Guest Host: Chris Jansing
Guests: Jeff Ranieri, Mark Potter, Brian Sullivan, Tom Costello, Kay Hagan, Kathryn Sullivan, Jack Markell, Jim Cantore, Christine Quinn, Ray Nagin, Craig Fugate, Bryan Norcross, Aton Edwards
CHRIS JANSING, GUEST HOST: Come on, Irene!
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Jansing with this special edition of
And leading off tonight: Here comes Hurricane Irene. To people who
live in the southeastern U.S. or along the Gulf Coast, there`s nothing
unusual about bracing for a hurricane in late August. But what is
happening today is historic and extraordinary by any standard. Hurricane
Irene is bearing down on the entire East Coast, from North Carolina to
Maine, with an incredible 65 million people in its path.
Rain and high winds have already begun to hit the Carolinas, where the
storm is expected to make landfall sometime early tomorrow morning.
Commuter transit systems in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia are being
shut down, with the enormous New York City subway system coming to a halt
beginning at noon tomorrow.
The New York City area is expected to get hit Sunday morning, and
today Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered some 270,000 people to evacuate from
low-lying areas. That`s roughly the equivalent of evacuating the entire
city of Buffalo, New York.
President Obama cut short his vacation and urged people in the path of
the storm to be prepared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cannot stress this
highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you
have to take precautions now. Don`t wait. Don`t delay. We all hope for
the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: OK, Let`s get right to it. Joining us now, NBC
meteorologist Jeff Ranieri. Jeff, what`s the very latest on the track of
JEFF RANIERI, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, I definitely want to urge
viewers to know that even though they have heard of these winds going down
a little bit -- it`s weakening in some respects -- it`s still a very large
and a dangerous storm. The latest here, winds at 100 miles per hour,
moving with a decent clip here, north at 14 miles per hour, and the central
pressure at 951 millibars. Again, this storm stretching over 600 miles and
in its overall size.
But here is the thing to note. Look at this, hurricane-force winds
extending out 90 miles from the center of that storm, tropical storm-force
winds extending out over 300 miles from the center. So everyone along that
Eastern Seaboard will be impacted from this very large storm.
As we take a look at the radar right now, some of those the bands of
heavier rainfall starting to make their way in across the Carolina
coastline here, already sustained winds at 35 miles per hour north of
Charleston, near Jacksonville, winds near 41 miles per hour. As we take
you in, what you`re going to find here are these heavier rain bands are
starting to lash the Outer Banks of the Carolinas, near Cape Hatteras,
where they`re definitely battening down and we have these evacuations that
have been ordered and that are currently in place.
So let`s get you the latest here. Hurricane warning remains in effect
here from, basically, South Carolina all the way up into central New
Jersey. That`s where some of those mandatory evacuations are in place.
And the reason why a lot of those are in place -- well, because this
coastline is so intricate, so the way the water interacts with it is going
to be very different for each different section of coastline. That`s why
it is so urgent, if you are under a mandatory evacuation, to get out
because even the best experts do not know exactly how this storm is going
to interact with the coastline.
Then again, also up here to New York City, look at this. The newest
update has been issued here, and now a hurricane warning across Long Island
at this point. It looks like my computer is just updating this at this
very moment. Also up into the Cape. So once again, those of you also in
the Long Island area, you are also under some new evacuation orders,
All right, let`s get a look here at the track. You can see this
currently a Category 2. Right now, some of the models are weakening this
and could actually have it as a Category 1 as it reaches the Cape Hatteras
region. But still, remember, those hurricane-force winds do stretch very
far out from the center of the storm. And then, of course, we have this
still heading up right into the New Jersey coastline, also into New York
That first stop, though, I want to focus on this for Saturday morning.
That is tomorrow morning, the biggest impacts from 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM.
We`re talking about four to eight inches of rain, possibly upwards of 12
inches. Inland flooding is going to be a big problem with this storm
system as it continues to move ashore.
And now, this is the other thing. Look at that area in red right
there. That`s actually the wind field of hurricane-force winds right
there. Now, watch this as we zoom this up right into Sunday, early
morning. You can see it as it crosses over the Carolinas into the Delmarva
peninsula, that hurricane force field of wind getting very, very close
there into Washington, D.C. Then as we move this up here, right towards
central New Jersey -- most of New Jersey at this point is going to
experience hurricane-force winds.
And then, of course, into Sunday, right around the noon hour. That`s
when it`s expected to peak right here in New York City. And look at that.
The center of the track takes it right over central Long Island, very close
to New York City. And that`s, of course, why they`re closing down those
subways for the first time in history.
This is a historic storm on so many proportions. Chris, you and I
have covered so many hurricanes. And for a storm to make it in this
fashion right up the coastline, it`s only happened a handful of times, so
many people haven`t even had to prepare for this. So you know, all the
warnings and everything we`ve been talking about, they`re definitely for a
JANSING: Well, I think part of the problem here, Jeff, frankly, is
that people were watching yesterday. They saw Category 3. Now they`re
looking at Category 1 and they`re saying, How bad can it be?
