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THE SITUATION ROOM
Hurricane Sandy Pounds East Coast; Detailing the Expected Storm Surge; View of Hurricane from Atlantic City; Missing Bounty Crew Member Found; Residents Refuse to Evacuate
Aired October 29, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news this hour: Hurricane Sandy, closing in on southern New Jersey, will make landfall very, very soon. The impact and the dangers stretch far beyond, though.
Some 60 million people in the United States are going to feel the storm's impact; 23 states are under wind warnings or advisories right now. We have deployed all of our breaking news resources. CNN correspondents are in key locations across the Northeast part of the United States. Many of them are out in the storm. They're bringing us the story as it unfolds.
Let's begin with our own severe weather expert, our meteorologist Chad Myers. He is tracking Sandy from the CNN Hurricane Center in Atlanta.
Chad, what's the latest?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Very close to Cape May, New Jersey, right now, Wolf.
And what is happening as it gets closer to land or really makes landfall very, very soon is that the wind direction's about to change. About to change for our reporters and about to change for New York City. And when that wind shifts because it's on this side of the eye, rather than this, what they have had all day, that means that water's going to start to surge into New York Harbor.
That surge is going to get in to Long Island Sound. We're already seeing up near Kings Point, not that far from La Guardia, numbers nine and eight feet above where we should be and we're at low tide. Another five feet to go on top of that and maybe more surge. You start to push the water from where Lady Liberty is, that's New York Harbor, you start to push that up the East River and then you start to push the water down the East River from the Long Island Sound and that clash, that crashing of water will only lead to, I mean, extensive flooding there from Queens and Brooklyn and then on the East Side of Manhattan as that water has nowhere to go but up -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's continuing. It's not just going to continue for a few hours, I should say, Chad. It will continue, this disaster, for a few days.
MYERS: That's correct. And even though it picked up speed -- we talked to Dr. Knabb from the Hurricane Center. Yes, it will come onshore rather quickly tonight. And that will affect Wilmington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C., where your highest winds will be before midnight or even at midnight.
And the ground is very wet. It's been raining all day. Trees will begin to come down with wind gusts at least 80 miles per hour. And then, Wolf, it literally stops. It doesn't go anywhere for the next 24 hours and that rain will continue. And in some spots on the backside the snow will continue.
We will easily have four feet of snow in some of these spots and all of the way through here, parts of Virginia and West Virginia, not only snow, but because there's wind, there are blizzard warnings going on. It's just an incredible length and breadth of this storm. You could see sleet, you could see rain, you could see obviously the wind any time the storms come through. And if you're on the backside, you know, Ohio, maybe western Pennsylvania, you will see snow -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by, Chad.
I want to go New Jersey right now facing a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy. Ali Velshi is standing by in Atlantic City. We want to go to him in a moment, but let's begin with Asbury Park, also New Jersey, CNN's Anderson Cooper is there.
Anderson, you have seen plenty of these storms. How does this one at least so far compare?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I have to say, Wolf, it's really not as strong in terms of categories that we have seen. We have seen Cat 2, Cat 3, Cat 4 storms and the whole country has watched that as well.
I think some folks maybe in some other parts of the country who have been through some storms that have higher wind speeds are going to be saying it's not so bad, but I think for people who have not been through one of these storms, it certainly is a very serious situation.
Here in Asbury Park, this is obviously along the coast. It's a mandatory evacuation area and there's still electricity, still power in this area. And most of the hotels along the boardwalk, everything is boarded up. You don't see people now kind of wandering around which we did see earlier in the day, but as you say it's supposed to make landfall here about maybe an hour or so from now further south somewhere between Atlantic City and Cape May, New Jersey.
But in Asbury Park here, the water along the boardwalk, the ocean has been just eating away, eroding the beach. For the first time, just about 10 minutes ago, we saw water actually going over the boardwalk, going out on the road which goes by the boardwalk. We will walk down there in just a little bit. It's a serious situation here.
But again, I think it's more the length with which this storm will stay over this area and the amount of the lengthy sustained winds are going to be blowing for, bringing a lot of that surge, a lot of that flooding in. I think we have really just begun to see it here, Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson's going to have more obviously coming up on his show 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Anderson, thanks very much. Kate Bolduan is here. She's helping us cover the disaster as well, Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's amazing, just the size of this thing.
