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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

East Coast Recovers from Hurricane Sandy

Aired October 30, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, we are starting to see the full extent of Superstorm Sandy`s destruction. This emergency is far from over. Millions are in the dark as we see rescues are still happening right now, and thousands of homes are seriously damaged. I mean, seriously.

This storm is still not over. We`re going into some of most heavily damaged communities right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, Superstorm Sandy slams the East Coast leaving a wake of mass destruction in its path, millions without power. Thousands forced to flee their homes because of floods, building collapse, even fire. How will America`s most densely populated region recover?

Tonight, reporters on the scene, up and down the nation`s devastated Eastern Seaboard. We`ll talk live to Americans struggling in their neighborhoods right now. The very latest, live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sandy packed a punch for the metropolitan area yesterday. I don`t think words like catastrophic or historic are too strong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We tried to stop it. We put the sandbags down. It was just rushing in. It was rushing in, from the windows, the doorways, everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just all heard a crash, and we all just started panicking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually opened the window and had to wave like an SOS to call him to come over to us. Good thing he was the only guy on the block with a boat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People were just stuck, and these people are doing the best they can. The rescuers have just been unbelievable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news as the East Coast is buried in water, sand and debris after Superstorm Sandy. right now, millions are still without power. There are still people stranded in their homes as we speak, waiting for someone to pull them out.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.

And we`ve got live team coverage for up and down the Eastern Seaboard to show you exactly what is happening right now, and the pictures say, really, the story. Cars tossed around like toys, piled up on top of each other, submerged in flood waters.

Sandy`s death toll in the United States now up to 33 people. The National Guard is standing out, trying to pull as many people as they can to safety. Like this family. They escaped ten feet of water inside their house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All day. It happened in ten minutes. We tried to get -- all of our pictures are gone, and you know. We had our kids, and that was the best thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened so fast. Within 15 minutes, we had ten feet of water. And we were lucky to get up to the second floor. So that`s why I think everybody decided to get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then there`s national landmarks, like the Atlantic City boardwalk, literally ripped to shreds by Sandy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This goes all the way down the beach. You will see the boardwalk ripped up and chewed up. Look over here. Just take a look at this. This is a bench. Now these supports are concrete. This is just how much power from Sandy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. And they`re picking up the pieces in Manhattan, too. Folks stumbling across more damage. Listen to this. WABC reporting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See that scaffolding over there. That has come apart, come unhinged from the building. All of those boards, all of those -- those steel poles up there. Those are all very precarious. Really, to be honest with you, I don`t know what`s holding it up still.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember that crane dangling over Manhattan by famous Carnegie Hall? It`s still dangling precariously. One swift gust, and it could come crashing down.

We`ve got video coming in of every minute. I-Reporters, of just footage that we`re going to bring you throughout the course of this hour.

Right now we`re talking as much as $20 billion in damage, and that is certainly likely to rise. Eight million people are still without power.

Sandy has shut down air travel out of LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports. And take a look at this new footage we`re just getting in of the New York City subway system filled with water. This is officially the worst catastrophe in the history of the subways. More than a century. Worst catastrophe in more than a century, as far as the New York City subway is concerned.

As the hour progresses, we`re going to go inside and show you footage from inside the subway system. To give you an example, more than one billion trips are taken on this subway every year. So you can see just how critical that situation is.

And again, just take a second to pause. We`re going to go look at that. And it gets worse. As -- as we enter the subway, somebody with a camera went into the subway and just started showing us what is going on.

And I`ve got to tell you, it gets worse and worse and worse, the deeper this individual gets into the subway system. We are being told that some of the subway tunnels are filled up to the ceiling with water. What is New York City going to do to rectify that and get the subways running again?

By the way, what are you going through? What do you want to know about this crisis? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to HLN`s Mike Galanos in Atlantic City. Mike, the video of famous Atlantic City boardwalk, devastating. Obviously a national landmark. Everybody knows about the Atlantic City boardwalk. What about that destruction, Mike?