RANIERI: Yes, well, OK, that`s a great point and everything, but you
know, with this particular storm system, we`re talking about tens of
millions of people in these concentrated areas that if they needed to get
out, there`s just not going to be enough time.
Not only that, but we`re also talking about a storm with these
hurricane-force winds that stretch out over 90 miles. So it`s a strong
storm if you look at that wind field perspective. And that`s the thing I
think that a lot of the local emergency officials are so concerned about.
You know, sometimes you can get a Category 1 storm and the wind field
is only 10 miles out from the center of the storm with those hurricane-
force winds. So that`s why we are still so concerned about this large
JANSING: All right. Jeff Ranieri, thanks so much.
Well, mandatory evacuation orders have been put in place for Cape May,
New Jersey, the coastal areas of Delaware, areas of Virginia Beach, North
Carolina`s Outer Banks, obviously, and New York`s Fire Island and all low-
lying areas of New York City. As we told you, more than a quarter of a
million people affected there.
Let`s go, though, to where it`s all happening. Mark Potter is in Nags
Head, North Carolina. And Mark, how are things looking there?
MARK POTTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Chris. We`re just now in
the last hour, hour-and-a-half, starting to feel the first effects of the
storm. We haven`t had any rain yet, although I think I`m seeing it on the
horizon out there, so I have my raincoat ready. But we`re getting the
wind. You can see, if I take my notebook, what`s happening. We`re getting
that kind of wind right now. The surf is kicking up now a lot more, much
more angry than it was this morning.
The big concern here is, of course, that it`s going to get a lot worse
into tonight and much worse tomorrow. And the biggest problem that
emergency managers are fearing here involves the surf. If this storm
comes, as they fear, just to the west of the Outer Banks, there could be a
special problem with the storm surge.
First, the leading winds, coming counter-clockwise, could push water
from the Atlantic onto the eastern shore here of the Outer Banks. And then
as the storm goes up to the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, it could push the
water north, and in the back edge of the winds, counter-clockwise coming
from the northwest, could push all that water stacked up at the top of the
bay into the western shore of this area. So it could be sandwiched by
water on both sides.
And that`s the problem. The fear is that it could take out houses,
roads, and put sand on the roads, cut areas into the actual island, like it
did in 2003. So they`re very concerned about that situation. That`s why
they`ve ordered everyone here to get out.
Yesterday, the tourists left. Most of them went. You`re not seeing
them here today. Today was the day for residents. Many of them, indeed,
have boarded up and have left, so they`re just not going to put up with
this storm. But many others, including long-time residents who`ve been
through many storms, are staying here, saying, We`ve been through all the
other storms. We`re going to stay this time. We`re going to be in our
houses to take care of any problems that occur.
Emergency managers oppose that. They wish they wouldn`t do that.
They`re urging them to get out by saying that if there are any problems,
they won`t be able to come help them. Ambulance drivers, police officers
can`t get to them. But many of those families are still staying and
they`re just going to ride it out and see what happens.
But the -- the conditions are clearly being felt here, but we`re
expecting a lot worse over the next 24 hours, Chris.
JANSING: Yes, about at what point will you not be able to stand there
and do a report without hanging onto something?
POTTER: That`ll be probably tomorrow. It`s going to gradually build,
and we`ll see what happens early in the morning because we`re going to be
asked to be out here. We`ll see how that works.
JANSING: All right. Well, we`ve done it before (INAUDIBLE) people
out there holding on for dear life.
JANSING: And a few occasionally getting knocked over. Let`s hope
it`s not you, Mark Potter. Thank you so much.
JANSING: You know, states of emergency have been declared in North
Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,
and later today they added Pennsylvania to that.
Joining me now on the phone is North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, who
is in Greensboro.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us. I was listening to your
governor, Bev Perdue, earlier. She was talking about 20 different counties
in the direct path, 3.5 million people in North Carolina alone. Are you
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think we are certainly as
ready as anybody can be in a storm of the magnitude and size that we`re
talking about. And that`s why we`ve certainly encouraged the evacuation of
all of the tourists and the residents on the Outer Banks.
JANSING: You know, I`m sure you heard what Mark Potter just had to
say. There are a lot of long-time residents there. They`ve ridden out a
lot of storms, and they`re ignoring the evacuation. Are you worried about
HAGAN: Well, I am worried about that and I`m worried about it because
of the fact that if this storm surge does happen, where the flooding could
be very severe, and obviously, you add that into high, high, strong winds,
it certainly could be a very difficult situation for many people.
JANSING: About 48 hours from now, what are we going to be talking
about? What are your biggest fears?
HAGAN: Well, my biggest fears are, obviously, the health and safety
of our citizens, and then, obviously, after that would be property damage.
But that`s why we`ve got FEMA on the ground, ready to work. And emergency
declaration has already been declared. And I supported our governor and
went to the president asking for that. I`ve been talking to the governor
on a regular basis, as well as other federal, state and local emergency
managers. And I`ll tell you, people are definitely ready.
