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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  October 29, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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>> a gust up there could easily get to 90 within the next couple of hours. >> chad myers, thank you so much for being with us. this is just the beginning of a horrendous storm. i'm brooke baldwin. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer starts right now. happening now, hurricane sandy takes aim at some of america's biggest cities and it's about to come ashore. conditions are getting worse by the hour. at least 23 states are now under warnings or advisories because of the storm's winds. damage could hit $10 billion or even a lot more. some states could see their worst flooding in a century. and in the appalachian mountains, they're expecting blizzard conditions. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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hurricane sandy is a monster storm, even though its center is still out to sea. tropical storm and hurricane force winds extend, get this now, for 1,000 miles. right now, damaging winds are blowing from southern new england across long island, new jersey, delaware and virginia. we have the full resources of cnn deployed on the story including crews up and down the atlantic coast as well as in cities that aren't used to this kind of a disaster. here's what the storm looked like this afternoon when the international space station flew over. you can clearly see the eye of the storm. right now, the center is closing in on southern new jersey. let's begin our coverage with our meteorologist, chad myers, who has the very latest. chad, some have said that this
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is the strongest storm ever north of the carolinas. explain what that means. >> that means it has the lowest pressure ever that has been pressured by an aircraft or on land of 939 millibars now. north of cape hatteras, we've never had a storm that low, with the "l" being that low. and then there's a high pressure to the west that's going to make howling winds as far west as ohio, michigan and even indiana. it is now a record-breaking low pressure center, the biggest hurricane, although the biggest or fastest wind, the lowest pressure ever. >> and what's -- where do we see it unfolding right now? we're only a couple of hours away from it making landfall. >> that's exactly right. the hurricane center giving us updates every hour on the hour. the center of that eye right there, 55 miles from cape may, new jersey. and it's moving at 28 miles per hour. that's two hours to landfall. and landfall is not such a big
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deal with this because typically in a hurricane when you make landfall, the storm starts to dissipate. this storm is so intense and so deep, it will take hours, if not tens of hours to dissipate the wind and the storm surge is right into new york harbor all along the new jersey coast, right into wilmington, possibly even up into philadelphia as the water goes the wrong way up the river here and then still the surge coming into delaware, maryland. a lot of wind for washington into baltimore, into d.c. these areas will pick up wind gusts in excess of 80 miles an hour. and trees will come down and power will go out with that type of wind. >> we're expecting that wind that, rain to last in these areas not just for today or tomorrow but even into wednesday, is that what you're saying? >> that's right. it's not just a hurricane. it's combining with a low pressure that's out to the west. that is snow. it's snowing on this side
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because there's enough of a cold air mass with a cold front and a low out here combining with the low here that we are going to see this do a little loop right over maybe west virginia, pennsylvania, western new york, and then finally get into the canadian provinces. it will take so long because that delay will cause it to sit there for days and with days of rain like that, could be a situation a lot like hurricane agnus where we have a lot of people flooded out. >> atlantic city, these are live pictures from atlantic city. that could see the worst of it in the next few hours? >> without a doubt. wildwood, atlantic city, cape may, that is the right side or the wrong side of the eye. when you get on the eye right here, talk about that eye right there, you have not only the spin of the eye at 90 miles per hour but also the forward motion of the storm, which is 28. you add 90 plus 28 and you're
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over 100 miles per hour on that right side, wrong side, of the eye. >> ali velshi is on the scene for us in atlantic city. we'll get to him shortly. but i want to go to brian todd right now, along a delaware coast where wind and flooding already a serious problem. what's going on there, brian? >> reporter: wolf, getting a very strong burst of the storm right here on the boardwalk at rehobeth beach. they are worried about this boardwalk. what they're dealing with as well is inland flooding from the bays and tributaries and rivers not too far inland from here. lots of roads under water as those surges come up and some of those areas get flooded. there are a lot of roads under water right now, trees down on some other roads, traveling around now, really not advised at all. one big concern here, beach erosion. you see the tide behind me. this is not high tide. the high tide is going to come back soon. it was here earlier. i'm going to step onto the beach
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area. high tide earlier here was pretty hellacious. beach erosion here, they built out this beach earlier this year. they finished it in may. the army corps of engineers built the beach out to 300 feet out there. they are worried they are going to lose all of that with the storm surge here, that it could compromise some of the hotels, some of the residences and businesses all along this boardwalk area. that's what they're really worried about right now. you can see the storm surge getting a little bit more violent behind me. it was even worse earlier. but when high tide comes back this evening, it's going to get worse. water is going to be pretty much up along where i am here and probably compromising this boardwalk that they spent so much time and money on earlier this year, wolf. so they're very worried at this point that the storm surge just coming back and really tearing this area apart. >> have there been evacuations in rehobeth beach, bethany, ocean city, maryland, the whole area where you are right now,
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brian? >> reporter: absolutely, wolf. mandatory evacuations were ordered. they were ordered to get out by 8:00 p.m. last night. and the city manager of rehobeth beach told me a short time ago, he believes that about 90% of the people who live here year-round, heeded that call and got out. they know what it's like when one of these storms come. 20 years ago, they had a nor'easter that tore this boardwalk apart. people here know about that. the population of this area decreases significantly after labor day. summertime population is 30,000 to 40,000. the number of people who live here year-round, only about 1,300. and most of those people, the city manager believes, got out of here. >> when you're watching what's going on, do you see people walking around, do you see people driving around? or is it basically empty, rehobeth beach right now? >> reporter: well, i've covered a lot of these things. a lot of the time you see one or two people driving around and
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walking around. i can see two people maybe 300 yards from me standing there taking shelter along the boardwalk. but it is pretty much a ghost town. not many people are out. they seem to be heeding the call, the shelter in place or get out of town. >> brian todd watching for us what's going on in rehobeth, thanks very much. new york city's mass transit services are suspended. normally bustling stations like grand central terminal are ghostly and vacant right now. train platforms are deserted. other mass transit systems including washington, d.c.'s metro service also shut down. one place that didn't shut down on this day, the united states supreme court. the justice held their normal public sessions. but tomorrow's sessions have been canceled because of the weather. let's go to new york right now. cnn's ashleigh banfield is standing by. where are you right now? what's going on? >> reporter: hey, wolf.
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i'm in southern manhattan in battery park city. behind me is new jersey which is just about to be eclipsed by the clouds, the wind and the rain. i'd say the gusts have been kicking up to around 45, 60 miles an hour. what i wanted to tell you about is i heard brian todd talking about the storm surge. just look down here for a second here. you can see just how close to sea level this city s. this is one of the most famous sea level cities in the world, wolf. and mayor bloomberg is saying the worst case scenario, there could be in five boroughs, storm surges up to 12 feet. that right there is about eight to ten feet. that would bring it to here about me at the full moon high tide. another big issue with regard to the evaluations. 400,000 new yorkers evacuated, especially in this zone. all these people evacuated, mandatory. but we do see these people wandering along. it is one of the more
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uncomfortable places to be taking a stroll and yet we've seen them. police have been telling people, go home, get away. yet they're still out here. we are close to the water and close to the sky. take a look over there. that's about 60 stories up. here's what happens when the 80-mile-an-hour winds hit this city. go up 30 stories and that wind changes to about 96 miles an hour. you go up 80 stories and that wind goes up to 104 miles an hour. and when i quote those numbers, they're sustained winds, not gusts. that's 104 miles an hour straight for a number of hours, not including the gusts. you can imagine just how dangerous it's going to be here. >> ashleigh, stand by, i want to get back to you. atlantic city seems to be getting ready for a huge, huge disaster. cnn's ali velshi is on the scene for us. ali, what's going on in atlantic city? >> reporter: wolf, i can hear you. you may have trouble hearing me. we have a moment of calm here.
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the gusts have just eased up for just a moment. but they look like they've been pushing 90 or 100 miles an hour. look down the street. you can probably see streetlights in the distance. that's boardwalk, that's the ocean. those are the casinos. everything is shut down. nobody's here who isn't an emergency worker or here because they have to be or isn't covering this thing. but we're about two hours away from the worst of this. we've already got flooding in the streets here, as you can see. we're at seven feet above sea level. the storm surge here is supposed to be about 9 1/2 feet. it's all going to get covered. right now, structurally, you know atlantic city, it's fine, it's mostly solid buildings. still some houses. we believe about 400 to 500 people are in emergency shelters right now. you can see some police and utility vehicles driving around right now. but as of 6:00 p.m. eastern, this place is under a total curfew. so police and city workers have been going around making sure nobody's around.
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you'll see no garbage cans, things like that. everything's been removed. surf's pretty strong. we've seen pictures of it. i was out at the boardwalk about two hours ago. no damage right now. but it's picking up. you can see these gusts. you can see what's going on because there's water in the streets and you can see how much it's blowing. pretty serious. there are places inland, there are places up the coast that are going to start to feel it this way. you think you want to ride this out, be careful. this is a serious, serious storm. a lot of people asking, why are you here? we know how to do this. we've done it before. we know how to seek safety. but if you don't, this isn't something to play with. >> do people there know, ali, that atlantic city could be the location where this storm makes landfall or at least near atlantic city, that they're going to get a wallop in the next few hours? >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. seems people are aware -- most people did take this fairly seriously. clearly the governors and the
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mayors of the major cities around here have been telling them since friday and saturday, take this very seriously, get out by sunday. those who hadn't gotten out by sunday afternoon, they told them, we're shutting down all major public transit. you're not going to get to and back from work. so as a result, most people have stayed out. and the streets are actually empty here. i think they're clear on the fact they're going to get a wallop. we were out at the boardwalk. all the stores are boarded up. everybody's got plywood if they don't already have sheet-metal grades over their stores. you don't know how serious this gets until you get it. a gust is gone now. i can completely walk around. and then moments later, it will start to wallop me and push me across the road. when it comes in, the winds are sustained. you're getting 70 or 80 miles an hour sustained winds. that's not something a person can stand and hang around in. it could knock out your windows. it's serious. >> and it's only going to get worse over the next few hours, ali. i'm going to be speaking with
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the mayor of atlantic city, mayor lorenzo langford. he's going to join us in a few minutes. if you could join us as well, i'd like you to participate in that conversation. we'll take a quick break. we're staying in atlantic city. the mayor will join us. what's next?
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he's on the streets of your city. first of all, mayor, what precautions have you taken right now? how are the folks in atlantic city holding up? >> wolf, good evening. we're trying to get through this and do the best that we can to cope with a very difficult situation. we have been successful in getting some of our residents to heed the warnings that we presented to them friday and yesterday to evacuate the barrier island and move to higher ground. unfortunately, not as many folks as we would have liked have taken heed to that warning. back during the last catastrophic event that we experienced, that being hurricane irene, we achieved a 98% evacuation rate. but for whatever reason, this time, we haven't reached that number yet. we think we're somewhere having evacuated several thousand people. but we still have too many people in atlantic city.
