PoliticsNation, Tuesday, January 26, 2015
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 26, 2015
Guest: Pedro Segarra, Amanda Sakuma, Eric Adams, Marty Walsh, Ron Allen,
Bill Karins, Kathryn Garcia, Rehema Ellis, Chris Warren, Bill Finch
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
We start with breaking news. Rush hour in the Blizzard of 2015. Commuters
making their way home as a dangerous storm slams the northeast bringing
high winds, whiteout conditions, and possible record snowfalls.
About 29 million people across 250 miles are under some form of weather
advisory from New Jersey all the way to Maine. With two to feet -- two to
three feet of snow expected in some areas. Five states have declared
emergencies. Officials are closing roads. Public transportation systems
With New York City subway and buses shutting down at 11:00 p.m., the
message to residents, don`t take this storm lightly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This is a different kind of storm
than we`ve a had before. And this is the first weather event of this
magnitude this season, thank goodness.
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R), MASSACHUSETTS: This is a top five historic storm.
We should treat it as such. The safety of the public is our primary
concern at this point in time. It will remain as such throughout the
course of the storm.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: It will likely be one of the
largest blizzards in the history of New York City. It`s not going to be
like other snowstorms. It is going to be by all indications worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The storm wreaking havoc with air travel in the northeast, with
more than 6,000 flights cancelled today and tomorrow. All day long,
communities and residents have been in preparation mode stocking up on
supplies and bracing for the worst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE HALL: Biggest concern that I have and I think a lot of the people
around the coast is losing power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plan is to get home as soon as I can and be safe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Milk, eggs, bread, butter, all the good stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to go hungry. I need to eat. So I came
out here. I didn`t realize how busy it was. But it`s been a struggle
since we got here to get in and out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now on the phone is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Mayor Walsh, your city is just going into snow emergency. How is it
looking there right now?
MAYOR MARTY WALSH, BOSTON: It`s just -- it`s not, and also the last hour
and a half, we`ve been getting some snow in, Reverend. It`s picking up.
You know, not a lot of traffic on the streets at least what I can see
outside the office here. I know the public transportation has slowed down
a bit in the city of Boston right now. And I just hope that everyone
follows what we`ve been saying for the last, you know, day and preparing
for this storm because I think that we`re getting ready for a pretty
monstrous storm here hitting our area.
SHARPTON: You say a monstrous storm. How many crews do you expect to have
out tonight clearing the streets?
WALSH: In a normal snowstorm that would bring us about eight to 10 inches.
We`d have about 550. Tonight we have over 800 pieces of equipment ready to
hit the streets. We`ve been pre-treating our streets already prior to the
snow. We`re going to try to stay ahead of it if we can, the best we can.
But this storm is coming in bunches. So we`ll do one clearing, then we`ll
have to go right back out and do another one probably.
SHARPTON: Well, when are people expected to be off the streets in Boston?
WALSH: Well, we go into right now a parking ban, went into effect at 6:00.
So they get an hour, a couple of hours to remove their cars. We`re going
around with the police and notifying folks to move their car and then at
8:00 we`ll start towing just so we can have the main thoroughfares clear so
as we do snow removal, we`ll be able to clean up from curb to curb as we
move forward here.
SHARPTON: Has the city taken any steps to protect the homeless and the
elderly in this storm?
WALSH: Yes, we have. We`ve put notifications out to folks to check on --
on elderly neighbors and the homeless population, we`ve been out a couple
of the nonprofits (INAUDIBLE) and some other folks have been out and the
vans picking people up. And we`re also going to use our police department
and our ambulances to get people off the streets, get them into shelters.
We`ve opened more beds tonight. We`ve prepared our shelters with two days
of food. Today we asked guests if they wanted to stay in the shelter, just
stay in all day today. So they did not go out. A lot of people stayed in.
And we`re going to try and get as many people into the shelter over the
course of the next few hours.
And we`re asking people if they see somebody out in the street, just to
please contact local authorities just so we can get them off the street.
This is not the night that we want to keep people out in the street.
SHARPTON: Wow. Well, what do you expect the storm to cost the city of
WALSH: I`m not sure. I haven`t looked at the cost yet. I`m not concerned
about that today. You know, we`ve had a pretty good winter as far as snow.
We`ve only had a couple of instances where we`ve had to use our equipment.
But a storm like this, you know, I`m not worried about the price tag.
Today I`m more worried about the safety of the public, safety of the
homeless, safety of elders, safety of the disabled.
