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Don Lemon Tonight
Ida Slamming Northeast With Heavy Rains, Flash Floods And Tornadoes; New York City Declares State Of Emergency Due To Ida; New Jersey Governor Declares State Of Emergency Due To Rains, Winds, Flooding; Trenton, New Jersey Advising Residents In Island Neighborhood To Evacuate By 08:00 A.M.; SCOTUS Refuses To Block Texas' Six-Week Abortion Ban Aired 12-1a ET
Aired September 02, 2021 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Folks are reacting out there. Did this come up on you all of a sudden? As you surprise --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I didn't expect this to be like this crazy for sure. You know, I thought it was going to be like some rain and it was looking heavy and then we ended up parking under a bridge for like an hour thinking that we could like -- hopefully, like, just get through it but it just kept raining and raining and getting worse and worse and I just never made it home.
LEMON: Are others stuck? Are you hearing from folks?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lot of people here in the lobby that were telling me stories about how they were just like at school or at work and just completely stuck and just came here for like refuge. Like I came into the hotel and there was so many people in here. And I just didn't know if I was going to get a room or not. Or if I was going to sleep in my car with my friend. Like, it was really insane.
It's really sad because so many people like, you know, everything's destroyed now.
LEMON: Mariette, listen, we want you to be safe. And we thank you very much for joining us. She's at a hotel in Clifton, New Jersey. Her home is Bloomfield. She cannot get home (INAUDIBLE) bridge for an hour and there are lots of folks out there trying to wait this out but man oh, man, it's going to be a while and they will probably be stuck there.
It is a top of the hour, it's just past midnight here in the northeast. And that's where there had several state of emergencies have been declared. The governor of New Jersey declaring a state of emergency. The mayor of New York City declaring a state of emergency and towns and cities all over the northeast, states of emergency.
We just had the governor of New York on the phone Kathy Hochul just moments ago, saying they're looking at a possible state of emergency here in the state of New York but they have to meet certain parameters. So, we'll see if she declares that. There are she said in New York State 31,000 people currently without power that is mostly on Long Island. 5,000 people in New York City so far without power.
The governor of New Jersey tweeting out moments ago Phil Murphy, 81,000 people without power now.
We've got our meteorologists here with us -- that's the tweet from the governor of New Jersey and we also have our correspondents who are on the ground.
First, I want to get to the situation happening in New Jersey since we have the governor suite up. Our correspondent who happens to be our Chief Media Correspondent is Brian Stelter, who happens to be in northern New Jersey has experienced a storm and the rain and the flooding and the wind. Brian, what's happening where you are?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, the National Weather Service out of Mount Holly near Philadelphia says there are reports that crews are running out of resources to rescue people stuck in floodwaters.
So, not only are people driving out in this rain getting caught in these floodwaters, the National Weather Service saying they are running out of rescue crews to help people.
This is up and down the 95 corridor, Don. Earlier today, we saw some of the heaviest rains in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, then North toward Trenton and into New York. And now we're hearing about cars submerged near Bridgeport, Connecticut.
So, this is up and down, one of the most heavily traveled thoroughfares in the United States and that is why it is such a severe situation.
We know that in New Jersey a number of different towns have reported serious rescue situations, North Plainfield and Montclair and many others.
Incredible images out of Newark Airport earlier tonight of the baggage area. One of the terminals actually flooding. I have never seen that in all my years in the New York Metropolitan Area.
This is one of those situations where records are being set in terms of hourly rainfall, and also in terms of the amount of rescue operations that are necessary in some of these counties, some of these municipalities.
So, we know, Don, the rain is still coming. It has slowed to some degree. Some of the heaviest rains have now moved toward Connecticut and Massachusetts. There are some severe warnings now issued all the way out toward Boston.
But even now, Don, after midnight, we are seeing flash flood warnings issued in places like Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in New Hope, in Lambertville, New Jersey. A lot of different parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York still under serious flood threat right now, even as these rains start to pull out.
LEMON: Yes, and Brian, just -- you know, as you were saying and I was reading that. You speaking of Newark Airport, air traffic control tower at Newark Liberty Airport was briefly evacuated due to the wind on Wednesday. And then, you are getting reports that the baggage area in the airport with the luggage areas flooding there. That is a sight to behold.
LEMON: Again -- yes, it is crazy. So, listen, we're getting all of these images coming from the northeast, mostly in the New York, New Jersey area. Also, some in Connecticut but if you look at here, which appears to be -- is this Newark Airport? This is Newark Airport.
