website. david wildstein >> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler in new york. >> state of emergency - breaking news - a chemical spill triggers warnings about the water supply for up to 300,000 in west virginia. we'll have the latest. >> plus... >> i come out here today to apologise to the people of new jersey >> damage control - chris christie is sorry for the bridge saga, but is it just beginning or friendly >> passage to india - diplomat accused of fraud here and hailed as a hero in india. we talk to her attorney. >> hollywood high-rise story in
theatres - saying that it lies on a fault line. what a new report says about its safety. >> good evening. we have a lot to get to tonight. we begin with the breaking news of a chemical spill in west virgin. a state of emergency has been called around charleston. nine counties are affected. health officials are advising people not to drink, bathe or cook with the water. water stations have been set up. a chemical used in processing coal leaked along the river. daycare, universities, restaurants and schools are told to shut down. west virginia department of health and resources say symptoms of illness include burning in the throat, eye irritation, nonstop vomiting and
trouble breathing, as well as skin irritations such as skin blistering. dave boucher is the chief at "daily mail." what do you know about the spill? >> i got off the phone with a state spokesperson. according to the department of environmental protection, they are estimating between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons of this chemical leaked through an initial outer rim of a holding tank and an unknown account of that 5,000 gallons seeped through a secondary barrier, went into the ground and made its way into the river from the tank. >> how dangerous is the chemical, and what sort of problems has no water for the people of the west virginia area tonight. >> sure, so we are trying to learn exactly what this chemical
is. it's called crude nchm and it's - we are not sure how dangerous it can be. now the officials are saying that it's not necessarily, you know, the most dangerous chemical. counties have been affected. we have heard reports from the surrounding areas that supermarkets sold out of the water. i have seen people running around with three or four bags full of water. i spoke to a gas station clerk. he told me it's been pandemonium at the gas station in the last couple of hours. people are reacting as though this is - make not a panic, but they are scared. >> the national guard is helping to supply water. have you heard anything about that. >> they are. we heard the national guard bringing in truckloads of water from maryland and the surrounding states. the government called on them to
help with the emergency. from the pipelines or responding to natural disasters. the governor and his people are confident to help set up the stations in the communities, getting water to hospitals, nursing homes or the first-priority centres, getting that out to the rest of the community. >> any idea how long the lack of water will continue? >> right now that's the biggest question. we are trying to figure out how long it will take for the water to clear out of the area. i have been told that the officials know that they are hoping that water will flow downstream and push it out of the area and out of the area affected, affecting the homes. state officials are testing the water, but they don't know how long it will take. >> we are told that it's a difficult situation in places like the gas station and the stores, where panic set in and people are trying to get water. >> that's right. you'll see pictures from all over the county of baring
shelves and disappointed customers leaving long lines outside of stores. you'll go into buildings of the state capitol. there's garbage bags on the sinks saying don't touch the water or come in contact with the water. people are nervous about the situation and are not sure what to do. >> dave boucher, we'll try to get back to you, from the "daily mail," and maybe you can help us with an update. >> sure, not a problem. >> all right. tonight the diplomat at the center of the standoff between the u.s. and india left of the country. she was arrested accused of lying about paying her maid $3 an hour. she said she was humiliated by her treatment of the police. india says she is been transferred to new delhi. >> from the start the case caused outrage in india, with
protesters spilling the streets. it started last month and u.s. authorities in new york arrested an indian diplomat devyani khobragade whilst dropping her daughter off at school. she was outraged at her treatment, handcuffed in public, strip-searched and housed with drug addicts in a gaol. >> there are indications that nothing but proper procedures were followed. >> u.s. assertions did nothing to cool the anger in india, anger that attracted more attention than the charges. >> federal officers say devyani khobragade lied on a visa application and how much she paid her. devyani khobragade was indicted on two counts, visa fraud and making a false statement. it set off a tug of war between india and the united states. >> there's only one victim in this case. that is devyani khobragade, a
serving indian diplomat on mission in the united states. >> india responded by curtailing u.s. documents perks. now they'll have to obey traffic laws and pay parking tickets and are ordering the u.s. embassy to turn away non-documents at a popular social club. u.s. secretary ernest moniz postponed a trip to india. devyani khobragade will fight the charges. >> dan is on the line, he's devyani khobragade's lawyer. is your client on a plane back to india tonight? >> it's good to be here. yes, she's over the south atlantic right now. >> what was she told to do, what did she do to get out of the country. >> let me tell you what happened by backing it up. the allegations made against her were false and baseless.
