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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  September 2, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT

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>> thank you for joining us. we will be here every weekday -- at 3 tonight, the rescues still under way at this hour. the historic floods and tornadoes slamming the northeast. the death toll growing tonight. and we have just learned at least seven confirmed tornadoes now. new york and new jersey declaring states of emergency tonight. the staggering images, up to a foot of rain falling in some areas. tonight, more than 40 people killed in the storms that hit new york and the northeast. the storms came through violently. new york city issuing its first ever flash flood emergency. highways suddenly under water. drivers in their cars suddenly floating. vehicles abandoned, cared marked with xs tonight where authorities have checked for people inside. police rescuing a driver trapped on a flooded road in new york's central park. the city's subways halted,
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submerged. passengers forced to jump up onto seats. several people killed in basement parms. and tonight, those confirmed tornadoes, including a possible ef-3. winds more than 135 miles per hour. and this evening, the new images coming in from philadelphia. evacuations still under way. people taken from a hotel just a short time ago. our team across the storm zone tonight. whit johnson, janai norman and ginger zee with what drove this. and now the concern going forward. also tonight, the supreme court overnight issuing a 5-4 ruling. the court will allow the new texas law banning most abortions to move forward. tonight, president biden calling it an unprecedented assault on women's rights. several states already using this texas law as a potential blueprint. so, what does this mean for the future of roe versus wade? rachel scott in texas, terry moran at the supreme court. the desperation growing in louisiana tonight. millions still without
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electricity. the need for food, water and the lines for fuel. families waiting in cars for hours. and what they're now saying about the power. the deadly plane crash in connecticut, slamming into a building. everyone onboard killed. and the american automaker tonight about to halt production at almost every plant here in the u.s. and why. good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a thursday night. and we begin tonight with these historic and deadly storms to hit the northeast. the remnants of hurricane ida combining with a front and it spelled disaster. at least seven confirmed tornadoes now. record amounts of rain. new york city's first ever flash flood emergency declared, signaling a severe threat to human life, which, of course, is exactly what then played out. the water rising so quickly people dying in basement parms.
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drivers floating in their cars and the riders on the subway jumping up opt their seats. ida has now killed at least 60 people in eight states. more than 40 deaths just from these storms in the northeast overnight. tonight, the news just in, those seven confirmed tornadoes now. the ominous site of this one in new jersey. catastrophic damage to homes, splintered, ripped apart, destroyed. chirp's belongings seen in yards. and massive and deadly flooding. streets in new york city turning to rivers. these images from queens. cars under water, drivers leaving their cars as they were being lifted by the water. some of those who were killed drowning in their own homes. this home in queens collapsing in the rain. the rain and flooding bringing the new york city subways and suburban trains all to a halt. some people trapped on those trains. you can see the rf pours inside. ten inches of rain in the philadelphia area.
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cars downtown under water, up to their windshields. and in the suburb of bridgeport, pennsylvania, outside philadelphia, first responders rescuing people from their flooded homes for hours today. in fact, we learned there were hotel evacuations in the philadelphia area just a short time ago. we do have it all covered tonight. leaders across the region acknowledging these extreme weather events are here to stay. abc's whit johnson leading us off tonight from new york. >> reporter: tonight, the staggering death toll continues to rise across the northeast after those catastrophic storms. more than three inches of rain in an hour instantly inundating the five boroughs of new york city. officials declaring the city's first-ever flash flood emergency. the images coming in -- surreal. body camera video showing a daring rescue by new york city police of a driver stuck in the middle of central park. >> yeah, just like that. >> reporter: first responders rescuing hundreds across the city.