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that creates a very uncomfortable situation for all of our emergency responders and officials are still trying to do the best we can to get people out of harm's way. >> mayor, ali velshi is on the streets of atlantic city. right now, the winds are obviously very gusty. ali, you have a question you'd like to ask the mayor. >> reporter: yes, i do, mayor. and the important thing is by looking at atlantic city, people can look at this and say, this might happen in my community. if you're still not evacuated, what do you do? i know people are driving around. they can get out in their car but it's gusty and dangerous. should people leave and go to a shelter now or hunker down and stay? >> at this point, i think they would be best served to stay at home and hunker down. i just visited a couple of our shelters. i had a very difficult time getting back to where i'm supposed to be. in some place, we still have 2 1/2 to 3 feet of water on the ground at this point. and as you know, this is the low tide. and so in about an hour and a
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half at around the 6:00 hour, the brunt of the storm will make its way to atlantic city. we're expecting the impact at that time. a few hours of that, high tide will come again and we could have as much as five feet of water in the city. i saw some downed electric lines, i saw tree limbs that have snapped from trees. island not encourage people to try to make it to a shelter at this point because you're putting yourself probably in even more of a jeopardizing situation. the best thing you can do at this point is hunker down and wait this thing out. >> ali, don't go away. i want you to be a part of this conversation. mr. mayor, you have a curfew coming up in a little bit more than an hour and a half from now, 6:00 p.m. eastern, on the streets of atlantic city. what happens to individuals who break that curfew? what's going to happen to them?
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>> a violation of the curfew is a violation of the law. and we will have our police officers and other law enforcement officials out and about around the city. god help them if they get caught after 6:00. the curfew will be in effect from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. we're very hopeful that everybody heeds the warning and do not attempt to come outside but rather stay indoors. >> a strong warning from the mayor. ali, you have another question for the mayor? >> reporter: yeah. mayor, obviously for people who don't remember hurricanes in this area of this nature, when do you expect things to start to feel back to normal? i've seen crews out here evaluating the situation, seeing what damage is there. but obviously when the power comes back on, they want to get essential power on first, make sure your police and your fire and your hospitals are working. and then get out to residential power situations. what's the time line -- >> at this point, i do not think it would be prudent to venture a
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guess. obviously we're going to do all that we can to restore power and to get people back into their normal situations so that they can be as comfortable as they can be. but it's all speculative at this time. and who knows when mother nature sends her wrath your way, we're at her mercy. so all we can do is stay prayerful and do the best that we can. >> mayor langford, we've heard conflicting reports about the famous atlantic city boardwalk. what can you tell us about its status right now? >> most of the boardwalk so far is intact. but there is at least one section of the boardwalk which has been wiped out in the area of maine avenue in the inlet section. there's a section of the boardwalk near the intersection of pacific avenue that's been washed out, there's another part where boards have been ripped up. but for the most part, we haven't experienced too much damage with respect to the boardwalk. >> all those hotels and casinos in atlantic city that are so famous, they're empty right now.
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is that what you're saying? >> for the most part, the casinos are empty. the governor issued a mandatory evacuation of the city that took effect at 4:00 saturday. the casinos were ordered closed by the casino control commission. and most of the casinos at this time, they're empty. >> this is a little unusual, but i'll try it. mayor, ali velshi is on the streets of atlantic city right now. he's an eyewitness to what's going on. is there a question, mayor langford, you want to ask ali? >> well, i would just say to ali and admonish him that he needs to be careful, too. we all have our responsibilities, but some preservation is a law of nature. and this thing is going to get crazy. and i would hope that everybody would take heed of the seriousness of -- >> reporter: mayor, you're right about that. thank you for bringing that up. we have comments. people are saying, why are you out there? why are you doing? one, we're trying to show people
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how to happen. but number two, we know how to get to safe shelter and to get to higher ground. we will stay safe, mayor. same to you and everybody in atlantic city. >> ali, we'll stay in close touch with you. mayor, are you getting all the help from the federal government, the state authorities, everything you need right now? >> so far, it's been an extremely cooperative effort by all of the governmental entities that are engaged. we can just again -- all we can do is hope that we can continue to see the kind of -- the level of cooperation that we've experienced thus far and come through this thing. >> mayor lorenzo langford, the mayor of atlantic city. good luck to you and all the folks in that area. they're bracing for this storm to make landfall in the atlantic city area soon. you see ali velshi in the streets of atlantic city. being very, very careful. we'll get back to him and our other reporters. we're also getting reaction from the president of the united
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states. he was in the white house situation room earlier in the day. he's off the campaign trail today and tomorrow because of this disaster that's unfolding. [ male announcer ] the 2013 smart comes with 8 airbags, a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety. which can withstand over three and a half tons. ♪... ♪... ♪... choose the perfect hotel
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[ male announcer ] the exceedingly nimble, ridiculously agile, tight turning, fun to drive 2013 smart. ♪ here's another view of hurricane sandy from the international space station. look at this. the center of the huge storm is about two hours from making landfall, maybe less. president obama's monitoring the storm in the white house situation room after canceling his reelection campaign stops today. let's bring in our white house correspondent, dan lothian, with the very latest. >> reporter: the president rushing back here from orlando for two reasons, to get out ahead of that storm, at least the worst part of it but also to sort of oversee the emergency
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response. as you pointed out, the president after coming back here to the white house, holding a meeting with his senior team, the emergency management officials, homeland security as well, to go over what the federal response is looking like. the president then coming out and talking to reporters said there is good coordination between local, state and federal officials and that the federal government was helping to assist in providing food, water and emergency generators. but this is a critical time. we're only eight days away from the election. now the president will be off the campaign trail for two days, critical hours where the president was expected to be in these critical background states like florida, ohio, virginia. and now that has been put on pause. the president was asked if there was any concern about this and he seemed to suggest that he wasn't concerned. >> i am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. i'm worried about the impact on families and i'm worried about the impact on our first responders.
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i'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. the election will take care of itself next week. right now, our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search and rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track. >> now, the president has signed a disaster declarations for some nine states, including the district of columbia. the president continues to get briefings from john brennan, some by papers, others in the situation room. during the president's remarks, he wanted to make clear to those in the impacted areas, they should heed those evacuation warnings because if those first responders have to come back and rescue them at some point, it could put their lives in danger. >> dan, thanks very much. mitt romney is rearranging,
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cutting back on his campaign stops because of the storm. but he did go to a rally this afternoon in the all-important swing state of ohio. our national political correspondent jim acosta joins us now from cleveland with more on what the republican presidential nominee is doing. what's going on, jim? >> reporter: wolf, things are changing by the moment. here with the romney campaign, we can tell you the romney campaign has gone ahead and canceled its events for tonight and tomorrow. he is keeping an event that is happening right around now in iowa -- >> unfortunately we've just lost our connection with jim acosta. we'll reconnect with him. we're watching the political fallout as well from this hurricane disaster that's unfolding. we'll get back to jim acosta. i think we actually have him back right now. jim, are you there? >> reporter: yes, i am, wolf. i don't know how much you heard, but i wanted to reiterate the romney campaign has canceled its events for tonight. it is keeping an event that
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happened right around now in the state of iowa. but what's interesting that's developed with this campaign is we have not heard definitively where the candidate will be tonight or tomorrow. that is still up in the air at this point from an official standpoint. but we have been told by the romney campaign that the gop nominee will not be having a down day. he will be doing something. they're not just saying exactly what as of this point. but keep in mind, wolf, this is when mitt romney wanted to unveil his closing arguments, a top romney adviser put out that closing argument in terms of talking points overnight. he was supposed to be talking about real change on day one, moving into the white house. that was supposed to be the message this week. now it is all about hurricane sandy. and that's what we heard from the gop nominee earlier today at an event here in ohio. here's what he had to say. >> i want to mention that our hearts and prayers are with all the people in the storm's path, sandy is another devastating hurricane, by all accounts. and a lot of people are going to
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be facing some real tough times as a result of sandy's fury. and so if you have the capacity to make a donation to american red cross, you can go online and do that. if there are other ways that you can help, please take advantage of them because there will be a lot of people that will be looking for help and the people of ohio have big hearts. we're expecting you to follow through and help out. >> reporter: this campaign is not just in a holding pattern. it is almost very much tied at this point. if you take a look at our latest cnn poll of poll, mitt romney with a slight edge over the president right now, 48-47. but take a look at this. we have a new cnn/orc poll for the battleground state of florida. this might surprise of republicans out there who thought mitt romney would be pulling ahead by a more substantial margin at this point. but mitt romney leading the president 50-49 in florida. that state very much tied. look at this poll, wolf, that came out over the weekend that
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gave some democrats some heartburn out there, from the state of minnesota, a poll showing president obama clinging to a three-point lead, 47-44. and then in north carolina, a little bit of heartburn for the republicans, a poll showing mitt romney and president obama tied up at 45-45. those polls demonstrate why both campaigns are playing it safe right now. they don't want to look too political when you have the mother of october surprises looming there off the coast and her name is sandy. >> yeah. what an october surprise. we have no idea how it's going to impact early voting, who it might help, who it won't help and what it might mean eight days from now. jim acosta, thank you. the national hurricane center is getting ready to issue an update on hurricane sandy in the next few minutes. stay with us for the latest on the storm's strength and where it's heading.
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hurricane sandy is barreling toward the east coast, taking aim at new jersey, expected to make landfall near atlantic city very, very soon. reporter maggie lake is in the nearby town of asbury park in new jersey. what are you seeing, maggie? where are you seeing the serious problems? >> reporter: we're right on the boardwalk, taking refuge behind
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a building. but if you step out with me here, you can see we're starting to see the ocean really kick up now. high tide is about 7:00, 8:00 tonight here. the tide pushing in toward the boardwalk. many people here extremely concerned about what happened in atlantic city and the fact that they may be next. we still have a ways to go. the waves are getting bigger. the gusts much stronger than they were earlier today. we are near convention hall, historic convention hall. and we talked to a longtime resident who works here. and we talked about to him about his concerns. what do you think in terms of recovery? has asbury been through this before? do you anticipate it's going to knock people back? tough economy anyway. >> that's definitely true. asbury's just starting to come back now. everything was doing well.