MIKE GALANOS, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, you talked about it, and it`s like the Atlantic Ocean.

Let me show you firsthand here, because this is the scrap wood that was the boardwalk here in Atlantic City, the northern side here. I`m going to jump on a piece of this boardwalk here. I mean, you imagine how many generations of families have enjoyed this boardwalk turned to scrap wood because the Atlantic Ocean came to shore like sledge hammers. And now, again, this is what we`re talking about, Jane. Just scrap wood. That`s part of the destruction.

I want to turn briefly here, Jane. You see these two buildings there. The center building there, it was a husband, wife and daughter that tried to ride out the storm. They had that building renovated. He said you`d walk out, you`d say good morning, have a cup of coffee and you could be swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

Well, yesterday the Atlantic Ocean came calling on this gentleman and his wife and his daughter, knocking on their door at 7:30 in the morning. At 8:30 in the morning, the Atlantic Ocean had knocked his door down.

So this guy, imagine the panic as he`s trying to plywood up the front door. Couldn`t do it. They`re trying to take everything valuable up to the top part of the house. They were able to do that. They waited it out. He`s soaking wet. He`s trying to plywood up windows and doors.

Finally a friend who lives just to the right of me said, you`ve got to get out of there. And he did. And as he talked about it, I wanted to talk to him on air, but he was just too emotional about it. Thankfully, we`re not seeing a tragic loss of life here. But devastation obviously, and that`s where we are right now, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we are hitting state after state. That`s New Jersey. Let`s go to New York. A neighborhood in Queens, people in this neighborhood, they`re devastated.

Eighty homes wiped out and fast. Completely destroyed by this fast- moving fire you`re about to see. And we`re talking about last night, but the folks that live in the homes that now no longer exist are trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

A volunteer firefighter talked about how he was trapped inside. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing you could do. There was water surrounding the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you decide -- why did you decide to stick it out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually helping out the community. I`m a volunteer firefighter. And trying to give a helping hand. And we couldn`t get out. We got trapped. Even you know, couldn`t help anybody. I couldn`t even help myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were there moments when you thought, this is it? We`re not going to make it out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this total devastation. This neighborhood is completely destroyed, as the high winds of the fire took it from one home to the next, one after the other. Very difficult to put out the flames.

Joining me now, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder from Queens.

First of all, sir, have you ever seen anything like this in all your years in this city?

Phillip, are you there?

PHILLIP GOLDFEDER, ASSEMBLYMAN (via phone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We are talking about the devastation to your neighborhood and the rest of Queens. Describe the enormity of it sir, if you can...

GOLDFEDER: Are you there?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Can you hear me, sir?

GOLDFEDER: Yes, I can hear you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Describe the devastation to your neighborhood in Queens.

GOLDFEDER: Yes, I mean, my entire -- my entire district is, at one point or another, was either covered in water or on fire. The neighborhood a block away, Howard Beach, Four Channel (ph) and Hamilton Beach, they all are literally devastated. And I know we keep using that word "devastated." You know, we`ve heard it a hundred thousand times today.

But on the ground and seeing it, it is truly a scary, scary thought. And I wanted to paint you a small picture that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Phillip, can you speak up a little bit? It`s hard to hear you.

GOLDFEDER: The emergency service vehicles that we look to as a sign of rescue and safety, were literally stranded in the middle of the street. Abandoned in the street. Sand, you know, a beach, and sand which was once on the beach, is now literally half a mile inland, and the boardwalk is completely decimated. Literally in people`s living rooms.

So it`s bad, and it`s going to be a while, I think, before -- before we even start our recovery. I think you want to make sure that everybody is safe, first and foremost, and then obviously after that, we`ll start thinking about recovery.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about the subway system, because obviously, that affects your area. Authorities grappling with what to do next about the nation`s crippled transportation system. It`s having a ripple effect around the world.

