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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Holds GOP Lead In New National Poll; 85+ Million In Path Of Winter Storm; Monster Storm Strikes; Crippling Snowstorm Forces 7,500+ Flights Cancellations; 85+ Million In Path Of Dangerous Storm. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 22, 2016 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

For 85 million people or more tonight, the breaking news is all around them. A winter storm bigger than anything in years and could end up being bigger than anything on record. It is here. It is hitting hard and it could bring as much as three feet of snow in some places. And Gail force winds, as well and coastal flooding.

You're looking at some of the live locations that we'll check in with throughout the hour tonight including Washington D.C. which could get the very worse. The entire public transit system with the rest of the city effectively shut down. The National Guard is out in Virginia at least four traffic fatalities in North Carolina, all flights cancelled, more than 6,000 in all and some of the country's biggest, biggest airline hubs from North Carolina to New Jersey and New York were flooding as the big wild card.

The question there will this be another super storm Sandy in places still rebuilding from that nightmare? We'll have more on all of it tonight. Let's go first to Chad Myers with new data on this very dangerous storm.

So it's just beginning, Chad, what can we expect?

CHAD MYERS, AMS CNN METEOROLOGIST: We can expect a low to intensify as it gets into the gulfstream. The gulfstream is that area of water out here that's nice and warm and comes from Florida. As the low ends up here later on tonight, it will begin to develop, get stronger than it is right now. We are just in the beginning of this.

And I know I've seen spots in West Virginia that have 12 inches of snow. We are going to pile on top of that as the storm gets bigger. The winds begin to pile up and they get bigger and bigger. We'll have winds to 70 miles per hour.

Just beginning to snow in Philly. Been snowing in Baltimore, D.C. all the way down to Richmond, (INAUDIBLE), and Virginia about seven or eight inches of snow already on the ground there and still snowing.

Further down to the south, we are talking about ice, Charlotte, Ashville, Greenville, the big cities, the triad, the triangle will get snow mixed with ice and sleet. You'll hear the sleet on the window all night long and farther to the south, even into Atlanta freezing rain coming down in spots, making slick roads where people don't expect a lot of slick roadways. We know what happened with just one inch of slick roadways a couple years ago in Atlanta with that. We will see snow in New York. I believe we will see 12 inches here. There may be 18 in some of the suburbs. We will have to watch that. But the bull's eye is Philadelphia, Baltimore, (INAUDIBLE), all the way down even into Washington D.C. and Richmond, that's the area Anderson that could see 20 to 30. And it's not out of the question that somebody gets 40 inches of snow. And if D.C. gets 40, this was asked of my producer, it is not a bus because we only went 20 to 30. And it is really going to be 40. Well, we are going to have to see. I (INAUDIBLE) capital of the mole doesn't get 40, but Vienna, Boylston (ph), somewhere out there, Gettysburg, and Rockville, one of the cities, just west of D.C. could pick up members just like that.

COOPER: And in terms of the length, the time, I understand some areas could expect snow up to 36 straight hours.

MYERS: True, yes. Well, the low is just developing now. It's still in basically Georgia. As it gets to north of Carolina and then makes that big left hand turn right off the coast. That's when this really begins to develop and a bomb (ph). We call it the coastal bomb below, the deepening low pressure will happen around midnight tonight into 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and then we'll really see who gets the heavy snow. Because it is going to come down at three inches per hour when you can't even shovel fast enough. By the time your driveway is done, you have to start all over again.

COOPER: All right, Chad, thanks very much. We'll check in throughout the hour.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Baltimore which like Washington is getting hit hard right now.

Miguel, what is it like right now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is snowing harder and harder and the wind is picking up quite a bit as well. They are expecting up to 24 inches in Baltimore.

I'm going to show. They are trying to keep them as clean as possible here and as clear of snow but it's a losing battle at this point. The streets very quickly caked with snow looking down to the inner harbor, you can see where the small tow trucks that they are trying to bring down the way here to keep this area, this very busy normally very busy walkway for pedestrians here clear.

And then around this way, you can see that it is just coming down harder and harder. The wind has just stopped now. The worst is yet to come. They are expecting after 1:00 a.m. tonight, between 1:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., that they will have the heaviest winds as high as 65 miles per hour. The gusts, the winds themselves will be about 25 to 35 miles an hour. One of the biggest concerns they have is the wet snow at some point. It will weigh down trees, power lines, roofs and they are expecting more to come. Only a few outages of power right now. One of the big concerns are fires, house fires they have to get to, Anderson? COOPER: And the mayor asked people to basically stay off the road the

where you are looks like they are. Have they become pen compiling?