And also we close school down for two days for the safety of our kids as
well, making sure that tomorrow obviously it`s going to be snowing all day
and then give us a day, on Wednesday, to clear the streets. So right now
my main concern is public safety and making sure people are safe. And I`ll
say I`ll worry about the cost later.
SHARPTON: Well, Mayor Marty Wash, stay safe and thank you for your time
WALSH: Thank you, sir.
SHARPTON: Let`s bring in NBC`s Ron Allen who`s live on Long Island, New
Ron, how`s it looking out there?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It`s looking pretty bad, Reverend.
It`s looking worse and worse by the hour. You can probably see how thick
the snow is falling. It`s been falling pretty steadily for the past few
hours that we`ve been out here and lately the winds have been gusting up.
The predictions were for as much as 30 inches of snow and wind gusts up to
50, 60 miles per hour. But we`re hearing that the snow is accumulating
faster and the winds are blowing harder than was originally forecasted. So
the storm could be worse than anticipated.
Behind us, we`ve been watching the traffic. For the first time just in the
last half hour or so, the road behind us has really quieted down. That up
there, you can see it as the Long Island Expressway, the main roadway here.
ALLEN: Heading in that direction, there have been cars all day heading out
into the storm. But now it`s slowing down. So people are heeding the
warning to get off the roads. And as you know, New York state, it`s going
to be a misdemeanor if you`re out here after 11:00 tonight.
SHARPTON: Yes, the --
SHARPTON: The governor announced that all roads would be closing at 11:00.
How many drivers would you say are still on the road?
ALLEN: From what -- what we can see, I can still see traffic going by. I
can still see some trucks going by. The trucks are banned from 4:00. But
they`re trying to make their way. It`s a long way home for a lot of people
and they`re trying to get there, but the good news is that things are
quieting down on the roads so far out here this evening.
And again they`re trying to get everybody off the roads except ambulances
and police cars, emergency vehicles by 11:00 tonight. They seem to be
heeding the warning, of course. The governor said it is already very, very
dangerous on the roads. We can see up the roads, they`re covered with
snow. There have been crews out all day trying to prevent the snow from
building up. But it`s just falling so fast. So soon that they`re trying
to keep ahead of it.
But it`s going to be a struggle. And of course this is just the beginning
of this. It`s going to get much worse later tonight, Reverend?
SHARPTON: That`s what I was going to ask. How much worse do you think it
will get tonight? And what should people expect to wake up to in the
ALLEN: I think people should expect to wake up to several feet of snow
perhaps. This is the part of New York, Long Island, where the storm, as I
understand it, is coming up the coast and it`s going to hit this and Long
Island or further east. So this could be the area that gets the worst of
So hunker down. When we`re out here earlier, there were stores that were
picked clean of basic supplies. People have been -- we`ve seen this coming
for a while. So commonsense suggests, get off the roads, go home. Be sure
to charge all your appliances, charge your radios, charge your phones, so
and so forth. Keep some batteries around because this is going to be a
very dangerous and treacherous situation.
Again, people are staying off the roads. But this is just the beginning of
it. The worst is supposed to come at midnight, into the morning hours. So
words of the wise, of course. Just be mindful, this is not something to be
played with. This is a very serious, serious situation. Reverend?
SHARPTON: It`s very serious. Very serious.
Ron Allen, thank you for your time tonight. Please stay safe.
Joining me on the phone now is an official at the center of New York City`s
effort to deal with the storm. Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
She`s in charge of all these snowplows in the city tonight.
Commissioner, thank you for being here.
KATHRYN GARCIA, NEW YORK CITY SANITATION COMMISSIONER: Thank you for
SHARPTON: Tell me about what your agency is doing tonight.
GARCIA: We are in full plow mode at this point across the city. As
anticipated, Queens is seeing some of the worst of it right now. We do
anticipate the heaviest bands to come in around midnight. At that point in
time, actually by the time we go into shift change, we will have upwards of
2300 DSNY vehicles out and we will have assistance of another 250 from our
sister agencies as well as from vendors.
SHARPTON: Now how big of a challenge will it be if drivers disobey the
mayor`s orders to stay off the streets?
GARCIA: Well, this is going to be a huge challenge with drivers off the
streets. So you can only imagine it gets exponentially worse for us if we
have cars that -- they`re going to stall, they`re going to block the
streets. And then we won`t be able to get through.
SHARPTON: Now as we head into the night, and you say the worst is around
midnight, what are your biggest concerns, Commissioner?
GARCIA: Our biggest concern is being able to stay ahead of this storm. We
know that we need to be hitting not only the critical and highway routes
but we`re also going to need to make passes in the secondaries so we end up
not allowing them to get to a two-foot mode before we`ve gotten to them.
