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Tracking Hurricane Sandy

Aired October 30, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: There is a storm out there that`s potentially effecting tens of millions of people, including a lot of folks in our audience. We`re going in depth on Hurricane Sandy today, on CNN STUDENT NEWS.

23 states, nearly half the country. On Monday afternoon, that`s how many were under some kind of warning or advisory for wind related to Hurricane Sandy. This is the view of Sandy from the international space station. It`s huge. All that white stuff, that`s Sandy`s wind field. If that were a country, it would be the 20th biggest country in the world. But you really start to understand its power and intensity when you are on the ground. The rain is torrential, and the wind - yesterday it was consistently blowing at about 90 miles per hour. Then, there is something called the storm surge. That`s the combination of a storm and high tide. You see those waves off the coast of Massachusetts? Storms like this drive those waves higher, some areas were expecting a storm surge 11 feet above normal high tide. That could lead to severe flooding.

Some officials say that the damage from Hurricane Sandy could be unprecedented. One government model says we could be looking at more than $7 billion in damages, and that`s just from the wind. When it comes to storms that make landfall in the northeastern U.S., this is the one all the others get compared to. The Long Island Hurricane of 1938. One of the things that experts look at when they are measuring hurricanes is the low pressure reading. Usually, the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. The 1938 hurricane had a low pressure reading of 946 millibars. Sandy`s low pressure reading -- 943. I asked CNN`s Chad Myers about the comparison between these two storms.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The problem with this storm call is that people took it as a category one. It had the pressure of a category two or three, the wind field of a category one hurricane, but yet the surge of a category two or three. When it got north of Cape Hatteras, and kept getting stronger, the pressure of this storm was deeper, it was a stronger storm than the 1938 storm that just rolled right over Long Island. This was always a dangerous storm, we knew it in the pressure. Sometimes you just can`t tell people, hey, it`s a cat one, take cover, because they say ah, it`s just a cat one, we don`t care. This was much, much more than a category one hurricane.


AZUZ: All right, thanks, Chad. There is something else going on with Hurricane Sandy that could make its impact even worse. It`s the possibility that this could turn into a super storm. Now, let me show you what we mean by that. There is Sandy spinning off the East Coast, and that high pressure system is keeping it from moving out into the Atlantic. Then there is this cold front moving in from the west. What happens is that when the cold air and the warm air meet up and make Sandy more powerful, and you can see there, it keeps the storm in that same area, just sitting right over that part of the country. When it`s all said and done, Sandy could end up affecting up to 60 million people. Some states have mandatory evacuations, thousands of people spent the night at shelters like this one. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, and school was canceled for millions of students. We heard from some of you on Facebook and Twitter about that.

Hurricane Sandy is even having an impact on the race for the White House. President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Romney, both altered or canceled campaign events yesterday. Instead of next week`s election, they were focused on the storm and the people in its path.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We anticipate that there are going to be a lot of trees down, a lot of water and despite the fact that the power companies are working very closely with the various state officials and local officials to make sure that they are bringing in as many assets as possible and getting those ready in preparation for the storm, the fact is that a lot of these emergency crews are not going to be able to get into position to start restoring power until some of these winds have died down.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We faced these kinds of challenges before. And as we have, it`s interesting to see how Americans come together, and this, this looks like another time when we need to come together, all across the country, even here in Ohio, and make sure that we give of our support to the people who need it.


AZUZ: Campaigning is on halt for the hurricane. The election is still going to happen, it`s just a week away, and what we are going to do this week is look at where the candidates stand on some of the issues. Today`s topic is education. During his first term in the White House, President Obama launched a program called "Race to the Top". It offers money from the federal government to states for coming up with plans to meet national standards and improve teacher quality and plans to turn around low performing schools. The president also supports the development of charter schools.

Governor Romney`s education plan is called "A Chance for Every Child." He also supports national standards, but he said that education policies should come more from the state and local level rather than from the federal government. Governor Romney`s plan also focuses on choice. He said he wants to give some parents the ability to choose where their kids go to school.

Yesterday, we looked at the electoral college, the system that determines who wins the presidency. We looked at some scenarios for both Governor Romney and President Obama to get enough votes to win the election. One other possibility came up at the end of that report yesterday. A tie. Now, Josh Levs looks at what could happen.


JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It could happen, and it would throw the race into confusion and controversy. What if President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tie in the electoral college with 269 votes each? There is an amendment for that. Here is how it works. In January, the new House of Representatives would choose the president, with each state getting one vote. Republicans will almost surely have the majority in that vote and choose Romney. But not Paul Ryan. The vice president gets decided by the Senate. If that`s still in Democratic control, Biden would almost surely win. So, thanks to the electoral system, we could have a Romney-Biden White House.

But there is also another possibility. Let`s go back to that electoral college tie. These are the votes electors are expected to take, based on the votes in their states. But they don`t all legally have to. Some states don`t have laws to punish faithless electors who go their own way. So, if there is a tie, expect swayable electors to suddenly become very, very popular to some, and a source of anger to others.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Uselding`s social studies classes at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School in West Bend, Wisconsin. Which of these U.S. military branches was established last? Here we go, was it the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The Air Force was established as its own military branch in 1947. Before that, it was part of the U.S. Army. That`s your answer, and that`s your "Shoutout."

AZUZ: OK, I`ve heard of a chain-linked fence, a white-picket fence, even a defense. But a space fence -- that`s a real thing. The Air Force has been in charge of it for decades, but the fence needs some repairs, about $3.5 billion worth. The space fence program is a series of radar signals. What they do is track space junk. Some pieces are as small as a soft ball, others are as big as a bus. And it`s good to have a heads up if one of those is heading towards the International Space Station or satellite that carries TV signals or cell phone service. The Air Force tracks about 20,000 pieces of space junk, but it`s estimated that there are ten times that much junk floating around out there. The military wants to restring the space fence, so to speak, before something slips through.

Washington State University head football coach, Mike Leach, hasn`t posted anything on Twitter in a couple of weeks. And hopefully, his players haven`t either. Because if they do, and coach Leach finds out about it, he says they`ll be suspended from the team. The coach banned his players from using the social media service last week. The school`s athletic director said some players posted inappropriate tweets. He described them as vulgar. Some Washington State students think this is a good decision, since the players represent the school; others think the coach shouldn`t be allowed to take away a player`s right to use Twitter.

What do you think of the coach`s decision to keep players off Twitter? Do you agree it will help prevent distractions, or do you think it stifles their speech? is the place to tell us.

Before we go, we know a lot of you out there have gangnam style. We also know that the leader of the United Nations doesn`t. Well, not a lot. Here you see him next to international pop star Psy. Now, Psy tries to show U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a little gangnam style. Ban falls off the horse. He admitted he was a little jealous of Psy. Ban says he`d have to relinquish being the world`s most famous Korean. Of course, in the U.N. workplace, Ban`s more focused on ergangnomics (ph). And you can`t really blame the performer, because he reached for the moon, and with moves like that, the Psy`s the limit. OK, I`m done. We`ll see you tomorrow, on CNN STUDENT NEWS.