MARQUEZ: It seems that they have been complying so far which is the city seems very, very happy about. That is one of the biggest concerns, because if they get the cars on the road. Right now, the city is under mandatory change only. They may go to no cars at all on the road before too long. The biggest concern, you have very tight small neighborhoods here with the row houses, very narrow roads, if they get a fire in one, they could lose many, many blocks of buildings they are afraid because it's just so hard for them to get fire engines and emergency crews to where they need to go. They are actually sending out plows with the fire engines in Baltimore so they can help them get into position - Anderson.

[20:05:33] COOPER: All right. It is going to be along night and long couple days.

Miguel, thanks. We will check back in with you.

Let's go now to Jennifer Gray outside in Washington with more on one of the weirdest things people might see and hear tonight. Namely, thunder snow.

So what's happening right now in D.C., Jennifer? Because the pictures are just incredible.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, really is, Anderson. And it is getting worse by the hour. We were out here around 1:00 this afternoon, right when it started snowing. And in the last couple hours, it is really started to come down, also the winds are starting to pick up. And I think that's the biggest difference that you'll notice between now and a couple hours ago.

And look up in the tree, you can see the snow starting to accumulate on those branches there. This is a very heavy, wet snow. And so it is sticking to the tree limbs and when you combine this heavy snow to the tree limbs, the power lines and then you have winds at 30, 40 mile per hour sustained and gusts even higher, that's going to be plenty to take down possible trees and power lines so power outages definitely a concern here in D.C.

Look at the blanket of snow. It is actually really beautiful if you just look at it but no one wants to be out in this, trust me. The roads are completely clear of cars, which is good. Every now and then you'll see a car pass. We haven't seen very many at all. We have seen the plows out, which has been a good sign, as well. So hopefully now coming up on the weekend, people will just hunker down in their homes until it is safe to get out and about. Because it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We are going to see blizzard conditions possibly as we go through the overnight hours into the wee hours of tomorrow morning. And so, it is going to get a lot worse than it is right, Anderson.

COOPER: And what about this chance of thunder snow? GRAY: Yes, we could possibly hear thunder snow right around the

midnight hour, couple hours after that. And so, yes, if you are in your house and you're in the D.C. area or some of those areas where the very, very heavy bands of snow will be passing through, that's when it's going to happen when we have the snowfall rates of two to three inches per hour in the next several hours. It will probably be a couple hours from. Now but listen, because yes, you may hear some thunder snow and see some lightning out here.

COOPER: All right. Jennifer Gray. Jennifer, thanks.

As we said, thousands of flights are cancelled right now including just about everything going through some of the country's busiest hubs at Washington's Reagan national and beyond cancellations, it is the entire facility is shut down which is why CNN's Rene Marsh comes to us from an empty terminal.

It is amazing to see that terminal empty right there at this time on a Friday night.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this colossal storm, you know, in a sense it has brought air travel to a complete standstill in the northeast. I mean, take a look. It's a Friday night and this is what the situation is here. We are pretty much the only ones in this airport here at this point and many of the cities had a direct hit, airports look like this. We are talking about from now through Sunday, more than 7,000 cancellations. We expect that number to continue to go up, Anderson. People are not able to get on flights at this point because there is visibility issued. And of course, the wind gust which is less than ideal to land plane or take off for that matter.

COOPER: So any idea when that airport may reopen?

MARSH: So that's the big question, you know. People want to know, you know, if I was not able to get on my flight, when will things get back to normal? And to be quite honest, it's really unclear.

Well, it is two to three days. It could take before airlines can begin to clear the backlog of passengers. But it may even take longer than that. It really depends on just how bad this ends up being. It is all contingent on the plowing teams that are out there trying to clear the runway. The quicker they get that done, the faster people can get in the air, Anderson.

COOPER: This may be a stupid question, but I mean, how do they start to clear the backlog? I mean, for people who have already have reservations on a Monday, let's say, do those people get bumped for the people who have already been bumped or do they try to add in extra flights?

MARSH: It really is a game of making sure you can fit people where they are. And here is why it takes so long. Because flights these days pretty much operate at capacity. So, you know, you don't have that many free seats to add a straggler so to speak. So it could, that's one thing, it could take a lot longer than two to three days because these flights are already packed from the beginning. So, it really is a matter of looking at the manifest, wherever there are spaces, they can fit people in. But again, people need to be patient because it could take longer than they would like it to take.

