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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hurricane Sandy Pounds East Coast; Mayor Bloomberg Press Conference; Atlantic City Under Curfew Until Tuesday Morning
Aired October 29, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: Please, please, please, do not call 911 if it is not a life-threatening emergency. You are putting other people's lives at risk by occupying the lines. If you have a non-emergency, call 311, or better yet, text 311 at 311692, or go to 311 online via NYC.gov.
The second problem is, we're seeing a lot of cars getting stuck on the roads. Many of them are blocking emergency vehicles from getting to people in need. We need to keep the roads clear. Do not drive.
Let me repeat that, please, do not drive. We have now sent a message to all taxi and delivery drivers to get off the roads immediately. As I said earlier, the time to leave has passed. Do not go outside. It is still very dangerous.
And from now until the storm is well past, you just have to shelter in place. You need to stay wherever you are.
Let me repeat that, you have to stay wherever you are. So don't call 911 unless it is a life-threatening emergency. You're not going to get better service and you're just keeping others who may have a real life threatening emergency from getting service.
And, two, stay off the roads. You getting stuck just keeps the emergency vehicles from getting to help people and it may be your family that needs the help. The same thing I have said before still goes, stay away from windows, close the drapes.
If water is coming into your home, go to the highest area. It is very important that you follow these instructions. It could save your life, or the life of a fellow New Yorker. These are not games. We have said from the very beginning, this is a once in a long time storm. The surge is very high. We expected it to be high. It's in fact slightly higher than what was forecasted by those that talked about the highest estimate.
We have to get the emergency services to where they are needed. That means we have got to know where the emergencies are. If you're clogging 911, we can't find that out and then we have got to get the personnel to where people really need help. If your car is blocking the roads, we can't do that.
As to the current weather, the rain I'm happy to say has passed and moved to our west. So we don't anticipate anything more than a few showers from now on. In terms of the winds, they should go below gale force in the next few hours. They have already started to drop. As for the storm surge, a very big part of it will be over in the next couple of hours.
The high tide was at roughly 8:15. It is now 10:00. And next low tide is at 6:00 in the morning. So we're heading down, and you will see a lot of the roads that have currently flooded, the water will drain off.
Most New Yorkers have followed our advice. The cooperation we received really has been great. But not everybody has cooperated. By midnight tonight, we expect the surge to recede. And we will be able to get to people who need the help. Things have gotten tough, but we're going to get through this together, as the city already -- always does. Let me summarize for our Spanish speakers in our audience.
So, the message is, one more time, don't call 911 unless it's a real life-threatening...
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. I'm Anderson Cooper reporting now from Asbury Park. Welcome to the special (INAUDIBLE) of 360.
I'm here with CNN's Rob Marciano. We have correspondents all fanned out in many states all along the coast, also in Manhattan, where we're seeing really severe flooding in a number of areas. We just heard from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Most of the tunnels that are going into New York have been closed, although I'm hearing conflicting information on the Lincoln Tunnel, so I'm not clear if that's open yet or not.
But all the bridges and most of the tunnels are certainly closed. At this point, we're seeing less wind here. It seems to have died down a little bit. At least we were able to get the satellite dish up. That tells you something, but a lot of the water, this whole area I'm told basically we're surrounded by water right now.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This is Probably what a lot of beach communities up and down Jersey are seeing right now.
Their boardwalks, their storm walls have been breached. A lot of them once you get past the sand dunes, are then at or slightly below sea level. (INAUDIBLE) What's scary, as bad as this is here, it almost feels like a Katrina situation, where Mississippi just got hammered with the surge and the wind.
But further away, in New Orleans, that city started to fill with water. That's kind of what we're seeing in Lower Manhattan right now, as some of the subways continue to fill with the water. (INAUDIBLE)
We're getting word that in the Battery Tunnel, there was as much as four feet of water in some parts of the Battery Tunnel that's for the East River. And obviously Lower Manhattan, we're seeing water pouring into several subway stops in Lower Manhattan. Obviously, the subways were shut down last night. Ashleigh Banfield is down in Lower Manhattan.
Ashleigh, where are you right now and what are you seeing around you?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I'm in Battery Park City, and I have been here all day.
I will tell you what. What I'm real happy to report is the water is receding. I will tell you what. It was about two feet higher an hour ago, but we are really above flood stage at this point still. I just want to update you on some bad news as well that we have been given from New Jersey, two deaths in New Jersey.
We also had that one death we told you about in Queens as well, and then also one person killed in Connecticut, Mansfield, Connecticut, two people injured. Sadly they were leaving their house apparently because their power was out to go to the neighbor's and a tree fell and injured those two people and killed one person.
So those are the fatalities I can report you right now. I heard you speaking earlier about the tunnels. Earlier today, we had heard that all of the tunnels were closed. I can report that to you at least. I would not imagine they would have opened since that time.
