February 12th, 2014
09:56 AM ET

'One of Mother Nature's Worst Kinds of Storms'

After icing parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, a winter storm arrived Wednesday in Georgia, dropping a mix of ice and rain that was expected to continue pelting the Southeast into Thursday.

Up to three-quarters of an inch of ice was expected to accumulate on Atlanta and up to 10 inches of snow and sleet on Charlotte, North Carolina, making travel treacherous.

Area residents had heeded ample warnings issued by forecasters, emptying grocery store shelves, filling up their tanks with gas and filling their trunks with salt. In Atlanta, the city that couldn't get out of its own way after a 2.6-inch snowfall two weeks ago, road crews were staged along nearly empty highways.

The low is expected to move up the East Coast, dropping snow on the Northeast, with 4 to 8 inches predicted for Washington and 6 to 10 inches on New York from midnight Wednesday into the day Thursday.


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February 5th, 2014
11:06 AM ET

Allen Lawyer: Abuse 'Did Not Happen'

Dylan Farrow may have believed she was telling the truth when she accused Woody Allen of molesting her as a child, but she is acting on false memories implanted by Mia Farrow, Allen's lawyer said Tuesday.

"I think that it is a continuation of Mia Farrow's desire to hurt Woody Allen," Elkan Abramowitz told NBC's "Today."

"And Woody Allen is now riding fairly high. He got the Golden Globes Award for Lifetime Achievement, which he totally deserved, and I believe it revived the anger she has towards him."

Dylan Farrow, who was adopted by Mia Farrow and Allen, penned a letter in the New York Times over the weekend, renewing charges first leveled two decades ago when the couple ended their 12-year relationship.

Abramowitz said Dylan Farrow, 28, "was a pawn" in the fight, "and the idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother, and that memory is never going to go away. So the fact that she says this now - that it happened 20 years ago - it's totally understandable."

Allen's lawyer blames 'vengeful lover' for child molestation controversy

Asked why Farrow would lie, Abramowitz said, "In my view, she's not lying. I think she truly believes this happened. That's what the vice of this is. When you implant a story in a fragile, 7-year-old's mind, it stays there forever. It never goes away."

The letter appeared in Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's blog hours before the Writers Guild Awards ceremony, for which Allen, 78, had been nominated for best screenplay for "Blue Jasmine." He did not win.

"What's your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house," Farrow wrote. "He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me."

Kristof also wrote about it in his Sunday column.

But on Monday, the Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan said in a column that she was "troubled" by issues raised in a letter from Chris Rasmussen, an associate professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, who questioned "the propriety of publishing largely one-sided columns assailing a lone individual."

"If Dylan Farrow wishes to publish an open letter about her allegations, there are ample forums in this internet age," he wrote. "Should The Times and Mr. Kristof lend their credibility to her argument against Woody Allen?"

He cited a column by Robert B. Weide in "The Daily Beast" as raising "significant questions about the veracity" of Dylan Farrow.

The controversy dates to 1992, after the revelation that Allen, then 56, was having an affair with Soon-Yi Previn, Mia Farrow's 19-year-old adopted daughter with composer Andre Previn.

At the time, the actress accused Allen of having molested Dylan. The charge triggered a custody battle, with Allen going to court to get both of their adopted children and Satchel, their biological son, who now calls himself Ronan Farrow. A police investigation of the allegations ended without charges against Allen.

"They investigated the matter totally for six months and determined that Mia Farrow coached Dylan," Abramowitz told CNN. "They also determined that the molestation did not happen."

"The fact that it's coming up now 20 years later is remarkable because the matter was resolved," the lawyer told CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront.

According to an account in the Times, which covered the custody proceedings, "A team of investigators from Yale-New Haven Hospital that was retained by the Connecticut State Police subsequently concluded Dylan had not been abused."

Acting Justice Elliott Wilk of New York's State Supreme Court said "it was unlikely that Mr. Allen could be prosecuted for sexual abuse based on the evidence," the newspaper reported. "But while a team of experts concluded that Dylan was not abused, the judge said he found the evidence inconclusive."

Allen denies Dylan Farrow's sexual assault allegation

A former prosecutor who decided against pressing charges in the case declined to comment Sunday on Dylan Farrow's accusation.

"As a prosecutor I really can't comment on the substance of the statement of this now young woman. As a father of a child not too much older than this young woman, I can only say I hope she finds some peace and solace in the way she's expressing herself," former Connecticut State's Attorney Frank Maco said. "I hope she had access to my written statement of decision. My statement is as valid today as it was 20 years ago."

In 1993, Maco, who is now retired, told reporters he believed there was probable cause to arrest Allen. But he said he decided, with Mia Farrow's support, not to press charges, "rather than exposing the child to possible harm."

Allen's lawyer responded in a statement e-mailed to CNN on Monday: "It is tragic that after 20 years a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces even though it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities. The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen."

Allen representative Leslee Dart said in a prepared statement Sunday that Allen "read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful."

"At the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court appointed independent experts," Dart said. "The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation; that Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality; and that Dylan Farrow had likely been coached by her mother Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed."

Dylan Farrow's letter addressed this: "Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up," she wrote. "I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself."

