ABC News Live Update: Winter weather slams the East Coast

Plus, a look at the life of a migrant worker-turned-astronaut and the Perseverance rover’s critical landing on Mars.
23:33 | 02/18/21

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Transcript for ABC News Live Update: Winter weather slams the East Coast
Good morning I'm that Maceda thanks for streaming with us in today's update as a new winter storm makes its way up the East Coast more than 600000. People. Are still without power in hard hit Texas some seven million are also under orders to boil water because treatment plants are without power. Frozen pipes are bursting inside homes and take a look at this image icicles. Hanging from the ceiling fan in a Dallas apartment buildings. Now under a storm warnings are in effect from Florida to Massachusetts model south races for dangerous flooding. And possible tornadoes. Are senior reader get meteorologist rob Marciano is standing by with the latest. The CDC says the pandemic has taken a year off of American's life expectancy. A baby born today is expected to live an average of 77 point eight years that's the lowest since 2006. The numbers are based on data from January to June of 22 Bonnie so they don't include the recent winter surgeon told cases meaning we could see that number drops. Even lower. The new jobless numbers show at 861000. People filed for unemployment benefits last week that's higher than expected. Keep in mind before the pandemic weekly applications for unemployment had never tops 700000. But we begin. With the extreme weather hitting so much of the country ten states and the District of Columbia are under states of emergency declarations right now. All federal offices are closed in Washington DC as that storm moves up the East Coast. Our rob Marciano is there this morning rob good morning time this out for us what can we expect as a storm comes through. You are you don't die and I think the biggest problem with this storm it is so elongated and there are multiple. Mid and upper level pulses that are gonna -- keep this thing going on. For a little bit longer than we'd like this leading right now here in DC the roads aren't too bad but there's certainly slick have you got about an ranchers so. Although Wesley that's piled up here over the last several hours. And just north of us is more of a snow sleet. Then and Philly in any given the Jersey we'll show you some pictures from there the Garden State Parkway it is all snow and there's a good something of snow. Right across the garden state there not looking very guard me very whites and very slow go on the parkway there and we're just starting now with his system. As far as how much frozen precipitous got an. Be falling across a DC to Baltimore the Philly to New Jersey and New York in and boss Mary C a second pulls kind of coming through tonight and tomorrow morning. So we're not done with this yet North Carolina you're in the Mets who got a flood threat down to the south only got stays severe weather threat as well with a tornado watch down across the Florida Panhandle. As far as a snow accumulations or are concerned we expect to see. Anywhere from four to eight inches maybe ten inches in some spots. Anywhere within a hundred miles of New York City and in an ice from here down across Virginia could be significant. Die answer that's was going on with this first part. Of this storm of course what's going on in Texas is just a horrific. Diane and rob let's talk about settle on it because the images out of Texas are heartbreaking was seeing pleas for help on Twitter so. When can people there expect some relief from this cold. What they're more than ever. As far as the weather scenario is concerned they need temperatures to get above the freezing mark as that is seemingly what has frozen the electrical infrastructure there. It's gonna take a another day or two before that happens in a matter of fact there's another poll some way to preserve coming through the lone star state right now ordinary sees somebody. Images coming out of Austin the capital of Texas twist where they do have tower they've gotten icicles. That are flying around somebody is that the fans their but and other polls of moisture coming through. The real grant today with another coating of ice through tonight's before we start to see this long lasting called. Pattern begin to shift them by the time we get to this we will look at his numbers Diane will be above freezing in Dallas and Houston tomorrow. That is chief but a massive shift Saturday and Sunday so basically we just have to hold on another. 