tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC August 28, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
only going 10-miles-an-hour. not so dangerous? i'm not quite buying it. that does it for us here on abc-7 news at 5:00. thanks for joining us, see you captioned by closed captioning services inc. this is "world news." and tonight, hurricane irene. the floods taking towns by surprise. an entire town wiped out. roaring waters, homes flooded, people trapped, dramatic rescues. and the powerful winds did travel up the coast. they gave the skyscrapers of new york a break. but the power lines blew out. tonight, 4.5 million homes and businesses in the dark. the travel nightmare. airline passengers grounded across the continent. some for days. and the heroes of the hurricane, who kept a big city
going when everyone else headed off to safety. good evening and welcome to this special edition of "world news." all weekend, 65 million americans braced for an epic disaster of hurricane wind and water up and down the east coast. well, tonight, we know the wind has died down, but hurricane irene e delivering on the water. a torrent of flash floods and the epic mess. the president, moments ago at the white house, said the danger is not over. we're getting our first pictures right now of how serious the floods appear to be. word that one town in the catskills in upstate new york has disappeared. the rivers are still rising. and we'll show you cars, passengers escaping the torrent. and at the most ferocious, winds did reach 115 miles per hour.
>> you what ended up killingng e most people? it was a hazard in your own backyard. more on that in a moment. and the power, how long before the power comes back on? 4.5 million homes and businesses are in the dark tonight. our team has been up for 48 hours and the wind and the rain across the hurricane zone to answer your big questions. and they are right here once again. and we'll begin with anchor david muir in elmsford, new york, with the latest on the dangerous floods irene left behind. david, good evening. >> reporter: diane, good evening. we're north of new york city tonight and you can see in this town here, they are entirely under water. all of these families were rescued today by boat. this, as another picture of devastation emerges even further north from here in upstate new york. tonight, the dramatic pictures coming in from upstate new york in the town of windham. the fire chief there says the town center is, quote, wiped out. completely under water after ten inches of rain. this school bus, submerged.
the waters there slamming up against this bridge. as irene barrelled toward so many major cities overnight, philadelphia, new york and boston, no one quite knew what the hurricane would bring. but irene would prove deadly. more than a dozen deaths across eight states tonight. and power is out for those 4 million. but we would all learn very quickly it was not the skyscrapers, not the subways. they survived it. at daybreak, it was the cities and towns all around new york deluged with water and wind. in queens, new york, power lines crisscrossed the streets. in rosedale, cars under water, nearly vanishing. irene's rain came so quickly, it swept drivers off the road. in new jersey, a 20-year-old woman desperately calling her boyfriend and 911 from her car. her body was found eight hours later. that car carried 150 feet off the road. >> i want people to understand that this is not over. while the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. >> reporter: in elmsford, new york, we were taken to a neighborhood where the water is
still rising. >> we've already taken, i believe, 11, 12 people out of the houses so far today. >> reporter: a mother and her daughter and their dogs, rescued by raft. what is her name? >> mika. >> r rorter: mika? and then, her son, the last person trapped here, carried out, too. >> first time that i ever flooded in the house like this. >> reporter: how far up is the water inside the house? >> i mean, the bed is floating, chairs are floating -- >> reporter: the bed's floating? >> yeah, it's a mess. >> reporter: his dog, nash, rattled, but okay tonight. so, this is you here? >> correct. >> reporter: and it's dede vu for teresa phifer. more than a decade ago, her home flooded after floyd. she raised her entire home five feet but it still wasn't enough. that's her mailbox right there, number 6. now barely visible. >> this is all within the last few hours. and the water is still rising. >> reporter: and in long beach, new york, they'll have to rebuild this building, carried away. while back in this new jersey neighborhood, where the water levels are rising, neighbors waited behind police tape to check on friends and family.