Kristof, who described himself as a friend of Mia Farrow and Dylan's brother Ronan Farrow, said Dylan Farrow is now happily married and living in Florida.

Mia Farrow did not immediately return a request for comment. But in a tweet posted Monday night, she said, "I love my daughter. I will always protect her. A lot of ugliness is going to be aimed at me. But this is not about me, it's about her truth."

Dylan Farrow's letter and Twitter postings by her brother attacking his estranged father come as Allen and his latest film, "Blue Jasmine," are up for honors during Hollywood's annual awards season.

When the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave Allen a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes last month, his son tweeted: "Missed the Woody Allen tribute - did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?"

Academy voters begin casting Oscar ballots on February 14. Allen and his cast are up for three Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for Allen, best actress for Cate Blanchett and best supporting actress for Sally Hawkins.

Dylan Farrow admonished actors by name for "turning a blind eye" and for continuing to work with Allen. One of them, Alec Baldwin, who starred in "Blue Jasmine," fired back Sunday to those who had asked him to respond to the allegations. "You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family's issue," he wrote.

In another post, he slammed someone who asked whether he owed Dylan Farrow an apology: "What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?"

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January 13th, 2014
09:23 AM ET

West Virginia Water Officials Study Test Results After Chemical Spill

Water tests after a chemical spill in West Virginia are encouraging, the governor said, but it's unclear when people might be able to use their taps again.

About 300,000 residents in nine counties in the southwest section of the state can't use tap water.

"Our team has been diligent in testing samples from throughout the affected area. The numbers look good and, like last night, they are very encouraging. I believe that we're at a point where we can say that we see light at the end of the tunnel," West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told reporters Sunday.

Jeff McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water - a company affected by the spill - said that officials will begin lifting the water bans by zone. Certain areas will be prioritized, including downtown Charleston, but decisions will also depend on test results.

He declined to put a timeline on when the do-not-use orders will be lifted.

"I don't believe we're several days from starting to lift, but I'm not saying today," McIntyre said.

Officials have warned water customers to watch for symptoms of exposure to the chemical, which is used to clean coal, such as skin irritation, nausea, vomiting or wheezing.

Karen Bowling, secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Resources, said Sunday that more than 1,000 people had called the West Virginia Poison Center, concerned about their exposure to contaminated water. There have also been more than 60 animal exposures reported.

A total of 10 people have been admitted to three hospitals, none in serious or critical condition, and 169 patients have been treated and released from emergency rooms, Bowling said.

Water restrictions were imposed Thursday after it was discovered that about 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to clean coal - 4-methylcyclohexane methanol - had leaked out of a storage tank a mile upriver from the West Virginia American Water plant.

Residents were told to use bottled water to wash hands, brush teeth or take showers.

The federal Department of Homeland Security sent 16 tractor-trailer loads of bottled water to help and the water company also provided truckloads.

The medical impact was hard to assess.

"We've had a lot of worried-well calls," Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said over the weekend. He cited complaints of irritation of the skin, throat, chest and stomach that some residents have linked to possible exposure.

The unknowns made residents anxious.

"They don't even know what the health risks are," Stacy Kirk of Culloden told CNN affiliate WSAZ. "We had bathed, cooked and everything right before the news came on yesterday."

"I don't know anything about the chemical to say too much good or bad about it, so we're all up in the air," said Arthur Taylor. "We're common folks - we're not chemists."

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January 3rd, 2014
09:33 AM ET

Blizzard Blasts Northeast with Snow, Wind and Bitter Cold

The heavy snow falling along much of the mid-Atlantic Coast into New England is expected to taper off Friday as a nor'easter heads into Canada, leaving bitter cold in its wake, the National Weather Service said.

By early morning, the snowfall was nearly finished in the nation's capital; it was expected to stop by late morning in New York City, where 6 inches were covering Central Park, and by early afternoon in Boston, which got socked by nearly 15 inches.

North of Boston, residents of Topsfield, Massachusetts, got nearly 2 feet of snow.

The combination of cold and winds gusting more than 30 mph was expected to lower wind chill temperatures to less than 10 degrees over the mid-Atlantic and into the teens in New England.

Correspondent Laurie Segall was in Chatham, Massachusetts and shared a picture of her live truck stuck frozen in the snow.

But not just the Northeast will be hit, forecasters said. About one-third of the nation - approximately 100 million people in 22 states - is in the path of this storm.

Snow was also predicted from the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes, with as much as 8 inches expected in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and additional snow possible along a cold front that extends through the Midwest and into the Central Plains, the service said.

Across the country, the weather has snarled travel plans for many.

FlightAware.com, which tracks cancellations due to weather and mechanical problems, said more than 1,800 flights had been canceled for Friday. That's after more than 2,600 U.S. flights were canceled Thursday.

Flights were expected to resume later Friday in much of New England, though delays were predicted in some airports. Ticket holders were urged to check with their airlines.

Barb Plooster had planned to fly Friday from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, but her flight was canceled. She told CNN affiliate WICU that she was on the phone with United Airlines for five hours trying to find a way to get home, but has concluded that she will have to wait until Monday. "We got a warm place to stay, get to visit the kids, the grandkids, so it's OK," she said.

See more at CNN.com.

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