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CNN BREAKING NEWS
11 U.S. Deaths In Superstorm Sandy; 200 Patients From NYU To Be Transferred; Three New York Area Airports Closed; Part Of A.C. Boardwalk Wiped Out; Three Dead As Sandy Ravages New Jersey; Damaged Crane Dangling Over NYC
Aired October 30, 2012 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight, 11 people are dead, as Superstorm Sandy pounds the east coast from South Carolina to Maine, 2.8 million without power, the water rising from Atlantic City, Lower Manhattan to Long Island.
Meanwhile, you're looking live at New York City's West 57th Street, just three blocks from our CNN studio where a crane on top of a luxury skyscraper collapsed this afternoon. It has been dangling over the top of a building.
And Superstorm Sandy's high winds, it could come crashing down at any moment. Streets have been closed off. Nearby buildings evacuated. CNN's best people all across the storm center now.
Erin Burnett is here in New York at Battery Park with record-breaking levels. The water has now begun to recede, albeit possibly temporarily. Ali Velshi is in the Atlantic City. Plus Chad Myers is tracking the dangerous storm from the CNN Severe Weather Center.
Let's start at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, which recorded nearly 14-foot tide tonight. Smashing a record set by 1960's Hurricane Donna by more than three feet.
Erin Burnett has been there all day. Erin, it's been a long, difficult night for you. But good news, it seems the water has dramatically receded from when I last talked to you.
ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN'S "OUTFRONT": Yes, it has. Last time you spoke to me, Piers, if I stepped all the way back to where I am now, it would have been above my knee. It's gone down about six or eight feet from that.
So it's a dramatic drop as the tide dropped and also as some of the bands of weather. It's now raining again, but the bands have passed through here.
Now the only record here tonight though, Piers, when you look at the island of Manhattan. The wave, the peak wave in New York Harbor got 32-1/2 feet that is 6-1/2 feet about the prior record.
There are many records like that across the north east as the storm continues to strike and of course, as you know, it still is. It's right over Philadelphia right now. And I know Chad will have more on that.
The other big story here, in Manhattan, Piers, is going to be how long it takes to get back up and running given how much damage there could be to the subways. That's a big question tonight.
And also at NYU Medical Center, not only did the power system fail there as it has for much of Manhattan, in fact for Manhattan, the biggest ever weather related power outage they've ever experienced was tonight.
But the NYU Lango Medical Center, backup power also went out. They are now transferring about 200 patients they'll transfer to other hospitals. Some of these people obviously are on intensive care. So that's a very serious situation. I know you'll have the latest on that later in the hour. Back to you.
MORGAN: I think you meant patients, rather than passengers although they've become passengers tonight as at least 40 to 45 were in critical care.
BURNETT: I'm sorry, yes.
MORGAN: It was actually rather appropriate. They've been moved to other hospitals. A lot of concern there. Strange things happening, I think, tonight, in Manhattan. The crane, which is dangling, having buckled. Many people thinking how could that possibly happen. They've had a week to prepare.
NYU, a backup generator failing again and they had a week to prepare for this. Why are these things happening in a city as modern as New York? But lots of questions, I'm sure, will be asked tomorrow and in the next coming days.
Let's go to Chad Myers. Chad, you've been tracking this all day, all night at the CNN Severe Weather Center. Lots of crazy stuff going on, crazy rumors flying around, bring me up to speed with where we are with it all.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, the one thing that I'm focusing on now is the report from the National Weather Service, an official report that says there were three feet of water in the New York Stock Exchange. That would have been devastating to have those people out of work for so long.
It turned out to be a false report. It was the National Weather Service report and I reported it. I completely regret that error on your show earlier, Piers. But I don't question it when they say there's 14 inches of snow in West Virginia, I believe the report.
When the weather center reports it, I believe it. Back out here behind it, that's the snow. Believe it or not, Piers, that's thunder snow. You'll see lightning strikes right through there, about 20 of them, 20 lightning strikes. It is snowing in Western Maryland and West Virginia and it's lightning and thundering at the same time. That doesn't happen very often, trust me on that. Here you go, blizzard conditions all the way from that Maryland area back down south, with winter storm warnings and winter watches all the way back into parts of North Carolina. It's going to be a long night. It's going to be a cold night.