Let's stay in New Jersey for a moment, where CNN's Ali Velshi, he's in Atlantic City.
Ali, we have been coming to you throughout the hours and you have been blown around quite a bit. What are you seeing now? I understand the citywide curfew has just set in. Yes?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Curfew is under way right now.
You are not to be on the streets of Atlantic City. It is against the law now. There's a complete travel ban. If you are not an emergency crew, you're not covering this, you see this emergency vehicle coming up next to me, that's all we are seeing. National Guard just drove by. They're enforcing this curfew.
If anybody's in their houses now, got some conflicting information in New Jersey. Obviously, at this point, nobody should be moving, but the governor of New Jersey just moments ago on your show was saying he's disappointed that some people didn't take that warning too seriously.
The river -- the river -- the street I'm on, look at it. It's a river. It's absolutely a river right now all of the way down the street. All major electrical power is out in this part of New Jersey. The lights you're seeing are auxiliary. There is a green light all the way down the street, just turned yellow. That is where the ocean starts. The ocean is just beyond that.
That's the Atlantic City boardwalk. The winds have picked up dramatically in the last 20 minutes or so since I have talked to you. All I'm seeing now are emergency vehicles, police vehicles and National Guard as well as utilities who are out here making sure there's nobody on the streets.
I just saw a truck, a pickup truck about half-an-hour ago in the back of the -- in the open back of the pickup truck were parents and two very young children. They were not even wearing anything protective. Obviously, they're being rescued. But Chris Christie, the mayor of New Jersey, says, if you're not out now, hunker down. We are not getting you until first light in the morning.
The flooding is getting worse and worse with every minute I'm standing here. We are standing about seven feet above sea level. The water's probably about a foot up now. We're expecting the crest to be nine- and-a-half feet, the surge to be nine-and-a-half feet, which means we're probably going to get another foot-and-a-half of water. Anything below ground level in Atlantic City is going to get flooded. It is unbelievable now to just watch where -- look down the street, the intersection. It is just all water all around me right now in Atlantic City -- Kate. BOLDUAN: Ali, no surprise, it's getting harder and harder to hear you as the winds it sounds like, just the sustained winds are stronger and stronger.
As you have been out there for hours now, what is the biggest difference? Is it just the fact it's now not gusting as much? It's stronger sustained winds you are dealing with?
VELSHI: Yes. That's absolutely right. It's sustained wind. We're getting small breaks from it, but it's sustained. Used to be that we would be getting gusts with big breaks in between. There's far less rain right now than there's been for the last several hours.
The rain is actually relatively light. The wind has picked up quite dramatically. But the biggest change, Kate, is the increase in the level of the water. Just in the last few minutes, it's probably come up another inch or inch-and-a-half. There's a lot of water here. As I said, I'm not far from the ocean.
It's six blocks behind me perhaps. There's water all over the streets of downtown New Jersey, the wind just substantially stronger. But you're right. That's the distinction. It is sustained and it's flooding quite seriously, Kate.
BLITZER: Ali, hold on a minute, because Chad Myers is watching what is going on as well.
Chad, I know you want to ask Ali a question. He is right in the middle of this storm.
MYERS: I do.
BLITZER: It's about to make landfall around Atlantic City in New Jersey. Go ahead, Chad.
MYERS: Ali, as it makes landfall, your winds will shift direction, no longer from the north or the northeast, but from the east. Are you feeling that change yet?
VELSHI: Yes, well, as you mentioned earlier, Chad, one of the important things of where I am in downtown New Jersey, it's unlike much of the rest of this part of the coast. It's quite built up. These are big buildings around me, right? I have got a Sheraton Hotel right next to me.
I have got the Convention Center behind our camera. I have got Bally's over there. We have got Caesars over there. There's an unusual wind tunnel going on around here. The direction of the wind is not as clear as it's been. All it is, is that there's a heavy wind. That's the ocean behind me. That's east. That's north. Right now, I'm just sort of feeling a -- you know, I know you're saying there's not a lot of convection. There's a lot of convection right around me.
MYERS: You mean the wind or you actually mean rain coming out of the sky? VELSHI: No, I actually mean wind. The rain has actually -- it's lightened up quite a bit. There's not a whole lot of rain right now. There's wind and this water is coming up very quickly.
BLITZER: You know, Ali, Kate and I are here and we're watching when's going on. It's now almost 6:10 p.m. on the East Coast. That curfew in Atlantic City has gone in to effect. Do you see anybody out there other than authorities, other than police?
