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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 21, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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power, it can hit 65 miles an hour in a year. >> wow. solar trains. >> thank very much for watching. "nightly news" is next. we're back at 6:00. hope to see you then. tonight, the historic hurricane speeding to the northeast. henri at hurricane strength, growing more powerful. on track to hit long island and new england. which haven't seen a hurricane in 30 years, tomorrow. coastal areas now evacuating the rush to board up and stock up lines for gas. empty store shelves. governors calling up the naonal guard. >> you should be prepared to deal with the possibility that you could lose power >> we have the latest on its path new terror threats in afghanistan. americans told not to come to the airport. it's too dangerous, despite the
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president's promise yesterday to get everyone out mr. biden canceling his vacation today. and the dramatic report from outside the airport walls. >> at the front, people are just getting crushed. schools shutdown one district cancelling school for two full weeks after a covid outbreak with no remote learning option parents across the country bracing for a chaotic school year criminals going to extremes to steal your identity, even wearing masks to pretend they're you. they've already stolen hundreds of billions of dollars. and the special visitors that comforted this grieving father and how he turned it into a global movement. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening, as we come on the air, hurricane henri is beating a path no hurricane has taken in the past 30 years the storm now on track for a direct hit on the northeast.
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states are now preparing for what could be strong winds and severe flooding. voluntary evacuations are taking place in some lowlying areas. and the statue of liberty and ellis island will be closed tomorrow as the storm comes in we are covering it all for you tonight, and we begin with ron allen on new york's long island. >> reporter: tonight with millions in new york under a state of emergency, officials are calling for voluntary evacuations for some coastal low-lying areas. tourists cutting vacation short. >> going to the airport, trying to take a flight out to los angeles before they all get canceled >> reporter: long island bracing for what's expected to be the first direct hit by a hurricane in more than 30 years, when gloria in 1985 caused a billion dollars in damage. >> with hurricanes, you really can't mess around. >> it's going to be our anniversary on sunday. so those plans got canceled. we're just going to hunker down, drink some champagne
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>> if you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to get to higher ground, it has to be today please >> reporter: with time running out before henri's expected landfall before noon sunday, residents lining up for gas and boarding up, preparing for 3 to 6 inches of rain, 75-mile-per-hour wind gusts, and massive power outages that could last for days. what worries you the most? >> well, this is a significant storm event, high hurricane-force winds, significant rainfall, storm surge. >> reporter: emergency crews are on standby 500 national guard called up, officials urging residents to stay home on sunday. >> ron joins us from long island ron, what's going on there now in what may be the bull's-eye? >> reporter: the clouds are getting darker, thicker, more ominous. and it's just starting to rain we expect that to intensify with winds in the coming hours, and then overnight, strengthen and then no one knows exactly what's going to happen here,
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jose >> ron allen in long island, thank you. a state of emergency in connecticut tonight also as hurricane henri sets its sights on new england kathy park is there. >> reporter: the threat of hurricane henri closing in on new england. connecticut now under a state of emergency. >> two things. stay safe, stay home. >> reporter: rhode island opening several shelters for residents to safely ride out the storm. the governor of massachusetts activating members of the national guard >> plan and prepare for the worst and hope we never have to use those plans. >> reporter: tonight, coastal communities on high alert with officials shutting down beaches and ferries starting sunday. residents stocking up on essentials, emptying store shelves. >> what seems to be flying off the shelves? >> batteries, flashlights, gas cans, generators, all of the standard preparedness stuff. >> do you have all those things ready to go? >> we're running low on a lot of them, but stocking up as much as we can. >> reporter: hurricane bob took
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a similar path three decades ago, slamming towns with high winds, knocking out power for days once henri makes landfall, the slow-moving system could also trigger widespread flooding and outages. >> i got a flashlight and some batteries and some tissues. could not find a lighter >> reporter: henri cutting the weekend short as millions brace for impact >> and kathy is in new london, connecticut. they have some searing memories there from superstorm sandy. >> reporter: jose, that's right. the damage from sandy was extensive. water got up to the boardwalk, debris was scattered practically everywhere and this beach was closed for a week. jose >> kathy park in new london, connecticut. thank you. meteorologist dylan dreyer is tracking the storm's path. dylan, what's the latest