This is something else. Typically when a storm comes onshore, it's warm. It's 47 degrees and raining in Washington, D.C., 54 in New York and that blue area there in West Virginia, and parts of Kentucky, that's where it's snowing. That's where it's below 32 at this hour.
We do expect the snow to continue here, the rain to continue here. Every time a band comes by, I think we're going to go back to Ali Velshi at some point in time. The wind will pick up, when it stops raining, the wind dies off. You think it's over. It's not over. This is going to continue on and off with wind for the next 36 hours -- Piers.
MORGAN: Chad, would you say that we've seen the worst of it, or is it too early to make any kind of prediction like that?
MYERS: You know, I would say that for some people, yes. I would say that probably for Long Island, yes. If you talk about the areas back out here to the west where it's raining very heavily, I'd say Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ohio may even turn to snow, and a little snowflake here in the area from Columbus down to Chillicothe.
But for that matter, you get that wind and you saturate the ground with some spots now 11 inches of rain over wildwood, those trees are going to start to fall down with gusts to 60 to 70 miles per hour. It's getting better in some areas.
If you're just getting it or it's going to be over your house for 36 hours, some problems still haven't begun yet.
MORGAN: Chad, stay with us, Chad because we'll be back with you before the end of the show.
We go now to Asbury Park with CNN's Rob Marciano live there for us. Rob, you've been covering this thing for a long time. Have you seen anything quite like this?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, I haven't. And to add to something Chad said, it's cold out here tonight. To experience a hurricane with the chill in the air, like we've seen, it was extraordinary.
It behaved differently, not only in our weather maps, but also on the ground. It felt different. The wind was more erratic. The waves seemed to behave differently. It was a fairly quiet morning, relatively speaking. Around noontime it broke loose. The waves and storm surge came in, right at high tide. Just like probably up and down infiltrated the town, breached the boardwalk, waves crashing in.
Even though storm surge has pretty much receded, all surrounding the high point were surrounded by water. It's going to take time for this to drain. Obviously, the rainfall is still coming down. There have been reports, reports of a group of senior citizens, about 20 of them, that refuse to leave. They're on the 26th floor of a building up the road, apparently still there. I can tell you, we're staying in a hotel that on the eighth floor many windows were blown out.
Also some older structures here in town, some historic structures, Piers, that may have been compromised during this high wind, cold hurricane event.
MORGAN: Yes, extraordinary collision of whether events coming at once and created this perfect storm. Rob for now, thank you very much.
Now I want to bring in CNN's Ali Velshi, rising waters of Atlantic City where he's been all day, all night, heroic effort from our man. Ali, this is nearing the end of your marathon stint. Where are we now then? Has it receded at all from when I last talked to you?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's receding. It was calm for a little while. Now we're getting one of those bands that Chad was just talking about. See this behind me? It's whipping up again. We're hoping this is toward the end of it.
I can give you a close eye on Philadelphia as well, which is exactly 60 miles to the west of here. As you know, I have a home in Philadelphia. The power has gone out there as well, low-lying area beginning to flood.
You can see this band coming through, Piers. The water has receded. There's no question. It was up to my waist and now it's just slightly below my knees, but it's full of vegetation.
This is water that's coming over the boardwalk, over the barriers, into the cities. I have to tell you this, Piers, because people ask, why are you standing in the water? Is there someplace you could stand that's not in the water?
Yes, yes, there are high spots in Atlantic City. There are high spots everywhere that ever floods. You know where I'm standing, Piers? I didn't find a puddle in the middle of Atlantic City.
This ocean, this river of water is downtown Atlantic City. It stretches here all the way almost a mile. You see the lights in the background, that's the boardwalk, that's the Atlantic Ocean. So the point is to tell people, this is a real storm. This is really dangerous.