But one thing we were somewhat concerned about is there are a number of television crews who have been coming to you from this location because it's relatively high ground. Given the fact I'm standing in the Hudson River, it's hard to believe that, but this is relatively high ground in southern Manhattan.
We got stuck here as well. Every road that is out of this location is flooded. So we're a bit concerned about the crews here. And of course, this is all a mandatory evacuation zone. Earlier, when I was speaking to you, you could see flashes of light behind me.
That's the New Jersey side of the Hudson River over there. You can see the power on in a lot of those buildings. Those flashes of light while they may have looked like lightning were in fact transformers going off. And I heard Mayor Cory Booker talking about the loss of power and also a lot of the water that had been lapping up and over the sides. Not surprising because we're seeing it here, too.
See if we can just pan over here as well. This is a part of Manhattan, and one of my colleagues is just working beside me, but this is a part of Manhattan that you don't normally see it this black. But the power is out to most of southern Manhattan. Any lights you do see are likely generators in those buildings.
We do know there are some people in the buildings behind me. This is a tricky shot, but if you can just swing up behind you to see the people who are living -- these are normally beautiful apartments down in southern Manhattan looking into the Hudson River and across to Jersey. You can just see a couple of people who decided to tough it out and stay here in their apartments. But the wind, the tough winds are yet to come, Anderson.
COOPER: Ashleigh, thank you. I'm sorry. I'm having trouble hearing you just toward the tail end there.
The mayor of Atlantic City is joining us now on the phone, Lorenzo Langford.
Mr. Mayor, first of all, what is the situation you're seeing right now in Atlantic City? How are...
I'm sorry. We have lost contact there.
Let's check in with Ali Velshi, who is in Atlantic City.
Ali, what is the situation?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have got the water levels rising.
We should have peaked about 15 minutes ago. We're still seeing very high water levels. I'm substantially closer to the camera than I was when I last talked to you. So we are not seeing any receding of the water levels.
We also think that the winds are going to keep on going, probably for another hour-and-a-half or two before we have now seen the back end of this storm and it starts to move inland. So folks in Philadelphia are probably expecting to have this -- have the worst part of it hit in the next few hours. And then you're going to start to see the flooding moving inland.
All right, we have got stuff blowing around over here. The winds have picked up around here again. There is more rain, as the mayor was going to tell you. We have got about 400 people, 500 people in shelters here. Everybody else is at home. There is a curfew in place. No one is allowed out. There's no traveling.
You couldn't get out of here if you tried anyway. As you can see, I'm downtown. This isn't some point we selected because there's a lot of water. This is downtown Atlantic City. I'm now up to my knees.
But if I walk about 100 feet back there, I will be up to my waist in water. So the situation here is not improving just yet. For anybody watching this, this is important to understand. As this moves inland, it's not going to be better off.
Just because you're seeing it calm down over here does not mean it's going to be better off. You're covering it in New York. But in Philadelphia, there's still going to be a lot more to come. There are still a lot of flooding concerns in a lot of low-level, low-lying areas. We're watching that very carefully as well.
But in Atlantic City, we have still got high winds, we have still got a lot of ocean that's come into downtown and it's still a very dangerous situation here. We do have reports of some trees down and the power lines down in Atlantic City, Anderson.
COOPER: Ali, we should point out that the mayor of Atlantic City came under some really stiff criticism from Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Governor Christie saying he had told people to do a mandatory evacuation. He felt the mayor did not support that and encouraged people to stay in place, to stay in that area.
And Governor Christie certainly very annoyed about that, and telling people obviously now is not the time now to try to move, if you're in trouble, to try to shelter in place. And they will try to get emergency workers to people who are facing emergencies when they can.
But he didn't feel like it was right to risk the lives of emergency personnel for people who refuse to heed evacuation warnings.
Chad Myers is also joining us. I'm here with Rob Marciano.
Before we go to Chad, Rob, we're seeing far less than we have been seeing tonight here, although there's been a lot of debris flying around. And clearly this wind is still an issue.
MARCIANO: The rain has been a big player ahead of this storm, especially to the south, in southern Jersey, the Delmarva area, including parts of Philadelphia and D.C. got a tremendous amount of rainfall.
Now the eastern half of the storm is mostly a dry storm, but still very, very windy. I think what strikes me with this storm as being a signature from our experiences here on the ground, the wind not only cold, but very erratic, hard to just brace our equipment, ourselves against this wind.
And now the debris continues to fly around here. The water that has overtopped the boardwalk here, it is not going to drain very quickly. Even though they have prepared for that, it's going to be here for quite some time.
COOPER: We have again the Atlantic City mayor, Lorenzo Langford, joining us on the phone.
Mr. Mayor, I'm sorry we lost contact with you before.