JANSING: And you`ve got National Guard at the ready, as well?
HAGAN: That we do.
JANSING: Tell me a little bit more about how you`re preparing, what
you know about what`s going on and what particular areas do you think the
most help is going to be needed. Obviously, right around the Outer Banks,
but do you think it could go far beyond that area?
HAGAN: Well, I think people, obviously, need to have their emergency
situations taken care of, and that is to be sure that they have food and
water and battery-operated radio. People can go to Ready.gov and find out
exactly what they should have in that case.
What the declaration of disaster actually does, it authorizes the
Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate disaster relief, and
specifically to identify whatever equipment and resources are necessary to
respond to the storm.
It was interesting. I was east of Greensboro earlier today, and as I
was driving back on I-40, I saw truck after truck of electric utility
bucket trucks heading east. So not only is FEMA prepared, but all of the
electrical companies in North Carolina are heading that way to station
themselves in order to get electricity back on.
JANSING: Senator Kay Hagan -- Senator Hagan, thank you so much. It`s
great to see you.
HAGAN: Great. Thank you.
JANSING: We fly over the Atlantic, where the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration has taken a plane into Hurricane Irene to learn
more about the storm. We`re actually going to talk to an administrator who
is on that plane in the hurricane right now.
You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JANSING: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Over the Atlantic Ocean right now, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration is flying a plane into Hurricane Irene to learn
more about the storm and its path.
Kathryn Sullivan is NOAA`s deputy administrator. She`s aboard the
hurricane hunter plane now and joins us by phone.
Welcome. How`s it looking up there?
KATHRYN SULLIVAN, NAT`L OCEANIC & ATMOSPHERIC ADMIN. (via telephone):
Hi, Chris. We`re about 180 miles due east of Jacksonville right now and
about to turn north and make a south-to northbound (INAUDIBLE) straight
through the eye of Irene. At the moment, we`re in a little bit of open
space with a lot of clouds all around us. But we`re not in it just at the
But off to our left, I can tell you, I can see very bright -- the very
bright light reflections of the afternoon sun on the big thunderstorms that
make up the core of Irene. And we`ll be heading there shortly.
JANSING: So it sounds crazy to most people that you`re doing this. I
don`t know if you`ve done it before. But why? What do you learn going in
SULLIVAN: Well, NOAA does this with every storm that`s making
landfall in the United States. So we launched a plane at 4:00 AM this
morning, and I`ve come along with the 4:00 PM duty flight. And it`s a very
simple reason, to really understand what a hurricane is doing and be able
to have the data that we need to make the forecasts as accurate as we want
them to be for citizens and emergency managers.
We actually need measurements from inside the storm itself and for
measurements out over the ocean areas around the storm, where we don`t have
ground stations. And you would think satellites can give us everything.
Satellites give us a lot of the data we need. But these are some very
critical measurements that are absolutely key to understanding and being
able to predict how the storm is going to behave, evolve, grow, move, and
what the track will be.
JANSING: -- sets of data that gets plugged into these -- to these
computer programs, and that`s how we come up with some of this modeling?
SULLIVAN: That`s absolutely right. It starts with our geosynchronous
and polar satellites. It includes measurements from ships and aircraft as
the storm develops, and then land measurements as it comes ashore. But
these measurements in the storm, some made from the body of our airplane,
others from about 36 probes that we will drop from the airplane, and they
will descend down through the storm and give us precise vertical
measurements of the temperature, pressure and winds. So it`s absolutely
We have some Air Force colleagues that also help monitor the storm,
confirm the exact center location, confirm the center pressure. And that
helps really ground truth (ph) and anchors (ph) the (ph) model (ph) that
then give us the ability to predict the track and the likely consequences
two, three, five days out.
JANSING: Obviously, the scientific measurements are key. But
visually, is there much you can tell?
SULLIVAN: Visually -- I have not flown into a hurricane before. I
think, visually, there`s certainly some concerning indications that you
get, in particular, as you are able to look at the structure and the level
of organization that the eyewall has. That tells you a lot about, you
know, how -- how crisply (ph), how intensely the central circulation is
So I`ve seen the eyewall of hurricanes from a space shuttle looking
down from on high all the way through a 50,000-foot-thick storm to the sea
(ph) surface (ph). And I`ll be very interested to see what the eyewall of
Irene looks like tonight.
JANSING: Is it a smooth ride right now?
SULLIVAN: It is right now a smooth ride. We get bounced and buffeted
a little bit as we go through the rain bands, where the thunderstorms that
are pumping all this heat (ph) lie. You know that from the spiral pattern
you see on satellite images. We`ve gotten a bit bounced as we`ve gone
through those bands, and rain is streaming off the windows as we move
through those areas. But in between, there are lenses (ph) and zones where
it`s just sort of cloudy around us (ph) but comparatively smooth, and we`re
in one of those now.
JANSING: And how many people are on that flight?
SULLIVAN: We have 17 souls aboard tonight. That includes the air
crew and the electronics techs and flight engineers, as well as
predominantly, the scientists that are monitoring the several radars,
working with the dropsondes. We have a probe on the port wing that takes
physics measurements about the clouds themselves, again, to better
understand the detailed internal structure of the storm and refine --
refine the physics that we have in our models.
