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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Hurricane Jeanne: Eye Makes Landfall at Sewall's Point, Same Place as Frances
Aired September 26, 2004 - 23:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The coast of Florida straining against 100-plus mile per hour winds and another thorough lashing. Hurricane Jeanne is onshore and promises a long, loud, punishing night. It is now midnight. Good morning. I'm Carol Lin and this is CNN special coverage of Hurricane Jeanne. Midnight in Florida and as predicted the Category 3 storm roared onto land between West Palm Beach and Melbourne, and that's where we find Anderson Cooper -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good midnight to you, Carol. This is really for us the worst part of the storm we have seen to this point. The rain is becoming really almost unbearable in terms of its strength and it's whipping so fast it is extraordinarily painful and anyone who is standing out here it just cuts into your face.
It makes it very difficult. There is no way you can even look into the wind, which is off to my right, without almost sort of getting pushed back. You have to stand parallel to it. With these wind gusts now there is not really much of a lull at all between them. It is just one after the other, getting wind gusts in the upper 80 range.
I don't know if you can see it. The sky behind my camera just lit up, one of those greenish-blue flares that you've heard so much about, a transformer exploding. It surprises me that there is still any electricity anywhere in Melbourne. But wherever that transformer exploded, that area just went out.
But again from different angles you can really get a sense of the wind whipping around over here. You can see some of our camera lights. But you see the wind sort of coming from all different directions as it hits the building. It is what Chad Myers called confused rain, because it bounces off from the ground; it comes down from above; it comes horizontally across.
I want to show you the view from another camera that we have set up where you really get a sense. It is like a wall of white water. It almost looks like a solid mass when the gusts are really at their peak, you almost can't see through it. You almost sort of think you can cut right through it. And you really see it when it is from a distance. You get that sense of just how much the wind is blowing, how strong the winds are.
As I said just a little bit before, when we last talked to Melbourne Police, some good news indeed, if people have relatives here. There are no reports of any injuries, which is certainly good news. You know, especially considering earlier today we had seen people out walking -- Chad Myers say someone walking their dogs just like four hours ago in some pretty high winds. I saw people out running, kind of jogging when I drove in here about six hours ago.
So the fact that there has been no reports of injuries at this point is very good news indeed. But this storm is going be lasting. We're not going to see the eye here in Melbourne. We're just going to continue getting these winds, getting pounded with this rain. And that is going to go on and on all night long until this storm begins to trail off. But it is going to be a very wet and miserable 12 hours, at least, here in Melbourne, Carol.
LIN: All right. Anderson, we've got you in a split screen with your second camera shot, where the water is it like a complete white out in looking at that rain.
COOPER: I know it is really incredible and you know, when you are in it, you don't see it like that. When you are in it this close, it is really only on these long shots that you kind of get the sense of just how massive these winds are and it is remarkable to be standing here, frankly, it is sort of awesome to see the force of Mother Nature and to consider that we're not even in the strongest part of the storm. I mean, we are north of 3where the strongest part of the storm is hitting the coast.
And you know, you feel, you it really can give you a sense of humility. You feel very insignificant when you are out in these kind of winds, when you are out and you see Mother Nature, how strong these winds really can be, Carol.
LIN: Yes, definitely. Thanks very much, Anderson.
Let's go check in with the CNN Weather Center right now, Rob Marciano, taking on the overnight duty -- Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Carol.
Some things happening right where Anderson and Chad are, right now. There is a tornado warning that has been posted for southern Brevard County. Preventative catch all type of deal when the eye wall of the northern part of these systems come onshore, many times the National Weather Service will say, hey, you are going to have winds sustained at 90, gusting over 100, 110. And imbedded in that strong eye wall you will often see small tornadoes. So, because of that there has been at tornado warning issued for this particular country, mostly from Melbourne south. And that is within the tornado watch.
So, we're definitely keeping an eye on that. Right now our Viper radar is not picking up any real rotation but we'll keep our eye on it certainly, as we have our own crew out in the field.
All right, these are the latest stats as of 11 o'clock tonight, winds at 115 m.p.h. west-northwesterly movement at 13. And you see the eye wall, there it is, between West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce. And it continues its march inward. This is where the strongest winds are and they are coming onshore right now, around Melbourne and down to the south and that is going to continue for the next several hours. So, Anderson being blown around and Chad saying that the worst is coming on them right now, it will continue to do that in the next half an hour. They are absolutely correct. So, Fort Pierce, down let's say, Jupiter, maybe Boca, as well, in the eye wall, right now you should be fairly calm.