It`s going to take multiple passes. You may wake up and think we haven`t
gone by your house. But there may be another 10 inches of fresh snow on
top of where we`ve already made a pass.
SHARPTON: So when people wake up in the morning, they may see actually
fresh snow, it doesn`t mean that your trucks haven`t been through there?
GARCIA: Absolutely. I mean, in this storm it`s going to go through most
of the day tomorrow. So we will be continuously going over all of our
highways, all of our secondaries to try and keep ahead of this.
SHARPTON: Well, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us, New
York City Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
GARCIA: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: All right. Good luck.
Now let`s go to Providence, Rhode Island. Want to bring in NBC News Rehema
Rehema, what is the latest in Providence? You`re driving around
Providence. We`re watching you as you are moving around. What`s the
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Actually, Reverend Al, I`ve made my
way beyond Providence and I`m now about 30 miles south of Boston. And a
section of the area called Framingham, Massachusetts, I should tell you
that when I was driving a few hours earlier, these roads were clear. You
could see the black top. But at this hour, they are covered with snow.
I`m going pretty slow because it is slick out here. And word to the wise
is that everybody should be moving slowly.
This evening in Massachusetts, they`ve already said that there is going to
be -- is a state of emergency. And they say they`re going to ban all
private vehicles from the roads later on this evening.
The reason for doing that is they hope to, number one, get people off the
roads so they can be safe, and number two so they can get the snow vehicles
out on the road. And they can remove the snow, treat these roads as best
they can, and they can do their best job when they`re not hampered by
private vehicles being on the road.
So this travel ban goes into effect tonight. It probably will not be
lifted they say until sometime on Wednesday because they`re expecting this
snow to continue throughout the night here in Massachusetts and all up
along this coastal area. They`re expecting coastal flooding in the area.
And as many of you have been talking about, they`re not measuring the storm
in inches. But they`re talking about it in feet.
ELLIS: And they`re saying to people, get off the roads as fast as you can.
And the traffic has picked up considerably. We understand from talking to
people, many people went to work earlier today, in an effort to leave work
before the normal rush hour so that they could get home.
We`re out here sort of monitoring what`s going on so we can share that
information with --
SHARPTON: How --
ELLIS: To let them why it is a good idea that they not be out here.
SHARPTON: Rehema, how does it feel? I mean, how do you feel driving
around? What does it feel like?
ELLIS: Well, it feels like it`s slick. If I weren`t doing this for my
job, I`d tell you, I would be inside. I would take the advice of what we
are giving people and what the officials are telling people, and that is
get off the roads.
We`re in a very sturdy vehicle, an SUV. We can take off in just about
anything. But -- people think that they can stop on a dime. But nobody
can stop on a dime, that`s sitting on ice and slick roads. So you have to
go slow, you have to be careful.
They`re doing a very good job. We`re seeing a lot of crews out there
treating these roads with salt and sanding, trying to prepare them for when
the heaviest of the snow comes later tonight.
But they`re trying their best to stay ahead of this storm, Reverend Al.
But no matter what, it`s coming down. And it is an almost impossible task
to think that you`re going to prevent these roads from being snow covered.
Eventually they will be snow covered, but the word with the travel ban is
that they hope they can free these roads of the snow as soon as possible.
But it is starting to get slick. And so we are being very careful going
SHARPTON: Do you have another camera where you could show us the road
ahead of you?
ELLIS: I think we might be able to do that. I`ll have to ask Tony, my
cameraman, if we`re able to get a shot of the road. It`s now dark out
SHARPTON: Yes. We just want to try to get a sense of what you`re looking
ELLIS: Tony, I think we can switch a camera. I think we`re able to switch
over to a -- the camera that`s mounted on the windshield, Reverend Al. Are
you able to see that shot?
SHARPTON: Yes. We see that. We can see it now. Wow. And this was
completely -- there was no snow on the ground not long ago, you said,
ELLIS: Absolutely. There was no snow. It was -- we had some rain come
down a little bit. But these roads were clear. Just a few short hours
ago, we were out here earlier. And the roads were very good. And now
they`re not very good and they`re going to get bad before they get better.
SHARPTON: And as you`re driving, it feels slick. This is not at all
something that should be ignored or taken lightly when officials say stay
off the road.
ELLIS: Absolutely not. Now again I am going very slow. I`m slowing down
now because there`s traffic ahead of me. I`m not sure if you can see it.
