tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 27, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, a big winter storm hits the middle of the country, more than a foot of snow in some areas, flooding in others. wild weather for millions and many won't be able to travel any time soon. the president told troops about a big pay raise during his surprise trip to iraq, but the reality for those who serve is different. there are close calls and then there is this, what happened when a police officer and a fast-moving train almost collided. a manhunt for a gunman who killed a beloved police officer. >> what needs to be known is that he was truly just a human being and an american patriot. >> the suspect here illegally is still on the run, considered armed and dangerous. the homeland security secretary set to visit the border as we hear from the
family of the second child to die in u.s. custody this month. and he made history with a trek across antarctica all by himself. >> just overcome with joy and emotion, tears streaming down my face. to an audience of zero. >> our exclusive conversation with the explorer who is inspiring america. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. i'm kate snow in for lester. tonight, millions of americans are traveling or about to and severe winter weather is disrupting their plans in much of the country. a winter storm dumping snow and ice to the north, rain and flooding to the south and east, and it will last into the weekend. the severe storm threat even including a risk for tornados along the gulf coast. ron mott starts us off tonight. >> reporter: in kansas, dangerous wind blown whiteouts overnight, white knuckle driving in garden city sending some drivers off road.
the governor declaring a disaster emergency for hardest hit areas. >> beautiful blizzard, shut the entire downtown. >> reporter: elsewhere across the storm zone, high winds in kansas city, hurry up and wait at airports, 5,000 delays and cancellations and growing. getting out of bismarck, north dakota, today a challenge. >> my flight was cancelled. i wasn't going to be able to get out until saturday, so i'm going to get a refund on that ticket. >> reporter: for others, a bumpy ride. an american flight diverted to austin, two injured. >> we would start to move and stop again. >> reporter: to iowa, conditions bad enough to flip this van on its side. cleanup on the agenda in st. cloud. >> this is like the first main snow event we've had. >> reporter: in warmer spots, pounding rain, flooding in houston stranding vehicles and in mississippi. lightning in the dallas metro forcing the cancellation of a
college football bowl game in progress. >> most important big picture here is player welfare. >> reporter: while in snowy minnesota, police are looking for the driver of a semi that hit a trooper's car, the officer was not injured. here in the upper midwest, the new threat tonight, plummeting temperatures. here in st. cloud they are expected to go below zero but saturday morning. that's why the crews worked hard to get the snow off the roads to keep it from being packed down into ice. kate? >> ron mott, thanks. let's check in with dylan dreyer. what's the situation across the country? >> the storm is still mass ive and we have a snowy side to the north and west of minneapolis. this is an area where the snow is accumulating six to 12 inches and blowing around, too. that's reduced visibility. on the southern side of this storm, we've had a line of severe storms slowly moving from west to east today. we do still have tornado watches in effect and you can see by the reds and oranges and yellows just how intense this
eastward through the night. tomorrow morning across the mid-atlantic and up across the northeast, we're looking for heavy rain in the morning. we will see improvements in the afternoon. across the southeast that line of severe storms will move in late in the afternoon and then continue to produce that severe weather threat. we are looking for about three to four inches of rain. if you're traveling tomorrow, it is going to be a very slow go all up and down the east coast. along 95 the roads will be slow going and will likely see a significant airport delay, especially in the morning and then residual delays through the afternoon, kate? >> thank you. tonight, we're hearing from the guatemalan family of the 8-year-old boy that died on christmas eve after being detained by u.s. border officials. secretary of homeland kirsten nielsen is urging parents not to put children at risk by heading to the north. she heads to the border for a visit tomorrow. nbc's jacob soboroff
has the report. >> reporter: three days of his death, these are the first images of 8-year-old felipe gomez alonzo. nearly 2,000 miles from the new mexico hospital where he died, his mother is in mourning. she says the family was desperate to escape poverty in guatemala when felipe and his father started their trek to america. they were apprehended on the el paso border. border agents said they logged 17 welfare checks but on the morning of december 24th, an agent noticed the child was coughing and appeared to have glossy eyes. by 11:48 that night, he was dead. with cbp promising sweeping changes, including secondary medical checks on all children, homeland security secretary nielsen will visit the u.s., mexico border tomorrow. but for felipe's family, their hope for a better life turned to grief. jacob soboroff, nbc news.
