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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 27, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, special coverage of the blizzard of 2010. from the south through the mid-atlantic, on up to new england and including here in new york. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. snow all over the place. this one was the real thing. and there are piles of snow throughout new york city. for that matter, throughout the eastern seaboard. this is what an average new york city side street looks like. piles of snow this big and larger. cars buried. the problem is, this isn't an average new york city side street.
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we're standing in the middle of 49th street, just near the base of the world famous 30 rock christmas tree where millions of people come to see this site every year. this churning blizzard starting in the south, came up through new york city. again, the mid-atlantic, all the way through new england. and this was a whiteout here at this time yesterday. a history maker, no doubt. records fell along the length of the storm. 80 million americans were impacted by the storm, and look at that stat, 35 million americans witnessed blizzard conditions. transportation completely paralyzed. trains, planes and automobiles, all of it came to a complete halt. highways blocked to traffic. air travel, forget it. at the end of the day, when the storm is all said and done, it's estimated 6,000 total flight cancellations, domestic and international. my colleague, lester holt out in
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it all day and starting things off for us tonight not far from here in manhattan. lester, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. new york took the hardest hit from this, about 20 inches in the area i'm standing. up to 2 1/2 feet in other parts of the metropolitan area. keep in mind, all of this in the back of some pierce and howling winds. therefore, a city that usually prides itself on jumping back from these sorts of things rather quickly finds itself still struggling to recover tonight. the big apple woke up this morning frozen in time. the storm dropped up to three inches of snow an hour at times. too much for plows to keep up with. it even lit up the skies with lightning and sent claps of thunder booming over manhattan. it was a one-two punch that turned the storm into a blinding blizzard. a lot of snow, but have we seen winds like this before? >> it was the combination of the two. maybe you go back in
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history a hundred years or so, but it's been a long time since we 'seen a storm of with winds of 60 to miles an hour and 20 inches of snow. that's a catastrophe. >> reporter: states of emergency were declared in at least six states from the carolinas up through new england. snow totals range from 12.4 inches in philadelphia, to just over 19 inches in saugus, massachusetts. the new york area was hardest hit, with 29 inches on staten island, and 32 in nearby new jersey. normally bustling, new york streets were littered with abandoned cars, buses and even emergency vehicles. tonight, the city's ems city is reportedly overwhelmed with a backlog of calls. >> not enough people listened to our admonition. please don't drive. you know what's going to happen. cars are going to get stuck and then emergency vehicles can't get through. >> reporter: passengers stranded for six hours sent photos and
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reports by cell phone to new york one television. >> it is very, very cold. everyone is bundled up and shivering. >> reporter: the storm barreled up out of the south yesterday and for a time it was virtually the only thing moving up the i-95 corridor. amtrak canceled new york-boston service. airlines canceled 1,400 flights in new york on sunday. all three new york airports remained closed well into this afternoon. >> we've been waiting for this trip all christmas break. so it's kind of a disappointment. >> reporter: in massachusetts, toppled power lines left tens of thousands without power and made it difficult for firefighters to save this burning house in brockton. >> it's a nightmare. that's the word. >> reporter: dangerous conditions in philadelphia, even forced postponement of last night's scheduled game between the eagles and minnesota. >> the reason this game has been postponed until tuesday is out of concern for public safety. travel in and around. that's the reason, not what we're seeing here.
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>> reporter: here in new york tonight, the head of the union that represents ems workers says because so many ambulances are stuck, response times are up to three hours for emergency calls here, brian, adding more urgency to clearing this city's 6,000 miles of streets. >> lester holt on this cold night a few blocks away from our location here in new york. lester, thanks. good news, bad news about this storm happening right now. traditionally not much business gets transacted during this kind of week in a city like new york. the bad news, so many holiday travelers who need to get back home to their lives and jobs and they can't. we mentioned air travel, absolutely paralyzed. jeff rossen is out at laguardia airport where nothing has been coming in and out for so many hours now. jeff, good evening. >> reporter: good evening. after all the bad news we have been delivering a bit of a bright spot tonight. all new york major airports, newark, laguardia and kennedy, opened this evening and will
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stay open here at laguardia, they have one runway going. that doesn't even air traffic is back to normal. it could take days and that's crippling air travel nationwide. the day started like this, exhausted travelers sleeping at laguardia. the airport closed. >> if i can shave and get a nice park bench, i'll be happy. >> reporter: this evening, they're still sleeping in the terminal, but there's new hope. laguardia will have one runway open tonight, what do you think? >> i think having a runway open is meaningless unless you have planes to be using that runway. if you have ten runways and no planes, it's meaningless. >> reporter: she's right. planes were flown out of town ahead of the storm to avoid getting stuck. at laguardia, the gates are empty. >> the weatherman said that the blizzard is over, but for us it isn't. >> reporter: just because the airports are open doesn't mean the airlines can or will fly. today, delta canceled 875 flights.
