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Sandy Slams into Northeast; In the Path of the Story
Aired October 30, 2012 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Victor Blackwell.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome to CNN's special coverage of the superstorm Sandy. We want to welcome our international viewers as well from around the world. It's 1:00 in the morning East Coast Time here in Atlanta and we have reporters up and down the east coast bringing us the latest developments all hour long. And really into the night.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and there has been no hype, overestimates or anything on this one. Damage estimates are in the billions.
Sandy is big. Sandy is powerful and she is a killer. Already at least 12 people have been reported dead in the U.S. Five alone in New York. 5.3 million people are without power. Twenty-three states are under high wind warnings or advisories. And CNN estimates that damage just from the wind alone could top $3 billion.
And don't forget, the storm is already response for 67 deaths in the Caribbean.
WHITFIELD: And then take a look at this. This is a fairly typical scene right now in the New York and New Jersey areas. Roads flooded out. The water rising almost above the cars in some locales. Approximately five hours ago this historic superstorm made landfall over the most -- populated, rather, areas of the U.S.
Wind damage, power outages, storm surges, inland flooding, you name it, even snowstorms are threatening the lives and homes of 60 people. And that's from Virginia all the way to Massachusetts.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And to show you just how strong the winds are, look at this. This is the crane. It's atop a luxury Manhattan skyscraper. Now it's 70 stories. Going up to 90. It's swaying back and forth over West 57th Street. And nobody knows really how long this will hold.
So let's get right to meteorologist Ivan Cabrera who joins me now with the latest on the superstorm.
OK. So where is Sandy right now? Where is she headed?
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Sandy is inland at this point here. And just unlike a hurricane, got to be with you guys tonight, it's going to be a long one here. This is not weakening. Remember, when a hurricane that makes landfall here we start relaxing a bit. The storm starts losing where it gets its energy which is the ocean here.
This is no longer a hurricane, it is no longer a tropical system, it is now a hybrid storm. And in fact, it's now post-tropical, what we call nor'easters from the mid-Atlantic to the northeast. So it gets its energy from the differences in temperature here. And boy, do we have them.
We have very cold air to the north and west, warm and tropical air to the south and east. And so Sandy is actually glad to be inland because it's merging here with the jet stream. And with an upper level disturbance so everything is coming together for this to continue to be a mess through the overnight.
We're still going to get very heavy rainfall. The snow, as you saw coming down, just incredible amounts across portions of the Appalachians. So we'll have just incredible pictures over the next couple of days. And the winds are still going to be howling. There you see some of the snowfall. The accumulations, upwards of 18 inches so far. We're going to be talking about general accumulations anywhere from two to three feet.
Again this is just -- I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. We're tracking the hurricane and we're tracking a blizzard at the same time. And this is all from the same storm. This is why we're calling it a superstorm here. This has never happened before.
And I'll tell you, Victor and Fredricka, it is very possible that we will never see this again in our lifetime here. This is one of those events that is just very rare. The conditions that made this don't come around very often. As you know the last event back was in 1991. And again that superstorm in Halloween didn't even make landfall here.
Now the good news I can bring you is at the time, we've been talking about that, so for coastal checks you see here in New York, the tide is now going out so that seawater flooding has abated now and so we're receding that. The problem with that is that we have another high tide coming up in the morning and that could bring renewed flooding. So we're going to have to watch that very closely. But again, it's going to be a long night. We'll be here for you throughout and keep you posted as the new information comes in. But still a blockbuster storm, not weakening at all.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And Ivan, any idea when that next high tide approximately would be?
CABRERA: The high tide is coming up around 9 a.m. And -- so I don't think we're going to see the -- just incredible flooding that we saw with the 13.3 record that had never been seen at Battery Park but we' are going to be seeing the potential for some flooding as that tide comes in because the winds are still going to be coming --
CABRERA: -- from the same direction here so we'll have to watch that very closely. I think in the morning we're going to start seeing some incredible pictures and the scope of Sandy is really going to be brought to light here, guys.
WHITFIELD: All right. Indeed a superstorm, we're talking about 900 feet -- 900 miles to 1,000 miles wide. That's pretty extraordinary.
BLACKWELL: And 60 million people.