today was day six of the government shutdown and there is really no sign of compromise with many lawmakers home for the holidays, the senate adjourned until monday. 8,000 government employees are left trying to figure out what to do with themselves and hoping they get a paycheck. hallie jackson has more. >> reporter: not a creature has been stirring since saturday in the empty hallways of washington but in virginia -- >> there you go. >> reporter: -- free knitting lessons for furloughed government workers. >> it's out of your hands. until back in my hands, i'll put something else in my hands and go from there. >> reporter: in kentucky, a plate of barbecue on the house. >> we're feeding government employees work. however long it lasts, it lasts. >> reporter: in california, frustration for nicole lower whose husband is in the coast guard and won't t gulay hepaycheck monda >> what do we do after that if the pay doesn't come through? i think that's what most families feel is the uncertainty of what do we do? >> reporter: the white
house today railed against democrats and reiterated the president wants money to beef up border security. >> it shouldn't be hard to get to where the president wants to be. >> reporter: senators on both sides making their cases for a shutdown solution. >> it's going to hurt our economy. it makes no sense whatsoever. >> reporter: but making them from their holiday vacation locations, which says a lot about what is happening in washington, nothing. >> how long do you think the shutdown will last, mr. president? >> whatever it takes. i mean, we're going to have a wall. >> reporter: what's the way out of this stalemate? democrats could offer some money for a border wall, a political win for the president. the president could accept no money for a wall, a political win for democrats. or both sides could compromise on border security and each declare victory. no matter what happens, it's not going to happen any time soon. congress is effectively done working for the year. kate? >> why is there so little urgency? >> reporter: a few reasons for that. white house officials
think pressure will build on democrats the longer this goes on. and they know the president's base will back him in the fight for a wall or a border barrier. democrats think once they take control of the house and move to reopen the government, the pressure will then shift to republicans. keep in mind it's also a holiday week, so things may pick up as it relates to the american public after the new year. kate? >> hallie jackson at the white house, thank you. during the president's surprise trip to iraq to visit american troops, there was another surprise. mr. trump boasted about giving the military a big raise. he said it was their first raise in ten years. turns out those statements were incorrect.hols explains. >> reporter: president donald trump told the troops he commands to r.cod make it smaller. we could make it 3%. we could make it 2%. we could make it 4%. i said no, make it
10%. make it more than 10%. >> reporter: on january 1st, troops will see a pay increase of 2.6%, not 10%. and trump's claim that this year's bump is long overdue also untrue. >> you haven't gotten one in more than ten years, more than ten years. we got you a big one. >> reporter: yet according to trump's own defense department, military personnel have consistently received annual pay raises. even lawmakers from trump's own party questioned the path. >> i don't know where the 10% number came from. that's not accurate. >> reporter: the president pushed politics in front of soldiers in uniform. >> you're fighting for borders in other countries, and they don't want to fight, the democrats, for the border of our country. >> reporter: rhetoric that some say threatens the military's political independence. >> any president to include this president needs to maintain that separation between politics in the military. >> reporter: asked how the president arrived at that 10% figure, the white house couldn't say. kate? >> hans nichols, thank you.
tonight, president trump also making a push for border wall funding citing an incident wednesday when authorities say a california police officer was killed by an undocumented immigrant. the officer, an immigrant himself, was gunned down during a traffic stop and the urgent manhunt for the suspect continues. nbc's morgan chesky has that. >> reporter: in tiny newman, california, the overwhelming loss. >> i do not want to be here today. >> reporter: is still very much sinking in. >> i would give anything not to. >> reporter: today's emotional plea from police chief randy richardson help find the man who killed 33-year-old officer ron singh. >> my department is hurting. we're struggling through this. >> reporter: he just took this photo on christmas with his wife and 5-month-old son. five hours later, he was gunned down on a traffic stop. singh emigrated from fiji, dreaming of becoming a police officer.
