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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 24, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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by wednesday and thursday in the south bay. >> that's going to feel good. "nbc nightly news" is next. then more local news here at 6:00. hope you can join us. on this sunday night, the big dig out. cleaning up after the massive, deadly storm that dumped record-breaking amounts of snow, flooded people out of their homes and left millions stranded. tonight, our in-depth coverage of the blizzard that paralyzed the east coast and left its mark on history. final push. the candidates running hard in iowa, just eight days before the first votes for president. as a result of a new poll, tells us which republican is surging. inside iran. do the nuclear deal and relaxing of sanctions signal a liberal shift by iran? richard engel finds out over breakfast with the mull las. reaching new heights. we go hiking with a man who can teach us
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all something about overcoming the odds. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, erica hill. good evening. for millions of americans, this sunday is far from a day of rest. 88 million people across 24 states directly affected by this weekend's massive storm. an impact that could linger for days. in the nation's capital, we're learning federal offices and schools will be closed tomorrow. the record-setting system brought 24 relentless hours of snow and powerful winds to the region. leaving behind a major cleanup effort. along the jersey shore, some towns under several feet of water today. residents anxiously monitoring the swollen streets. across the country, travel is anything but routine. we begin our coverage tonight with miguel almaguer in washington. miguel? >> erica, good evening. this is your typical washington, d.c. street.
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it hasn't been plowed, only shovelled. that's why the people who live here. look at the cars. three, four feet deep, socked inside this thick snow. it is a mess in the city and many others, but this is far from the biggest problem. [ sirens ] >> reporter: tonight, the snowfall has stopped but the life and death scramble has just begun. outside washington, d.c., first responders struggle to reach a sick child. two feet of snow blocking access in and out of many communities. it takes a team to clear a path. when seconds matter, they're losing minutes. even fire trucks need help from neighbors to pull away. >> it's been a busy couple days. >> reporter: with deep record snow slamming the east, firefighters who can't find buried hydrants are worried they'll lose homes and lives. some 30 dead across the region, from new york to maryland and virginia. roofs are caving in, unable to support all the snow. >> there's a fire
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alarm going off. it was scary. >> reporter: with many out of patience, tens of thousands are without power. 2,200 members of the national guard deployed across 12 states. help is on the way but even fema can't find gas. >> everybody is out of fuel. we drove, i think, 27 miles to find gas cans and fuel. >> reporter: in some spots hammered down for a historic 36 hours. there was thundersnow across the east, and flooding along the coast. the headline summed it up. slammed, buried, walloped. didn't tell it all. records topped in central park, baltimore and parts of virginia. chris can't get out of his neighborhood or even see out of his window. >> our second floor window, completely covered in snow. >> reporter: with roads a mess and sidewalks a disaster, now comes the rush to get public transportation back on track. travel bans are
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lifted but getting out of the house, much less to work, won't be easy. >> ever seen it this bad? >> it's not been this bad. this is the worst we've ever seen. >> reporter: with government buildings closed and many schools cancelling classes tomorrow, today, many are hitting the slopes on capitol hill or in their backyards. this monster storm has gone but won't soon be forgotten. >> when the fun is over, the work will begin. we just learned in this government city that federal offices will be closed down, but those who aren't going to work tomorrow likely won't avoid it. digging out from situations like this will likely take hours. erica? >> that, it will, miguel almaguer. thank you. beyond the snow, people are parts of the jersey shore found themselves dealing with significant flooding from a storm surge. while governor chris christie said his state dodged a bullet, jacob rascon found a different story. >> reporter: it's worse than expected here. much worse. hundreds of homes in west wildwood
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surrounded, cut off and creating a virtual island. the only way around? a humvee. >> we're going to estimate some areas of the town, we had five to six feet of water in the street. >> reporter: where i am standing was a beach that extended another 100 feet, but in the storm, the tide rose, the seawall broke, putting the entire town underwater. not even superstorm sandy did this much damage here. >> it's unusual. talking about debris, boats crossing your path. it's dangerous. >> reporter: dozens had to be rescued. even carried out. >> emergency management must have been back here eight times taking people out. >> reporter: at least 100 homes like michael's flooded. >> here we are again. the joys of the jersey shore. it's quite overwhelming, but it's just -- there's nothing that's not replaceable.
