tv The Situation Room CNN October 30, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT
collapse overnight. i think we have a piece of that in the backyard, too. >> our coverage will be on tonight at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. live editions of ac 360. wolfe? >> anderson, thanks very much. happening now in the wake of an historic and deadly hurricane, new jersey's governor says the devastation is, in his word, unthinkable. and major parts of new york effectively shut down. even laguardia airport under water. and just one week from election day, both president obama and mitt romney, they are shifting their focus. they are responding to the disaster without trying to appear overly political. >> i'm wolfe blitzer. you're in the situation room.
>> today. >> right now the storm is over pennsylvania. torrential rain and in some places, blizzard conditions. here is the big picture as best we know it. 67 in the caribbean. close to 8 million customers in 15 states and the district of columbia have no electricity. spent last night in red cross operated shelters.
this may be the worst storm ever to hit new york city. one of the biggest challenges is where the massive subway system is shut down, tunnels and stations are filled with high water. no idea when the trains will be running again. this is a difficult situation. take a look at laguardia airport. the runways are submerged and levels were so high they reached the jet lanes where people usually walk on to the planes. an entire neighborhood is destroyed by fire. at least 80 homes burned to the ground in the new york burro of queens. this is an awful image. people are going through hell right now.
tell us about it. >> you know, they really are. about 80 homes, the fire official telling us it could be as many as 110. this is a pile of twisted plastic. the irony? these are sandbags. people expected this area to flood. what they didn't expect was the fire. when one house caught fire, the homes are so close together that the wind just swept that which is about 30 houses that way. the tires completely melted off. just the snapshot of the devastation. we spoke to one firefighter and
he told us just as the surge hit he thought he better put on his life jacket and float to higher ground. then went back to rescue even more. a total of 14 people that were here when that fire began. and he was able to help them get out. story after story. people staying too long. but those who simply got out also hit -- when you look. there is just nothing that is salvageable. we have seen washer driers that are completely melted. refrigerators that have disappeared. every now and again. you are looking at remnants of what were homes. you may be able to see the foundation.
but the home itself completely gone. the home itself completely destroyed. the heat so intense that the homes simply just melted. story after story of people who either escaped or at least they were able to make it out before the storms. wolfe? >> where are the people who live in the homes? do we know where they are being sheltered right now? this community is called breezy. and you have a lot of retired police officers. you would open your window. the breeze would come through house to house to house. everybody knows each other here. that is what is so incredible. one man is standing in the middle of the debris saying my
sister lives here. her father-in-law lives here. her friends live here. they know what this area is supposed to be. it appears that everybody did get out safely. there were no fatalities in this area. there were some emergency service personnel, they were dressed in thick rubber suits going from home to home. on the other side, these are completely flattened and completely devastated and destr destroyed. when you get closer to the bay and beach, you see homes and it looks like somebody took a gigantic sledge hammer and went home after home after home knocking them off their foundation. in some cases they are completely zung into the sand. a couple of houses they are still here. ultimately it's going survive. it's going to make its way back.
thanks so much. these amazing aerial pictures just came in late this afternoon. north of atlantic city. as the floodwater receded it left a thick blanket of sand covering blocks and blocks and blocks of homes. chris christie said the level of devastation at the jersey shore is unthinkable. this is not far from the area where the coast guard will spend all day rescuing hundreds of people trapped by floodwaters. brian todd is on the scene with more. what are you seeing and hearing, brian? >> reporter: not all of them are
victims from this incident. at just after midnight, a birm or a levee was breached by a tidal surge and water just came in within just a few minutes and pretty much engulfed those three towns. babies had to be pulled out. high clearance as you can see behind me the weather is still not very good here. in the school behind me, one of them, 9-year-old mill dread schwartz has lived in new jersey
her entire life. i talked to her just as she got off one of the rescue vehicles. >> i never seen anything like this ever. >> can you describe what happened when the water came? >> we were sleeping. my daughter and i. >> hearing stories like that from victims all over the place here. many of them coming through this facility and they are just trying to get people matched up together. for the -- they are still not out of the woods yet. i just asked that two officials how many people are still out there. they said look, we don't know. we're still going door to door in these towns.
four to six feet of water on the street. >> that is a standby. rob is joining us from new york city right now. >> just down the street from this location, amazing pictures from this unlicensed ho ed hote was torn apart. just down the road is headquarters. we were allowed up into their war room. they call it the situation room. he told me that south of 29th street is blacked out with a few little spots. and on the east side is 39th street. it could take up to four days to
get complete restoration of power. those areas could take as much as ten days. so unusually long amount of time. he said this is the worst he has ever seen it. worse than irene. this is a frustrating situation to him. it has all to do with underground infrastructure. i shouldn't say only because that would be a record breaking storm surge. we had one that was higher than that. that's the main reason that it will take so long. >> some of those areas deliberately shut down power out of precaution. explain what happened.
>> it is convenient because you don't have wires aboveground. but during a flooding situation that can spell big problems and it did. so they will shut down some of the stations as a precautionary measure and saeal them off so they don't get the corrosive salt water in there. they judged it on the past historic storms and built it higher than that. that's exactly what sandy brought them. so an unprecedented event and something that really they didn't plan for. i asked them are you going to look into upgrading that?
that would cost serious dollars but he did acknowledge, that's a question that certainly has to be discussed. >> i know you have spoken with a lot of new yorkers. how are they reacting? especially the lower part of manhattan? you're reporting that you will be without power for another four days? >> they're not happy about it. i can tell you that. and your friends and neighbors and see what is going on. this is only day one, wolfe. to get complete restoration back it will take a while. a lot of people are plugging their cell phone ins all over
the place. some places are allowing folks to do that in the world of hand held devices. >> it is currently stable but looks like it is dangling precariously. construction crews will strap it to the building so the city can reopen the streets below. cnn acquired this amateur video of the crane collapsing during monday's heavy winds. a contracting company will have to figure out a way to build a new crane to take down the damaged one. we will have live reports with more details on the dramatic story coming up in the next hour.
>> the superstorm that brought rain and flooding to new york and new jersey is bringing massive amounts of snow. massive amounts of snow to other parts of the country. we're going live to west virginia where they are dealing with blizzard tonight and more bad weather could be on the way. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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>> when the wind blows from north to south, the waves get very big. it takes a long time to get there. you go the coast, go the shore right there, waves are already 20 feet crashing there. that is big enough. that is impressive stuff. something else that i don't think anybody expected. it is already the low pressure there that everyone was talking about that will combine with the hurricane. it's snowing hard in many spots. blizzard warning in headhouse, maryland. garre
garrett. >> these cities picked up record low pressure. pressures that have never been that low. including widewood, new jersey, and places into pennsylvania. that tells you this is a very deep storm, a low low pressure to be breaking all time record pressure. we know all about the damage that happened to the jersey shore. the damage there is really tremendous. we have only had just minor pictures so far. the jersey shore will -- the pictures of the devastation, the people there from sandy hook a little farther to the south are talking about blocks of homes that are damaged or just gone. we're not up in the air yet with helicopters.
it's just too windy. a couple of first flights with the coast guard. we will see dramatic pictures, even more dramatic than we are seeing now. >> i covered hurricanes for a long time. we know it gets windy. we know it gets -- that the floods develop obviously. but we don't necessarily associate hurricanes with snow. why snow? why has it become part of the hurricane. 6. >> i can verify everything that champ was saying. look at the depth of snow we have here. and what makes it that much more difficult is this is a really thick, heavy almost concrete consistency of snow.
it's really wet stuff. that's the problem. that's why you are getting a slow moving disaster in west virginia. the power is going out. it's started this morning with maybe 90,000. then it went to 120,000. now to 300,000. the more it snows and builds up and piles up on the tree limbs and that is what we have been seeing happen. they suddenly explode to get this burst of snow and the crash of tree limbs coming down and somewhere in that mix of power lines as well. who knows when it will get turned on again. in these circumstances, it is isolated areas that often are the problem and it takes a long time for the crew to get there and find it. >> we know there are blizzard conditions in west virginia and maryland as well. explain how a hurricane leads to this kind of snow.