>> i know people are here. >> reporter: we'e' tell them you're okay. >> thank you. >> reporter: diane, all the families rescued today are now staying with family and friends. the power out here and for millions in the northeast up and down the coast, in fact. and by some estimates, the power won't be back on for days in some places, perhaps even weeks, diane. >> all right, david, thank you, and as david just showed us, you don't have to be right on the coast to have been in danger from the flooding and from the flooding tonight. abc's dan harris is now going to tell us what is happening in philadelphia at this moment. dan? >> reporter: hi, diane. good evening. take a look at this. there is a banner hanging over the street. it advertises kayak tours. well, tonight, you c cld easily take a kayak straight down the street itself. the extent of the flooding here in philadelphia and over in south jersey truly surprised a lot of people. and that necessitated some truly dramatic rescues. violent, new jersey. five teenagers whose boat capsized in a raging creek, hanging on for their lives until firefighters launched a risky
mission, paddling through trees and branches to pull them to safety. >> we didn't realize the current was as strong as it was. basically, as we were coming up, we realized, wow, it's getting really strong. >> reporter: white marsh township, pennsylvania, an elderly couple rescued after climbing into their attic to escape the rising waters. north philadelphia, a building containing a chinese restaurant and a family home collapsed due to heavy rains. nobody got hurt. many people in these parts assumed the coast would get the worst of irene. but while the beach communities did get hit, it was the suburbs, some 50 miles inland, that really got nailed. and while the winds were bad, knocking down this enormous tree, fofoexample, it was the water that did the real damage. the storm dumped 5.7 inches of rain in 18 hours, more than this area usually gets in a month. today, the schuylkill river, which runs straight through
philly, crested at its highest level since 1869, flooding homes and businesses. it's like the river is running down the street. >> a river on main street right now. >> reporter: and to be clear, this river here in philly is by no means the only river that is posing a threat tonight. there are creeks and rivers throughout the northeast that are rising as we speak, diane. some of them expected to crest at record levels on monday and then again on tuesday. so, this is a gift from irene that, unfortunately, is going to keep on giving. >> all right, dan, thank you. and now, we turn to the wind. even though the wind did give the big cities and sky scrapers a break, the full battering hit north carolina, with ferocious 1 115-mile-per-hour wind. and abc's matt gutman, who has been out in the elements for five days, following hurricane irene, is in duck, n nth carolina, tonight. reporter: hurricane irene landed here hard. >> we're in the strongest part of the eye wall of hurricane irene. >> reporter: storm chaser reed timmer took us to ground zero for irene. it's almost impossible to comprehend the force of this
wind right now. we're on top of a bridge about 90 feet up. 1 00-mile-per-hour gusts, and the vain intensifying as the eye wall approaches us. we're probably in the eye wall right now. and we're going to see a little bit more calm soon as we're inside the eye. so powerful, we had to seek shelter behind the door of his armored car. >> strongest winds i've ever experienced. >> reporter: so strong, falling trees and branches killed at least seven people. in newport news, virginia, a tree toppled into an apartment, killing a boy, just 11 years old. his mother survived. but it took an hour for rescuers to cut through power lines to recover him. downed trees also cut electricity. more than half a million people lost power in north carolina alone. and diane, we learned that the village of hatteras with its 2,500 inhabitants has been cut off from the main part of the outer banks. but of course, it's not just wind, but also water that becomes a major hazard, especially with trees.
roots like this become water logged by the saturated soil and they simply flop down. also, dead trees. they break up in the wind and become projectiles. experts tell us, if you have any doubts about the health of your tree, just cut it down. >> reason to be cautious, even though the sun is out. thank you, matt. and, now, as we have been says, when the winds reached manhattan, they were not as strong as predicted. so, we wondered, what happened? and did we learn anything from the predictions of this storm? let's go to abc's weather itor sam champion right now. what about it, sam? what happened? >> reporter: good evening, diane. well, a hurricane always has three punches with it. it comes with wind, rain and a storm surge. we expected all three of those to be tightly together as this storm made its track right up the coastline. but this storm didn't just make one hit on the coastline. it made three hits. and each time it did, north carolina, new jersey and then new york, the storm weakened a little bit. and couldn't sustain its strength. so, finally, when it made that
last hit in the new york area running across the island, it just exploded. and threw all that wind off the east side of the storm and then threw all that rain off the west side of the storm. that's why we've got all that flooding going on inland. diane? >> so, the surprise is making three hits. did everyone overreact or not, sam? >> reporter: well, you've got to forecast it on the track that is hurricane center does, and it seems to me, if we learned anything tonight, diane, it's that the models don't do a good job of takingghat the hurricane will do, the strength of the hurricane, after it makes each one of those hits. >> and where is it headed now, the hurricane? >> reporter: well, this storm is still put together and it's rain form and throwing rain tonight into northern parts of vermont, new hampshire and maine. and then it goes into canada. believe it or not, eastern quebec will get six to eight inches of rain out of this storm. it not done yet. but it pulls off the east coast of canada by tuesday. >> and as a farewell gesture to
you, i can see those waves whipping up behind you and the wind all around you. thank you, sam. and new england did take irene's last punch here in the united states. a lot of concern, the tourists still vacationing there on the coast, especially cape codod and abc's david kerley is along the water in massachusetts right now. david? >> reporter: good evening, diane. we're on a floating pier that gives you a sense of how this normally calm bay is still being hit by the strong winds here in massachusetts. and there's still a worry tonight about the surge that's coming at 8:00 tonight, as the high tide rolls in. irene barrelled into new england, no longer a hurricane, but packing plenty of power, pushing around people and pushing massive amounts of ocean water onshore. abc's ashleigh banfield in stanford, connecticut. >> we're at the peak of the wind velocity now as the storm is hitting coastal connecticut. and while it's not necessarily a rain story anymore, the wind story is making it a water story. huge volumes of water are just