they were merely allegations that were made by the united states government, that were unsupported, and not as a result of a clear and effective investigation. from the very beginning the doctor said that the charges were baseless and false. and our investigation demonstrates the truth of what she has to say. we know that every single day we hear in the newspapers of people being exonerated from charges made by prosecutors who don't fully investigate cases. people are put on death row in the united states, and are exonerated because prosecutors make claims. in this case claims have been made. they are not true, they are false. they are baseless. and we are totally relieved that devyani khobragade is no longer being attacked by the united states government for claims
that are not substantiated. >> dan, is she glad to be out of the country. >> she is certainly glad to be on her way home to india. >> can you tell us about the indictment. what happens now to the charges filed against her. >> the charges technically exist. but the government of the united states of america is not able to actually press those charges against her. so it's as though they were in hiberbation, and the charges -- hibernation. the charges will remain. were she to return to the united states without diplomatic immunity, the charges could be pressed against her. >> can you tell us anything about the housekeeper supposedly involved in the case? >> yes, i can tell you a lolt. i can -- tell you a lot. i can tell you she received every penny she was entitled to be paid.
a significant portion was paid to her unemployed spouse in india. the balance of that money was paid to her here in the united states. very dekaled logbooks were kept for which she signed for all of the money which you received. you may not be surprised that when that housekeeper left devyani khobragade's home, what did she take with her - that logbook. it's difficult to demonstrate all of the money that was paid to her, but we can do that, and we will do that. what we know is that devyani khobragade paid every penny to this person that she was supposed to be paid. let's understand this one thing. devyani khobragade has built a life and a career of supporting the rights of women and workers. the notion that she would have behaved this way is beyond the pale.
unfortunately what we have here is a domestic worker who came to the united states, liked what she saw and learned what she had to say in order to stay. today the domestic worker is now here permanently, and her family is here as well. i think at the end of the day she got what she was looking for >> let me ask you this finally. do you think this whole case has done damage to the relationship between the u.s. and india. >> i think they'll recover. it's been a very important learning lessons for the united states, that diplomacy is based on reciprocity. that's the idea. when you treat someone poorly in the united states, we might expect that our people are treated somewhat less pleasantly in other places. >> so are you - let me make this clear. are you suggesting the housekeeper made the
allegations. >> well, the housekeeper did make allegations. >> right. you're saying they are not true. >> i'm telling you they are false. >> dan, great to have you on the program. thank you for talking. >> thank you, have a good night. >> now to the other major story chris christie did not say much yesterday with the scandal over closing lanes of george washington bridge surfaced. today he barely stopped, repeatedly saying sorry and vowing to get to the bottom of what he called a humiliating incident. david shuster has the story. >> chris christie was contrite before the microphones. >> i come out to apologise to the people of new jersey. >> the governor said he was embarrassed and humiliated to learn that members of his staff sparked the closure of access lanes to the george washington bridge. actions that were never encouraged or authorised.