Let`s talk about airports. Runways at LaGuardia and JFK airports, flooded. You see it right there. They`re expected to remain closed as well as Newark Airport, New Jersey, through tomorrow. And again, this video that we just saw, dramatic flooding in the New York City subway system, the world`s largest subway system, over 800 miles of track. Some stations reportedly filling up to the ceilings. And we`re talking over 4 million daily riders cannot get to work from the subway.

Now, Phillip Goldfeder, how -- how is the city, the MTA, which is calling this the worst catastrophe in its 108-year history, going to remove the water from the subway system, and how long is it going to take, in your opinion?

GOLDFEDER: Well, I would start by saying I think the governor has shown amazing leadership throughout this whole situation. And I have nothing but confidence for Joe Logan (ph). I mean, he is a man who knows how to get things done. And he is a man I have absolute confidence that will take our city and our state, you know, out of the current situation that we`re in.

In Rockaway specifically, but in Queens, we have -- we`re geographically isolated, and that especially in Rockaway, there are a hundred thousand residents completely surrounded by water. The ocean on one side and Jamaica Bay in the other. So in general, you know, the public transportation, and the A-train and our subway system...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Phillip, we`re out of time. But I want to say that my heart goes out to the people who lost their homes in that devastating fire.

And again, I grew up in New York City. I have never, ever seen anything like this. It`s extraordinary. I mean, you`re talking 800 miles of track. You`re talking hundreds of subway stations. And it seems that a good percentage of it is under water. It`s extraordinary.

On the other side, we`re going to go to some of the worst-hit areas in New Jersey and West Virginia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did you rescue today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 150 people. Newborn baby three weeks old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Babies, dogs, elderly people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pets, 93-year-old ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are in bad shape, and they just needed help. And this is what we needed to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just were driving around and people were -- what were they doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flagging us down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were flagging us down, screaming out the windows: "Help, help." And I was telling my husband, "Go back that way." We were loaded. Like we have to fit them on. We have to. They need help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good people, being good citizens, helping others out. Just because it`s the right thing to do. With devastation across New Jersey, the country`s most densely populated state, by the way. Just a little while ago, Governor Christie walked through some of the massive destruction with those who have lost so much. And with one lady who was sobbing, clearly distraught.

Meanwhile, people who live in a trio of New Jersey towns are reeling right now from the breach of a levy that sent waters from New Jersey`s Hackensack River cascading into their town, including Moonachie and Little Ferry. People were literally fighting for their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe what happened when the water came?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were sleeping, my daughter and I. All of a sudden, the water came and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The National Guard working furiously to pluck stranded homeowners to safety. Some people even rescued from rooftops and trees.

And I want to go out to Brian Todd, CNN correspondent. I believe you`re in Peterborough, New Jersey. My understanding is look at this. People are told, if you want me to rescue you, you`ve got to leave now without shoes, without socks. People plucked from trees, plucked from rooftops. How bad is it in your area?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jane, it is pretty horrific. That`s the only word I can use to describe it. There are floodwaters still in these three towns, and specifically these three towns called Moonachie, Little Ferry and Carlstadt, very close together. They were basically engulfed in flood water in a matter of just a few minutes when a levy -- a berm was breached by the Hackensack River by a tidal -- a tidal surge in the Hackensack River.

And so the surge is still going on, but they`ve had to actually call it off temporarily because of the fall -- because of nightfall here. They were -- they were doing it all day, going door to door, knocking on doors. They say they`re going to have to probably resume it at first light, because they`re not sure how many people may still be stranded in those three towns. But people were being plucked from rooftops. It was really kind of a horrific scene that reminded a lot of people of Hurricane Katrina.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Todd, when some people stayed against advice or even mandatory evacuations, perhaps they didn`t anticipate that they would be living essentially in a blackout with no sewage, no running water. Undrinkable water. No electricity. So literally sitting there in the pitch black. Is that the situation for some of the folks that you`ve seen?