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us airways canceled 690 flights. american, 509. precanceling another 40 for tomorrow. on top of the 2,000 cancellations in the northeast sunday. the backup is rippling from atlanta. >> all i want to do is go home. >> reporter: to washington, d.c. >> i'm hoping my flight gets out today. >> reporter: all the way to los angeles. >> all of our plans thrown out the window. we're going to do everything we can to make our vacation happen, but mother nature, she's in charge. >> reporter: airport crews are working around the clock clearing runways and de-icing aircraft, hoping to resume normal operations sometime tomorrow. any idea when you're getting home? >> we're confirmed to go out on wednesday. >> reporter: today is monday. >> yeah. >> reporter: if you can get there by train, brian, that may be the better bet. at least tonight and through tomorrow, amtrak has resumed service in the northeast. better than sleeping here.
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>> for all the folks stranded, one runway is better than no runways. jeff rossen out at laguardia tonight. jeff, thanks for that. we mentioned this other casualty of this storm, and if you're an nfl fan like our household, it was a big deal. the postponement of last night's sunday night nfl game in philadelphia, the eagles against, of all teams, the visiting vikings from minnesota, where they don't scare easily when it snows. again, the official reasoning, public safety. people coming to the stadium. the worry now is, does this set a precedent about when and when they will not play football outdoors? michelle kaczynski is in philadelphia for us tonight. a lot of talk about this game tonight down there in philly, right, michelle? >> reporter: that's right, brian. after the initial shock of this winter blast comes this raging debate on the airwaves, in the papers over this game. here's the philadelphia daily news, showing pictures of everybody involved, calling them
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the wimps that stole christmas. pointing out all the historic games that have been played during blizzard. tonight, the governor of pennsylvania going at it with a radio talk show host, saying that, you know, this is historic, that it's being canceled. the last time an nfl game was postponed was in 1932. back then it was only postponed a couple of hours. he said there are no cancellations in football. the games have been played in 60 below windchills, that fans can make their own rational decisions. extrapolating this out to, in his words, we are becoming a nation of wusses. >> we've become a nation of wusses. the chinese are kicking our butt in everything. if this was in china, do you think the chinese would have called off this game? people would have been marching down to the sfamd and they would have walked and doing calculus on the way down. >> reporter: plenty of people feel otherwise. now that it's a little taste of
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minnesota in philadelphia, brian. >> there was no "sunday night football." michelle kaczynski, thanks. we should also say that our network scrambled because they couldn't televise last night's game, it's going to be on tuesday night. so we'll try that. if you watched any of the weather channel coverage over the past 24 hours, you saw meteorologist mike seidel getting buffeted up in mass, as this storm swung into new england. mike has made it through the other end of the storm. mike, let's talk intensity. we have a place, elizabeth, new jersey, a short drive through the tunnel from here, right alongside newark airport. they got 31 inches of snow through that very severe band. somebody compared this to a cat 2 hurricane had it been late summer. >> reporter: exactly right, brian. we're still dealing with the winds tonight. the snow has backed off but the winds will cut right through you. windchills below zero at boston's logan airport, we gusted to 50 miles an hour
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this afternoon, following a 80-mile-an-hour hurricane force wind gust last night on cape cod. take a loo at the radar. the snow is backing off in maine. maybe a few more spots get a couple more inches. the blizzard warnings wind down this evening, the last of those to expire. the storm is tracking northeast. the pressure dropped to 962 millibars this morning. that's about as low as we've ever seen it with a nor'easter or blizzard. to put that in perspective, that pressure correlates with a strong category 2 or a weak category 3 hurricane. hurricane bob was that strong when it made landfall with the pressure. with it being that strong, the storm, as it winds up tomorrow in canada, even though it's going to be so far away, we'll still get gusts of 40 miles an hour. down south, the winds have died down and tonight we're looking at another hard freeze. orlando goes down to 26. miami to 37. a big warmup, though, for a lot of us heading towards new year's. brian? >> a very handsome pile of snow behind you, as well. mike seidel in nadic, mass,
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where it got sporty at the height of this storm. mike, thanks,s a always. we'll take a break and go to a more sensible spot for a news cast. when we come back, you might be surprised at how this holiday shopping season is going so far. later tonight, a special segment, our farewell to some of those we loved and lost in the year 2010. ar 2010. just joined? new year's resolution! we want a healthier lifestyle... so we can have more energy to do more stuff. healthy lifestyle? well, you should also start enjoying activia or activia light. activia, for us? sure, it's for people who want to feel good inside. when you feel good, you're more likely to get out there and enjoy life! mmm! mmm! i like this resolution. mm-hmm! here is the activia promise-- love how you feel or your money back! ♪ activia and get a cold... need a cold medicine with a heart. only coricidin hbp has a heart, right here. it's the only cold and flu brand that won't raise your blood pressure.