WHITFIELD: Impacting an awful lot of places. Yes. And people.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Sixty million people.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Ivan. Appreciate that. We'll check back with him.
So at this point many people are being forced to ride out Sandy in the dark now. 5.3 million people without power and that includes tens of thousands of people in lower Manhattan and Staten Island after a transformer exploded, as you see right there, at the Con Edison plant on 14th Street.
Take a look at pretty extraordinary video there. Con Edison vice president says workers don't know exactly what caused that massive blowout. But we're talking about an area that services an awful lot of people in New York City.
Take a glimpse of the situation. Communities and utility companies are dealing with right now. Power outages all up and down the east coast from Virginia and D.C., to Maine, impacting an awful lot of folks. New York and New Jersey alone account for nearly a half of the power outages that we're seeing.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And this superstorm slammed right into the Jersey shore as it made landfall just a few hours ago. And Sandy has been relentless and is taking a deadly toll, unleashing extreme winds, dangerous surge of floodwaters. Actually right now, as we speak, police say at least three people have died from fallen trees. Two of those deaths in Mendham Township, about 30 miles west of New York City.
And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeatedly warned people about the potential dangers earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I'm very disappointed in the fact that some decided to disregard my instruction. In fact my order. And I'm concerned that it might lead to the loss of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: And also tonight, reports of homes flooded under several feet of water and several rescues are under way, including those stranded in their cars. In the cars. Imagine. While trying to escape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm scared to death. So many people are going to die today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Authorities are working to evacuate hundreds of areas. West Atlantic City, hundreds of people there where waters are dangerously high.
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's check in with emergency crews in New Jersey now, if we can. Joining us on the phone right now, Jeffrey Paul, emergency management director from Morris County, New Jersey.
So, Jeffrey, update us right now on the latest. How many people without power. What are you able to do? What kind of assistance can you provide?
JEFFREY PAUL, MORRIS COUNTY, NEW JERSEY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR: Thank you, Fredricka. Currently in Morris County, we have a significant power issue going on as a result of the strong winds that have hit us very hard here. Our power company services 196,404 people and currently we have 163,000 at 9:09 without power so we have about 83 percent of the service -- power service delivery in our county without power at this point. So it really hit us significantly.
Our call volume at our 911 center doubled at about 8:00 this evening. Currently they had about 3,000 calls for the day at the 911 centers so it's been an extremely busy day. We had two deaths as a result of a tree falling on a car, a family of four, two children and their parents. The children escaped with minor injuries but the parents, unfortunately, succumbed to the tree falling on the car.
So we've had a pretty devastating day in Morris County. The emergency service providers have been taxed to the max. We've had, you know, firemen that have been trapped in their fire trucks as a result of downed wires all around them. We currently have a fire house where the firemen are currently trapped inside the fire house because they can't go out due to live wires around the fire house. So there's a lot gong on here. Our operation center is extremely busy. But, you know, people are doing a great job. And we're going to work through it throughout the evening until tomorrow.
WHITFIELD: Clearly you anticipated there would be emergency situations but in terms of your fire trucks, some of your first responders being stuck because of the high water, et cetera. I mean that's something difficult to anticipate. What are you able to do to kind of offer assistance to them so that they can continue to assist your residents?
PAUL: Well, we've actually sent emergency crews out to help the emergency crews. So, you know, we have a pretty coordinated effort here. We're able to tap into other resources in other parts of the county and other, you know, stations and first responders that have gone out and helped. But you know, we have a very unified, you know, front going on. Everybody stepped up to the plate and doing a great job and there's certainly been some tragedies but we're trying to minimize that by, you know, working together and everybody is doing a good job. WHITFIELD: Jeffrey Paul, Morris County, New Jersey, emergency management, thanks so much for your time. All the best this evening.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to New York now. Sandy is being blamed for the deaths of at least five people there. A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo says one of the victims died when a tree fell on his home in Queens. As of now, mandatory evacuations are still in place for some parts of the city.
Major Bloomberg warned New York is well in the danger zone as expected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I) NEW YORK: We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm and the storm has met our expectations. The worst of the weather has come and the city certainly is feeling the impacts at the battery. We have seen record surge levels. We're seeing extraordinary amount of water throughout lower Manhattan. There are trees down throughout the city. The bad news is Con Ed is experiencing power outages on an extremely wide basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: The mayor added that some low-lying areas in Manhattan could see extraordinary amounts of water. That includes the city's public transit system where flooding has been confirmed inside some subway stations.