VELSHI: No. You will see -- as I'm standing here, you will see vehicles, and there's one right coming up to the camera now. That's fire department.
Police are here, state police and Atlantic City police, as well as National Guard. Those are the only vehicles we are seeing out here right now. Everybody else is gone. An hour ago, there were a couple of guys doing a little dance in their swimsuits behind me. By the way, they wouldn't be any wetter than I am right now. I might as well just be very little. It's completely soaking.
But, no, that's all gone. That's all over. Everybody's inside and hunkered down.
BOLDUAN: Ali, also, I think one of the biggest difference -- well, there's many big differences of this hurricane vs. others, but also the time of year. It must be freezing out there.
It was a lot colder actually earlier today. It's kind of warmed up. It certainly doesn't feel like a Gulf Coast hurricane where you're not worried about cold. There's a chill. I heard one of the other reporters telling me there's a bit of a chill.
Obviously, being soaking wet doesn't help, but it's colder. And there's a cold air, but it's not as cold as it felt both earlier today and last night. It's not a -- it's not -- you know, it's not a wintry cold, but the combination of the wind and the rain, you know, I will enjoy a hot chocolate a little later on when I get my hands on one.
BLITZER: Yes. You will get some hot chocolate. You will get a lot more than that. All right, guys.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Ali.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Ali and Chad, doing excellent reporting for us.
BLITZER: We have big news about the search of survivors from the sinking of the HMS Bounty. You will find out what happened. That's coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: We are following the breaking news here in the United States. Take a look at this, a partial collapse of a construction crane high above Manhattan. You can see the arm of the crane dangling over West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh.
Wind in New York City about 60 miles per hour when it happened, but it's not clear yet that that was the precise cause of what's going on. Regardless, part of the street has been closed. Several nearby buildings, including a Parker Meridien Hotel, have been evacuated. We are watching New York City very, very closely right now.
Kate Bolduan is checking what's going on. She is outside here in Washington.
But let me go to Brian Todd right now. He's in Rehoboth, Delaware, where he's interviewed the governor.
In Delaware, it's pretty bad as well, Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Wolf. I'm going to show you what they're worried about right now. They're worried about high tide. The second high tide of the day is approaching and the surf here getting much, much more violent. Look at this wave coming in here.
This has been typical for the last couple of hours, the surf coming right up to where I am. They're really worried about beach erosion here and the surf getting much, much closer to the boardwalk and the hotels and businesses around here. They replenished the beach earlier this year. Built the beach out about 300 feet toward the ocean. Right now, they say that's saving these businesses, hotels, residents.
But they're worried that the beach may not hold out and that the boardwalk may become compromised. You mentioned Governor Jack Markell. I spoke with him just a short time ago about what he's worried about for the entire state. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JACK MARKELL (D), DELAWARE: My biggest worry is actually the loss of power, which I think is going to increase significantly over the next several hours, and the fact that it could take a week or more before a lot of people get their power back on.
TODD: What are you being told about that right as far as numbers, as far as just what the storm is doing to power systems?
MARKELL: Well, there are thousands already that are out. It's increased a lot just over the last few hours. And that the fact that this storm is going to stick around, the fact that the winds are so high and the fact that the power companies can't put their own people out in the trucks if it's above 35 miles per hour or so, we will have that 35 miles an hour for a while, so they're not able to repair a lot of power that's down.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: And we can feel that wind picking up right now the governor's so worried about. And it's going to be worse in the overnight hours, storm surge bringing the storm up here and it's also bringing storm surge from the bays and inlets behind us to the west that come up behind the ocean here. So they're getting hit from both sides with storm surge and of course with a lot of rainwater -- Kate, back the you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Brian.
Wolf, I'm standing just a few steps away from you in the cozy studio. We're out here up on the 11th floor and you can just take a look at what we're seeing here in Washington, D.C. The wind is quite gusty. We're fortunately protected on this balcony.
But just a take a look, if we can, Jay McMichael panning around. You can see the flags are absolutely whipping to the point that they're shredding. And it's a really drenching, wet, cold rain that's coming down. Eighth Street below us, very few cars on the road, probably smart at this point. And you can just see sheets of rain gusting through.