>> i had no involvement in the issue, planning or execution. i am stunned by the abject stupidity. >> chris christie said he questioned his staff last month about the claims that mayor sokolich, a democrat, who warned that the traffic jams were a form of retribution. >> i told them i would go out in a press conference, and if no one gave information to the contrary, that i was going to say that no one on my staff was involved in this matter. >> chris christie did just that, calling the allegations a few weeks aborigine absurd. >> i know you guys are absceobs with this. i'm not. >> emails on wednesday showed that bridget anne kelly, a staff member wrote to the staff overseeing the bridge. >> there's no justification
forever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. and as a result i have terminated bridge et's -- bridget anne kelly's employment immediately. >> i am responsible for what happens under my watch - the good and the bad. when mistakes are made, then i have to own up to them. and take the action i believe is necessary. >> and that action, said christy, including travelling to fort lee and apologising to officials there. the mayor spoke after their meeting. >> he viewed it to be a productive meeting with the assurances that it will not occur in the future. >> paul fishman's office said
they would consider a criminal charge. they are getting testimony under oath. the lane clearance were carried out by david wildstein, oninstruction from chris christie's staff. all this as chris christie considers a 2016 presidential campaign. >> if you don't have the trust of the voters, and you can handle the job and the position correctly, that is a big obstacle to overcome. >> chris christie said he would cooperate with investigations. including providing testimony underoath. chris christie's political future may depend on the judgments of a grand jury. >> one of christy's closest mentors, former governor tom kainn is impressed with how chris christie handled himself. >> i thought he was impressive,
he was definitive. he denied absolutely any information from any source. he didn't know about it until yesterday morning. he apologised and cleaned up what he thought was the only problem in his office. in addition to that, most politicians are good in trouble. they do a press conference, 6-7 minutes. he answered questions for two hours, until there weren't other questions left. that was impressive to me. unless there's something we don't know about, he'll survive. >> what about the culture in the governor's office where an aide, if that's the case, can go rogue. >> that may be the serious question he has to answer. because this was someone who had been therein four or five years.
how she could have expected this was something she could do that would be helpful to the governor or no one would find out about it. that is a strange thing. it doesn't seem real. it's one of the stranger things i have ever experienced in politics. this story. >> there'll be a federal and state investigation. has this done damage to the governor's office and his aspirations to be president of the united states. >> it's done damage, there's no question about it. how serious will depend on the investigations. if they find something and something comes out that you and i don't know, that contradicts what the governor said in his press conference. the damage will be serious. if it doesn't, and it turns out to be a rogue operation, that
the governor knew nothing about and condemned and fired the people responsible. i suspect that as time goes by, he'll get over it and be a leading candidate for president. >> a lot have been critical of his style. his style worked to his benefit. in other cases he was called a bully. because of the incident has it brought the questions of being a bully back to the surface again? >> it has. if his opponents - be they republicans or democrats - can put together a pattern, where they put this together for six or seven other incidences that show that he was a bully or getting political revenge, that will be harmful. if this stands alone, and this is something that, again, nothing new comes out on. i think he's going once again emerge to the front of the pack among the presidential
candidates. >> great to see you again. thanks for joining us. we appreciate it. >> on the other hand the democrat who ran against chris christie for governor, state senator barbara buono called on the u.s. department of justice for further investigation. >> governor christy's administration is run like a paramilitary organization. it's extremely disciplined. there are no leaks. it is a very disciplined organization. it is run top down, and he knows everything that goes on. people do not sneeze without asking chris christie's permission. to say that his closest advisors, one of his chief of staff, his campaign manager who, you know, if you have a campaign, you know that you are the alter eager of your campaign manager, who was mentioned in the emails as being part of this whole debacle.