You think you want to come out because the storm's kind of over? Check out these gusts. I'm 190 pounds and it pushes me. The point is to keep people safe. It's not safe yet. There are downed power lines, downed trees, and flooding.
So, this is not over. While I'm hoping this is the worst of it for Atlantic City and Cape May and Ocean City and places like that, this storm is pushing in and it still remains dangerous. It does seem to me, piers, like it's getting a little less intense, though you can look behind me. You can still see these squalls, see these gusts. It's still pretty serious out here.
MORGAN: It certainly is. I'm getting lots and lots of tweets about you the last few hours. Many asking, have you just got incredibly strong legs?
VELSHI: I've got to tell you, I didn't realize until I've been doing this that I'm constantly moving. I think I'm standing still when I'm talking to you, but it's like being in the ocean.
You're constantly repositioning so you don't get blown up so I think tomorrow morning the legs are going to be pretty sore.
MORGAN: You've done an amazing job as have all your crew down there. It's been an extraordinary shot all day. I think you exceeded yourself today, Mr. Velshi. Remarkable reporting. Thank you.
VELSHI: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: When we come back, New Jersey mayor who works tirelessly to get his people back to safety, New York's Cory Booker.
MORGAN: Breaking news. You're watching amazing new videos of waves washing up around homes in Ocean City, New Jersey. Joining me now by phone is the man who shot that video, Trevon Moran. Mr. Moran, thank you for joining me.
TREVOR MORAN, SURFER, VIDEOGRAPHER (via telephone): Nice to talk to you, Piers.
MORGAN: Quite extraordinary pictures. When did you take those and what exactly are we looking?
MORAN: You're looking about 53rd Street in Ocean City. That's at the south end of Ocean City, New Jersey. I took it during the eye of the storm around 6:30 as it passed over us. The wind went calm so I saw an opportunity to go out and take pictures and sure enough the tide start rushing in really quickly as waves sort of breaching over the dune.
MORGAN: How are things right now there?
MORAN: Right now, the wind has switched to southwest blow. It's still blowing extremely hard by about 50 or 60 miles an hour. It looks like the tides have subsided a little bit. I don't expect the tide to go any higher, but there are still about 3 or 4 feet in front of my house right now.
MORGAN: How are the people doing there? I mean, are people getting flooded out in their homes that they having to abandon them? Have the homes held up quite well? MORAN: For the most part, nearly everybody evacuated. There were mandatory evacuations here as of yesterday. I kind of just didn't follow those orders.
As far as the homes themselves the ones on the beach and the bay have been getting hit pretty hard. Sure enough, that wave you saw in the video sent patio furniture directly through those houses. Patio furniture was rocking. I have no idea what happened there. After that wave came through we retreated pretty quickly.
MORGAN: In terms of recovery operation, is it still lashing down with rain. Is it so very windy or do you feel the worst has passed now?
MORAN: It's still very windy. I wouldn't go outside. I had to batten down some doors that were flying open. It looks like things will get better. I don't expect it to be any worse from here, but for sure when people go out tomorrow the clean-up will be tremendous and there's going to be a lot, a lot of damage.
MORGAN: Well, glad that you're OK. Thank you very much for sharing this extraordinary video that you took. It tells rather more than any words could, just devastating this has been today where you are and so many other places. Thank you so much.
MORAN: Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: At least three people have been killed in New Jersey as Sandy ravages the east coast. Joining me now on the phone, the mayor of New York, Cory Booker. Cory, welcome back.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER, (D) NEWARK, NJ: I appreciate that, Piers.
MORGAN: How have things been in the last couple of hours since we last spoke?
BOOKER: It's difficult. Trees going down, numerous homes with significant damage. We've had a lot of flooding situation and individual are had to be rescued. It's a very difficult situation and power outages all over the city.
MORGAN: Have you seen anything quite like this?
BOOKER: No, not at all. I've been working with various law enforcement, and said he's never seen anything like this.
MORGAN: In terms of people getting back to normal, are you in any position to say when that is likely to be? Are we talking days, weeks, possibly even months?