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>> jose, it is a category 1 hurricane at this time and it will most likely maintain that stretch as it approaches either long island or rhode island or connecticut. the track of the storm has been wobbling a bit either way, we'll see the same conditions they do deteriorate overnight. it's going to be really nasty across long island and southeastern massachusetts going through the day on sunday and then it will rain itself out as we go into monday and tuesday across the rest of new england we are likely going to see flooding concerns because of the rainfall itself. 3 to 6 inches of rain will be widespread across the northeast with as much as 10 inches of rain in some areas then we're looking for flooding along the coast because of storm surge, especially eastern long island, southeastern massachusetts, rhode island. 3 to 5-foot storm surge is likely we're going to see risk of power outages. winds could gust 60 to 80 miles per hour it topples trees and power lines on soaking-wet ground. we have a lot of facets to focus on and it all starts tonight jose >> dylan dreyer, thank you very much
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we are watching the effects of another hurricane, a deadly category 3 hit mexico overnight. hurricane grace battered the country's eastern coast with high winds, floods, and mudslides that killed at least eight people some areas got up to 18 inches of rain. it was one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the country's gulf coast. now turning to the crisis in afghanistan. fear and desperation are growing as americans and afghans try to escape and now there's a new warning about an isis terror threat against u.s. citizens at the kabul airport. we have two reports tonight starting with monica alba at the white house. >> reporter: a chaotic crush at the kabul airport. thousands struggling to reach the gates as the u.s. embassy told americans today to avoid going there unless specifically instructed, due to potential security threats, including from the isis affiliate active in afghanistan.
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defense officials tell nbc news there's specific concern the terrorist group could target americans and the airport. the threat comes hours after president biden pledged to bring all americans home and claimed there were no instances of u.s. citizens having trouble accessing the base >> we made an agreement with the taliban, thus far they've allowed them to go through, in their interest for them to go through. >> reporter: contradicted by his defense department, secretary austin telling lawmakers friday some americans had bee harassed and assaulted by taliban fighters at checkpoints. >> yes, some physical violence has occurred what appears to be happening is not every taliban fighter either got the word or decided to obey the word >> reporter: a new strategy forming as the u.s. military explores alternative ways to get u.s. citizens, afghans, and third-party nationals to the air field safely just as it did thursday when helicopters rescued 169 americans from a nearby hotel. the mission even more urgent as
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time runs out ahead of the president's august 31st deadline, just ten days away >> i think we can get it done by then, but we're going to make that judgment as we go >> reporter: overall, 3,800 people have been evacuated in the last 24 hours with flights now landing in germany, spain, italy, and indonesia of the 17,000 airlifted in the last week, 2,500 are american citizens but it's unclear how many are still in afghanistan >> monica joins us now from the white house. the president canceled a trip to delaware today >> reporter: that's right. president biden twice scrapped a weekend trip to wilmington, opting to stay here and meet with his national security team on the latest isis threat in afghanistan. jose >> monica alba at the white house, thank you the despair unfolding at the kabul airport is almost unimaginable this airport once a lifeline
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out, now the scene of so much anguish. sky news reporter stewart ramsey is there, and warning, the images you're about to see are disturbing >> reporter: this is an emergency now. it's nothing to do with process. they're just trying to save lives. tens of thousands are trying to get through, at the front they're being crushed. paratroopers pulling people from the mayhem medics rushing from the next casualty to the next and the next dehydrated and terrified the soldiers spray the crowd with a hose, anything to cool them down. men, women, and lots and lots of children then what we feared, the inevitable in the mayhem, units rush through crowds to shore up weak points in the evacuation center.
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everyone working flat-out, trying to stem the tide of an unfolding disaster >> it just seems to go from bad to worse here. and -- i don't know -- almost speechless as to what they're going to do about it it doesn't matter where you look, it's the same desperation. american soldiers pulling children, whole families from the pens they're being kept behind for processing. these people fear their dreams of a flight out are ebbing away as each day passes soldiers firing in the air, they fear they're losing control. it seems unlikely, however, a gunshot is ever going to calm the frightened down. stewart ramsey, sky news, kabul. in the middle of all that misery, there are profound signs of compassion and hope, like this a u.s. crew member gently guiding and supporting an
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elderly woman onto an evacuation aircraft in this photo, a smiling marine calms and cradles an infant at the airport. still ahead tonight, new covid school closures. the chaos as classes shut down also, extreme scams to steal your identity. criminals even wearing disguises.