TODD: It really is a situation for many of the people around this general area in these three towns in particular. But the people in those three towns were actually in some peril if they`re still in their homes.

Again, they`re not sure exactly how many people are still stranded, if anybody. They`re concerned about it. But yes, the conditions for other people in this area who are just sitting there with no power and no heat or anything, it`s just very severe.

And a lot of these people are not sure when they`re going to get their power back. People in the three towns who we`re talking about, many of them were just in shell shock. We just saw them. There`s a shelter behind me. There`s a vocational and technical high school behind me. It was converted into a shelter. We saw some of these people going in and coming out. Still just not able to process what just happened to them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Brian...

TODD: They`re happy to be alive, of course. And we can tell you there`s no fatality from these -- these three towns. But they`re still going to be going door to door, looking for them at first light.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Brian Todd, I mean, to give you a sense of the depth of the flooding, boats are being used in some cases. Is that not true?

TODD: That`s correct. Swift-water rescue boats are being used. Also what they call high-clearance vehicles. These are pretty massive trucks that we`ve seen going in there, with wheels that are almost as tall as I am, going into these flood areas to try to pull people out.

So they`re using all these resources. But some of the high clearance trucks have actually had to turn back, because the water was just too dangerous.

Again, you know, the fall of darkness is really hindering them right now. They just say it`s just too dangerous to go right back in now. It`s just too dark and too dangerous. So they`re going to try again at first light, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have a very quick question. We`re almost out of time. But what about security? Is National Guard there making sure that everybody who`s left their homes, that their property is safe?

TODD: There are a lot of National Guardsmen being deployed in this entire area. We talked to some who were aiding in the rescue of these three towns. So they`re all all over the place, but the question is, are there going to be enough of them? And that`s still kind of to be determined.

There`s still a lot of towns here without power. A lot of towns that are still flooded out. And so, there may not be enough National Guardsmen to have complete security around here. That`s a major concern, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side -- Brian Todd, thank you so much for your excellent reporting. On the other side, we go to Manhattan, where there are extraordinary developments. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bad. This is bad. This is the worst. I was here in Hurricane Donna, and Donna was nothing like this. We only had maybe 18 inches of water. I had four foot of water. It was coming in the windows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this map of the Big Apple, specifically lower and midtown Manhattan. The world`s financial center struggling right now with huge problems, from a dangling crane in midtown Manhattan. We`ll show you that in a second. Truly extraordinary. There it is, in darkness right now. There`s a crane dangling and seven-block area around it has been evacuated. Massive, unbelievable for midtown Manhattan.

A power company station, crippled by an explosion in Lower Manhattan, that caused tremendous blackouts. That we saw last night, and we were told today that that was one of the reasons why there were blackouts in Manhattan.

And then there`s this building`s facade ripped off its face in fashionable Chelsea.

Straight out to Rita Cosby [SIC] in Chelsea.

I understand you`re near that building. What can you tell us tonight about that problem?

RITA CROSBY, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, first, let me show you the building, Jane. It is still incredibly dramatic, right behind me. You can see the entire front facade of the building has just been ripped right off. And this happened at the height of the storm.

We are told, amazingly, everybody inside survived. In fact, I just came back from a location where the people were supposedly in a shelter. They`ve now moved to a hotel. But it was sort of an extended living condition. There were about ten people inside, along with some children. And we`re told that, again, incredibly, they all made it out.

You can also see there`s a lot of rubble in the roadway. And where I`m standing, it is basically pitch black. The only lights you see are lights of cars. Lights here also for our camera.