BOOKER: Well, definitely going to take weeks until we get any kind of normalcy. The power outage could last 11 days. What I'm immediately focused on is I do not want people tomorrow to be assuming the storm has passed or the hazard has passed so many power lines down. We are asking people, you don't need -- a lot of injuries can happen in the aftermath as well as during the storm. MORGAN: One of the things that you tweeted about tonight involved homeless people in New York. It's been one of my concerns with all of this because obviously there are lots of homeless people who have been directly affected. How have they been coping, do you think, in your area?
BOOKER: It's difficult. Unfortunately, we know in America, many of our homeless also have mental health challenges. For people to go with you to shelter tonight has been a difficult endeavor. I was able to -- I let the storm rage a little longer and return to an area where they congregate here.
It's a very difficult time and something we've been working on since I've been mayor, trying to get people who are dealing with chronic homeless problem, health challenges to deal with that issue. It's something that America has found a great way to deal with quite yet.
MORGAN: When do you anticipate the airport being reopened?
BOOKER: Again, I'm getting words it's not going to be tomorrow. That we'll have delays for some time now, but I was hoping again that's going to be a good priority getting transportation open, rail, air, the tunnel connecting us with places like Manhattan. So I'm hoping that's going to happen quickly, but I've got no good estimation for you at this point, Piers.
MORGAN: Have you spoken to the president in the last 24 hours or so?
BOOKER: Yes, the president has been incredibly proactive, engaged and involved. He had been -- a number of us mayors and governors on earlier in the day and different White House officials engaged. I'm feeling very, very blessed at the federal and state level with a number of people really involved in the details of what's going on, offering and making available tremendous support.
MORGAN: It has been a remarkable effort watching from the sidelines. I congratulate you, Cory, as always you've been all this. So congratulations to you and the law enforcement and security people and emergency services.
It's been, I'm sure, a huge operation. It will continue to be so. But for now, you have our thoughts and prayers for your people in New York. Thank you for joining me.
BOOKER: Thanks, Piers. You should know the media in a time of crisis is just as important as the other players you mentioned. We're grateful for the attention and focus you're bringing the issue as well.
MORGAN: A lot of brave people, not the least are the CNN reporters out there who have been bringing this news and awareness to people and reminding them again and again, it has to keep being said, stay inside. Don't try to be clever. Stay inside. Let this blow through. That's why our people are risking their lives to bring this news. Cory, thank you very much.
BOOKER: Thank you, all the best.
MORGAN: We got live pictures of a crane that's been hanging over Midtown Manhattan for hours now battered by the high winds of the Superstorm Sandy. It could come crashing down at any moment.
Joining me now by phone is crane expert Tom Barth. Tom, thank you for joining me again.
THOMAS BARTH, CRAN EXPERT (via telephone): Thank you for calling.
MORGAN: Since we last spoke, I've been watching sporadically the pitches of this crane, this building one 57. It's going to be the tallest residential skyscraper in New York. It's around 70 stories high at the moment, will go to 90.
This crane has been swaying since it buckled mid-afternoon in the last few hours, swaying really quite dramatically. From all of your expertise of a long, long time in the business, is it feasible it could stay up doing this for a long time or inevitably going to crack and fall off?
BARTH: Earlier this evening the boom was just hanging down. Now I have a grave concern because that boom is swinging back and forth. And that is a concern. I would think nobody can tell what's going to happen. It's a grave concern. It's swinging back and forth.
If it swings enough, gets into the tower, the tower can come down. Or if the boom comes down, it can fall down and then it would be stopped momentarily by the pennant lines that hold the boom up. It could swing into the building with power. I have grave concerns.
MORGAN: The other problem that we face there is it's a very densely populated part of Manhattan. Parker Meridian Hotel has been evacuated as well as parts of buildings around there, lots of hotels and restaurants and businesses, private homes and so on.
The problem is the winds at speeds they still are in Manhattan, it would only take a huge gust to rip away the broken part of this crane and it could fly anywhere. How far do you think it could fly, one, two, three blocks?