Governor Christie was critical of some of the decisions you made earlier. I'm wondering if you want to respond to what he said. He was critical of some people still being encouraged to go shelter in place.
LORENZO LANGFORD, MAYOR OF ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY: Let me just say this.
Obviously, the governor is ill-advised and misinformed. This is not the time. I do not wish to engage the governor in a verbal joust. There will be plenty of time for finger-pointing and Monday-morning quarterbacking.
Right now, my focus is where it should be, is with the residents of Atlantic city, making sure that all of the resources that we have in the city of Atlantic City are made available to them and that we get them to a safe place and keep them as safe as we possibly can until this thing is over with. COOPER: Mr. Mayor, we have been hearing from the from New York and also tonight from the mayor in Newark their 911 calls have been skyrocketing, and some people calling unnecessarily. I'm wondering, are you having similar problems in Atlantic City?
LANGFORD: I'm sorry, would you repeat that, please? You're kind of breaking up.
In New York and Newark, they're having problems with too many people calling 911, some of them not even for emergencies. Are you facing that problem right now?
LANGFORD: No, I have not been given any information in that regard. I cannot say that we're experiencing that kind of problem in the city of Atlantic City.
What's your number one concern right now? What are you watching the most closely?
LANGFORD: Well, right now, we're keeping our fingers crossed and we're staying prayerful.
The safety of our residents, we don't want to experience any loss of life. We don't want to experience any injuries. And so we're just doing all that we can to keep people out of harm's way and to keep them as safe as we possibly can.
COOPER: Well, Mr. Mayor, I appreciate your time tonight. We will let you go. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Our best to all the people in Atlantic City.
We're going to take a short break. We will talk to Chad Myers to get an overview of where this storm is and how much longer the worst of it is going to be in this area. We will be right back.
COOPER: Hey. Welcome back to our continuing coverage.
We're coming to you live now from Asbury Park, where the rain really has died down significantly, but we're still seeing a lot of wind swirling around. And although it's dark here because really we have lost power in most of the area, the entire region of the flag poles, it is just covered in water.
We're about two blocks from the boardwalk. And it is impossible to even get to the boardwalk at this point. It's really just all water as far as the eye can see. We're going to go to Chad Myers in just a moment. But I want to show you a picture of a Hoboken, I believe it's the path subway stop PATH train station, just a still shot of water pouring down into. We're hearing that not only out in Hoboken, but obviously in Lower Manhattan as well. We have also heard about water in Battery tunnels in New York.
And again we believe all the tunnels into New York are shut down. I had heard conflicting information about the Lincoln Tunnel. But I know for a fact all the other tunnels are certainly shut down. I would assume the Lincoln Tunnel is as well and obviously all those bridges.
Chad Myers joining us now from the Severe Weather Center.
Chad, if you could, just try to give us an overview, big picture of where this thing is and how much longer it's going to be like it is.
MYERS: Not that far from Philadelphia, which would be the eye or the center of this storm, still 80 miles per hour somewhere in that center, and also a very big wind gust far away from the center as well.
You are right about there. And you are seeing another big area of squall, right there, that squall line going to come right through you and really increase your winds in about 20 or 30 minutes.
We will have to watch that with the satellite truck as those winds increase significantly. Let's just pan out and give you kind of a bird's-eye view of what's going on. Back out to the west, winds were gusting to 66 miles per hour in Cleveland.
It's snowing in West Virginia and also into Virginia. We will kind of pan you across here to kind of take you all the way down to Virginia. Seeing winds in Richmond over 60. Same story here in the Delmarva, with winds blowing offshore here, onshore here.
The wind finally now calming down a little bit on eastern Long Island. But we still have very big squalls moving into parts of southern Vermont and New Hampshire. This is far from over. We're still 48 hours from being over. Right now, what's kind of over is the flooding in Battery Park. Still very high. Don't get me wrong. It's way over flood stage.
But, Anderson, what we're seeing now is that the low tide beginning to come in. The high tide is over. Low tide starting to go out. The water level is going down. It is still three feet above any record stage we have seen before, so the flooding is still occurring.
There's an awful lot of water going down in the subways, down in the tunnels, as we said. We have also heard from the MTA that said we can pump out millions of gallons of water even on a dry day when it rains. So they're trying to keep up with getting -- keeping the water out. Water coming in, water's going out. It just depends on who is going to wins this battle and that's always the case when you have water coming into a big city like we have here.
COOPER: So, Chad, that's certainly good news.
I'm here with Rob Marciano.
And, Rob, jump in any time you want. But that certainly sounds like it's goods news that because the tide is going out, water levels are going down. Have we seen the peak of flooding in Lower Manhattan?
MYERS: It appears so. It appears that that peak, that 13.88, which is now going to be our new record, our old record was 10.2, so we're way above 10.2. It looks like that water will begin to recede.