So, there you go, Brian, proof of what we're talking about, the damage happening at Newark Airport. The luggage area flooded. And also, one of the air traffic control towers having to be evacuated earlier because of the wind.
LEMON: This is no joke. I mean, you see the water bubbling up really through the sewer and the drainage systems here. We're now looking at -- this is New York. This is from our very own Vaughn Sterling, who actually works here. Do we know exactly where Vaughn took this video? I don't know for sure.
So, OK, well, I think -- we think it's somewhere in New Jersey. So, Vaughn if you're watching this, let me know where you took this video so we can accurately tell people exactly where it is.
So, there you can see the roads are inundated here. The mass transportation inundated with water. The big issue is going to be flooding and the damage that that flooding leaves behind.
But let's not forget earlier in New Jersey, there was also a tornado that we got images of and there were tornado watches in effect, as a matter of fact, till a state of emergency is happening until 1:00 a.m. But I think there are still tornado watches as well. And there's a Flash Flood Emergency in effect as well in the area. Look at that. New York City -- excuse me, in New Jersey.
Standby, Brian, standby. I just want to get some information. Yes, standby. I just want to get the information.
This is again from Passaic, New Jersey declaring a state of emergency as well. All restaurants and all businesses need to shut down. There should be nobody going out to go to the restaurants or businesses or trying to travel in this weather. This is extremely dangerous right now. We're doing retrieval of bodies because of the storm.
Again, that's according to the mayor. The mayor said that -- and police are responding now. Flooding in every part of the city were at a point, that there are certain areas of the city where we can't even send out emergency responders because of the danger -- potential danger.
Go ahead, Brian. Sorry. I wanted to get that information. And what were you saying?
STELTER: I think that is the story at this late hour or this early hour, Don, it's that emergency crews are overwhelmed in some of these local areas where there are rivers or streams that have overwhelmed the banks.
We've just heard in the past two minutes, Flash Flood Emergency now extended in Connecticut, talking about New Haven, Fairfield, as well as parts of New York, Nassau and Westchester specifically.
Flash Flood Emergency is a very rare term. The National Service does not like to use it unless they really have to, but they've used it tonight, up and down the 95 corridor.
And you know, I was just making the point, this began in the south of Hurricane Ida, with Louisiana getting walloped. We are seeing these extreme amounts of rainfall happening more and more often becoming more and more normal as a result of a changing warming climate. And I think when folks in New York City look out their windows and they see cars submerged or floating down the street, they sense in their bones, something is changing.
LEMON: Well, I want to get the information to -- since you bring it up, Brian, this is just crossing now. Flash Flood Emergency extended for New York City until 3:00 a.m. That is the latest information, Flash Flood Emergency extended in New York City until 3:00 a.m.
The Flash Flood Emergency that covers much of northern New Jersey and southern New York has been extended until 3:00 a.m. Widespread flash flooding is occurring. Water rescues are taking place and the rain continues to fall.
Let me tell you where we're having some of these emergencies. Flash Flood Emergency includes Bergen County, in northeastern New Jersey, Essex County in northeastern New Jersey, Hudson County in northeastern New Jersey, Passaic County in northeastern New Jersey, Union County in northeastern New Jersey, Bronx County in south eastern New York. Kings which is Brooklyn County -- which is Brooklyn Kings County in southeastern New York. New York County, which is Manhattan in southeastern New York. Queens County, which is obviously our southeast in New York. Richmond County, which is Staten Island in southeastern New York, and southern Westchester County in south eastern New York.
All of them under a Flash Flood Emergency until 3:00 a.m. It has been extended. At first it was 1:00 a.m. and now it is 3:00 a.m.
And now, you're looking at the images from many of the places that I mentioned here, this is Queens. And as I said earlier, if you -- you know, if you took a quick look at this, you wouldn't believe that it is a street and one of the boroughs in the New York City Metropolitan Area.
Shimon Prokupecz is standing by for us I believe in the same place in Columbus Circle 59th Street and he is seeing trains that are stopped when last we spoke and folks who are stranded trying to figure out a way to get home, Shimon.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Don, you know, I've been out here now for the, you know, better part of an hour and I've been talking to some of the people out here who are trying to figure out how they're going to get home because it doesn't appear that the subway is going to restart anytime soon.