BARTH: Absolutely. Depending on when it falls down. When it falls, that tower is going to fall and the crane house will be on it. It could fall further than that, depending on how it falls, or it could fall right straight down.
MORGAN: In terms of what can be done about this, what would you imagine authorities are trying to do? What is the sensible thing, given we're in the eye of the storm here in New York. Do they have to wait and see what happens and clear the area or can they at some stage get up there and try to dismantle it or do something of that nature?
BARTH: The best thing to do is get everybody away from it and wait until the wind dies down. You don't want to send somebody up. I believe that crane is either 900 or 1,000 feet up there, with the wind blowing as hard as it is. And I've listened to CNN, the reporters, how they are fighting the wind on the ground, can you imagine up there to try to do something. There's nothing they can do, but standby and wait and hope for the best.
MORGAN: Are you surprised as I am that a building, iconic like this, had a lot of publicity, it's going to be housing apparently more billionaires in any other building in New York, it's going to be highest residential tower in the city.
This crane which everyone has seen, I've seen it from my office window for the last few months that this crane wasn't properly attached?
BARTH: Well, from what I'm seeing in the pictures and everything else, it's my opinion that the company that owns the crane and the crane operator, did not follow the manufacturers' recommendations.
And looking at the boom swinging back and forth, I believe when the crane operator got out of the crane, he had the house brake on and had the boom at a high angle. And when a big gust of wind came over, just blew it backwards. If he had the boom at a different angle, it never would have went over backwards.
MORGAN: I'm sure there will be an investigation into this and hopefully, we can get this resolved tomorrow or late tonight or early morning when the wind dies down enough. For now, Thomas Barth, thank you very much.
BARTH: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, Delaware has been battered by Sandy's wrath. Gary Tuchman is there for us live.
MORGAN: President Obama declared a state of emergency in Delaware on Monday and Sandy has been pounding the state with rain, wind and rising waters.
CNN's Gary Tuchman is live for us in Rehoboth Beach. Gary, what's been going on there? It's been up and down all day. I've been watching your reports. Tell me where we are now?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Piers, well, there's great concern, Piers, for the last couple of days who live here in Rehoboth Beach about the approach of Sandy.
This city sits on Delmarva Peninsula, which consists of parts of three states, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, that's why Delmarva. It's very flat. There's very little protection from storms. People were very scared.
As it turns out, the center of Sandy, 40 miles to the north near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The weaker end of the storm hit the town here. There is damage here. There's much flooding, cars under water, many homes that are damaged, streets under water. And there are four beach towns here in Delaware, the Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach and Frederick Island. They've lost sand. However, the most important news, it appears there are no casualties whatsoever at least that's what we think at this point.
That, of course, is most important part of the story. Also important to point out, Piers, lots of power failures as well as the east coast. One of the problem it's so rare, we've covered a lot of hurricanes. I've never covered a hurricane when it's so cold out.
So there a lot of people without power and no heat tonight. That's tough. People here for the most part are very lucky.
MORGAN: I think the power is going to be a big issue. The situation down at the NYU with all these patients being removed from hospital, I've heard 40 to 45 critical care patients and dozens more, all being ferried off to other hospitals.
They're backup generator wasn't working and I think that kind of situation is probably where the attention move forward as the night falls on. But for now, Gary, thank you very much.
TUCHMAN: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: I want to bring Mayor Michael Nutter from Philadelphia. He joins me by phone. Mr. Mayor, welcome.
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, (D) PHILADELPHIA, PA (via telephone): Piers, how are you?
MORGAN: We hear Philly is getting a good battering right now, is that right?
NUTTER: We've got a significant amount of rain coming down, winds fairly high and water on the Delaware we're particularly concerned about with coastal flooding. Philly is a city with two rivers, so we're worried about the other as well. But we've got plans in place and personnel and equipment to try to deal with it and we're making progress.
MORGAN: I've talked to lots of mayors and governors tonight and so on. Everyone seems to have been pretty well prepared, but can anything prepare you for this magnitude? Have you experienced anything quite like this?
NUTTER: I've never experienced anything like this in my lifetime. I'm a Philly native. It is a quite unique storm. But nonetheless, you put your plans in place in terms of where you're going to have your people positioned.