It will recede all the way to the bottom of the low tide. And then it may go back up again in the top part of the high tide, which is still coming up. We have two cycles every day. So here we go. We will have to see what happens at this point in time. The next cycle will be the higher -- this is a very high tide system, because it is a full moon.
And with a full moon on one side and sun on the other, you get the higher tides. That's what we have. Not only do we have a huge hurricane running onshore in New Jersey. We have had the high tides with the super high tides with the moon as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Rob, I'm wondering, just -- you have covered a lot of these things. We have covered a lot of them together. How does it compare?
MARCIANO: I have had a hard time today trying to put any context and relate it to something I have seen before. And it's just -- it's hard to put into words.
COOPER: Because it's a strange combination of things?
MARCIANO: It's a strange combination.
We saw that on the weather maps for the past five days. But I also felt it on the ground, experiencing the storm and then seeing the reports coming in and seeing and hearing reports coming in. It's just phenomenal to me what's been going on.
I'm hearing in my ear now that we're going -- you're going to see some pictures of Lower Manhattan.
COOPER: Yes. I want to check in with Doug, our producer, our CNN producer, who is in Lower Manhattan.
Doug, if you can, kind of give an overview of what you're seeing from that vantage point in Lower Manhattan.
DOUG GANLEY, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, I live down here on 10 (INAUDIBLE) street. And my apartment is on the 44th floor, so I have got this fantastic view (INAUDIBLE) here.
It's just pure blackness across -- all the way up -- Times Square. (INAUDIBLE) I'm right next to the World Trade Center Memorial. You can see floodwaters have come up past the West Side Highway to about (INAUDIBLE) street.
And I'm sure that -- those waters are going down into the Lower Manhattan PATH station as well. And I'm just a few blocks -- actually near Ashleigh Banfield. I'm right in that same vicinity. And the floodwaters, from what I can see, haven't really declined from that area.
Yes, it's just an eerie situation. The only things that have light left tend to be the ones actually right around the 9/11 Memorial. The Freedom Tower, the new World Trade Center, did have power for an extended period and that's all dark now, and just scattered bits and pieces of light here and there. It's just an eerie sensation being down here.
COOPER: Hey, Doug, there were earlier reports that the New York Stock Exchange had taken on some three feet of water. I have just been told that those reports are not true.
Just want to emphasize those reports are not true, from all the information we have, that the New York Stock Exchange did not take on three feet of water. But obviously there are problems elsewhere in Lower Manhattan.
Ashleigh Banfield is joining us now from that area as well.
Again, Ashleigh, just in case you didn't hear that, the New York Stock Exchange has not taken on three feet of water. I guess there were some reports out there earlier that that had happened.
BANFIELD: We have seen those reports. We didn't report them. And sure enough, they didn't come true.
But here's something remarkable, Anderson. I have seen the edge of this boardwalk again. This water is receding before our very eyes. I want to just walk up to you. About 10 minutes ago, this was still ankle-deep. I'm going to walk right up to the staircase. Five minutes ago, it was right up to here. And check this out.
So that is a solid foot-and-a-half to two feet that receded in just 15 minutes. When Chad said this tide is going out, tide is going out. And here's another bizarre thing, Anderson. It was so much windier and so much more brisk and difficult to report five, six hours ago than it is now.
I did talk to Chad about that earlier and he said, don't get too confident. But it is remarkable the difference and how quickly this water's going away.
COOPER: Well, that is certainly more good news.
And, again, the situation here in Asbury Park, that we're still having heavy winds and water still -- the rain has really died down. And the wind must have died down because we're able to be on air and we have our satellite truck up and get the image out, whereas in the 8:00 hour, basically did most of the program on the phone. MARCIANO: Well, it's made landfall. So, some of its energy will be sapped from that. But again this is now more of a winter storm. And it's going to have energy beyond landfall.
We can be encouraged by the slight decreasing wind. We can be encouraged by the non-rise, no longer rise in the water levels. But we have still got a row to hoe.
COOPER: Yes, a lot of days ahead.
We're going to take another break. Our coverage continues in a moment.
COOPER: Hey. Welcome back.
We're reporting from Asbury Park. I'm here with CNN's Rob Marciano.
I want to take a look at images that were recorded earlier, a transformer blowing in the Lower East Side.
I want to bring in Chad Myers.
Chad, kind of tell us what we're seeing, because we have seen a lot of transformer blow. We have seen a lot of them blow here in Asbury Park. I can't see the video. What are we showing?
MYERS: Well, it looks like -- obviously water and electricity don't mix, and especially saltwater and electricity don't mix.
But it's that color, it's that glow, it's the color that you would see when a tornado would roll through and knock down a transformer or a power line. And, Rob, I know you know that color. You have seen enough power lines come down. It's that power line flash that is just so reminiscent of wires coming apart and electricity getting out and through the air and those lights sparking in that color. It's an eerie color.