his long-time communications director. it's straining ceduality to think that a governor like this, a micromanager is trying to distance himself so that he has no culpability. i don't buy it. >> i get the impression that you think this is deeper, that it goes much further and that the governor was definitely involved. am i wrong about that? >> i do. i know how the governor operates, how his administration operates. he's somebody what is thin-skinned. he is offended easily and harbours a grudge. there is a - how shall i say this - a culture of fear. >> there's no evidence of any wrongdoing regarding the governor. >> there is evidence that there is wrongdoing on the part of people that are in his very close orbit. and i think it's very important for the people of new jersey. this is someone that wants to be
president. who sees himself as a leader that could act responsibility in running the largest military force in the world. we certainly want to make sure that he acts responsibly overseeing the largest bridge in the world. i think that it's important, you know, one of the appointees, mr david wildstein test faced under oath before the assembly committee and he invoked the fifth amendment over and over and over under the advice of his attorney, suggesting he may be subjected to criminal liability. >> the governor didn't. >> he was not questioned under oath. >> he was questioned by a lot of reporters for two hours. >> i understand that you think this is the case. but without any evidence. >> that's why we need an investigation. >> are they not just allegations. >> that is why we need an investigation. >> thank you barbara buono. great to have you on the
>> a building project in the heart of hollywood may be on shaky ground literally. state and city planners knew the site was close to a fault line. a geological map shows it is closer than thought. brian rooney has more. >> the millenium hollywood project near the landmark capital records building is one million square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail space, including two 39 and 30 story towers. the geological map released by the state shows the $200 million flowers are within the 100,000 foot danger zone of the hollywood fault line, requiring
testing to find whether the fault runs under the building. >> no building can be built astride the surface rupture of a fault. that's why it's forbidden in california to build across the act fault. >> it is run, near the historical hollywood and sunset booul vards. it's a fault that could crack open the ground. the city used outdated fault maps to approve 14 projects, the millenium hollywood included. the new map is a draft until final approval. opponents seized upon it as proof that the millenium hollywood should be stopped. >> if the buildings, heaven forbid, get built, they'll imperil the lives of thousands that live and work in the buildings. >> among the defenders is an la city council member voting for it. >> this project will be good for
hollywood on several levels. it will employ thousands of people during the construction phase and more thousands of people during the operations phase of his life-time of the development. >> a statement from the millennium project downplayed the importance of the map saying: >> ground breaking had already been delayed by questions about what lies below. the developers say they'll do what is required to build on this spot. up next - an update on the breaking news. a state of emergency in west virgin after a chemical leak there.
york. if you are joining us, we want to update you on the breaking story tonight from west virginia. authorities say a chemical used in processing coal leaked from a factory along the elk river. the governor declared a statement of emergency. the largest city in that state. nine counties are affected. health officials are advising people not to drink, not to bathe or cook with the water. dave boucher is the capital bureau chief with the "daily mail" and joins us again live on the telephone. what else are you learning, dave? >> we have heard reports, obviously stores have been selling out of water. a local club withdrew 4200 cases of water within an hour and a half. and the state attorney general said they heard reports of price gouging happening in stores. west virginia law says you are only allow prices of commodities
up 10% in states of emergencies. there has been price gouging above that. he's asking for people to call in. >> sounds like this happened this afternoon. what do we know about how it leaked. >> the first report of something wrong came up as early as 10 o'clock. >> the first indication was a smell of liquorish. there was a report of liquorish smell or odour, officials investigated. in midafternoon, they announced local community officials. there has been a leak of the product, and so what we know so far is that about 2,000-5,000 gallons of the chemical leaked out of an internal barrier of a large holding tank. an unknown amount of that 2,000 to 5,000 gallons seeped into the ground and made its way into the
river. we are not sure if there was a hole in the container or something went wrong. i've been told that the facility was old. >> the facility of the elk river, and we are looking at pictures. i'm assuming that are of the elk river. it looks like a beautiful river, recreational area as well. >> sure. in the summer time you'll see voters, people on the river. for decades he's been known as the chemical fally, especially those that called the kanawha valley home. people heard of chemical leaks and spills in the area. >> you have supposedly 300,000 people who made the impact without water. what do we hear about tomorrow. >> the latest estimates are saying that the area increased. the latest number of people was 100,000 people in this area.
the last that we heard from the national guard, they are sending in truckloads, working on the number. some say 50 truckloads of water. 75 loads of water. most of the bottled water. most is supposed to arrive friday afternoon. officials are establishing locations, where citizens can go and pick up water now or get fresh water, because small sections of local community of municipal water sources have not been contaminated. at this point there was a statement from the spokesperson from the water company. no time line has been released and can't say when this state of emergency has been listed. it's a wait and see scenario. >> dave boucher with the charleston "daily mail," providing us with terrific information. >> for more on soil and more, let's bring in technos
environmental scientist, marr ito davis. what effects can we expect from the environment? >> there's two major concerns. the first is where is the chemical going, from a physical and a biological standpoint. how difficult will it be to contain and remove the chemical from the environment. in terms of where it's going, we need to know where it's going, how far it's going downstream. how much it spread throughout the watershed and how is it taken up by the different water and organisms, and those that depend on the aquatic systems for their survival. then in terms of the containment and clean-up. all of that will depend on how much it's permeated throughout the system.