So, 17 souls, probably, I would estimate 10 to 11 of those are the
scientific party and the rest are air crew.
JANSING: And for you, Kathryn Sullivan, I assume the adventure of a
Thanks so much for sharing. Appreciate it.
SULLIVAN: My pleasure. Thanks for getting the word out about the
care that people should take with this storm.
JANSING: Absolutely. Thank you.
With 28 miles of coastline, Delaware will be one of many states hit by
Hurricane Irene this weekend. And today, the governor called for a
mandatory evacuation along the coast as that storm is getting closer.
Governor Jack Markell is with me now from Wilmington.
It`s good to see you, Governor.
I will ask you the same question I just asked the senator from North
Carolina. How do you feel? Are you prepared?
GOV. JACK MARKELL (D), DELAWARE: Well, we have got an incredible
We have got hundreds of first-responder community in Delaware. They
have been working for several days to prepare. I`m grateful to the
president and Secretary Napolitano and FEMA. They have reached out. We
had a conversation with the president today.
JANSING: What did he tell you?
MARKELL: So we`re doing what we have to do.
JANSING: And what did you want you to know?
MARKELL: Well, what he said was he just -- he wanted to make sure
that all the governors knew the federal government was 100, 110 percent
Secretary Napolitano called last night, made sure that we had what we
needed from FEMA, gave me her personal cell phone number and said whatever
it is that we need, to let them know. And that was really the message from
the president as well.
JANSING: What`s your biggest concern over the next 24 hours or so?
MARKELL: My biggest concern has to do with people getting out of the
So if anybody on the Delaware coast is watching this right now on TV,
why don`t you DVR it? This is about the time to get on the road and to get
out. This is a huge storm unlike anything we have seen since 1944 in
Delaware. And of course, my number-one concern is making sure that people
get out of harm`s way.
JANSING: What are you hearing from folks closer to the coast on the
ground? Are they telling you that people are heeding the warnings or you
have some stubborn folks who are holding back?
MARKELL: Well, a lot of people are heeding the warnings. We`re
watching the traffic. We have got traffic cameras throughout the state.
The people are moving. And, of course, there are some people who are not
listening yet. We encourage them to, but it`s just -- it`s very important
that people get out of harm`s way.
The bottom line is, many of these roads are going to be impassable.
We may have to close down bridges with the wind. First-responders will not
be able to get where we otherwise might want them to get. Best idea is to
get out of the way if you`re in one of the evacuation areas.
JANSING: Yes. And how worried are you about power outages that may
go on for awhile, or people who may get trapped in more remote areas and
help might not be able to get to them for long days, if not weeks?
MARKELL: Well, we expects power outages. I also have had
conversations with some of the utilities and others. I have had
conversations with them.
They have done everything they can to get additional resources to the
area, people from as far away as Texas, in fact, to be ready to put the
power back on. But make no mistake, we will have these outages. People
have got to be prepared. It you`re not in an evacuation area, be ready.
Have the food, have the medicine, have supplies for your pets. All those
important things, you have got to make sure you have ready.
JANSING: And you have activated, what, 1,500 National Guard troops?
MARKELL: Fifteen hundred National Guard. Every state trooper is on
call, our Department of Transportation.
And again we have got a tremendous team of first-responders throughout
the state. We have frequent bridge teleconference calls. It`s very
impressive. People are working together. That`s one of the things. We
can`t dictate what the size of the storm will be, but what we can do is
control how we respond to it and we have a lot of people working very hard
to respond well.
JANSING: Well, thank you, Governor Markell. Good luck to you folks
MARKELL: Thank you.
JANSING: And, by the way, we should say that we are told that Vice
President Biden made his way to his home state of Delaware. So that`s
where he will be riding out this storm.
Up next, New York City preparing for this storm. It is as big as a
storm New York has ever seen. Sounds like a disaster movie. What`s the
worst-case scenario? And what are they doing to prepare for it?
You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: It`s hard to believe when
you look outside and see the sun, but it is in some senses the calm before
the storm. You only have to look at the weather maps to understand just
how big this storm is and how unique it is. And it`s heading basically
directly for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As Hurricane Irene barrels up the coast, New York prepares.
Take look at this animation of what Lower Manhattan would look like if
it flooded. Evacuations have already begun in low-lying areas of New York.
Look at that. Mayor Bloomberg ordering the evacuations of some 270,000
people. Nursing homes, hospitals have already begun moving residents and
patients to higher ground.
Let`s go to the Weather Channel`s Jim Cantore, who is live in Battery
Park in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center.
And, Jim, that is a place that is flood-prone, right?
JIM CANTORE, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: Absolutely.
If you go back to 1960, which is a long time ago, Chris, not many
remember that, with a storm, Hurricane Donna, that went to our east
actually. It came in at the time of high tide. So the water and waves
that it produced got up to 11 feet. So that`s the big concern with this
one and that`s why the evacuation order, the first time in New York`s
history, was ordered.