COOPER: Yes. And I'm told there have been so far 10 confirmed deaths in the United States. We know there were more deaths obviously in Cuba, Jamaica, also in Haiti before the storm even arrived in the U.S., but so far, 10 confirmed deaths, I know one in Queens.
A person, a man was hit with -- I believe the earlier report by a falling tree. No doubt in daylight, we will know a lot more in terms of the total number of deaths related to the storm, also injuries, and also property damage.
MARCIANO: Sadly, with a storm of this magnitude, that's just going to happen.
And no matter how diligent and careful people are, a storm of this strength and size, you're just going to have that, unfortunately.
COOPER: Yes. MARCIANO: And what has happened down in Atlantic City, too, has been incredible, the boardwalk down there, and the reports that Ali Velshi has been doing all day long have been remarkable.
COOPER: They have been.
Let's check in with him.
Ali, we talked to the mayor a short time ago. He didn't want to respond to what Governor Christie had said about him. Obviously, he was saying this is not a time to be pointing fingers. But the situation in Atlantic City, are you seeing any of that water that you have been in the midst of all day long? Are you seeing any of it recede?
VELSHI: Not receding. It's not getting higher. I have been coming out every 10 or 15 minutes. The water has been a little bit higher. It is not higher than it was the last time I talked to you a few minutes ago.
I will say it is substantially choppier. Now it not feels like I'm standing in an intersection in downtown Atlantic City. It feels like I'm standing 100 feet into the ocean.
These are real waves coming along. You can see them bowing behind me. It's picked up. The wind has picked up significantly. I saw a transformer blow a few minutes ago a little bit to the north of here. There's a lot more wind activity.
We had about two hours of calm here, where we could actually see the sky. We don't now. We have got full cover. We're not getting a lot of rain here. And it does not seem like the water levels are going up. But it is still very windy, very cold, nobody on the streets, even fewer official cars like fire department and police department.
People are home. This city is under official curfew. Very interesting conversation you had with the mayor. He had some sharp words for Chris Christie, who had some sharp words for him earlier in the evening about whether people should have left or stayed as it got worse in Atlantic City.
But I have to tell you, since 3:00 this afternoon, it got pretty dicey about people leaving if they hadn't left yet. So the mayor did tell people, if you hadn't left yet, stay in your houses, get to high ground. Chris Christie says, if you have emergencies in these shore cities, stay in your house. Unless it's something you need 911 for, don't call. We're not going to get to you until morning.
So I have seen utility crews around here. As I said, we did see a transformer blow. This area that we're in right now has no electricity. It went out a few hours ago. But you can see behind me you can still -- you can still see the boardwalk lit up. So, the grid on that side is working.
But -- but Chad can tell you the wind has picked up here quite a bit in the last half-an-hour, Anderson. COOPER: About how far are you from the boardwalk right now, Ali?
VELSHI: All right. So if you can see the lights behind me, the traffic lights, the red lights -- hold on. The traffic lights behind me, probably 3/4 of a mile. That's the end of the road. That's where the hotels are. Bali's is right there. Caesar's is right there and the boardwalk is right behind them. So we're less than a mile right behind me, right east to the boardwalk.
And I was in the boardwalk earlier. No real damage. I know there was about 50 feet of boardwalk that had been ripped up a little bit. Nothing serious. As of a few hours ago, the boardwalk was fine, but very heavy waves coming up against the piers. And of course, they seem to have overtopped them, because what I've got all around me in the water, which has been clear water all day, is now a lot of vegetation, a lot of debris, a lot of junk around me.
So it's blown over. It's probably toppled a lot of stuff. And I'm going to move in a little closer before it topples me.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Ali is probably describing a scene that's echoed up and down the Jersey shore right now, where you have board walks, you have protective barrier islands that have been breached. And some of that water matches up with that and some lakes and some rivers, and that's going to be very difficult to drain, Ali. So this choppy water that you're surrounded by, it's probably going to be there for some time.
COOPER: And Ali, do you have any sense of how far the water goes inland?
VELSHI: No, I don't. I can't tell -- I know when we drive -- drove into Atlantic City, several hours ago, it looked like we were within an hour of -- looked like we were about within an hour of topping the road that came in, the Atlantic Parkway, Atlantic City Expressway. So that must have been covered a while ago.
A little bit of high land in downtown. That's where we parked our vehicles. My camera that's shooting this is parked on a little bit of dry land. Probably about three feet higher than where I am right now. But everything downtown has just got the ocean running all over it. There's no -- there's no dry land between here and the -- and the ocean at all.
COOPER: Well, Ali, you stay safe. It's getting bad out there. Stay safe. We'll come back to you when we can.
Let's check in with the governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley.