I want to go now to WABC reporter Jeffrey Pegues, he was on the scene when nearly an entire city block in Queens caught fire.
Jeff, thanks for being with us. Tell us exactly where you are and what you saw as this all started.
JEFF PEGUES, REPORTER, WABC: I'm in a place called Rockaway Park. And this is part of Queens, essentially an island that's wedged between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and it's south of Brooklyn, south of Manhattan. And with the storm at high tide tonight, both Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean converged. And there was water -- seemed like the water was everywhere. But then another problem popped up and that was a major fire.
There was a fire in this area of Rockaway Park that was consuming not only businesses but apartment buildings as well. And this is a flood- prone area. And yet there were still residents here. They hadn't heeded the calls to evacuate. They were here. They were going to ride out the storm but then this fire happened and then members of this specialized New York Fire Department had to go in and rescue them. And I saw these guys. They were about five to 10 of them, they were wading through high water. They had zodiac boat with them. And they had to scale some of these buildings to get to some of the people who were trapped in their apartment buildings.
And this fire was spreading. And because of the high water, the fire department couldn't get their hoses and any water on these fires. Just because it was at the height of the storm. So these members of this specialized unit had to go in without all that, wade through the high water, scale some of these buildings, break through windows, get into apartments and then usher some of these residents down into the water and then walk them through the water to higher ground.
And there wasn't a lot of high ground to find but they were able to find some and they got these people out. We're talking maybe as many as 30 to 40 people rescued over the course of about three or four hours. Right now as the water has receded, the fire department has been able to get water on this fire, so they're hoping that it doesn't spread further. But one firefighter was telling me that they think maybe as many as four, five buildings have already been consumed by this fire.
BLACKWELL: Jeff, you say that they're trying to get water on the fire. That leads me to believe that it's still burning right now. Is that true?
PEGUES: It is. And the danger is, of course, that it will continue to spread with the embers blowing in the wind. There are other fires popping up in the area and the concern if they don't get this thing under control and soon, it could spread causing even more damage.
BLACKWELL: And it might be too soon to know this because all this is still going on, but about 30 to 40 people pulled out, are there any other people still missing? And the conditions of those people who were pulled out? Have you got any information about that?
PEGUES: Well, as far as the rescuers that I've spoken with, they think they've been able to get everyone out who was in the path of the fire. I've seen these folks come out. There don't appear to be any serious injuries. Maybe minor injuries, nothing too serious. So fire fathers believe that they were able to get to these people before it was too late.
BLACKWELL: Any idea yet how this fire started?
PEGUES: Well, at the height of the storm it was high tide about 8:00 here. The water was coming up. The wind was howling, it was blowing, maybe sustaining winds around 70 to 80 mild an hour according to some of our meteorologists. As a result of that, you know there were power lines that were popping. And some of these firefighters that I spoke with suspect that maybe it was electrical. Maybe it had something to do with some of the power lines in the area getting blown around as a result of this storm.
BLACKWELL: All right, Jeff Pegues, with WABC there in Rockaway Park where that block in Queens is on fire.
Jeff, thank you.
We'll take a quick break and our continuing coverage of superstorm Sandy will continue after the break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Welcome back to our special coverage. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling it once in a long-time storm, overall involving at least 10 states that are under states of emergency. We're talking about 5.6 million people without power. Many of whom are in lower Manhattan. You can see how the water started coming up around 8:00 Eastern Time. The good surge of about 14 feet in some places.
Lower Manhattan is where we also find our Chris Welch. We understand that NYU Hospital, Chris, has been evacuated because that generator went down and Mt. Sinai, I understand, is taking in a lot of those patients. Where you are, we're not seeing the high water but we are seeing a lot of debris. Kind of set the scene for us.
CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. As you mentioned, yes, NYU and Bellevue Hospital both right next door to each other. NYU, actually we've been told, has been looking for replacement hospitals essentially for 200 patients they're trying to, you know, find a new home for as a result as far as you know, was it flood in the basement was it a general issue exactly what's them, you know, trouble with these floods 200 patients. But we do know that they're being moved. We know they're having trouble with their phones at NYU, so the hospital that are receiving this patients will be calling the family members' relatives, to let exactly where this new patients are going.