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luckily the storm comes after the season's over. so it's really not that busy now. but if it does a lot of damage, it can cost a lot of money to fix everything. >> reporter: if you can take a look, this boardwalk is abandoned. we've seen a couple of curiosity seekers. those who have not evacuated are staying inside. people know how to prepare but because the coast didn't get hit with irene, a lot of people said they were thinking it was hype and they weren't going to leave, they were going to stay in their apartments. a big concern with coastal flooding here, as you can imagine. but also power. we talked to the fire department, already reports of downed limbs, there are a lot of big trees in these neighborhoods, wolf. a lot of people concerned about what that's going to do to the power lines and how many people are going to be left without power. we are a couple of hours from this thing making landfall. >> it could make landfall where you are in asbury park. is there a mandatory curfew in
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place in asbury park as there is in stiatlantic city as after 6: p.m. eastern? >> reporter: if it's mandatory. but the police have been patrolling, getting people off the streets, chasing those away that they've seen. i see sirens right now. there's a police car in the distance. they got people off the streets. just before we walked up here, we saw a lamppost fly, street signs are starting to go, boards starting to come off the buildings. a lot of that preparedness, now that these wind gusts are getting up to the levels they are, even those measures are not going to help if we start to get much higher here. i also have seen jersey power and light driving around. clearly they're concerned about the outages, wolf. >> maggie lake, thanks very much. be careful over there. we'll stay in close touch with you as well. landfall expected within the next two hours around atlantic city, maybe asbury park, which is just north of atlantic city.
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despite mandatory evacuation orders for some towns on new york's long island, some people are staying put. one couple standing by to join us and to explain why.
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the center of hurricane sandy is about 90 minutes from making landfall right now. but even after it moves inland, this storm is going to be a huge problem for days. let's get the very latest on what's going on. cnn meteorologist chad myers is joining us. chad, we're expecting first of all a new forecast. that's going to coming up from the national hurricane center momentarily. as soon as you get it, you'll share it with us. some are comparing what's going
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on right now to that famous long island express in 1938. a hurricane that literally ripped apart long island. we're showing our viewers some film from what happened on september 21st, 1938. what's the comparison here? >> the pressure, wolf, is lower than that storm. the center of the eye, the eyewall itself wind speeds, not as high. this is a wide, barreling, lumbering, defensive lineman where that was a sprinter with a smaller body and a faster wind speed. this big storm is now making wind speeds of 81 miles per hour out near martha's vineyard, 76 in long island sound. and making landfall literally hundreds of miles from there. a typical storm would only have the core of the energy, a core
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of the maximum winds very close to the eye. that's the biggest trouble with this is that the widespread damage -- typically if something happens in new jersey to the power lines, they'll call vermont and say, send your power company down here to get our lines back up and we'll come up to your state when you need the help. that's the problem. there are going to be 14 states with hundreds of thousands of power lines down. the mutual aid is going to be tough to come by in this area. they're going farther and farther away to get the mutual aid. the problem is it takes longer and longer for those bucket trucks to get there. i believe this storm will come onshore somewhere between cape may, wildwood, atlantic city. the eye is not really the issue. a big storm, a category 3 storm when it hits land will die off. it will start to get slower. this is going to take hours and hours to get slower even after landfall. so the joke today was that, hey, we don't care about landfall because that just means it's only half onshore. the other half is still
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offshore. don't focus on the landfall. focus on how much water is going to pile up in new york harbor all along new jersey, right into wilmington, possibly even the river running backwards up to philadelphia and then all that water coming into delaware, maryland and even into virginia. an awful lot of rain. the wind now getting the soil very wet. when you get wind about 70 miles per hour, trees are going to start to fall down, wolf. >> that means the power lines will go down, millions of people potentially could be affected. chad, i want you to join in this conversation. karen boss is joining us from fire island out on long island, one of those so-called barrier islands. i know there's been a mandatory evacuation. but you and your husband, walter, decided to stay put out there on fire island. why did you decide to stay there? >> well, we're year-round residents and this is our home. we have a few properties here. we have a business here. and we feel that there's a good
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access point for someone to communicate with. also when they never said a category 2, 3 or 4 hurricane, i wasn't as concerned. we've been here through storms. >> you've been there through storms before. i want chad to get involved in this conversation. chad, speak to karen boss for a moment, if you have a question for her. and i'm curious what it's like right now, karen. but go ahead, chad. >> the issue really with long island, wolf, is going to be the surge when high tide comes, still a few hours from that. what did you see when the first high tide came in there? >> on the bayfront, which is the great south bay, i'm overlooking the harbor and the harbor was completely submerged. you could not see any of the boardwalks or the walks around -- >> let me interrupt and say, this is video that karen and her husband, walter, shot and sent us to. that's the video we're seeing. go ahead, karen. >> and there's debris floating in. we had a major concern about a
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barge that was tied up by the entrance of the harbor which we've notified the office of emergency management and that barge seems to have been moved to the inside, which diverted what i think could have been a major disaster in here. >> they never even had a low tide. take a look at this line on my map. we'll do this quickly so you can see. this is what should have happened. this is regular tide up and down, up and down. this is the high tide where she filmed that video. it was supposed to go down. it never did. it stayed very flat. now when high tide comes again, it's going to be at least 3 1/2 to 4 feet higher than what you see in that video on this second high tide she's about to go through. >> how close are you, your property where you are right now, karen, to the water? >> i'm right in front of it. my house sits right on the harbor. >> obviously you must be concerned that that water is going to start coming up to your house.
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>> i'm concerned that it might come into the first floor. if that's the case, i'll just move into another house that's higher up. >> good luck, karen. good luck to your husband, walter. we'll stay in touch with you. you're out on fire island on long island watching what's going on. thanks for sharing that video with us. chad, don't go too far away. we're awaiting momentarily the latest forecast from the national hurricane center. we'll take a quick break. more with chad and everyone else right after this. the distances aren't getting shorter. ♪ the trucks are going farther. the new 2013 ram 1500. ♪ with the best-in-class fuel economy. engineered to move heaven and earth. ♪ guts. glory. ram.
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♪ when we got married. i had three kids. and she became the full time mother of three. it was soccer, and ballet, and cheerleading, and baseball. those years were crazy. so, as we go into this next phase, you know, a big part of it for us is that there isn't anything on the schedule.
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hurricane sandy is pushing water up, some of the major rivers along the u.s. east coast. and that means the threat of serious flooding, as far inland at least right now as washington, d.c.
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chris lawrence is along the city's main point of defense for the waters of the potomac river, talking about the tidal basin. chris, what's going on over there? >> reporter: we're starting to see the winds starting to pick up a lot here. you can definitely see the waves starting to lap here in the tidal basin. if you take a look, an iconic view of washington, d.c., that's the jefferson memorial, with the waters really starting to pick up here. one of the things we've followed throughout the day is the power outages. to give you an idea how quickly things have changed since we've been out here, in just a matter of a couple of hours, it's gone from maybe 9,000 people without power to probably over 60,000 people without power. and even though this is a storm that is affecting mostly the east coast, as this storm pushes up the coast, the people responding are coming from all over the country. some of the area companies here have been polling workers from texas, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, areas that have had their own problems with hurricanes over the years.
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this time, they're in the opposite situation. they're lending about 1,500 crew members to help people get out. the key number to remember for people without power is 35, as in 35 miles per hour, because federal safety guidelines mean none of those workers can get up into ladders and start restoring power and fixing the lines until the winds drop below 35 miles per hour. so even though we've got power on in a lot of areas, there are still many, many problems out there, wolf. >> chris lawrence at the tidal basin in washington, d.c. it's going from bad to worse here in the nation's capital. for more information about the path of hurricane sandy, what you can do to help those affected, check out we'll be back to cnn's ali velshi. he's in atlantic city, new jersey, which may take a direct hit at the center of hurricane sandy as it makes landfall. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties.
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so i brought it to mike at meineke. we gave her car a free road handling check. i like free. free is good. my money. my choice. my meineke. you're in "the situation room." happening now, tens of millions of people bracing for the worst from a record-setting storm. hurricane sandy has already battered vast stretches of the east coast and now it's about to slam ashore. just in, the latest forecast. what to expect from what authorities are calling a catastrophic event. and for the crew of a tall ship used in adventure movies, a terrifying real-life drama and a very dangerous rescue operation. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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the worst is yet to come from hurricane sandy. here's what we know at this moment. the center of this monstrous storm which has brutally pounded much of the eastern seaboard of the united states could come ashore this hour. new jersey is bearing the brunt of that attack right now. the governor, chris christie, will hold a news conference in 30 minutes. we'll bring it to you live. the powerful winds, the torrential rain, the storm surges, they are wreaking havoc from north carolina all the way to maine, the area of tropical storm force winds extends almost, get this, 1,000 miles. many coastal towns have been evacuated, major cities are completely shut down. new york city alone could face catastrophic flooding.
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more than 765,000 customers already are without power in seven states. tens of millions could face blackouts lasting for days. our reporters are standing by throughout the disaster area to bring you the story the way only cnn can. let's go to atlantic city, new jersey, right now, which is bearing so much of the brunt of the storm at this hour. parts of the city already under water, barely visible, forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of people from areas where flooding is said to be dangerously high. casinos are cleared out and less than an hour from now, the entire city will be under curfew, a man toir curfew, bracing for the worst. let's go straight to the streets of atlantic city. ali velshi is there. ali, it could make landfall within minutes. give us a little flavor of what you're seeing. it looks awful. >> reporter: we talked a few minutes ago. it's actually -- i think we're
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catching a break in one of the bands before the -- this is probably the calm before the storm because as you know, the last time i talked to you, it was hard to actually stand up. seeing a dramatically increased police presence around here making sure nobody's on the streets because at 6:00 eastern, one hour from now, they want everybody who doesn't have a reason to be outside inside their homes. you heard from the mayor who said a number of people haven't left. that worries them. but at this point, if you haven't left, don't go out. you probably can't get out of atlantic city right now. the ocean is about three-quarters of a mile behind that. these guys are enjoying themselves. they've got about 55 minutes left to enjoy themselves because the police are going to come and clear everybody out. but the fact is this tells you a bit of a story. less than an hour ago, you couldn't be out here. it was really severe. maybe chad knows more about this
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than i do. but something's definitely broken here. we're expecting it to get much worse before it gets better. we're at seven feet, expecting a 9 1/2-foot storm surge. most of atlantic city will be covered in water in the next couple of hours. >> ali, stand by. chad myers, our severe weather meteorologist is joining us. you have the latest report from the national hurricane center, chad? >> i do. it's still 35 miles from the coast or 30 miles from the coast around cape may. that would be south of where ali is, which would put ali right on the north side which would be the most dangerous part of the eye. it would be the eyewall making landfall. and you have to add in the forward motion of the storm. so 90 plus 28. the good news is for atlantic city, there's no eyewall there. the convection, the rainfall, the storms have stopped. so that's why the winds have died down. and i will show you on the next map, there's not much rainfall on that side of the storm. the storm has just about come
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onshore. let's say half of it's onshore, half of it's off. but the part that's still off doesn't have any storm on it. doesn't have convection. doesn't have weather there. so there's not as much wind with that part. that's good. now that the wind is beginning to die off, it will continue to die off in most places. we always knew this storm wasn't going to be a huge wind-maker as it moves onshore. it's going to be a wind-maker inland when you start to add in the cold air that's already here. it's already raining here all the way through virginia. but it's snowing back into west virginia. parts of virginia and also into kentucky, this is the cold part of the storm that will wrap its way into the warm part of the storm where ali is. that's when it turns into the winter event. i just got a report off twitter from a couple of guys north of washington, d.c. they feel sleet in the air in the rain that's coming down. that's how cold and dry the air is that's wrapping into this storm right now. >> you have a question, chad, for ali who's on the streets of atlantic city right now?