[20:10:20] COOPER: Yes, hard to have patience that long.

Rene, thank you very much.

We are going to follow the storm north when we continue to Philadelphia and New York where states of emergency are now in effect.

Later the all-out war within the conservative movement for and against Donald Trump. A major voice in that movement. The magazine, "the National Review" devoting a full issue to trying to stop Donald Trump. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:14:27] COOPER: We just got this in from NASA. Take a look at this. It's a view of the storm from space. That is what's hitting a huge chunk of the country right now, hitting the Washington area especially hard.

Let's go now to Brian Todd on the road in northern Virginia tonight.

How are the roads, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the roads are terrible to be quite honest and getting much worse. The wind is also kicking up, the temperatures are dropping and the roads are getting slicker. We are in Dale City, Virginia along I-95 southbound and just had a huge backup of trucks. It's just cleared but I can tell you that it is getting slicker. I can go to this camera here and we show you kind of just the sheen of ice, slush and snow that is developing here.

We just had a big backup of trucks that were caught behind some snowplows. That has cleared. But along this, these exits here, we seen people earlier tonight getting stranded as they try to exit and then going the wrong way out of the exit just to try to get out of it. We saw one car in front of us do a 180 and spin off the road and talked to a state trooper who helped that person. We have seen a lot of abandoned vehicles. And they telling people tonight, state officials, AAA, others telling people do not abandon your vehicle. Stay in your vehicle until you get rescued. This is kind of an auxiliary lane. And people going at these feeds, they say, are actually behaving pretty dangerously. People get a little over confident because they get a little traction and that's when they start to spin out, Anderson. The conditions here getting more and more dangerous. I can tell you just from being outside and seeing this wind, that is a big problem because the visibility, because of the wind, it's kicking the snow side to side and the visibility is getting much worse, Anderson as we progress.

And the worst of it, Anderson, is not coming for another couple of hours. As bad as it is now and as covered as this major highway is now, it is going to get worse in a couple hours. [20:16:19] COOPER: So the ideas if somebody, if their car stalls or

whatever, they are suggesting people stay with the vehicle, do not abandon it?

TODD: That's right. Because abandoned vehicles are safety hazards for a couple of reasons, Anderson. Number one, they impede the snow plows and salt spreaders. They are trying to get around these roads. And sometimes they have to be along the side navigating. But also, it's just unsafe for the driver. They say that, you know, if you try to make it out somewhere, you may become stranded on foot.

What we were told by police and others, stay in your vehicle, call someone, wait to get rescued, turn your vehicle on every several minutes for about five minutes to get warm and then turn it off to save gas and your battery. But again, their advice generally is stay with that vehicle. Do not abandon it. If you abandon it, it's more of a safety hazard.

We were talking to a state police officer a short time ago who had a deal with an abandoned car when he could have been dealing with stranded motorists or more serious problems.

COOPER: Right. Brian Todd, be careful out there. Brian, thanks for being there.

Late today D.C. officials calling this storm a life or death situation. Spoke to reporters about the steps. They are taking to try to deal with them, the help they badly need from the public.

Joining us right now by phone is D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Chief Lanier, it is great to have you here. What's the situation like right now for your officers on the ground?

CHIEF CATHY LANIER, WASHINGTON D.C. POLICE (on the phone): Very much when you just heard. I mean, in the last hour, the intensity of the storm picked up. The winds have picked up as anticipated and, you know, still seeing too many cars on the road. You know, we try to get people to heed the warnings from yesterday going through all through today. And now the situation is going to deteriorate very, very quickly. So I think with the increasing winds and increasing snow accumulation, now we are going to start to see more and more people stranded. And we'll have to be dealing with them instead of dealing with the real priorities that come in when, you know, storms like this do occur.

COOPER: I understand you're emergency crews have some heavy duty vehicles working on trying to keep the roads clear, right?

LANIER: We do. We do. And, you know, the police deputy, we have a lot of regular SUVs, heavy duty vehicles we can get around with. So we distributed those around and we have Humvees we can use, as it progresses more and I'm sure at some point we'll have to rely on them for some of our responses. But, you know, again, we have spent a lot of time responding to people who under estimated the storm and didn't stay off the street and that takes away from our response emergency calls.