The wind is obviously a huge problem and going to be here in the District, as you can see these flags are absolutely shredding and it is not very warm out here as well. Wolf, I will be back in there in a second.
BLITZER: Yes, OK, good. All right, be careful out there. I want all of our reporters outside to be very, very careful. They're experienced. They know what they're doing.
We will take a quick break.
The director of the National Hurricane Center is standing by to update us on what's going on in the United States right now.
BLITZER: Hurricane Sandy's about to make landfall, but that only marks the beginning of a new phase, maybe even a more dangerous phase of this weather disaster. And it will continue to play out over the coming days as Sandy moves inland.
Let's get the latest from the deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, Ed Rappaport, who is joining us.
Ed, thanks very much.
What areas are in most danger in the next hour?
ED RAPPAPORT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: In the next hour, it's actually the same as the next 12 hours, will be the coastline from New Jersey northward over to Connecticut, where we're expecting to see a very high storm surge.
And in fact, at this point, it's already a 10-foot storm surge at Kings Point, seven feet in New Jersey, four feet in Delaware. And some of these surges are not occurring at high tide, which will be coming in a few more hours. So the absolute level of the water will be increasing even further there.
BLITZER: We know that this storm is already deadly in the Caribbean. What do we expect here in the United States?
RAPPAPORT: Again, for the next 12 to 24 hours, our most serious concern will be the storm surge along the coast. After that, after the center moves inland and most of the weather begins to clear the coast, then we have considerable concern for very heavy and prolonged rainfall, which will cause flooding inland pretty much in this area of Pennsylvania on down through New Jersey again. We're looking for as much as 10 inches there and again serious flooding.
BLITZER: And serious winds.
Kate Bolduan is here with us. She has a question for you, Ed, as well.
BOLDUAN: I think the biggest question right now is for many residents watching as they hopefully still have power is what's your best advice? Because as the hours continue, many people will think that the danger passed and they can probably go along their evening and their daily lives.
What's the best advice you have as I'm still feeling these gusts? I'm standing outside on our balcony here at CNN. What's the best advice you have for residents?
RAPPAPORT: Really, there are two different issues again.
One is if you're on the coast. If you're on the coast, the center is just now coming ashore. That's this blue area here. So we're not even quite at the halfway point for those on the coast. The biggest risk again is going to be just north of where the center is, as we mentioned, for the very high storm surge with waves on top.
The other risk is going to be for those people who are further inland. We don't want to forget about that where there will be freshwater flooding from the heavy rain. But that's going to be the mainly over the next day or two, whereas the coastal effects will be the next 12 to 24 hours.
BLITZER: Ed Rappaport, we will stay in close touch with you. Thanks very much. Thanks for all the good work that the National Hurricane Center is doing as well.
We're going to New Jersey, where the high water and the winds are dramatic. Stay with us.
BLITZER: It's a monstrous storm which has brutally pounded much of the Eastern Seaboard. Now Hurricane Sandy is about to come ashore, New Jersey facing a direct hit. Parts of Atlantic City already way underwater, but the storm force winds extend almost 1,000 miles. Some coastal towns have been evacuated. Major cities are virtually shut down. Atlantic City has a curfew. New York City is bracing for a major blow as well, which could include disastrous flooding.
More than 1.5 million customers are now without power in 11 states. That number expected to soar in the coming hours, indeed in the coming days.
Hurricane Sandy is just off Atlantic City in New Jersey right now. People there are feeling the impact.
Joining us now is Montgomery Dahm. He owns a restaurant attached to the Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic City.
Tell us what's going on, Monty, right now.
MONTGOMERY DAHM, RESTAURANT OWNER: Well, right now, we are getting a little bit -- well, a lot a bit of flooding next to the convention center and up the steps to my restaurant, the Tun Tavern.
It's getting very bad right now. So, it looks like the storm surge has come in now.
BLITZER: And this is video that you sent us, Monty, that we are showing our viewers right now. Give us a little sense of how this has evolved over the past few hours.
DAHM: Well, earlier this morning, you know, we had -- the water just did not leave. And it just stayed there.
And when we got the high tide -- I'm not seeing the pictures now, but when we got the high tide, it was just tremendous. It -- you know, we had about three-and-a-half to four feet of water in my personal house on the harbor.
And, you know, the docks are going to come over the piles, you know, which boats are attached. And that happened already earlier. And, you know, with this new surge and the new high tide, I think it's going to be, you know, 10 times as worse.
