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CNN10 2023-02-17

CNN 10

Cyclone Gabrielle Hits New Zealand; Ohio Toxic Train Spill. Aired 4- 4:10a ET

Aired February 17, 2023 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, lovely people. You made it. The weekend is upon us. Friday is here and Friday's rock, especially this Friday because we're headed into a three-day weekend.

We have a lot of news to get through today, so not a lot of time to do it. Let's get to it.

We're going to begin with the latest out of New Zealand where the country just declared a national state of emergency.

Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand with wind and rain, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes in the area. The wind gusts were greater than 87 miles per hour, waves were close to 36 feet high. When we recorded this show the storm had killed at least five people and caused widespread damage.

Police in the area say they remain focused on locating those people that are unaccounted for. What exactly is a cyclone? Let's break it down.

Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are essentially the same, with only the location of the storm determining what we call it. For example, the only difference between a hurricane and a typhoon is that typhoons happen in the Western and North Pacific waters, while hurricanes occur in the Eastern and North Pacific and the North Atlantic Basin.

That's why whenever we talk about these types of storms in the U.S., it's almost always a hurricane. Cyclones happen only in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. We'll keep you updated as news unfold surrounding the cyclone in New Zealand as the worst of the weather looks to have passed significant and potentially life-threatening challenges remain.

Next story today, earlier this month, a Norfolk Southern train which was carrying toxic chemicals at the time derailed from the tracks and crashed in eastern Ohio. Now, the derailment ignited the hazardous chemicals on board, covering the town of East Palestine with smoke. Authorities created an evacuation zone around the crash and fearing a major explosion performed a controlled release of the chemicals.

Weeks later, residents have been encouraged to return home, but there are lots of questions about just how harmful exposure to these chemicals could be. The plumes of smoke from the explosion carry the hazardous material into the air and water to which residents would be exposed.

With all eyes on Ohio, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator otherwise known as EPA, Michael Regan, visited the region on Thursday to assess the ongoing response and hear from impacted residents.

Here's CNN's national correspondent Jason Carroll who's been on the ground in Ohio for the last few days covering this story for us.


DR. BRUCE VANDERHOOF, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: We are strongly recommending those who have not yet had their water source checked to use bottled water. And bottled water is being made available.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than a week after a toxic train derailment that led to the evacuation of much of this small Ohio town, state health officials are urging some East Palestine residents to drink bottled water until water tests are complete.

Officials say the toxic spill was largely contained the day after the derailment and that tests have shown the air quality is safe.

But they have found low levels of contaminants in four nearby waterways spanning seven and a half miles, including Leslie Run, a creek which runs through East Palestine and neighboring Negli (ph), right through the back of Kathy Reese's (ph) property.

(on camera): In the back of your property back here, they found dead fish?

KATHY REESE (ph), EAST PALESTINE RESIDENT: Yes, they saw dead fish.

CARROLL: Reese says she has been drinking bottled water instead of well water ever since she started spotting dead fish in the creek following the derailment. She says she's still waiting for the state to come and test her well water.

REESE: Air wise, I feel OK. Water wise, no. No. There's just too many chemicals and stuff that were spilled that they still don't want to identify completely.

CARROLL: An Ohio Department of Natural Resources official estimates some 3,500 fish in the state have died following the train derailment. These people saw the flames from their homes and worried their neighborhood still may not be safe.

What about testing water or ground?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I get that I don't recommend you put anything in the ground. I mean, vegetables or tomatoes or anything this year because we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they're going to do enough.

CARROLL: And some residents say they have been frustrated by what they describe as a lack of communication with officials on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We pass all of the creeks and there's crew after crew with white hoses and black hoses all through the creeks, they're not telling us why, and this is daily. I'm driving my children to school past all of this and they're asking me questions that I don't have answers to.

CARROLL: Some of their questions unanswered. We found getting information just as challenging.

OK, just tell me, are they pumping water out or pumping water back in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can talk to the guys up in top of the hill, sir. We're just grunts.

CARROLL: We're just trying to get a sense of what those pumps are. Can just -- someone just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norfolk Southern can tell you everything. That's the hotline. They can tell you everything.

CARROLL: But you realize people are calling this number and no one is getting back to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just told to direct people to that number.

CARROLL: The governor asked by reporters Tuesday if he would feel comfortable living in East Palestine.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: I think that I would be drinking the bottled water. And I would be continuing to find out what the tests were showing as far as the air. I would be alert and concerned, but I think I would probably be back in my house.

CARROLL: But residents like Kathy Reese say they are left with few choices.

REESE: Just, I guess, pray and keep drink a bottled water until we know for sure what's going on.


WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

Which of these is the most visited urban park in the U.S.?

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, D.C.'s National Mall, Central Park in New York or the Lincoln Park in Chicago.

With 40 million annual visitors, Central Park is the most visited city park in the U.S.

The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife as you can imagine but a newcomer is getting most of the attention right now. Flaco, the owl, escaped from the Central Park Zoo and is at large and on the loose in the park. The rare Eurasian eagle owl escaped his enclosure on February 2nd, and since then, zoo officials have kept an eye on the bird which has become a bit of a celebrity.

While Flaco seems to be adapting well to the wild, there are some concerns over how he might adapt to that New York City lifestyle.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's a new star in Central Park and he's right out of central casting. Lately, bird watchers only have eyes for owls. And some fans on David Barrett's burger blog are saying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let Flaco be free.

MOOS: In the beginning of February Flaco escaped from his exhibit at the Central Park Zoo after someone cut through the stainless steel mesh. His enclosure didn't have room to do much flying.

In his first night of freedom, the NYPD almost corralled him on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk. "Well, that was a hoot," the NYPD tweeted when the owl flew off.

EDMUND BERRY, BIRDER EYEWITNESS: I was worried that it wouldn't be able to fly but it spread its wings and flew to the nearest set of trees.

MOOS: Zoo officials were most worried that Flaco didn't know how to hunt since he's always had his meals delivered. They tried to learn them using a white wrapped in a cage hoping he gets trapped in the wiry filaments on top.

DAVID BARRETT, MANHATTAN BIRD ALERT: The zoo team was rushing with nets to get Flaco but Flaco was too fast.

MOOS: And now fans are snapping photos of Flaco catching his own dinner.


MOOS: Rats on the menu.

Barrett says the owl's gone from zero hunting skills to decent hunting skills.

BARRETT: That's just an incredible transformation.

MOOS: He hangs out in Central Park charming New Yorkers with hooting so low it requires subtitles. Like other creatures not native to Central Park,

Flaco the Eurasian Eagle Owl has become one of the select few.


WIRE: All right. I know you are all ready to flee for the weekend like Flaco. Monday is President's Day. So no show that day.

Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the U.S. holiday now recognizes all presidents past and present.

Fairmont, West Virginia, you're getting the shout out today. East Fairmont Middle School -- rise up, Hornets.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and remember you are more powerful than you know. It's been a blessing to spend this week with you.