24 hours here in Texas before we see significant improvement and they can put this nightmare behind. Them and hopefully learn Ford from it in the future Diane. And 124 hours of play a challenge for those right now without heat and without water rob Marciano in DC thank you. And turning now to a story of perseverance after spending as childhood picking produce on a farm Jose Hernandez went on to make history. As an astronaut at NASA. Kankakee and whitworth has a look at his remarkable journey. I started off. Working under land and land that was it mine I worked for other farmers. Picking just about any. Any. Fruit and vegetable that girls here in the valley. You name it if they grow it here we picked it. Including grades. Jose Hernandez spent his in tying your childhood working alongside his parents in the east California field. Picking strawberries cherries onions from cucumbers. To cover. Rules of lol so you're always on your fat picky when your book it filling your book and then you gotta go in and didn't get your little. Chip that you've been turned in for payment. And it's hard work. But you know by about 11 o'clock in the morning you're done. And he if she did very well he could make 5060 books. But this is his Lance now and it represents to me ever presents life. Every year he's in the cattle from Mexico to California spending months at a time doing hard labor. It's the only life we knew him to me. It was normal it was a it was a tough life that's why I think my work ethic came from. Still learning English Jose excelled in math and science and by ten years old he knew. That he went to be an astronaut after watching the last Apollo mission on TV. Was 1972. And he told his dad about his street. I think what he saw was the determination. Of a ten year old boy. That he did two things that we changed the course. In my life I think first thing is. He validated the dream he empowered me to believe I can do it he said because a person that he said his I think he can do it. I mean that is powerful for an apparent to a ten year old when he empowered to me. I believe them. Working very hard so who's like didn't have mold like. Children to be somebody and then looks Victor they the reward is being proficient and I'll. Small floral Rem. Yeah over earlier and we're really proud of gold all of them. The youngest of four kids he graduated high school in 1980 then earning a degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific two years later. Completing his master's degree he began working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was instrumental in the invention of the mobile mammogram machine. During his time there he began applying to NASA a process that would take him twelve years and so he was rejected a less than what time. As part and so I reached this final 100 not once not twice but three times. And noted that far accessory to Heinz I was in the final 100 so you could almost taste it. In a sea of more than 121000 candidates he was finally selected in 2004. So don't be so quick to give up but your dreams and he failed sponsored prize insurer failure doesn't feel good. Sure rejection doesn't feel that. But if you prepare yourself become. Two years later he got his wings and in 2009 he was the flight engineer on EST get so. Discovery is flying a fourteen day mission to the International Space Station. He became the first first generation Mexican American astronaut and he also sent the first tweet from space in Spanish. I between it all for all the countries especially the US Mexico. And now the Latin American countries good luck in the upcoming. Qualifying rounds for the World Cup and see you at the World Cup. At the end of this fourteen day mission whether change their flight path forcing them to land in California. Instead of Florida. On the landing site of Edwards Air Force Base always call it poetic justice. Why because it's about eighty miles from where I used pick strawberries in the Ontario chino area. Main gear touchdown. Where their people on your way out that doubted you. Because of their background. I get the answer the short answer is yes. You perceived that he was in very blatant. But you've perceived it but I'll soul. I think it also had to do a lot with having an impostor syndrome sometimes. You can't helping you say to. I really be long here. A husband and father of five Jose left NASA and 2011 moving back to Stockton guy running his consulting business investing his time in the community. And buying his own land. Tending to the fines near where his entire family worked for years. We were out here because we have. You loose a matter of survival. Now we're here because we in Joliet. Bottling the first vintage of Tierra blue wines in March. As a double meaning Tierra and don't know my wife thought of the name for a restaurant because it meant earth moon. Grail cup but it also has say double mean because hear us in Spanish that only means earth it also means there. And while his life remains on this planet for now. He's again inspired by the latest mission to Mars. Do you say our time in a news hearts is is that realize that it felt smelly the right one for you to leave. But when you watch stuff like this evening the for the. Thought he I miss it a lot tightness of the allied in. You know I I understand you know once you leave NASA as an astronaut you never gonna go back I understand that part. But you never know I mean you've got SpaceX. He version galactic. He got blue origin hold these companies have their own vehicles and may want to have experienced. Astronauts oh lead. Some of the munitions whether there are port tourism. Or for other efforts centered trying to do you and solved. You know they believe that there are out the exact a full