What makes this one so interesting, though, is it has to start today
and start in earnest, because by tomorrow at noon, when everybody shuts
down mass transit, which is another historic maneuver here in New York --
certainly, that doesn`t happen that often. You have got to go back to 9/11
for the last time that happened and I think 2005 for a strike.
But either way, some people that would use mass transit to get out of
here would not be able to do that. So you have would literally thousands
of people potentially trapped that didn`t get out when they had a chance
to. So everything that`s been asked to do here has to go in a sequence or
we`re going to put people in harm`s way.
And should that storm surge come in at the time of high tide, 8:00
a.m. or 8:00 p.m. tomorrow here, that is going to bring that water up 10 to
possibly even 11 feet and obviously flood this entire area behind me.
I mean, look at this. Just a gorgeous day. There were tons of people
out there taking the ferry on over to see the Statue of Liberty. Ferries
obviously are still running. Once those winds get to 40, to 46 miles an
hour, that will cease and obviously any trips to Staten Island, and even
to, obviously, the Statue of Liberty will be on hold potentially even
Monday and Tuesday.
But this is a dangerous, multi-hazard storm. And whether we get the
surge or not, there`s still a potential for tree damage and lots of
flooding -- back to you, Chris.
JANSING: All right, Jim Cantore, thank you so much.
And joining me now is New York Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Thanks very much for being with us.
CHRISTINE QUINN, NEW YORK COUNCIL SPEAKER: Of course.
JANSING: I listened to the extensive news conference by the mayor
this afternoon. He could not be more clear about the danger.
But, look, you know your city. Are you worried that the notoriously
tough New Yorkers aren`t taking this seriously?
QUINN: No. I think New Yorkers are taking this very seriously.
Hurricanes of this size and magnitude are not something that happen
every summer in New York. I think people really understand, particularly
with the need to stop the subways and buses, that they need to follow the
mayor`s direction and to do it quickly so everyone who needs to move to
higher ground can move to higher ground.
JANSING: I have got to tell you, though, the logistics of this boggle
the mind. Of course it`s not just Manhattan, but the five boroughs.
JANSING: Eight million people densely populated heavily dependent on
a threatened public transportation system.
What`s your biggest concern right now?
QUINN: Well, the biggest concern is that the quarter-of-a-million or
so folks who are in the evacuation zone will wait until the last minute,
because what you want to avoid is having really long lines to get on buses
or subways as we need to shut those down because it takes about eight hours
to shut the subway down. We don`t want that to become backed up and a
really laborious process.
We want people to begin to move quickly today, tonight, tomorrow
morning, so that there isn`t a big rush come noon tomorrow.
JANSING: Yes. I was also thinking, what was it, 2003, when there was
the big blackout and a lot of people didn`t have power for not a day or
two, but three, five days, even longer than that. What`s the projection
for power outages?
QUINN: Well, the power outage I think it`s really location by
location. Parts of the city like Staten Island, where more of the power
comes from overhead, that`s going to be a bigger problem there because of
the wind and possible tree damage.
Other parts of the city where they`re not as reliant on overhead
transmission are in a better position. But certainly folks who have
experienced power outages from weather because they have overhead power,
they know this is going to be tough.
We need them to be prepared, to have batteries, to have flashlights,
to have enough food, to fill their bathtubs up, their sinks up with water,
so they can be ready. And we`re in constant contact with Con Edison and
the utilities, and they will be out there as quickly as they possible can
as soon as the storm settles down.
JANSING: Well, I can tell you I have seen a run on flashlights in
JANSING: But there is something that could have an impact coast-to-
coast, and actually internationally, and that`s what happens at New York`s
airports, which of course will ripple across the airline sector. What`s
QUINN: Well, the airports, of course, are going to have to shut down
because of this, part of the reason we wanted to get the information out as
early as we could today. We`re going into the last week of August, Labor
Day weekend. We wanted people to get information quickly and early, so
they could plan or re-plan such as it is their travel if they needed to do
JANSING: And, look, it`s also still a big tourist time.
JANSING: It`s hard to walk through Times Square in New York City.
What are you saying to people who, for the end of summer, have a trip
planned to New York?
QUINN: Well, if you`re here now, you will have a good story to tell.
You will get to tell all your friends back home that you came to New York
and you made it through Irene.
But if you`re a tourist and there are things you want to see, try to
go see them tonight. Try to go see them tomorrow morning. We don`t want
people walking around Saturday night and Sunday in the thick of a storm.
You just don`t need folks, we don`t need folks out on the street. There
may be debris ply flying about, things of that nature.
So, tourists, get it in tonight, get it in tomorrow morning and then
stay in your room.
JANSING: How much do you want to bet somebody`s printing up the
shirts already, "I Survived Hurricane Irene"?
QUINN: I have no doubt about that. It`s an ingenious city. I`m sure
they`re probably selling them already on the corner.
JANSING: Yes, on the streets of Chinatown, three for $10.