Although, I'm guessing, you don't have a whole lot of power and you are probably not even seeing this broadcast. But to give you and idea of what these folks are going through right now, they just got hammered about a half an hour to an hour ago. And now they are in almost complete calm, the back half of this system about to come through in about a half an hour to 45 minutes. And then they'll get hammered with that as well.
All right, let's switches sources if we could, to GR115, there you go. Here is the forecast track. It hasn't changed a whole lot. It is still scheduled to go inland, almost to Tampa and then make that recurvature. But that means that folks in say Orlando are going to see hurricane force winds as this thing is still a Category 3.
Carol, I think the other thing that we want to point out and I think you have been doing this pretty much all night long. The potential for power outages, it is not only widespread but probably extensive. From just north of Palm Beach all the way up to say Daytona Beach. That is going to be the ongoing issue, not only tonight but obviously for several days, if not weeks to come.
We'll let you know what is going on there in Brevard County. Tornado warning is out, kind of as a blanket kind of statement. And we'll keep an eye on the Doppler Radar to see if any sort of circulation occurs. But they are going to see the worst part of the storm, our crew, in the next 20 minutes to 30 minutes.
LIN: All right. Thanks very much, Rob. All ready one of our crews in West Palm Beach is seeing plenty of danger. CNN's John Zarrella reporting in.
What's going on, John?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Carol. Well, we're getting that backside of the storm, somewhat anyway. The wind has completely changed directions on us now and from the most part coming from the south to the north. Gusting very, very heavily here in West Palm. Again, we have gone through a period where it had calmed down a bit. But now it has really kicked up again.
Again, with that wind direction change the trees now all beginning to blow from the south to the north here and we're getting some hits. Really taking a beating here again. And we're going to throw to you, Carol.
LIN: All right, thanks very much, John. Just wanted to check in with you there in West Palm Beach as the situation grows worse.
It is pretty bad right now in Fort Pierce, Florida. That is where you find Gary Tuchman -- Gary. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol. We can tell you in the last five minutes we have had a subtle diminishment of the winds here. We maybe on the edge of the eye -- not in the middle of the eye; when I covered Hurricane Ivan last week, we were right in the middle of the eye in Gulf Shores, Alabama. And in a five-span we went from 110 m.p.h. winds to complete calmness. About 15 minutes ago we were at 110 m.p.h., according to emergency operations officials.
Now we are having a subtle diminishment. I don't think it is anymore than 50 right now. So, maybe in the next five minutes we'll see even more of a decrease in the winds. But the winds we were experiencing here were quite incredible. The strongest winds I've felt in the last four hurricanes that we have experienced in the last six weeks.
I want to update on what we reported earlier. We reported earlier that emergency operations officials in St. Lucie County have gotten at least two phone calls that that a car has plunged into the inter- coastal waterway, trying to drive across a bridge just behind us, from here in Fort Pierce to Hutchinson (ph) Island, the barrier island. That is still unconfirmed according to emergency operations officials they are going on the assumption though that it is true.
We reported to you that we saw a search light in the horizon. We talked to the emergency operations officials. They say it is too dangerous for them to be out there and that it was not their searchlight. They do not believe a search is taking place right now, because they can't go out there. But I will tell you, it was unlike any light we have seen during any hurricane we have covered.
We have seen the transformers blowing up, we see the lightening bolts; this was a light going back and forth. They say it wasn't their light. So we'll have to leave it at that. We will tell you the county administrator here in St. Lucie County is telling me that this is far worse than Hurricane Frances three weeks ago. That they do, sadly, have reports of injuries, some serious, in the county, but they can't -- the emergency officials -- get to these people right now, because it is too dangerous.
As I said, the winds are dying down. They hoped that if the eye came through that they could then go out while the eye was here and help people. But as recently as 15 minutes ago they were telling us that they didn't think they were going to get any of that eye, therefore, they didn't know if they could go out. But it definitely has calmed down here in the Fort Pierce area, and south of us, in Port St. Lucie, which is another big city in St. Lucie County. They probably have even more of the eye, so they are hoping for the best of the eye to help people who may be in need. But they say they are dealing with (AUDIO GAP) and people (AUDIO GAP) here in St. Lucie County.
