This Morning’s Top Headlines – March 15


We will begin this morning with that severe weather on opposite ends of the country in Northern California heavy rains Force thousands to evacuate their homes yesterday the storm system fueled by an atmospheric River the Los Angeles area is bracing for heavy flooding and landslides for those living in the Sierra mountains have another round of.

Snow in store today and here in the Northeast a major Nor'easter pummeled States from New York to Maine some places getting more than two feet of snow but the story this morning is the power outages it caused an estimated 250 thousand customers are without power this morning as cleanup Crews begin clearing out the iced over roads and.

Power lines meteorologist Angie lastman is standing by with the forecast But First NBC News correspondent Antonia Hilton is in Worcester Massachusetts again for us this morning so Antonia weather conditions looking like where you are and how does that compare to the rest of the state Good morning Joe look things are much.

Calmer the snow slowed considerably last night I think this time yesterday I was talking to you with snow piling up on my hat and on my shoulders of course that's not the case right now but there are still some heavy wind gusts and that's what has officials still concerned here because as snow piles up on trees on roofs that can cause issues as the wind.

Continues to blow through Central and other parts of Massachusetts today really the challenge left for people is to get the cleanup underway so that people can get back to work get back into schools we saw about a foot about 13 inches of snow here but in other parts of Central Mass and in the Berkshires they got about 30 inches and.

So there's a major cleanup and this was the heavy sticky snow that's really hard to get your average snow blower through a guy has been working behind me all morning doing his best to clean up here and people have been doing that in their walkways School here in Worcester is still delayed by two hours to give families some time to dig out and make.

Sure that they get on their morning commutes or get to school safely Joe so families are focused on digging out now that the worst of the storm has passed what is it officials there are most focused on well their focus on the wind gusts making sure that things are safe out on the street so they've cleared some of.

The trees that were knocked over yesterday and that they're restoring power you mentioned about a quarter of a million people lost power just in Massachusetts uh above over 60 000 people lost power some of those folks are already back online and thankfully this is an area where people often have a backup generator or a neighbor who has.

A backup generator so we didn't see major crises here yesterday but they're keeping an eye on all of that and trying to make sure that those folks get back up to speed today and are able to get it back out there you know the biggest issue is just making sure that some of these sidewalks these roads I'm in the downtown area which is normally really.

Busy you'll remember yesterday it was dead they want to make sure that as people return to work it's safe out on the street here you mentioned some school delays delays not cancellations is the theory is the feeling that people will be able to get back to work in school at some point today that's the hope school is going to start.

Around 10 a.m today they feel pretty secure that they'll be able to make sure those hazardous conditions are out of the way in just a couple hours but they really wanted that extra time that extra safety keeps some of the school buses some of the parents and their cars off the road just for a little while you know the snow and most of the ice is up.

Off of the street right now but it really is that potential still for trees to knock over some of the heavy snow to fall off roofs or lamp posts or power lines that they really want to make sure to get out of the way and make sure people can really just get back to their normal routine today it's a bit of a road bump for Hardy new englanders all.

Right Antonio Hilton thank you so much for your reporting appreciate it for more on these storms on both coasts let's bring in meteorologist Angie lastman hey Angie good morning good morning guys we're going to eventually say goodbye to that Nor'easter as it continues to pull away and takes most of the impacts with it but yes Antonia is.

Right we'll still deal with the Gusty conditions today and still some lingering snow showers across parts of New England nothing quite as impressive as what we dealt with yesterday though we are not done however with that system that has been fueling the flooding in parts of California for days now today is another day where Southern California.

Mainly will be inundated with more rain you see the radar showing all of that Heavy Rain working from Santa Barbara all the way into parts of San Diego it's Southern California that's in the focus of the that additional rainfall through the day today we're eventually going to see this wrap up as that system starts to move to the east but we still do have.

Many people under these flood alerts as we continue to see melting snow and that additional rainfall so be careful of that especially if you're in the Southern California region through the day today now I mentioned the system is going to move East it is and we're going to add on some snowfall for parts of the Rockies and we'll also add a little bit.

Of rain for parts of the Southwest nothing quite as impressive as what we've seen from this system so far but that's not the end of the story we'll eventually see as we get into parts of Thursday the system tracked to the east bringing snow and strong winds to parts of the Upper Midwest and not to mention the potential for some strong to even.