QUINN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
JANSING: Christine Quinn, thanks. And good luck.
QUINN: Thank you.
JANSING: Up next, President Obama heading back to Washington to
monitor the situation. What will the federal response be to this crisis?
You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
BRIAN SULLIVAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Brian Sullivan with your CNBC
A positive finish helping stocks snap a four-week losing streak. The
Dow Jones industrial average added 134 points, up more than 4 percent for
the week, the S&P 500 up 16, the Nasdaq 60, clearly a very busy day on Wall
Street, not just because of the storm. You had Ben Bernanke speaking in
Jackson Hole. You had an anemic reading on GDP growth and, of course,
something about a hurricane.
Anyway, Bernanke played it cool in Wyoming today, saying the Fed is
standing by with additional tools to help the economy, but he stopped short
of announcing another round of fiscal stimulus.
Meantime, The GDP growing at a slower-than-expected 1 percent pace in
the second quarter, and consumer sentiment actually did edge up slightly,
although keep in mind it is still hovering near recession era lows.
And just for kicks, let`s take a look at some hurricane-related
stocks. Insurance companies actually holding pretty steady to even
climbing. Airlines saying they`re not anticipating any severe disruptions.
And home improvement retailers ended higher as well, everybody going out
and getting what they need.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide. Let`s go back to
JANSING: Welcome back to HARDBALL and our coverage of Hurricane
Ray Nagin was mayor of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf
Coast. And he`s author of the new book "Katrina`s Secrets: Storms After
RAY NAGIN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: Chris, how are you today?
JANSING: You know, I`m doing OK. I`m in a studio in Midtown
Manhattan. And I imagine we`re going to have food and generators.
But a lot of people out there are scared out of their wits. As
somebody who`s lived through more than a few hurricane, including Katrina,
what would you say to them?
NAGIN: Well, I say -- what I would say is they should be a little
In my book -- I self-published it through CreateSpace -- I talk about
the different phases of a disaster like this. It seems as though the
officials have done a good job as getting as many people out, but,
unfortunately, some will stay.
And as time goes on, the reality`s really going to set in and that`s
when panic and more tension will arise.
JANSING: So what do you think it is? What is it about the psyche of
people, especially, I think, in places that have been through it before,
like New Orleans, like -- I guess it`s kind of the sky is falling; it`s the
Chicken Little syndrome? What is it?
NAGIN: Well, you know, people have very short memories.
And I can remember, during Katrina, I had to basically not threaten
people, basically say, look, if you`re going to decide to stay, you better
have an axe with you, so that you can go up to your -- in your attic and
then chop out in case the water comes up. And that kind of got some
people`s attention and stimulated them to move.
But they really need to understand the reality of it before they move,
JANSING: I was back in New Orleans maybe about three or four weeks
ago, saw, you know, the parts of the city that are doing absolutely
fantastic and the parts of it that are still really suffering and have not
They`re not expecting, because we`re not below sea level here, the
kind of devastation, obviously, that you folks saw because of Katrina. But
what should people really be prepared for? And do you think that there are
lessons learned from Katrina that can make this one not so bad? Not so
NAGIN: There are tons of lessons that were learned. I can see FEMA
is better prepared. They preposition some supplies, water and ice and
what-have-you. I think that the local officials, the governors and the
mayors, have been communicating very well and taking appropriate steps.
The key question and what people can expect next is, after the storm
hits, or while its hitting, you know, there will be another awakening, if
you will. And an after, of course, with power out and some flooding, some
people will panic further. And I hope that looting doesn`t become an
JANSING: All right. Mayor Ray Nagin, good to see you. Thank you.
NAGIN: Well, my best to all of you on East Coast. We got through
Katrina. And, hopefully, you will get through this storm as well.
JANSING: We thank you for that.
NAGIN: Thank you.
JANSING: Here with me now, Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator.
Thank you very much for being with us.
So, give us a sense where you are right now, where are the
preparations along the East Coast.
CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Right now, basically, North
Carolina through Maine. They just extended hurricane warnings all the way
up to New England. And so, again, the evacuations are starting to move up
the coast. We`ve had North Carolina evacuating and they`re expecting the
storm to make landfall and start impacting, you know, early in the morning
So, we`re rapidly moving from preparing to being ready to respond
after the storm makes landfall in support of the governor`s team.
JANSING: The former hurricane center director, the legendary Max
Mayfield, told the AP -- and this quote has been read a million times
today, but it`s unbelievable -- Max said, "One of my greatest nightmares
was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast coast."
So what are you going to do? How are you feeling about making sure
that this which clearly is a massive storm and has the potential to wreak
so much devastation is going to be minimized as much as is humanly
FUGATE: You know, I don`t think you can minimize damages. I think
people think to understand that even with a good team and everything we`re
doing to get ready, it won`t prevent the damages. We can reduce loss of
life if people heed the evacuation orders.
And again, it`s not just FEMA. You`ve got a lot of officials at the
local level. You`ve got the governors have called out National Guard.