But as for where I am right now, I'm in the lower east side of Manhattan, we're actually on East Houston and Avenue D. Where I'm standing right now is maybe a quarter of a mile away from the East River. Straight behind me.
And where I am about two hours ago when we first got here, the water rate where I'm standing would have been about right here on me. Now as you can see over the last hour, hour and a half, it has steadily receded. And behind me, I'm not sure how well you can see that minivan back there, but where the water level is right now, add maybe a foot to that.
The officers who were on the scene earlier said, you know, if you're going even further back the water was about 3.5 feet high. So the other thing I want to mention, it's complete darkness right here. Other than our lights and the scattered, you know, police siren light and that kind of thing out. There may some faint ones behind me right now. There have been periodically.
That's the only kind of power, the only lights that we're seeing right because about a couple of two or three hours ago, everything kind of went dark here. And there's a reason for that. A couple of reasons actually.
Con Edison, the power company essentially, preemptively shut off light and that kind of thing I do other of this heavily hit areas here before things got too serious. But what also happens here, there is a transformer located just several blacks north of where were are an explosion there and lot of the power, some they flashes of and heard heavily as soon as that happens their power went out. They said it's complete darkness and I can tell you, Fred, as we were driving down here we -- as soon as we got to about 34th Street and everything further south.
Before things so everyone driving very carefully. Those who were on the road, driving very carefully. A lot of people outside taking a look at what's going on Because as you know a lot of people have not left the city.
WHITFIELD: Right. And so you talked a lot of people it seems, you at East Houston and Avenue D. But that's not considered Zone A, is it? Where people were under a mandatory evacuation? Does that explain why so many people are still in that area?
WELCH: Well, it's essentially right on the edge and in fact, you know, a lot of people who said -- who are our friends and people who lived out here. We haven't been able to go down there because a lot of these roads are just too dangerous for us to go into the dark right now. We don't want to do that but the folks who live, you know, a little further this way, where it was drier. Say they know a lot of people who lived down here who stayed.
You know, they didn't feel like they were at that big of a risk. But the folks who have stayed and are in the other -- the other zones that haven't been evacuated, I should say, you know, we're down here checking out the scene. And one guy was like, you know, we don't see this kind of thing here very often, as you know, this is not something that happens in New York. Pitch darkness, water from the East River coming up this far. One man said, do you smell that? You can smell the ocean water. That is not something you can usually smell this far from the east river.
WHITFIELD: All right. Chris Welch, thanks so much in Lower Manhattan. So roughly, you know, over 300,000 people in that Zone A area in New York were asked to leave -- really it was more of a demand from Mayor Bloomberg to leave those areas. Many of whom did not and they're finding out that their hot water and as well as their has been cut off because the mayor warned that was going to happen and so now many of them are going to be very miserable but hopefully they're safe and not going to put anybody else's lives in jeopardy by saying.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I've been checking with people on Twitter, and some people who are in Manhattan that the heat was actually shut down on Sunday, that steam heat, as a precaution so that they wouldn't have the problems with -- in going out and --
WHITFIELD: And here we are.
BLACKWELL: Creating some problems.
BLACKWELL: With Sandy, ripping through a wide swath of big cities all along the east coast, we're going to break down the situation state by state. And this is the reality for residents in Connecticut right now. Sandy has killed at least one person and injured two in Connecticut. Entire waterfront communities are submerged under water and more than 350,000 people there are without power. The total so far from the storm, 5.6 million and counting.
The already high storm surge from Sandy are only being made worse by the full moon. And Governor Dan Malloy says authorities are bracing for surges up to 11 feet above normal high tide. The governor says Connecticut could potentially face unprecedented damage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Heavy rain and flooding and strong winds slammed our nation's capital today. And leading to the closing of all federal buildings through Tuesday. The president also declared a state of emergency for the District of Columbia.
Chris Geldart is the director of District of Columbia Homeland Security and Management. He joins me now by phone.
Chris, give us an idea of how things are looking right now.
