tv NBC Nightly News NBC December 25, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
. on the broadcast tonight, severe weather on this christmas day. an outbreak of tornadoes across the south and a huge blizzard on the move to the northeast. likely to make a mess for millions. inside the mind of the shooter who set a trap for firefighters rushing to help him. tonight, the chilling note he left behind. in the hospital, an update tonight on former president george h.w. bush, amid word his health has taken a turn for the worst. supersized, at the movies this holiday season, something we noticed about a lot of these oscar hopefuls. why are they all so long? and the celebration across america and around the world this christmas night. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. i'm carl quintanilla in tonight for brian. a large part of the country doesn't have to dream of a white christmas tonight. we are getting it. a major winter storm is bringing snow and thunderstorms to texas, oklahoma, alabama and arkansas. but that's not the only threat. tornadoes are a big concern along the gulf coast as the storm now moves to the north and east, threatening holiday travel. we have two reports tonight from those who cover it best, our friends at the weather channel. we begin with meteorologist jim cantore in hattiesburg, mississippi. >> reporter: this tornado outbreak is far from over. we've already had damage with injuries off to my south. and we are just under way with this multifaceted storm. there's no reason why birmingham and atlanta will not deal with severe thunderstorms. travel not recommended, arkansas all the way up into kentucky,
southern illinois, missouri. that's where the blizzard conditions, nine states right now under blizzard conditions. on wednesday, our severe weather threat shifts over to the carolinas as the snow shifts up to the great lakes, in northern pennsylvania and new york. wednesday night, the low starts to redevelop on the coast pulling the cold air in but not enough to create a major snow event for the northeast i-95 cities. so we should be doing okay there. but still, nonetheless, snowy travel for many across the appalachians and northern new england. going back to wednesday, d.c., certainly impacted. pittsburgh, on back into cleveland, all these airports where we expect the snow, there will be severe weather in raleigh down to the south of this. but it's all go up to the north because the storm hasn't gotten into the thick of it yet. thursday, up into new england goes the meat of the storm. but backlash snow and wind. and on friday, we got the all go as we are now in a break between storms. but a break is the keyword there. but here comes the trough of low
pressure sliding off to the great lakes and the rocky mountains. and that means a new storm will develop and impact these areas into saturday. a lot of people potentially heading back this weekend. more rain and snow. right now, it's too early to call from new york up to boston. rain or snow. but right now, d.c. looks like they're right on that rain/snow line. this one could be much more impactful for the northeast cities than storm number two, the one we're dealing with right now. >> jim, thanks. to the best, this same huge winter system is blanketing several states with snow and it's on its way to the northeast over the next few days. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel is in oklahoma city this evening. >> reporter: on this christmas night, a massive storm is causing travel headaches for millions producing and dumping snow as far south as texas late this afternoon and still putting down rare christmas tornadoes in the deep south.
look at this rain and wind. this is storm chaser video near mcneal, mississippi, where a tornado reportedly touched down this afternoon. there are reports of injuries and damage. and there is a rare christmas snowfall hitting dallas. it's bad news on the roads, signs warning of icy conditions. at least three reported tornadoes touched down across texas today causing lots of damage and leaving thousands without power. thunderstorm winds toppled this tree onto a pick-up truck in the houston area, killing the driver. no fatalities but plenty of clean-up this morning in oklahoma city following this massive pile-up. 21 cars and tractor-trailers crashed, slipping on roads coated with freezing rain. not just wind and ice, but snow is pounding parts of the west. in northern california, near lake tahoe, an avalanche buried and killed a snowboarder. in reno, slush is making a mess of streets.
and poor visibility is a problem. all the roads across the rockies. near salt lake city -- >> what happened? >> i slid off. >> reporter: the department of transportation sl putting up flashing signs to help warn travelers. when temperatures dropped and snow started falling, the cars started sliding. and this semi crashed off i-80. outside of denver, snowplows are trying to clear things up. here you see the snow getting worse, blowing across the road from the hillside below. lousy for drivers, but good times for sleigh riders and snowboarders. and take a look at these photos from northern arizona, low visibility on the roads near flagstaff. tonight, there are blizzard and winter storm warnings up for 17 states. some of those last until friday morning in maine. in the northeast cities, it will be rain. but winds tomorrow night could gust as high as 60 miles an hour. if you have a flight in and out of the northeast hubs tomorrow night, pack a lunch.
there could be significant delays. >> mike seidel in oklahoma city for us tonight, thanks so much. new details are emerging tonight about that christmas eve shooting of firefighters who responded to an emergency. it happened in western new york near rochester. police said today the convicted killer who drew them into his deadly trap left a note. here's nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: police say the christmas eve ambush of four firefighters battling a massive house fire in new york was spelled out by the suspected arsonist and shooter in chilling, typewritten detail. >> quote, i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down and do i like doing best, killing people. >> reporter: authority ts say 62 years william spengler, who served prison time for killing his grandmother more than 30 years ago, shot at first responders who arrived at his burning house, the fire spreading to six other homes. >> we are being shot at.