I just took also, Jane, an incredible ride through Manhattan. I went about 200 blocks by bus, because the busses were starting in limited fashion. I say limited, because it was really a test. It only lasted about two hours, and this whole part of Lower Manhattan, and you know this area well, too. I mean, blocks upon blocks upon blocks...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rita, got to break in. I`m so sorry, but Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is holding a live news conference right now. We will get back to you, Rita. But let`s listen in to what the governor of New Jersey has to say.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: And there were parts of Long Beach Island, where it was clear (AUDIO GAP) the ocean. And the difficulty was watching on the bay side of it. On the bay side, it looked like the bayside homes on Long Beach Island may have gotten actually worse than the beachside homes. Because it really, really came up and over. The storm surge really, really moved it.

We went down to further south. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the way Atlantic City looked. It looks better than I expected it would. I saw a lot of the water had already drained out of the city. So that`s a positive for Atlantic City.

When you get down to Cape May, you saw the boardwalk in Ocean City was significantly damaged, as were many of the roads and towns there. There are homes there.

But we went down to Avalon, where we landed, and Avalon really bore up quite well from the storm. I had time to speak to Mayor Barney Palugie (ph) down there, mayor of Avalon. And he said to count their blessings. They did really well in Avalon.

Sea Isle City, I say Mayor Len Dezedario (ph). Not nearly as well. So it varies from town to town.

And one of the things that I`m going to talk to the president about tomorrow is getting the Army Corps of Engineers in here as quickly as possible for us to begin the planning of rebuilding...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Governor Chris Christie speaking. We will be back on other side in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not over. We still have more weather to deal with. Hopefully, people will be able to stay safe until we can get to the other side of the storm.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The devastation is unprecedented. Like nothing we`ve ever seen recorded before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just came all the way from the top of the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The frustration is not being able to get to these people who are obviously in harm`s way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the height of the storm, all you saw was transformer explosions and sections of New York City just going black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never thought it would be this bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The latest numbers we have from Sandy right now -- 33 dead, 8 million without power in this darkness. And perhaps the worst hit, New Jersey, which is dealing with the unthinkable, unthinkable damage. It stretches for miles and miles up and down the Jersey Coast. We are talking Peterborough, Hoboken, Asbury Park, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, among others.

The New Jersey National Guard shot this unbelievable video of the Seaside Heights coastline. You can see homes destroyed along the shore and sand everywhere. These homes were literally buried in sand. And it`s not just a few homes. This goes on for block after block after block. It seems like miles.

This happened to be, by the way, the area famous for the location of the hit show "Jersey Shore". The governor of New Jersey said he has never seen anything like this; and just a mile down the road, Ortley Beach, also experiencing a lot of problems right now.

But we want to go to Bob Van Dillen, HLN meteorologist who is in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Would it be fair to say that perhaps the worst hit state is New Jersey?

BOB VAN DILLEN, HLN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. From what I`ve seen, we were in Asbury Park last night and early this morning reporting. And then Jane we rolled from there up all the way up to Hoboken, which is where I`m standing right now. All along the way we saw so many trees down. It was countless.

And then we were going up the Garden State Parkway and it was fine. Traveling was fine. But if you look over towards the side -- we`ve got to pan that one (ph) -- there is a big marina that`s right there -- huge yachts, usually. They were there, but stacked one on top of the other from the wind just blowing them in there. So it was unbelievable.

And then, a little side not, my family had a little shore house in (inaudible) New Jersey back when I was a kid. It was right on the ocean. I have no idea if that is still there or not. So we`ve got that too.

Well, I am in Hoboken and I found a guy that`s lived here for a long time -- Ed Litman. Ed, tell me what you went through last night.

ED LITMAN, HOBOKEN RESIDENT: Well, pretty much just -- it was mostly the wind was really horrendous. It was frightening how windy it got. A couple of trees on the corner by my house came down. One took down a power pole.

But I`m here 32 years and this is the first time I actually thought, oh, my goodness, this is going to be bad.

VAN DILLEN: Tell me about the water that we`re seeing. Have you ever seen water this high or just staying here for so long before in your life?