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>> reporter: and west wildwood wasn't the only shore town underwater. sea isle city and ocean city were surrounded by several feet. further north, the damage less severe. in belmar, preparation paid off. a drone capturing emergency dunes before and after. elsewhere, tens of thousands lost power. restoring, a priority tonight. while along the southern shore, the talk of cleanup is on hold for many who still can't get into their homes. >> this is the worst flooding many here say they have ever seen. water knee deep or higher, still surrounding hundreds of homes. extent of the damage likely won't be clear for days. erica? >> jacob rascon for us tonight, thank you. while roads in the region were being cleared today, getting airports back on track is proving a much bigger challenge. with more than 11,000 flights cancelled since friday. kristen dahlgren has been on airport duty all weekend here in
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new york. >> reporter: at laguardia airport today, signs of life. the lucky few able to get on one of the only flights out. >> where are you going? >> disney world. >> reporter: after herculean efforts by crews, runways were re-opened by noon. most airlines remain shut for the day, unable to get their planes back in place after the storm. leaving passengers who showed up stuck. >> just got cancelled. >> reporter: some have been here days, sleeping in the food court and worried about what will happen if they don't get out soon. >> i'm afraid i'll lose my job. >> reporter: everyone has some place important to be. peter carter is trying to get to his brother's funeral. if his flight leaves on time. >> i'll be getting there for the last hour of the funeral. at least i will have an hour to spend with my brother. it's hard, definitely not easy. >> reporter: the scene was similar at many airports. jfk, crewed had to move 30 inches of snow. this is philadelphia. >> we have a snow-covered and
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ice-covered runway. >> reporter: in the d.c. area, all flights were suspended again, despite round the clock efforts to move the massive amounts of snow. >> it is a massive task to get the airports, to get the runways, the taxi ways, the roadways cleared, particularly after a storm of this magnitude. >> reporter: on the rails, it hasn't been much easier. crews spent the day shoveling the tracks. in new york and d.c., full service won't be back until at least tomorrow. while on the roads, even the plows had trouble at times. >> back here at the airport where you can see people are still waiting tonight. we are getting word more than 900 flights nationwide have already been cancelled for tomorrow. while things are beginning to return to normal, erica, it could still be days before everybody gets where they need to go. >> tough reality today. kristen dahlgren, thank you. meteorologist dylan dreyer has more now on what the storm left behind and what we can expect in the days ahead. dylan? >> good evening, erica. this storm system is moving away rapidly but not before
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breaking records. up an down the east coast. in glengary, west virginia, we hit 40 inches of snow. three and a half feet. in new york's jfk, we broke the record for the biggest storm ever, 30.5 inches. central park, we fell just shy of the all-time biggest snowstorm by 1/10 inch. baltimore, maryland, also saw its biggest snowstorm with 29.2 inches. this storm will race away. we'll see clear skies and a warming trend, helping to melt the snow. also, the high tide times this evening are running closer to about 8:00, 9:00 tonight. we'll see an offshore wind. and now going forward, every high tide will become less of an issue for the costal flooding. with the offshore winds, it pushes the water back to sea. we should see improvements right up and down the east coast because of flooding. temperatures are going to get well above freezing in new york city. by monday, 37 degrees. 42 on tuesday. 39 on wednesday. we certainly will see some melting. just keep in mind, the
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melting during the day refreezes overnight. the conditions on the roads will still be a little bit dicey, especially each morning commute. erica? >> thank you. in politics, presidential candidates are making a final push in iowa where the first votes of the 2016 election will be cast in that state's caucuses one week from tomorrow. we get the latest tonight from white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: donald trump looking to lock it up in iowa, starting his day at church. later, joking about the lessons he learned there. >> we talked about humility at church today. i don't know if that was aimed at me, perhaps. now, the church, i don't think knew i was coming. >> reporter: a little levity in this high stakes race where he's, again, surging. the latest iowa poll, trump leading ted cruz, 34% to 23%. jumping 11 points from just two weeks ago. a possible bump for his sustained bashing of his closest opponent. >> one of the problems with ted cruz is everybody hates him. >> reporter: and after another controversial outburst this weekend.