driving two and a half hours each way to the academy. >> this suspect, unlike ron who emigrated to this country lawfully and legally, this sect suspect is in our country illegally. >> reporter: authorities launched a statewide search, police finding the suspect's dodge truck at a nearby mobile home park. >> please help us find this man and bring him to justice. >> reporter: justice to save a town no longer whole. morgan chesky, nbc news. overseas now, a 12-year-old boy is alive and well after being swallowed up by an avalanche in the french alps today. he was buried alive for more than 40 minutes before rescuers found him. the chances of surviving more than 15 minutes buried in the snow are extremely low so rescuers are calling this a miracle. to a white knuckle moment caught on camera, a quick-thinking police officer in illinois narrowly avoided disaster swerving out
of the way to avoid hitting the speeding commuter train. nbc's kristen dahlgren has the video and what caused the near crash. >> reporter: a close call captured on dashcam, a police officer in illinois heads down this street when a train seemingly comes out of nowhere, going about 50 miles an hour. watch as the driver ahead of him in the blue suv barely squeaks by. >> that's wild. that's wild. >> reporter: it's not until the commuter train is almost passed that the safety gates finally start to come down. >> you never expect something like that ever. i mean, you know, one of the things that you depend on are signals, crossings going down. >> reporter: illinois's metro which operates the train says a short in the equipment caused the issue last month. >> i would hope they are taking very good, long look into it and making sure that it is as safe and secure as possible. >> reporter: most accidents at railroad crossings are caused by drivers attempting to go around safety gates. >> oh, he's going through, one, two. technology and a reduction in the number of crossings
has cut fatalities in half since the '90s. for his part, the lu facebook, i've bought tons of raffle tickets from little league tickets to charity raffles. i thought i wasn't born with luck at all but little did i know, i had luck. here is all my luck being used all at once. if i never win anything again, i'm perfectly fine with that. no injuries were reported from the heart-stopping incident that could have had a much different ending. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. gitm america's detention center in guantanamo bay, cuba, has held people accused of plotting terror attacks in the u.s. it was never meant to be a permanent home for these detainees and now the officers running it say it needs serious repairs. we have this exclusive report. >> reporter: it was supposed to hold the most dangerous suspects in the war on
terror. but it wasn't built to house them for nearly two decades. with hundreds of u.s. personnel watching over them. president obama promised to shut it down, but president trump changed course. >> we're going to load it up with some bad dudes, believe me. we're going to load it up. >> reporter: admiral john ring is the military commander here. in a nbc news exclusive, he says the classified detention camp is in rough shape. we're only allowed inside the unclassified camps. >> it's falling into the ground and deteriorating rapidly. >> reporter: the pentagon wants $69 million for a new detention camp, but so far congress said no. the biggest need, ring says, dealing with ageing detainees. the oldest is another had his fifth back surgery and had to have his cell reconfigured for a hospital bed. this is one of thedel cells in x. you can see most of the doors aren't wide enough for a wheelchair, let alone a hospital bed.
steven worked as a psychiatrist. >> we're not meeting what we all expect as good medical care and we feel obligated to give as doctors and professionals in uniform or out of uniform. >> reporter: why won't congress approve the money? >> i don't think it's in the public mind. the reality is people would do bad things to us and the military is doing a good job of keeping most of the bad folks out. >> reporter: for now, ring sees himself as a inn keeper waiting for washington to tell him new detainees are on the way and whether there will be money to pay for them. julia ainsley, nbc news, guantanamo bay. still ahead tonight, from wires antsunamis to earthquakes and hurricanes, we looked back at the tremendous cost of this year's natural disasters. also, an incredible solo journey across a frozen landscape. no one has ever done it quite like this before, and we hear for the first time from the man who did it.