So, some are making arrangements, trying to get family members to come pick them up. There are some city buses that are running. But some folks are trying to get on those and see how far they can get
PROKUPECZ: Interestingly enough, I just spoke to a Grubhub delivery guy who's been working for the last several hours that made actually quite a lot of money the last several hours. He's been out here delivering in the pouring rain, and he lives in the Bronx. So, he's trying to figure out how he's going to get home.
So, now, basically, it's just a lot of people standing around, trying to figure out how it is that they're going to get home, if they can even get home tonight.
The other thing is, you know, the mayor has been urging people to get off the street, don't drive. And while it's not raining heavily here where I am, certainly, a lot of the roads are still flooded. People are still out here, there are still a lot of cars on the street, people driving, so some folks out here waiting to get picked up by family members who live in parts of Brooklyn, which has seen some of the worst flooding.
And the other thing, Don, I can tell you is that the NYPD and the Fire Department here have responded to hundreds of 911 calls for requests from people, motorists, people in cars who have been trapped in their cars, calling for help. And still at this hour, the NYPD dealing with that. The Fire Department still responding to 911 calls of motorists along all sorts of highways and roads across the five boroughs of New York City that are trapped and trying to get out of their cars.
In some cases, they're standing on top of vehicles. And in some cases, the NYPD even their cars getting stuck and they have had to be rescued by Emergency Services Officer.
So, it's been a very, very busy night here for emergency responders. Obviously, now the MTA, they have to figure out how they're going to get the trains back up and running, how people are going to get home.
I was just talking to some medical professional people coming from the hospitals. You know, there's a hospital not far from this subway stop and there's a lot of the healthcare workers. They're out here stranded trying to figure out how they're going to get home.
When we think about this, you know, for the city, the subway is such a vital part, it's now shut down. There's no way for people to ultimately get home, Don.
LEMON: Yes, well, you know, when you tell people that the New York City subway system is shut down, it's like almost every road and highway and bridge in -- and most areas being shut down because we rely on the subway system so much and the mass trans -- and the MTA, the mass transportation here in New York, that's how people get around here.
So, this is one of the most densely populated areas in the country and people rely on public transportation and they're stuck now to get to and from where they're going. Many people just don't own cars.
So, it is unbelievable. We're seeing -- I want you to standby Shimon. I want Brian Stelter to standby, our meteorologist as well to standby.
And we're on top of the situation but man, what has happened here in the -- in the northeast, especially in the New York City, New Jersey area is really unbelievable. We are being inundated with water. The systems are being overloaded and taxed. The governor is possibly working on possibly declaring a state of emergency in New York, we know that there's one that's already been declared for the state of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, the governor there declaring one and the mayor of New York City also declaring a state of emergency.
And if you look at your screen, you can see exactly why. We're going to regroup. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with our breaking news coverage.
LEMON: Today we're covering devastating flooding in the northeast and I just want to get some of the images up so you can see for yourself just how inundated the Northeast is by this. All of this flooding that we have going on right now.
This is in New York City subway system, which is shut down right now. Water just pouring in. We are told by our correspondent who's out in the ground, Shimon Prokupecz. The people are stranded. The trains are not moving. They're trying to figure out how to get home.
We just had someone on who is in the New York City Metropolitan Area in New Jersey. She was stuck out on the roads and said she was stuck under an overpass for hours, eventually having to go to a hotel in order to get to safety. But this is what the New York City subway looks like. And again, it is shut down.
The governor of New York on moments ago right here on CNN telling people to get home and stay home. That there's a possibility of a state of emergency in the state. She is checking on that.
The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy declaring a state of emergency earlier this evening. New York City under a state of emergency now and there is a flash flood warning in effect. Emergency I should say, a Flash Flood Emergency in effect for New York and the New Jersey area until 3:00 a.m. I want to bring in now our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri to walk us
through this. Pedram, I know that we had expected bad weather. That you have predicted it after Ida hit the south and then came up to the northeast. But this is something that is just beyond.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's remarkable, you know and no one's going to forecast historic rainfall. We knew it's going to be as wet as it's possibly able to get, that's the top of the charts. That's what the Storm Prediction Center gave it a high probability for excessive rainfall and forecast had three, four, five inches.
But unfortunately, in some of these areas and some of the more populated areas from Newark all the way into New York City, we saw these amounts four or five, six inches in a matter of just a couple of hours.