neighboring went beyond I'll go ahead are pretty good shape so. Talked so bomb bomb bomb hoping you know one day the phone rings and since sales say you know. Have we got an opportunity for you say hey I'm put me in coach move meant. Now his inspiring. Life story is being made in sue a movie and Netflix plans on shooting. Early summer or spring and tie and love that Qaeda and Camden. When you weren't talking to him meeting him hanging out with an in person or what did you feel stood out to you. The most when you heard his story from him. You know Diane it's a story of his second grade teacher honestly. She changed the course of his life dramatically because when he was in second grade has pairs sold in you know go get your three months of homework. We're hitting the road for work again and his second grade teacher came to their home. And sad that education needs to be a priority need to consider the future for your children and right then and there. Everything changed and they stayed in Stockton. And the look at what happened and of course his kids are going on to be successes as well Diane he has one child I get east peace dear right now so it's just an incredibly inspiring story all around and for all generations. It really is an and it was adjusting to hear him say. That he suffered from impostor cinder while his questioning to I really belong here. You know what do you what do you take away from that when you think about all that doubt that he had and yet what he ended up accomplishing. He had Diana SN BC and my producer really sad as well we were both struck by the fact that he felt this imposter syndrome despite the fact that he had all of these degrees and had all these successes and his life he still sometimes question because. He had really seen anybody else do it before. Do I really belonged here and I think that that something that we see a lot of times stand in these trailblazers. People there doing something for the very first time and obviously the answer is that yes. You absolutely belong here and we aren't better country for it well he made that clear can't where we're at thanks for that story has great. And Jose Hernandez will be watching along with so many others when just hours from now the perseverance rover. Will be a hopefully landing safely for one of the most ambitious missions in the history. Space travel now NASA hopes at the perseverance can find evidence of H and life on Mars but again it first tasks to land safely at NASA scientists call that process. Seven minutes of terror. Here's a closer look. Mars is a graveyard spacecraft while the scientists seeing magnificent sight and seeking the signs of past life. Two game. Why didn't fall in the entire process been attributed to mission builder is a real possibility. Followed with seven minutes of terror because it takes approximately seven innings it is this past weekend in the top of the marsh. Safely we. But it's terrifying movie industry fat cats and manage. Descent stage all by itself we come streaming into the mars' atmosphere ahead from five point five. For seconds at around twelve to thirteen thousand miles per hour and that's. It's so fast that we could burn up in the atmosphere we didn't happen. Errol shell out huge news for some reason are fully consistent bills beat on the inside Wolverine and the structural. Which could lead to a value. Buses and then flows slowly down to about 500. That's still what's left land on the surface of Mars so we have to open up pierce. We're deploying the largest. Supersonic planetary parachute every news. We're going almost twice the speed of sound when you deploy that parachute from the very violent. Gives the next snapping ten plus she's a deceleration. Permission to hand over his eyes. We'll have a new technology called train route from navigation of people actually let it see where it is. As the descending on the parachute still going through. Certainly quicker so completely and will. Data from the parachute and then come down on a set. Rockets. About 65 feet above the surface bars. We do the sky crane. We actually lower. The rover V lowest jet. And then place it gently on us. Decorated room. I don't like beyond petroleum Duncan once you always careful to make sure that we don't assume just doesn't work once the it'll certainly be a tremendously reminds me. Personally I was of sound safely but we know there was heading. Seven minutes of terror we've got full coverage of the mission to Mars today at 330. And 10 PM eastern right here on ABC news live. And the nation's racial reckoning is drawn new attention to something you may not affirm that. Black sign language when we come back and unique form a sign language shedding light on how black Americans communicate. The racial reckoning that has gripped this country for the past year is now shining a light on a unique form of communication. Black American sign language was born out of oppression and now group of activists. Is fighting to preserve what they call signing black Keira Phillips has more. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair from the footsteps of the Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. I still have a dream. To the fingertips of JC Smith. Did the dream deeply rooted in the American dream. You are witnessing double black death dream and I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and about the true meaning of the screen. In a language. We hope these suits to be self evident that all men are created equal. In a moment I have a dream that one day even in this state of Mississippi in powered by these significant. Signs of our time that the but every mountainside let freedom and it's been a long time coming. How does this beach it's higher U. With a speech inspired me. That's a black death me and I'm living in this world knowing that opportunities. May not be granted to me. And every day I knew that I had to work three or four times harder loser really get those opportunities that are. Wanted to and not only would JC Smith get what he wanted. He would become a part of the movement to celebrate and preserve a language yeah born out of oppression and segregation. Why is preserving. Black and American sign language. So important. To you kidnap because. It's our language. It's hard gesture and it's it's. It's our by its. How we communicate how are we able to tall war. Signing black and find out what normally larvae much like black history new black American sign language. Roots of racism and gave him in this country witnessed the recent racial attracting a young black signers. Took to social media to highlight the history of a language that is been suppressed for decades and the first American school for the deaf and opened in 1817. Of them black children were not allowed so they had to create their own schools and their own way of communicating. Doctor Caroline and castle is a professor at gala debt. The prestigious university for the deaths in Washington DC. Fan at the age of five her only option for learning how to communicate was it. Learn. American sign language it's freedom for you. I did get that sense of freedom from being able to incorporate who I was. How I wanted to communicate but that freedom forged another challenge. Integrations. Black and white deaf students were finally sharing classrooms. But not a common language and black American sign language and was different from American sign language change in order to survive it and Caroline had to learning the White Plains I remember you telling me. White is right and yet wait is great and that's what I thought. And debt that was what was prevailing that was the thinking. So high and learned man. I learned had a sign that way and I actually put to the side the way I knew to communicate to sign and might. Friends my black friends would say you're signing different Caroline who and I you know you're saying like your YE and I remember not liking. I wanted to keep my way in my black way of communicating. The way I would sign and she didn't voted most ambitious this. Honor student. Concord communications. Group code switching. So when I was with the white people I would sign that way and then when I was with black Kenyan people make good I would communicated differently and how did that feel. That felt so free to me so good to just. Communicate and you know that was who I was that was my culture in his mind and maybe even. A life and language and labor of love all part of doctor may castles new book. And her new role as founding director of gala debts first ever center for plaques deaf studies. Let's have some fun show me. Some signings. And DSL. And BASF. So this could be an insult. I was he stopped playing stopped playing. In PA is so. I was asleep tripping. Like Turkey should I'd love that. Her protege football star and black student union leader JC Smith buyer's side show me. Some of your favorite. Signs in the day as sell a K. You can say that's nice. Nice cars. Rude group that. I blew that thing tight it's more. Our flavor. Okay job. Folks still sought only a little salt and it's a culture I was taught to respect decades ago. When my grandfather rejected segregation. In the 1940s. As dean of the Michigan school for the deaf. Also inspiring my mom to prepare teachers of the death and become a fierce advocate for equal rights I want it soon. Make sure the. Back to the death black kids in my class were treated the same as the white kids and given the same. Opportunities. And then later on I became out professor at the university. And I was preparing teachers and I want it and my students to have the same sort of feeling about equity and that followed the hands. Treating people. What respects. When we allow freedom touring he quality JC Smith dreamed up. Everett state in the every city he quality doctor Caroline and Haskell creating part of it is to preserve the history. And the laying weeds. Culture of our people. And the black kids experience. Hands and nets beat. Volumes free at last free at last thank god nobody I'm very today. And your Phillips thank you for that report. And that doesn't for this ABC news live update I'm Diane misstate your member ABC news live is here for you all day with the latest news context and analysis.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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