BLITZER: Yes. We see your house over there as well.
Kate Bolduan -- Kate Bolduan is us, Monty. She has a question for you as well.
BOLDUAN: Hi there, Monty.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you're calling from your business. Is there flooding there? As a small business owner that is seeing all of this wind, this water and the damage that could be coming your way and has already probably been sustained in many businesses around you, how worried are you? DAHM: Well, I'm very concerned. We're actually open. We're servicing and protecting the Sheraton like I said and we're open and we're providing services to all the emergency, you know, personnel, all the first responders, Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic City Fire Department. And your news crew, actually.
But it's -- we've lost the electricity. But we were prepared for that. And we already, you know, have heated up food and, you know, we have little burners there. But it's tough. And we have, probably right now, about 150 people in the restaurant, because there's nowhere to go. You can't get out into Atlantic City right now.
BLITZER: Well, there's a curfew. Do you have a generator over there at the restaurant?
DAHM: We have a backup 12-hour generator, but it's limited in our -- in our lights. It's very dark in her.
BLITZER: The only people who are coming to your restaurant right now are emergency personnel, because there's a curfew in place in Atlantic City, and regular civilians, they're not supposed to be on the streets.
DAHM: They're not anywhere. They're in -- hopefully, in their houses or somewhere else.
BLITZER: Have you seen anything like this before, Monty?
DAHM: I've been down here for about 16 years, and it's shocking what I'm looking at now. It's -- it's unbelievable. I mean, there's cars that are -- they're just completely underwater. And some of the places I have never -- would never have believed that there would be water.
BLITZER: Kate has another question. Go ahead, Kate.
BOLDUAN: And I believe my producers told me that your children fortunately evacuated a couple of days ago. Is that right? Did you send them -- send them away?
DAHM: That's correct. My whole family is in a -- in a deeper part of Pennsylvania.
BOLDUAN: My question is, what makes you stay? When you know this is coming, and you know that Atlantic City is now under this curfew and that there's some real damage and it's a massive storm, what is -- what is keeping you there?
DAHM: Well, I think, you know, we have to serve, you know, our men and women, you know, in the line of fire here. We have to support them. And that's what we're trying to do. They're putting their lives on the line for us, so let's help them out. You know? Otherwise they wouldn't be fed, and they're be all on their own. I think I'm the only restaurant open in Atlantic City, like, I would guess. BLITZER: Good luck. And thanks for all the good work you're doing. Montgomery Dom (ph) is joining us from Atlantic City. Thanks for sending us the video, as well.
Meanwhile, a desperate life-or-death drama for the crew of a tall ship used in classic adventure films. The HMS Bounty ran into powerful winds, 18-foot waves that led to a difficult Coast Guard rescue operation. Now there's been a stunning new development.
CNN's George Howell is joining us from Elizabeth City in North Carolina right now.
George, new developments in the last few minutes. What have you learned?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, good evening.
We just got a late briefing here at the U.S. Coast Guard Office. They released the names of the 14 survivors of the HMS Bounty, but they also gave us an update, Wolf, on the two crew members who'd been unaccounted for.
We know that 42-year-old Claudine Christian within the last few hours was recovered from the Atlantic and is currently being rushed to the hospital. Last we've been told from the U.S. Coast Guard, unresponsive. And right now, there is a search that continues for Robin Walbridge. He is the 63-year-old captain of the ship. That search continues out in the Atlantic.
Wolf, when you see the video that we just got from the Coast Guard, you get an idea of exactly what they were dealing with. Again, hovering very low to the ocean, these waves that were crashing to the left and right. Waves that could have brought the helicopters down.
Let's take you back in the time line. Six-thirty yesterday, that's when this ship sent out a distress call, lost propulsion and was taking on more water than the pumps could get out. So the crew expected that they would be able to stay in the ship but would have to abandon ship at 8 a.m. this morning. But it turns out they had to get out of that ship, get off the ship much sooner.
Four a.m. and that's when you see these rescues, these helicopters came into play, plucking people out of the ocean one at a time. Again, 14 survivors.
I spoke to two people whom you see on that helicopter, the person who hoisted the people up and also the person, the rescue swimmer who went down there and to find the survivors. And they themselves were thankful that they were able to make the rescues that they did. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY HABA, U.S. COAST GUARD: First guy we pulled up, he was really happy to see us, that's for sure. Because we got him up there and he was all excited and saying it was a good job, and it was great and he was cold but good to go.