Look at this, eight inches coming down in the wettest single day in Newark, in recorded history on September 1st today, so it really shows how things have played out here.
And New York City picking up three inches of rainfall in one hour. The National Weather Service in New York City issuing its first Flash Flood Emergency in its history.
JAVAHERI: Again, when you have Flash Flood Emergencies, it's not just the flooding that's occurring, but catastrophic flooding is occurring. Water rescues are present.
And of course, a very, very serious situation and that is really reserved for the strongest flooding events. And this is one of them across the Northeast.
But you noticed, again, one-hour record of over three inches, the three-hour record came down as well, five inches of rainfall observed in just three hours.
Don, for this amount of rainfall to take place in New York City has a 200-year interval, meaning there's a one in 200 chance that this would ever happen in any given year in one hour. It's never happened.
And then, we look at the five inches that have come down in about three hours' time in Central Park as a 500-year interval, a one in 500 chance or 0.5 percent probability of occurring.
So, this is as rare as an event gets when it comes to heavy rainfall and you put it down in a very urban environment, a very populated location, it's going to have significant consequences.
And you know, Don, you've been saying the turnaround don't drown, a slogan that the weather service often uses and I really try to point out just the ferocity of moving water. With six miles per hour, moving water has the same force per unit area as an EF5 tornado. Doesn't seem like much at six miles an hour but the force behind that is as significant as it gets. And in fact, water at six inches moving at about six miles per hour
can knock you off your feet, (INAUDIBLE) foot, it'll move your vehicle.
LEMON: I have some breaking news that I want to give here. The New York Governor now declaring a state of emergency for the entirety of New York state. The state of emergency declared by the New York Governor Kathy Hochul. And there are states of emergencies happening all over obviously the state.
New York City's under a state of emergency. New Jersey under state of emergency. The mayor of Passaic also declaring an emergency telling people -- a state of emergency telling people.
Now, I don't know specifically what this means but the mayor Passaic, New Jersey declares a state of emergency says they are now retrieving bodies from floodwaters. I think we should get some clarification on that as well. I'm not sure what they mean by bodies.
This is Justin from the governor of New York, here's a tweet. I don't know if we can put it up. I'm declaring a state of emergency to help New Yorkers affected by tonight's storm. Please stay off the roads and avoid all unnecessary travel, Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York.
Also, we had a young woman on who was in Clifton New Jersey, taking refuge in a hotel because she was trying to get home. She says to -- her name is Mariette, trying to get to Bloomfield, New Jersey, couldn't get there, had to take shelter in a hotel which many others had to do as well.
I'm going to get to Clifton, New Jersey in just a moment but I have one more that I want to read here and again, these are coming in fast and furious.
On New Jersey, the city of Trenton advising residents in Island neighborhood to evacuate by 8:00 a.m. The city of Trenton is advising residents in the island neighborhood to evacuate by 8:00 a.m. due to rising floodwaters.
Apparently, they're saying that the waters are dangerously high -- rising dangerously high. We strongly encourage residents in the area to evacuated by 8:00 a.m.
So, there you have it, Clifton, New Jersey now in my colleague Vaughn Sterling. Vaughan, hello to you. You sent that video of yourself trying to get home. Where are you now? What are you seeing?
VAUGHN STERLING, SENIOR BROADCAST PRODUCER: Hi, Don, I'm on Route 3 in New Jersey with the -- with the 15 -- 10 to 15 minutes from Manhattan (INAUDIBLE). And it's anything but a normal night here. There's an incredible amount of water on the road and I'll flip the camera around and see (INAUDIBLE) and they're not able to go down the hill on the off ramp into the community.
And in fact, (INAUDIBLE) on the highway and then coming back (INAUDIBLE) there's a hotel that I was checking in to, (INAUDIBLE) hotel, there were a lot of people that were struggling to to get a room, whose houses are flooded, who couldn't get off the road. It's pretty bad. (INAUDIBLE) water as I have ever seen. You can see here a truck moving backwards, trying to get around.
LEMON: OK, Vaughn, let me ask you. Oh, they're going to do a U turn right there. Can you hear me, Vaughn?
STERLING: I got you, Don.
LEMON: OK. So, do you have headphones? Are you on headphones or?
STERLING: I am.
LEMON: All right, it's a little hard to hear. We're going to stick with it.
So, Vaughn, they're going I think the wrong way down the interstate. But listen, they don't want to go into that water.