ELLIS: But the traffic has slowed down ahead of me. So I`m doing only
about 10 miles an hour. But even at -- some people are a little more
courageous than I am and maybe courageous is not the right word, but
they`re going a lot faster than I am. And I`m in a much heavier vehicle
than many of the cars that are speeding by me. But my intention out here
tonight is to be as safe as possible.
ELLIS: So in order to do that, it means you have to slow down. I`m not
feeling the slickness underneath me right now because I`m not really
challenging the car to see if it can go one way or the other.
The winds haven`t picked up in this particular area yet. But officials
tell us that they do expect the winds to pick up anywhere from 30, 40, 50,
even maybe 60 miles an hour. So if you`re trying to drive with 60 mile an
hour winds, and if you`ve got blowing snow, it`s going to be treacherous
SHARPTON: Have you seen anybody trying to speed and slide? I mean, have
you seen most people being responsible and trying to follow what has been
ELLIS: I`m going to say, Reverend Al, most people are being responsible.
I should say, too, people in New England are accustomed and in
Massachusetts they`ve very accustomed to this type of weather. That does
not mean that some will lose their good senses from time to time and try to
be daring out here on these roads. But so far I`m not seeing any
daredevils. Most people look like they`re paying attention to the
warnings, to slow down, to take their time.
And it seems like most people are trying to get home or to get to the
supermarket or to the stores to get those last few supplies that they will
need so that they can hunker down and ride out this storm in the safety of
their homes because public transportation is going to be shut down later on
tonight. It will not resume until sometime tomorrow. The travel ban is
going into effect. They expect that`s going to be in place all day
tomorrow, not to be lifted until sometime Wednesday.
So once people get home, the expectation is that they are going to stay
there. So as I mentioned, some people are trying to get to some stores, I
will suspect, to get those last few supplies that they might need so that
they can be at home, be comfortable and be safe.
SHARPTON: All right. NBC News` Rehema Ellis, thank you for your time
tonight. And please be safe and warm.
Coming up, millions of Americans settling in for a potentially historic
blizzard on the East Coast. We`ll be back with more from the center of the
storm and what you need to do to stay safe.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: You`re looking at satellite images of the massive storm bearing
down on the East Coast. Forecast predicts two to three feet of snow in
Let`s go now to NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
Bill, a lot of New Yorkers are looking at their windows and seeing the snow
has slowed a bit.
BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST: A little.
SHARPTON: But they`re about to see a major storm, aren`t they?
KARINS: I mean, they already saw more than what`s expected at this point.
We`re thinking two to three inches in New York City by about the dinner
hour. We`ve already gotten almost five inches in Central Park, easily the
leader. If you want to be the leader in this storm which you don`t. But
they are. That`s five inches in Central Park but that`s slowing down. Now
the blizzard is about to take place.
The storm is quickly intensifying, the winds are really picking up. And
now we`re starting to get our first really strong bands of snow on the
ocean coming on shore.
If you`re out there on Cape Cod, Chatham, Orleans, the Brewster area,
Dennis, Hyannis. Go look outside your window because this blue on this map
indicates a very heavy -- it`s almost like a squall in the summertime going
through. It`ll be whiteout conditions, blowing and drifting of snow. And
you`ll probably get a quick two inches in like 30 minutes.
That`s what is now shifting inland. It`s first going to go to the Cape and
then it will shift to Boston and Providence. It`s these bands of snow if
we`re going to get the thunder snow, and I think we will later on this
evening, it`s in these bands that you could hear the thunder out there and
maybe even some flashes of lightning. And where these bands set up later
tonight is who is going to get hit the worst.
Now I was mentioning the winds. Not too bad, Jersey Shore. It`s starting
to gust a little bit on Long Island but it`s really an eastern mess.
Thirty-mile-per-hour wind gusts now, 31 in Providence town, 38 in -- out in
Martha`s Vineyard. That is where the winds are going to be the strongest.
That`s where the power outages could happen.
And a little word to the wise, if you are in any of these blizzard areas,
what I would tell you to do right about now is turn the heat up in your
house. Maybe normally it`s set about 70, 68 degrees. Crank it up. Get
that house nice and toasty because if the power does go out in the middle
of the night, it will just buy you a little extra time with a little extra
warmth in your house.
But that`s one of the only things you possibly can do. Obviously make sure
you all the other safety stuff going. The batteries, the extra firewood in
case of a fireplace, and make sure you touch that generator out there
before it gets too bad, too. The least thing you want to be doing is try
to get that generator to work in the middle of the blizzard.