MICHAEL LUFKIN, U.S. COAST GUARD: It feels good that, you know, assisted lives, and I'm sure they'll -- they'll look back one day and remember what happened.
HABA: You get days like today is what you're training for. You know, it's what you want to do. When you can do it, you do your best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
G. HOWELL: So again, the search continues for the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, and again, we know that Claudine Christian rushed to the hospital at this hour, apparently unresponsive -- Wolf.
BLITZER: George Howell with a dramatic story for us. George, thanks for that update.
Meanwhile, we're going to get another update, the update on the crane, dangling dangerously in New York City right now. Stay with us. Lots of breaking news unfolding.
BOLDUAN: The warnings could hardly be more dire, but some people are still refusing to evacuate in certain very dangerous areas. CNN's Jason Carroll is talking to some of them. He's on Long Island in the town of Lindenhurst.
Jason, the street you are on is under mandatory evacuation, I believe so.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BOLDUAN: Did most people leave?
CARROLL: No. Take a look right behind me right over here. Look very quickly. See, take a look at this right here. You can see some of the folks are just now heeding that warning. Now just packing up their bags and heading out. Heading out now. Even at this very late hour.
The person that you're seeing over there, we're going to talk to her in just a moment. Her brother lives in one of these houses down the street. I say street, because I know it doesn't look like a street. It looks more like a canal. And this area of Lindenhurst, Kate, is actually checkered with canals, but a lot of the streets have turned into canals. They are flooded like this.
We've been out here all day long. Earlier, just to give you some perspective, I was down where that first light is that you see how. It's too dangerous, too deep for me to be down there at this point, so we've had to move up.
Behind me here, behind my photographer Steve, is the Montauk Highway, and it is breached at this point. There are several areas throughout this community and the South Shore (ph) where the Montauk highway has breached. This is just one of them.
I'm told by residents who have lived here for years that this is an extremely rare occurrence. Some cannot remember the last time the Montauk Highway has been breached and flooded like what we are seeing here. This is an area under a mandatory evacuation. But as you say, some residents still not doing that, at least not yet. They're waiting until the very last possible moment.
Joining me right now is Diane Howell. Diane, I know your brother is in one of the homes down here. You were saying to me earlier you warned your brother, get out, get out. Now he's finally listening to what you had to say.
DIANE HOWELL, RESIDENT: Yes. He finally listened. He actually called me up to tell me, "All right, come and help me get out of here." And this is the end result. We have to walk in high, thigh- deep water.
CARROLL: OK. You're going to go help him. Who's this coming up? Do you know?
D. HOWELL: That's my brother's girlfriend and mother-in-law.
CARROLL: OK. Does she need help coming up here? This is -- this right here is one of the members of our crew. This is just sort of happening, as you can see, Kate. She's being helped out of her home here, helped out of this area. You guys OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're fine.
CARROLL: You're all right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Got up to the screen door, and this is the first time. We've been living here since 1960 -- actually, 1971.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we never seen it like this.
CARROLL: Well, I'm glad you're safe and glad you finally heeded the warning and decided to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I was really planning on staying. But when we saw this in just an hour ago, no. We're leaving.
CARROLL: I'm glad you finally decided to get out. Thank you.
Just to give you some more perspective on (AUDIO GAP).
BOLDUAN: I just lost audio. Have Wolf do it. Wolf, I'm going to send it back to you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by for a moment, everyone. We just lost our connection with Lindenhurst, Long Island. That's where Jason Carroll has been reporting. We'll get back to Kate in a moment.
Chad Myers is joining us from the CNN hurricane center. What's the latest on where this hurricane is moving?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I think the Lindenhurst, Long Island Sound flooding is going to be probably the most dramatic that we have seen in a very long time. I'm seeing Kings Point at already 11 feet. The Battery now at 7 feet above where it should be right now. And high tide is still about an hour and a half away or so.
The water is piling up here on Long Island on the south side and also into Long Island Sound. The water's going to try to come down from the sound and down the East River, as it usually does, as the tides flow back and forth. East River actually flows both directions, depending on the time of day.
But the water is getting piled up here at the Battery already. There will be no place for that water to go. There will be no East River to go down, because there will be water going up the East River at the same time. That collision will be where tremendous flooding is going to occur. We're talking about areas just to the north and east of La Guardia. And that's where all this water just can't go anywhere else.