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across the plaza, inside the building, up the old slow "today" show elevator. and now we have emerged in our glass home overlooking the plaza here back inside and out of the elements. for those americans not house bound by this blizzard back east, this was a big day to hit the stores. to bring back the estimated 33% of the gifts that get returned every year. and to take advantage of deals. but this year's a bit different as we learn tonight from nbc's john yang in chicago. >> reporter: for retailers this year, it's been a holiday shopping season to cheer about. >> this year we saw very big increase in sales overall. so it's all good news. >> reporter: according to early estimates, spending was up as much as 5.5% over last year. and online shopping continued to show strong growth, up a whopping 15.4%. >> we're seeing positive growth
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for the first time in almost three years. and not since 2006 have we seen this level of sales. >> reporter: what were the hot presents? apparel up more than 11%. jewelry up 8.4%. other luxury items, up 6.7%. stronger holiday sales for retailers and careful inventory management mean fewer post christmas bargains for shoppers than last year. >> i haven't noticed there's many great big sales. >> reporter: on the east coast, this weekend's blizzard buried retailers hopes that it would be one of the top ten shopping days of the whole year, but the weather and most of the rest of the country was good, so retailers say there is no reason to panic. the business lost to the storm will likely be made up later in the week. >> when they dig out, retailers should expect those shoppers to be in the stores. >> reporter: and retailers hope that sales will pile up along with the snow drifts. john yang, nbc news, chicago. wall street here in new york
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was open for business today despite the snow. the dow lost a bit of ground, very light, blizzard and holiday season trading, down 18.5 points on the day. up next as we continue from new york tonight, a phone call from the president that's become a bit of a story in the world of sports. [ male announcer ] this is lara. her morning begins with arthritis pain. that's a coffee and two pills. the afternoon tour begins with more pain and more pills. the evening guests arrive. back to sore knees. back to more pills. the day is done but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. just 2 pills can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lara who chose 2 aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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vacation continues in hawaii. the white house says the president's been balancing work and play by working out, playing golf, reading, and at least two official visits to the local marine base. christmas dinner and then church services at the base chapel. the white house today released this photo of the family on the front pew clapping along to the music. we're told about 100 other worshippers were in the chapel surprised and welcome to happy their famous guest. one more note about the president. this one concerns the guy who is such a hot topic among football fans this nfl season. the spectacular return of michael vick as quarterback of the philadelphia eagles. after michael vick served jail time for his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring. the owner of the eagles told peter king of nbc sports the president called him last week and among other things, mr. obama talked about michael vick and redemption. the president said, so many
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people who serve time never get a second chance. and that he was happy a high profile organization like the philadelphia eagles had shown their faith in someone after such a major public downfall. the white house confirmed the conversation took place and said the president, of course, condemns the crimes that vick was convicted for. when we come back here tonight, our look back at those who left us and those who we'll miss from this past year. and those who we'll miss from this past year. i'd get this tightness in my chest. so i went back to my doctor again. we chose symbicort to help control my asthma symptoms all day and night. [ man ] symbicort improves my lung function, starting within 15 minutes. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. it is a combination of two medicines and should not be taken more often than prescribed. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems, and children and adolescents may have an increased risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems. symbicort is not for people whose asthma is well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine like inhaled corticosteroids. once your asthma is well controlled,
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we have an annual year-end tradition here of looking back, and as we begin this last week of 2010, tonight is the night for that here on this broadcast. while the holidays remind us all of the losses of those close to us, tonight we look at the staggering toll of notable names who departed from all of our lives this past year. ♪ >> some like it hot, but i personally prefer classical music. ♪ >> i saw my whole life as if i
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had already lived it. >> i'm beautiful. men find me desirable and people want to be my friend. >> please, don't just sit there, come on and sing. ♪ >> cathy, what kind of fellow would you like to marry? >> you. >> what you talking about, willis? ♪ >> i wish you wouldn't use words like that. >> surely you can't be serious. >> i am serious. and don't call me shirley. >> roger, roger. what's your vector victor? ♪ >> this is a gathering of the most influential people i know.
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♪ davy, davy crockett, king of the wild frontier ♪ ♪ ♪ >> the giants won the pennant! the giants won the pennant! the giants won the pennant! ♪ >> and it is long gone!
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>> this is the last shot we got. ♪ ♪ when your baby leaves you all alone ♪ ♪ and nobody calls you on the phone ♪ >> it's actually good to feel like you can be an inspiration to people. >> the american public needs to be clear on why we're in
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afghanistan. >> as of now, i am control here in the white house. ♪ ♪ >> president kennedy has been killed. president johnson has taken over. >> j.d. salinger has died at the age of 91. >> a look back at many of those we knew and lost in 2010. our thanks to producer megan marcus and videotape editor bev chase for that. if you want to share it with others, we've put the piece on our website,
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for us, for now, that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- building a future or demolishing business. a new rule to keep jobs by inn the city by the bay. good evening, i'm tom sinkovich. critics are accusing the city of san francisco of acting as an island, improving itself and excluding neighbors. this is not about a feed that enters the c t


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