whiplash or blair witch project. al jazeera, park city, utah. much more on that story and the day's top stories at our website, aljazeera.com. feeling the impact, at least 50 million people are in the path of a major winter storm. it's already grounding flights nationwide. >> taking action, the e.p.a. steps into the water crisis in flint and forces out a top official. >> an american student detained in north korea, how he wound up in jail in pyongyang.
this is aljazeera america live from new york city, i'm stephanie sy. a big winter storm is bearing down on the east coast. arkansas, north carolina are already seeing snow and that system is moving northeast. at least 50 million people are in its path and many places have already declared a state of emergency. many residents are waiting in long lines at stores, emptying shelves to get essentials they need to get through this storm. the storm is wreaking havoc at airports, 2400 gates canceled nationwide. robert ray is live in charlotte, north carolina in the thick of it right now. robert, what is the weather doing right now? looks like a relatively mild snowfall, though heavier than in the last hour, i think. >> it is. it's a lot heavier. the wind has picked up, it's gotten much colder here and it's just kind of a driving sleet. there are people out and about. downtown charlotte is shut
today, the government shut, the schools, the universities. every once in a while, you'll see a bus come by. we've got people putting salt on the ground here and plows trying to get this mess off the ground. i mean, the big concern here is ice. we could see up to one inch of ice in charlotte and the surrounding area that will cripple this entire region. it will continual from atlanta through d.c. ice is the major issue. snow can be removed, but when you have ice, you just can't do anything, you lose power, electricity a big issue. people are stocking up on food down here, just not quite sure, you know, exactly how long this is going to go. the forecasts say through tomorrow night there will be snow and sleet here, but in the meantime, you know, people are just hunkering down here. this doesn't happen very often, but it does occur.
we remember a few years ago, the big size snowstorm and snowstorm that hit atlanta and charlotte crippled all the interstate. >> i remember that atlanta had a tough time because it didn't have the equipment necessary to clear the snow. this storm we saw it coming. what else has charlotte and surrounding areas done to prepare for the eventuality that they could lose electricity and need to continue to clear snow and ice off the roads? >> well, that's a big thing and the governor here in north carolina has come out this morning and has made sure that we're not going to see those horrible traffic jams like we saw a couple of years ago and that power will be restored quickly if in deed people lose it. they've learned their lessons in the south the past couple of years. we know us media, we were very tough on many of the officials that didn't do their job a couple of years ago, so they've learned their lessons and doing much better this time. you can tell. we've seen at least three, four
snowplows before we went live here, going down the street. they're ready. in the mountains just west of charlotte, they're expecting over a foot of snow. that's a different story. they're probably going to be out of power for a few days, but overall, this is a region that is just starting to feel the effects of this massive storm that's going to last for the next couple of days. oddly enough, you know, people are still walking the streets and putting salt on the ground and you even have like literally a mouse that keeps running by here looking for food, it's the weirdest thing. all morning we've had this little mouse that keeps running around here. we're going to try to help that little guy throughout the day. >> hopefully he doesn't run into any ice. thanks a lot, robert. meteorologist nicole mitchell on what to expect from the storm. >> this is a multi-facetted form
this morning. this is the outlook at we go forward. we've dealt with rain, ice, snow, up to ohio river valley, the rain on the south side could include strong storms today especially ice. we've seen some of that. the light snow picking up through this afternoon, the heavy stuff starts tonight into the day tomorrow which is where we are now with this outline. that includes new york starting to pick up light snow overnight by getting intense even by tomorrow morning and the winds pick up, as well. continuing this in motion, it clears out quickly by sunday. in the next two days, a lot to get through. i mentioned on the southern end, still the dynamics that we can see the strong storm. not as many as yesterday but wind primarily that threat on this side of it, and then you get on the northern and cold air side. we have had ice accumulation already in parts of especially the carolinas, but around that region, some of that could go