King's Point is the location where we have at least some indication, because that's where the buoy is, that's where the level is. But there's going to be tremendous flooding all along the sound from Mystic all the way to the east here in the sound, because the water simply, Wolf, can't get out.
BLITZER: Chad, stand by. We have a lot more to discuss.
As dangerous as the flooding is, it's the hurricane-force winds that could last for hours and hours. More of the breaking news coverage right after this.
BOLDUAN: CNN's coverage of Hurricane Sandy continues at the top of the hour with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." Erin's out on the streets of New York, where it's been pretty bad today and it sounds pretty bad right now.
Erin, exactly where are you?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, right now we're actually standing down at Battery Park. It's a part of the city that's been evacuated. Right now, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) coming through here, and I'm covering my eyes, because it's like little pieces of rock with the wind coming.
But part of the reason why this area is evacuated is it's a landfall, and I want to show you all the water. We're not quite at high tide right now. When we get to high tide, this is going to come right over the edge here. This is a record for this area. A record storm surge here, about 10 1/2 feet for this area. And right now the National Weather Service is telling us they expect it to go up to 12 feet or perhaps beyond.
Pretty incredible when you look at the super storm and look at New York. The world financial system, just a few blocks away here from the New York Stock Exchange. As well as from the World Trade Center site and of course, this is the first time since September 11 that the New York Stock Exchange closed voluntarily, and they're going to be closed for two days.
So right now in a brief moment of calm, I'm going to pass it back to you all, but there are moments running 10 to 15 feet down the path just because of the gusts that come through so fast and furious.
Back to you.
BOLDUAN: All right. More coverage of Hurricane Sandy coming up at the top of the hour with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." We'll be sure to watch that. Erin, thanks so much.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Thanks very much.
Now I want to go to Piers Morgan right now.
Piers, you're in New York City. You're not very far from West 57th Street. There's a high-rise building going up. It's called 157. And there's a crane. There's pictures of this crane that is now dangling as a result of, I assume, the high winds that forced this -- this crane to be dangling so precariously right now. You can see what's going on. You're not very far away.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR (via phone): No. Actually, I heard it happen. I was in my office at the CNN headquarters at Time Warner here, the New York headquarters. And there was a massive bang like a thunder clap. And we all raced to the windows, and you could see that this crane had effectively buckled in half and was now dangling very dangerously on the side of this building.
As you may know, it's going to be the tallest residential building in New York. We're talking about a big skyscraper, and this crane is now -- you can see the pictures on the screen. I'm looking at them straight out of my office window. This is a dangerous situation, because this is clearly a buckled crane. You clearly have the bigger part of the storm to come. The eye of the storm, if you like.
The hurricane-force winds were to take that dismantled crane now. They could blow it anywhere, and you're talking about a very dense part of Manhattan. I know they've already evacuated, I think, the Parker Meridian Hotel and other buildings around there. But it's a pretty dangerous situation.
BLITZER: It's on 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh. And as you say, it's not very far away from Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center. We've got -- there's a lot of emergency personnel on the ground. They're watching. Is there anything that authorities can do to, to deal with this crisis?
MORGAN: I think that's the problem. I'm not sure what they're is. It seems to me, they've had a lot of warning on this, and Mayor Bloomberg said early today that he believed that all the cranes in the city had been properly tied down, but he did say that, depending on how extreme the weather got, you know, nature may take its course and some of these could blow. Well, that's exactly what happened, but it's happened on the tallest residential building in the city, which is clearly a potential disaster, depending on what now happens.
Now, I don't know what's going on right at the ground there, but I'll tell you, from where I'm looking, there's nobody up there, because clearly, it's far too dangerous for somebody to get up there. Also, the building itself is covered in glass. If this buckled crane were to smack back into the glass or if it was taken by the wind and driven into the building, you could see a potential very serious situation.
So it's a big problem. I can imagine it's the last thing the -- the security people in the city are wanting to deal with, but they're going to have to. Because there are lots of buildings around there. And I'm looking at it right now, out of my office window, and it is dangling not by a thread, because you're talking about metal.
But I saw a tweet from Donald Trump -- he's a bit of an expert in skyscrapers, saying that he could see that the weight provision was lying in a very dangerous way now, this crane. And he wanted someone to take urgent action.