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>> where did those three guys come from that were dancing behind him? they should be off the streets and in a house somewhere. that's certainly not the place to be. ali, are you going to be okay tonight? >> reporter: yeah. i have to tell you, the flavor of this thing has changed. i just got a gust a moment ago. but the flavor has changed in the last hour. an hour ago, this felt -- chad, you were keeping a tab on what it felt like. but i felt like the gusts were above 90 miles an hour. it was really blowing me. i'm about 185, 190 pounds. and i really felt like i couldn't keep my footing. we had a gust coming through right now. and then it stops. then i can stand here and talk to you peacefully. and the rain feels many like a heavy rain as opposed to what it felt like. the flavor of this has changed. an hour ago, those three guys wouldn't have ventured out into the street behind me. you saw that wind blowing up, these streets are all full of water. it's all water everywhere you go. it was whipping up.
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so there's something that has definitely changed here. thank you, chad, for your inquiries. wolf, we have to remind our viewers that we've done this before, we know how to keep safe. it's important to show people how serious this is. we know people haven't left their homes. you have to treat this seriously. we are keeping an eye out. we'll be okay out here. >> sandy endo is joining us from ocean city, maryland, right now. tell us what's going on where you are. >> reporter: wolf, we're certainly feeling severe wind gusts here in ocean city. as chad mentioned, the rain does feel a little different. it is feeling like heavier pelting, like almost sleet hitting me in the face. but i want to show you what we're also experiencing here, wolf. we're actually seeing damage from all the effects of hurricane sandy already. take a look at the debris over there, the black tar is actually a rooftop that was blown over by
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that white building which is right across the street from the hotel that we are hunkering down in through this storm. we just want to give you a perspective of what is actually going on out here and how severe the storm is right now. this has been more than 24 hours of this condition. rain, the wind -- >> sandy, i don't know if we've lost connection with you. but go ahead if you can still hear me. >> reporter: yeah, wolf, the waves, as i was mentioning, because this is a coastal waterfront town, if you can see, high tide is going to be hitting in about an hour or so. and these waves have been fierce, eroding this beach all day long. we've seen the sand dunes being toppled over by waves and flooding in this area. so the situation could worsen as evening progresses.
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but right now, this is severe in terms of the wind and some of the damage we're seeing, flying debris as well. so we are certainly going to get out of harm's way. i'm using this tree as a little safe haven here to protect me and the crew. we're certainly trying to stay safe out here. but, again, echoing chad and ali, the characteristic of this storm is certainly changing. and hurricane sandy is definitely being felt. >> sandy endo's in ocean city, maryland, the left part of the screen. ali velshi is in atlantic city, new jersey, just north of ocean city, on the right part of the screen. you see it's obviously a lot more windy in ocean city than it is in atlantic city. chad, the landfall, the area where this hurricane sandy makes landfall, that's not necessarily going to be the area where the worst disaster is going to take place. it could take place other parts of the atlantic seaboard, right?
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>> certainly. we have had 81-mile-per-hour winds in massachusetts, many trees down already. that's 250 miles from where the storm is. and let me describe what's about to happen to our two reporters as the eye makes landfall. i'll draw it out here for you. there's the eye itself right about there. all day long, the winds have been out of the north and we've been protecting our crews, our trucks, our photographers from that north wind. as this eye now moves farther inland, i'm going to draw it a little bit farther than it really is. but you'll get an idea. what's going to start to happen is the winds aren't going to be north like this anymore. they're going to be from the east and then from the southeast. so we may actually lose those live shots as the trucks have to be repositioned. you have an eight-foot satellite dish pointed at a satellite. all of a sudden it's moving with a 90-mile-per-hour wind. those signals go out rather quickly. >> chad, don't go too far away. we'll be speaking with the director of the national hurricane center.
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i want you to join in that conversation. you're looking at live pictures from atlantic city right now. much more of our special coverage right here in "the situation room" when we come back. ver the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
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which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. hurricane sandy is a catastrophic storm of ep proportions. it's about to make landll, we believe, this hour. its reach and destructive power extend far beyond the new jersey coast. cnn's ali velshi is joining us once again from atlantic city. right now we're getting ready to speak to james franklin from the national hurricane center. is there a specific question, ali, you want me to ask him? >> reporter: the issue is he people are worried about the wind. they know about the utilities, the trees coming down, the utility lines coming down. the problem is -- that wind's picking up here a little bit. the issue here is this flooding. it's sort of -- it's insidious.
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the water is getting higher and higher. people are concerned how to prepare for that. >> chad, you're with us still as well. james franklin is standing by. we'll spooem speak to him from the national hurricane center. is there something specific you want to know? >> yes, this storm picked up pace. it went from northwest at 15 to now north or west-northwest at 28. how did that change the 5:00 forecast? >> good question. stand by, both of you. james franklin will be joining us momentarily. ashleigh banfield is joining us right now from lower manhattan. ashleigh, tell our viewers in the united states and around the world where you are right now and what it's like. >> reporter: i'm in the southern tip of manhattan and another gust is just coming up, wolf. i'm going to spin the camera around a bit. behind me, you can see new jersey. you can see the high-rises of manhattan here. this is one of the most famous sea level cities in the world.
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look where sea level is. it's here. if mayor bloomberg is accurate in his prediction that the worst of the surge could be 12 feet, you'd probably be looking at about here by 8:00 tonight, which is only about three hours. i want to tell you, this is also a very high city. it's full of high-rises. people know it's full of high-rises. on 57th street which is midtown manhattan, there was a terrible crane incident that broke off. and this crane is now dangling over 57th street. this is no ordinary skyscraper either. it is a luxury skyscraper. wolf, you know prices in manhattan. the penthouse recently closed for $90 million. so they have asked most of the people still in that building to move to lower floors and other surrounding buildings as well. the police have closed the street to make it safe. but that's a precarious situation to have winds gusting right now up to 60 miles an hour
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in this city. but let me tell you, when you get up higher, wolf, it changes. the metric is very different. at 30 stories, an 80-mile-an-hour wind goes up to 96 miles an hour. and at 80 stories, that same wind would be 106 miles an hour. and if i need to add to that, that's sustained. that's not even gusts. those will be sustained winds at those heights and elevations. so a very dangerous situation. it's no surprise that the mayor has done a mandatory evacuation of 400,000 people in a city of just over 8 million. and it's no surprise that everything is shut down. you can't get in or out of this city. and yet, wolf, i don't know why i keep seeing people on a stroll down here in these kinds of winds. it's not a picnic. maybe they think it's interesting. but it's not. it's dangerous. >> very dangerous. especially on west 57th street where that crane is hovering
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there. stand by for a moment, ashleigh. chad, tell us a little bit why it is like that, god forbid, that crane collapses and hits the street, west 57th between sixth and seventh in manhattan, that could be a disaster right there. >> it is all blocked off. the police have it completely cordoned off. they know where it is above it. the problem is if it does break off in a gust of wind, it will go with the gust of wind a little way. does it go left or right as it's swinging there, probably losing some of the strength in the material above it. the more it sways, the more likely it is to come down. that broke when only a wind gust at jfk was 66 miles per hour. we do expect wind gusts to go higher from here, wolf. >> chad, hold on a second. rick knabb is joining us right now, the new director of the national hurricane center. rick, thanks for coming in. when do we expect landfall? >> it could be within the next couple of hours to few hours.
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we've been seeing the center of circulation accelerate during the day today. the pressure has been dropping but the organization of the thunderstorm activity has been deteriorating. and we think those two things, along with a lot of other factors indicate to us that that transition to a posttropical system is well under way. and i want folks to remember, though, that both the landfall location and the designation of the system don't change the overall huge area that's going to be impacted by a variety of hazards. the storm surge hazard at the coastline will persist for a day or two in some places because as this takes a right turn and slows down over pennsylvania, the southerly flow here is going to persist. so the inland rain and inland flooding will also be a long-duration event because of the large size and slow motion that we anticipate over the next couple of days. >> our meteorologist, chad myers, is with us, rick. he had a very specific he wanted to ask you. go ahead, chad.
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>> rick, actually a couple of things. this thing really speeded up, northwest or west-northwest at 28. how did that affect your 5:00 forecast? and there's not much convection on the east side of the storm. how is that going to change what people are feeling? >> well, the first part is that the overall scenario hasn't changed, even though it has sped up this afternoon, the center of circulation has at low levels, the overall scenario for the next couple of days is unfortunately still the same, that that speed-up is temporary and that the center of circulation is going to come ashore and then it's going to slow down and take a right-hand turn. so looking at our forecast track, you can see how much headway it does not make. this is on tuesday where it takes this right-hand turn and sits. remember how large it is. it's not just a point on the map. so it's going to be affecting this large area. the coastal storm surge, the
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rains, especially well inland, as you mentioned, is kind of half dry, half wet. that inland rain is going to last for quite a while. and the winds even on the dry side will persist. so still a long-duration event for many, many people. >> any final word of thought for viewers who are watching right now who might be in this disaster zone, rick? >> well, i would just continue to do what emergency managers, local officials tell you to do and do not think that landfall of the center of circulation of this system is the end of it. the backside of it is large. there's a lot of wind. the water rise is going to continue at the coastline. and if you are in points north and west of this, the system's coming your way and it's not going to continue moving this fast. once the rain starts, it could last for a couple of days in some places. so don't let your guard down. landfall or change to post-tropical, none of that has anything to do with the event being over.