LITMAN: No, we are -- this area, especially where you`re looking at here, this particular corner is prone to flooding anyway on a good heavy rainstorm. But I`ve never seen it for this long or this much debris. But I`ve never seen it sit for this long or this much debris. I mean if you look around at the debris that`s been washed out, it is frightening. It is apocalyptic -- it really is.

VAN DILLEN: You`ve never seen this before. And if you look at the water -- look at the stuff that`s floating in there. I mean --

LITMAN: That`s the scary part. I mean normally it is just water. It`s just, you know, water piled up because some of these areas, especially like this corner here, is a low-lying area, and it does tend to flood on a normal rain occurrence. But this is -- this is as bad as -- this is the worst I`ve ever remembered it, in all the years I`m here.

VAN DILLEN: We`ve seen a couple of guys walking in there with shorts and tennis shoes. What`s your advice to them?

LITMAN: Don`t.

VAN DILLEN: Why not?

LITMAN: Look. I mean look down here. Look at what is going around. I mean as we were saying before, it reminds me of the, you know, the compactor scene from "Star Wars", you know. Who knows what the heck is in there. Not to mention, if by any chance anybody is doing that, as soon as you get home, wash. Scrub it off good. Because I mean, this has been sitting around now for almost 24 hours.

VAN DILLEN: Unbelievable.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bob --

LITMAN: There`s all kinds of filth and muck going on --

VAN DILLEN: Thanks Ed. Yes, Jane, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The homeowner -- thank him for stopping and talking -- he makes an incredible point.

VAN DILLEN: Thanks. Thanks Ed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is so much unknown out there. And here is a video that will give you an idea of how frightening it is for those who remain without power. And this video, but it`s also, another video that we`re going to show you and this is something out of a scary movie.

It was caught by an iReporter -- it happened in Manhattan but this could be anywhere -- the wind and the flooding and the darkness creating an ominous sound. Let`s listen for a second.

So Bob, this is exactly what people are facing when they don`t evacuate. Because they have a concept of what it is going to be like, waiting out the storm. Perhaps cozy. Perhaps hot chocolate and watching TV, that ends up darkness, frightening, disoriented, pitch black. If you light candles, it can be a hazard.

You also -- the person you were talking to, talked about you could step on a live wire. There are many dangers out there.

VAN DILLEN: Right. And I will tell you this, there`s another thing that we noticed as well. There are a couple of crewmen out there trying to drain -- the drains are actually clogged because there is so much debris and leaves. They had about a ten-foot pole looking for it because some of these manholes are actually open. If you are walking, Jane, you could fall right down in there and, you know, you`re not coming back up. I mean that`s just another thing you have to worry about.

The end result, just don`t go in the flooded water anywhere. It doesn`t matter if it is Hoboken. It doesn`t matter if it`s still sea water on the road. Just don`t even try to go across it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sad truth is that there are some people who are not facing any good options tonight. We want to help them out.

Stay right there. More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the worst catastrophe in the history of the New York City subway system which is 108 years old, but you can see this flooding -- extraordinary. More than four million people depend upon the subways every day. The city is paralyzed.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s another patient there. I can`t -- oh, wait, it`s a -- I think it`s a baby. Oh, my goodness, guys. This is an infant. Yes. It is an infant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This extraordinary scene in Manhattan. 260 patients, including four newborns evacuated from NYU Medical Center. All the babies were on respirators. So when the power went out each baby had to be carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the child`s lungs. This is unbelievable.

We have flooding creating massive infrastructure problems with these fortress-like structures in Manhattan. I want to Rita Cosby, journalist on the scene -- you`re outside a build that`s had its face ripped off. You toured Manhattan. How long before Manhattan is going to be back on its feet, Rita?

RITA COSBY, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s going to be at least a few days. You know what is interesting? It looks like almost two different cities. If you go to sort of the upper part of Manhattan, it is starting to bustle. There are some lights on. I was getting full cell service. It almost looks like life was coming back to normal.