COOPER: And I mean, as you said, everybody was supposed to be off the road by 3:00 p.m. today. Has, I mean, have people been heeding that because it seems like depending where you are in the city, we've seen different things.

LANIER: I mean, for the most part, a significant drop off in the number of cars that we normally would see. So our total number of vehicle accidents today compared to a normal weekday, similar weekday is down dramatically, same as car per se. But there is still too many people out there. And I think, you know, people want to have fun in the snow and there is plenty of time to have fun when you have two, in excess of two feet of snow when it's all over. The time to have fun is not right now when you have, you know, wind gusts of 35, 30 miles an hour and blizzard conditions because things can go bad very quickly.

COOPER: You have obviously been a police officer in D.C. I think for 25 years and been through a lot of snowstorms before. How is the response, the preparation for this storm been different, if it has?

[20:20:04] LANIER: Well, you know, the good thing and bad thing about storm preparation is typically we get some good warnings. Forecasts are not 100 percent accurate but you always act on the forecast aggressively as if it is. And in this one, we had pretty strong forecasts consistently day after day after day and that is very unusual. We don't always get that.

The storm on Wednesday, we were told, light dusting to half an inch over the course of several hours and what we got was in the midst of rush hour, almost two inches that fell in about an hour and a half. So the predictability on this one has been really, really good. So I think the preparation for a storm of this magnitude most of the region that's dealing with this, we were very well prepared.

COOPER: Well, Chief Lanier, I wish you the best of luck in the next couple days. I know you have a lot of long hours. Thanks for joining us.

LANIER: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Joining us as well on the phone is Baltimore's mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Mayor, thank you for being with us. How prepared is your city right now to deal with the storm?

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE (on the phone): We are very prepared. We learned a lot of lessons from the storms in 2010. We got a lot of positive feedback from that storm, but I was always looking for ways that we can do things better. We have three times as much equipment as we did back then. We have equipment prepositions. We have a public safety officers out there prepositioned. We have a lot of pre-identified places to put the snow. If you remember those piles and piles of snow from snowmageddon, so we have prepositioned places that we are going to put the snow. So we are more prepared than ever and we just need the residents to cooperate and stay off the roads.

COOPER: And I know you ordered cars without chains or snow tires off city streets. Other vehicles are allowed to remain on the streets, is that correct?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: We are. But we are encouraging people to go home. We shut down - you know, we dismissed city employees and encouraged other employers to do the same thing so we could get people off the streets. It's very, very important that we keep the streets clear as much as possible, so the crews can do their jobs and salt and plow and make things safe. We want to make sure that our emergency responders are able to get to who they need to get to in case of emergency. We don't want them to be stuck behind an abandoned car and someone could lose their life because of it.

COOPER: All mass transit in Baltimore shutting down at midnight tonight. Do you know how long it will be shut down for? I mean, the rest of the weekend?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Well, the state is here at the city's emergency operation center and the MTA says they anticipate the bus service to be out at least for all of tomorrow. And they are going to evaluate it as the weather event evolves.

COOPER: And so bottom line, your message to people listening tonight in Baltimore and the surrounding areas, what do they need to know about the next 24, 48 hours?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Get comfortable, read a book, watch a movie, have some fun, but stay off the road. If we can keep the car off the road, we can get what we need done and then we can get back to normal as quickly as possible. The weather is too treacherous to even risk it. We want to make sure that people stay safe. So my hope is that people heed that warning. Everyone is gone to the supermarket and they are ready to, you know, hunker down until we can get through this.

COOPER: Mayor Rawlings-Blake, appreciate your time. Good luck this weekend. Thank you.

We will have more on the storm throughout this hour.

Coming up next, returning to the political storm inside the Republican Party. Twenty-two leading conservatives speaking out against Donald Trump in a special issue of "the National Review," an issue dedicated to attacking him and his presidential run. I'll speak with two people contributed to that magazine as well as a top Trump campaign official.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:27:53] COOPER: The view from the road tonight in northern Virginia. Brian Todd on the way to an overturned truck, a very dangerous situation. Obviously, if you don't have to be out tonight, please stay inside. We'll update you on all of it shortly.

There is more breaking news tonight. A brand-new Fox News national poll shows Donald Trump holding onto the lead over his Republican opponents. The new poll has Trump at 34 percent against nationally and Ted Cruz in second with 22 percent followed by Marco Rubio with 11 percent. Now, the rest of the field is in single digits.