multiple firemen down. i am shot. i think he's using an assault rifle. >> he was equipped to go to war to kill innocent people. >> reporter: the gunman was well-fortified with weapons and ammo. the same model used in the newtown, connecticut, school shooting. tomasz kaczowka and mike chiapperini were killed. spengler killed himself. and late today, human remains were found in spengler's house and suspect they belong to his missing sister. >> microsoft is always the burning question. i'm not sure we'll ever know what was going through his mind. >> reporter: police are investigating whether the death of spengler's mother could help explain the motive for her son's christmas eve shootings. ron mott, nbc news, new york. tonight, billions around the world are gathered with family and friends to celebrate
christmas. at the vatican downlotoday, pop benedict called for peace. and today marks the 12th christmas in a row that american troops are serving in afghanistan. more than 66,000 u.s. service members are still there, many of them getting some time to attend church services and celebrate with a proper christmas lunch. back in this country, amid neighborhood celebrations and family gatherings across the country, it's a somber christmas day for the folks in newtown, connecticut. just 11 days since the tragedy at sandy hook elementary. we get more now from nbc's john yang. >> reporter: in newtown, connecticut, it was a day of lingering heartache, empty stockings hung as reminders of loss, now filled with gifts. first responders from surrounding communities gave their time so the town's police could spend the day with their families. >> just the right thing today. it's why we're here. something needs to be done, glad to be here.
>> it's a pleasure to help them out. >> police officers giving police officers time off, i just think that you probably couldn't ask for a better christmas gift. >> reporter: in the new york area where hundreds are still without homes because of hurricane sandy, volunteers tried to deliver some holiday spirit. >> every table is labeled. >> reporter: handing out food, toys and blankets at relief centers. >> i think what's important is for people to come out and help people. you can't put a price on that and you can't buy that either. >> reporter: in places spared the direct impact of tragedy, americans mark the day in their own ways, while keeping those less fortunate in their thoughts. >> when people are suffering and going through hardships, many, many people come to offer their help and whatever they can do. >> reporter: across the nation, americans attended church services and spent time with family and friends. at this home outside of chicago, even young members of the extended family said this
christmas felt different. >> i just like being with my family, not presents. it's just family, what matters to me. >> ho, ho, ho, let's go. >> reporter: a day for giving and giving thanks for what we have every day. john yang, nbc news, chicago. as we reported here last night, the health of president george h.w. bush has taken a turn for the worse. nbc's janet shamlian is in houston tonight. >> reporter: carl, good evening. we've learned from doctors that the former president has suffered some setbacks in his recovery and it's for that reason they were not able to release him before christmas as they had hoped. tonight, mr. bush is here at houston's methodist hospital. he spent the holiday with his wife, the former first lady, barbara bush, as well as his son neal and other family members. there were gifts and he received e-mails and telephone calls from family members and close friends. the former president was initially admitted about a month ago for what was described at the time as a bronchitis-type
cough. in the weeks since his doctors have said he has developed some problems which include becoming very weak and he also has a low-grade fever. in their words, they say they are cautiously optimistic that he will recover. since leaving the white house, mr. bush still summers in maine but houston is his primary residence. he's been treated by the same team of doctors here at methodist for a number of years. a spokesman says that he is challenged by this very long visit but generally is in good spirits. meanwhile, there is no timetable for his discharge. carl? >> janet shamlian for us in houston tonight, thanks. still ahead as "nightly news" continues, christmas in a new dimension for the queen, while will and kate break with tradition. and later, the movement that was started by one of our own. it took off and tonight, there are even more random acts of kindness to tell you about. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego.
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we're grateful to be a part of it. your doctor will say get smart about your weight. that's why there's glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. [ male announcer ] glucerna hunger smart. a smart way to help manage hunger and diabetes. this assault on newtown, it was a breaking of our national heart. i think the only thing that can comfort you when you face something this tragic is to do something good with it. imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for each precious life lost, an act of kindness, big or small. are you in? it's a very royal christmas
in britain where the queen and her family marked the holiday in familiar fashion. but there were a few notable breaks from tradition. our report from nbc's jim maceda in london. >> reporter: queen elizabeth began this, her 60th christmas on the throne, as she has every other, at a morning church service near her country estate with prince philip and other royals in tow. afterwards, she greeted some of the several hundred who'd waited hours to see the royals at christmas. but today, there were missing places at their christmas lunch table. prince harry is off fighting in afghanistan while william and kate spent their day with the duchess' parents and siblings in kate's hometown, a shocking breach of protocol? hardly. >> they want to do their own thing. and the queen is kind of a 21st century queen. she kind of allows that. >> reporter: so 21st century, her christmas message was broadcast in 3-d, a first. >> this past year has been one of great celebration -- >> reporter: aired as always at precisely 3:00 p.m., the queen
reflected on a remarkable year and reign, the diamond jubilee celebrations and the london olympics where she co-starred with international athletes and that other british icon. >> good evening. >> good evening, your majesty. >> they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama. >> the reality is, she's quite happy to embrace the new world and new technologies. >> this is the queen speaking. >> reporter: it was, after all, queen elizabeth who bridged the phone age to social networking, launching royal facebook and twitter accounts, a british monarchy website, she's even a doodle on google. by the time she made her first televised christmas speech 55 years ago, the queen was already in the eyes of many britbritons monarch of the old and new. >> the possibility that you are able to see me today is an example of the speed of which things are changing all around
us. >> reporter: but she remains a symbol of longevity and tradition as the windsors now look forward to kate's first child, an heir to the throne, at next year's christmas reunion. jim maceda, nbc news, london. up next, this is an especially good time of year for those of us who love the movies. but why are so many so long? was gone for so long...ad n ...but he'd wait for her forever, for any reason, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. compared to other leading brands, it has 50% more animal protein. ...to help keep rocky's body as strong as a love that never fades... if he ever lets her leave again. iams. keep love strong. very sore looking kinda blistery. if he ever it was like a red rash... like somebody had set a bag of hot charcoal on my neck.