CHRIS GELDART, D.C. HOMELAND SECURITY AND MANAGEMENT: Well, as you know, we've had several trees down, probably in the neighborhood of 200 trees down in the district. And that's just reports coming in. That -- we haven't been able to get out and do true damage assessments yet.
BLACKWELL: We know that at some point in these storms it becomes unsafe for crews to go out and respond and start to clean up. Have we passed that time? Are you going out to start the clean-up yet?
Did we lose Chris? All right. We -- we lost Chris Geldart, but as he said, more than 200 trees down in the District of Columbia. We'll try to get you more in D.C. in a moment.
Streets are flooded. The water is rising.
WHITFIELD: And New Jersey, well, it's getting pounded, quite frankly. New reports, new details coming out of that state. We're live throughout the night as Sandy continues to pound the region.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sandy continues to batter the east coast.
BLACKWELL: Yes. A dozen deaths reported in the U.S. Flooded streets. Thousands have had to evacuate.
WHITFIELD: CNN's special coverage of this storm continues next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: We've been concentrating on the damage in the New York and New Jersey area, we'll get back to that in a moment, because now also Washington, D.C. area has had some problems of its own. Earlier you tried to talk with Chris Geldart, director of the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Looks like we have him.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we've got him back on the phone. We understand these things happen.
Chris, the question was, how are things now? Pick up where you left off.
GELDART: Sure. As I mentioned when -- before we got cut off, we have about 200 trees down right now. And those are just reports that we get in from residents calling in. We haven't even had the opportunity due to storm conditions to get out and do a full citywide damage assessment. That won't happen until earlier this morning when we can actually -- when conditions come down, wind levels come down, and we can get out there and really take a look.
BLACKWELL: Yes, that was my question I was going into. There are times in storms when it's just unsafe to send people out because you put yourselves in danger trying to save others. And I guess we're still at that time in D.C., Chris.
GELDART: Right. And you know that the way the storm is acting here, we've got a high tide in the Potomac River at -- just after 9:00 this morning. So we'll crest at that time in the Potomac. And from the models that we've been running and what we've been seeing on the surge in the water, we could see some pretty significant flooding from that. And then a day and a half later, as all the water comes down from the mountains of the storm moves towards the west. We'll have flooding again. We're looking at about 11 -- just over 11 feet of flooding in our Georgetown areas that should put us inundating a pretty good amount of the city from there, too.
BLACKWELL: All right. Director of District of Columbia Homeland Security and Management, Chris Geldart, thanks for that. We'll check back later this morning.
WHITFIELD: All right. Torrential downpours, whipping winds, flooded roads, you name it.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and don't forget, the snow. And Sandy is dumping a lot of snow. West Virginia is getting covered. Virginia is seeing blizzard-like conditions. Look at these pictures from the same storm that brought the tornado up the coast. Live conch of superstorm Sandy continues straight through the night right here on CNN.
WHITFIELD: Parts of the New York City subway system are flooded.
BLACKWELL: And authorities in New York have warned people all day to get to higher ground and do it fast.
WHITFIELD: CNN's special coverage of this superstorm continues next.
BLACKWELL: Listen, we've said it before, there has been no hype, no overestimates on Sandy. Damage is estimated to be in the billions because this storm is big and powerful and a killer. Already at least 12 people reported dead, 5 in New York. 5.6 million people without power, 23 states under high wind warnings and advisories and CNN estimates the damage just from just the, not the water, not the storm surge, could top three billion dollars. And don't forger the storm is already responsible for 67 deaths in the Carribean.
WHITFIELD: And then take a look at this. Unfortunately, a very common scene right now. Roads are flooded. The water rising above cars in some parts. Approximately five hours ago this historic superstorm made landfall over the most populated areas of the United States. A wind damage, power outages, storm surges, inland flooding, even snowstorms are threatening the lives and homes of 60 million people. And that's from Virginia all the way to Massachusetts.
BLACKWELL: And let's stay with the wind because we have to show people what's happening on the west side of New York. This crane is above a luxury Manhattan skyscraper still being built. This is about the 70th floor. This is going up to 90. This is 157. It's snacks earlier and now the boom is just swinging back and forth in the wind.