For us, we know we have low-lying and flood prone areas. You monitor them. We set up shelters for folks. We've been planning for this and also messaging to the public for a number of days to get people ready for it.
Just a year ago, we had, of course, the Irene experience. We got, you know, a fairly significant amount of snow here from time to time. So people are used to weather events. Not used to hurricanes but a weather event nonetheless and it's here, dangerous, and people are taking it seriously.
The public has really responded and I am so proud of Philadelphia and certainly our public employees, but the citizens of the city have heeded the warnings. We've gotten through some of the toughest part of this.
We'll still get hit tonight and overnight with the actual storm, high wind that will weaken trees. We have 90 to 100 trees down, 41,000 people without power in the city, 400,000 in the region and our energy company will do a fantastic job getting those people back on.
So on the one hand, we obviously hope for the best, prepare for the worst. We have a great professional team that is doing everything they can to make sure that Philadelphians are safe. That's our number one priority.
MORGAN: Sounds like first responders all over the northeast should get a big shout out. They've done an amazing job.
MORGAN: Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining me.
NUTTER: Piers, thank you. Bye-bye.
MORGAN: Coming up next, storm chaser taking on super storm Sandy.
MORGAN: As Superstorm Sandy battering the east coast, West Virginia suffering from thunder snow. Storm chaser, Reed Timmer joins me now on the phone. Welcome, Mr. Timmer.
REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: You're a well-known storm chaser. You're in Elkin, West Virginia, in the middle of snow, hurricanes, God knows what else. What do you make from this experience?
TIMMER: This is the most unusual storm I've ever chased. We'll probably never see anything like it again in our lifetime. If we do, it must have something to do with the climate change because we haven't seen anything like this in recorded history.
It's basically when a worm core tropical cyclone, a very strong hurricane, emerges with mid-latitude cyclone creating the monster, a nor'easter on steroids. It's like a normal storm system, but you inject it with tropical heat and energy, and it goes nuts.
MORGAN: In terms of the scale and size of this and the impact, is it the biggest storm the northeast has ever seen?
TIMMER: I think it might be, especially in term of geographical size and scope of those impacts. One thing, when a hurricane does interact with tropical jet trough is it will expand in size. So, wind the field got its increases from the center.
It's warm core tropical cyclone it's more compact. Impacted with the polar stream jet stream that's when it expands and tropical force winds were out, 500 miles or more. A very large system and that's one reason we had a bad, devastating storm surge.
MORGAN: You've chased after quite a few storms in your time. What was the power of Sandy like to experience close hand?
TIMMER: I feel much more comfortable intercepting tornadoes with our armored vehicle than I do chasing blizzards in Appalachian mountains because one mistake you could get stuck in your car and spend a day in a snow cave or you never know.
With tornadoes I feel a lot more comfortable. With these snowstorms, you never know. There could be a lot more accidents that could happen so have you to be more careful.
MORGAN: Do you feel it's receding at all in power?
MORGAN: Do you feel the power is receding a little?
TIMMER: No, I feel like it's intensifying in terms of the blizzard. In the last half hour or so, snowfall has increased dramatically. We've seen a few claps of thunder, lightning, heard a few claps of thunder. And I think Sandy is starting to impact this area with heavy snowfall rates, probably 2, 3 inches per hour.
MORGAN: Reed Timmer, thank you very much.
TIMMER: Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Extraordinary photos showing the power of Superstorm Sandy. Take a look at this, the storm overwhelmed the sailing ship "HMS Bounty." It's a replica of the historic British vessel sailing off North Carolina.
Fourteen of the ship's crew, 16, were rescued. The body of one deck hand was found and the ship's captain is still missing, according to the Coast Guard.
Ted Turner was former owner of the Bounty and he says his heart goes out to the families of the crew.
When we come back, what the Red Cross is doing to help Superstorm Sandy's victims.