>> that is north of where we expect hurricanes to land. and it's november, or at least almost. we had a cold november-like storm come in from the back and the cold air was already here and then it combined with the hurricane and came across new jersey and now parked right about pittsburgh and it's not going to move very much. it will spin for a couple days before it moves away. the moisture moves in and hits the cold air and you get the lake effect snow. and it's ocean effect, hurricane effect snow because it is coming down and picking up moisture and dumping it down on the spine. i just noticed a few last pictures where snow is mixing.
especially the higher elevations. >> let me go back to martin savage. are they expecting more of the blizzard-type snow coming in or is the worst of it over with? >> they are still expecting more. this particular area, the blizzard warning is supposed to expire at 6:00. whether that really happens we will have to see. it's still blowing pretty hard and the visibility is still not good. there are other areas where they anticipate they could get up to three feet. they could have blizzard conditions all day tomorrow. it depends on elevation and how far south or southeast you are in the state. this is going to go on for a while. it looks like it's parked overhead. >> it looks amazing. it's hard to believe that this is the result of a hurricane. we will stay in touch with you.
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>> election day is exactly one week away but the storm has put politics as usual on hold for now. president obama has been at the white house monitoring the federal response. his only appearance came when he made a quick visit to the national headquarters of the american red cross here in washington. >> my instructions to the federal agent has been do not figure out why we can't do something. i want you to figure out how we do something. i want you to cut through red tape. i want you to cut through bureaucracy. there is no excuse for inaction. i want every agency to lean forward and make sure we are getting the resources where they -- where they are needed as quickly as possible. and to them and to the communities that have been hit so hard is we're going to do everything we can to get resources to you and make sure
that any unmet need that i -- that is identified we are responding to it as quickly as possible. and i told the mayors and governors if they are getting no for an answer somewhere in the federal government, they can call me personally at the white house. >> tomorrow the president will visit hard hit areas of new jersey. mitt romney has had to shift focus because of the storm. >> voters are getting a one-day reprieve to what had been a fierce fight at an event here in ohio. mitt romney did get out in front of the cameras. it was billed as a storm relief eve event. turned this ohio gymnasium into what looked like a food pantry
and when he took the microphone he set aside his usual jabs at the president. instead, romney called on americans to do what they can to help the victims of hurricane sandy. >> a lot of people that will still be looking for goods even though we have gathered these things. i know that one of the things i have learned in life is you make the difference and you can. >> the republican candidate said the donated supplies woumd go to new jersey where the governor and chris christie was on the morning talk shows, giving the president high marks for the handling of the storm. >> the president is incredibly helpful. he has been supportive and helpful to our state. >> as soon as sandy was bearing down, democrats were pointing to this debate when romney was asked whether the state should take on a larger role. instead of the current system in place led by fema. >> every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send
it back to the state, that's the right direction. and you can go further and send it back to the private sector, that's better. >> aides appear to suggest that romney would maintain fema but states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. this includes help from the federal government and fema. >> would you eliminate fema? >> romney was asked a half dozen times if he would eliminate fema. >> you're doing a heck of a job. >> fema's image was badly damaged during hurricane katrina. >> romney supporters said they felt a possibility to do what they can to help. >> the right thing to do.
>> he is very much on the gop's path to victory. >> surprising people up and down the coast. we eyre going one area inundated by water, leaving hundreds and hundreds of people calling for help. 5 iconic design. exhilarating performance. [ race announcer ] audi once again has created le mans history! [ male announcer ] and once in a great while... all of the above. take your seat in the incomparable audi a8. the highest-ranked vehicle appeal among large premium cars by j.d. power and associates. ♪
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in between those houses is sand. lots of it. imagine how strong the winds and waves had to be to do this. look at the map. just across the bay is where michael is standing by. what's the latest? what's going on there? >> reporter: funny thing. we were there yesterday, before the main part of the storm came ashore. we went to that spot there and already the waves were crashing through the dunes. sea water was coarsing down some of the streets and we spoke to a bunch of people who said we're going to ride it out. we're locals, how bad can it be? you saw how much damage has been done to what was the pristine stretch of the jersey shore. those barrier islands bore the brunt of it. today we were there when some of the residents who decided to ride it out, they looked very
shaken indeed. one of the policemen looking after these people said they have to move three or four times as the water got higher and higher and higher. he is a hardened cop. he said it was terrifying for everyone involved. here in toms river, the water is going down. there is no doubt about it. there is a lot of this town that was inundated as well. up to five feet of water. we saw boats on roadways, cars in water. and this morning they were still 150 people who needed rescuing from their houses. those rescued are continuing at the moment. the emergency services workers are going out and bringing them back in. this has been a hard hit town. i have got say, the most remarkable thing of all, not one casualty in this area so far. >> how are the people coping? what are they saying to you?
last night we saw the boats on the roadway and two cars sub murjed in the water. the water came up to one woman's neck. the mother was with her. they hat to get out the window skms swim to safety. >> michael, thank you. entire areas have been completely devastated by the massive super storm. one of the places is fire island in new york. officials are saying about 60 people are stranding there with contaminated water. she is joining us on the phones right now. what's it like? describe the conditions here.
>> with wear has receded. there is major devastation. no water, no phone service and no electricity. we're on a generator. >> there was a mandatory evacuation but you decided to try to ride it out. describe what the storm was like. >> the winds were were wild. my house was rocking. the waves were extremely high. the water was gushing over the bulkheads. the board walks. flooding out everywhere. flooding out the boulevard.
>> as of now there is no way to get off the island? >> as of now we are stranded here. we heard there is a bridge where we live and also to the west end. >> describe the condition of your house. >> if house that i'm in right now is fine. we have flooding under our house, but our first and second floor are good. we did pretty good. 5. >> are a lot of folks still there or just a handful? >> there are a total of five of us now. >> did you make the right call? if you had to do it over again would you have evacuated? >> i don't regret not leaving. i am thrilled that the communications that i have been able to have with the people on the outside, we were not in any
>> let's take a walk to a big hunk. this that was the board walk and people ho live around here they cannot believe it. they say this was our board walk. as people die jest this scene, the board walk torn to shreds. you see the buildings here? the middle building there was a husband, wife, and a daughter who tried to ride out the storm. he wouldn't go on camera. they were going to ride it out. 7:30 in the morning he said the ocean wave was knocking on his front door and then blew through his front door. so he tries to plywood up the door and house. they are taking up their valuables to the highest point
of the home and finally they had a neighbor that said you have got get out of there. their home is devastated and now there is yellow tape up. the fire department was here and there was a strong smell of gas. not safe to be around. that is the devastation that people are dealing with. >> any word on damage estimates in the atlantic city area? >> it has been tough. we have had our teams here survey from the air, from the grount, and incredible scenes from the air as we have seen boat off of their moorings. you see some of the water. but not that horrific devastation we're used to see in storm surge flooding where you have water up to roofs of houses and things like that. it's tough to get a full estimate. they did a pretty good job getting everybody out of here. this is some of the worst def strags right here. you mentioned the board walk we
all know. that is pushing this way. that pretty much made it out here unscathed. you see the scenery looking towards the south. but right here, that's the back of what you said. the shreds. >> a lot of viewers will remember the live reports yesterday. another part of atlantic city yesterday. the water was coming in. it was torrential at least in parts. now covering other parts of the story. what's happening in that main part of atlantic city right now? >> you know, i was var near him and i was doing some reporting as well. the water was up to my knee and waste as well. but all that water has receded. we woke up this morning and we went out there and did our reporting from there. thankfully that is near the convention center. five national guard vehicles.
this tragedy that we're seeing unfolded, being felt across the nation to where paramedics and ambulance teams from the midwest would make that drive to come out. >> the governor wanted a full evacuation of all residents. the mayor had a different idea. what's the latest upshot on this little battle? >> from our vantage point, we haven't heard. you're right on with that. 5 basically he intimated that the mayor here gave people comfort to stay. i believe that is the quote from chris kristy. more of an official estimate.
they were in shelters. but chris christie wanted everybody out of here. that's not what happened. >> the mayor is going be joining us. thanks very much for that report. we're going check in with our next person as well. how one local businessman weathered the storm and is managing in the wake of the damage. and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over 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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streets, covering everything. atlantic city, new jersey, turned into an extension of the atlantic ocean. floodwaters started to rise. you can't see the roads. he is joining us on the phone. how are you doing? what's going on? >> i'm doing fine right now, wolfe. i'm half sitting in the dark. there is still no electricity down here. >> you sent us new video showing the board walk not far away from your tavern. it's pretty awful. describe what you're seeing. >> it's the north end of the board walk. basically the whole board walk was more or less gone. large parts of it, pieces of it were floating down two to three blocks towards the city. the foundations are there but the board walk is not.