So here`s my latest thinking on the snowfall, haven`t changed since this
morning. I don`t think I`m going to change it much. That band really
looks to set up in this blue. That`s two to three feet of snow in here,
from Portland, Boston, Worcester, definitely the Worcester Hills, in the
northern Providence, and also areas, the eastern half of Connecticut. And
that does include the eastern half of Long Island.
Someone in here will get over three feet of snow. I don`t even think it`s
that crazy to think that someone with the highest total around may even
approach 40 inches of snow by the time this is done. And the big cities I
have you anywhere between a foot and a half to about two feet of snow. But
again if you set up under one of those bands, with that thunder snow, you
could easily -- instead of New York City being 18 inches, you could easily
get quickly six inches in an hour if you get that thunder snow. And we
could jump you up there to two feet.
So this is the rough estimates out there. Do notice that Philadelphia is
right around eight to 12 inches and not as bad.
So as we mentioned, as we go from about midnight tonight to noon tomorrow,
Reverend, that`s when the blizzard, that`s when we`ll have those really
strong winds. That`s when people will lose power.
SHARPTON: Bill Karins, great information. Thank you. Thank you so much.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more of our continuing coverage of the Blizzard
of 2015. Joining me now is Weather Channel`s Chris Warren in Providence,
Chris, what can you tell us?
CHRIS WARREN, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: Well, I can tell you, Reverend, that
the conditions have been getting worse. And this, it`s just the beginning
We`re a few blocks from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. And as we look
right here this is an onramp to Interstate 95. And it has been slow going
for most of the day. The northbound lanes is what we`re looking at right
here. Have improved but the southbound lanes with the light, the
headlights coming at us, that has remained slow for several hours now.
Talk about some of the points I heard earlier when you`re discussing this
was the fact that some of these roads, they will get treated and then a few
hours later or a few minutes later, they`re going to be bad again, they`re
going to be covered with snow. That`s what we saw here. They plowed
through. It turned wet for a while. And then the snow picked up again and
it covered -- it has that kind of cookie dough consistency.
I have a yard stick right here and Bill Karins was talking about possibly
getting more than three feet of snow. And imagine this. OK. Imagine this
falling. I marked one foot, two-foot and then three feet right here. And
so you imagine -- look, we barely have anything on the ground and the roads
already look like this. So it piles up. You got a foot, and they come and
they wipe it away. And then again, it happens again. Another six inches,
wipe it away.
And once it`s all done, you have three feet of snow, so it`s going to be an
ongoing process. And this is not even the worst of it. We`re looking --
the band of snow that Bill was talking about coming in. When it does
finally come in, we`re going to be dealing with some of the very, very
strong winds, gusts could be around 55 miles an hour here in Providence.
So visibilities are going to be way down.
We`re looking at dangerous conditions, Reverend, right through the day
tomorrow into the evening hours.
SHARPTON: Now, Chris, you`ve been doing weather a long time. How does
this size up to you in comparison to other situations you`ve had to cover?
WARREN: Well, I can tell you about what makes this storm unique is the
scope of it. I mean,. you can have these bands of snow that sets up and
it`s bad for some cities. Maybe it`s bad in central Massachusetts down
into Connecticut. You have a few areas. But this is a big storm that`s
blowing up so quickly, you`re looking at widespread areas. A lot of people
ending up with more than a foot, maybe even two feet of snow over a wide
So just the size of this storm. How much snow, how long is what leads so
many to say this is going to be a historic blizzard.
SHARPTON: Chris Warren, thank you for your time tonight. And be safe up
WARREN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joining me now by phone is Bill Finch, mayor of Bridgeport,
Mayor, first of all, thank you for being -- by phone with me tonight.
MAYOR BILL FINCH (D), BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT: Good to be here, Reverend.
SHARPTON: You declared a snow emergency today. What should residents be
doing right now?
FINCH: Well, I`m glad you asked because we need the public`s cooperation.
You know, we have great public employees in the city of Bridgeport.
They`re out there, they`ve been out there pre-treating the roads. They`re
out there plowing. We have very narrow roads. We`re a lot like Brooklyn,
New York. And many of you heard -- know those conditions, narrow street,
cars on the streets.
We`ve asked our residents to do what they`ve done in the past storms and
cooperate with our great public employees and get those cars out of the way
so we can keep everybody safe and keep the roads open.
SHARPTON: Has the city taken steps to protect its elderly residents?
FINCH: Very similar to what Mayor Walsh was saying. You know, it`s all
hands on deck. We have an emergency operation center where we have people
who work with the disabled population, people who work with the senior
population, the homeless.