In lower Manhattan -- and we`re talking 40th Street down, that`s a lot of blocks -- it`s sheer darkness. You can right here. The only lights are really the cars behind us. A little bit of light obviously facing, of course, that dramatic scene as you pointed out, the facade ripped off that building. It`s an apartment building but it was sort of serving as sort of a makeshift hotel at the time. Again, amazingly, everybody got out.

But the whole city in general, it`s going to take a long time. It`s going to take at least a few days and mass transit is just a sheer mess. We were on the busses Jane for 200 blocks. It lasted just about two hours where there was limited service, and then it started finally picking up and finally going. Then suddenly, they told us, busses are over, we are in sheer darkness, we are not ready to do this. So this is a city that`s trying to get back on its feet but still a long way to go. It`s going to be at least a few days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we are happy to say the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are expected to reopen tomorrow. But until those subways are back in business, Rita, you and I both know it`s going to be hard for the city to be anything close to normal.

Thank you for the report.

And these losses are expected to be more than $20 billion -- with a b. And just to give you an example, you have to look at the devastation that we`ve seen in Connecticut. We`ve got home after home there -- we`re going to show you in a second -- with walls literally ripped off. And we will show that you in a second because it really is unbelievable. And then there`s these cars as well.

There are the homes that we are talking about. Look at it. They look like doll houses. But they are very real homes that belong to real people who are devastated tonight.

So I want to go to John Rocco, owner of Trans-American Associates New Jersey and insurance agent. This is really an important time. If you have a loss, you are best served by doing certain things immediately. What should people who have experienced property damage or destruction do right now, John?

JOHN ROCCO, OWNER, TRANS-AMERICAN ASSOCIATES NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Hi, Jane. I have clients calling me telling me they are stuck without power, trees falling on their houses and on their cars, there`s flooding. Asking me, what should I do now to claim (inaudible).

I tell them the most important thing is to remember to document, document everything. Keep receipts. Take pictures and do whatever you can to prevent further damage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right. Because if you don`t take pictures and the clean-up starts, and your car is removed, the debris is taken off of it, then you won`t necessarily be able to prove what happened.

But here is a question I want to ask you. And we`re going to take a look at some flooding footage and it really doesn`t matter where it is from because floods are floods. A lot of people don`t have necessarily the exact perfect policy that they should have for something like this.

I can only think about it personally. When I lived in California, earthquake insurance was really important to have and not everybody had it. What -- does everybody have flood insurance that you have been talking to?

ROCCO: Most people do and others have it covered by FEMA. Certain policies are different. You have to look at your policy and contact your agent and make sure you are covered properly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I mean how do you know? I`ve looked at my policy. It`s gobbledygook. You`ve got to be a PhD in insurance to read it. Are most people going to be covered? Do you think -- I`m not asking you to -- hedge your bets here, just your opinion. People whose homes were flooded, do you think that most people are going to get the coverage they need or will they have to go for government help if they don`t have that flood insurance?

ROCCO: Most people will have it depending on where you`re located. Others that do will have a five percent hurricane deductible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember, if you think back to Katrina, a lot of people ended up living in those FEMA trailers that became quite controversial because they had formaldehyde issues. But a lot of people had nowhere to go and they did have to turn to FEMA for actually a place to call home, a roof over their head.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, we`re going to talk to the president of the Humane Society of the United States about what to do in this crisis with pets. If you didn`t evacuate with your pet, if you did evacuate with your pet. How much have we learned since Katrina? Hopefully, a lot. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILIPPA HOLLAND, REPORTER: I`m here in southern coastal Connecticut in a town called Darien. It`s actually where I live. So far we`ve got school closed for two days, mandatory evacuations in the coastal areas. Flooding is in coastal areas and (inaudible) creek well above floodwaters. We`re still waiting now to see what happens with the power situation and we are still hours away from the most serious effects of hurricane Sandy.