>> how difficult is this for you and your community? yesterday you're trying to keep your tavern open. you were providing some food for emergency personnel on the ground. are you still able to do that? >> yes. we have a generator system here. but we can't -- we had to cook, you know, basically cold food. we didn't cook. we made cold food. we have beer and drinks, etc. >> i take it your home is under water right now? i can only imagine the heartbreak that you're going through right now. how much person al damage have you had to endure? >> i had about five feet of water inside my home. it kind of -- it was catastrophic on the inside of the house. we had a boat half sink in the back. the docks got piled up and stuck
under the piles of the floating docks. >> but you're staying put and you're okay? >> i'm staying put in the sheridan. it's very emotional for everybody down here. it's hard for everyone to leave their homes and you don't know what to expect when you come back. >> good luck. we will stay in close touch. >> when you get beat up you have to dust yourself off, stand tall and get it on. >> i appreciate your attitude very much. and good luck. our hearts go out to all of the folks in atlantic city and all over new jersey and new york and all the areas that have been devastated. >> and new york hospital took in dozens of patient gs including newborns on res pyre ray tors including newborns at the height of the
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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." we're going hear from someone who barely escaped the storm's fury. thousands of people left atlantic city before the storm made a direct hit. others needed to be take on the safety as floodwaters rose with the mayor who has been severely criticized by the governor. >> and newborn babies on respirators carried down nine flights of stairs. our own doctor will join us with
new details. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. >> the east coast is realing from a va vaj blow delivered by hurricane sandy in new jersey which took a direct hit. it left several communities underwater. three feet of snow. three feet rain reaching into the midwest. almost agts million customers are still without power in 15 states and the district of columbia. a government estimate is that
there could be $7 billions in economic losses from wind damage alone. 29 deaths are reported so far in the united states. they are bringing the full coverage only cnn can deliver. we are in toms river, new jersey, where rescue teams are hard at work. what's the latest? >> reporter: the rescue and recovery effort is still underway. this is what residents in a lot of bayside neighborhoods here in toms river are coming back to. they are checking on their homes. you can see the flooding water has receded but still surrounding a lot of the homes. you can see how high the level was. if you take a look at that pine tree, that is how high the water mark was when the water was at
the highest. you can see this home right here, the water came up to here. take a look at this concrete slab that was washed ashore on this property. and this fencing, this does not belong to this home. this was clearly washed ashore from the floodwaters. this is a situation that a lot of residents have to deal with now. there is no communication here. this area was only under a voluntary evacuation order. they saw the water come up so fast that some decided to make a mad dash for it and evacuate their homes. what was it like during the storm? this was your home and you have other people's debris on your property? >> it's mother nature.
you can't fight mother nature. >> was it scary during the storm? >> not really. not really. >> have you ever seen anything like this in your community? >> not here, no. but did you see the other stuff that washed up? >> we're going to take a look at that now because you can see the debris line on his truck, wolfe, right here. the water came up to here. and now you can see residents coming out, neighbors trying to check on their belongings. >> i like his attitude, a positive attitude under awful circumstances. communities are still, as you can see, still under water. let's getd a first-hand account from one of the last people to leave a barrier island as hurricane sandy hit. he is joining us on the phone.
chief, tell us what your situation was. where were you and what happened? we were right on the board walk across from the fun town peer. the water was starting to come up and take away the peer. we drove up along the ocean. tommy radioed. there were a short window to get across the bridge. we left but the own er from wha i understand he is there right now and you can't get near the bridge now. they are still exploding across the highway. >> you saw people being evacuated from the national
guard. >> there are people being evacuated by the national guard. >> tell us about that. >> i live four houses from the bay. the seaside separates the bay from the ocean by about three or four blocks. i'm right across in toms river and everyone has gotten flooded. high wheel trucks to get the people out. national guard around. it's destruction and devastation. >> we're showing our viewers, national guard video, showing the sand describe what's like. >> reporter: i have lived here for 39 years. i have been through several hurricanes going back to gloria and i have never seen anything like this at all. when i was in seaside last night and we started seeing the sea shop rip apart and the pier go into the ocean we knew it was
time to get out of there. the light polls came down across the bridge. i had a wife and a 1-year-old child at home so i needed to make sure i got home. >> are there still folks stranded? >> as far as i know there is only a few. they did a really good job. when i left yesterday you barely saw anybody there except for a couple business owners checking on their businesses and that was pretty much it at the time. they were 95% evacuated at that point. >> what happens next? what do you plan on doing? >> there is really not much you can do. you cannot drive anywhere along the town. you go out and walk around it's dangerous. if you hit a pothole, there is not much you can do right now until things start to get cleaned up. >> i want to bring our severe
weather expert into this conversation. chad, go ahead ahead. >> it appears from the pictures we are looking at that really seaside heights, the entire island was overwashed and it went right back there into the bay. is that how it happened? >> you're absolutely correct. we actually took a ride down. when we got up there, you could see the water was coming up. it was just about to come over. from what i understand. >> did you say that those peers are destroyed? >> what i understand, pictures from friends and when i was there we could tell that they were going to be coming down.
the peer is half way demolished. >> we now know that the death the toll from hurricane sandy has gone up to 30 in the last few minutes. this is all sand. it's not supposed to be there. how do they clean this up? it will take a mammoth amount of work? >> a lot of front loaders. you think why don't they just drive off? you can't. it's completely clogged with sand. just turns into swamps your car or truck. you can't just go dump the sand on the beach because it is full of nails and shingles.
seaside will come back. it's not the first time it has been hit. maybe it is the hardest. but seaside will definitely come back. >> do you agree? >> you know what? you're right. he is absolutely correct. we were just talking about that yesterday when we were taking a ride. that's the problem. this sand, you can't just bulldoze it and dump it back on the beach. there is debris in it. it will be a major clean up effort here. the people who have businesses here, i have a business restaurant in toms river which i am sure will be shut down most of the week. but the people over here, hopefully nobody lost their lives here. >> i'm trying to get a google earth map to show people that don't understand what the jersey shore looks like and the pristine nature of the islands and how they separate what the toms river and the bay from the ocean. and all along the coastline,
home after home. it doesn't matter if you live on the first house or the third or the fourth, it's such a community. sure will are rentals and things like that. from what you can see of the damage, what do you think for restoration? >> i have never ever seen anything like this in my life. a lot of the towns, seaside park, seaside heights, they are beautiful, beautiful towns and homes on the water. a lot of them are just summer homes for people to come down to. i cannot begin to think how long this will take to clean up. >> it really looks devastating. there was video taken.
he was flying, what was going on. as of right now as we show our viewers the pictures from the helicopter. are you satisfied with the level of assistance you have received from the emergency response personnel? >> you know, i got to be honest with you. i luckily, like i said, i live four houses away from the bay but it comes up my streets higher. this is catastrophic for people. it's that serious here. i have never seen anything like it. i just hope the insurance companies and the government and everybody is ready to be here to help out. >> well the president of the united states and governor of new jersey seem to think that it will happen. show us on a map where this is
upholding. the pictures are awful i think we will find pictures from maybe as far north as sea bright. this would be sandy hook. and on the south end, right there, you can actually zoom in. you can see that this is a tiny barrier island. you go up here and you have all of these marinas and boats. they would come out and go out to the ocean. four streets wide and one or two houses wide. it's the next one, let's go down to the next view. there we go.
it's not so much the entertainment but the sense of community. you know your neighbors. they come back every summer. you leave them for the winter and then you come back and there they are. it's going be really hard to put this place back together again. >> thank you for staying with us. keith, good luck to you. your family, all your friends, everyone in new jersey, appreciate your joining us. >> thank you very much. >> floods and fire in new york city. buildings collapsed, subways submerged, residents face a new reality after sandy. president obama makes an unannounced visit to red cross headquarters and warns the storm is not yet over. we will tell you where he is headed now. love you, james. love you, james. don't you love me?