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>> rick knabb, the new director of the national hurricane center. rick, thanks very much. let's go back to atlantic city right now. ali velshi is joining us. ali, what's the latest? >> reporter: a couple of things. power has just gone out in atlantic city. you'll recall there were streetlights on, there were traffic lights on. it all went out about three minutes ago. there's auxiliary lights at the end of the street where the ocean is. i can see a few traffic lights on there and i see a couple of the shops have put their auxiliary power. but the power's now gone out in atlantic city. i just saw a truck drove by, a pick-up truck in the back were what appeared to be two parents and three very little children. obviously someone has gone and decided to take them to somewhere else. they're in the back of an open pick-up truck in this weather. so at this point you heard the mayor of atlantic city tell you earlier that there are still people -- they wish they would have moved to shelter. they did not go to shelter. there are 400 or 500 people in a city shelter here now. but if you have not left, this
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is probably not the time to leave right now. we're getting gusting winds every now and then. again, we get moments like this where there's no wind at all. and i'm standing here, the rain's tapered off. but the power is out and the flooding is under way. this whole road now full of water. this is atlantic all the way over to the ocean. the atlantic ocean is a little less than a mile right behind us. and that storm surge is going to come in, probably going to raise the water level in here by about 2 to 2 1/2 feet. that's the latest here in atlantic city. we have lost power and the flooding is under way. >> we're going to see a full curfew take place in about half an hour in atlantic city. you're looking at live pictures of new york city right now. they are on the ground. new york city bracing for the worst as well. you see that crane that has collapsed on west 57th street between sixth and seventh, a luxury apartment building going up, hanging there precariously.
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they've abandoned the streets over there. god forbid that crane collapses, that could be a real, real disaster. much more of our special coverage, the breaking news, hurricane sandy continues after this. es with 8 airbags, a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety. anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move
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new york, new jersey, delaware, maryland as well. let's go out to maryland right now, annapolis, maryland, lifk, specifically, lisa sylvester is on the ground for us. what's it like in annapolis? lisa, go ahead. >> reporter: normally this is a
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beautiful area. a lot of viewers come out this way. but it's nothing like that. right now, it's windy, it's blustery. they have the bay bridge that had to be closed down. and you can see just these big, huge wind gusts that are coming down. we've also had -- it's hard to actually stand still here, wolf. you can see that there are a number of businesses that have been concerned, very concerned about the hurricane, so much so that they have boarded up their buildings. we had a chance, in fact, to talk to one business owner who said he runs an ice cream shop. and he said that he is actually going to be spending the night in his shop. one of the reasons why, these business owners are so concerned is they remember another hurricane, hurricane isabella that hit this area back in 2003. during that time, you actually had flooding seven feet high, chest level essentially.
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that's the big concern they have right now is that you might see the water level actually going up and rising, coming up above the banks. this is an area -- i know that you're very familiar with this, wolf. but this is an area also, wolf, where there are a lot of very -- i know that those boat owners are also very concerned of what's going to happen so that you have the economic impact. but there's a real concern right now. but for us, the concern is getting to a dry, safe spot. this wind has really started to pick up. wolf? >> i know there's going to be search and rescue operations under way. and lisa's going to be watching that part of the story for us. they've shut down the bay bridge as well. lisa, thanks very much. a terrifying real-life drama and dangerous rescue operation for crew members of a tall ship that was used in adventure movies. this is an unbelievable story. you'll see it next when we come back.
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a monstrous storm of historic proportions about to crash ashore. hurricane sandy is now just a few dozen miles off the new jersey coast. it will hit land shortly, maybe this hour. but its storm force winds extend almost 1,000 miles, much of it along the east coast, areas that already have been battered. some coastal communities have been evacuated. major metro areas are virtually shut down. new york city right now bracing for the worst, which could include disastrous flooding. 765,000 customers are already without power in seven states. millions more could face blackouts lasting not just for hours but for days. the governor of new jersey, chris christie, you're seeing a live picture from new jersey, is getting ready to go to those microphones over there. we're going to have live
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coverage. we expect landfall to hit around the atlantic city, new jersey, area shortly. not far from there, sandbags are piling up inside, outside all sorts of areas of new jersey. but it's not just new jersey. it's other states as well, including in virginia. let's go to alexandria, virginia, right now, not far from washington, d.c., along the potomac river. carol costello is riding out the storm there. what's it like, carol? >> reporter: well, wolf, it's interesting because it doesn't feel like a hurricane. but it sure acts like one. it doesn't feel like a hurricane because it's so darn cold. the cold just goes right through you because it's so damp and wet out here. but every so often, it certainly acts like a hurricane. the rain will come down harder and there will be terrific wind gusts. wind gusts clocked at about 65 miles per hour at reagan national airport right now. we have sustained winds anywhere between 20 and 30 miles per hour. i'm standing here in old town alexandria, a place you well know, wolf. standing right along the banks of the potomac river.
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the big worry is there will be a big storm surge out in the atlantic. since this is in a tidal basin, that will push the waters of the potomac up and maybe out of their banks. frankly the people here in old town are used to that. as you can see, there are dozens and dozens of businesses located very close to the potomac river. business owners here have been preparing for this storm since this weekend. they sandbagged this weekend, they put plastic up over the window. i talked to the owner of a store that sells paintings, aggie. she's well-rehearsed in what to do because she's been through it all before. tell me how much water came with isabel. >> probably about this much, yeah. >> reporter: do you think that will happen this time? >> i hope it will not. but it's better to be prepared for that. >> reporter: get a few raindrops off the lens of the camera there. the interesting thing, people are walking their dogs. they're looking at the potomac -- look over there -- >> carol, hold on for a minute. the governor of new jersey is
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updating us on what's going on. here's chris christie. >> mayor langford urged people to stay in shelters in the city. despite my admonition to evacuate, he gave them comfort for some reason to stay. we now have a large number of people, we can't quantify it at this point, that are in atlantic city. and at this juncture, there is no other way for us to go in and get them. they're going to have to ride out the storm there until at least 7:00 tomorrow morning. i cannot in good conscience send rescuers in as the storm is about to hit in the next hour, nor can i send them in in the dark, given all the various hazards that would occur potentially to them. so i asked these people to leave. for some reason, the mayor in his initial conversations with the public told them he didn't want his people leaving atlantic city. so you have people staying. you have self-sheltering in
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their homes or sheltering in city shelters there, one which is literally a block away from the bay in a school which is now flooded completely. so for those of you who are on the barrier island who is decided it was a better idea to wait this out than to evacuate and for those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility. if you're still able to hear me, we need you to hunker down and get to the highest point possible in the dwelling that you're in. we will not be able to come and help you until daylight tomorrow. please try to hunker down and stay safe until then. we've deployed emergency crews throughout the day to assist individuals, particularly atlantic city, with evacuation. but as i said, it's no longer safe for us to do it. so we're stopping now. the winds are very high. we're seeing heavy rainfall. darkness is quickly creating this kind of dangerous situation for our first responders. at this time, they'll be responding to calls for service
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only. as soon as it's safe to send them in, we'll send them back in. but it probably won't be until tomorrow morning. we've staged our swift-water team, a 21-member team with boats prepared to launch tomorrow morning for shallow and swift-water rescues. they can deploy anywhere in new jersey, along the coastline or as needed where requested. also situated are two teams from out of state. that's 180 high-tech urban search and rescue personnel that are fully equipped and self-sustaining. they also have waterborne capabilities. we're starting to see challenges in say lsalem and cumberland
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counties. still a lot more water to come. but at this point, things are positive. as i said earlier, state government is closed tomorrow. education commissioner is encouraging closure of schools to ensure student safety. 509 of our 580 some districts are saying they will be closed tomorrow. i hope the rest of them will follow suit as soon as possible. all these decisions are made at the local level. but i would hope that they would look at the conditions we're dealing with and would make the smart move and not have school buses out on the roads tomorrow. we don't know what the condition of the roads will be in. we're going to anticipate a lot more downed trees and downed wires. it will be a very dangerous situation to move people around tomorrow, we believe. let's leave these roads open for emergency personnel to get around.
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the department of health has requested out-of-state assistance for 75 ambulances to help with pre and post-storm medical assistance. 23 ambulances arrived from indiana today. i want to thank governor daniels for his assistance in this regard for sending 22 ambulances from indiana. they arrived today, traveled from indiana to new jersey. and i want to thank governor daniels for his help in this regard. some of our road closures. garden state parkway is closed in both directions from the driscoll bridge down to the end of the parkway in cape may. the turnpike is currently closed from exits 7a to exit 8. there are 42 other road closures in 13 counties. >> the governor of new jersey, chris christie, updating us on what's going on in his state. landfall for hurricane sandy expected to hit around the atlantic city, new jersey, area very, very soon. we're also watching what's happening north of new jersey in new york city right now.
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you're looking at live pictures. emergency personnel are on the ground in manhattan. you see the crane on the right part of your screen, a crane has collapsed and there is deep concern it could collapse. stand by. we're watching this. the mayor of new york, michael bloomberg s getting ready to brief reporters. we'll have live coverage. how did i get here? dumb luck? or good decisions? ones i've made. ones we've all made. about marriage. children. money. about tomorrow. here's to good decisions. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders so they matter most to us. massmutual. we'll help you get there. 100% new. 100% mmm... wow, that is mmm... it's so mmm you might not believe it's a hundred calories. new yoplait greek 100.
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the new york city mayor michael bloomberg is now briefing reporters. let's listen. >> calls to the fdny, unfortunately most are for downed trees or flooding conditions. that's not what 911 is for. that's 311. but if you use 911, it means the
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operator on the line is not free for somebody who has a real emergency to call. so please use 311 for downed trees or flooding. there have been more than 1,000 reports and we're responding to them. around half of them are for downed trees, half for other damage. earlier today, a jogger was struck by a falling limb near prospect park and was hospitalized. fortunately she is going to be okay. and she was not in a closed park but she was running near. and when you run under trees, it is very dangerous, with the wind and a lot of these trees still have leaves on them. when the leaves are on the trees, they catch a lot of water, it makes them a lot heavier and they're much more likely to break off and also to be susceptible to the wind. i can't emphasize enough, stay indoors and certainly away from the parks, the beaches, the boardwalks, piers and seawalls. we had to give a couple of
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people summonses for trying to surf today. it is dangerous. and the most important thing is we're going to have to come in after you. and for us to lose an emergency responder because of someone's irresponsibility would be just an outrage. once again, if you're really in trouble, call 911. if not, 311. but 911 is only for true emergencies. we've already seen flooding in some of the city's low-lying areas. we've also seen some power loss. more than 47,000 customers have lost power so far in the city. the vast majority of that, as you would expect, is in queens and staten island because those are the areas served with overhead power lines. con ed may be shutting down power in parts of lower manhattan and southern brooklyn. and comed has done outreach to its customers. you may have received a phone call about this. this is a preventive measure to
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protect their equipment from serious damage. it's a similar kind of thing to what the mta did very intelligently of moving their equipment out of harm's way. it may mean we don't have the service of that equipment for a longer period of time. but it also means that when the storm is over, we can recover quickly. and if equipment is damaged, whether it's transportation equipment or power equipment, it can take days, weeks, even months to repair. we don't want that. this time, i think we have taken all the appropriate steps. >> we'll continue to monitor the mayor of new york city, mayor michael bloomberg briefing reporters on what's going on in new york right now. we'll continue to watch and see what he has to say. as you know, that crane that collapsed on west 57th street is hanging precariously right now. there you see it right there on the street below, energy personnel have gotten together. the parker meridian hotel near that collapsed crane has now been evacuated. we'll have a full report from new york momentarily.