Nobody knows right now how long this will hold up. So let's get right it. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now the with the latest on this superstorm. And when we spoke with an expert as the storm was coming up the coast. He told us this could be bad, or it could be catastrophic. Where are we on that spectrum?
CABRERA: I can't. It depends on where you live right now. Some folks are definitely going to qualify this is categorize, no question about it. And I think a lot of people are going to be doing that. Certainly not a benign storm. And you mentioned that crane. The winds are at 40 to 50 miles an hour at the surface but up where that crane is, we could be gusting upward of 65 and 70. So we're going to be on crane watch all night and we're going to be watching that closely, and closely. Officials have evacuated that area for good reason.
Here's the latest perspective as far as the radar. We still have these bands, when you see these yellow and in fact some oranges coming in here, that is an indication of very heavy rainfall, those are the bands that contain some very gusty winds, anywhere from 40 to 50 miles an hour. I'll you the windset in a second. And then we of course we have the other story here which is a big snow. It is snowing incredibly across the higher elevations right now of West Virginia, heading into Tennessee, Virginia as well. We're going to be talking about that.
But look at the wind gust. This is what I was referring to here. Again, the storm is inland but this is a non-tropical system now. So we're not expecting the winds to subside. Forty to 50-mile-an-hour wind gusts continue. Let's recap what's happened now. 11.62 inches as far as how much rainfall here we're talking and almost a foot of rainfall in some areas. The winds have been accompanied with that rain so the rain has been coming sideways. Look at this, 94 miles per hour. And it's almost a category 2 wind speed here. And then (INAUDIBLE) New York, 91 miles an hour. It just keeps going here. I don't think we're -- we're going to see those wind gusts for the remainder of tonight but we're certainly going to be into the 40 to 50-mile-an-hour range and then of course snow that has continued.
Upwards of 15 inches has already fallen, Victor and Fredricka, more is going to be on the way. And the temperatures tonight, just a lot of people without power, five million plus at this point here. The temperatures are going to be be very chilly. You and I were in Atlanta today, right, we could feel the wind coming through the walls in the house here. So the temperatures tonight are going to be in the 30s. No power. That combination is going to be uncomfortable if not worse for a lot of people.
WHITFIELD: My goodness. Where are these pictures from right here?
CABRERA: This is --
WHITFIELD: It's incredible accumulation.
CABRERA: Yes. Absolutely. North Carolina all the way up into West Virginia.
CABRERA: We had snowshoe upwards of 18 inches. Of course the ski resorts are loving this here but you have to get out and about it --
WHITFIELD: No one can get there right now, though.
WHITFIELD: Oh my.
CABRERA: So we're dealing with an August hurricane at this point here and a January snowstorm all in one.
WHITFIELD: My goodness.
CABRERA: Unbelievable stuff.
WHITFIELD: What a convergence. All right. Hence the name superstorm Sandy.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Ivan. We'll check with you .
So Sandy clearly is crippling not only the New England area, as you saw right there, the Atlantic, it's also causing some problems. The superstorm is causing massive flooding, especially along parts of Delaware's coast. And that's where we find Gary Tuchman. He's on the ground in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Usually it sounds great to be in Rehoboth Beach, but right now, it looks pretty miserable. We know it's very cold, and windy, what else are you seeing there?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. I know you know Rehoboth Beach because you're a Washingtonian.
TUCHMAN: And Washingtonians know that Rehoboth is America's summer capital because so many Washingtonian politicians, government leaders and just people from Washington come here over the summer. They know it. The good news for the tourists and especially for the people who live here year-round is that Rehoboth and Delaware appears to have done very well.
The rain looks like it's going to stop for the first time in two days. It's still not -- it's still a little windy but not nearly what it was before. But there's a lot of concern here. Grave concern over the last couple of days. Because it appeared that this hurricane was heading directly towards here. Here in the Delmarva Pennsylvania, and it's called Delmarva because parts of three states are on the peninsula, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
It's very flat, there's very little natural protection for storms to come from the Atlantic Ocean. So there was a lot of concern. As it turned out, this storm ended up going 40 miles to the north. The center of the storm towards Atlantic City, New Jersey. And the weaker part of the storm, the left part of the storm, hit Rehoboth Beach. Now there is some damage here. We see flooded streets, flooded houses, vehicles under water but as far as the devastation that we see during lots of hurricanes, we don't see it here in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, population 1300 year-round but tens of thousands during the summer.