Governor O'Malley, I appreciate you joining us. I know you've been extraordinarily busy. How are things in your state?
GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY, MARYLAND (via phone): Well, we -- we seem to be right in the middle of this thing, Anderson. Ocean City is getting slammed right now. We have power outages that are climbing to above 300,000 people without power, and we expect that to go up to a million. And it's the sound of trees cracking all over Maryland, becomes the sound of this dark and stormy evening.
We've had some -- some inundated areas inside the bay. And we'll be watching for that tidal flooding. Phenomenal amount of rain. In Somerset County, almost 13 inches of rain. And so it's been a -- it's been a rough day, and we expect a rougher night.
COOPER: I assume it's too dangerous right now to have emergency crews out there. Is everybody just kind of staying in for now?
O'MALLEY: Yes. For the most part. I mean, in some areas of the -- we leave that call to the local first responders. But in most areas, yes, the sort of rescue and emergency operations, you know, will have to suspend until the wind dies down, because it's just too dangerous to be out there.
You know, there are exceptions to that rule, but in terms of any sort of big operations, this is hunker down time. And most everybody is just trying to stay safe and weather this thing. And until the winds start to die down tomorrow.
COOPER: Well, Governor, I wish you and the people of Maryland the best, and thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight. We wish you well. We're going to take a quick break. We'll have more of this super storm now. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There are still people in Asbury Park. There's some higher -- higher elevations, higher areas -- whoa, there we go. Higher areas. We were actually able to get some pizza at a restaurant that was open a little bit earlier.
Look at this. This entire area as we turn over here, I mean, this is about seven or eight feet of this sea foam stuff. It looks like it's snowing almost.
Never seen anything like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that situation changed very fast. We're now live in Asbury Park. We're about -- probably about 1,000 feet or so from the boardwalk, about two blocks or so from the boardwalk where we shot that hours ago, just as it was starting to get dark.
What changed about an hour after we shot that is basically those -- the boardwalk was completely breached by water. And water covering this entire two-block area. We're now basically surrounded by water. It was about waist high earlier. We haven't gone out there in quite some time, because there's a lot of debris being whipped around in this wind, a lot of debris just circling around. A lot of beer cans. We've seen aluminum siding and the like. It's getting pretty dangerous out there. So Rob Marciano and I are kind of basically -- we're all between these two SUVs, which we feel is a pretty good safe location. Also, we're very close to a building we can run into if necessary.
A lot happening on the island of Manhattan to bring you up to date on. We've seen flooding on the FDR Drive on the East Side, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We've seen flooding in a number of subway stations, as well. Water pouring down. Water in the Battery Park Tunnel.
We're told all tunnels are closed, except for the Lincoln Tunnel. The Lincoln Tunnel last report I had is still open. Bridges are obviously shut down, as well.
Let's check in with our producer, Rose Arce, who is in the area near sort of West Village Meat Packing District. Rose, where are you exactly and what are you seeing?
ROSE ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: I'm in the Meat Packing District, which is sort of on the west side near the Hudson River. And if you look at an old map of Manhattan, you'd see that there's about two blocks of Manhattan, including the highway, all the way from Battery Park to the Upper West Side, that used to be beachfront. And it's been reclaimed as landfall, through Battery Park City and along the West Village.
Well, it's almost as if the Hudson River has decided to reclaim what the city took. The water has overflowed its banks of the Hudson River. It's gone through the waterfront park, crossed over the highway and come two blocks inland to stop. It's almost as if, like, there was a beachfront there now.
There's cars that are partially submerged. There's trees that are down on top of cars. You earlier today had some people going around outside, just kind of playing in the wind. And now it's completely dark. There's absolutely nobody outside.
The police a little bit earlier were driving up and down the streets where the water comes up to, and had bull horns telling people if you're on the first floor, you should get out, you should evacuate, you should move to higher ground. And that's when most people scrambled.
COOPER: Rose, do you have any idea how far the water goes from the Hudson eastward?
ARCE: It comes up about, I'd say, a few blocks, almost two blocks, depending where you: some places a little more, some places a little bit less. The basement situation is very, very bad. I mean, really, right now, the wind has died down quite a bit, and the water's just sitting there. So you have this sense that maybe it's over. You see the water start to recede a little bit.
But when you go into the basements of some of these buildings, they're completely flooded. And because the power is out, there's no way to pump the water out. So actually, when you talk to some of the building owners around here, they're much more concerned now than they were when the water first rushed in, because now they're maybe looking at hours of several feet of water in their basement. And a lot of these old buildings have boilers in the basement. That's where the power grid is. That's where the phone lines are. It causes quite a bit of damage.
COOPER: Right. Rose, stay safe. Thank you for your report. We'll continue to check in with you.
I want to go to the mayor of Hoboken, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who we talked to earlier.
