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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Lili's Aftermath

Aired October 4, 2002 - 09:08   ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of folks are going to feel the aftereffects this weekend, now a tropical depression. In the Ohio Valley, they're going to get a powerful drenching today. A category two hurricane yesterday coming onshore in Louisiana, leaving behind a whole lot of flooding and damage, too, and Gary Tuchman is out again today. It is always nice after the storm, Gary, and you are live in Crowley, Louisiana, but nevertheless, what you saw yesterday was a scene of devastation in certain parts.
Good morning, again, Gary?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill, it happens after almost every hurricane, and after almost 20 years of covering these things, I still marvel at it. The day after, the sky is crystal blue, absolutely no wind whatsoever, but there are still many reminders throughout Louisiana about the damage that Hurricane Lili brought.

Case number one, this gas station. The reason we're in front of the gas station provides a reminder, a public service of sorts, let's consider it, stay away from gas stations during hurricanes and tropical storms. These canopies collapse all the time. For years, we've seen these collapses of canopies, so stay away from them.

Also across the street, see that Burger King there, the sign down. Fast Food restaurants always lose their sign. If I had a french fry for every Burger and McDonalds sign we've seen down in Louisiana yesterday, we'd have a jumbo bag of french fries, I can tell you that right now.

Those are the things to say away from when hurricanes like this strike.

Now speaking of gas stations, in Jennings, Louisiana, about 30 miles from where we are right now, in Crowley, Louisiana, one of the more severe gas station collapses we've seen. And the reason we noted that, is we were looking for gas at the time. It's kind of scary when you consider this entire canopy collapsed on top of the gas station, and right near where the pumps are, the canopy weighs thousands of pounds. If there was a car there, there is no way you could survive such a collapse.

State and federal emergency response teams are in helicopters, as we speak, over the state of Louisiana, trying to assess the damage, everywhere you look, roofs are torn, trees are down, power lines are down. More than 400,000 Louisiana customers are without power. Consider the fact that 4.3 million people live in Louisiana, but they don't all live separately. So there's about 2 million customers, do the math, about one in five Louisiana customers without electricity today. It could take up to seven days for people to get their power back.

But the top story, nobody killed, and only a few injuries, none of them serious.

Bill, back to you.

HEMMER: That is the silver lining. Thank you much.

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