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tv   News 4 at 11  NBC  February 5, 2010 11:00pm-11:35pm EST

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>> as day turns tonight the roads got worse, temperatures got colder and the wind picked up, all leading to a nasty night outside where things are only expected to get worse. gechblg, i'm jim vance. >> i'm doreen gentzler. at this hour, all washington area airports are open, but most canceled flights for tonight and all day tomorrow. all travelers are strongly urged to call their airline before trying to make it to any airport this weekend. >> above-ground service on metro has been suspended through tomorrow. that includes buses and trains that are above ground. metro will operate at the underground stations only. >> unfortunately, the winter storm already caused major power outages across the d.c. area. pepco, dominion and other companies are reporting 30,000 customers without electricity tonight. >> we have a team of reporters out there. they'll show us conditions across the area. from a realtime look at the roads to the very white national
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mall, then to a ghost town in a normally-busy tysons corner. >> it all begins in storm center 4. bob ryan and veronica johnson join us with the current accumulations and details on how much we are likely to see before this is over, guys? >> doreen and jim, we are now into the heart of the storm. in a way the belly of the beast. this storm is starting to deepen off the coast of north carolina. and because of the winds increasing, there are the blizzard warnings that include the western part of the bay, kent island and talbot county. with the intensity of the snow, look at the doppler. those are the areas with dark green while there may be sleet mixed in briefly in the next couple of hours, the cold air is going to continue to come in
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spots like shady side. you can see intense bands moving through the washington area. these are the te of bands we've been talking about as they come through at the height of the storm. as a matter of fact, right into tomorrow morning, can produce one to as much as two inches of snow an hour. unfortunately, look at our temperatures. still at 33 degrees, meaning with the strong winds, this is a very wet snow and that's leading to the power outages. temperatures in winchester, 31 degrees. the temperatures will fall eventually, but unfortunately, we are going to be still several hours into this wet snow. we'll see blowing and drifting. >> dave baker, hardy county, west virginia said it is snowing hard and the wind is blowing hard. he's got 14 inches on the ground right now.
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six in the district. further south in spots like miller'sville, only an inch. annapolis five and six inches of snowfall. those high amounts, 14 inches steven city. west maryland with 15 inches of snowfall already on the ground. we've got so many hours to get through here during the overnight period. getting reports of a handful of power outages as the winds pick up throughout the east. already they are up to 30 and 35 and could go as high as 40. >> the regional radar is showing the snow. here is the drier air trying to come in. the storm beginning to reform. by morning it will be around the
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norfolk area, a vortex that will slowly drift out. unfortunately this snow and pattern will be continuing for a number of hours into the early morning hours. because of what we see already and because of what was yet to come throughout the night at one to two inches an hour in some areas, we updated t accumulations, even in the washington area, 20 inches to perhaps as much as a little over two feet. i think there will be reports up to three feet of snow. that mixture is still occurring a bit does keep amounts down. even the at the tail end, you folks down there in southern maryland, lower eastern shore, you are going to be receiving the last of it not until maybe 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 tomorrow night. we updated the timeline. i'll tell you that more when i join you inside. getting around town has been a challenge tonight. jackie benson has seen some of the worse accidents. she is in a safer spot on the national mall.
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what's going on? >> reporter: we are on 3rd street northwest less than 1/4 mile from the u.s. capital. those whiteout conditions they are talking about, we are seeing that right now. i cannot see the capitol or the washington monument to the other end. conditions are deteriorating right now. by nightfall, driving snow began to filter the glow of the famous monuments of the nation's capitol. as the snow began to fall more heavily, few ventured on to the national mall. those who did saw a picture post card washington. the city is hoping for the best and hopefully prepared for the worst this storm could bring. >> it's different than any other time of year. there are only a couple of crazy people jogging. it's quiet. >> reporter: as evening continues, the storm brought another emergency response, at least three involving snowplows.