Our police officers are out scouring the city right now making sure that
the vulnerable people, the homeless, are brought to shelters. And we do
have a travel ban in Connecticut that Governor Malloy asked for at 9:00 --
9:00 p.m. which we`re enforcing here and what police officers are going to
do is they`re going to be stopping people and ask them where you`re going.
If it`s a firefighter or a public works driver, or somebody going to the
soup kitchen, well, then you go on your way and get to work. But if you`re
just out joyriding, please go home and we`ll escort you home if you`re
worried about the roads. But we`ve got to get the roads clear. And
keeping people not parking on the street and keeping people, you know, off
the street is going to allow us to keep everybody safe.
The one thing we would also ask for cooperation with is our fire department
isn`t going to want to have to battle fires in this kind of a setting so if
the power does go out, we`re making plans for that eventuality.
Encouraging people not to use candles. Not to use space heaters. And to
be very cautious with anything that involves a flame during this time that
firefighters will have a hard time putting fires out.
Well, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mayor Bill Finch, thank you so much for your
time tonight. And please be safe.
FINCH: We will and thank you for your show Reverend. You know, you`ve
been fighting the good fight on climate change. And we can see the crazy
FINCH: And we`d like to have a little bit more of you down in Washington.
SHARPTON: All right. Thank you. Much more of coverage of this historic
storm ahead. We`re checking social media for best shots of this blizzard.
And we`ll go live to the heart of the storm where we will see the most
snow. We`re coming back live with the blizzard of 2015 here on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: A massive snowstorm impacting millions in the northeast part of
this country. Here`s a live shot of Times Square in New York. We`re in
the midst of the storm. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more of our breaking news coverage of the
blizzard of 2015. Cities up and down the east coast are shutting down as
residents prepare for what could be one of the biggest snowstorms we`ve
seen in years. Five governors have declared state of emergencies. In some
areas, meteorologists are predicting up to three feet of snow and winds
blasting five miles per hour. Thousands of flights have been cancelled,
streets and highway systems closed, and mass transit suspended. And
officials told residents not to underestimate the storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D), RHODE ISLAND: The snow is coming. The storm is
coming. It`s going to be the most severe storm that we`ve seen in years,
maybe decades. And I need you to keep yourself safe and keep your loved
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And from governor after governor, the same message, don`t drive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: I have signed a travel ban for the
entire state beginning at 9:00 p.m. this evening.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: A travel restriction for all roads, state
roads, local roads, city roads, town roads except for emergency personnel.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Get off the roads as quickly as you
can. Obviously drive safely, drive cautiously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Let`s go now to MSNBC`s Craig Melvin down at the world famous
skating rink just outside here at Rockefeller Center. Craig, what can New
Yorkers expect tonight?
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, I tell you Reverend, it`s
good to see New Yorkers by in large heeding the warnings from Governor
Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Let me show you here, I mean, this is as you
know typically the height of the commute for a lot of New Yorkers about
6:30. Just a handful of people on these streets. Very few cars as well.
I`ve seen a few empty buses, I`ve seen some taxis. One thing I have
noticed and we should also see a number of tow trucks as well towing cars
that are blocking the path, salt and plow trucks. One thing I`ve noticed
speaking of salt and plow trucks. Earlier, we`ve heard Governor Cuomo say
one of the problems that we`re going to see the next few days is because of
the speed and volume of the snow. Plows that make their way through, an
hour or two later, it`s going to look as if a plow never made it through.
Just on Fifth Avenue, a block away, I just walked out there, I saw that
road being salted then plowed about two hours ago. And now it looks like a
plow never touched it. So, that is going to be something that we`re going
to see obviously over the next day and a half or so. But again, Rev, it`s
good to see people by in large listening to their elected officials. Not a
lot of folks on the roads.
SHARPTON: All right. Craig Melvin, thank you very much. NBC`s Anne
Thompson is just a few blocks north of Craig here in New York City. Anne,
how does it look on the streets?
ANNE THOMPSON, NBC NEWS CHIEF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well,
Al, let me show you. Because come on over and take a look at Fifth Avenue.
Because this is the Fifth Avenue I`ve never seen before in the years I`ve
lived here. It is relatively empty. There are very few cars on the road.
And as Craig says, it doesn`t look like it`s been plowed. But I can tell
you just a half hour ago, I saw a plow come through here. The big message
tonight if you are anywhere in the northeast. Stay off the road, stay home
and be safe. In New York City, non-emergency vehicles are banned from
roads at 11:00 p.m. tonight. And we don`t know when they`ll be allowed
again. Mayor de Blasio says that won`t happen until he knows the streets
are safe. The subway systems and the bus system will be shutdown tonight
at 11:00 tonight in New York City. In New Jersey, the transit system will
be shutdown at 10:00. Schools will be close here in New York City
tomorrow. The bottom-line is this, if you live in New York City, you don`t
have to leave your house because really there`s no place to go. Schools
are closed. And subway system will be closed. Even Central Park is
closed. So, stay home, and stay safe -- Al.