over a half inch. enough to start bringing down branches or power lines or outages in addition to the slick roads. where we see the reds, d.c. up to long island, blizzard warnings, that means combination of enough snow and high wind to cause whiteout conditions at times. those winds crank up through the day on saturday. saturday for a lot of the coastal cities is going to be the really troublesome day with all the snow and wind and that's going to be combination of the wind which could go over 50 miles an hour with some places especially right near d.c. that could see over two feet of snow before all is said and done. back to you. >> now to the water crisis in flint, michigan, the federal government is now stepping into help. the e.p.a. issued an emergency order, taking over water testing there. thursday, the regional director of the e.p.a. resigned over allegations the agency didn't do enough to fix the problems in flint and president obama will
send federal aid to repair flint's infrastructure. >> we're going to have to funding available to you by the end have next week, including more than $80 million for the state of michigan. our children should not have to be worried about the water that they're drinking in american cities. that's not something that we should accept. >> al jazeera's andy is in flint with more. >> the $80 million that president obama has now committed to the city of flint will go immediately to 10 fix the city's broken water infrastructure. he called last night the conditions here in flint inexcusable and that money comes after he had initially given just $5 million in federal aid. in the meantime, the regional director of the e.p.a. overseeing flint resigned last night as did the director of michigan's department of environmental quality, bolt agencies heavily criticized for not doing enough, not taking seriously enough the complaints from the residents when problems
in the water started showing up in the spring of 2014. the michigan governor has been called to testify before congress, so a lot of blame game going on still here in flint, but the residents just want their lives to get back to normal. they are now living off bottled and boiled water. they could be doing that for years, in fact. back to you. >> andy reporting from flint. join us tonight for a special report, crisis in flint, a water emergency at 7:30, 4:30 pacific. in michigan, lawmakers are pushing for new legislation to crack down on work stoppages, making it easier to punish teachers who take part in a strike. the gop move comes after weeks of sickout by teachers over conditions and funding. the automakers sued by an
oklahoma man whose airbags didn't inflate when his car crashed in 2014, a judge cast doubt on his case. this morning, a court filing shows he chose to dismiss the claim. the switch problem is linked to 124 deaths. an american college student is detained in north korea for committing with what the government calls a hostile act. he was detained john two. he's a student at the university of virginia. we have more from seoul. >> this news came through on the state media saying that north carolina detained a u.s. citizen, a student for a supposed hostile act against the state, also this media report saying that that act was tolerated and manipulated by the united states government. the name of this man otto frederik, the u.s. embassy here
in seoul confirming that it has seen these media reports, referring any other questions to the state department in washington. there has been some corroboration from a tour agency based in china, young pioneer tours which says that this man was on one of their tours in north korea and detained on january 2. they say that they are acting closely with the swedish embassy in pyongyang which looks after interests. he is not the first u.s. citizen to be detained in north korea. in 2014, three u.s. citizens were released. there have been instances of missionary activity, one tourist who left behind a bible in a hotel, these kinds of things have gotten people in trouble in the past. also last year was a south korea student with a u.s. green card who was studying in the u.s. detained after crossing illegally from china.
he was kept six months before being handled back over to south korean authorities here. this isn't the first of its type, but is a new development, a new u.s. citizen reportedly detained inside north korea. the state department is aware of the reports of his detention and they are working with the swedish embassy to secure his release. this morning, the washington post reporter freed from an iranian prison is heading back to the u.s. jason rezaian completed medical exams at a u.s. military hospital in germany. he said he was feel well after spending almost 18 months in an iranian jail. he was freed over the weekend in a prisoner swap. another american long held in ran is already back in the u.s., u.s. marine amir hekmati returned to michigan for the first time in four years. he said he was glad to be back in flint. >> i love this city.