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can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? >> one of the most memorable duos in the history of television. we learned last night that jack klugman has died. he was best known as half of tv's "odd couple." klugman also had a long run as quincy m.e., spanned six decades on the stage and the screen. once a heavy smoker, he survived
throat cancer that affected his voice in later years but he continued to act until a couple of years ago. jack klugman was 90 years old. and actor charles durning has died. so good as playing eccentric supporting roles on broadway, he was a two-time oscar nominee best known for his roles in "the sting" and so many more. charles durning died yesterday of natural causes at his home here in new york. he was 89. now to something we noticed about a lot of this year's oscar hopefuls that you might want to keep in mind before you head to the movies. you could fly from new york to ft. lauderdale in about the same time it takes to sit through "the hobbit." it's long. and many of this season's other blockbusters aren't too far behind. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: they are epic productions, earning oscar buzz. >> shall we stop this bleeding?
>> reporter: but this year's blockbusters have something else in common. you better block out three hours if you want to see one. as we approach the end of the year, hollywood's heavyweights are posting some hefty run times. "lincoln" clocked in as 2 1/2 hours. "le miserables" keeps audiences in their seats for 2:38. and "the hobbit" takes a whopping 2:49, almost three hours. >> they should all be called the never-ending story. >> one word of advice, go to the toilet before the movie starts. >> reporter: so why try to hold a moviegoer's attention for so long? many say blame it on oscar. there's a feeling the academy won't take a best picture contender seriously if it's under two hours. and studios are racing to release these epics before the
oscar deadline. >> any film that opens on christmas day is also eligible for oscar. >> reporter: long oscar winners are nothing new. "gone with the wind" was almost four hours but included an intermission. it seems that today's moviegoers don't seem to mind, though. >> if i really believe in the subject matter and everything like that, i'm all for it. >> reporter: experts predict a record-breaking box office take of almost $11 billion this year. a sign that supersized movies may be around for a very long time. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, hollywood. call it the nightmare before christmas. a lot of folks hoping to kick back and relax with a movie at home on christmas eve were out of luck thanks to a netflix outage that had lots of unhappy customers taking to social media to vent their frustration. up next, our making a difference report for christmas day. that huge unexpected wave of
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make yourself comfortable. but that doesn't happen much anymore. the creative process never stops. and songwriting is so hard, but i love it. these days, i guess i just don't want to miss a thing. [ laughs ] i miss you guys. that's me. and this is my windows phone. [ male announcer ] new windows phone. reinvented around you. ♪ our final story this christmas night is about the many random acts of kindness people are performing around the world in the wake of the tragedy at newtown.
the 26 acts movement was sparked with a tweet by our friend, ann curry. and it spawned into an outpouring from people who are making a difference. it started with a simple idea posted to twitter. what if we could honor the 26 lives lost at sandy hook elementary with small acts of kindness, leaving a stranger an unexpected treat or an inspirational message or a way to keep warm. >> i've always made quilts. and so i thought, wouldn't it be nice to make quilts, one for each child and then donate them? >> reporter: using the #26acts, people began sharing their kindness on social media. just nine days later, what started as an online ripple has become a massive wave, reaching from the halls of congress -- >> i think america was looking for ways to demonstrate their grief, their caring, their empathy. >> reporter: to the other side of the world.
>> i just kind of thought, if this makes someone smile, then that's a pretty good thing. >> reporter: and as more and more people shared their good deeds online, they inspired others. teachers challenged their students. in rhode island, ashley's class is collecting food and books for the underprivileged. >> they have, by far, exceeded anything that i could have expected from them. >> reporter: after giving hand warmers to her bus driver, stephanie challenged her co-workers to do something, too. now the social media director at chicago's "w" hotel is sharing each of their acts of kindness on the company's facebook page. >> what a day. >> we have so many employees, so many people can do good things. hopefully other people will pick up on it and pass it on. >> reporter: adding to an unexpected surge of goodwill. and there's no telling just how far it can go. and that is our broadcast for this tuesday, christmas day. thank you for being with us. i'm carl quintanilla in for brian.