indonesian eruption and tsunami was a reminder that mother nature has not gone easy on us in 2018. they cost us too many lives and billions in recovery efforts. nbc's kerry sanders takes a look back. >> reporter: in indonesia tonight, threats of another eruption and new after a wave of destruction this weekend killed hundreds. 2018 a year of seemingly back to back to back global natural disasters. just named the fourth costliest year ever when cla insured losses, in overall economic loss $155 billion. from the record setting wildfires in california, more than 22,000 homes destroyed. hawaii's volcano, a billion dollars in damage. to the stron icars. i'm kerry sanders. hurricane michael, 155
mile per hour winds, making landfall in mexico beach. the eye has come ashore to the east of us. today mexico beach has is still a scene of catastrophic devastation. scientists warn as global temperatures continue the rise, we could see more extreme weather. just like they experienced here. >> this is perhaps the biggest threat facing human population. >> reporter: butch ally in mexico beach, undetoured. do you wonder about rebuilding here with what mother nature could do again? >> no. we made the decision a long time ago that this is going to be home. >> reporter: harder to measure a disaster cost, the human mystery that lingers for years. kerry sanders, nbc news, mexico beach, florida. >> so much in one year. we're back in a moment with the annual list of the most admired men and women in america and the winners happen to be married.
every year gallup puts out its list of the most admired men and women in america. this year, the winners of that group have the same last name. barack and michelle obama. president obama's multiple win in a row. but a first for michelle. oprah was in second place and hillary clinton who held the top spot for 17 years came in third tied with melania trump. president trump was second among the men. when we come back, the man who hiked across antarctica all by himself, we spoke with him about what it was like. at san quentin.
it's cold, unforgiving and for one man absolutely solitary. tonight, we have a broadcast exclusive with colin o brady, a 33-year-old colin o'brady, an explorer from orego history this week as the first man to trek across antarctica alone and unaided. it's tonight's "inspiring america" report with nbc's joe fryer. >> reporter: in a week typically focused on the north pole, an intrepid adventurer is focussing us to antarctic where he made history. >> kind of my letter to the world for people to dream big and be inspired. >> reporter: he's the first to traverse the continent coast to coast without assistance. he started the 932 mile adventure november 3rd and crossed the south pole december 12th and on christmas decided to make one final drive sprinting nearly 80 miles in an ambitious 32-hour stretch.
>> i wonder if i can go for it all in one crazy, big push. >> reporter: yesterday, the 54th day of his journey, o'brady reached the finish line. >> when i arrive there had, i was, you know, extremely exhausted, just overcome with joy and emotion, tears streaming down my face to an audience of zero. >> reporter: o'brady danced with danger before. in thailand he was injured by a fire but that didn't stop him from finishing triathlons. >> i'm on the summit of mt. everest! >> reporter: to scaling mountains and so much more. now he has tackled antarctica. >> a dream this big is certainly outside of the box. you know? there is a reason nobody in history has been able to accomplish this. >> reporter: another adventurer lewis rudd is also trekking the continent and is near the end but in this epic race, colin o'brady can say he did it first. joe fryer, nbc news. >> did he ever. that is "nbc nightly news" on this thursday
night. i'm kate snow. i'll see you back here tomorrow. for all of us at nbc news, have a great night. a microclimate weather a gusts reach up to 55 miles per right now at 6:00, strong winds whipping through the bay area. mi micro climate weather alert. >> plus a search for an escaped inmate. the new surveillance photos that could be a key piece of evidence. >> but first, new details on a deadly officer involved shooting in san jose. the police chief spoke for the first time about what went down on christmas day. >> the news at 6:00 starts right now. thank you for joining us. >> a christmas morning tragedy. that's how the san jose police
chief is describing a chaotic and deadly ending to a police chase. >> the family of 24-year-old jennifer vasquez says she and a friend were out celebrating the holidays when they crossed paths with police and she ended up dead. tonight the chief of police is telling the department side of the story. >> live in san jose where a visual was taking place for the victim. >> you're right. the chief of police spoke out early this afternoon and behind me the vigil continues into the evening. it's been going on for a couple of hours. family members and friends speaking her tonight. they say they want among other things an independent investigation into the shooting. >> the mother of jennifer vasquez lead a solemn vigil where 60 people came together at the shot where the