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>> i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody, and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay? it's like incredible. >> reporter: today, trump brushing aside criticism. >> i mean, i have people so loyal, far greater loyalty than any other candidate, by double, triple, quadruple. i love my people. >> reporter: meanwhile, marco rubio, endorsed by the influential "des moines register" this weekend, still in third place in iowa. the challenge for the establishment favorite, breaking through in a cycle favoring outsiders. >> every time i've run for anything at this level, i've taken on the establishment. i had to do it when i ran for the senate. even now, when i decided to run for president. >> reporter: the newspaper also supporting hillary clinton locked in an unexpectedly tight race with bernie sanders. on "meet the press," underscoring her experience. >> it is very personal and people look and think, you know, can we imagine this person to be president and commander in chief? because of my experience, i think
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that's something that people really take into account. >> reporter: and bernie sanders dismissing the newspaper endorsement arguing it's a sign he's the true outsider. >> the reason our campaign is generating so much interest and enthusiasm is people think it's time that we take on the establishment. >> some candidates today saying they'd welcome former new york mayor michael bloomberg into the race. he's reportedly eyeing a run as an independent if trump, cruz or sanders wins their party's nominations. clinton quipped today, she's planning to win, so that won't be necessary. erica? >> kristen welker, thanks. in southern california, a manhunt is underway tonight for three inmates who escaped from a maximum security jail. they were last seen early friday before breaking out of the jail in santa ana. one is charged with murder. officials say the men cut through 1/2 inch steel bars, went through plumbing tunnels and went to an unguarded part of the roof before using a rope to lower themselves to freedom. we've been
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reporting from inside iran, looking at the impact of the nuclear deal that led to the lifting of the crippling sanctions against that country. we wanted to know, could the agreement signal a more liberal shift by iran's conservative religious leaders? our chief foreign correspondent richard engel posed the question in tehran and beyond. >> reporter: many americans wonder if the nuclear deal with iran could lead to a political transformation here. but this crowd gave its answer. loud and clear. to understand the power this regime still holds over people in tehran, you have to come here to friday prayer where every week shops close, traffic comes to a standstill, and they come to this mosque in the thousands to shout, "death to america," and show support to the islamic revolution. to find out whether the religious leadership of this country was ready to relax its grip, we traveled to iran's spiritual capital where clerics are
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educated at seminaries and where islamic law is debated. we met a conservative mullah over breakfast, but found he had no appetite for new politics. >> translator: we have our own culture. we are muslims, and our power comes from our religion. our politics and our religion are one. >> reporter: some powerful clerics have repeatedly supported the crushing of reformists. seven years ago, when demonstrations broke out against the results of elections seen by many as rigged, they were put down violently. now, clerics who approve political candidates are taking no chances. blacklisting nearly 3,000 candidates from next month's parliamentary elections. >> why were so many moderate and reform-minded candidates barred from participating? >> translator: i ask
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you, the mullah said, in america, can you anyone run for president? would you allow them to? no country in the world allows that to happen. the economic openness that comes with the nuclear deal is one thing, but the clerical elite here are not about to let go of the power they've held for nearly 37 years. richard engel, nbc news, tehran. when "nightly news" continues on this sunday, we'll go to a country where cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
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we're back with a
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sign of the times. slow demise of cash payments. we're seeing it to some extent in this country. in sweden, they're aiming for a completely cashless society by 2013. and they're well on their way. kelly cobiella went to stockholm to follow the money. >> reporter: at the philadelphia church in stockholm, they've traded the collection plate for the collect a mat. select the card, choose your donation. nearly all giving is by plastic or app. >> we have seen a tremendous increase, especially among young people. >> reporter: across this country of 9 million at coffee shops and lunch counters, everyone of every age is going cashless. >> i've always used card. wherever i go. taxis, shops, everything. >> reporter: sweden still prints money but less of it. only about 20% of transactions are in cash. in the u.s., it's 40%. atms are disappearing and most major banks won't accept cash
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deposits. with new technology, the cashless economy is open to almost anyone. no spare change for the magazine to help the homeless? no problem. companies like shoe store swedish has-beens say they've lowered cost. no need for a register, safe or trips to the bank. >> there you go. >> reporter: even the man who wrote abba's "money, money, money" is a fan. the abba museum is cash free. no bills means less risk of theft. >> there's no doubting the convenience of paying for just about everything with these. but what does that mean for cold hard cash? are the days of printing money coming to an end? the former national police chief hopes not. take away cash and he says consumers are at the mercy of banks and bank fees. >> we moved from the
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bank of sweden to major commercial banks and they want our money. >> reporter: plus, cash thefts are down, but fraud is way up. another downside? impulse buys. >> so easy. and i got new shoes. >> yeah. >> reporter: easy to buy. and when you're not using cash, nearly impossible to hide. kelly cobiella, nbc news, stockholm, sweden. >> have a nice day. when we come back, gold and a big night on the ice.