SHARPTON: What do you expect to see in the morning commute given all of
THOMPSON: I don`t think we`re going to see much of a morning commute. I
mean, if people pay attention to the warnings from government officials --
first of all, if you are trying to get to work and you`re driving to work
in New York City, you`re going to look at anything and you get caught by
cops. You`re looking at anything from a summons to an arrest. They made
that very clear today. So, stay home. I don`t think we`ll see a heavy
commute tomorrow. Ideally we won`t see any at all -- Al.
SHARPTON: All right. NBC`s Anne Thompson. Thank you for your time.
Joining me by phone now is Hartford, Connecticut Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Mayor, you declared a snow emergency in Hartford this morning. How are
things looking now?
MAYOR PEDRO SEGARRA, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT: Well, we are still under a
state of emergency. And that`s going to continue most likely until
Wednesday. We expect the brunt of the storm to be overnight. We`ve made
out a prep preparations, we`ve been preparing since at least Sunday
morning. Our crews are going to be out there. But, you know, this is
going to be a big one, this is going to be between two to three feet of
snow. And, you know, at some point we might have whiteout conditions which
makes it difficult to plow. But we`re ready to attack with as many
resources as we have on hand. And we`re just asking the public`s
cooperation, make sure that they stay home, make sure that they get their
cars off the roads. We have a parking ban that was instituted today at
3:00 in the afternoon. There`s been good compliance so far, but we still
need the rest of the people to have their cars off the roads. We don`t
want them to get towed. And we really need to have the cars off the
streets in order for us to go at the job plowing the storm which is going
to be substantial.
SHARPTON: Mayor, I want to ask you as I asked other mayors tonight, what
is your city doing to keep elderly residents and the homeless safe during
SEGARRA: Well, we`ve been working in close cooperation, that might be
emergency operation center here at the city. And we have all of our
department heads that are here. We have the health department, we have
department of families. We have all of the departments that are
responsible for courting services. We also have a program that works with
our elderly to try to assist in any way that we can. We have one
particular shelter that is there to accommodate any elderly that has
specific medical needs and might require some assistance. Especially in
the event of power outage. We want to make sure that any people who are on
any type of ventilators or need some electrical source by which to power up
their equipment are able to have that access. So, it`s very important.
Our senior citizen center -- one of them is being used to accommodate the
And again, we have volunteers that have been very good in the past in
providing assistance. Of course our public safety offices, police and
fire. Our fire department is always our first responders. They have very
good equipment to get out in case of emergency. And we`re just hoping that
we don`t get too many white out conditions. Because under those
circumstances sometimes you can`t really plow. And snow starts to
accumulate. And we don`t want that to happen. So, we`re just praying that
we don`t have a heavy downpour as much as this gradual snowfall even if we
get a lot of inches of snow.
SHARPTON: All right mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, Pedro Seggara, thank
you for your time tonight. And stay safe.
SEGARRA: Thank you sir. Thank you.
You`re watching our continuing coverage of the blizzard of 2015. We`ll be
back out on the roads and give you our latest weather updates, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more of our continuing coverage of the blizzard
of 2015. I want to bring in MSNBC.com`s Amanda Sakuma who`s at one of the
city of New York salt depots. Amanda, first of all, thanks for being here.
AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: What are you seeing at this hour?
SAKUMA: Right now we`re seeing a very brief reprieve from the very fat
flakes of snow that were falling down earlier. But this is the very
beginning of what`s expected to be a very long night. Now, behind me, the
sanitation department had -- they`re keeping piles and piles of salt.
We`ve seen vehicles come in, load up, and leave. And they`re just putting
down salt on a now very slushy and very snowy streets of New York. Now,
city officials say that they`re dispatching as many as 1600 vehicles to
clear the roadways today. And there is a fair amount of computer traffic
going on here. But city and state officials are saying that they very much
want people out of the roads by 11:00 p.m. That`s the very latest tonight.
So that we have enough room for the emergency vehicles to clear the snow
and really come in and make sure everything is safe for everyone here.
SHARPTON: All right. Thank you Amanda Sakuma. Thank you again, for your
time this evening.
SAKUMA: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Let`s get more from New York City. Joining me on the phone is
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Tell me about the preparations
Brooklyn has taken tonight, President Adams.