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>> i see the car start floating, you know? i got to come through the window and jump out. >> reporter: a cascade of water bringing the nation's largest subway system to a screeching halt. riders standing on the seats of flooded buses in queens. water rushing through apartment doors and into homes. a queens mother and her son were killed. mahen singh lives next door. >> i'm still shaken. i've never seen something like this before. the water came up within five minutes, like four feet. real fast. >> reporter: more than a dozen people killed in new york city alone. a 2-year-old boy also among the victims. in passaic, new jersey, two people swept away in their car. the mayor reporting live on facebook. >> we have too many areas where the flooding has gotten so bad, the cars are stuck and we have bodies underwater. we are now -- we a >>eporter: and foureo apa cpl inelizabeth, ross
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from the fire department, which was also inundated with water. >> they are reporting they were inundated with eight feet of water inside the fire headquarters itself. >> reporter: cars nearby marked with xs to show they were searched. rescues across the tri-state area continuing long after the sun rose. >> they are now, several hours later, being taken out by that front end loader to higher ground. >> reporter: the flash floodwaters so powerful and so swift that parked cars in this area were picked up and tossed around like toys. todd hoffman of larchmont, new york, owns that suv, and tried desperately to move it to higher ground before the flood swept it away. >> i knew. immediately cracked that door, looked down, and said "this isn't smart." and got out. >> reporter: so within a matter of seconds you realized you had to bail? >> i went 30 feet. the water rose within those 30 feet. it was terrifying. >> reporter: by noon, the major deegan expressway, still
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deegan expressway, still flooded and littered with cars. officials warning today this has been called a 1 in a 500-year event, extremes like this are likely to become all the more common. >> records are broken but what is fascinting is that the records they broke were literally set a week before. >> reporter: >> we saw a horrifying storm last night. unlike anything we have seen before. >> and whit johnson with us tonight from west chester. and we know there were warnings from officials and the national weather service. our own weather team on the air last night, that this was going to be a very dangerous set of storms. and that rare high risk warning. the tornado warning in new york city. but we heard from so many people today saying it was still difficult to imagine the power of all this, the power of the water until you're right in the middle of it. >> reporter: david, the people we spoke with said they heard the warnings but it was difficult to prepare for something they've never actually witnessed in their lifetimes. by now, we've all seen the
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images, the water rushing through the subway. a record amount of rainfall in such a short period of time caught so many offguard and tonight, as you can see behind me here, the cleanup is just getting under way. david? >> whit johnson leading us off here tonight. whit, thank you. there's also late word tonight on those seven confirmed tornadoes, at least seven now, from the philadelphia area to new jersey. and tonight, the staggering damage. abc's janai norman from pennsylvania. >> holy [ bleep ]. >> reporter: tonight, a total of at least seven confirmed tornadoes touching down in the philadelphia area and southern new jersey area, as those historic storms walloped the northeast. >> look at that tornado! >> reporter: this one in south jersey seen on video tearing through multiple communities. >> we were down there about 15 minutes before -- when the warning went off and we have a walkup basement, luckily, so, we were able to get out through that, thank god. if not, we would not have been able to get out. >> reporter: that twister in
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mullica hill at least an ef-3, with winds more than 135 miles per hour, ripping apart at least two dozen homes and damaging 100 more. this ef-2 twister just northwest of philadelphia causing a tree to collapse on a homing killing a woman. and in the philadelphia area, where over ten inches fell, those water rescues still under way. these new images showing hotel guests being evacuated amid massive flooding. teams going door-to-door in boats around bridgeport, just north of the city, after the schuylkill river overflowed its banks. you can't see the schuylkill river from here, but you can see how high the water rose, rushing over those train tracks, rea reaching record levels and still today, almost up to my knees. the national guard using high water vehicles to assist the philadelphia fire department inless coupes downtown. >> we have probably over 12 feet of water in here, so we have these large trucks here from the national guard. >> reporter: the cycle river rising around ten feet in just over 12 hours in the city.
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residents finding their cars under water. >> i just like slowly watched my car get more and more submerged, ck there anymore.'s >> reporter: the rising floodwaters even shutting down the vine street expressway, a key route. at least four dead in the philadelphia region due to the severe weather, including a man who drowned after his car went into a creek. >> many people had to deal with rare weather events that don't normally affect them, their families, their communities. a lot of pence vivians will be dealing with very hard emotions today. >> and so janai norman joining us live, 30 minutes outside philadelphia. and i know even though the immediate weather has improved in many of these communities, they're still going to see major flooding and many of these rivers are going to continue to rise. >> reporter: well, david, the flood concerns continue in the philadelphia area until at least tomorrow. that is the schuylkill river, you can see in the difference running behind me. what you can't see is where that river ends because it is still
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overflowing. residents still reeling and they'll be dealing with cleanup for days to come. david? >> all right, janai norman with us tonight, as well. janai, thank you. let's get right to chief meteorologist ginger zee. ginger, last night, you and warning were warning of the potential of life threatening storms, the potential for this flash flood emergency and of course the tornadoes, but it was still quite something when you actually see it, when it hits. and this was a combination of forces? >> reporter: yes, as we have been warning about for a week, i mean, really since before ida made landfall, it with us a cold front meeting up the tropical rep thats of ida. now, it is hard to believe. unless you are this family, where i'm in their backyard right now and a bridge and their road collapsed. there were beam in cpeople in c thankfully, they got them out. but yes, it's hard to imagine what three to five-inch per hour rainfall rates look like. it's hard to imagine what 8 to 12 inches looks like, because in some of these places, we've never done it before. and that's why you heard government officials onboard