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>> welcome back. it's been more than 14 hours since the damaged crane first started dangling 90 stories in new york city. these are live pictures you are looking at. we have obtained this video showing yesterday's collapse at the construction site of the luxury 157 skyscraper as it's called. she has got more of what's going to on. what do we know about the safety record of this crane that seems to be hanging there? >> it is hanging precariously. directly behind me and it's about a thousand feet off the ground. you can imagine how terrified people on the ground were. having said that, cnn has learned that this very construction site has experienced some problems in the
past. the city issued at least two stop work orders in the past couple of months. one for leaking hydraulic fluid and another for defective wire rope and an improper runway platform. they were eventually fully rescinded but it took about a week in each case for that to happen. they did confirm that the documents are correct. >> what did you think when you heard the loud boom? >> i thought it was a gunshot or a bomb. i immediately went to the window. when i looked out i saw all the fire trucks there. >> it was very quick. that crane was moving back and
forth. >> the family evacuated to a new york private club and i just received a text message. >> the mayor gave a little bit of good news and he will give another briefing in about an hour's time. at this point according to the building department it appears that the crane is stable. in order to secure the crane,
they are waiting for the winds to die down. the winds have died down but we don't know when the crews will go in to try to secure the crane. when that happens, the plan is that the crews will head up, they will actually try to grab the boom and strap it to the building. the problem is, according to one crane expert we spoke to today is that he believes that the crane may be far more damaged than meets the eye. meaning that the climbing mechanism may be damaged and there may be no way to get up the crane and they may have to build a twin tower crane to fix the broken one. >> that's a dangerous situation in new york city. thank you. ashleigh, what's the latest on the building and the people
inside where you are? >> reporter: well, listen, it was a crisis brewing over there that they are attending to it, they are not attending to this. it looks like a doll house. the entire facade of that building there just literally fell off, exposing the rooms inside. that was possibly an illegal hotel. there are no injuries or fatalities. it does underscore the power of the wind to rip off a new york city building. people have been looking all day wandering along and taking pictures. >> what other problems have you seen around the city, ashleigh? >> i have to say, obviously, seven tunnels flooded, all of the subway tunnels are flooded. and 5.3 million people who use it on a daily basis. as well as getting power.
spoke with con edison and officials who say that could take anywhere from four to ten days depending on where in the city you live. let me tell you something else. here is what happened. the street lights don't work and new york city is a city of traffic. it is amazing to see people behaving and taking turns at intersections in new york. here are the pictures down here. a bunch of cars literally piled up like tonka toys because the flooding is so severe. for a while we were trapped because the waters were so deep in one particular area. so that was quite surprising to us. new york city is so well known for the new york city marathon. marathon officials trying to assess whether all the power
outages and the damage will have any bearing on this weekend's race. so far no answer there. >> we will see what happens. thank you. we're just getting information now that what's happening now over at ground zero in new york, the dwompb governor toured some of the flooded areas. we will see what he saw and hear what he said. this is just coming in. [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over 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.
devastation that spans for mile miles. joining us on the phone is the mayor of atlantic city. we spoke yesterday. i want to get an update. what's the latest as far as the devastation in atlantic city? >> caller: good evening. actually the property damage here in atlantic city is pretty extensive but i'm happy to report that the human damage, if you will, has been minimal. so i think our glass is half full here in atlantic city. as much as we would like to report that we fared better, i can't say that. i'm actually what is referred to as ground zero. other than power lines down and trees being uprooted, i think we did pretty good. >> is everyone safe?
are search and rescue operations still underway? >> for the most part, everybody has been -- everyone who has attempted to get to a safer place or shelter. i'm happy to report that on the human side, all is well. >> you got into a public dispute with the governor yesterday. he was irritated with what he said was the bad information that you were giving residents. listen to what he told our reporter earlier today on cnn. >> i signed an order ordering the evacuation. the mar your told folks he could shelter in the city of atlantic city and a number of people chose to do so. that was the wrong thing to do. now we're in the midst of doing urban search and rescue for a
number of folks in atlantic city who were left behind there. >> i would like you to respond to the governor. >> he is dead wrong. i don't know where he is getting his information. but we sent a press re lealease friday. we had two press conferences on saturday. we were clear and concise and unambiguous. everybody needed to take this storm serious ly and do all the could to to get out of atlantic city and get to higher ground and a safe environment. it's safer to have options and not need them than to not have options and need them. you know sometimes you will
always have those who for whatever reason will decide not to heed the message. those people who did not listen. as a matter of fact, the governor during one of his press conferences. he said if you're still in some of the shore towns, you should have left by now. if you haven't, get to the nearest shelter that you can get to. you won't be able to get out of town because the storm is only about an hour away and the roads will not be passable. we don't want you getting in a situation where first responders will have to put their lives in jeopardy to come and get you. that's exactly what the governor said. we wanted to be prepared so we did have a local shelter for all of those people who lagged behind and didn't heed the message at the time they were supposed to. >> have you and the governor spoken about this. >> no we haven't. the governor doesn't speak to me. >> have you tried to call him and explain that you were on the
same page? >> i take it as the governor's responsibility to call me. he's the one who put out the misngs and he ought to be man enough to own up to it. >> and now some unrelated questions. >> mr. mayor, i am a frequent visitor of your city and i understand that you said there is an awful lot of damage there. but give people who want to go to your city a feel for when it's going to be ready? tell me when does the city rebound enough to bring visitors back in? >> that's not a question that can be answered at this time. all the major roadways into atlantic city have been ordered closed by order of the state police. the first thing that has to happen is the state police have to give the go ahead to open up
the roadways. we still have 13 thousand residents without power. after we get those two basic fundamental things under control and our public works crews continue on the path that they are on with respect to removing all of the debris, then we can talk about when it is wise to come back. >> is it months? >> and the board walk, what's the damage to the board walk? >> i don't have any estimates but i can tell you that certain sectors of the board walk have washed out. and at this point we don't have a grasp on what the extent of the damage is. >> good luck to everyone in atlantic city. we will stay in close touch with
you. the mayor joining us from atlantic city. thank you very much. >> babies fighting for their lives, forced to evacuate in the arms of doctors and nurses. we have the latest on their heroic efforts. that's next. at 33 years old, i was having a heart attack. now i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. i didn't know this could happen so young. take control, talk to your doctor. [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world... ♪
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some of the babies are premature. there are several things that can go wrong and you look at the video, wolfe, and some of it is obvious. the breathing tubes, they can come out easily. some of them are obviously manually ventilating and providing air and ventilation for the baby. if someone gets tired, that can be a huge problem. babies breathe faster than adults and you have to do this quite quickly as well. getting outside in the middle of a storm. body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure. there are a lot of things to monitor. all of that becomes much more difficult. >> are doctors and nurses normally trained for these kinds of emergency situations? >> it's interesting. transport alone is one of the things that we train for quite a bit. patients to have to be transferred from one hospital to the other. sometimes within the hospital. but that is a highly coordinated
thing. you have several people who all have a specific job to do as part of the transport to make sure tubes and lines stay in place. i don't know if you're looking at the video now but in this situation they didn't have that luxury. there is some training but a lot of it has more odo with how best to take care of the patient within the hospital. not as much of a transfer situation. you like to keep the patients where they are if you can. so a lot of the care revolves around that. >> it's not just moving then down the street. if the weather is extreme, if there is a hurricane going on, if there is floods, if there is traffic issues, it obviously complicated this type of situation a lot more. >> caller: you are up against the clock a little bit, too. you may have certain battery powered devices that are helping assist with the transportation.
a lot of it is manpower and human diligence. someone has to sit there and be pumping and squeezing that bag several times a minute in order to provide enough air and remove enough carbon di oxide. if they become distracted or tired because it's taking a long time, it has a direct and immediate impact on the asht here. it's quite a position to be in. >> i know you will be joining us in the next hour. do we know if all the babies are okay? >> we believe so. we have been in touch with a couple of hospitals where the babies have been transferred. actually i am with one of them right now. we will go see some of the babies. but the -- the news appears good in terms of how the babies are doing. >> thank god for that and all the good work of the doctors and nurses and emergency personnel that made this possible. we will talk in a little while.
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>> we have just gotten in some pictures of the new jersey governor touring damage along the state's coastline after taking a helicopter tour of some of the worst hit areas. the governor spoke with reporters. >> what did you see up there? >> you know, it's devastating. absolutely devastating. and we're just at the beginning of the tour down the coast.