MORGAN: Breaking news from Hurricane Sandy. CNN's Chris Welch is live now on Lower Manhattan with all the latest news. Chris, bring me up to speed. We got a few things to clarify. The situation most pressing may well be what's happening at NYU University Hospital. What is going on down there in terms of the patients?
CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Piers. We're on the lower east side where we've seen a lot of flooding coming in from the east river, just a few blocks behind me here.
About an hour and a half ago, the water was maybe about up to here on me, right now, it's slowly receded. But also on the lower east side are two very important hospitals, NYU Hospital and Bellevue.
Now at NYU Hospital, that's where they are now moving about 200 patients to various hospitals in the area because of these waters. We don't have specifics if the building flooded, what kind of power outages may be there, if any, but we know they are moving 200 patients to different hospitals.
They say because of intermittent phone problems at the hospital. They are saying that anyone who's being moved will be notified. The patient's families will be notified by the hospital that is receiving them.
So, they're having phone issues there. Right next door to them at Bellevue Hospital, they've got water in their basement. So, they're trying to deal with that. They're hoping for additional pumps and to fix some generators. As of now, we don't have reports they are moving anyone from Bellevue -- Piers.
MORGAN: It does seem quite extraordinary that a major hospital in New York with a week's warning could have a power failure to its backup generator, isn't it?
WELCH: Yes, you know, power outages have been a real concern in this part of town because it was just a couple hours ago, actually, where folks in this neighborhood here -- I'm at East Houston and Avenue D on the lower east side.
Folks here said they heard three a loud explosions, three booms, folks have been telling me and very bright flashes in the sky. As soon as they saw that, everything went black. So, everything, as we were driving down here, in fact, Piers, everything south of 34th Street essentially in a complete blackout.
This is not something we see in New York City very commonly. It's eerie. Folks say we've been without power fort last couple of hours. That transformer explosion, Con Edison said, has affected 230,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more people in the New York City metro area are without power.
MORGAN: In terms of the subway, lots of reports. We saw dramatic reports from the PATH subway station. We saw huge amounts of water gushing in. There were earlier rumors of fires breaking out in some of the stations. Do we know if that actually happened and what is the condition of these subway stations now? Indeed, the whole subway in its entirety, I mean, how long do they think it may be to get it back running again?
WELCH: That's a really good question. I think that's what a lot of people are wondering right now. How long until the subway starts running again. How long until the power goes back on and unfortunately no one is really been able to give concrete answer.
We do know that water has gotten into the subway stations. I have not personally visited those subway stations because we've been stuck here in this area. We don't want to move around too much in the dark as it is a blackout.
We have our gear here. We want to be as safe as we possibly can. But as far as when power will be back on, they say Con Ed cut off power pre-emptively to a lot of folks tonight.
They are saying the areas where they did that it could be three to four days without power. But those areas where a transformer exploded like north of here, they say they have no idea how long that could take to get back up.
MORGAN: That's a very big deal, as we know. Chris Welch, thank you very much.
WELCH: Thank you.
MORGAN: Joining me now is Kristiana Almeida from Red Cross in New Jersey. Welcome.
KRISTIANA ALMEIDA, RED CROSS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER (via telephone): Thank you for having me this evening.
MORGAN: I'm sure you're having an extremely busy night. How are you coping and how many people are you having to look after?
ALMEIDA: Yes, coping and providing services, certainly a lot of things we're doing tonight. So far we've had more than 1,300 volunteers and 160 emergency response vehicles deployed to start with services around the region wherever we can. Last night we had hard numbers. We had more than 3,200 individuals staying in 110 Red Cross shelters.
That number is obviously expected to rise dramatically this evening as we saw evacuations go into place. We're here to provide comfort, food, a safe, dry place for people to stay, rest their heads and offer hugs to anyone who might possibly need them at this point.
MORGAN: In terms of people who may have suffered injuries or who may need blood or medication, that kind of thing, would they come under your auspices? Do you deal with that kind of thing?
ALMEIDA: That actually goes into two separate categories. If someone comes into our shelter needing some sort of mild medical attention, we do usually have nurses on staff at our shelters. If someone comes in with a small bump, bruise, missing their medication, we do have nurses trying to work with local resources to make sure those needs are met.