At the same time Trump is railing against "the National Review." The magazine, the conservative magazine is the subject of his latest twitter rant calling it a quote "failed publication." The reason for his ire is plain to see on the cover, a special issue of "the National Review" that just came out. The headline simply "against Trump."

Inside the magazine, there is a scorching editorial that calls Trump a threat to conservatism. The issue also features essays from 22 voices comments conservative voices each detailing why Trump they believe is a menace.

I'm joined by two of those voices. Syndicated columnist (INAUDIBLE), senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center and national syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved. Also with us is Sam Clovis, co-chairman and policy advisor for the Trump campaign.

Michael, I want to start with you. In your "National Review" piece, you say and I quote "Trump's brawling blustery mean-spirited public persona serves to associate consecutives with all the negative stereo types that liberals have for decades attached to their opposites on the right." And then you go on to say that if Trump gets the nomination, the GOP is sure to lose the election. If it came down to a two person race, though, between Cruz and Trump, who would you vote for?

MICHAEL MEDVED, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Between Cruz and Trump with a gun to my head, I would vote for Trump. I think Cruz is even worse. And for some of the same reasons. But Trump brings all kinds of baggage of his own. What I meant there is that Trump is no one's classic idea who is a conservative of what a conservative should be. Our conservative heroes are people like Reagan or Jack Kemp or William F. Buckley, founder of "the National Review."

[20:30:00] MEDVED: Trump is a guy of a tremendous inherited wealth who has a reputation for being bullying, and vulgar, and crude, and materialistic, and negative which is exactly what liberals have been saying against conservatives for all these years.

I don't think we should be giving the left a great big gift, by confirming all of their worst stereo types of what it means to be on the right.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sam, I want you to be able to respond because we know where Donald Trump stands on this. The twitted out earlier, "The late great William f. Buckley would be ashamed of what happened to his prize, the dying National Review."

I mean, are you worried this coalition of conservatives could hurt Donald Trump at the polls?

SAM CLOVIS, CO-CHAIR/POLICY ADVISER TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Absolutely not. I read all of the articles in there and Mike and Nona are people that I've had a great deal of respect for over the years. MONA: Thank you.

CLOVIS: I've read a lot of their material. And I think that what we saw here and I was a bit amused to be honest. I felt like it was a bunch of 10-year-olds stomping their feet because they couldn't get their way.

I mean, Donald Trump is not like any politician we've had in this country in history. And this is the thing I think most people are struggling with. And I don't blame them.

I don't blame people who have been conservative warriors out there for all of these years, that Michael and Mona are right there with them. I don't blame them for looking at this and saying, "This isn't like anything I've ever seen, therefore I don't understand it, therefore it must be bad". That seems to be the logic that's here.

And I think what is really troubling to me and I don't mean this as any admonition at all, is that I cannot believe that we have so many people that are so out of touch with what's going on in this country. And I would just advice anybody who has written an article for the National Review and particularly in those 22 articles that were published, to go to a Donald Trump rally and look and see what you see there.

You're not seeing anything like we've ever seen before in the history of this country. And I just wish people would take time to get out there and do their homework, get down there and get in touch with what's going on in this country. People are angry. People are upset.

COOPER: Mona ...

CLOVIS: And there's a reason they are upset, is because conservatives have not advanced the ball one inch since Ronald Reagan was president.

COOPER: Mona, let me ask you to respond to that. Is this something you simply just don't understand and therefore have labeled bad?

MONA CHAREN, CONTRIBUTOR NATIONAL REVIEW: This is a turning point for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement, why? Because in response to the Obama presidency, you know, the greatest sin of the Obama presidency was really the executive over reach, the expansion of the powers of the state and in particular, the powers of the executive.

And what does Donald Trump promise? He promises that he will do exactly the same thing, but except for a different constituency. That is the exact opposite of what conservatism should and does and has stood for. We stood for limited government. We stood for modesty about the power of the state and adherence to constitutional limits on the power of the executive. And Donald Trump alas seems to be utterly unfamiliar with that whole tradition.

CLOVIS: Mona, I would like to respond to that because I really think that what is interesting here is that I've been out there for 30 years myself. I've been out there fighting. I served in the military, I become just rabid conservative and I'm an orthodox conservative. I'm Russell Kirk consecutive.

So I understand the principles and all of the things that are going on here. But what success have we had in limiting government? Donald Trump made it for good.

MEDVED: Let me answer that.