i love its people. happy to finally be home. it's been a very long road, very long journey. i'm standing here, healthy, tall and with my head held high. >> hekmati was arrested and held as a spy. while in prison, he spent long periods in solitary confinement. officials say they are in full control of a beach side restaurant in somalia after an attack that killed 20 people. al shabab fighters went after the restaurant. the attack went on for eight hours. officials say many behind it were killed or captured. al shabab has shown different tactics in these latest attacks. analysts say it's a sign of changing strategies for the group. >> over the last few years since the intervention of kenya and armed forces, al shabab has reluctantly let go of some of
the territories. rather than exacts taxes from people, providing services, now are capable of what they are doing now. in the past, they were largely an urban guerilla movement, now an insurgency. they do not need a lot of capacity to cause this sort of damage. they have converted efforts, resources and man power in doing what they are doing right now. >> some of the weapons al shabab is using have been taken from african union peacekeepers. the knoll review blasts donald trump, why its he's a menace to the conservative cause. >> sex crimes often go unreported because the attackers carry a badge.
>> our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. an atlanta area police officer is expected to be arrested today for killing an unarmed black man last year. thursday, a grand jury indicted dekalb officer robert olsen on charges. he shot and killed anthony hill after responding to a call about a neighborhood man behaving erratically. hill was an air force veteran around his family says he was struggling with mental health problems. the victims of former oklahoma city police officer
daniel holtzclaw are praisessing a judge's decision to sentence him to 263 years in jail. holtzclaw was convicted of sexually assaulting women in poor communities while on duty. heidi zhou castro was in the courtroom when the sentence was announced. >> daniel holtzclaw showed no emotion as the judge read his sentence but there is was a murmur from the audience packed with victim and supporters, followed by tears of joy and relief. >> we stopped the serial rapist with a badge when everybody else had doubts. >> former oklahoma city police officer daniel holtzclaw will spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting at least eight women, all african american and from a low income neighborhood where holtzclaw patrolled. >> i'd like to say thank god for those who do believe us and no matter how powerful he was and how vulnerable and helpless we were, he had no power to do what was done to us.
>> the attacks happened during a six month period in 2013 and 2014 while he was on duty. he was convict on 18 charges last month. jami liggins was the last victim. he assaulted the 58-year-old grandmother and day care worker in the back of his squad car. >> whatever happened to you, no matter who it is, tell it. wrong is wrong. wrong is wrong. police officer with a badge, a gun or not, wrong is wrong. he got what he deserved. >> holtzclaw's previous victims had histories of drug abuse and prostitution. he targeted them believing no one would take their word over his. she had no criminal history, she reported the attack, breaking the case. >> a lot of people are calling you a hero. do you feel that way? >> i don't feel like i am. i just did what i had to do. >> the oklahoma city police department has tried to make amends through firing holtsclaw
then aggressively investigating the case. >> we are very much committed to this community and i believe we have proven that. this is a terrible case. there's no way of changing that, no way of changing what happened to these victims. we can't go back and change the past. >> those who live in the area holtzclaw once terrorized are not satisfied. they are calling for dispatching officers and teams and overhauling the supervision system that allowed holtzclaw to slip through. they have been unanswered. >> do you feel safe in your neighborhood? >> safer, but to me, there might be more like him because of what happened to me, i don't trust any of them now. >> can you say with 100% certainty that there are no other officers committing these crimes? >> we have no reason to believe that there are. if there's ever an allegation or case we need to investigate, we will do so.