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the bed of a dump truck plowing the entrance to the 3rd street tunnel became wedged inside the tunnel. transportation engineers were called to the scene to assess the damage. earlier the driver of a snowplow was injured when the ploy fell off the truck causing him to run over it. it happened on a bridge over the tidal basin. the driver was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. 4:30 p.m., the engine of a pickup truck plowing snow caught fire in the maintenance area. it sent smoke and flames four stories into the air. several hundred patients and staff were evacuated and told to shelter in place in the building's auditorium. >> we'll be working to make sure the fire alarm system works with the sprilers. it could have been a true disaster. >> back live in north d.c., we
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are on 3rd street northwest. the only thing out there is capitol police crews are traveling along. what's coming at us right now feels li a combination of snow and street. it's stinging your feet and has little needles hitting your face. very painful. back to you, jim and doreen. >> thank you, jackie benson on the mall. on a normal friday night you can't get near tysons corner without hitting the brakes. it's a different story tonight. craig melvin is along route 123. >> reporter: good evening to you. i don't have a ruler or anything. i want to show you something for now. when we got here, you can walk. this is how deep the snow is. i'll use my boot. it's well above my calf. also when we got here around 3:00, there were vehicles, just a handful, but some nondless, you see that one vehicle. that is a l.a. vehicle. every now and then you'll see a
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plow come by. there have been no cars on the road tonight. the only people who have been on the road are the folks who have to be on the road. on 123 in tysons corner, this are paid of plows is a caravan of necessity. greg made the drive from west virginia early this morning. >> it's real good for business. this is a money-maker here. the way the economy is right now, it's a blessing in disguise. >> for tow truck drivers, too. >> we had a lot of police work right now. >> reporter: virginia police responded to dozens of accidents so far. two people died early friday morning southwest virginia in car accidents. state vehicles patroed the snowy roadway searching for drivers in trouble. washington gas is stand buying to help. >> when people call i respond to emergency gas leaks inside,
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outside leaks. gas range, furnaces. fireplaces. >> reporter: so far there have not been any calls. plows, tow truck drivers, these are the people who need to be on the roads. >> my mother has been yelling at me the entire day. i haven't seen these people in about two years. >> reporter: he's from mclean but lives in china now. >> they had record snowfalls in beijing the last few weeks. i feel like i'm being followed basically. >> reporter: we found matt at 7-eleven refilling his washer fluid. baldwin says it will take him about two hours to get home, but he's okay with it. >> it's really cool to be here right now. it's probably the biggest storm that the d.c. area's ever seen. keep take pictures and show it to my kids 20 years from now. >> reporter: what pictures those
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will be. matt baldwin back watching this broadcast. this is risky. the wind is whipping now at such a ferocious pace. it really is almost unbearable. visibility, virtually nonexistent, as well. it makes for an interesting ride home. most folks heading the warning they have been hearing the past few days. not a lot of folks on the roadway. coming up later in the broadcast, we did find some gentlemen leaving home for work heading home and they found themselves in a bit of trouble. we'll share that story with you. live from tysons corner, virginia, craig melvin, back to you. >> thanks, craig. >> it is clear it's getting nasty out here. we are using new technology to show you a realtime look at the
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roads from around the area. chris gordon is driving through montgomery county right now. where are you at this moment? >> doreen, i'm driving south on wisconsin avenue from petes da to chevy chase. it looks like a rural country road. i defy you to find a lane. we have been on the beltway. we saw an 18-wheeler that couldn't make it up an incline. the beltway has been plowed a few times. still consult. cars getting stranded. we've seen a number of tow trucks. let's compare this to side streets. these are side streets in bethesda. cars taken off the street into driveways, trying to get out of the way so that the streets can be plowed. so thn can get some clearance to be able to drive.
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some only have a few tire tracks. trees and limbs are full of snow. wind hits them. those are the conditions on side streets. even the main thoroughfares. i many driving with a portable mi microwave on top of an suv. very difficult driving. we have a portable microwave sending a signal back. take a look at wisconsin avenue as we are approaching chevy chase now. you are going to have a difficult time finding any people on the streets. there are very few. in bethesda, there are bars and restaurants open, but very few people in the area. we are coming up to a hotel here in chevy chase. i'll stop at the light.
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difficult driving conditions. you have to be courteous and make sure you give yourself time to stop at the light. these are realtime conditions. this is what's happening that we can bring you because of our portable microwave. >> chris gordon reporting. grocery stores weren't the only places packed with people this morning as everybody was trying to stock up for the storm ahead. fire wood yards saw an early rush. this in the college park area was sold out by late morning. you can imagine firewood is coming in handy right now. this storm is expected to pack a punch up north. snow totals there could be anywhere along a foot or more along the jersey shore to several inches in new york city. some stores are closing later and opening earlier to accommodate shoppers who need things like shovels and salt. while snow totals are expected to be lower than we'll see, there is concern about the
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damage that could be caused by high winds and flooding. byron scott is a reporter for our affiliate in wilmington, delaware, area right now. what are the conditions there right now? >> reporter: right now i am in the trenches. look behind me. it began snowing roughly around 5:30 this afternoon, this evening. it's been piling up ever since. the wind has started to pick up and has a cold bite to it. by the time this is all said and done, we may get upwards of this area here about 20 inches of snow. this may go down as one of the top ten worse snowstorms in delaware history. it prompted the state of delaware, the governor to declare a state of emergency. all nonessential vehicles must be off the road as of 10:00 tonight. look around here. there are cars here on delaware avenue. these cars should not be out here right now.