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an unexpected start to the day in south central alaska where a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rattled people out of bed this morning. the quake was centered about 160 miles southwest of
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anchorage. it knocked items off of shelves, walls, created cracks in streets and damaged homes, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. update on our story yesterday about the gold sisters. twins who competed in last night's figure skating championship in minnesota. gracie gold, the evening was golden. she came from behind after her short program with an almost flawless performance winning the championship and the second national title of her career. up next, don't talk to him about limits. one man's step by step guide to the possible.
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finally tonight, a reminder of how much we can accomplish. when trevor thomas' life changed dramatically a decade ago, he found a path forward that has taken him to heights he never dreamed of. we get his story tonight from gadi schwartz. >> reporter: on this bright, snow-filled utah day, trevor thomas sets out with no idea where each footstep will fall. you'd never guess watching him trek through the forest with his dog, tanele, especially if you're trying to keep up. >> not easy to do at all. >> reporter: he's quick to say hello to those he passes. most are oblivious to the fact that trevor doesn't see them. he only hears them. behind his shades, trevor thomas is completely blind. >> what's their reactions when they find out you're blind?
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>> it's one of the times i really, really wish i could see just to see the look on their face. >> reporter: over the years, trevor and his dog trekked across the nation's longest and toughest trails. 2,175 miles of the appalachian trail. all 2,654 miles of the pacific crest trail. with a total of more than 1,000 days and nights alone in the back country. >> i take each step as a gift. >> reporter: ten years ago he lost his sight to a rare eye disease, but everything changed when he met eric, another blind man who kayaks, ice climbs and scaled everest. >> he gave me the strength when i didn't have it myself. >> reporter: now trevor is pushing the limits of what even sighted people can do. >> by all rules of nature, i'm a blind guy. i shouldn't be out here. >> reporter: on this winter day, we followed him through icy climbs too steep for others. >> careful. >> reporter: he relies on his heightened hearing to listen to echoes to allow him to sense changes in terrain. >> up there, it goes
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like the crown of a boat, is what it sounds like. >> in front of us, what are you sensing? >> lot of rock here. lot of rock here. probably 75 feet of vertical right there. >> reporter: trevor has fallen more times than he can count. even cracked a few ribs. at times, his ability seems superhuman. the conditions constantly posing considerable risk. >> good dog. >> reporter: deep among the mountain peaks, he's learned to take in the views differently. >> don't get me wrong. i'd love to have my sight, but this one point in time i actually think i'm more fortunate because sighted people will just remember what they see. i take away from this everything. >> reporter: a man with a sixth sense for beauty and grandeur sharing his vision for what the blind can do. gadi schwartz, nbc news, utah. that is nbc "nightly news" for this sunday. i'm erica hill reporting from new york. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. the excitment is building. two
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weeks from today -- super bowl 50 will be played at levi's stadium. but the buzz around the game and it's festivities -- is tonight, the excitement is building. in two weeks the super bowl will be played at levi stadium and the buzz is just getting started. tomorrow morning's commute right here on the bay bridge could be a nightmare. people going back to work for the first time since the road closures went into effect. make way for super bowl city. major sections will be shut down for the festivities leading up to the game. traffic is not the only concern for people. nbc bay area

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