Carol, back to you.
LIN: That is good news, Gary. And I did talk to Max Mayfield from the National Hurricane Center, about 40 minutes ago. And he did say that your location was going to get a break, in the eye of the storm. Good news for those, if there is going to be a rescue operation taking place behind you. So, you are in a good position to track all of that.
Our crews also are in Melbourne, you saw the torrential rain, the practical white out in Melbourne, Florida. On the telephone with me right now is the mayor of Melbourne, Florida, John Buckley. He has been hunkered down in his house without electricity. We have been staying in touch by telephone.
Mayor Buckley, the latest report in your town is that the winds are now blowing at hurricane strength, 75 m.p.h. with some gusts at 100 or more m.p.h., also with some tornado warnings in your neck of the woods. It looks like things are going to be heating up in Melbourne and you are not going to get a break from the eye of the storm.
JOHN BUCKLEY, MAYOR, MELBOURNE, FLORIDA: It doesn't sound like it. I can hear it outside, the way it is really blowing.
LIN: What does it sound like?
BUCKLEY: Well, whipping around, right outside the bedroom windows, that the telephone is in.
LIN: What makes you think you are safe in your house?
BUCKLEY: I've been here for 43 years and always have stayed in for any hurricanes.
LIN: Despite all the warnings, you are not in an evacuation zone?
BUCKLEY: Well, we're not in an evacuation zone. We're inland. We're on the other side of the Indian River Lagoon.
BUCKLEY: And we're relatively high compared to say the beach community.
BUCKLEY: And we don't really have an evacuation order in this area.
LIN: And you are not expecting to hear from your emergency workers until the morning?
BUCKLEY: Not till tomorrow morning.
LIN: All right. Because is it your understanding that everybody is just going to hold tight until this storm passes?
BUCKLEY: I believe that is what -- everything that is going to happen right now. Because I'm listening to people say whether or not they should go to shelters. Well, if somebody says it is too late to do that. Because something could happen to them if they get out in the storm at this time.
LIN: Right, right, it is a dangerous time. Are you going to get any sleep at all tonight, Mr. Mayor?
BUCKLEY: Oh, yes. I'm going to go to sleep very shortly. I hope, anyway.
LIN: Yes, as we all do. Thank you very much, Mayor Buckley.
LIN: Mayor of Melbourne, Florida.
BUCKLEY: All right.
LIN: All right, we get helped from our affiliates. We have been getting help from our affiliates in the last six weeks covering these four hurricanes. They have crews up and down the state. Let's dip into the coverage of WPLG right now. Let's hear what they have to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: ... we know there is one at the National Hurricane Center, that might be unused at this point. But, Don, thanks as always. We really appreciate that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is my job, it is my pleasure. This is why I'm here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: We're lucky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Your experience matters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: We thank you. Again, we are looking at these live pictures and you can just see the wind whipping around as Max Mayfield and Don were saying to us.
Actually, I hear that we have John Zarrella reporting live from West Palm Beach, we can listen in and actually find out what is happening there as we speak. Let's take that now.
ZARRELLA: ...reporting as we have, for hours now, to just be pounded by these torrential rains and wind gusts. We were here three weeks ago in this very spot, for Hurricane Frances. And I'm sure that Anderson has been sharing the same sentiments (AUDIO GAP) been far more of a powerful hurricane that we have been experiencing this time than we experienced three weeks ago, that being a Category 2 on the 1 to 5 scale. This one a Category 3 with sustained winds of 115 m.p.h.
Now, we're not getting that here on the south side of the storm. We're probably getting winds gusting, oh, Colleen (ph), probably in the neighborhood we had earlier, gusts of up around 75 m.p.h. to hurricane force. Now it has let up a little bit here now, but it continues to pick up back and forth.
So, right now in another one of those lulls, Colleen (ph), but I'm sure before long it will kick again, as it has all night - Colleen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Just to give you guys and indication of what we're doing here. Obviously, it is very difficult in the middle of the storm to get live reports and signals out, so if we see one on satellite, even if they're not talking to us directly, we're going to listen in because it is the best way we can get you the best way to get you the most accurate information and view of exactly what is happening right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: One reporter speaking to us directly is Sonya Crawford, she is reporting now from Melbourne.