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that's mostly for emergency crews a plow trucks can get through here. as far as how long that will be in effect, we north sure. we've seen plow trucks all night long. this is a very powerful storm. the road crews here, the storm is getting ahead of them and will make a lot of progress over the course of the evening. that is why they declared a state of emergency. a couple of small gents accidents here and there. for the most part, it's just your run of the mill major snowstorm. here is the good news. this is a friday. that gives the entire weekend to clean up, dig out as manyids are going to do, to go out on their sleds tomorrow and sunday. the big news at this point right now is there is a state of emergency in effect until further notice. live in delaware, byron scott,
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back to you. >> those south of the east coast are dealing with a wintry mess. schools in asheville, north carolina, were canceled because of slick, icy roads. in west virginia the heavy snow started piling up this afternoon. then followed by sleet and heavy rain. that's the big difference between washington and even just a couple of hours south of here. virginia's capital city is dealing with a lot of rain. yvette joins us from richmond. >> reporter: it's been a messy day today. full of heavy rain and a lot of sleet in the metro richmond area vdot crews have been working around the clock all week and spraying the roads with a salt and sand mixture trying to plow that mess away. the problem is, the heavy rain is washing away this sand mixture. more quickly resulting in
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dangerous driving conditions. reply say since friday there have been two storm-related deaths so far and plenty more accidents. there are cars here stuck on sides of the roads and ditches. schools remainlosed today, as well as many businesses in the area. one industry that is booming with a lot of work right now is the towing companies. they are benefitting from all of this. here live, the snow is falling. you can feel the wind out here. people are taking it very slow on the roadways. you can't imagine anybody wanting to get out tonight. back to you. >> all right. thanks. richmond has had its share of winter weather down there as well as up here. a number of people talking about snow fatigue, in fact. >> here is why it's been quite a winter. we got it started in a big way december 19th. the saturday snowstorm before christmas dumped 16 ps inches of snow on us. it seemed like some of it was
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still left on the ground when we were hit with another weekend storm. the south bore the brunt of that january 30th system, which dropped six inches here. tuesday we saw yet another four ines of snow around town. it will be some time before we know how much snow we'll get from this system. you steadily increased the accumulation upward. >> as the bands come through and we see the intensity of two inches an hour, thunderstorms reported around potomac. there will be areas when we increase the amounts. some areas may have 12 inches, 15 inches. could be 30 inches because of that banding effect. >> earlier i heard you say something the first time, this could be bigger than -- this could be the biggest snow ever. >> outside all you have to do is, unfortunately everybody inside, look outside.
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unfortunately winds have come up a bit faster. i thought the winds would be up as we got past midnight. the temperature is still around 33 degrees. it's a wet snow combined with the wind. later on tonight, the colder air will be coming in. we'll get a powdery snow. that means more snowing and drifting. greatest snow for national airport. this is national airport 1979. that was the president's day storm. first the measurements remained downtown around m street. that's where the measurements remain, over 28 inches was the record, the greatest snowstorm ever in washington. we had only two snowstorms of 20 inches or more. this one will be right u there. 20, 24 inches. look at the temperatures around the east. a lot of warm, humid air is going to be coming in. there is that circulation. there is that storm. right now moving, beginning to move off the coast. as it moves off the coast near
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the gulf stream, it picks up a lot of moisture and the intensity goes up. it becomes a whirlpool, a vortex of the atmosphere making also that storm all the stronger. there are the areas under winter storm warnings and the blizzard warning right now for washington, d.c. here is how we look. you can see there has been that mix of sleet, some rain. as a matter of fact, our weather watcher jan in the northern neck, it's been rain, all rain. this i've taken off the winter mosaic. some are these areas for you folks around gaithersburg. this moisture is forming some of these bands more typical of lake-effect snow. you may hear the rumble of thunder later on tonight. it's coming in earlier, but it will leave earlier.
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nonethess, as these things come true, they can produce one to three inches of snow an hour. fredericksburg probably getting that mixture. maybe you folks around there will see that mixture and see it move out. look at the plume of moisture yet to come. virginia beach, all the rain extending south into eastern parts of north carolina. still fielding around us. veronica has been on top of things as far as the amounts. they are coming in by the minute. >> that is for sure. looking at the reports, our own phone line, answering machine, weather watchers saying it is snowing fierce outside and that the wind is blowing hard. look at the amounts around d.c. so hard. it's hard to keep up. can't imagine what it's like for the plows on the road. six inches in d.c., seven in germantown and frederick, maryland, with nine inches of new snowfall, 14 inches steven
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city and western maryland anywhere from 14 to 15 inches. these are the amounts further to the north and west where we could get an additional 10 to 12 inches of snowfall overnight. easy to see why we upped our snowfall forecast for the area send your picture is into us at isee at make sure you get your location as well as taking measurements how much snowfall you have across your area. >> look at the futurecast. there is that band of mixture. there is the storm by tomorrow morning, mid morning around the outer area, the virginia beach area. the outer banks of north carolina, with that circulation continuing. you see if it moves off, but it continues to feed back moisture over us. here we are 1:00 tomorrow afternoon with light to moderate snow finally as we get through
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tomorrow. i'm afraid 8:00 to 9:00, you folks in the eastern suburbs, we will be seeing that snow move out. very heavy snow continues overnight one to three inches per hour. doesn't get out of here until we are into 7:00, 8:00. that's why around washington now, 18 inches. perhaps in some spots even 30 inches in some of the suburbs, out to the mountains to our west. 30 to maybe some spots 40 inches of snow from a monumental historic storm and a dangerous one, too. >> thanks, bob. coming up tonight, newly-discovered e-mails reveal todd palin had much more influence on politics in alaska than originally thought. >> punishments in a local high school. >> and washington's favored panda arrived safely in china.