So, Vaughn Sterling, just so you know, Vaughn is a senior producer on Chris's show before mine.
So, Vaughn, am I right? Were you making your way home from Chris's show or no, were you --
STERLING: Yes, that's right, Don.
LEMON: Yes, OK. So, you're making your way home from Chris's show. And how far did you get, just there to Clifton?
STERLING: Down there to Clifton, which is about two thirds of the way, easily a 30-minute drive (INAUDIBLE) but we tried many different ways. I was with a professional driver in a big vehicle and we were not able -- we were not able to make it and we knew in order to be safe, we had to take shelter.
LEMON: So, listen, talk -- walk us through this because you know, when I was -- I went outside for a moment, just before Chris's show. I mean, just -- yes, just before Chris's show. And I mean, there were sheets and sheets of rain pounding.
Now, when you got off at 10:00, still raining, was it still inundated out there?
STERLING: Absolutely. At the moment, it's not raining quite as hard but it's certainly raining hard. And as you can see, problems are it's difficult for you to see. But cars are going against traffic on the highway right now. Trying to find a place to go because there's nowhere to go. But it's pretty dangerous (INAUDIBLE). LEMON: So, what did you experience Vaughn as you were -- as you were leaving when you were making your way out of the city? What were the conditions? Traffic, flooding, what? What did you see?
STERLING: (INAUDIBLE) mile or two and then, I saw a bus that was a hydroplane off the road. In order to get your cars to get pulled over, some cars stopped in the middle of the road. And it just got more and more precarious. We tried to do a detour thinking we could go around, that didn't worked out (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: OK, Vaughn, as we -- we are going to watch these images, Vaughn. I want you to standby. We've got some breaking news that we need to get to.
But we have -- we're going to be back with our special coverage of the flooding in the northeast and New York, New Jersey, inundated by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
But we have more breaking news to tell you about. And this involves the Supreme Court right, and that abortion law, the controversial abortion law in Texas. The Supreme Court refusing tonight to block Texas' six-week abortion ban, OK.
So, I want to bring in now Ariane de Vogue. Ariane, good evening to you. I should say good morning here in the northeast.
So, walk us through this. The Supreme Court refusing to block Texas' six-week abortion ban. This is really big news.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. Supreme Court is declining to block Texas abortion law. In fact, the court has just issued this order formally denying a request from Texas abortion providers to freeze the state law that bars abortion after six weeks.
And what's critical here is the vote on this midnight order. Chief Justice John Roberts here has joined the liberals in dissent.
Remember, this Texas law is one of the strictest in the nation. It bars abortion before many people know they are pregnant. Now, it's going to remain on the books.
And what was interesting and unique about this law is that it allows private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking abortion in violation of the ban. No other six-week ban has been allowed to go into effect.
And let me just read to you from the dissent. And this part there were several dissents but this one is written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Kagan. They write, the court's order is stunning presented with an application to join a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny. A majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.
And then, it makes note that last night, the Supreme Court effectively did not rule in time to meet a deadline. So, the law did go into effect last night simply because the court hadn't ruled on this emergency application from clinics.
So, Sotomayor goes on to say last night the court finally acquiesced in the state's enactment of a law that flout nearly 50 years of federal precedent.
Today, the court belatedly explained that it declined to grant relief because of procedural complexities of the state's own invention. So, we're still reading through it but this is a very strong dissent from the liberals here.
LEMON: I want to ask you, because all three of Trump's picks including the last one, Amy Coney Barrett, refusing to block it, right? Refusing to block it.
And this is -- when folks say, hey, elections have consequences. Ariane, this is surely one of them. Maybe it'll settle in for many people tonight.
DE VOGUE, (via phone): Right. This is -- exactly true. This is now a very conservative court.
And don't forget: way back when, it was then-President Donald Trump who vowed to put on the bench what he called pro-life judges. And don't forget, that's not just the Supreme Court. It's the lower courts, too.
LEMON: Ariane de Vogue is reporting to us on the breaking news. Stand back, Ariane. I'm not done with you yet.
The -- the breaking news is that the Supreme Court formerly denied a request from Texas abortion providers to freeze a state law that bars abortions after six weeks from going into effect, which means this controversial law will stand, where providers can be sued. Anyone who may have some idea that someone is getting an abortion, if they see anything. they can be sued.
What do you expect the ramifications are going to be from other states, as it relates to Roe v. Wade? Is it in jeopardy?