Mayor, it's Anderson Cooper and Rob Marciano here in Asbury Park. We talked to you about two hours ago. You were very concerned about water pouring over from the Hudson. What are you seeing now in Hoboken? Is the water still coming or is it starting to recede at all is this.
DAWN ZIMMER, MAYOR OF HOBOKEN (via phone): Unfortunately it's still coming up. We're filling up like a bathtub here in Hoboken. It's like I talked to you about before, it's the north end of Hoboken and south end of Hoboken.
We've still got four live wires. And we can't -- PSE&G cannot get into our city. We've got -- we just put out one fire, but we've got calls for -- you know, concerns from residents of fires in other buildings. And we literally cannot get to them. We've called in the National Guard, hoping they can get here as soon as possible.
You know, another fire department was trying to come in and help us, and they, too, cannot get into our city right now. So all entrances to Hoboken are blocked, except for, you know, the vehicles that the National Guard. Deuce and a quarter is what we're looking for here in Hoboken to make sure that we can get to our residents and make sure that they're safe.
So the big concern right now is making sure that people stay inside. Like I said, we've got four potentially live wires in floodwaters. And really, you know, right now, there's nothing that we can do about it. We can't get PSE&G in here. So we're extremely concerned about anyone walking out and possibly going into those floodwaters.
Really concerned about people on the street level apartments. And hopefully they have gone, you know, up to their neighbors, and they're out of -- you know, there's a lot of apartments, I'm sure, that are flooded right now. Just because of, again, the Hudson River has breached the city of Hoboken from the north end and also from the south end.
So we're hunkering down.
COOPER: And we're seeing...
ZIMMER: I'm sorry?
COOPER: We're seeing -- we're seeing a still photo of water pouring into a PATH train. Do you have any sense of how much water is already in the train system there, in the PATH system in Hoboken?
ZIMMER: I don't know how much. I mean, I can tell you that, looking at the other streets, you know, I'm sure it's quite a bit. But I'm really not sure, you know, what those levels are.
But, you know, we knew this morning that, I mean, the waters came up to the PATH train. And it didn't go in this morning. But, you know, we were expecting that it would go in. So I can't tell you exactly what the -- what the levels are right now. But I imagine it's pretty significant, given that probably half of Hoboken is flooded right now as the Hudson River comes in at the north and the south end of our city.
MARCIANO: Mayor, can you tell us, like Manhattan, just how much of your infrastructure is submerged, is being flooded right now? How much of that flooding is going to affect the infrastructure of Hoboken come tomorrow and later this week?
ZIMMER: Well, I mean, I'd say, like I said, it's probably half of the city is flooded right now. We had to evacuate two of our fire stations. We evacuated our municipal garage.
So city hall is not flooded right now, and we do have other operating fire stations. But, you know, it's hitting -- we're a small town of 50,000 people, and it's hard -- it's hitting us right now. And we're really concerned about the safety of residents at this time. So...
COOPER: And the word, as you said, Mayor, is just stay where you are, stay in place. Mayor Zimmer, again, I appreciate your time tonight. I know you're incredibly busy. It's going to be a long night for a lot of the residents there, and throughout the area, especially also Lower Manhattan.
I want to check in with Jason Carroll is in, I think, Lindenhurst, Long Island, where he has seen a lot of flooding and people who have decided to stay in place, basically trying to leave after an hour or two of seeing the water rising.
Jason, how is it there now? Is the water -- are you seeing anything receding at all?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still waiting for the water to recede. It certainly hasn't happened yet. I'm sure it will happen, albeit it will happen slowly.
The Montauk Highway, where you can still see emergency vehicles have made their way through here. They've blocked off the other end, just about a half mile down, Anderson, because this whole section of Montauk Highway is just flooded out.
And not only are they dealing with flooding here, but fires as well. Just within the past hour, as we were talking to you, fire broke out just to our right. Too dark to see now. Emergency crews, a volunteer fire force, was able to get out there, put that fire out. We're told at least five fires in this area just tonight.
And I can tell you, Anderson, just from being in Lindenhurst throughout the day, I can tell you that it's got to be dozens of homes that are experiencing flooding.
Earlier tonight, we just ran into some of the residents who made a decision at the very last minute to finally get out of Dodge, so to speak. They said that their home had just become too flooded. So I think by tomorrow morning, we're going to see a lot of extensive flood damage in Lindenhurst -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Jason, stay safe. We'll take another break. More of our coverage from Asbury Park, in Manhattan and Long Island and all over this region. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this storm, Sandy. Let's check in again with Ali Velshi in Atlantic City, where we've seen all day long Ali getting pelted by the wind and rain.
And Ali, it seems pretty much not that much change for you over the last two hours or so.
VELSHI: No. The winds -- we've got gusts. You can see them in the back of the shot every few seconds. There are gusts pulling through here.