and whether or not we have a fast and speedy effort to contain and clean up the spill. >> you have heard dave boucher report that he heard that the chemical went into the ground and then leeched into the river. we are talking 2,000 to 5,000 gallons of the chemical. does that tell us more about the damage that the chemical can cause to the environment? >> i don't know much about the particular chemical, so i can't speak to that specifically. if it has permeated down into the watertable. that can be a concern from an environmental standpoint. the sources of water are long-lived. it takes a lot of time to cycle up to the surface. it takes a lot of time for those to cycle through the water cycle. it could be a major concern. >> now to data collecting while you drive.
>> we have been hering how the n.s.a. collects data. the oil industry is spying on drivers. morgan radford has the fore. >> cryptic and controversial, jim farrelly, global vice-president for marketing for ford told customers, we have our eye on you. >> we have so much data. >> he is probably referring to event data recorders in cars sold in the u.s. they are like black boxes helping investigators to find out what causes air crashes, and can record whether a driver speeds or wears a seat belt. >> we know where you are, we have a gps censors, and how fast you are driving. >> as the nation debates the n.s.a.'s domestic surveillance program, farrelly may have hinted that ford is collecting
the black box information. >> seriously, we don't supply that data either. >> a day after the remarks ford tried to clear things up with a statement saying, "i left the wrong impression: >> >> joining us to talk about this is austin petersen, the editor of the "libertarian republic." welcome. >> thank you very much for having me. >> what kind of device is this? >> it's a gps device with additional features. ford sync technology, updating on the weather, traffic and gets you on about your day if you drive a ford vehicle. i have this system in my own vehicle. >> sounds like a great device. what is wrong with it? >> nothing is wrong, considering the customers buy the product voluntarily.
you don't have to drive a car or have a device that has a device in it. the big problem is the understanding of how private property and property works. the fourth amendment of the united states says a blanket warrant can't be issued by the government. if you look at things like privacy rights. you want to see what a government is doing. the n.s.a. never had any allowance from the american people to blanket their metadata, detect their information. when you buy something, purchase a car, use facebook, a service, a private service. you give the data away. not so with the n.s.a. i don't see anything wrong with what ford is doing. it's voluntary, and it is of benefit. >> you give your data away. you have not disconnected your device in your car. >> absolutely not. i choose to do business with companies like ford and twitter
and facebook. because i get a benefit to them. technology adds to my day and helps to get the work done. there's a reason to be concerned about privacy. >> you trust ford with your information? >> absolutely. i trust them with my business, purchased 2012 ford. it's a great vehicle. never had any problems. >> how can you be sure that fort won't share it with someone else. >> i trust they would not do that. if they did they'd be in trouble. the government doesn't have to please the customer base. ford has to keep customers happy. if i knew ford was sharing my data i would be upset and not purchase. when the n.s.a. takes my data, metadata, i don't have a choice. it's a big difference. >> it's an important understanding that people have to know.
a delineation between government and corporations. >> should car companies know, for instance, whether or not you break the law. if the gps information revealed that you were broking the law while you were driving the car, should the car company know and have the information. >> i don't think they should. think of it this way. the lawmakers writing the laws want to know that information. if ford had a problem with the lawmakers writing the bad law, they could take the information and see the lawmakers breaking laws. they could clean congress out in a year. give us the data ford, come on. >> thank you austin petersen for coming on the show. >> next - president obama's new commitment to tackle poverty. he says it needs to be a year of action. what his promises hope to accomplish.