seeing it in person on the ground is a whole different thing. [ inaudible question ] >> i told the folks before, i was watching video of that and there are homes. >> the governor anies it will take seven to ten days to get all the power restored in new jersey. inside some of the subway tunnels. one says the new york subway system has never faced a
disaster as devastating as this one. the governor toured some of the flood damage around ground zero. the governor is saying the water literally poured into the ground zero with such a force he was worried about the structure about the tunnel itself. we have new details coming in. and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety. and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over 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,
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mitt romney converted a planned campaign rally into a relief event in ohio. watch. >> we have heavy hearts, as you know, with all the suffering going on in a major part of our country. hurting this morning. they were hurting last night, and the storm goes on. i've had the chance to speak with some of the governors in the affected areas, and they've talked about a lot of people having hard times. and i appreciate the fact that people right here in dayton got up this morning, some went to the grocery store, i so e, and purchased some things that these families will need and i appreciate your generosity. >> president obama, who canceled campaign events a to the start of the week to return to washington made an unannounced visit to the american red cross headquarters today, and will visit a disaster area tomorrow. let's go to our white house correspondent, dan lothian. dan, tell us what's going on. >> and that disaster area that you're talking about, wolf, the president will be going to new jersey tomorrow, to tour the damage up close and personal, along with that state's
governor, governor christie, who, by the way, had some very kind words for the president and the administration earlier today, saying that they acted very quickly in their response, to help out the states. but the president will also be meeting with family members, families who have been impacted there in new jersey, also with first responders. but you know, the president has been sort of focusing on this disaster while pulling off the campaign trail, off the trail today, off the trail tomorrow, so he can go to new jersey. instead, what we saw today is the president going just down the street to the red cross, where he thanked that organization for all the work it has been doing. thanked the governors and the mayors in states like new jersey and new york for the coordination that has been taking place between them and also the federal government. the president says without all of this planning, there could have been more people that would have died. there could have been even more damage. but the main focus from the president today was to tell these governors, these mayors, that the federal government would not stand in the way of
getting things done quickly. >> my instructions to the federal agency, has been, do not figure out why we can't do something. i want you to figure out how we do something. i want you to cut through red tape, i want you to cut through bureaucracy. there's no excuse for inaction at this point. >> reporter: now, the president told the mayors and governors that if they have any issues at all, if they're being told no when they're trying to get a yes, that they should pick up the phone and call the president directly here at the white house. wolf, what you're seeing from this white house is going to great lengths to show that the president is on top of this situation, even releasing another picture of the president in the situation room, getting briefed by his emergency management team, even getting some updated information from secretary geithner, about the financial markets. >> we'll stay on top of this part of the story as well.
thanks very much. we'll of course cover his visit to new jersey tomorrow when he tours the devastated area with the governor, chris christie. parts of new jersey remain submerged in water. up next, we'll hear from a man who rode out the storm in an area devastated by flooding, and he doesn't have a way out. but td extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey, 95% of people who tried it agreed that it relieved their headache fast. visit fastreliefchallenge.com today for a special trial offer. 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 from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ and the next great idea could be yours. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future
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northernmost municipality on long beach island. and last night i think that i saw the full brunt of the storm. high tide last night happened at about 8:20 p.m. at that point, the bay water from barnegat bay to the west of me rose up on to the adjacent street and sort of into the neighborhood. it was tough to guess the exact depth, because it was dark, but i'm guessing it was about 1 or 2 feet in the street. we took about 6 inches of water in the garage, in the family home here. and obviously, we had ferocious rain and winds throughout the day yesterday. >> so where are you now, then? >> i'm in barnegat light. and from my -- my understanding is that the only way off the island at this point is to present yourself to the police and ask to be escorted off. you know, thankfully, i did a lot of preparing for this, so i have a lot of food and water here, and, you know, time is not an issue for me right now. but that's where i am at this point. >> so you believe you're safe? >> i know that i'm safe.
>> have you spoken to other people in the area where you were right now? >> yes. and, in fact, i wasn't even the only person on my street that decided to raid it out. there were a handful of folks around here who i've talked to today. i've also talked to municipal workers, even a u.s. coast guard staffer, that was going through the neighborhoods, just trying to sort things out. so there were people who stayed here. unfortunately, the reports i'm getting, and i'll let cnn independently confirm this, but what i'm hearing is that southern long beach island did much worse than northern long beach island. and obviously, my sympathies go out to anyone on the whole eastern seaboard who was severely affected by this storm. >> what was it like at the height of the storm? what did you have to do to deal with this? >> well, it wasn't, you know, the calmest night in my life. but you just try to keep a cool head and you get as much information as possible. i had studied what the tidal
patterns were, so i knew when to expect that the water started receding, and i was very grateful to see that the water promptly exited the first floor of the property here after high tide happened. i also, you know, calculated when sunrise would be. we lost power at about 10:30 p.m. so you just try to stay calm and you know that there'll be an end to it. >> i know you rode out hurricane irene from long beach island. compare the two. >> apples and oranges, really. this was several orders of magnitude bigger than rn. and i watched cnn's coverage, you know, minute by minute, in the lead up to the storm, so that's what i expected it will be. those predictions were correct. you know, one comparison, during hurricane irene, there was a little bit of flooding in my neighborhood, but it just, you know, came up to the street at the end of my block, whereas sandy came all the way down in
front of my property, into my driveway, and started seeping into the garage. obviously, the extreme property damage for the southern end of the island is much, much greater than it was in irene, as i understand it. >> ben von klemper, good luck, ben, thanks for joining us. >> thanks so much. you're in "the situation room." happening now, the horrific aftermath of a killer storm. a new york neighborhood reduced to rubble by fire at the height of hurricane sandy. in new jersey, a direct hit leaves scenes of devastation. the governor calls it all unthinkable. rescues are still underway right now. and public transit in america's largest city, paralyzed as floodwaters inundate portions of new york's vast subway system. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin this hour in new jersey, which bore the brunt of
hurricane sandy. hundreds of people have been rescued, but thousands may still be stranded. cnn's brian todd is in teterboro, new jersey, for us. brian, what's the latest there? >> well, wolf, new jersey has just taken a body blow from this storm. we're first going to show you pictures from governor chris christie's aerial tour of some of the damaged areas along the coast and a little bit inland. you see scenes of just complete devastation, flooding all over the place, damaged houses and businesses, you know, for street after street, neighborhood after neighborhood. and of course, you know, one of those areas is the one that we've been dealing with in our region of new jersey. three towns, moonachie, little ferry, and carlstadt, three towns very close together, completely engulfed in floodwaters from about midnight on. that's when the hackensack river, from a tidal surge from the storm, basically breached a berm or a levee, we're not sure exactly which one it was, but it was something, you know, an earthen fortification. it got breached by a tidal surge, and within minutes, those
three towns were completely engulfed in water, 4 to 6 feet on the street. again, in neighborhood after neighborhood. we have some sound now that we've gotten from two people. one of them is grace pasquale, an elderly resident of moonachie who's lived there for at least a decade. she'll tell us about what she lost. the second person you'll hear from is kathleen, but first let's hear from grace pasquale, a resident of moonachie, new jersey. >> thank god i got in. the second floor, so my kitchens are full. so -- and my living room is full. so i lost everything. my sofa, my kitchen, everything. >> if you've ever seen the aftermath of a flood, it's all the debris that's left behind. it's people who are in hisry, because they didn't expect it. it was not something that anyone ever had been through, and anyone alive today, so it was
totally unexpected and scary and it was 1:00 in the morning and it was raining and had high winds all day long. they had just been through a terrible ordeal. >> reporter: and that terrible ordeal, unfortunately, is not over. we're told up until right about now, roof, rescues were still going on, but officials have told us that now at about 6:00 eastern time, when it's starting to get very dark, fairly suddenly, they're going to have to stop the rescues. it's too dangerous to go back in there. the floodwaters are still around. some high clearance vehicles, that have been used to pull people out, actually have had to turn back. the good thing is, fortunately no one was killed, we're told. a few very minor injuries. but rescues still going on right up until now, when they'll have to call it off. >> they'll have to continue those rescues, a lot of people still in danger. brian, thanks very much. and new york's massive subway system is also shut down, with extensive flooding in some stations and buses, still are not running. one transportation official says hurricane sandy, quote, wreaked
havoc on our entire system. cnn's david mattingly is working this part of the system for us. david, looks like it's a transportation mess in new york city. what can you tell us, first of all, about the subways? >> wolf, this storm seemed to accomplish the impossible. it took this city that is constantly on the move and stopped it cold. right now, what we're hearing is it could be days before the subway trains start running again. there were seven tunnels that go under the east river, connecting manhattan to the boroughs outside. those tunnels took on water, and now they're pumping that water out. but it's more than just an operation of getting rid of the water and drying things out. this saltwater is going to be an awful lot of damage to their equipment down there, so it's going to take some time to get service restored to those tunnels. in the meantime, bus service might be starting back up later today and into tomorrow, into the rush hour tomorrow morning, but it's going to be on a limited basis.