DE VOGUE: Well, that's very interesting now, because this law was written in such a way to try to make it really hard to block before enforcement. Right? And so you're going to see other states now that they may be hostile to Roe v. Wade look at this and try to move with a copycat law. That's one of the impacts that we'll see.
And keep in mind that justices, this case came up to them on an emergency basis. No long briefing. No oral arguments. Not an opinion at the end of the turn. But later on, when this term begins, the justices are also going to hear a case about a Mississippi law that bars abortion at 14 weeks.
So that means we're going to this term be able to hear more. And that case is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Tonight we're seeing a strong signal about which way this court is headed. LEMON: Ariane, as I reported earlier this evening, the consequences in
all of this, people who are -- are going to feel this the most are underserved communities, minorities, women who can't get on an airplane or go to a different state --
DE VOGUE: Yes.
LEMON: -- or drive somewhere else to get an abortion, as it relates to Texas. But it's going to have a ripple effect around the country, possibly, because other people, other states will be trying to -- possibly trying to mimic this law.
DE VOGUE: Well, you bring up an interesting point, because when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still alive -- keep in mind, this action tonight comes less than a year after her death -- she often talked about, if Roe were ever cut back or scrapped altogether, she would talk about this in speeches. Her fear was for poor women, because she said woman with means would be able to afford to travel across state lines to find a place that was less restrictive. But she worried about poor women, poor women who wouldn't be able to do that.
So that -- her fear there is now beginning to be manifested, starting with this order now that -- that we've gotten. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett was Trump's last and third pick. She was put on the court. And this order tonight really showed that stark difference, right, between Ginsburg and Barrett.
LEMON: Yes. Bret Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, the three Trump appointees.
Think you, Ariane de Vogue. We appreciate you on this bit of breaking news. And we'll continue to follow this, as well.
Want to get back now to our other bit of breaking news that you see now on your small screen. Now we bring it to the big screen. Let's get some of the video. I think we have some live video, live footage now that was happening in Harlem. But this video you're looking at is in Brooklyn. This is what New York City streets are looking like right now. Many streets in the northeast.
Brian Stelter is in New Jersey, where the governor has declared a state of emergency there. We're also, we should say, under a -- not only a state of emergency but a flash flooding emergency, as well, Brian, which includes New York and New Jersey.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And that's a very rare statement by the National Weather Service. That is life-threatening flooding in New York, in New Jersey, and now into parts of Connecticut.
Also in the past few minutes, Don, a tornado warning on Martha's Vineyard. That's because the center of Ida is pushing north toward Massachusetts, and causing that energy in the atmosphere. So a midnight, 12:30 a.m. tornado warning out in the ocean in Martha's Vineyard. An incredibly rare situation. [00:35:02]
And now, I think what we're seeing is the aftermath in all these local communities, trying to catch up to the amount of water that's inundated these towns and cities.
You mentioned Trenton, a neighborhood in Trenton being evacuated between now and 8 a.m. Why? Because the river there is going to crest. We're going to see in the next several hours all of these rivers that have been overwhelmed by the amount of rain start to crest.
So we saw initial street flooding that overwhelmed New York City, and caused people in their basements to have all this water and caused all these evacuations.
Now, what we're going to see is a tremendous amount of river flooding, as it heads downhill into these towns. And that's why you're hearing about additional evacuation orders that are happening in parts of Pennsylvania. This is really eastern Pennsylvania, and then New Jersey, and then in New York.
You know as you can see where I am, the rain happens to be slowing down, but the flooding emergency is just beginning, Don.
LEMON: Absolutely. So Brian, thank you. Brian is in New Jersey where the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency in response to the rain and the wind, the flooding that Ida is bringing to the region.
The governor of New York declaring a state of emergency for those affected by tonight's storm. They say that she wants to help with the emergency -- getting resources to people.
"Please stay off the roads to avoid all unnecessary travel." That is a direct quote from her tweet.
And then also, the mayor of New York City declaring a state of emergency, because what you're seeing on your screen is what's happening right now. Mass transportation really at a standstill in New York City, especially the subways.
What you saw earlier were buses that have been inundated with water, going through floodwater.
We will continue to follow this breaking news. By the way, this New York flash flood emergency extended until 3 a.m. And we're live on the air. We're going to guide you all through it. We'll be right back.