You mentioned blood and that brings together an entirely different issue we're dealing with. The northeast is actually very generous blood population. Unfortunately, Sandy has stopped more than 100 blood drives from happening so we're more than 3,000 units short at this time.
Anyone across the United States who is able to give blood at this time, they are greatly encouraged to do so because we are going to see a need in the next couple of days.
MORGAN: Right, and I can imagine others that can help. What's the best way, if people are watching and they want to help Red Cross do your valiant work in connection with Hurricane Sandy, what's the best thing they can do?
ALMEIDA: The easiest way to help American Red Cross is a gift through American Red Cross website, go to redcross.org or text the word red cross to 90999. Your money will be immediately put to work to help the people of Hurricane Sandy because we're expecting this to be a long and costly situation.
Everything that the Red Cross provides is a gift from the American people. Know your gift to the Red Cross is going to be a gift to the people affected.
MORGAN: In terms of what the Red Cross is dealing with here, have you dealt with anything like this before in New York?
ALMEIDA: We deal with a magnitude -- a number of disasters on a yearly basis. The American Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters just here in the United States, large and small.
One of the ways we prepare is we are training our volunteers on a year-round basis so they know how to handle different situations. One thing we pride ourselves on is our flexibility in different situations as well.
We really try our best to work with local authorities, work with local and national governments to make sure we're providing services based on what is need in the moment.
MORGAN: From what you're seeing, do you feel the state and federal backup from the authorities has been sufficient? Has the planning been right?
ALMEIDA: Absolutely. This isn't something that just happens once in a blue moon. We work with local authorities, national government authorities on a very regular basis to make sure there won't be hiccups in services and we know what services will be provided by what organizations.
It's the best way for us to not duplicate services. It's the best way for us to sit down at the table together to know what the picture will look like, whether when we're in the middle of the response or a couple days when we start the recovery process.
MORGAN: Thank you very much indeed for joining me. Keep up the good work.
ALMEIDA: Thank you. MORGAN: Some breaking news. The U.S. death toll from Sandy has risen to 12 now. The 62-year-old man killed by a falling tree in Pennsylvania. We'll have more after the break.
MORGAN: Welcome back to breaking news in Hurricane Sandy. Want to go back to Chad Myers in the CNN Severe Weather Center. One more check of Sandy's path.
Chad, so much going on tonight all over the northeast really. In terms of what we can expect overnight and tomorrow, what are you thinking?
MYERS: I'm thinking most of the areas we had the high tide around 8:00 or 8:30, most of the big cities up and down the east coast have gone to low tide. That will be low tide for the next five or six hours.
Back up to high tide around 8:30 tomorrow morning, depending on where are you, plus or minus a half hour up and down the east coast, unless you're in Long Island Sound and then completely different tidal basin there.
We'll take the water down and push it back up again. I don't believe it will go back up as high as you showed. The fires from Rock Away were responsible from the saltwater coming into the homes and sparking the electricity.
The best thing to do if you leave your house, shut the power off at the breaker unless have you a sump pump in your basement. Be careful if you go back on, water in the home, power still on, the power may still be on.
That's why some Con Ed power outages were on purpose to stop this flooding potential with floodwater crossing paths. Wind coming onshore here. At Battery Park, which was 13.88 feet, now we're down below almost 8 feet.
This thing has gone down -- Battery Park has gone down nearly 5-1/2 or so feet from the last storm. We will see blizzard conditions continue. I got a brand new report, Snowshoe, West Virginia, 55-mile- per-hour winds, 15 new inches of snow on the ground. The red area is the blizzard warning and it will snow for the next 36 hour. Piers, it's going to be a mess in West Virginia.
MORGAN: It is. I wish the first responders the best to do their stuff. You've done an amazing job. Today has been a testing day for you. You're the best weather man I've ever worked with.
Thank you for everything you've done tonight. Keep a lot of people informed. We greatly appreciate it. That's all for us tonight. More on Superstorm Sandy all night on CNN.