Of course there'll be worse storms in the future. It's a very vulnerable area. Rehoboth Beach appears to have done very well.
One of the things I want to mention, Fredricka, something else you might know on Delmarva Peninsula, in the Virginia part of the Delmarva Peninsula, Assateague Island, Assateague Island has the largest population of wild ponies.
TUCHMAN: Of any place in the United States, east of the Mississippi River. They're already here in July, the great custom. The ponies swim from Assateague Island in that Virginia town of Chincoteague, and then the ponies are auctioned off to thin the herd, or else they're going to overrun the island. We've thought that all day, these wild ponies in Assateague Island, how they're going to handle this hurricane and quite frankly I don't know how they handled the hurricane. But they have to because they're wild ponies.
WHITFIELD: Yes. We're going to have to find out because that, you know, is a soft spot for so many people in that area who are familiar with that. Migration of the horses every year. But thanks so much for bringing that up. I appreciate that.
Gary Tuchman, we'll check back with you.
All right, so far, indeed, in most places, particularly in the New York and New Jersey area, this has been a very damaging, very deadly, destructive storm. And new reports continue to come in.
BLACKWELL: CNN cruise stationed all up and down the east coast, bringing you live updates on superstorm Sandy.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to North Carolina now and a dramatic rescue at sea. We've been following all day. A Coast Guard saving 14 members of the 16-person crew of the HMS Bounty. Now this is a tall ship that was featured in the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty," rather, and also "Pirates of the Caribbean," more recently.
They were stranded after the vessel took on just too much water. One deck hand was found unresponsive, later declared dead. The captain is still missing.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Look at those images. And in North Carolina's outer banks, strong winds and rains lashing the barrier islands there. An estimated four to seven inches of rain are expected to fall over several the days in the area with some spots getting eight or perhaps even more inches of rain. A state of emergency has been declared for 24 counties in western North Carolina because of snow. Not just the water.
WHITFIELD: Rain being taken on with snow.
BLACKWELL: Millions of people dealing with this storm and have been over the weekend and for days, but the storm itself officially hit ground in New Jersey. The Jersey shore just a few hours ago. And Sandy has been taking a deadly toll, unleashing extreme winds, dangerous surge, floodwaters still happening right now. More than 1.1 million people in New Jersey alone with without power. Police say at least three people have died from fallen trees there. Two of the deaths in Mendham Township, about 30 miles west of New York City.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned residents over and over about the potential dangers earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I'm very disappointed in the fact that some decided to disregard my instruction, in fact, my order, and I'm concerned that it might lead to the loss of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Also tonight reports of homes flooding under several feet of water. And the water in some areas still coming in. And several rescues under way. Including people stranded in their cars, trying to get away.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm scared to death. So many people are going to die today.
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BLACKWELL: Authorities are working to evacuate hundreds of people from west Atlantic City where waters are dangerously high.
Let's go to New York now where Sandy is being blamed for the deaths of at least five people there. A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo says one of the victims died when a tree fell on his house in Queens. Right now mandatory evacuations are still in place for some parts of the city. Mayor Bloomberg warned, New York is well in the danger zone as expected.
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BLOOMBERG: We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm and the storm has met our expectations. The worst of the weather has come. And the city certainly is feeling the impacts. At the Battery, we have seen record surge levels, we're seeing extraordinary amount of water throughout lower Manhattan. There are trees down throughout the city. The bad news is Con Ed is experiencing power outages on an extremely wide basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: The mayor added that some low-lying areas in Manhattan could see extraordinary amounts of water. And that's coming to fruition. We've seen record levels in parts of Manhattan across New York City. It includes the city's public transit system where saltwater has been confirmed that's flooding some of the subway stations.
We've seen some of those pictures.
WHITFIELD: Incredible. And check out these images from West Virginia. I know. It's very hard to digest but we're talking some serious snow there. But our forecasters have said this is going to be a convergence of the hurricane, wind and rain, and this almost like nor'easter bringing a lot of snow. And the residents are getting an early taste of winter as a result.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell spoke to our Piers Morgan earlier about the variety of weather conditions impacting his state.