LEMON: States of emergency up and down the East Coast. Two big states, New York and New Jersey, under states of emergency. Also under flood emergencies, as well. I want to bring in now New York state Representative Robert Johnson
[SIC]. He represents the west side of Manhattan. He joins us now by phone.
Representative, thank you so much for joining us. I am sure that it is surprising to you what is happening here in our fair city at this hour.
REP. ROBERT JACKSON (D), NEW YORK STATE (via phone): Absolutely. We -- my legislative director and myself -- we just drove down from Albany where we just extended the rent moratorium up to January 15th. And the highway, I-17, was shut down, and we were shut down for about an hour and a half.
And when we get to go after the tow trucks moved all of the cars that flooded out in storms south, going north, cars were all on on the side of the road. It's terrible out here, and that's why the governor of New Jersey and New York have basically declared a state of emergency.
And I'm being told that when we approached the George Washington Bridge, the sign said 95 North, which is the intersection from north to south, from Florida all the way up, is closed. We were able to get off the bridge, and now we're in Washington heights. And let me just tell you, this is a terrible situation with the -- the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
LEMON: Representative, you said you're in Washington Heights and uptown is a little bit higher ground than downtown. Doesn't usually flood as much, the state --
JACKSON: You're right, Don. But the subways, I'm told that on Dyckman Street and inward, it's six feet of water. Before we had 157th street, where you saw people up to their waist in water, trying to get in the subway.
The bottom line is that where it rains and pours like this, it's going down into the subway systems, and that's why the subways are closed. The roads are closed.
Basically, people, I heard earlier, people are logging into hotels in order to basically stay alive, and their cars are now flooded out. We happen to make it home in time, but it's terrible out there. It's like, if I would have known what the situation was when I left Albany, I would have stayed and spent the night in Albany, and headed home tomorrow.
LEMON: Well, thank you. Go on, state senator.
JACKSON: State Senator Robert Jackson, not Johnson.
LEMON: Yes, yes.
JACKSON: That's OK.
LEMON: Yes, I got you. I got you. I got you. I just read -- I just looked at my notes and was going to correct that. Thank you, State Senator Johnson [SIC] -- State Senator Robert Johnson [SIC]. Jackson. Jackson, Jackson, Jackson. Represents the west side of Manhattan.
Listen, thank you for joining us, and we're glad that you're safe. And we hope others stay safe and they -- if they're at home, that they stay home. If they're stuck, they're able to get home. I think it's going to be quite a night for a lot of people in the metropolitan area. Again, New York State Senator Robert Jackson, representing the west side of Manhattan, joining us by phone now.
A quick break. More updates on the other side.
LEMON: Flash flood emergencies in effect that covers northern New Jersey and southern New York. And states of emergencies in both New York and New Jersey. And also a state of emergency in New York City.
So joining me now by phone is John Scravini [SIC]. He is a New York City Emergency Management Department commissioner, joining us by phone.
Thank you, sir. What are you seeing out there? What can you add to -- to our knowledge here?
JOHN SCRIVANI, NEW YORK CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER (via phone): Thanks, Don. I appreciate it. You know, we're seeing a lot of what you are showing on the screen. We're seeing a lot of flooding citywide. We're seeing, unfortunately, people's basements are being flooded. You know, people are getting stuck in their cars across the city.
This came in, you know, fast and furious, and obviously, you know, the city has some difficulty absorbing that much water in a short period of time.
And, you know, as you're showing now on the screen, we're seeing a lot of subway impacts. So we're lucky that the water is starting to subside. The rain is starting to let up. And we could really start to get a hold of this overnight.
LEMON: Are you hearing anything about rescues, sir?
SCRIVANI: Yes. We're out rescuing people in the street out of their cars. We've had a few people that we've had to rescue out of basements. You know, unfortunately, this came in so fast. You know, people -- you know, we try to tell people ahead of time, don't drive into flooded areas. But this just happened so quickly that people really didn't anticipate it and got stuck.
So we have the police department and the fire department out there with high-wheeled vehicles, really getting in there and getting those people out as fast as they can. LEMON: You said you believe it's starting to subside, which is
helpful. It is still dark. The water is still -- the rain is still coming down, I believe, maybe not as hard as before.
But this is going to impact mass transportation for quite some time, because you know, I'm sure the electrical and what have you in the subway systems, and then buses that are out of commission, because I'm sure they're going to get flooded out by water, as well. And then car that are simply stuck on streets.