CLOVIS: Donald Trump has made the pronouncements, that he will bring the executive branch back inside the constitution. How does that sound like a person who is going to be a dictator?

MEDVED: I'll what it sounds like ...

CHAREN: Actually, he has ...

COOPER: Michael, go ahead and answer.

MEDVED: It's not a question of being a dictator. It's a question of favoring big government solutions, which Donald Trump does. When he talks about creating a deportation force to deport 11 million Americans that is a huge expansion of government.

CLOVIS: Not 11 million Americans, Mike. It's not 11 million Americans.

(Crosstalk)

MEDVED: It's 11 million people - but how will you do that without growing government? When you talk about creating a trade war and interfering with free trade, that is a big government solution. It is not a conservative solution. I don't want President Clinton. I don't want President Sanders, I want a Republican president next time and Donald Trump is one of our worst bets for achieving that goal.

[20:35:04] CLOVIS: That's your opinion, mike. I'll tell you right now that's fine with you. You can be there. But let's look at the vote count on February 1st and then let's look at the vote count on February 9th. And then on -- when we get to South Carolina and then to Nevada and then onward, let's check the vote count, let's see what the score is then.

MEDVED: And it's exactly that vote count that we're hoping to influence.

COOPER: Sam Clovis, Michael Medved, Mona Charen, I appreciate all your ...

CLOVIS: I still like you guys.

MEDVED: I like you, too, Sam.

CHAREN: We like you too.

COOPER: Still a lot of love in the room.

Coming up, we'll the latest on the massive winter storm that has more 85 million people in his past this weekend when "360" Continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some new details on the monster storm that's hammering the eastern seaboard now, and only growing stronger. The number of flight cancellations is way up now topping 7,500.

Washington's Regan National Airport as we showed you earlier tonight, completely shut down, big cancellations as well at American's massive operation in Philadelphia.

[20:40:00] CNN Sara Ganim is in Philly for us tonight. What is going on where you are, Sara?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Anderson. You know, this snow here in Philly only started falling about an hour or hour and a half ago, but immediately we notice two things.

One, it's accumulating really fast and, two, this is the kind of snow where you can hear it when it's falling as it hits your jacket. It's the wet kind. You can see from the streets behind me, that it is accumulating on the streets, despite the preparations of the city went through brining two day, two to three days ago.

You can also see from looking at the streets, there still a lot of people out here finishing up their Friday evening commute. Officials here really urging people to go home and stay home because it's only going to keep coming.

Philadelphia expected to get between 12-22 inches. Anderson, that's as much as this city typically sees in an entire month of January, they could get that in just the course of one day.

COOPER: Yeah. Certainly, looks like more cars in the road than we saw certainly in D.C. or even in Baltimore earlier tonight. What sort of, I mean, talked about the brining, what other preparations has the city been doing the last couple days?

GANIM: They are ready. As soon as they feel that there's enough accumulation to send the plows that are on the road. They've got 400 plows in the city, 450 in the suburbs. They're also doing things like enacting a code blue to make sure homeless people get to shelters tonight.

They're also making sure that there is a snow emergency so that cars are not parked on the streets so they can plow. They closed the subways tomorrow. The entire airport is shut down tomorrow.

But here's the good news out of this storm, Anderson. This time last year, Philadelphia and many other cities in the northeast, they were maxed out. They had had so many storms up until this point that their budgets were tight, and this is the first major storm that this city will see this year and many others like it.

And so, their pockets are full. They are ready and fully prepared. Now, of course, that doesn't change things here. People are still having a little bit of fun. And before it gets really horrible, there is an ice skating rink next to me. There are still plenty of people out there.

And as you can see, there are still people going out enjoying their Friday night. But what officials expect here in the later hours, 9:00 to midnight. And then, after that much, much worse and they are really urging people, you know, get home, get warm, get a book and stay inside.

COOPER: Yeah, the worst is yet to come. Sara Ganim, thank you very much.

Joining us on the phone is Sam Phillips, the Director of Philadelphia Emergency Management. Sam, thanks very much for being with us. What is the situation like right now? We just heard from our reporter, Sara Ganim, from your perspective, how are things?

SAMANTHA PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR OF PHILADELPHIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: So far so good, the snow had just started as Sara reported. And we've activated the city's Emergency Operation Center, a partial activation for starters. And at 9:00 p.m. tonight our snow emergency declaration will go into effect. And that declaration ...

COOPER: So what does that entail?