But the question was, what action do you take? No one can get up there. No one can really do very much. All you can do is prepare for any eventuality if it snaps off, and there's got to be, looking at these pictures, a very, very big chance of that happening tonight.
BLITZER: The skyscraper, by the way, under construction.
One of its penthouses recently sold, according to the "New York Times," for $90 million, 157, skyscraper under construction. I know you're going to have a lot more on this coming up 9 p.m. Eastern. Piers will be live from New York City. We're watching it together with you. Thanks, Piers, very much.
Our special coverage right here in THE SITUATION ROOM will continue in a minute.
BOLDUAN: Let's take a look at some of the powerful photos coming in from across the East Coast.
First, in Massachusetts, waves crash over a road as Hurricane Sandy comes up the coast.
Also in Maryland, a CNN i-Reporter captures a photo of empty food shelves in a Wal-Mart.
And in New York, a large water bag protects the entrance of a Starbucks from flooding.
And in New Jersey, a CNN i-Reporter captures crews trying to drain flooded streets.
Just some of the memorable images as Hurricane Sandy comes ashore and makes her presence known. That's for sure, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. And covering a hurricane like Sandy certainly can be a tough assignment for reporters. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a hurricane -- they act as human weather balloons.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a wind gust right there. Well, that's -- that's a wind gust.
MOOS: Weather balloons tethered to whatever they can clutch. Sometimes, somebody clutches them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are probably -- these are the -- I've got the Nassau County sheriff holding me onto the board walk.
MOOS: Someone literally covered with Hurricane Sandy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to let you kind of take some of the sand off your face there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somehow, some sand got in my mouth.
MOOS: But that was the least of their problems.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Make it to safer ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back behind the building. I don't want you blow away.
MOOS: Or worse, washed away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Timing those waves out, watching that water move in, he's been in these situations a lot, by the way.
MOOS: Another rogue wave got a CBS team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, whoa, hey, guys, whoa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
MOOS: Meanwhile, beach erosion swallowed a FOX reporter's foot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! It looks like a sandy walkway out to the beach has actually got my foot stuck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
MOOS: CNN's Jason Carroll stumbled on a SCUBA diver, prepared for flooding near his house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I have to get out, I have SCUBA gear. I have surfboards. I have a kayak.
MOOS: Some who boarded up left defiant messages to the storm, comparing her to Hurricane Irene: "Hey, Sandy, Irene left her panties here. Come try 'em on."
But reporters weren't so full of bravado when the wind left a crane dangling over Manhattan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't mean to sound chicken about this, but as soon as we saw this, and we saw it dangling, we started running from 57th.
MOOS: Hurricanes and high-rises don't mix.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just had some glass breaking out here. We just had glass breaking.
MOOS: For some, it was just an excuse to horse around behind a reporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't go out. If you can't get out of Atlantic City...
MOOS: Or even dress up like a horse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a shirtless man jogging, wearing a horse mask.
MOOS: The hurricane horse later tweeted out a picture of himself, but reporters usually don't appreciate pranksters behind their backs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big guy there. He can go talk to people who lose their homes.
MOOS: From a fake horse to a real deer. WNBC reports this one was rescued after suffering a broken leg. Imagine getting that deer-in- the-headlights look from a deer in the surf.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Kate, I'm inside THE SITUATION ROOM. You're outside on the balcony right now. What's the latest here in the nation's capital?
BOLDUAN: I definitely don't have it nearly as bad as those reporters in Jeanne Moos's piece, but you can see, Jane McMichael (ph), our photojournalist, will show you this really awe-inspiring image of the U.S. Capitol. And you can see the American flag right in front of it, Wolf, absolutely whipping in the wind.
I mean, it is a drenching, cold rain, and sheets of rain are just whipping through the streets. It's definitely not warm out here, either.
So Hurricane Sandy is making her presence known here in D.C. as well as all along the East Coast. As you know, Wolf, some 60 million people could be affected by this.
BLITZER: And that's a live picture of Atlantic City. Our own Ali Velshi is going to have a lot more coming up. Stay with CNN throughout the night. We're watching all angles as only CNN can. We'll have complete coverage.
Always follow the latest on Hurricane Sandy on Twitter, as well. Tweet me, @Wolf Blitzer. Tweet Kate. Kate, @KateBolduan.
Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" picks up our coverage right now.