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with the climate change science, saying that the 1 in 500-year flood events, they have to be redefined because of amplification. and i don't know how the conversation tonight, tomorrow and beyond doesn't turn to, how do we build that road back for the inevitable next time? how do we build back sustainable inf infrastructure and how do we not aggressively mitigate greenhouse gas emissions? david? >> a lot of questions. and we heard authorities talk about extreme weather here to stay, that acknowledgement. ginger, thank you. we move onto the other news tonight and to that supreme court ruling overnight that will now allow the new abortion law in texas to stand. effect giively banning nearly a abortions in that state. president biden calling it an unprecedented assault on a woman's rights. abc's rachel scott from texas tonight. >> reporter: 24 hours after the nation's toughest anti-choice law went into effect, doctors and advocates we spoke to say
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abortions in texas have all but stopped. you've already had to turn women away. you've had to deny abortions. >> yeah, that's right. >> reporter: at this planned parenthood center in houston, dr. bhavik kumar normally performs between 2o to 30 abortions a day. but since the new law, he's only seen six patients and had to turn half of them away. >> just yesterday, i saw somebody who thought she was earlier in the pregnancy, she was crying and we began to explore options and things through the logistics if she would be able to go out of state for the care she needed. >> reporter: the new law bans abortion after about the sixth week of pregnancy. before most women even know they're pregnant. in fact, abortion rights activists tell us nearly 90% of women seeking abortions here are past their sixth week. part of what makes this law so unique is that it deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who "aids and abelts" an unlawful abortion. from doctors who perform them to drivers who take women to the clinic. those citizens could then collect a bounty of at least
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$10,000. >> our creator endowed us with the right to life and now we're about to make it law. >> reporter: overnight, the supreme court refused to put the law on hold as legal challenges work their way through the system. even know the justices found serious questions about its constituti constitutionally, five conservative justices voted to let it go forward anyway, saying there are "complex and novel" procedural reasons for why it could not be blocked at this stage. four justices, including conservative chief justice john roberts, dissenting. justice sonia sotomayor calling the majority's' decision "stunning" calling the law "flagrantly unconstitutional" now, most women seeking abortions in texas forced to travel to other states. this clinic usually schedules appointments for 15 women a day. since the law in texas, that number has more than doubled. >> for a five to ten-minute procedure, to drive 600 miles in the middle of a pandemic -- it's
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cruel. >> reporter: david, president biden called this law extreme, but at this point, there is very little the president can do. the fact is that there's conservative majority on the bench. former president donald trump was able to appoint three justices to the bench and all three were in favor of this law moving forward. david? >> all right, rachel scott in texas for us. rachel, thank you. of course, this has been a decades-long fight, since the roe versus wade decision in 1973. let's bring in terry moran, who has covered the supreme court for years for us. and for decades, this has been a theoretical argument. this 5-4 ruling overnight. chief justice john roberts, a conservative himself, signaling a willingness of a compromise, but conservatives, rachel just mentioned them, relatively new to the court, didn't buy his argument. >> reporter: they didn't. that was so striking. john roberts, he's just 10 or 15 years older than the three
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justices appointed by donald trump, but those 10 or 15 years, they mark a huge differences in the republican party. the difference between bush republicans and trump republicans. and the chief justice did want the court to take more time to consider what he called an unprecedented law. he lost the votes of those conservatives. and it looks like this will mark the end of what's called the roberts court. >> and one more quick question for you, terry, bottom line here, texas would appear to be just the first state to do this. a number of other states signaling they might follow this blueprint, particularly when they see how unique this law is, deputizing private citizens? >> reporter: that's it, david, that's the trick that makes this law so different and so difficult for courts to get a handle on, by deputizing private citizens, it makes enforcement a matter of private lawsuits and that clever innovation has been picked up. governor ron desantis in florida says than plan to introduce laws. also in arkansas, missouri, mississippi. slowly, basically eliminating
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the right to choose an abortion across the country in the coming months. david? >> terry moran, thank you. and in the south tonight, in louisiana, the december desperation growing, four days now after ida struck there. more than a million customers still without power. you see the long lines for fuel. families waiting in swelteri in heat for hours. the utility tonight now saying most will be restored by september 8th, six days from now. when we come back here on the broadcast tonight, news of a deadly plane crash in the northeast, slamming into a building. i earn all this cash back? oh, i gotta tell everyone. hey rita, you can earn 3% on dining, including takeout! bon appetit. hey kim, you earn 5% on travel purchased through chase! way ahead of you. hey neal, you can earn 3% at drug stores!!! buddy, i'm right here. why are you yelling? because that's what i do! you're always earning with
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evacuees. >> to be able to provide for these people, i think, is touching a lot of hearts right now. >> and in new orleans, the team at the world central kitchen preparing tens of thousands of meals. >> people can't cook anything, no grocery stores are open and so there's a huge need right now. >> in wilmington, delaware, the brandywine valley spca airli airlifting more than 300 goidog and cats. they're now safe again and waiting for their forever homes. and in cranford, new jersey, tonight, the rescue team wading through the water, rescuing 3-month-old jolene. her family pulled from the floods. across this country tonight, americans tested. the need only growing tonight. so many communities grateful for the help. good night.
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it includes residents from pollock pines to south lake tahoe and douglas county. cal fire has lifted evacuation orders for a few areas on the western edge of the fire zone. >> wayne freedman with fire crews today joining us live with the latest. >> one thing we from watching this fire, there is a difference in relativity. a big difference in what they call a bad day and a good day. today was a good day but it was still rough. >> let's talk about dry conditions in the caldor fire zone. we found no better example than that tree in the background. watch it explode sending firefighters running.