they're saying that with this limited system, it's also going to be free for now. but at this point, commuters don't have a lot of choices. there are only about 4,000 taxis right now available. they're expecting that number to go up, but right now, for commuters, there are not a lot of choices, and as you can see by this station behind me, it is dark right now and the subway system, not ready to roll, and may be days before it is ready to. wolf? >> what about people who want to drive in and out of manhattan? can they do that? >> there are quite a number of bridges and tunnels that have been reopened. one notable exception is the holland tunnel. i have to tell you, coming in this morning from connecticut, a trip that would normally take about an hour, hour and a half, took us about four hours, just to maneuver our way into manhattan, because of all the bridge and tunnel closures. but most of those are open now. most of the roads are cleared of the debris. we ran into a lot of that as well, going through some neighborhoods. but as you can see, there's not
a lot of electricity in some parts of manhattan, so the stoplights aren't working. there's still going to be problems for people who do try to commute tomorrow morning. >> what about the airports? when will they reopen? >> reporter: laguardia was flooded last night. there was some spectacular video, when the storm surge came in, planes weren't able to land, they weren't able to take off, so was newark, so is jfk. we're hearing that laguardia will be closed again tomorrow. still waiting on final word on jfk and newark. but at this point, that has rippling effects, all across the country, with air travel not just here in the new york area. so, again, right now, we're looking at the beginning of the recovery. mayor bloomberg talking rate now, saying that this is where things start to look up, starting to move up. we've hit the bottom, and now everything is starting to move toward that recovery. so expect to see things happening quickly when it comes to transportation, but as far as
new yorkers here, the regular commute is not going to feel right for quite some time. >> yeah, city's going to be in trouble for a while. all right, thanks very much, david mattingly. just a little while ago, we got a firsthand account of what it was like in new jersey as the hurricane was hitting. kate balduan is here, picking up this part of the story. >> absolutely, wolf. keith paul was one of the last people to leave the historic resort of seaside heights, new jersey, just across from tom's river, and wolf talked to him last hour. >> i live four houses from the barnegat bay. and seaside separates the barnegat bay from the ocean by about three, four blocks. and i'm right across in tom's river, and everyone has gotten flooded. it's coming halfway up their houses. they have just high-wheeled trucks driving in to get the people out. national guard around. it's destruction. it's devastation around here, for a lot of people. >> we're showing our viewers this national guard video, showing the sand that has come up, destroying, really, covering
so many parts of this area. you're an eyewitness to that. describe what it's like. >> well, i'm telling you, i've lived here for 39 years. i've been through several hurricanes, going back to gloria, and i've never seen anything like this at all. when i was over in seaside last night, and we just started seeing the berkeley sweet shop rip apart, and the pier go down into the ocean, we knew it was time to get out of there. and we got out of there within two minutes of leaving, the light poles came down across the bridge. if we didn't leave when we did, we would have been stuck there. and i had a wife and a 1-year-old child at home. >> seaside heights, are there still people out there stranded, as far as you know? >> as far as i know, there are only a few. when i left yesterday, you barely saw anybody there, except for a couple of the business owners, checking on their businesses, and that was pretty much it at the time. from what i understood from the chief, they were 95% evacuated at that point. >> what happens next? what do you plan on doing over
the next few days? >> i've got to be honest with you. there's really not much you can do. you really can't drive anywhere around this town. there's poles down, there's trees down around with wires and transformers blowing up on the street. you go out and walking around on the street, it's dangerous. because if you hit a puddle and it's got electricity -- so there's really not much you can do until things get cleaned up a little bit. >> cnn's michael holmes is in tom's river for us. michael, you're just inland from the storm. what's going on? how bad are things there? >> reporter: it was a day to day, wolf, of basically rescuing people who had been isolated in their homes by the floodwater, and there's still a fair bit of water around, but things are slowly being cleaned up. as i just heard the gentleman there say, there were trees everywhere around tom's river. we're seeing them getting cut up now and seeing some of these cars that are being stranded in water removed. those barrier islands, though,
that is where most of the damage was done. and this, remember, was a mandatory evacuation zone. and so many people, we were over there yesterday, and we spoke to people who said, we're local, how bad could it be? we're not leaving. and they were being evacuated today by the police. we spoke to the police chief too. he said, most people are off there now, and it's all under control. but, you know, i spoke to a patrolman, who helped bring those people back, and he was there last night too. and some of the stories he told about how it all went down there and what it was like were quite chilling. have a listen. >> it was total chaos over there. we had a complete breach over there. i don't think there was an area over there last night at all that was not covered by water. >> and it looks like it's covered by sand as well. >> there's a lot of sand. there are some sand dunes on route 35. a house over on route 35 that just flows right over there. there's cars everywhere. >> reporter: yeah, certainly, the hardest hit there. i've got to say, wolf, we were out during the storm last night
with the local police. and although we're seeing evidence of fema today, national guard, and that kind of support coming in, the local cops, you got to hand it to them. they were out, they were helping people, rescuing them in the middle of all of this, last night. really did a real, you know, steeling jobs, the local guys. it was rather impressive. but the cleanup just getting underway and there is a lot to clean up, wolf. >> certainly is. michael holst on the scene for us. thank you. and to our viewers, you can be part of the recovery effort ourself. you can help those affected by hurricane sandy. to find out how to do so, go to cnn.com/impact. and still ahead, more dramatic rescues, premature newborns whisked away from a major new york hospital that lost power at the height of the storm. cnn's sanjay gupta has details on that and how they're doing. and also, something we don't usually associate with hurricanes, snow. we'll show you the blizzard conditions sandy brought to west virginia. [music] see life in the best light. transitions® lenses automatically filter just
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lack ook at this. a tragic fire in the breezy point neighborhood of queens in new york city, where winds and fire created an inferno right at the height of hurricane sandy. at least 80 homes, 80, 80 home have said destroyed, including the home of a united states congressman. cnn's deborah feyerick is on the scene for us. deb, it looks like total devastation in that area where you are. tell our viewers what happened and what's going on now. >> reporter: you know, wolf, it looks like somebody dropped a bomb. this entire area here, completely incinerated. everyday objects are barely, you know, unrecognizable. this is a post. we think it may have been some sort of a swinging door, although it looks like it also could have been a lamp. the thing is, this car over here, for example, also caught fire. everybody was prepared for the floodwater. as a matter of fact, a number of the cars here got flooded. but what they weren't prepared for was the fire. and once that one fire, once
that one home caught fire, what ended up happening, you saw almost like a peach shape, the wind going in a particular direction, and all the rest of these homes simply ignited, and because they're so close together, they just burned one after the next after the next, and you've got just a couple of feet in between the different homes. so they're so close. there was basically no way to stop the fire, plus, you have floodwaters up to 5 feet high. and you've got license plates completely burned, unrecognizable. but we spoke to a number of people. they were coming in and out all day, just to see whether they could salvage anything at all, and they couldn't salvage anything, actually. but a lot of tough people, a lot of retired police officers and firefighters who live in this area, and they're going to rebuild, but right now they've just got to figure out who lives wear. >> those blocks down there will have to be flattened. the only good thing, the people
are very resilient. they've been here their whole lives. generations after generations, two, three, four generations that have been here. they're not just going to walk away, by any means. the breezy point co-op, which is very strong and viable. so it's just a daunting, daunting task to start this process. >> reporter: wolf, they call this place breezy for short. it's a police where a lot of folks just come and spend the entire summer, even if their primary home is just about 20 minutes away, which in some cases, it is. and it's just a fun place, where everybody know s each other. one woman said, this is paradise. this is paradise. and don't forget, it is not just the fire damage that we're talking about. over on the bay, on the areas closest to the water, those homes got pounded. we are talking, it's almost as if someone took a huge sledgehammer and started pounding these homes. the front's completely disintegrated. you've got homes that are off their foundation, others that are just sunk into the sand. the beach, completely eroded.
they'll have to rebuild all the beaches in this area, you know, along with parts of the rockaway and other parts of long island. because the beaches have simply vanished. the rebuilding process will be very, very difficult, very tough, but for right now, people are just trying to make sense of this and trying to understand the reality that for those who live here year-round, they're going to have to find another place to go. wolf? >> it's a devastating, devastating scene. thanks very much, deb, for that. >> those images are just amazing. still ahead, from fire to snow. we're heading to west virginia, next. ♪ [ female announcer ] nature exists on the grandest scale... ♪ ...and in the tiniest details. ♪ and sometimes both. nature valley granola thins pack the big taste of granola and dark chocolate into one perfect square, under 100 calories. nature valley granola thins. nature at its most delicious.