ERIC ADAMS, BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, Reverend. Good
speaking with you. I think that, you know, the command center for the
emergency management is here in Brooklyn downtown on the foot of the
Brooklyn Bridge. The mayor has really done an excellent job of
preparation. And really the streets are in just a real hazardous form
right now. I`m still in the office at Borough Hall. You can hear the
street, the trucks out as well as the salt being laid down. We`re going to
go out and look at some trouble spots, but really, you know, pedestrians
really should be home at this time. And just allow the team that has been
assembled to do their job.
SHARPTON: Let me touch on that. Because are you concerned that some
residents may not take this storm seriously enough?
ADAMS: I think that we learned from Sandy that when the message goes out
that this is a serious storm, it`s one thing if you receive reports that
there are few snowflakes or that, you know, another snowstorm is coming,
but it`s clear that the mayor, commissioner at emergency management and
others have stated that this is a big one, this is something on a level of
Sandy preparedness and awareness. And so, using the football analogy when
the right team is on the field, we don`t need the fans down on the field
getting in the way of how we bring this over the top for New Yorkers and to
make sure that they can get home safe, and the roadways can be cleared.
SHARPTON: All right. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, thank you for
your time tonight. Stay safe out there President Adams.
ADAMS: Thank you. You too.
SHARPTON: Stay with us for much much more of the coverage of the blizzard
of 2015. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: You are watching the live shots of the map of the incoming storm
of the blizzard of 2015. Millions of people impacted, many meteorologists
predicting this storm may be of historic proportions. We`ll be back with
full coverage right after this.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more of our coverage of the blizzard of 2015.
Let`s bring in NBC`s Chris Pollone who is live in Boston. Chris, we heard
from the mayor earlier in the hour. Are you seeing many people on the
streets right now?
CHRIS POLLONE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No Reverend, as a matter of fact
it`s getting very quiet here in Boston right now. Just a couple of minutes
ago right before we came on the air, there`s a van going around with a loud
speaker reminding people that cars must be off the street by 6:00. They`re
set to begin towing at 8:00. And just about an hour from now. So, they
wanted everybody to get their cars off the streets. And, you know, over
the last couple of days, forecasters have been saying this storm is really
going to start to hit at 7:00. And right on queue, in the last 10 to 15
minutes it`s absolutely intensified after just being a light flurry for
much of the afternoon.
SHARPTON: Now, schools are closed for the next two days. Have you heard
reaction from parents and children to that news?
POLLONE: Yes, I think everybody is kind of taking that as the right move
here. A lot of times school cancellations are debated whether they`re
necessary or not. But with the nature of the storm -- sure Boston gets a
lot of storm and Boston has school, a lot more often than a lot of places
do when it snows because they know how to handle it, they have the
equipment to handle it. But here you`re talking about an unprecedented
amount of snow combined with blizzard conditions and flooding. So,
everybody seems to be in agreement.
SHARPTON: All right. Chris Pollone, thank you. Be safe up there. Let`s
check again with NBC`s Rehema Ellis who`s driving on route 9 towards
Boston. Rehema, are roads getting worse as you drive?
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, not so much Reverend Al. But
let me tell you what is happening. We`ve seen in just about 30 minutes, a
real significant change in the volume of traffic out here. Many people it
seems have made their way to their destinations. Because we`ve not seen
nearly as many cars on the road as we saw just 30 minutes ago. This is a
major road that goes from Boston all the way through Worcester. This
portion of Massachusetts and it is a very heavily traveled area. But not
so much right now. The volume is decreasing. People are trying to get
ahead of this storm, they`re also trying to get off these roads so that
these emergency crews, these snow removal crews can prepare the roads as
best they can. We were just in back of a truck that was spreading down a
mixture we think of salt and sand to try to make it easier for those folks
who were still out on the road in order to get where they need to go. A
travel ban is going in effect here in Massachusetts at midnight.
ELLIS: In addition, they`re shutting down all public transportation. So,
it`s every reason for people to be on the road now if they have to but get
off as soon as they can.
SHARPTON: Well, Rehema, you be safe as you travel because clearly they are
predicting that the worst is yet to come. And we just approaching the
hours that they`re most concerned about.
ELLIS: Absolutely. We`ll be careful. Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: All right. NBC News Rehema Ellis, thank you for your time
tonight. And stay safe and warm.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York is going to be speaking shortly. We are
encouraging you to listen to the admonition of public officials. Your
safety and that of your loved ones is paramount to us. Thanks for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Stay safe out there now. "HARDBALL" starts
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