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we're also going to connecticut, that is beginning right now to feel the brunt of this storm, only beginning. stand by. much more of our coverage right after this. ♪ (train horn)
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connecticut, a high tide could rise up to 11 feet above normal in a matter of hours. a number of the governors says the potential to cause, quote, unprecedented damage. cnn's david mattingly is joining us from right there right now. you're near the long island sound, connecticut river. flooding obviously a major concern. what else are the residents worried about? >> reporter: well, wolf, take a look around me.
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this water is just the beginning of what we're expecting to see tonight. you were saying the state officials here predicting a storm surge of up to 11 feet. but just to the west of me is the connecticut river. behind me is long island sound. that's just behind those houses back there on the dunes. i'm more than a block away from the ocean right here and you can see what's happening right now. state officials are worried that this is going to be a very long, long night. they're predicting 50 to 60-mile-per-hour sustained until about 3:00 in the morning and pushing the water on to shore. we just passed a low tide not too long ago so this water is going to steadily rise through the night and everyone wondering just how high it's going to go. shelters have opened up. not far from here. we talked to some people, that couple hundred people were in that particular shelter. this is a very agonizing time for them to sit there and wait. they might be dry.
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they might be safe. but they don't know what they might be coming home to. listen. >> what are you worried about when you go back there? >> definitely tonight we'll have water in the family room for the first time. i'm sure we will. as high as irene got, this will be higher. >> reporter: what we're looking here is part of the storm surge. just the beginning of the storm surge that's supposed to come ashore here in connecticut. also, you can see the wind whipping around me here. they're looking at problems with unknown numbers of people possibly being out of electricity tonight. already we're up to about 80,000 in the dark. this number's going up every quarter hour. wolf? >> are people being evacuated from the areas around you right now, david? >> reporter: well, the word went out very early here. people who live along the coast here had experience with hurricane irene.
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they knew if they were going to be vulnerable then, if they were vulnerable now, so a lot of ghost towns along the coast here in connecticut. people heeding those warnings, going to higher ground, going inland to take shelter. so, right now we're not seeing a lot of activity except for the water that continues the rise. wolf? >> i assume people are bracing for a lot worse, not only over the next few hours but over the next day or two. >> reporter: well, just imagine what's going on right now. a little over an hour ago this water was just barely ankle deep. you can see how much it's come up in the lax hour. we are looking at sustained 50 to 60-mile-per-hour winds continuing to push the water on to shore until about 3:00 in the morning. how long it stays after that is anybody's guess but combine that with the damage from the winds putting so many people out of electricity, this is going to be a very long event. last time with hurricane irene,
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it didn't take days to get everybody to have the lights back on, wolf. it took weeks. >> i see the flooding is pretty bad and doesn't look windy, at least not know. i assume that picks up as the hurricane makes landfall. >> reporter: we're getting gusts here of about 40 to 50. sustained winds maybe 20 to 30. it is increasing as we go along. state officials warning everyone that they're going to feel like they're in the bull's eye said they beginning 3:00 this afternoon until 3:00 in the morning so that's 12 hours of deteriorating and severe conditions that they're warning people to be be prepared for. >> david mattingly in connecticut for us, watching what's going on, david, we'll stay in close touch with you. we'll check back in with the meteorologist chad myers. he's got the latest forecast. the latest information on where hurricane sandy is moving right now. also, a terrifying real-life drama and a dangerous rescue
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♪ and you're in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. historic storm is about to make landfall. hurricane sandy taking direct aim at southern new jersey right now. tens of millions of people are feeling the i pact, including flooding that will only get worse in the coming hours and days. we have our -- we have not only our correspondents but we have our cnn ireporters sending us images of this disaster as it happens. we want to welcome our viewers
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in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news this hour, hurricane sandy closing in on southern new jersey will make landfall very, very soon. the impact and the danger stretch far beyond, though. some 60 million people in the united states are going to feel the storm's impact. 23 states are under wind warnings or advisories right now. we have deployed all of our breaking news resources. cnn correspondents are in kilo cases across the northeast part of the united states. many of them are out in the storm. they're bringing us the story as
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it unfolds. let's begin with our own severe weather expert, meteorologist chad myers, he is tracking sandy from the cnn hurricane center in tlantd. chad, what's the latest? >> very close to cape may, new jersey, right now, wolf. when's happening as it gets closer to land or really makes landfall very, very soon is that the wind direction's about to change. about to change for our reporters and about to change for new york city. and when that wind shifts because it's on this side of the eye, rather than this what they have had all day, this means that water's going to start to surge in to new york harbor. that surge is going to get in to long island sound. we're already seeing up near king's point, not that far from laguardia, numbers 9 and 8 feet above where we should be and we're at low tide. another five feet to go on top of that and maybe more surge. you start to push the water from where lady liberty is, new york harbor, start to push that up the east river and then you start to push the water down the east river from the long island
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sound and that clash, that crashing of water will only lead to -- i mean, extensive flooding there from queens and brooklyn and then on the east side of manhattan as that water has nowhere to go but up. wolf? >> it's continuing -- it's not just going to continue for a few hours, i should say, chad. it will continue, this disaster, for a few days. >> that's correct. even though it picked up speed we talked to dr. nabb and coming on shore quickly tonight. wilmington, baltimore, and d.c. and the ground is very wet. it's been raining all day. trees will begin to come down with wind gusts at least 80 miles per hour. and then, wolf, it literally stops. doesn't go anywhere for 24 hours and that rain will continue. and in some spots on a backside the snow will continue. we'll easily have four feet of
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snow in some of these spots and all of the way through here, parts of virginia and west virginia, not only snow but because there's wind, there are blizzard warnings going on. it's just an incredible length and breadth of this storm. you could see rain, sleet, and if you're on the backside and ohio, western pennsylvania, you will see snow. wolf? >> stand by, chad. i want to go new jersey right now. facing a direct hit of hurricane sandy, ali velshi is standing by in atlantic city. we want to go to him in a moment but let's begin with asbury park, also new jersey, anderson cooper is there. anderson, you have seen plenty of these storms. how does this one at least so far compare? >> reporter: well, i have to say, wolf, not as strong in terms of categories that we have seen. we have seen cat 2, cat 3, cat 4 storms and i think some folks
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through some storms that have higher wind speeds are going to be saying it's not so bad but for people who have not been through one of these storms it is a serious situation. here this is obviously along the coast. a mandatory evacuation area and still power in this area. and most of the hotels along the boardwalk, everything is boarded up. you don't see people now kind of wandering around which we did see earlier in the day but as you say it's supposed to make landfall maybe an hour or so from now further south between atlantic city and cape may, new jersey. but here in asbury park, the ocean is eroding the beach. for the first time about ten minutes ago we saw water going over the boardwalk, out on the road which goes by the boardwalk. we'll walk down there in a little bit. it's a serious situation here. but again, i think it's more the length with which this storm will stay over this area and the
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amount of the lengthy sustained winds blowing for bringing a lot of that surge, a lot of that flooding in. i think we've just begun to see it here, wolf. >> anderson's going to have more coming up on his show 8:00 p.m. eastern. anderson, thanks very much. kate baldwin is here helping us cover the disaster, as well, kate. >> amazing the size of this thing. let's stay in nnew jersey for a moment. ali, you have been blown around quite a bit. what are you seeing now? i understand the city wide curfew just set in. yes? >> reporter: curfew is under way right now. you are not to be on the streets of atlantic city. it is against the law now. there's a complete travel ban. if you are not an emergency crew, not covering this, you see this emergency vehicle coming up next to me. that's all we are seeing. national guard just drove by. they're enforcing this curfew.