crashing i land. crashing inland. >> reporter: the winds came right up the gut of the harbor here in massachusetts, throwing a sailboat onshore, cutting power and leaving even an offduty police officer worried about the coming high tide. it's not the wind. you think the high tide later tonight -- >> it's the storm surge at the back end of this storm. 5 to 11 feet at high tide. going to be full moon high tide. that's my concern. >> reporter: and it's not just coastal water. up to eight inches of rain is straining dams in western massachusetts. swelling rivers to the edge of their banks. several communities have been ordered to evacuate. the last major hurricane here was bob, 20 years agag that storm surge was way above my head. they're hoping it's not that high tonight. diane? >> okay, david, thank you. and of course, the hurricane not only caused the big mess on the ground and the danger on the grgrnd, it created a nightmare for a lot of people trying to fly. flights canceled, many air travelers across the country going to have to wait days and days to get where they want to
go. and here's abc's bianna golodryga. >> reporter: this woman was supposed to be unpacking her suitcase at boston university tonight, getting ready for the new school year. >> we are just stuck here and waiting. >> reporter: instead, she and her father are living out of suitcases at a hotel near the los angeles airport, their flight canceled indefinitely. they are among hundreds of thousands of americans stranded across the country tonight. >> i've been working so hard to get t t. >> reporter: ragna berlin is stuck at her home in new york. her choice? put off her trip to her native sweden or fork over nearly $2,000. >> then i c cled back again to just book a new ticket and then it was, like, three times the cost. >> reporter: more than 11,000 flights were canceled this weekend. this is what the skies over the east coast look like on a typical day. and here's what it looks likik today. airports in the northeast are gradually gearing up tonight. but many are having problems getting airport workers to the
airports with mass transit shut down. so it will be days before the skies return to normal. but good news for ragna berlin. we just heard she got a seat this wednesday, just five days after she was planning to go. we have some additional good news to report tonight, as well. all major airlines have resumed service in the mid-atlantic. however, abc news has just learned that flight service to new york's jfk airport will be suspended until 6:00 a.m. monday morning. 7:00 a.m. at laguardia. newark, new jersey, scheduled to open at 6:00, as well. about six hours ahead of schedule. should put smiles on people's faces. >> a little bit ahead of schedule. okay. but five days is a long time for her to wait. thank you, bianna. and still ahead right here on "world news," we're goingo take you out into the streets of the city that never sleeps, as it hunkered down for a hurricane and we met the unsung heroes working through the night. and the day's other news, including what may be the biggest blow to al qaeda since the death of osama bin laden.
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so, here we are in new york. it's the time they said it's getting ready to move in. and sure enough, here is the rain. and you can see, there are a few cabs, a few diners open -- but really not much else right now. as the storm was bearing down, we roamed around the city. and found ambulances and the workers inside ready to brave anything. tell me, are you out all night? what are you doing? >> yes, we will be out all night. >> reporter: beth israel's emergency room staffed up and preparing for the worst. are you full up tonight? they're still calling? on duty tonight, huh? >> how you doing, diane? how are you? >> reporter: so good to see you. and downtown, a homeless services shelter at capacity for those who needed it. this is a daughter who moved from california four days ago to begin her new college life. this is her mother, who stepped off a boat in the caribbean and und up here for the night. >> i mean, this is amazing. i cannot even tell you. we have everything we need. >> reporter: volunteers poured in to help. even doctors, veterinarians.
coming to look after your dog while you u t some sleep. lucky dog. literally. >> try to keep them entertained and comfortable. >> reporter: and it wasn't just in new york. all along the coast, 14,000 national guard troops on the shore. families filling sandbags in annapolis. friends mopping up each other's homes in north carolina. and through the night, we read the tweets from the 65 million-person hurricane community. one of them -- "braving the storm from the 19th floor." another -- "sandbags in front of the doors, boards on lower windows." and we watched your home videos. >> look at that rain! oh, my gosh. >> reporter: last night, we decided to track one of the tweets down. she tweeted us just a few minutes ago and said she h h big windows and they are afraid of the glass upstairs. hi, i'm diane.
>> nice to meet you. >> reporter: if the wind comes, it can come straight down the street, straight to the windows. >> we have backpacks ready to go. we're nervous about being so high up on the floor. >> reporter: nerves on edge. but as we walked the streets last night -- still out? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: most people are hiding in their closets right now. it seems new york is still a city that never sleeps, or stops eating, or caring for its own during a storm. and when we come back, some last minute heroics and a big win for some little guys. go usa. with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a clot. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mg reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin.
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summertime is now a happy time. when we can eat what we want and sleep s sndly through the night. prevacid®24hr prevents the acid that causes frequent heartburn, all day, all night. and there's word we may have broken a record this weekend. 65 million people in irene's path. turns out no other hurricane in american history has affected as many people.
and we're going to monitor the affects of hurricane irene around the clock. "good morning america" will have a complete wrapup tomorrow morning. course, any time at abcnews.com. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow night. and for all of us at abc news, so glad you were with us. and we're going to leave you now with some unforgettable ages. hurricane irene and the people in hererath. ♪ ♪
>> we want to underscore the impacts of the storm will be felt for some time. >> dan: it was a fierce storm that left millions without power, 21 people dead, and it's over yet as hurricane irene turns into a tropical storm. i'm dan noyes. irene is losing speed and is now a tropical storm, but not before doing a lot of damage. floodinges threatening the east coast as irene's march comes to a close. roads are