The sustained winds don't seem terribly strong, but every now and then something blows through, which I'm now sort of anchored to something. I'm holding on, just in case a gust comes through.
It's seawater. Yes, it seems to be around the same place it was when I talked to you about 15 minutes ago. So it doesn't seem to be rising. But we definitely did get the back end of the storm within the last hour.
Prior to that, we had a couple of hours where it was calmer. We were at the center of the storm as Jason was getting pelted, as you guys were getting pelted and Ashleigh Banfield and Aaron.
Now, it looks like we are probably seeing, I guess, the back end. And we're probably halfway through that right now. It's not as strong as it's been.
But there are these remarkable gusts. Like I said, I saw a transformer go a little while ago. You can see from the vegetation in the water here that clearly we've overtopped the barriers on the ocean which is just down the road there. You can see the lights at the end of the road as far as you can see. There's a traffic light that's changing from red. It's red right now.
Just beyond that is the ocean. So the ocean has come over. We're in downtown Atlantic City. It is definitely fully flooded. There are some high points in the city, but we're at least a mile in. And that much of the city is flooded. So nobody moving around here. There is a full curfew in effect. If you're on the streets, you're in breach of the law. Can't go anywhere. They are asking people, again, you know, wait until morning. If you've got any big problems, that's when rescue crews will be out. That's when the electrical crews will be out. F
IPAD or the moment, you've just got to sit down and deal with these gusts. We've got another one coming in right now, Anderson.
COOPER: I want to bring in our Rob Marciano. Rob, there's still a lot of areas that we haven't heard from. We don't know about -- I have a house out in West Hampton clog area. I saw this afternoon some pictures of extensive flooding there. But again, we don't know the damage.
MARCIANO: You know, we can look to history. And one storm that we compared this to is 1992, a big Nor'easter then that flooded parts of Battery Park, that flooded parts of FDR Drive, that flooded parts of the -- the runways.
So you would think that we're going to see some people we haven't heard from on Long Island, lower parts of Westchester County, right along Long Island Sound where they are probably seeing some tremendous storm surge there and likely some damage.
Those are the places tomorrow morning when the sun comes up that we start to get reports in, that I think we're going to see this expand further.
COOPER: The flooding we know, the Newark airport is shut down, Kennedy Airport is shut down as well. As we said, flooding on two runways out at LaGuardia.
Let's check in with Chad Myers. He's got an overview of where this thing is right now. Chad, what are you going to be watching closely over the next couple of hours?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, the last advisory for this hurricane, now super storm Sandy, is in. And it's down to 75 miles per hour. So technically still hurricane-force winds. But because the storm does not have an eye, it's not in the water, it's no longer a hurricane. It's actually a cold storm, cold enough to make an awful lot of snow in West Virginia, Virginia, all the way down to Tennessee and even the North Carolina mountains.
A lot of wind as far west as Cleveland at 66 miles per hour. But some of the other obviously bigger numbers were farther off to the east. The biggest number, Mount Washington, New Hampshire. You'd expect that. Very high peak there in New Hampshire. One hundred thirty-six miles per hour.
Sandy Hook, not that far from where you are right now, 87. And Surf City, New Jersey, at 89-mile-per-hour wind gusts.
The biggest number when it comes to rainfall was Wildwood. That's only about 15 miles from where Ali Velshi is. That was 11.62 inches of rainfall there.
The rain continues to blow water here. It continues. Depending on where your high tide is, you will continue to go up to high tide. And then begin to go down.
And we know this. We even know this where, at the battery, that the winds have calmed down just a few miles per hour, but the tide is going out. And so that number was 13.88 feet. You see that, 13.88, now down to 12.27.
So as Ashleigh Banfield showed you, and I can prove to you, it's down a foot and a half from where it was now. Now, that's still, even at this point, this is still two feet above anyplace else it ever was in history, even with Hurricane Dawn -- Anderson.
COOPER: And so Chad, tomorrow, there's going to be folks that are finally going to get some rest tonight. And they're going to wonder what they're going to wake up to tomorrow, in terms of wind speed, in terms of rain, in terms of water on the ground. What will you tell them?
MYERS: You're still going to have winds to 60 miles per hour throughout this storm. We're talking for another 36 hours, there will be 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts all over the northeast. Because there's a high pressure here. It's what pushed down the cold air with the low behind here. That's what's making the snow here.
Snow coming down. Blizzard warnings for this snow. Not only four feet of snow in some spots. Maybe more. We will have that blizzard warning, blowing that snow around. And then now, with saturated ground, trees still falling, one after the other. And wind gusts of 60. The ground saturated, power lines still coming down. And the number of power lists people -- people without power will be going up way past where we are right now.
COOPER: And we have ten confirmed deaths that we know about in the United States from this storm. We've got to take a short break. Our coverage continues in a moment. Be right back.