You`ve got tremendous volunteer organizations that have been, you know,
responding all summer, it seems like, the tornadoes and floods that are now
surging on the East Coast to get ready for this, as well as the entire
federal family under the leadership of the president.
So, we`re working hard as a team to get ready for the storm. We`re
getting ready to respond. But we shouldn`t kid ourselves. There`s going
to be damages. There`s going to be impacts. There`s going to power
outages and flooding.
So, we need to get ready for that.
JANSING: And people you can`t get to for long periods of time
FUGATE: Well, one of the things we plan for is what happens with the
flooding, and search and rescue, again. Many of the areas have gotten
teams ready to go swift-water rescues, if necessary. Everybody from the
Coast Guard on down has been gearing up for the possibility we may have to
go out to flooded areas and do rescues.
JANSING: Well, we always say thank you to all those folks who go out
there in harm`s way to try to help other folks. And good luck to you,
Craig Fugate. Thanks for being with us.
FUGATE: Thank you.
JANSING: And as we continue our coverage of hurricane Irene, let`s go
to The Weather Channel`s Bryan Norcross with the latest on the storm`s path
and the expected impact.
Bryan, I`ll tell you -- just looking at that picture, and I`ve seen it
a million times today, the size of that storm is unbelievable.
BRYAN NOCROSS, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: Yes. That`s the thing, Chris.
It is the size that is the problem here. It`s not that it`s the strongest
hurricane we`ve ever seen, but it is one of the really big ones.
Let`s look at the satellite picture close pup. It`s off of
Charleston, South Carolina. And they are getting tropical storm force
winds in Charleston and they have waves over 10 feet high on that side.
But, of course, the core of it is heading for North Carolina, just as
forecast, and we don`t see anything that is going to be able to change
So there`s the track. It takes it over Cape Hatteras. It`s during
the morning hours tomorrow, the bad weather arrives, and then moves through
the day, and then arriving in the Northeast coast on Sunday.
Now, we`re expecting at the core of it, wherever that is, a weakening
storm. But the problem is the wind impact is going to be huge and
encompass the entire Northeast and with the saturated ground and with the
extremely heavy rain, as you were talking about inland, we`re expecting
significant tree damage and power outages and people stranded in their
homes and the those kind of problems.
Also, with this huge circulation, we have the water piling in to the
coastline, into New York City, and the evacuations there, all along the
Jersey Shore, the Delmarva up into New England, the Rhode Island coast and,
of course, the storm continues into northern New England, which we haven`t
seen in some time. So, we expect significant power outage-type problems.
People stranded problems, even well inland in New England, not to mention
the coastal effects.
So, really, everything is on schedule as we talk about the last few
days. It`s been very, very accurate forecast and we have confidence that
it`s going to do what we`ve been saying. So, unfortunately, it`s not
really good news.
JANSING: Yes. I mean, we`ve got areas that already we`re seeing
record and near record summer rains. And so, then you add this.
JANSING: So, the trees are already weakened, right? The roots? And
then you get a good gust of wind.
So, are we going to see, really, just incredible amount of tree damage
and obviously then that affects the power lines?
NORCROSS: Yes. I mean, we think there will be widespread tree
damage. The thing is, a category 1 hurricane in the North can be like a
category 2 or more hurricane in the South because the trees in the South
are used to tropical storms. Mother Nature designed them that way.
In the North, when you have sustained winds that are very, very strong
for hours and hours, maybe 12 hours in many cases -- you know, trees just
have a hard time with that. So we expect widespread power outages.
And that`s why we`ve been saying today, get yourself ready to stay
where you are for a week in terms of food, water and ways to occupy
yourself without transportation and without communications possibly for
some number of days. That`s the issue.
JANSING: Bryan Norcross, who haven`t slept in days and probably won`t
sleep for several more. But we really thank. Appreciate it.
NORCROSS: Thank you, Chris.
JANSING: Up next, how prepared are we for the storm? And with so
many potentially impacted, how long would it take for help to arrive?
You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL. only on MSNBC.
JANSING: We`re back.
And as hurricane Irene gets closer to making landfall, a lot of folks
on the East Coast are just beginning to get prepared for the storm.
But what exactly will you need to ride it out and any potential
Joining me now to talk more about it is -- for this or any other -- is
Discovery Channel host and preparedness expert, Aton Edwards.
Good to see you, Aton. There`s your book, preparedness.
ATON EDWARDS, DISCOVERY CHANNEL: Thanks for having me.
JANSING: Good to talk to you.
Give me the basic minimum list -- if people don`t have this right now,
they really need to get it.
EDWARDS: OK, one of the first things that you want to have is really
good water supply. So, that`s really important to have water and then you
need to have some food. You are going to have to have food for at least a
seven-day period because you can`t go shopping, you know, during the
disaster and obviously not after it happens.
You`re going to need seven-day supply of medication for those people
who need medication like people who have diabetes and different types of
ailments. You`re going to need medication in your house, because you won`t
be able to get prescription drugs right after your storm.
You`re also going to need your first aid kit. You`re going to need a
really good first aid kit. Just in case -- just to patch up minor kind of
accidents that you may have during the disaster.