>> we had a solar storm from the sun in the last 24 hours. all that energy headed towards the polls. generally it gives us a stream of ions, creating the aurora borealize. we are looking at the north poll, the ovation prime model. you can see where we are seeing the aurora borealize show up. this was not as strong as we anticipated it to be last night. as we go to where we can see the aurora borealize, canada and
parts of saskatchewan and alberta, you have a fair chance of seeing it. it's a good chance of seeing it show up in parts of montana. it looks like clouds in the east preventing a chance of seeing the aurora show up. what will show up is mountain snow for the west. a big storm moving in is bringing in warnings. let's start out with how strong the winds will be. extreme wind event bringing gusts 50 to 60 miles per hour across washington, organ, idaho and montana.
lyndon johnson started his war on poverty, a pledge from barack obama promising to help poorest areas with five promise zones, san antonioio, philadelphia, southeastern ken talky and the choctaw nation in arizona. the goals are to tackle poverty, access to affordable housing and improve public safety. mike viqueira has more from the white house. >> really, since the regan administration, and the anniversary that we observed, the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. go back through the researchers. the zones, the tax credits. they are all kinds of ways invigorating growth, education, trying to lift the children born into the situations as the president put it, not the zip code you are born in, but the strength of your dreams should
determine your future. there are mixed results through history. this is something the president wants to get after. it's part and parcel of the largest theme. he'll be hitting time and time again. that is the growing income disparity and what he proposes to do about it. the president proposed this in the state of the union in february, between then and now. there has been an application process. several communities came forward. there'll be 20 promise zones put forward over the course of the next three years. the president proposed the first five recipients. back to the larger theme, the disparity, in fact, a gap between rich and poor. the president notes a falling. perhaps hopeful thinking, hope springs eternal and the president spoke of that in the
east room. >> we have to make sure the recovery, which is real, leaves nobody behind. that's my focus throughout the year. it's a year of action. that is what the american people expect. and they are ready and willing to pitch in and help. it's not a job for government, but a job for everyone. >> not so fast, however, there are republicans, conservative and congress who will have to vote for the tax credits they are involved if they are a company or organization going into the community. if you hire the unemployed or underemployed who need training. congress will have to vote on that and will discuss in the coming weeks. >> one of the promise zones is in south-eastern kentucky, a poor place in the nation. half of its residents live in poverty. the main industry was coal. many residents are unemployed and struggling. david brown tells us his
personal story. >> my name is david brown. there's no jobs to be had. i mean, there's no industry in this part of the country. i mean, when they took the coal mines out that affected everything. like your grocery stores, the people ability making money. you got to cut back. it's affected everybody. >>. >> the mines were the lifeblood. they took it. one way or another, i don't know whose fault it is, but people like u there's nothing. when you got laid off from the mines, unemployment runs up.
my brother's run out. if you are a young person, there's no future here. there's no reason to stay here. you may as well move off. that's what i'm afraid will happen around here. what jobs are here is minimum wage and stuff. there's nothing here. young persons have no business staying here. i don't see things getting better. years ago, back in oklahoma, and in the dust bowl everywhere packed up and left. that's what it's going to be her. well, i believe it when i see it. i mean, you know, i don't know if jobs will ever be back, you know. they talk about the environment and - but, you know, people has got eat and work and need to
work. there's no other industry in here. i don't see them bringing nothing in here to provide a decent job. it looks bleak to me. they can promise they are going to do this. i just don't see it myself. >> thanks to david brown for telling us his story. >> dennis rodman says he is sorry for this week's explosive interview in korea, he apologised for insinuating that kenneth bae was to blame for his captivity. kenneth bae's family accepted the apology. she's sentenced to 125 years hard labour. >> baseball is about cooperstown, and the ball players that may not make it because of performance enhancing drugs. john henry smith is here on that story. >> it's a shame we can't focus on the good story. the baseball home of fame threw
the doors wide open. they are tightly shut for some. baseball's biggest cavl hall names. voters made it known they consider the accomplishments of players from the steroid era tainted. guys like clemens, bonds, sowso, mcgwire. they are struggling to get votes. she is days venerated milestones for a pitcher and 500 home runs, no longer mean a trip to cooperstown if voters think you cheated. >> greg maddux said he never cheated. he knows plenty that did. >> a lot of guys took stuff when we were playing. never really worried about it. >> guys thought it gave them a chance to be better.
