Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch says what the U.S. is seeing is dwarfed by the massive flow of refugees into other countries, such as Italy.
A winter storm is rolling in on the East Coast, but does the West Coast care? Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with two weathermen: Chuck Bell, meteorologist for NBC 4 in Washington, D.C., and Brad Wills, meteorologist for Fox 5 in San Diego.
JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:
This is HERE AND NOW from NPR and WBUR Boston. I'm Jeremy Hobson.
And if you turned on the news this morning, you probably heard something like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS BROADCAST)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We are under a winter storm warning as we have the potential for getting as much as four to six inches of snowfall across the area.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Today's top story, it's already causing headaches for millions of people. NBC's Tom Costello...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: This is really going to pack a punch. We've been watching this...
HOBSON: Well, can you believe it? Snow in wintertime. Very big news, of course, for the Northeast, probably not such big news for people out West. We've got two meteorologists with us: Chuck Bell from NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. Hi, Chuck.
CHUCK BELL: Hello from your nation's capital. We're doing a lot with your money. Just keep sending it in.
HOBSON: And Brad Wills, meteorologist for Fox 5 in San Diego, is also with us. Hi, Brad.
BRAD WILLS: Hey. Great to be here from sunny San Diego where we're shoveling nothing but sand.
HOBSON: Well - so, Chuck, first of all, tell me, what are you expecting from this storm today?
BELL: Well, right here inside of your nation's capital, we're going for between about four to five inches in Downtown Washington, which would be the largest snowfall we've had in almost three years. And outside of the Beltway in the suburbs, we're probably going to be a little bit better off, maybe in that seven-to eight- or nine-inch range. Generally speaking, our biggest snowfall in a really long time, but still by Boston standards - I'm a Boston native and I was there for the blizzard of '78 - it still won't be that much by comparison.
HOBSON: Well - and it's going to snow, we should say, all up the East Coast, in Boston, in New York as well. So there will be a lot of snow disrupting things in the East. But this is January, right? This isn't that unusual for mid-January.
BELL: Yeah. We are not going to set any record low temperatures, it doesn't look like. We'll be down into the single digits. And keep in mind, it's been such a long time since we've been really cold or snowy. Snowfall amounts, you know, this is as good as we've had. But it's still really by - even by Washington standard, it's not a crippling blizzard.
HOBSON: Now, Brad Wills, I want to apologize on behalf of the Northeastern United States that you have to suffer through all the coverage of this every time. What are things going to be like in San Diego, and how is all this playing out where you are?
WILLS: Just listening to what he was saying right there, we can't fathom what we're hearing and what we're watching on the TV, what we're forecasting for people back East because over here it's nothing but sunshine. But then again, it's the good with the bad. We've got the sunshine here, under a drought. I mean, we haven't - we're about two inches behind where we should be. Some of the reservoirs here, it's 13 percent of normal. Thirteen percent of where they should be is incredible.
So on top of that, we have the high, you know, wildfire danger here, extremely dry. But then you get temperatures, today forecasted highs for the beaches in the upper 70s close to 80 degrees. Average for this time of year, 30 year averages, are about 65 degrees. You're not going to hear a lot of complaints here, although Governor Brown here is saying there may be, you know, some water restrictions coming up here because of what we're going through. So it's a very interesting contrast between the West and the East right now.
HOBSON: Is there any gloating or snickering when you see temperatures as low as we've got them here?
WILLS: There's a lot of gloating over here. You know, the big joke was - somebody posted on one of our social media sites here. There was a picture - I think it was in Michigan - where the ice just covered cars, and it says: The best thing about the winter is watching it from a television in California.
HOBSON: How do you feel about that, Chuck?
BELL: I'll tell you one thing. Yesterday was actually a very nice day here. It was 59 for our high in Washington. And I ran six miles around the National Mall and the Tidal Basin yesterday bathed in full sunshine so...
BELL: And a lot of times, which you'll notice, when the East Coast gets buried in cold air, Mother Nature doesn't really like things to be out of balance. And when something comes really cold into the Eastern U.S., it actually intensifies the warm air in the ridge out West. So...
WILLS: Absolutely, yes.
BELL: ...our extreme cold is actually making their warmth in San Diego and their drying conditions worse.
HOBSON: Chuck Bell, meteorologist for NBC4 in Washington, D.C. and Brad Wills, meteorologist for Fox 5 in San Diego, thanks to both of you guys. And, Chuck, best of luck with the storm.
BELL: Thank you much. Time to go out and get the shovel.
WILLS: We'll send you pictures, Chuck. Best of luck.
HOBSON: You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.