LIN: All right, that is the latest from our CNN affiliate WPLG in Miami. A little bit of their storm coverage.
Through the weeks we have talked with a lot of officials on the ground and no one more involved in hurricane damage destruction and recovery than Congressman Mark Foley, whose district has been hard hit.
Congressman, you're on the telephone?
REP. MARK FOLEY, (R) FLORIDA: Yes, I am.
LIN: We have heard various reports up and down the coast of maybe some rescue operations going on, people calling for help, 911, too late for rescue workers to actually go and grab people because the storm, the hurricane is hitting full force right now. What is happening in your district?
FOLEY: Well, we've been hit again. This is the third storm to my district. This is the second to hit the east coast exactly three weeks, on a Friday, almost identical time. Right now the eye wall is going over Stewart. It is the same position that it was three weeks ago. Rescue crews are able to actually get out to some of the 911 calls because the storm has subsided.
In a half hour to 45 minutes it will be roaring back so there is not a lot of time, but we have gotten a lot of calls from people seeking emergency, immediate assistance.
LIN: Yes. Are you optimistic that these people are going to be helped?
FOLEY: Yes, I think we're going to be able to reach them. There are some unique vehicles that are being used in this storm that basically are armor plated, they will run without, you know, they won't get flats. They're almost floatable vehicles, if you will. And some of those are actually making their way to some of these locations now.
So, we just pray for the people. Up in Vero and of course Melbourne they're just being pummeled constantly...
LIN: Right. FOLEY: ...by the winds. So, it is just a rough storm. It has been rough for Floridians. This is much like Charley that struck Punta Gorda about eight weeks ago Friday. So, we've had our share of misery.
LIN: A share of misery, and you know, the federal government, President Bush has promised quick help to Floridians, but is just seems that the state almost the entire state is in a state of emergency. It seems almost overwhelming help that is needed.
FOLEY: Well, I think we have had about 61 of Florida's 67 counties impacted to some degree. In fact, each week we go back to Washington we're adding up numbers from prior storms, current storms, and now future predicted costs of this particular storm. So we're probably in excess of $7 to $9 billion. Ivan was a huge storm in Pensacola. And of course, it hit other states and is still out there in the Gulf of Mexico.
So we're just going to be seeing some horrific financial burdens on the treasury. But that is something we have to do. We have to make these lives whole and these people -- get them back up on their feet.
LIN: Congressman Mark Foley, a busy summer in Port St. Lucie (ph) ...
FOLEY: Yes, it has been.
LIN: ...and elsewhere, Stewart, in your district. Thank you.
FOLEY: Thank you very much. God bless.
LIN: All right. Let's go back to Melbourne, where it is getting a lot of action. Anderson Cooper standing by there getting pelted by the rain and the wind.
COOPER: Yes. You know, Carol, I think about five minutes ago we were at the worst of the storm? I was wrong. This is the worst of the storm for us right now.
Chad, we haven't see it like this all night long.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, that was a wind gust right there, Anderson, of 91 m.p.h. And that is the highest we've seen. And every minute when you think, oh, it is not going to get any worse than this. It has to start getting better. It just keeps getting worse.
I just walked out to the street from where we are at the shore. And there are still people driving around. I am dumfounded. There was a guy in a white Buick Le Sabre. He was coming at me. And I thought, oh, that has to be a cop. It was a guy just driving around, just looking around. And he came to a four way stop, where all the lights are out, and he literally stopped and looked for other cars. Like there is going to be anybody else out there.
COOPER: I don't know if you can see behind us, but I mean, you really get a sense of this wall of white water which is just whipping across. And there is a fence over there, a chain-link fence that we have been hearing now, just in the last couple of minutes, starting to rip apart, starting to come off its pylons. The fear, of course, is something like that will actually take -- uproot, take up in the air and come flying through the air. So we're watching that very carefully.
I think it is fine. I think it still pretty well secured though.
MYERS: I think it is. Plus, it is actually going to go in that direction away from us, so that is good news. But you know what, with these eddies that we talked about, how these winds spin, anything can actually get blown in any direction. So, we're still seeing, and I'm very surprised at this, we're still seeing some of those transformers blow as I walked out onto the highway.
MYERS: By now -
MYERS: That hurt. They say that water can be as hard as concrete and I believe it now, especially when it is moving at 9 m.p.h. It really stings.