so many guys were doing it. it was what it was. you look in the mirror. be as good as you can. >> greg maddux's partner at the top of the braves rotation was 2014 hall of famer tom glavine, and doesn't envy the voters' difficult job of shorting out candidates from the steroid era. >> maybe there's different classification of guys, guys that they know failed the test. guys that they are suspicious of or that they don't know. it's hard to separately all of them. >> the lone slugger is mv frank thomas. blasting 525 home runs, and he prides himself on the fact that he did it his way. the right way. >> i don't disrespect anyone. i'm proud of the way i did it. i would never point my finger at
anyone until approvaling guilty. what happened over the last few years, everyone has been proven guilty. >> frank thomas says fanned thought he was guilty of underachieving when comparing his numbers to big leaguers who cheated. >> sometimes 40 home runs didn't look right to people. not enough from a big guy like me, he's underachieving. i heard that for years. i was healthy. i'm proud of my numbers and of what god gave me. >> maybe one day the climate of mixed hall of fame voters will warm up to including perceived cheaters. that is not today. >> in the recent vote none of the big names got more than 36% of the votes and members for each tainted player are down from the previous year. >> another accused cheater is a
member of the 500 home run, 3,000 hit run and is off the ballot for good, getting 4% of votes this year. >> this will be an issue that the hall of fame deals with for years to come, i am sure. >> absolutely. they are making their thoughts on the matter known. >> coming up, inside a tornado. >> i'm in the national wind institute at texas tech university, where they can recreate tornados.
>> into according to the national weather service isolated tornados could hit the south-east by saturday. they are a year-round threat and the damage can be devastating. 24 people died when the most potent type of tornado and ef5 touched down in oklahoma. since then scientists are trying to figure out how to outlast the winds. shini somara, "techknow" scientist reports.
>> oh, my. . >> coming down right now, major tornado. >> deadly tornado rushes towards the u.s. community of oklahoma city. the 2-mile wide wind tunnel ripped through the state capital on monday. >> oh, my good. >> that was the tragedy on the ground. new innovations are being developed in the lab to protect against future disasters. >> we create things that mimic the characteristics of tornado wind speeds. >> i'm at the national wind institute at texas tech university, where they can recreate tornados. >> darrell james designed and built a simmualator called vor tech. >> it allows us to repeatedly reproduce in a controlled pattern and understand what happens to thrusters. >> do you sit in the vortex?
>> all the time. would you like to go. >> you'll leave me here on my own? >> you're good. >> i was wondering how powerful an ef3 could be. now i can just about imagine how terrifying a tornado could be. >> we are pleased to have shini somara join us from los angeles. i loved story. so the winds you stood in, 150 miles per hour, what did it feel like? >> it was a bliss for a mechanical engineer. it was powerful. >> how accurately can the institute really mimic an actual
tornado? >> well, the tornado that we had in the vor tech was ef3. that is about halfway up the scale. the ef scale goes up to five. it's pretty fast. not the maximum that tornados can be, but enough to really measure the impact of damage on structure that they put inside the vor tech. >> that is what they learn. what else do they learn? >> well, the purpose of the lab is to understand how tornados are form, because it's a complex bit of engineering. it's essentially, you know, rotating winds, and what was really interesting to me is it took eight fans sucking air out of that space, and 64 metal veins at certain angles to create a tornado like that.
you she how the tornado is formed because of theatrical smoke pumped into the space. it's cool. >> it's about trying to build buildings that can withstand the storms, is that right? >> yes, the purpose is to understand how tornados can damage structures. so they put scaled-down mottled of walls and buildings into the vor tech and generate the tornados to see how the buildings fare. they have pressure sensors on them so scientists are able to collect data using the sensors. >> fascinating story. good to have you on the program. thanks again. that is just for starters. the new method to conquering tornados is incredible and i opening. see the ground-breaking research on techknow. see you tomorrow night. our top stories are coming up in a moment.
>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john seigenthaler and here are tonight's top stories: a chemical leek in west virginia, nine counties affected. residents told not to consume the water. authorities say a chemical used in processing coal leaked from a factory along the elk river. the governor declared a state of emergency in and around the state capital. >> the indian diplomat arrested last month has been indicted. she was granted diplomatic immunity and is on her way back to india. >> new jersey governor chris christie is sorry about a political revenge scandal invo