You also need some flash lights, LED flash lights. Hand crank are
best. Batteries. I don`t like batteries because you can`t find batteries
You also need a hand crank radio. Preferably, hand crank radio, I
want to stress that.
And these are the basic things you want to have to make sure that you
can ride this out.
JANSING: And there are also some things that maybe we`ve not thought
about that if you don`t have power, for example, how do you charge your
cell phone? And a lot of people don`t have landlines these days.
EDWARDS: Right. You know, the little devices that you can actually
purchase, that you can hand crank devices, that you can actually charge
your cell phone that way. There are also even solar cell phone charges
although you won`t be able to use the solar in this weather. But the thing
is that you have the hand-crank things you can use.
There are also portable battery packs that you can charge your battery
packs as well.
But, again, I like the hand cranked stuff because again batteries are
a huge commodity in a disaster and often times people will price gouge.
They`ll rack up the price and take advantage of folks.
So, we really got to be wary of that and we got to make sure that we
have these -- use these gadgets. There`s no point of having those high-
tech stuff. It`s 21st century. You must still use batteries. We can do
JANSING: So, we`ve got eight states under state of emergency and only
one of them, North Carolina, is used to this. So, you got millions of
people who really don`t know what to do.
So, what should they do when the storm hits?
EDWARDS: Well, they`re going to have to hunker down wherever they
are. I mean, if you haven`t made plans to go some place at this point, you
really, really do need to do what you need to do.
You`re going to have to store those items. You want to avoid like
windows and doors. You want to have extra cash on hand. You want to have
small dominations though. You don`t want to have, like, a lot of big
bills. You want to have, like, dollars and singles and fives.
You want to have to fill up your car with fuel. You want to have an
evacuation plan, especially, that`s extremely important.
An emergency meeting point -- because reunification is one of the
things can you do during disaster when it strikes. This is something
that`s often overlooked. And you want to get a reunification pad where you
can take all of this information and scribble it in.
A great thing to own is Rite in the Rain or an all weather note pad
and a sharpie. Write all of your plans in this pad and then basically you
can work out where you`re going to meet, who you talk to, where the
telephone numbers are -- everything that you need to connect can be in this
pad. Do not put this in your iPod, iPods don`t float. You drop Rite in
the Rain pad, you drop and all weather pad in the water, you pick it up,
you write on it again. You`ve got to be careful about that.
JANSING: And let me ask you, finally, after this is all over. And
again, dealing with people who aren`t used to this, so you got a tree down
and you call the guy it say, you need to get the tree off my garage and he
says, I`ll see you in three weeks. So, you go down to the Home Depot and
buy a chainsaw and you never had one before. I mean, it`s crazy what
happens in situations like this.
But what`s your best advice after the storm?
EDWARDS: OK. What people need to do is assess the situation. Is
there a lot of damage around their home? Did their area sustain a lot of
damage? Because if they try to get out and the roads are blocked because
of downed trees, and debris, that can wind up a problem. So, assess the
situation, do what you can to gather your things together and just try to,
you know, basically connect with people who have the resources, the
materials and the skills that can assist you as you recover.
JANSING: Aton Edwards, it`s always good talking to, my friend. Thank
JANSING: We are all watching as Irene is making landfall. And when
we come back, we`ll go to Maryland where NBC`s Tom Costello is standing by.
Check out the surf there.
You`re watching a special edition of HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
JANSING: We are back.
And the East Coast is battening down the hatches as Hurricane Irene
comes close to making landfall.
Joining me to talk about the situation in Maryland is NBC`s Tom
Costello who is in Ocean City. Not sure a typical summer afternoon, is it,
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No, that`s exactly right. We
are on the Delmarva Peninsula here in Ocean City. And, normally, one of
the last week ends of August, this place is packed. Well, it isn`t any
more. They ordered evacuations as of midnight last night so 200,000 people
have now left the city, except for just a few guys.
I don`t know if you can see them. They`ve decide the temptation is
too great, these surfers. The waves are spectacular the day before Irene.
And they just ran out here about 10 minutes ago and started riding the
As for the bigger picture, mandatory evacuations in Maryland, in
Delaware, in Virginia, as the police have gone door to door here in Ocean
City and told people, if you stay, you are doing so against our advice,
against the order, and we need to know who your next of kin is. To some
extent, that`s a little bit of an intimidation process because they really
want people to get the message that you`ve got to get out of here.
But, nonetheless, they say that this is going to be, and this is now
the biggest evacuation in 25 years since hurricane Gloria, hit the island.
And this is likely to come right over the top of where we are right now.
So we are certainly going to ride this one out and feel the effects.
Chris, back to you.
JANSING: Yes, it`s good to see, though, that most people did indeed
Tom Costello in Ocean City, thanks to you.
JANSING: That`s going to do it for this special edition of HARDBALL.
Thanks so much for being with us. But we`ll be back in one hour with
another live edition of HARDBALL and the latest on hurricane Irene.
More now with Al Sharpton.
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Guest Host: Chris Jansing