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. a nightmare scenario in areas hardest-hit by covid hospitals are running out of room and supplies. that means patients come in for heart attacks and worse could be turned away. vaughn hillyard reports. >> reporter: hospitals across the gulf coast far exceeding capacity. >> a race against time. >> reporter: alabama out of icu beds as millions defy public health officials' pleas to stop the spread. >> i'm not going to stop living my life. >> would you hope more people wear masks >> no, absolutely not. >> reporter: hospitals confronting the onslaught of new patients, so overwhelmed they are setting up field hospitals, like this one in a hospital parking garage in jackson, mississippi. others airlifting patients to facilities hundreds of miles away, the closest bed available. >> when you say you're at max capacity, what does that quite literally mean >> beyond being full, we have patients stacked up in the emergency department, whether covid or other. >> essentially, their care is being sacrificed as a result
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>> being cared for in a makeshift, not makeshift but in a different location with different equipment than they would be cared for if they were in the icu. >> reporter: at this eastern alabama hospital, a backlog just to get into the emergency room >> ambulances with patients that were being brought to the emergency department, but there was nowhere to put them yet. >> reporter: the orlando mayor asked residents to stop watering their lawns because of liquid oxygen shortage, oxygen needed for patients is used to treat the city's water supply. and the federal government deployed on friday an emergency medical response team to help the staff at this southern alabama hospital patients seeking covid and other treatments, increasingly harder to take care of here how are those with noncovid emergencies, how is their care impacted in hospitals now? >> their care is being incredibly impacted. i have seen patients with heart attacks, infections that are not covid, they have been asked to return to the emergency room in one or two days. and that is simply not good care
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>> reporter: this is that hospital that's receiving that backup of emergency medical professionals from the federal government, but hospitals elsewhere tell me, jose, they need the support too >> vaughn hillyard in foley, alabama. thank you. in our nation's schools, covid is already upending the school year with new outbreaks some schools are canceling classes entirely here's emily ikeda >> reporter: tonight, hopes for a typical school year fading as some districts call for students to stay home just days after they were welcomed back. >> our biggest concern is being shutdown again, right? >> reporter: lamar county schools in rural georgia pausing all instruction for two weeks, no in-person or remote learning. a district of more than 2,600 seeing 600-plus student absences daily as the county logs one of the highest covid case rates in the state. one facebook user commenting, i do wonder why these two weeks couldn't have at least been
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virtual. like lamar county, some school districts and even major cities including chicago, washington, d.c., parts of san antonio, are swearing off virtual learning with few, if any, exceptions. hillsborough county, florida, thousands of students are quarantining that district ditched the pandemic-era virtual platform, leaving students at home with little option to learn how sustainable is the mindset of some districts and cities that they are not going to use remote learning at any cost? >> i think it is not sustainable at all i think what we learned about the pandemic is it is really unpredictable. >> reporter: new york city, the biggest school district in the country, has also said no to online learning this year. >> we found that our kids were safest in school our kids are coming back. >> reporter: some parents left skeptical. >> my prediction is kids won't be in school all year long. >> i am a little bit concerned
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about not having an online or remote option, only because we had several quarantines last year where our children were home >> reporter: as the pandemic rages on, so does debate over how to keep our children safe. emilie ikeda, nbc news. coming up, the extreme scams to steal your money.
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now to an nbc news investigation into fraud and the extreme measures crooks are taking to steal your identity.