Severe storms stretching through parts of the southeast we're going to see large hail possible for places like Dallas South Oklahoma North Texas all included in that elevated or rather enhanced risk of severe storms as we get into tomorrow afternoon something that you'll want to pay attention to if you live in that area the system continues.

To move to the east as we get into Friday wrapping up our work day or our work week rather with rain stretch from the Northeast all the way down to the Gulf Coast this isn't going to be quite as impressive as what we'll deal with as far as the heavy rain is concerned for parts of the Southern Plains in the Southeast uh in as we go through.

Tomorrow but still it'll be impactful for folks along the east coast for Friday when we talk about the severe weather again I mentioned Dallas Texarkana also included in this Houston San Antonio you have a slight risk too for mainly the hail and the wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour but also not going to rule out a couple of tornadoes.

Through the afternoon hours there's the heavy rain that the system brings from Atlanta to Houston and up to Little Rock maybe an inch maybe isolated amounts higher than that so we will watch for some flooding concerns for Thursday and into Friday and we can't talk about what's going on across the country without talking about the frigid air.

Left in place by that departing Nor'easter so it's long gone but behind it those winds are quite strong as we know and they're ushering in some really chilly conditions for the southeast 35 million people are waking up to freeze alerts and this isn't just this morning that we'll see this this is also into tomorrow morning that you'll want to.

Watch for this really problematic because we know how warm it's been across this area for weeks now guys and we know that the blooms are out agriculture issues it's just we're all confused with the weather and the flowers are touring exactly yes my goodness thank you so much for that Angie we appreciate it more Fallout this.

Morning surrounding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank Federal investigators are now looking into the actions of Bank Executives before the collapse NBC News Tech correspondent Jake Ward has the story as investors customers and Regulators pick up the pieces after the collapse of silicon Valley bank now new lawsuits and an.

Investigation seek to go inside the actions of Executives in the days and weeks before it all happened Valley bank now under federal investigation NBC News confirming with multiple sources the Department of Justice along with the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched probes looking at among other things stock.

Sales made by company Executives before the bank collapsed this has calls grow in Washington for renewed Bank regulation and accountability I do think that certainly the the profits from the sales by the owner should be clawed back because we're going to have to be raising fees on banks in order to pay for the uninsured depositors at this.

Bank and other Banks despite several smaller Regional Banks bouncing back in the stock market Moody's announced a downgraded outlook for the U.S banking sector as a whole how healthy are other small institutions like Silicon Valley Bank analysts say we will not know the fundamentals until a Federal Reserve report provides a look.

At combined balance sheets two weeks from Friday the stocks are absolutely not a reliable indicator and two weeks we'll know if there is a big outflow or not but that but that's the next kind of scheduled data point that that will get just before its collapse Silicon Valley Bank blamed its troubles on elevated cash burn from its mostly Tech focused.

Clients now the concern is in part whether other Regional banks are exposed to similar risk the pullback in the tech sector continued with Facebook parent company meta's announcement it would eliminate 15 000 jobs following 11 000 layoffs at the company in November on top of all this we've now learned inflation has just Fallen to six percent.

That makes for a complicated economic picture is the Federal Reserve prepares to meet next week many economists are now asking if the FED will hit pause on further rate increases back to you all right Jake thank you pensions are on the rise again between the United States and Russia after U.S spy drone crashed following an encounter.

With a Russian fighter jet the incident took place over the Black Sea in Eastern Europe the U.S military says a Russian warplane clipped one of its Reaper drones forcing the U.S to bring it down Washington later summoned the Russian ambassador to discuss the incident the Pentagon criticized Russia for how The Intercept occurred.

Several times before the Collision the su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless and unprofessional manner this incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional NBC News global security reporter Dan de Luz joins us now for more on this Dan.

The National Security council's John Kirby says these sorts of aerial intercepts are not uncommon but this one was noteworthy he says because of the way it took place tell us more about the US's version of events here and what exactly are these Reaper drones that's right so the pentagon's version of this is that this was a relatively.

Routine mission for this uh intelligence gathering drone right they have it's a very slow moving plane with a propeller at the tail it was used a lot in Afghanistan and Iraq and it's really designed to pick up imagery and intelligence flying over an area it also can be armed with missiles but the US is suggesting this was on a kind of.