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sandy brought blizzard conditions to the mountains of west virginia where winter storm warnings are still in effect. a couple feet of very heavy, wet snow is blanketing the area, knocking down trees, and of course, that also means power lines. cnn's martin savage is in kingwood, west virginia. martin, what's it look like now? >> kate, this is just the opposite side of sandy now. instead of the surf and the rain, it is the snow and the wind. and it is blasting this part of west virginia. i mean, just take a look at the depth of the snow here. a lot of this is not just snow that's falling, it's all because of the wind that's blowing, and it's causing a lot of this banking that's occurring here. that's a real problem. we want to show you a drive we took. because this also shows you
another unique problem of this particular storm in this particular place. take a look. you can see for the most part here, that plows have been doing a really good job of keeping the streets clear. they're using salt, so at 33 degrees, that stuff works really well. here's your danger, though. the weight of the snow, bringing down tree branches, not only do they block the road, but they'll also drag down power lines, that's the problem you can see off there to the right. there's another branch that's come down. looks like somebody's cut it already. but at any given times, these trees, as beautiful as they look, as painted as they are with the snow, that's actually hundreds of pounds of extra weight on there. and they're leaning ever so precariously over the road. and though it might look attractive, you realize, that's a lot of kinetic energy that's just waiting to explode and release in some way. we've seen it in a couple of
spots, where the trees just explode in a blast of white snow and then the tree limbs come shattering down on top of you. so these areas in particular are pretty dangerous for a lot of different reasons. we were told that the blizzard warning for preston county, that's where we are, was supposed to expire at 6:00. now we're told that is not going to happen. instead, they have now extended the blizzard warning for another 24 hours. not just here, but all 12 counties that are under that blizzard warning. we'll get a lot more of this stuff coming down, a lot more power outages, probably on occurring. the national guard's now been called out. they're going door to door in some communities to check on the welfare. there are a lot of people, like in this town, have no electricity and now face a very cold, snowy night. kate? >> more snow, no electricity, and those temperatures, a very, very bad combination. martin savage in west virginia for us this evening. thanks so much, martin. >> what an amazing drive through those trees. >> what an amazing video. >> thank you, martin. atlantic city, pounded and pounded by the atlantic ocean,
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president obama has signed disaster declarations for new york and new jersey and emergency declarations for many other states. he was briefed on the crisis in the white house situation room earlier today. we're showing you a photo there. and then he paid a surprise visit to a red cross office here in washington, where he ordered a streamlined federal response. >> my instructions to the federal agency has been, do not figure out why we can't do something. i want you to figure out how we do something. i want you to cut through red tape, i want you to cut through bureaucracy. there's no excuse for inaction at this point. i want every agency to lean forward, and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they need, where they're needed, as quickly as possible. so i want to repeat, my message
to the federal government, no bureaucracy, no red tape, get resources where they're needed, as fast as as possible, as hard as possible, and for the duration. >> the white house says the president has canceled campaign events tomorrow and will instead travel to new jersey to see the disaster firsthand. wolf? >> mitt romney is also focusing in on the disaster and he's facing some pointed questions about past remarks he's made about fema, the federal emergency management agency. our national political correspondent jim acosta is joining us now. he's covering the romney campaign in tampa, florida. what's the latest, jim? >> reporter: wolf, memoriitt ro just arrived here in florida a few minutes ago, and a little earlier today, he did get out in front of the cameras in ohio for a campaign event where he tried to put the focus on storm relief effort. it was billed as a storm relief event, so mitt romney supporters carried bags of groceries through security checkpoints, turning this ohio gymnasium into
what looked like a food pantry. and when the gop nominee took the microphone, he set aside his usual jabs at the president >> we have heavy hearts, as you know. >> reporter: instead, romney called on americans to do what they can to help the victims of hurricane sandy. >> there's a lot of people that will still be looking for goods, even though we've gathered these things, as you know. but i know that one of the things i've learned in life is that you make the difference you can. >> reporter: the republican candidate said the donated supplies would go to hard-hit new jersey, where the governor and top romney surrogate, chris christie, was on the morning talk shows, giving the president high marks for his handling of the storm. >> the president is incredibly helpful in that regard. he's been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did he bring up the election. >> reporter: as soon as sandy was bearing down on the east coast, democrats were pointing to this gop debate from june 2011, when romney was asked whether the state should take on a larger role in disaster response, instead of the current system in place led by fema. >> every time you have an
occasion that takes something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. and if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. >> reporter: campaign aides appear to suggest that romney would maintain fema, but added in a statement, as the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. this includes help from the federal government and fema. >> governor, would you eliminate fema if you were president? >> reporter: at a storm relief event, romney was asked a half dozen times by reporters if he would eliminate fema, but he did not respond. >> and brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. >> reporter: fema's image was badly damaged after hurricane katrina, after the botched federal response to that storm, then president bush's fema director, michael brown, was savaged by critics, for having little disaster experience. back in that ohio gymnasium, romney supporters said they felt a responsibility to do what they
can to help. >> it's the right thing to do. >> reporter: and the romney campaign says it has received word from the american red cross that it will receive those donated supplies that were gathered at that event in ohio earlier today, and wolf, i did ask a senior romney adviser if the gop nominee had any problem with president obama, and new jersey governor chris christie, looking at storm dang tomorrmagw in new jersey, i got one word -- none. >> jim acosta, thanks very much, looks like a little bit of a bromance developing between the president and the governor. that could last 24 hours. >> if it is a bromance, it could be very short live. they may just try to get through this disaster first. all right, dozens of patients evacuated when a new york city hospital becomes flooded and loses power, including newborn babies carried down nine flights of stairs. our dr. sanjay gupta has new di details, coming up.
anyone who wasn't taking the threat of hurricane sandy seriously yesterday has probably changed their view dramatically. cnn national correspondent, jason carol, is on long island, talking to residents of lindenhurst, new york. >> thousands of people here still without power, and residents in lindenhurst, still under a mandatory evacuation. you can see the reason why. dozens and dozens of homes still underwater. >> and i never expected anything like this. >> reporter: despite all the warnings and all the forecasts, it is still hard for people like paul ferrari to take in all the damage hurricane sandy left in its wake here in lindenhurst, long island. >> now that i'm here, i'm kind
of surprised. a little shocked. a little humbled, because it was quite the storm. >> reporter: his feelings today, a stark contrast to his mood early yesterday, when we ran into him during one of our live reports. paul, won't you come on over here and talk to me for a moment. >> that's him in the scuba gear. today, no gear or gimmicks. >> such a change in tone, i guess, mood, or whatever you want to say. you know, kayaking earlier and scuba dive and have some fun and enjoy the storm. and then, now it's like the reality is just -- everything's just destroyed. >> reporter: his home, not destroyed, but badly damaged by floodwater. but at least the water is out of here and everything you have on your bed. >> it did recede out. i still have water in my dresser drawers. >> reporter: for some of ferrari's neighbors, the damage is much worse. you went to your home and it was destroyed? >> yeah, it's ruined, it's a
mess. there's 3 feet of dirty water and -- >> i'm in shock. my house is just completely destroyed. so -- i've never seen anything like it. i grew up here, on sixth street. >> reporter: a short boat ride down the street, danielle and jason hitner come home to assess their damage. >> welcome home. toppled furniture, waterlogged floors, and walls. >> this was his room, you know. it's like, we worked so hard to make that room so cute. >> reporter: there is still so much water here. exact numbers on homes damaged or destroyed still not available. that will take time. and for some, so, too, the reality of the devastation here. and part of the reason why there are no specific numbers as of yet is we're being told, it's still too difficult for a lot of the emergency crews to get back down into some of the areas like this one and get proper numbers, because the water is still too high in several areas. it's going to be several days before they get specific numbers on how many homes were destroyed
or damaged due to floods. wolf? >> jason carroll reporting. what a heartbreaking story that is. >> heartbreaking. >> let's dig a little bit deeper right now. the latest on sandy from our severe weather expert, cnn meteorologist chad myers. what do our viewers, chad, need to know about this storm right now? >> it is still not done. it is still going to rain where it's raining now. and even maybe turn over to snow in some of those almost 35, 34 degree areas. and then it could snow for another 24 hours. big, heavy, thick snow that can get on power lainines, get on ts and break those power lines as the branches start to break. i want to back you up to 6:00 on sunday. here's where the lindenhurst issue started. it's when all to have the wind around sandy was doing this. it was piling up water. not high, you think if it was only 6 inches higher than normal, because of the way the waves were spinning and the way the wind was pushing it. think about, as you try to cool off a cup of coffee, you blow on
the cup of coffee and the waves of the coffee kind of go to the other side of the cup. that's what's going on here. the waves are going to this side of the united states. and now we're going to push it ahead to landfall. we're not seeing, now, this water do this anymore. we're seeing it do this. and it was right into new york harbor, new york city, and into long island sound, and then this here, that's the surge that we've been showing you all up and down the jersey shore. move it ahead to where we are now, a little bit north of -- it's just north of pittsburgh at this hour. and the big winds were either from mt. washington, that's the record there, at 140, for this storm. now, you have to understand, the record for mt. washington is 231. so this really wasn't was mt. washington can get. islip at 91, and even surf city, new jersey, at 89 miles an hour. the storm totals for rain, east in maryland, 12.49, and yes, it is still snowing. redhouse now, that's 26. we just updated that. that's now 29. let me show you something else
now. this storm is so wide, we talk about how wide the winds are. let me show you chicago. this is lake michigan. blowing water from the north shore of lake michigan, way up by lake superior, waves all the way down the shore and eventually right there, this is chicago. go a little bit farther to the southeast, waves are pounding and flooding the shoreline. even at cleveland hopkins airport, and blake front airport yesterday had winds to 66 and 67 miles an hour. and that was 500, 500 miles away from the center. wolf? >> it was a monster, monster storm. still problems out there. by the way, chad, we have just confirmed, 18 people died result of this storm in new york city, bringing the total in the united states to 33 deaths. >> tough. >> very tough. kate? all right, still ahead, some newborns, some of them critically ill, had to be evacuated from a major new york hospital during the middle of the storm. cnn's dr. sanjay gupta updates us on their condition, next. ll .