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ken delanian has what you need to know. >> reporter: these are faces of fraud, criminals doing whatever it takes to steal covid cash the silicone masks an attempt to trick facial recognition software >> we've seen attacks from over 100 countries from across the world. >> reporter: blake hall works with "i.d. me" to help stop theft of unemployment benefits he estimates as much as $400 billion has been stolen from covid jobless programs alone half by foreign criminals, russian mobsters, chinese hackers, nigerian scammers, who siphon the money overseas. >> this is like letting people walk into fort knox and take the gold, and nobody asks any questions. >> reporter: when states made it easier to apply for covid benefits online that also made it easier for crooks to pose as jobless americans, using stolen personal information purchased in the dark corners of the internet
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after "i.d. me" started requiring selfie verification, fraudsters went to extraordinary lengths. >> we have seen everything from halloween masks to 3-d printed masks to barbie dolls that folks put up there >> it's definitely an economic attack on the united states. >> reporter: and on americans. when eon matlock lost her job and applied for benefits online, she was told she was already getting relief money >> somebody had just gotten hold of my social security number and was able to set up an account in my name. >> reporter: the fbi and secret service have opened more than 3,000 investigations earlier this admonition a nigerian oil company engineer was charged with submitting more than 250 fraudulent claims in 17 u.s. states, allegedly stealing almost $300,000 while sitting in nigeria. >> we'll probably never know exactly how much money was stolen at the end of the day, we'll know how much we get back, how many people we're able to put in jail. >> reporter: the justice department has set up a covid fraud task force, and the biden
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administration is promising to spend $2 billion to help states plug the leaks but experts say most of the billions stolen are gone for good jose >> ken dilanian, thank you when we come back, the beauty of the butterfly, the global movement one father started to honor his daughter.
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good news tonight about the power of nature not only to heal but to help remember
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frank o'donnell was in the rhode island backyard days after the death of his daughter, carrie, when he had a visitor. >> take me back to that day. >> i noticed over my right shoulder, an orange butterfly landed the side of our house >> it was 2010 when 15-year-old carrie died in a car accident. did it click with you 97 way why that butterfly >> was it carrie looking over my shoulder, i don't know i kind of felt like she was there watching. >> reporter: frank, so moved by the moment, planted a garden in her honor, filling it with dozens of milkweed plants, hoping to attract more of the bright orange butterflies. why milkweed it's where monarchs lay their eggs, and it's vital for their survival >> we started having butterflies visit. it got a lot of visits but also produced a lot of seed pods which gave me a bunch of milkweed seeds >> reporter: those seeds
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sprouting an idea. >> i said, you know what people i know might want them. >> reporter: frank posted the offer on facebook in january, where it bloomed into a global movement more than 1,000 requests for the seeds so far along with words of encouragement like this. >> i would like your beloved daughter to be free and beautiful as is the monarch butterfly. i applaud your resiliency, thank you for sharing your story of healing. >> for lucy, those seeds brought her joy during a difficult time. >> especially during covid this was a wonderful distraction. >> reporter: an avid gardener, lucy's efforts to nurture the monarchs now have an even more special meaning. >> when i tell other people about it, i tell them the story of carrie. >> reporter: sharing seeds of love to keep her memory alive. >> how many untold butterflies are out there flying because of carrie >> well, i suspect this is going to get a lot bigger. not only is the story about the milkweed and monarchs being
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spread, so is hers it's a way for people who have never met her to know about her, which is pretty amazing. >> frank's other daughter is getting married today. he posted that he had a new butterfly emerge this morning, a sign that carrie is always near. that's nbc "nightly news" for this saturday. i am jose diaz-balart. thank you for the privilege of your time and good night right now at 6:00, conditions changing by the moment. we're tracking a developing story near lake tahoe as the caldor fire continues to grow.
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the news at 6:00 starts now. thanks for joining us. i'm ginger conejero saab. >> i'm terry mcsweeney. the caldor fire has now jumped highway 50. >> you can see it's an incredibly dangerous situation on the fire lines now. so far flames have burned more than 82,000 acres. there is no containment. and more than 245 homes and buildings have burned. another 15,000 are threatened. in the last 15 minutes, heavenly announced it's closing the resort for the summer because of the fire danger in the tahoe area. this is a live look from an alert wildfire camera at heavenly. the skies, terry, look at that, they're so orange. >> it's all you can see up there. no hint of the beauty in that area. a live look now from the air. we're taking a look at the caldor fire. you can see all the smoke. you can see the flames in that shot right there.


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