>> with his sentence, holtzclaw will never again patrol these streets but in these alleys and corners, the shadows cast by his crimes still loom. steven yoder has studied sexual assaults by police officers. he told me earlier on your word this morning the holtzclaw case is just one of a mitch bigger trend. >> i found five cases in which women now have on going civil suits against new york city's police department for cases like this, cases of sexual coercion while officers are on duty, these are alleged, on going and case says in 2016 in which nypd officers were convicted or which the city settled these cases. in one department, we are talking about eight of these cases. as in the holtzclaw case. many of these women are at risk of some type of prosecution. they can be sex workers, they
can be involved with drugs in some way, or they can be something simple as pulled over for a traffic ticket in which the officers offer to drop the charges in exchange for favors. these women are often not willing to pursue a case. they don't have the money for lawyers, and when they're put on the stand, as one lawyer told me, you put one of these victims on the stand with a police officer, and the jury usually is going to believe the officer. as we know, only a third of rapes generally are reported, so in these cases, it's probably far lower. >> yoder said the more than 20 department he's contacted, only three follow guidelines. we are only days from the iowa caucuses. republican elites are going after the front runner. this is the cover of the national review, making a case
for defeating donald trump, calling him a menace and philosophically unmoored. i asked if this was a start of a civil war inside the republican party. >> bunch of conservatives say donald trump is not the real conservative in the race and that's what ted cruz has been saying for weeks now. donald trump responding saying they're a failing organization, their circulation is starting to die off. trump began in his trademark way we've seen belittling those who attack him, but it is a good question and right now you are seeing a fight between donald trump and at the time cruz here in new hampshire and iowa and around the nation for the real conservative voters, cruz saying donald trump has changed his mind, he's a chameleon and not a real conservative. it's crunch time now.
you're seeing rhetoric rise on the democratic and republican side because people are about to vote. yesterday, the buzz was around conservative stalwarts like bob dole saying trump is a better standard bearer for the party than ted cruz. are we seeing what politico termed a circular firing squad now in the gop? >> yeah, there have been a couple of story lines this week, one was the establishment has welcomed donald trump and they think trump would be less hurtful to the party than ted cruz. ted cruz is a u.s. senator. none of the other senators have endorsed ted cruz. it is bizarre what is going on. this is the presidential cycle where we're taking the rules and throwing them out the window o >> the latest poll on the democratic side gives bernie sanderses the lead.
clinton has held the lead for months. several polls show sanders with a huge lead in new hampshire. one of the world's biggest financial names is connecting the presidential race to groups like isil. george soros said donald trump is helping isil recruit. >> corruption is a radicalize er, because it destroys faith in elect mat authority. it opens up a vacuum which allows the predators to move in. no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups who use corruption as a recruitment tool. corruption is an opportunity destroyer. >> defense secretary ash carter is also in davos today and the pentagon tweeted this picture showing him with the iraqi minister. the two spoke about isil in
this is a pier, one of many inundated today by sea water. we're in the middle of what's called a king tide, and basically you know how tides work, the sun and moon basically pull on our oceans. they yank on them by their gravitational pull. every so often, you get a spring tide when the sun and moon are algined and combine and their gravitational pull pulse hard on the ocean. right now we're in this king tide where we're especially close to the sun. it means the high tide is about a foot and a half higher than it typically is. you combine that with the effect of el niño, we're looking at another foot of sea level rise. in a storm situation between three and four, maybe five feet of sea level rise. this isn't just some sort of novelty, just a threat to the tourist shoes here today. this is a glimpse of the future, the kind of sea level rise we're going to see on a regular basis by 2100.
this doesn't also just affect san francisco, four out of 10 americans live in a coastal town according to fema, meaning the lives of maybe hundreds of millions are people are going to be affected, drinking water, infrastructure, the roads that they drive on, homes they live in, all of these things will be washed -- will be inundated by water as we see today. this is really an interesting opportunity for city managers to take a look at the effects of a day like today and understand how they are going to cope with years of that by the end of this century. >> it's a taste of what's to come. city leaders are debating a tax on every piece of real estate sold to build protections against climate change. a trip to the superbowl on the line this weekend. the patriots travel to denver to play the broncos. cam newton and his 15-1 carolina panthers hoved the arizona
cardinals. the superbowl is february 7. >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello and welcome to the news hour. here is what is coming up in the next 60 minutes. the e.u. looks at tightening border controls to deal with the growing refugee crisis. tunisia declares a nation-wide curfew after days of protests against the government. at least 22 people are killed in an attack