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the president and ceo of toyota issued an apology today. he admitted his company is facing a crisis. akio toyoda talked about the massive recall because of gas pedal problems. it left millions worldwide frustrated and confused. today he said the company will bring in independent experts to review its quality control process and said he was sorry from the bottom of his heart and added a promise to customers in english. >> believe me, we always customer first is first priority.
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>> toyota has not decided what to do about the brake problems reported in the 2010 prius hybrid models. this will cost the company an estimated $2 billion this year. the husband of sarah palin may have had a bigger role in politics than first known. thousands of pages of e-mail obtained by showed todd palin had a hand in several high-level government decisions while his wife was the government of alaska. those included board staffing and budget cutting, cuts to the budget staff and judicial nominees. the e-mails offer a look into the couple's personal lives, between growing tensions between them and the media. in one e-mail he advocates removing an alaska newspaper from a press release list. at least seven students at churchill high school are being
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singled out for punishment for their role in a grade-changing scheme. the principal at churchill says more students might be punished. the teenagers allegedly hacked into the school's computer system and charged money to improve grades for some students. they also accused are lowering grades for students they didn't like. montgomery county state's attorney has yet to decide whether charges will be filed. the school will hold a community meeting in the next few weeks to talk more about these allegations. our coverage of the blizzard of 2010 will kin after this.
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good evening, i'm jim vance. >> i'm doreen gentzler. we are staying on with you just past midnight as we continue to cover the blizzard of 2010 and the snowstorm begins to pick up, let's go back to bob ryan in storm center 4. >> it is the blizzard. in many areas with the bands of intense snow come through and folks report the visibility is down to almost zero. that's one of the criteria why so much of the area with the strongest winds coming off the bay are under that blizzard warning. here is the doppler. you see that plume of moisture i showed you earlier from eastern
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north carolina up and over us. while this storm does show signs of beginning to close off a little bit, in other words, you can see down there into parts of southern virginia, it's trying to bring in and trapome drier air, wrap around, but it will get going here and continue for us, if not necessarily southern virginia to draw in more moisture and keep it coming. unfortunately, temperatures are holding around the 32 degree mark. the wet snow with these strong winds that snow continues to pile up. in some areas a look at 14 inches around stephen city. winds gusting 30, 32 miles per hour, this is what we wer forecasting yesterday. a band of 18 to 24 inches. because we've gotten these bands coming through, we updated things to 30 inches. there will be isolated areas. they may have as much as 30
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inches. some of the high spots will possibly have 40 inches. there is that mixture of folks fredericksburg, south stafford and spotsylvania. heavy snow around the washington area. when you get up tomorrow morning, there will be a foot of snow on the ground. it will continue through the day. the intensity will diminish. unfortunately, the winds will be there. one positive will be that the temperatures will be falling into the 20s so it will be blowing and drifting. back to you. >> thank you, bob. >> the weather has been causing big trouble on the roads. those whiteout conditions we heard about are quite evident around town. jackie benson is on the mall with more of that. >> reporter: if it were summertime, you would see the beautiful washington monument facing that way down the mall. take a look right now. it's i just a complete whiteout. you can't see anything. it's getting dangerous to drive,
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dangerous to walk. in the district the best and safest way to get around was on foot. along u street, pedestrians found out although the street was being plowed, sidewalks were tricky. >> it wasn't as difficult as i thought would be, but i can see in a half hour it was going to get bad and tomorrow morning will get worse. >> reporter: by nightfall, driving snow began to filter the glow of the famous monuments of the nation's capitol. as the snow began to fall more heavily, few ventured on to the national mall. those who 0 did saw a picture post card washington. the city is hopefully prepared for the worst. >> it's different than any other time of year. there are only a couple of crazy people jogging and stuff like that. it's quiet. >> reporter: as evening continued, the storm brought a number of emergency response


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