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if anybody's in the houses now, conflicting information in new jersey. this point, nobody should be moving but the governor of new jersey just moments ago on show was saying he's disappointed that some people didn't take that warning too seriously. the river, the river, the street i'm on, look at it. it's a river. it's absolutely a river right now. all of the way down the street. all major electrical power is out in this part of new jersey. the lights are auxiliary. this light just turned yellow where the ocean starts. that's the atlantic city boardwalk. the winds picked up dramatically in the last 20 minutes or so since i've talked to you. all i'm seeing now are emergency vehicles, police vehicles and national guard as well as utilities out here making sure there's nobody on the streets. i just saw a truck, a pickup truck about half an hour ago in the back of the -- in the open back of the pickup truck is parents and two very young
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children not wearing anything protective. they're being rescued. chris christie says hunker down. we are not getting you until the morning. the flooding is worse and worse with every minute. we are standing about seven feet above sea level. the water's probably about a foot up now. we're expecting the crest to be nine and a half feet. the surge to be nine and a half feet which means probably going to get another foot and a half of water. anything below ground level in atlantic city is going to get fladed. it is unbelievable now. just watch where -- look down the street, the intersection. it is just all water. all around me right now in atlantic city. kate? >> ali, no surprise, harder and harder to hear you as the winds sounds like sustained winds are stronger and stronger. as you have been out there for hours now, when's the biggest difference? is it just the fact it's now not gusting as much? stronger sustained winds you are
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dealing with? >> reporter: yes. that's absolutely right. it's the sustained wind. we're getting small breaks from it but sustained. used to be gusts with big breaks in between. there's far less rain right now than there's been for several hours. rain is actually relatively light. the wind has picked up quite dramatically. the change is increase in the level water. probably come up another inch or inch and a half. there's a lot of water here. as i said i'm not far from the ocean. it's six blocks behind me perhaps. there's water all over the streets of downtown new jersey. the wind substantially stronger. you're right. that's the distinction. flooding quite seriously, kate. >> chad myers is watching when's going on, as well. chad, you want to ask ali a question. he is right in the middle of this storm. >> i do. >> it's about to make landfall around atlantic city in new jersey. go ahead, chad. >> ali, as it makes landfall,
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your winds will shift direction. no longer from the north or the northeast but from the east. are you feeling that change yet? >> reporter: yeah, well, as you mentioned earlier, chad, one of the important things of where i am in downtown new jersey, it's unlike much of the rest of this part of the coast. it's quite built up. these are big buildings around me, right? i have a sherton hotel, convention center behind the camera. i haveue bally's over there. we have cesar's. the direction of the wind not as clear as it's been. all there is is a heavy wind. that's the ocean behind me. that's east. that's north. right now, i'm just sort of feeling a -- you know, i know you're saying there's not convection. there's convection around me. >> you mean wind or rain coming out of the sky? >> reporter: i mean wind. the rain -- it's lightened up
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quite a bit. there's not a lot of rain right now. there's wind and this water is coming up very quickly. >> you know, ali, kate and i are here watching when's going on. it's now almost 6:10 p.m. on the east coast. that curfew in atlantic city has gone in to effect. you see anybody out there other than authorities, other than police? >> reporter: no. you will see as i'm standing here, you will see vehicles, one coming up to the camera now. that's fire department. police are here, state police and atlantic city police. as well as national guard. those are the only vehicles we are seeing out here right now. everybody else is gone. an hour ago a couple of guys doing a dance in their swimsuits right now. they wouldn't be wetter than i am right now. it's completely soaking. but no. that's all gone. that's all over. everybody's inside and hunkered down. >> ali, also, i think one of the
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differences -- well, there's many of this hurricane versus others but the time of year. it must be freezing out there. >> reporter: yeah. it was a lot colder actually earlier today. it's kind of warmed up. it certainly doesn't feel like a gulf coast hurricane not worried about cold. there's a chill. i heard one of the other reporters telling me there's a bit of a chill. obviously, being soaking wet doesn't help but it's colder and a cold air but not as cold as it felt both earlier today and last night. it's not a -- it's not -- you know, it's not a wintry cold but the combination of the wind and the rain, you know, i'll enjoy a hot chocolate later on when i get my hands on one. >> you get more than that. thanks, guys. >> thanks, ali. >> doing excellent reporting for us. >> absolutely. we have big news of the search of survivors of the hms bounty. that's coming up. alalwawaysys s seeee l e
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we are following the breaking news in the united states. look at this. a partially collapse of a construction crane high above manhattan. you can see the arm of the crane dangling over west 57th street between 6th and 7th. wind in new york city about 60 miles per hour when it happened but not clear yet if that was the precise cause of what's going on. regardless, part of the street has been closed. several nearby building including a parker meridian hotel have been evacuated. we are watching new york city very, very closely right now. kate baldwin is checking what's going on. she is outside here in washington. but let's go to brian todd right now in delaware where he's interviewed the governor and delaware, pretty bad, as well, brian. >> reporter: it is, wolf. i'm going to show you what they're worried about right now. high tide. second high tide of the day is
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approaching and the surf much, much violent. look at this wave. this is typical of a last couple of hours. the surf up to where i am. they're worried about beach erosion here and the surf getting much, much closer to the boardwalk and the hotels and businesses around here. they replenished the beach earlier this year. built it out 300 feet. they say that's saving the businesses, hotels, residents. but they're worried that the beach may not hold out and that the boardwalk may become compromised. i spoke with the governor a short time ago about what he's worried about for the entire state. >> my biggest worry is loss of power which i think is going to increase significantly over the next several hours. and the fact that it could take a week or more before a lot of people get their power back on. >> reporter: what are you told about the right? as far as numbers. >> there are thousands already out. it's increased a lot in the last
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few hours. and that the fact that this storm is going to stick around, the fact that the winds are so high than that the power companies can't put their own people out in the trucks above 35 miles per hour or so, we will have the 35 miles per hour for a while so they're not able to repair a lot of power that's out. >> reporter: and we can feel that wind picking up right now. the governor's so worried about. worse in the overnight hours. storm surge bringing the storm up here and also bringing storm surge from the bays and inlets behind us to the west and come up behind the ocean here. so they're getting hit from both sides with storm surge and rainwater. kate, back the you. >> thank you, brian. wolf, i'm standing a few steps away from you in the cozy studio. up here on the 11th floor and take a look at this in washington, d.c. the wind is quite gusty. we're fortunately protected on the balconbalcony. you can see the flags that are
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absolutely whipping to the point that they're shredding and it's a really drenching, wet, cold rain that's coming down. h street below us, few cars on the road. smart at this point. you can see sheets of rain gusting through. the wind's a huge problem and going to be here in the distr t district. you can see the flags are shredding and not very warm out here, as well. wolf, i'll be back in there in a second. >> be careful out there. all of our reporters outside to be very, very careful. they're experienced. they know what they're doing. we'll take a quick break. the director of the national hurricane center is standing by to update us on when's going on in the united states right now. ♪ ♪
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hurricane sandy's about to make landfall but that only marks the beginning of a new phase, maybe a more dangerous phase of the weather disaster and will continue to play out over the coming days as sandy moves inland. let's get the latest from the director of the national hurricane center, ed rappaport joining us. ed, thanks very much. what areas are in most danger in the next hour? >> in the next hour, it's actually the same as the next 12 hours, the coastline of new jersey northward over to connecticut expecting to see a high storm surge and in fact it's a ten-foot storm surge at king's point. seven feet in new jersey. four feet in delaware and some of these surges are not occurring at high tide which will be coming in a few more hours so the absolute level of the water will be increasing even further there. >> we know that this storm is already deadly in the caribbean. what do we expect here in the
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united states? >> again, for the next 12 to 24 hours the most serious concern will be the storm surge along the coast. after that, after the center moves inland and most of the weather begins to clear the coast, then we have the considerable concern for very heavy and prolonged rainfall which will cause flooding inland in this area of pennsylvania on down through new jersey again and looking for as much as ten inches there and then serious flooding. >> and serious winds. kate baldwin has a question for you, ed, as well. >> i think the biggest question for many residents watching as they hopefully still have power is what's your best advice? as the hours continue, many people think that the danger passed and probably go along their evening and their daily lives. when's the best advice as i'm feeling the gusts? i'm outside on the balcony here at cnn. when's the best advice for residents? >> really, two different issues.
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one is on the coast. if you're on the coast, the center is just now coming ashore. that's this blue area here. it's not the halfway point for those on the coast. the biggest risk is north of the center for the very high storm surge with waves on top. the other risk for those further inland. there will be freshwater flooding from the rain and that's the next day or two whereas the coastal effects are the next 12 hours. >> thanks very much. thanks for all the good work that the national hurricane center is doing, as well. we're going to new jersey where the high water and the winds are dramatic. stay with us.
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it's a monstrous storm which has brutally pounded much of the eastern seaboard. new jersey facing a direct hit. parts of atlantic city already way under water but the storm force winds extend almost a
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thousand miles. some coastal towns have been evacuated. major cities are virtually shut down. atlantic city has a curfew. new york city is bracing for a major blow, as well, which could include disastrous. more than 1.5 million customers without power in 11 states. that number expected to soar in the coming hours and days. hurricane sandy is just off atlantic city in new jersey right now. people there are feeling the impact. joining us now is montgomery dom and owns a restaurant attached to the sherton hotel in atlantic city. tell us when's going on right now. >> right now, we are getting a lot of -- a lot of flooding. that's the convention center and up the steps to the tavern. it's getting very bad right now. it looks like the storm surge as come in now. >> this is video you sent us,
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monty, we are showing the viewers right now. give us a little sense of how this has evolved over the past few hours. >> well, earlier this morning, you know, we had the order just did not leave. and it just stayed there. and when we got the high tide, i'm not -- when we got the high tide, it was just tremendous. you know, we had about three and a half to four feet of water in my personal house on the harbor. and, you know, the docks are going to come over the piles. you know? which boats are attached. and that happened already earlier. and, you know, with the new surge and the new high tide i think it's going to be, you know, ten times as worse. >> yeah. we see your house over there, as well. kate baldwin, kate baldwin is us, monty.
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she has a question for you, as well. >> hi there, monty. correct me if i'm wrong but i believe you're calling from your business. is there flooding there? as a small business owner seeing all of this wind, this water an the damage that could be coming your way and probably already sustained in businesses around you, how worried are you? >> well, i'm very concerned. we're actually open. we're servicing. at the sheraton like i said and open and providing services to all the emergency, you know, personnel. all the first responders. atlantic city police department. the fire department. and your news crew, actually. but it's -- we've lost the electricity. we were prepared for that. and we have heated up food and, you know, we have little burners there. but it's tough. and probably right now about 150
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people in the restaurant. there's nowhere to go. you can't get out in to atlantic city right now. >> there's a curfew. you have a generator at your restaura restaurant? >> backup 12-hour generator but it's limited. it's very dark in her. >> the only people coming the restaurant are emergency personnel because there's a curfew in place in atlantic city and regular civilians are not supposed to be on the streets. >> they're not anywhere. they're in hopefully their houses or somewhere else. >> have you seen anything like this before, monty? >> i've been down here for about 16 years and it's shocking what i'm looking at now. it's unbelievable. i mean, cars that are -- they're under water completely. some of the places i have never -- would never believe that there would be water. >> kate has another question. go ahead, kate. >> and i believe my producers told me that your children fortunately evacuated a couple of days ago.
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is that right? did you send them away? >> that's correct. my whole family is in deeper part of pennsylvania. >> my question is, what makes you stay? when you know this is coming, and you know that atlantic city is now under this curfew and that there's some real damage and it's a massive storm, what is keeping you there? >> well, i think, you know, we have to serve, you know, our men and women, you know, in the line of fire here. we have to support them. and that's what we're trying to do. putting the lives on the line for us so let's help them out. otherwise they wouldn't be fed and on their own. i think i'm the only restaurant open in atlantic city. i would guess. >> good luck. thanks for all the good work you're doing, montgomery, joining us from atlantic city. thanks for sending us the video, as well. meanwhile, a dres mprat life or
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death drama. ran in to powerful winds, 18-foot waves and led to a difficult rescue operation. now there's a stunning new development. cnn's george howell joining us from elizabeth city in north carolina right now. george, new developments in the last few minutes. what have you learned? >> reporter: wolf, good evening. we got a late briefing here. they released the names of the 14 sur advisors of the "hms bounty" and an update on the two crew members unaccounted. for 42-year-old claudine christian was recovered and rushed to the hospital. last we've been told from the u.s. coast guard, unresponsive. there's a search that continues for robin walbridge, the 63-year-old captain of the ship. when you see the video, you get
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the idea of what they were dealing with. hovering very low to the ocean, the waves crashing to the left and right. waves that could have brought the helicopters down. take you back to time line. yesterday 6:00 p.m., lost propulsion and taking on more water than the pumps could get out. so the crew expected that they would be able to stay in the ship but would have to abandon ship at 8:00 a.m. this morning but it turns out they had to get off the ship much sooner. 4:00 a.m. and you see the rescues, these helicopters came in to play. plucking people out of the ocean. one at a time. again, 14 survivors. i spoke to two people whom you see on that helicopter, the person who hoisted the people up and also the person, the rescue swimmer who went down there and to find the survivors and they themselves were thankful that they were able to make the rescues they did. take a listen. >> first guy we pulled up, he
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was really happy to see us, that's for sure. we got him up there and excited and saying great job and cold but good to go. >> it feels good that, you know, assisted lives and i'm sure they'll look back one day and remember what happened. >> you get days like today is what you're training for and what you want to do. when you can do it, you do your best. >> reporter: so again, the search continues for the ship's captain robin walbridge and we know that claudine christian rushed to the hospital unresponsive. wolf? >> george, thanks for that update. meanwhile, we'll get another update, the update on the crane dangling dangerously in new york city. stay with us. lots of breaking news unfolding. [ female announcer ] want to spend less and retire with more?