It's going to be a morning to wake up to in New York City. And people are going to be dealing with this for quite some time.
SCRIVANI: Yes, Don, you're absolutely correct. And that's why we had the mayor issue that travel advisory and travel ban overnight. We are asking people to, if they don't have to travel in the morning, don't. We do need to, you know, get out there at the intersections if the water doesn't subside, to get out there and pump it out.
We do need to get out there with tow trucks and get the roads clear and get, you know, everything passable.
And again, the subways, you know, we're working closely with the MTA and get updates from them. But as you've seen, they're going to have a lot of assessment to do overnight to make sure that the subway stations and the trains are safe for tomorrow. You know, they're going to work as hard as they can overnight. But there's a lot of water out there. Mother Nature has a say in this one.
But we really want to encourage people, you know, err on the side of caution. Be safe. Try and, you know, if they can avoid traveling tomorrow, early in the day, give us an opportunity to get out there in the daylight and do our assessment.
SCRIVANI: We're going to be starting that overnight. But as you said, the rain is still coming down, not as heavy as it was. But there's still a lot of expanding water out there that we have to get through.
LEMON: Well, were going to leave it on those words. It's good words of advice from Emergency Management Department commissioner John Scravini [SIC].
If you don't have to be out there, don't go. If you're out there, please be safe. Do not go through any of that water.
And Mr. Scravini [SIC] says they're out there, rescuing people from basements, from roads, and what have you.
We're going to continue our coverage. John Scravini [SIC], joining us from the Emergency Management Department, the commissioner, as a matter of act, here in New York City.
Man, all you have to do is look at a picture of some of the images on your screen right now. This is New York City. This is what's happening.
The rain is letting up for the moment. We'll see if that continues. And perhaps the emergency workers can get a handle on it. People will -- won't be trapped. They can start trying to make their way home.
But as soon as this water stops, it goes away, it doesn't mean that the subway systems are going to start operating immediately. They're going to have to get in there and clear it out and make sure the electrical system is fine and that the subway cars can run and that the buses are going to be out of commission, some of them. Because they have gotten flooded out from all the water that's on New York City streets.
So stick around, people. We're going to cover this situation for you. We're going to be on the air for a number of hours until we get a handle on what's going on, to see where we go next here in the New York metropolitan area and, really, all along the Northeast Corridor. We'll be right back.
LEMON: We're following this breaking news on the severe weather in the northeast, specifically in New York and New Jersey. Northern New Jersey, southern New York.
Let's get now to Anastasia Brachman, joins us on the phone. Her apartment in Queens flooded tonight.
Anastasia, thank you so much for joining us. So sorry about your apartment.
Why are you experiencing there in Queens?
ANASTASIA BRACHMAN, APARTMENT FLOODED (via phone): Thank you so much for having me on your show.
Yes, it's been a real disaster. It literally came out of nowhere, three to five minutes, my basement became like a waterfall. Everything got destroyed. My computer equipment, exercise equipment.
But luckily, I was able to save my daughter's pictures. And luckily, everybody is safe.
LEMON: And this is water that's bubbling up through your basement and coming in through the toilets, through the drainage system, in your home.
BRACHMAN: Yes, that's pretty much sewage that backed up in my toilets, in the bathtub. And it was actually up to my knees in my basement.
LEMON: How long did it take to get -- when did it start and how long did it take to get to this level?
BRACHMAN: Really, it started about at 9:30. And it happened so quick. It happened literally between three to five minutes.
LEMON: Really? That quickly?
BRACHMAN: Yes. We couldn't do anything. We just rush to save the most important things, and the rest is history, basically.
LEMON: What about your neighbors, Anastasia?
BRACHMAN: My neighborhood got hit pretty hard. My neighbors are OK, except their car. It kind of got destroyed. But everybody is safe. That's the most important thing. And I saw around the neighborhood gas stations, it got destroyed and cars got flooded. So it's pretty much Sandy all over again.
LEMON: Yes. Well, Anastasia, please be safe. We're sorry that this happened to you. We appreciate you sending the pictures.
BRACHMAN: Thank you so much.
LEMON: And listen, she's dealing with what a lot of folks are dealing with out there, as a matter of fact. As we heard from the emergency management commissioner, there's a travel ban that's in effect, again, until 5 a.m.
So this is going to be -- this is just outrageous. So Anastasia, thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us.
It is now the top of the hour here on the East Coast, 1 a.m. It is 1 a.m.