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GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: Well, we're going into day three- plus for some of our people down into southeast Virginia. Virginia Beach started raining Friday night. They've had some pretty significant flooding in and around Norfolk and Virginia Beach. But the problems right now are primarily northern Virginia where they're having 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts until 60 plus another three or four inches of rain expected.
And then the western part of the state, Piers, right now, we've got blizzard conditions in the mountains with up to a foot or more of snow expected and wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles an hour. So it's a vast array of weather that's affected the entire state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wow. As much as a foot of snow. And that being marched by -- matched, rather. by a foot of rain in some parts of Virginia as well.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And the mid-Atlantic Sandy is just scraping the coast there.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Terrible.
BLACKWELL: Dealing with -- it's ripping sand from the beaches and really damaging a lot of property there.
Parts of Delaware's coast are dealing with significant flooding. Look at these pictures. Got pretty dicey today. The National Guard and local authorities had to rescue a lot of people there who tried to just ride out the storm and they did not leave.
WHITFIELD: And earlier Delaware's governor spoke with our Brian Todd about his biggest fears.
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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, you know, a week or more before a lot of people get their power back on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now based on the latest numbers, almost 75,000 people are currently without power in Delaware. Now compared to other states, that might seem like a small number but think about the population of Delaware. That's a lot of people by percentage.
President Obama has already declared a state of emergency for Delaware.
WHITFIELD: Rhode Island also operating under a state of emergency. The state's Emergency Management Agency is warning all residents to brace for prolonged power outages there. Wind and water damage as well. Sandy forced public schools in Providence and the state capital to close on Monday. And right now nearly 120,000 people have lost power in Rhode Island.
So some of New York's biggest stars are going solo because of Sandy. Here's something that you don't hear that often. Jimmy Fallon will be doing his without an audience. This should be rather interesting, or probably was interesting. And as well as David Letterman doing the same thing. We're not used to seeing their shoes without hearing -- no, you know what, we're not used to seeing them without hearing an audience in the background.
WHITFIELD: So the show must go on. All right. As predicted, the damage from Sandy came in pretty fast. And almost one right after the other.
BLACKWELL: Yes, emergency crews were just quick to respond and made some rescues in the height of the superstorm. Live coverage up next.
BLACKWELL: We've got rain and storm surge and wind and snow and thunder snow.
WHITFIELD: It's a terrible combination.
BLACKWELL: All of this in one storm. But we really won't know the true picture of Sandy until daylight. But here's why we're on live. Because every passing hour we get new details of the damage. And the fresh numbers of the power outages. And unfortunately, more deaths. So far we know at least 13 people now are dead. Nine in the tri-state area. Five in New York. Three in New Jersey. One in Connecticut.
And three other lives lost in -- West Virginia, Pennsylvania and another on the "HMS Bounty" off the coast of North Carolina. And remember, this storm is already responsible for killing 67 people in the Caribbean. So still watching those numbers.
The U.S. military has been preparing to help with response to Sandy and working to protect its own equipment.
WHITFIELD: Over the weekend the National Guard had approximately 1500 forces on active duty in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut and Maryland. Their troops are assisting local first responders and the federal emergency management agency with route clearance, search and rescue equipment and supplies, delivery and evacuations, you name it, they're doing everything.
In addition to aiding in the response, the military has been moving aircraft and ships to avoid damage during the storm.
BLACKWELL: So, this could have -- will have a big effect on the economy where Sandy could delay release of the monthly jobs report. Now that comes at a critical time because you know this is the final snapshot of the nation's job market before the presidential election.
Live reports, we're going to keep them coming up and down the east coast as Sandy continues to rip down power lines and flood communities and cause some evacuations.
WHITFIELD: So we are of course watching the storm very closely for you all night. The next hour of CNN special coverage of this superstorm Sandy begins right now. BLACKWELL: Hello, everyone. I'm Victor Blackwell.
WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome to CNN's special coverage of superstorm Sandy. We want to welcome our international viewers as well around the world. It is now 2:00 in the morning East Coast time here in Atlanta. And we have reporters up and down the east coast bringing us the latest developments all hour long.
BLACKWELL: There's been no hype, no overestimate. The words of warning were valuable as damage is estimated to be in the billions.