while bannon hasn't disputed any of his quotes in the book, a number of other former trump aides have said they were misquoted, but tonight the author and publisher say they stand by the account. lester. >> kristen welker at the white house tonight, thank you. a program note. "fire and fury" author michael wolff will be savannah guthrie's exclusive guest tomorrow on "today". suspending offshore drilling in the gulf coast. it would offer up to 90% of the u.s. outer continental shelf in the largest drilling lease ever and open up federal waters off
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california for first time in over three decades. it sets the stage for a big battle with environmental groups and coastal governors opposed to offshore drilling. another move by the trump administration generating controversy tonight and it's all about the fight over legalized pot. attorney general jeff sessions announcing that he's rescinding the obama administration policy that helped pave the way for legal weed in a growing number of states across the country. as nbc's miguel almaguer reports, the decision is being met with confusion and some concern about what it means. >> reporter: just days after recreational marijuana sales began in california, the attorney general's decision could dampen the park that ignited the pot industry's massive growth. today jeff sessions rescinding an obama administration policy which largely shielded legalized marijuana from federal intervention, allowing prosecutors to enforce federal law that prohibits pot sales. >> it's been busy nonstop as soon as the doors open we have people waiting. >> reporter: but in los angeles, they're already rolling in
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green. the budding industry expected to harvest $1 billion in taxes within a few years. >> i expect lines out the door, and i expect the sun to come up and people to enjoy their cannabis. >> reporter: with california set to become the largest market for marijuana, recreational pot is legal under state law in eight states and the district of columbia. some experts say the impact of today's move, while uncertain, may be limited. >> the idea has always been to prioritize the most dangerous, the most violent and the most difficult criminal organizations. nothing about rescinding the policy will change that. >> reporter: sessions, who's long fought marijuana legalization, called it a return to the rule of law. >> good people don't smoke marijuana. >> reporter: but today's decision doesn't clear the air where pot is sold. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles.
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there's a lot more to share with you tonight. outbreak alert. why consumer reports is warning you and your family not to eat romaine lettuce. also, some good news tonight for americans in the battle against cancer. we'll have it for you in a few moments. stay with us.
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we're back now with that new alert from consumer reports. as we said about something that's probably on a lot of plates right now during this dinner hour. they're warning people to stop eating romaine lettuce saying health officials need to do more to alert people about a dangerous outbreak. let's get details from gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: christian loves lettuce, at at least 30% of her diet she says. >> romaine lettuce is my favorite. it's one of the ones that i really look for as a staple. >> reporter: but tonight a stern warning from consumer reports. stay away from romaine lettuce until health officials get to the bottom of what's causing an e. coli outbreak that's been linked to at least two deaths. in the u.s. the cdc reports 17 people in
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13 states have gotten sick, in canada 41 people. that country's government blames contaminated romaine lettuce. u.s. health officials are now interviewing people to see what they ate in the week before they got sick. the cdc said since they haven't found the source they can't recommend avoiding a particular food. >> we think the u.s. government should be warning consumers about eating romaine lettuce until they figure out where this problem is coming from. >> reporter: cooking usually kills bacteria but lettuce is not usually cooked. >> the best advice is simply not use the romaine lettuce. switch to something else. >> reporter: the industry says it's cooperating fully with the investigation, but even if romaine lettuce is the source, it's highly unlikely to still be in stores because the last illness was reported in november. >> until there's more proof i'll continue to keep an eye out. >> reporter: it could be weeks before the cdc and the fda pinpoint the cause. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta.
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coming up here tonight, luck of the draw. why a hotly contested race was decided by chance.
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if you ever needed a reminder that every vote counts, today a random drawing was held to decide the outcome of an election in the virginia house of delegates that was still died after a recount and legal battle. a republicans' name was chosen from a bowl giving him the seat and allowing the statehouse gop to hold a majority. but the democrat in the race has not conceded. under state law the loser in the drawing can demand a second recount. the nation's cancer death rate has fallen again dropping 26% since 1991 according to a new report from the american cancer society. it cites significant decreases in death rates from the four major types, lung, breast, prostate and colorectal. the report credits huge declines in smoking and better treatment. and baby, it's
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cold outside, but lotto fever couldn't be hotter. no winners in wednesday's mega million and powerball jackpots means they now total nearly a billion dollars combined with friday's mega millions jackpot at 445 million and saturday's powerball jackpot has 550 million up for grabs. it's the first time both jackpots have topped 400 million each at the same time. when we come back, al roker with a late update on the blizzard impacting millions and crippling travel. spree on peir 39.
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new at 6: the action the feds took today. we look at the science behind today )s 4.4 earthquake... and why it was so widely felt throughout the bay area. we're back now with a final check on the powerful storm continuing to pound the northeast. al roker on the plaza here. what's the latest? >> the snow is starting to lie down, lester, but the winds are still picking up
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quite strongly. in fact, as we take a look, we'll see wind gusts of over 40 miles per hour. especially up through new england. and that's going to continue right through tomorrow morning. that's going to snarl air traffic. airports are still going to be a mess. plus, it's also opening the back door to brutally cold air, the coldest of the season. we are going to be looking at temperatures in the morning that air temperatures 7 below in flint, a record, wilmington, norfolk, jacksonville all looking to set records. as we go into the weekend we're looking at temperatures that are going to be brutally cold. the wind chills make it feel even worse. then we look for the coldest air of the season both friday and saturday and sunday right from bangor all the way out to chicago and down to charlotte. so again, lester, a lot of folks are going to be losing power and they're going to try to heat their homes, try to thaw out pipes. don't use a blow torch. keep any drapes away from space heaters as you try to stay warm. >> good to be in your neck of the woods, the plaza.
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we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that's "nightly news" for this thursday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. right now at 6: unnervin moments after an early morning temblor . how people reacted to the shaking and how the right now at 6:00, a unnerve moment after a early morning testimonybler. how the people are gearing up for the next earthquake. all part of the team coverage. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for joining us. jessica aguirre. >> that woke many of us right in the middle of the night. the fault issue ago stern reminder we need to to be prepared. watch carefully low pressure 29:39 a.m. you can shea the traffic cam shaking slightly
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when the quake hit. the epicenter in berkeley along the hayward fault underneath the hotel. the newsroom flooded with comments and calls. thankfully no major injury ohs damage. kristy smith in the san francisco with us. with you we begin with chief meteorologist. jeff ranieri. 4.4 but felt stronger and widespread. >> and there are reasons behind that. i was woken up this morning as well when the earthquake hit. and it was a really big shake. and a lot of movement that did feel stronger than that 4.4 this morning. as we mentioned it happened on the hayward fault. 1.8 miles east southeast of berkeley. the number one people so many people felt if was the fact it was shallow. only eight miles below the surface. in large part a


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