PHILLIPS: Yeah. That only pertains to parking on snow emergency routes. And so, it's not like a (inaudible) or presidential disaster declaration. It really just requires that vehicles parked on those routes be moved and if they're not moved, they'll be ticketed and relocated by tow trucks.

COOPER: And the worst hours, the greatest accumulation is expected when?

PHILLIPS: Early tomorrow morning, and then through the day on Saturday. Our latest briefing from the National Weather Service forecast that we could see between 18 and 24 inches, at times that will be very heavy snow. We'll have less than a quarter mile of visibility and that's also going to be paired with pretty high winds, sustained winds reaching 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 35. So we're concerned about the heavy snow and, of course, the blowing of snow.

COOPER: And then does that mean you think airports will be closed certainly throughout the day tomorrow?

PHILLIPS: Our airport is already closed. All flights are canceled for tomorrow. Our transit agency SEPTA has suspended bus operations and regional rail operations beginning at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow. They will continue to run our two subway lines, the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Line.

But I think tomorrow is going to be a difficult day in the city. We are encouraging residents, if you do not have to be on the roads, please do not be on the roads. Stay out of the way of our plows, let them do the big job that they need to do tomorrow.

COOPER: And how concerned are you about power outages?

PHILLIPS: I am concerned about that was the, storm because of the wet heavy nature of the snow paired with the higher winds than we normally see during snowstorms. We're concerned about down trees and potential downed wires.

So we'll be tracking that very closely. One of the reasons for activating the city's emergency operation center at full level tomorrow morning is to do just that, coordinate with all of our utility partners and infrastructure crews to monitor locations where there could be damage, and quickly dispatch crews based on a priority basis.

[20:45:08] COOPER: All right. Well, good luck, Samantha. I appreciate it, Samantha Phillips.

Coming up right now is CNN Nick Valencia who's in Fairfax, Virginia with road crews.

Nick, the Department of Transportation there, what kind of weapons do they have now to battle this blizzard?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Anderson, they have done a lot. They started preparing for a storm of this magnitude back in June. A lot of these folks that are out on the road running those snow plows are actually contractors, not employees of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

So they have to train those folks. They really did effectively start this last night about 7:00 p.m. You want to walk with me, we'll show you a little into that where we are. This is the epicenter of the precautions that they're taking, about 4,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Let's see if we can talk to one of these drivers here, Anderson.

Hey, Tommy (ph), you're on with Anderson Cooper. How are you, man?

TOMMY (ph): Good, how you doing?

VALENCIA: Good, let's get up here. So you were telling me you've been doing this about 15 years. You can tell the snow falling and what kind of storm it's going to be.

TOMMY (ph): Yeah, since 2002. You can always tell when it's a big blizzard.

VALENCIA: So what does this look to you judging by the snow?

TOMMY (ph): It's not real thick, it's not falling real heavy but it's, yeah, definitely a blizzard.

VALENCIA: So how many trucks have you loaded up, because we've been seeing you do this for hours now. We've been out here since this afternoon, how many trucks have you loaded up so far? TOMMY (ph): I think 200 or 300. I just gave them my sheets in there.

I didn't keep counting or you're only have time keep much count but ...

VALENCIA: Well, we know you're short on time, so thank you so much for taking the time, I appreciate it, all right. Tommy Hensly (ph), one of the many courageous folks out here preparing the roads, making sure everything is safe out there. We were just on the interstate a little while ago, Anderson.

We saw traffic moving steadily and slowly. We talked a little bit to local officials. They tell us that there's been over 500 crashes according to the Virginia State Police , most of those being minor fender benders. No major crashes, and the good news in all of this, of course, no fatalities that we have heard of yet here across the state.

But, of course, the worst is going to come tomorrow. It's going to be the real big day, the real stress on those roads. So if you are watching us at home, that's the best place to be there. Just hunker down inside. They are expecting somewhere between 30 and 40 inches of snow in the D.C. area around this area as well in Fairfax, Virginia. That's an average of three to six inches per hour, if you can imagine that.

If there is any good news in all of this, it's the snow has stopped coming down as heavy as it was between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. but that wind is just brutal. It starts to pick out there the temperatures having around 20 degrees. And this weekend, it's going to be more of the same. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah, and those roads getting more dangerous. Nick Valencia, Nick, thanks very much.

Up next, an update from Chad Myers, new information on just what this storm is doing and what it could do in the hours to come. We'll be right back.