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some heart wrenching video to show you of newborns on respirator beings carried out of a flooded new york city hospital. each one of them, carried down nine flights of stairs by a nurse, and you see, manually squeezing air into their lungs, in the midst of the storm. the babies were just some of the dozens of patient who is hs whoe evacuated when the hospital lost power and began to fill up with 10 to 12 feet of water. >> we now know that 64 of those evacuated were taken to mt. sinai medical center. joining us, our chief medical
correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. first to you, dr. davis. what was it like when these 64 patients from the nyu medical center arrived at mt. sinai? >> well, they started to come, just before midnight, and we were able to slowly bring them to each of their units. each of our units. >> this is a difficult procedure. how many of the patients were in critical condition? what was going on? >> well, there are about 30 patients who were in intensive care units. so they were very critical patients. there were another ten patients who were women who were just -- who had just given birth or were about to give birth. so these were some very critical circumstances. keep in mind that nyu had decreased their census from some 750 patients to the 250 that remained for the hurricane. so those were the really difficult patients that they couldn't discharge.
so by and large, all these people were seriously ill and needed health care. >> sanjay, go ahead. >> and nyu is right along the east river, and they say they got about 10 feet of water within 45 minutes. but the reservoir is right over here as well. how concerned were you about reservoir flooding? >> we were very concerned about that. during hurricane irene, we watched, i watched. the waters rose in our subside basement near our generators. fortunately, as the tide receded, the water receded and we were fine during hurricane , irene. but beginning on sunday night, our engineering team was acutely concerned with what might happen if the tide came in as high as it might, the flood surge as big as it might be. so we had done a tremendous amount of preparation to make sure we had adequate sump pumps and we had insulated a ed all wiring that might somehow get
exposed to that water. because we didn't want a replay of the near call that happened during hurricane irene. >> you had to okay this transfer. it was a big procedure as wolf just mentioned. how did it work for you? >> i got around something around 10:30, from our command center. saying, we just got a call from nyu, are we prepared to take their patients? i said, absolutely. we had already taken their patients during hurricane irene, because they had voluntarily evacuated at this time. this time, we knew it was going to be less orderly, and perhaps a little more frightening. but we couldn't say no. so we took as many patients as we possibly could, to the best of our capacity. but we're still a big hospital that has a lot of patients here. >> where do they go? because hospitals usually are running pretty full. >> our icus are filled with all our critical patients. so we had delayed surgeon generals during the hurricane. and as a consequence, our recovery areas, which we call
pac-us, were empty. we were able to accommodate those critical care patients in our pac-us for about 24 hours as we then developed space, the rest of our hospital, to accommodate those intensive care patients. the mothers and the babies, we were able to accommodate. our new natal care clinic has the ability to become somewhat elastic. so, we were able to assimilate them into our hospital now and we'll take care of them for the foreseeable future. >> lots of moving parts, wolf, as you can tell, to get this done, but lots of preparation as well, wolf. >> what was the most frightening moment for your team of medical professionals, dr. davis? >> sir, we can't hear, anymore, wolf, if you're talking. i apologize. can you hear us, wolf? >> i can hear you guys, but unfortunately, it sounds like you can't hear us. so i'll let me thank you both of you for all the work that you both do to save lives. you know, that's an amazing situation, kate, when you see how they cooperate.
the nyu medical center, they were in deep, deep trouble. they had a lot of patients in critical condition, expectant mothers, babies, intensive care, and -- >> and mt.well. they're in the middle of manhattan, as well. >> raining, windy, and -- transferring 64 patients in the middle of the night. i applaud those doctors. >> absolutely. >> and nurses for doing what they were doing. >> kenneth davis, thank you so much. so parts of new jersey's most famous seaside resort has been ruined by the sea itself, of course. let's get a look at the damage a little closer in atlantic city and it's historic boardwalk. for that, we go to mike galanos of hln. you've been there, mike. what are you seeing there on the boardwalk today? >> reporter: well, right behind me, directly behind me, that scrap wood you see there, that was parts of the boardwalk. this is the northern part of atlantic city, again, the atlantic ocean just pounded away right behind me. the ocean is just over some of
that scrap wood, maybe 100 yards. and you actually had had people -- if you can see these buildings -- if we can take a look at these buildings once again. there's two buildings. i had a chance to talk to the person, it's a husband and wife and daughter living in the center building there. and they tried to ride out this storm. this gentleman was telling me the story, and i saw the damage firsthand, the yellow tape there now, it's too dangerous, there is a strong scent of gasoline coming out of the buildings. but the man said at 7:30 in the morning yesterday as the storm began to wallop this area, the atlantic ocean was knock ong his front door and blew open his front door by 8:30 in the morning. so here is this guy trying to pound up plywood to board things up. he and his wife and their daughter, they're trying to take up whatever valuables, things are just irreplaceable up to the top floor and they stayed and waited. he's getting sprayed with water, soaking wet, and finally a neighbor convinced him, just to the right of me here, to get out of there and that's what he did. he was shell shocked. i would have liked to have talked to him on air, but as he
told the story, the emotions got the best of him. so thankfully there hasn't been the massive loss of life, but property and scrap wood that was the boardwalk, that's what people were dealing with. >> amazing. it looks absolutely just like scrap wood right there behind you. mike galanos, thanks so much. we'll talk to you soon. >> it's a tough situation. we're watching this very, very closely, though. there's a lot more going on, including hurricane sandy's impact. it's been horrifying and heartbreaking. the response to the disaster has been heroic. chad myers is joining us now with a little bit more on what's going on. chad, we're watching this hurricane still unfold, the tropical storm. it's still a serious weather condition. >> it still has 45-mile-an-hour winds. and wind gusts, even higher than that. and we're piling up snow. some of this heavy snow, the thick snow, you can make a great snowman with. but it also sticks to the trees and sticks to the power lines. and it's bringing those power lines down. our marty savage saying he's hearing crack now, just like
pops in the mitts of the night, where one tree is coming down, and you know it's coming and you know that somebody's power line just came down. we do, though, believe everything is calming down. it is winding down. nothing is going to get worse from here, except maybe your snow totals. you still, though, have river floods going on. not flash flooding, so much. but rivers that are still out of their banks, because we have had places where 10 to 12 inches of rainfall have come down in 24 hours. that will flood absolutely anywhere. they're the pictures you're seeing there on your screen. that was the jersey shore. the jersey shore truly took a beating. and we knew that it would. all the way from sandy hook all way down to cape may and the new york shore down to long island, many houses knocked down or literally not even a frame of what they were. wolf? >> all right, chad. thanks very much. much more of our coverage coming up right after this. ♪ with a low national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar...
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my meineke. this is new video from the mta in new york city. it shows flooding inside the sub merged subway station at the south ferry whitehall station in battery park. just look at the water that is there. this is the subway station. thousands and thousands of people would use this every single day. they're not going to be using it for a while. >> and wolf, as we're looking at this, it reminds me -- i was reading what an mca official was saying. it was pretty obvious that saltwater does not mix with these subway stations. >> no. >> very corrosive and can be very damaging, not just the flooding, but the after effects of how corrosive saltwater can be on all of the metal, especially some of the older equipment that they're dealing with in these subway stations. so something that we'll obviously be watching. amazing images coming in. wow. pretty amazing. something else we're taking a look at.
even the space shuttle enterprise took a hit from hurricane sandy as it hammered new york. the wind collapsed the structure. we're showing you here that covers the shuttle on the deck of the intrepid sea, air and space museum. cnn reporter heather shapiro lives nearby and took this photo from her 21st-floor apartment. the structure collapsing. obviously another thing we're looking at closely. >> we thank her for sharing the video pictures with us and all of our viewers. hurricane sandy's impact on the united states has been devastating, and heartbreaking and the response has been heroic and inspiring. here are some unforgettable images from our i-reporters. >> please, evacuate! a boat, ready to go!