I`m Philippa Holland, Darien, Connecticut.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`ve got to take a look at this footage from Lindenhurst which is on Long Island. We knew that there were homes that were hit. But this is the video that we`re getting in now to show you the true extent of the devastation.

This is one community on Long Island. And you can see that this is catastrophic. I mean, these homes are -- well, that one might be ok -- but some of those homes that are under water, they`re in trouble.

Now I want to go to Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, author of "The Bond". We have some video to show Mildred Schwartz (ph) she`s 91 years old, evacuated from New Jersey. And she was evacuated from Moonachie, New Jersey. And she took her dog. She said I am taking my dog.

Wayne, have we learned -- have we gotten better since Katrina about knowing that people are not going to want to leave their family member behind, Wayne?

WAYNE PACELLE, PRESIDENT, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: Jane, without any question. It`s an entirely different circumstances. Seven years has made a world of difference. In 2006, a year after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, we worked to pass in Congress the Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards Act. This includes pets in disaster. Any local government or state wants FEMA funding that has to have a plan for pets in disaster settings. It`s a whole new circumstance. So many of these first responders, so many of the government had pets on the mind and they didn`t during Katrina.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it`s fair to say there are fewer animals and their human companions suffering tonight? Although some must be locked up somewhere.

PACELLE: Well, listen, this storm, this hurricane has such a wide berth. So many people have been affected. And when people are affected, animals are affected because their lives are intertwined. Animals live in our homes. They live in our communities. So if we`re suffering, they`re suffering.

Our task and our nation`s task is to minimize the suffering of the people and the animals, which is why we say if you evacuate, do it with the animals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the key. Wayne Pacelle, breaking news tonight -- but thank you for coming in; the key is evacuate with your animals. Don`t leave them behind.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TOM SATER, HLN METEOROLOGIST: Welcome back, everyone. I`m meteorologist Tom Sater. Jane is going to join us in just a moment here.

We want to give you the latest on Sandy. It`s hard to fathom what we`re going through. It`s never happened in our lifetime. To be quite honest with you, I think it will never happen again in our lifetime. We can only hope and pray.

Now, what I`m about to tell you is a little confusing so bear with me. The center of Sandy right now is just northeast of Pittsburgh. It continues to lose its strength but it`s gaining in size, more states are actually feeling the wrath of Sandy than we`ve seen in the last 24 hours.

By tomorrow morning I think it will be just south of Buffalo. Then it picks up speed and shoots into Canada. They can have it. No offense to the Canadians here. We`ve had enough. What we`re seeing is as far as the winds go, we`re not having the gusts of 85, 90, 95 miles an hour. We don`t have the record storm surges anymore that are 12 and 14 feet, but 14 states now are starting to see some effect of snow from Michigan all the way down into northern Georgia. It`s unbelievable, Jane. It just continues to come down in West Virginia.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for that, Tom. Speaking of snow, we`re going to go to Reed Timmer, who is a storm chaser out of Elkins, West Virginia with TDNweather.com. This storm is absolutely extraordinary. And apparently it`s still coming down. What do you know, Reed?

REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Well, Elkins, big place in (inaudible) hovering around 30-33 degrees and it was just 70 degrees before that storm arrived. A lot of the streets are easy to plow and they`re wide open. But the big problem is the power outages.

At around 4:00 a.m. last night, suddenly we`re driving through Elkins, there`s thundersnow everywhere, and (inaudible) then everything went black. They are without power and they`re still without power now. They probably won`t get it back for another week or so. I mean there`s downed power lines everywhere in that area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We only have a couple of seconds. Is there more snow expected?

TIMMER: Yes. There will be some light accumulation down there. But the winds could pick up a little bit in the higher passes. But there is more anticipated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s absolutely extraordinary that the storm that created so much flooding, but yet unseasonably warm temperatures in New York is creating such snow and such cold in West Virginia. That`s Mother Nature for you.

Nancy next.

END