Intelligence Mission and instead of a kind of routine intercept the US is saying that the Russian fighter jets came flew in this very unsafe Manner and clipped uh the propeller of this drone and they had to crash the plane the Drone into the Black Sea uh and uh they're saying that this was all basically the fault of the Russians uh.

And Russia a different version of events us a little bit about that what is Russia saying took place here right so the Russian Ambassador was summoned to the state department and uh there was a very strong protest conveyed by the U.S but the Russians are saying that this was a provocative act that it was neo-russian territory and that the.

Drone somehow didn't have a transponder on here's what the Russian Ambassador had to say this drone can carry a few booms you see that what will be reaction of United States if you see such Russian drone very close for example to San Francisco or New York what will be reaction of United States you don't want any.

Confrontation between the United States and Russian Federation we are in favor of pragmatic relations for the sake for the interest of the people of the United States and Russian Federation so noteworthy there that he says the Russians don't want a confrontation and I think the tone from the administration.

Here in Washington has also been pretty restrained I think everyone sees the very high stakes here and it's a reminder of just how dangerous the situation is with so many military assets all operating in close proximity then do we know where this drone or at least what's left of it is right now has the U.S been able to retrieve it is it.

In Russian custody and if the Russians have it how big of a national security threat might that pose well first that's a key question and the Pentagon didn't give any update yesterday but defense officials did tell NBC news that they've essentially wiped clean uh the software and the equipment on that drone so that any data or.

Sensitive information is now no longer available it's highly unlikely that the U.S will be able to recover this this crashed uh you know near Russian naval ships that Patrol the Black Sea and near russian-controlled territory in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula so it's probably likely the Russians will get a hold of it before the U.S does all right.

Dandeluz thank you so much for your Insight we appreciate it the Biden Administration is taking new steps to try to address gun violence the president signed an executive order yesterday in Monterey Park California that was the site of a mass shooting just two months ago where a gunman killed 11 people during a lunar New.

Year's celebration the New Order signed by the president is designed to increase background checks for the purchase of guns NBC News chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker joins us now from the White House Kristen good morning so first of all can you break down exactly what this executive order does and what the president's saying.

About it hi Joe well it is good to be with you President Biden announcing that new executive order in really somber remarks in Monterey Park yesterday the order does a couple of things the primary goal is to make sure that authorities are fully implementing that bipartisan gun law that passed last year so it calls for safe storage of firearms.

It encourages better ballistics tracing and the Crux of the order directs the Attorney General to increase the use of background checks for gun buyers it's a real effort the President says to get as close as possible to Universal background checks take a listen to what the president had to say yesterday my executive order directs my attorney.

General to take every lawful action possible possible to move us as close as we can to Universal background checks without new legislation I just it's just common sense to check whether someone is a felon a domestic abuser before they buy a gun now the key to what the president said.

Is without new legislation right because it's important to note that this is an executive order Joe so it could be undone by a future president or a court challenge so any real change does have to occur in Congress we've seen the president recently step up his calls for more gun laws including Banning assault weapons that is a long held issue that.

He has had but the president and Democrats just don't have enough votes to pass that in Congress now of course all of this comes as the president is inching closer to that expected announcement that he's running for reelection in 2024. so Joe this is a real preview of things to come on the campaign Trail you know and Kristen the.

President did go after the gun industry a bit here it's an industry that victims of gun violence have long expressed frustrations over let's listen to a little of what he had to say executive order ramps up our efforts to hold the gun industry accountable it's the only outfit you can't sue these days.

It does that by calling out for an independent government study that analyzes and exposes how gun manufactures aggressively Market Firearms to civilians especially minors including by using military imagery so Kristen this is such a divisive issue and we have a divided Congress so how have the president's comments been.

Received well divided Congress and the NRA also already not surprisingly Joe forcefully pushing back against the president's speech let me tell you their reaction they tweeted in part yesterday quote crimes are committed by criminals until President Biden and his allies decide to go after violent criminals violence will.

Continue to spiral out of control now the White House rejects that arguing that look the president has proposed more funding for police departments for fighting criminals still to your initial Point Congressional Republicans have made similar points as the NRA with many arguing it's not more gun laws that are needed but rather more funds for things.