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the warnings could hardly be more dire but some people are still refusing to evacuate in certain very dangerous areas. cnn's jason carroll is talking to some of them. he's on long island in the town of linden hurst. jason, the street you are on is under mandatory evacuation, i believe so. >> reporter: yes. >> did most people leave? >> reporter: no. take a look behind me. look very quickly. take a look at this. you can see some of the folks are just now heeding that warning. now just backing up their bags and heading out. heading out now. even at this very late hour. the person that you're seeing over there, talking to her in a moment. her brother lives in one of the houses down the street. i say street. it doesn't look like a street.
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it looks more like a canal. this area of lindenhurst, kate, checkered with canals and the streets have turned in to canals. they're flooded like this. we have been out here all day long. earlier, i was down where that first light is that you see how. it's too dangerous and deep to be down there at this point so we have had to move up. behind me here and my photographer steve is the montauk highway and breached at this point and several areas in this community and where the montauk highway has breached this. this is just one of them. i'm told by residents who have lived here for years that this is an extremely rare occurrence. some cannot remember the last time the montauk highway is breached and flooded like what we are seeing here. this is an area under a mandatory evacuation. as you say, some residents still not doing that, at least not yetting. waiting to the last possible moment. joining me right now is diane howell. your brother is in one of the
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homes down here. you were saying to me earlier you warned your brother, get out, get out. now he's listening to what you have to say. >> yes. he called me up to tell me help me out of here. this is the result. we have to walk in high-high water. >> reporter: okay. who's this coming up? >> that's my brother's girlfriend and mother-in-law. >> reporter: okay. does she need help coming up here? this is -- this right here is one of the members of our crew. this is just sort of happening as you can see, kate. she is helped out of the home here. helped out of this area. you guys okay? >> we're fine. >> reporter: you're all right? >> yeah. got up to the screen door and this is the first time we've been living here since 1960 -- actually, 1971. >> reporter: okay. >> never seen it like this. >> reporter: i'm glad you're safe and heeded the warning.
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>> i was really planning on staying. but when we saw this in just an hour ago, no. we're leaving. >> reporter: i'm glad you decided to get out. thank you. to give you more perspective -- >> just lost audio. have wolf do it. wolf, back to you, wolf. >> stand by for a moment. we lost our connection with lindenhurst, long island. we'll get back to kate in a moment. chad myers is joining us from the cnn hurricane center. when's the latest on where this hurricane is moving? >> yeah. i think the lindenhurst, long island sound flooding is going to be probably the most dramatic that we have seen in a long time. i'm seeing kings point at already 11 feet. the battery at 7 feet above where it should be right now. high tide still about an hour and a half away or so. the water is piling up here on long island on the south side and also in to long island sound. the water's going to try to come
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down from the sound and down the east river. as it usually does, as the tides flow back and forth. east river flows both directions depending on the time of day. the water piled up here at the battery already and no place to go. there will be no east river to go down because there will be water going up the east river at the same time. that collision will be where tremendous flooding will occur. we are talking about areas just to the north and east of laguardia. that's where the water just can't go anywhere else. king's point is the location where we have at least some indication because that's where the buoy is, that's where the level is. there's going to be tremendous flooding along the sound from mystic to the east here in because the water simply, wolf, can't get out. >> chad, stand by. we have more to discuss. as dangerous as the flooding is, it's the hurricane force winds that could last for hours and hours. more of the breaking news coverage right after this.
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cnn's coverage of hurricane sandy continues at the top of the hour with erin burnett "out front." erin's on the streets of new york where it's been pretty bad and sounds bad right now. erin, where exactly are you? >> kate, right now we're standing at empire park and part of the city that's evacuated. i'm covering my eyes because it's like little pieces of rock with the wind coming. but part of the reason why the area is evacuated is it's a landfall and i want to show you the water. we are not quite at high tide right now. this is going to come over the
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edge here. this is a record for this area. record storm surge here about 10 1/2 feet for this area and right now the national weather service is telling us they expect it to go up to 12 feet or perhaps beyond. pretty incredible when you look at the super storm and new york. the world financial system, just a few blocks from new york stock exchange. as well as from the world trade center site and of course, this is the first time since september 11th that the new york stock exchange closed voluntarily and they're going to be closed for two days is right now in a brief moment of calm, i pass it back to you all and there are moments running 10 to 15 feet down the path just because of the gusts coming through so fast and furious. back to you. >> all right. more coverage of hurricane sandy at the top of the hour with erin "out front" and watching that. thanks so much. wolf, back the you. >> thanks very up. now to piers. there's a high-rise building going up and there's a crane.
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there's pictures of this crane that's now dangling as a result of i assume the high winds that forced this crane to be dangling so precariously right now. you can see what's going on. you are not very far away. >> no. i heard it happen. i was in my office at the cnn headquarters at time warner here, the new york headquarters. and there was a massive bang like a thunder clap and we all raced to the windows and you could see that the crane effectively buckled in half and was now dangling very dangerously on the side of this building. as you may know it's going to be the tallest residential building in new york. a big skri skyscraper and you ce the pictures of the crane. this is a dangerous situation because it's clearly a buckled crane. you have the eye of the storm to come. it's the hurricane force winds
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were to take the dismantled krin now, it could blow it anywhere and a dense part of manhattan. already evacuated i think the parker meridian hotel and buildings around there but it's a the me red yan hotel. >> it's on 57th street between sixth and seventh. we've got there's a lot of emergency personnel on the ground. they're watching, is there anything that authorities can do to, to deal with this? >> i think that's the problem. i'm not sure what they're in. it seems to me, they've had a lot of warning on this and mayor bloomberg said today that he believes that all the cranes in the city had been properly tied down, but did say that depending on how extreme the weather got, nature may take its course and some could blow. well, that's exactly what happened, but at the tallest residential building in the city, which is potentially a disaster.
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i don't know what's going on on the ground, but from where i'm looking, there's nobody up there. also, the building is covered in glass. if this building were to smack back into the glass or taken by the wind, you could see a potential very serious situation, so it's a big problem. i could imagine it's the last thing the security people in the city are going to have to deal with, but they're going to have to. i'm looking at it right now, it is dangling not by a thread, because it's metal. i saw a tweet from donald trump saying that he could see that the weight provision was lying in a very dangerous way you and he wanted someone to take urgent action, but the question was, what action do you take? all you can do is prepare for any e venn yulty.
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there's got to be a big chance of that happening tonight. >> the skyscraper under construction. one of its penthouses recently sold according to the "new york times," for $90 million. 157. i know you're going to have more on this coming up 9:00 p.m. eastern. piers will be live from new york city. we're watching it together with you. thanks very much. our special coverage right here in "the situation room" will continue in a minute. see life in the best light.
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let's take a look at some of the powerful photos coming in from across the east coast. first, in massachusetts, waves crash over a road as hurricane sandy comes up the coast. also in maryland, a cnn
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ireporter captures a photo of empty food shelves in a walmart and in new york, a large water bag protects the entrance of a starbucks from flooding and in new jersey, a cnn ireporter captures crews trying to drain flooded streets swrus some of the memorable images as hurricane sandy comes ashore and makes her presence known. >> covering a hurricane like sandy can be a tough assignment for reporters. here's jeanne moos. >> in a hurricane -- they act as human weather balloons. that's a wind gust right there. well, that's -- that's a wind gust. >> weather balloons tethered to whatever they can clutch. sometimes, somebody clushs them. >> these are are probably -- these are the -- i've got the nassau county sheriff holding me on to the board walk. >> someone literally covered
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with hurricane sandy. >> somehow, some sand got in my mouth. >> but that was the least of their problems. >> make it to safer ground. >> get back behind the building. >> timing those waves out, watching that water move in, he's been in these situations a lot. by the way. >> another rogue wave got a cbs team. >> okay, whoa, hey, guys, whoa. >> oh, my gosh. >> wow. >> meanwhile, beach erosion swallowed a fox reporter's foot. >> looks like a sandy walkway to the beach has got my foot stuck. >> oh, my xwosh. >> jason carroll stumbled on a scuba diver. >> if i have to get out, i have scuba gear, surf boards, a kayak. >> some left defiant messages to the storm, hey, sandy, irene
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left her pant ies here, come tr them on. but reporters weren't so full of bravado when the wind left a crane dangling over manhattan. >> as soon as we saw this, we started running from 57th. >> hurricanes and high-rises don't mix. >> we just had some glass breaking out here. we just had glass breaking. >> for some, it was just an excuse to horse around behind a reporter. >> don't go out, can't get out of atlantic city -- >> or even dress up like a horse. >> there's a shirtless man jogging, wearing a horse mask. >> the hurricane horse later tweeted out a a picture of himself, but reporters usually don't appreciate pranksters. a real deer. wnbc reports this one was
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rescued after a broken leg. imagine getting that deer in the e headlights look from a deer in the surf. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> you're outside on the balcony right now, what's the latest here in the nation's capitol? >> i don't have it nearly as bad as those reporters, but you can see, our photojournalist will show you this awe inspiring image of the u.s. capitol and you can see the american flag right in front of it, wolf, absolutely whipping in the wind. sheets of rain, just whipping through the streets. it's not warm out here, either, so hurricane sandy is making her presence known here in d.c. as well as along the east coast. some 60 million people could be affected by this. >> that's a live picture of atlantic city. our own ali velshi is going to have a lot more. stay with cnn throughout the night. we're watching all