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[20:51:35] COOPER: A winter's worth of snow in 36 hours that is what the forecast polls, enough snow one weather watcher calculate it for every single American to each, each make 7,000 snowballs. It's not, however, all fun games. Certainly, at least four people have died in this storm so far, more than 85 million people could be affected before it's all over.

Low lying areas facing possibly heavy flooding damage, tens of thousands of homes already without power, serious stuff. Let's get late details now on what is in store and what we've already seen.

Chad Myers is back with an update. Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, yeah. The storm is just now wrapping up, just really almost taking a lull before it explodes over the Atlantic Ocean, the low kind of to the north of Atlanta. We're waiting for the low to move across the Carolinas and start right here.

When this low gets here into the Gulf Stream, which is that warm water and I use that term relatively, it's about 45 degrees, but it's warm enough to explode this storm. The cold on this side, the warm water over here will make the low explode and that's when everything feels back in again.

You can see there are many empty spots on the radar right now. Those spots will go away by morning and that's when the snow will really come down. We're talking about two inches per hour in some spot. It is snowing hard right now in Henrico County there in Richmond, Virginia, south side seeing some heavy snow all the way own to Petersburg.

More snow down to the south but mixing in with ice in Charlotte also into Raleigh, that ice will be difficult to drive on and also bring down not more power lines as the weight of the ice holds under the trees and holds onto the power lines themselves and even light snow moving through Atlanta, just to make things a little slick there.

The big story is where the storm will be. Where will the heavy bull's eye be? I will be Philadelphia. I will be Harrisburg. I will be Lancaster. It will be all the way back into Washington D.C. Gaithersburg, Rockville, Frontroy, all the way down 95. Petersburg, all the way down to Fredericksburg. Richmond, Virginia and out west is Charlottesville and even in the Stanton.

You've already seen now 14 inches of snow in places around West Virginia and it hasn't even started to get this balm effect that's going to happen later today. New York City I think - and tonight.

Later on today, I think we'll see wind speeds around 30 but by tomorrow, those wind speeds will be 70 in places that don't need the wind, don't need the erosion and certainly don't need snow. All the snow you should see an entire year in one day. Anderson?

COOPER: Wow. All right, Chad, thanks very much.

Well, let's go now back to Brian Todd on the road in Northern Virginia. Brian, you've seen a lot of vehicles skidding out, right?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. A lot of vehicles stranded. A lot of vehicles skidded off the road. One vehicle did a 180 just kind of a short distance in front of us not too long ago. She was able to get out of that situation and move on.

A tractor trailer truck we're told just now by state police hit a jersey wall, not far from where we're located. We're going northbound on 95 toward Washington, that was just on the southbound side. There were no injuries in that incident and the truck has since been cleared. I'll show you the dashcam, you'll see kind of what the conditions are. Near whiteout conditions here, Anderson, and the surface of the highway is just getting worse.

[20:54:59] We've seen snowplows and salt trucks all over this highway but as you can see, it's not having a great effect because they -- while doing the best they can, they just can't keep up with the volume of a snowfall here.

We're going to try to find a place to pull over in just a moment. I just got off the phone with the state police in Virginia. They say that up until about 7:00 p.m. tonight from midnight to 7:00 p.m. they have responded to more than 800 crashes in the state. That's about four times the normal volume on a normal day.

We're coming up here on a truck stopped. Kenny, why don't we stop over here and we can kind of get behind him and I'm not sure if he's moving or not. He may be moving.

But anyway, Anderson, this is kind of what ...

COOPER: It looks like people are moving pretty fast, Brian.

TOOD: ... vehicles either stopped, stranded - Some people are moving fast, Anderson. And, actually, that is against advice of state officials and state police. They are moving a little bit too fast. Sometimes when they are getting on, you know, when they're moving on a kind of a compact piece of the highway, they think they can go faster than they can go and it gets very dangerous and starts to slip.

I'm going to get out here and we'll switch it over to me and the dashcam, and our photo journalist, Ken Tuohey, is going get out. I'm talking to the dashcam right now.

The wind has picked up out here. The temperature is dropping. The road is getting slicker. This isn't going to be so much of an ice event as a slush and snow event. And we've got a disabled truck right here.

But right now, Anderson, again, whiteout conditions out here. And it's getting worse. The heavier snow will come down starting a couple of hours from now, Anderson.

COOPER: We'll keep checking with you, Brian, be careful out there to you and your crew, to everybody out on the road, if you can get indoors and stay there. We'll be right back.

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