Like mental health all of this Joe all of it underscoring why this issue of guns and gun laws one of the most intractable and divisive here in Washington and quickly Kristen I mean the president's been mostly aligned with his allies on this issue but we have seen him break from them on some other issues can you talk about that this is.

Really notable Joe the president is broken with progressives on some really hot button issues recently including just to tick through a few things signing legislation to overturn a D.C crime bill that would have relaxed some penalties green lighting a major oil drilling project in Alaska and the administration also considering Reviving.

Family detentions for migrants now if he made that move that would just enrage some Progressive allies of course the big picture here the broader context is the president is eyeing independent moderate voters as he prepares for that likely run for reelection yesterday on Meet the Press now I had the chance to speak with Progressive Congressman Jamal.

Bowman of New York and I asked him about his perspective on the president take a listen do you believe that the president is the strongest person to represent progressives in 2024. that's a tough question because again we would like to see him go further on many issues he should be primary Congressman no no I'm.

Not saying that Congressman went on to say he does want to see the president fight for Progressive principles now the strategy could be a risky one because in addition to Independence and moderates the president needs progressives especially those young voters to turn out in force if he wants to win re-election Joe all.

Right Kristen Welker at the White House Kristen thank you thank you the future of a medical abortion is on Shaky Ground a Texas judge is set to hold a hearing this morning on a lawsuit seeking to reverse the fda's approval of the pill mifa Preston Nationwide the agency says around 5.6 million people in the U.S have used the drug for a medical.

Termination of a pregnancy we are joined Now by Dean and James E Beasley professor of law at Temple University Rachel robiche joining us this morning to kind of break down everything going on here thank you so much for joining us Rachel let's just start with uh what exactly is going on here what are the allegations that led.

Up to this lawsuit and what would happen if this medication is actually halted so the lawsuit's really about the fda's approval of as you said Memphis Stone the first drug in a medication abortion and plaintiffs are alleging that 23 years ago in 2000 when the FDA first approved the drug it did so outside of its regulatory Authority they're also.

Saying that when the FDA lifted a restriction on the drug that people pick up the pills at a health care facility that it also didn't have the power to do that so what's at stake are are plaintiffs asking this court to unapprove a drug that's been approved for a couple of decades so when we're talking about medical.

Abortion if I'm not mistaken you're really talking about two different types of medication right mifa Preston and then misopropol prosol which then comes in seconds after that so explain to us kind of exactly what we mean by a medical abortion and if this one particular this first medication that people take if this is no longer.

Available could people still have it with this other one or do they have to go hand in hand yeah they can um in fact lots of people all over the world just use mysprostol so that there's it's two drugs um methiprostones taken first and most prostol has taken second 24 to 48 hours after.

Um but my ciprostol can also end in pregnancy and it is not subject to the same FDA rules that Memphis Stone is so many people are talking about if mythopristone is not available on the market people will start using the second drug only could there be risks associated with that you know it's very safe mifa pristone is.

Very safe as well there are slightly higher risk but Recent research shows that misoprostol is very effective in ending a pregnancy before 12 to 13 weeks of pregnancy risk increases if you use it later in pregnancy but in the first trimester it's very safe so what should people who are maybe in a position where they need to have a.

Medical abortion what should they be watching for in today's hearing and what are you watching for so you know people are not the reporters aren't allowed in the hearing uh today so uh we'll be all watching after the hearing to hear what's happened um but what I'm watching for are arguments around the harm that a ruling.

Unapproving Memphis Stone might cause um I'm waiting to hear what questions the judge has asked about the effects of such a ruling not just the effects on people's access to medication abortion um but I'm interested to hear uh what the court wants to know about the fda's power it's really um unheard of to think of of a federal court telling a federal.

Agency that 23 years ago it didn't have the statutory power to approve a drug when that's the whole purpose of the agency so you know A lot's on the line all right and this is a trump appointed judge who's overseeing this and I know some abortion rights Advocates had concerns about some past opinions articles he had written thank you for.

Being here we will keep an eye on it Rachel robiche we appreciate your time thanks for watching our YouTube channel follow today's top stories and breaking news by downloading the NBC News app

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