But the blue and green flashes that everybody is talking about, they're still coming down. They're still flashing. And I thought by now all of Melbourne would be without power. But clearly some people still had it.
COOPER: Yes, it is remarkable. You know one of the things that you try to do, Carol, is you try to keep your back to the wind, because frankly -- I mean, right now, you can't turn around and look, because it is really just -- it is physically too painful, the force of the wind and the rain on your face.
But the problem is with this confused rain, as you call it, you don't know where to look because it is coming from all different directions.
MYERS: It does come right back at you and that's one of the problems when you try to board up a house. You see a lot of people only boarding up one side. Well, they are taking chance on to which side that hurricane is actually going to come in from. You literally have to board up all four sides of your home because the winds going to come at you from all four directions.
COOPER: Let's see, I don't know if we can take the camera, the other angle that we have, we have another second camera that up on a balcony. And again, it is about 100 feet away from where we are. It really gives you a sense of just the speed of these winds; that wall of white, I mean, it looks -- OK, go ahead, Carol.
LIN: Anderson, we just got some official confirmation now, that Jeanne, Hurricane Jeanne has officially made landfall. Rob Marciano, at the CNN Weather Center.
Making landfall, Rob, at the exact place where Hurricane Frances hit the Atlantic coast of the state of Florida. What are the odds?
MARCIANO: I have no idea. I have no idea. But it is spooky. It is absolutely spooky.
Sewall's Point, which is actually just to the east of Stewart, where is the same spot where Hurricane Frances made landfall, just three weeks ago. Unbelievable. And our crews in Melbourne, in pretty much the same spot as they were three weeks ago, getting similar results in all, except for the fact that this storm is stronger.
It is a Category 3 storm with winds sustained at 115. Frances was a 2 and we're certainly seeing more vivid wind depiction from that. Our cameras and our live shots, Chad and both Anderson would agree, I think, that this storm is more severe than Frances. And they are in it right now. They are in it as far as winds sustained 90, possibly gusting to 110 m.p.h.
And just 10 minutes ago, we mentioned that there is a tornado warning out for southern Brevard County, because the northern ends of these eye walls, as they come on shore, not only have severe straight line winds, but they can also have tornadoes as well. We have not seen any pop up on the Doppler Radar scope. But they have that county under a severe storm -- or a tornado warning, for the preventive measures of one dropping out of the sky.
But the straight-line winds are going to be the biggest deal here. We are seeing winds gusts at some of the airport locations of 63 m.p.h. in Melbourne, 67 m.p.h. in Fort Pierce.
If we can go over to the VIPIR, PA-7, we'll talk a little bit about where the eye wall itself is and where the eye, where the calm air is, and who is getting hit the hardest as far as the radar is concerned.
Vero Beach, north toward Sebastian, Melbourne, Coco Beach, you are all in the northern quadrant of the eye wall. You will all be seeing easily hurricane force winds sustained for the next hour or two, easily gusting to Category 2 hurricane force winds, over 100 m.p.h., at times.
Sliding the map down just a little bit, there is Melbourne, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, you will probably be in it as well. But here is where the delineation is, Vero Beach, you're probably -- you are going to see winds calm down just a little bit. You are right, right, on the eye wall fringe there, the northern section of the eye wall.
You go south the where Gary Tuchman is, I believe he is in Fort Pierce, and he said that the winds are starting to calm down. He is just getting into the eye wall.
And there is Sewall's Point. That is our official point for landfall, Carol. The exact same spot where Hurricane Frances made landfall. I couldn't even put odds on it.
LIN: Isn't that amazing? MARCIANO: Yes.
LIN: And perfect timing. Let's go to Gary and take a look at what the calm in the eye of the storm actually looks like.
Gary, amazing difference from the last time I spoke you, just a half hour ago.
TUCHMAN: Carol, it really is incredible. We were just talking about the eye coming across at Sewall's Point. I mean, think about the odds of this? Sewall's Point, in recorded weather history, has never had the eye of a hurricane come across there. And then twice in three weeks, it has happened. It is incredible odds.
What is very interesting for us, here in Fort Pierce, this is the exact spot we were in three weeks ago, during Hurricane Frances. And despite the fact that the eye came in the same place, last time we didn't experience any of the calmness of the eye, the intensity of the storm did not diminish at all when the eye crossed the state of Florida.
But now, because of the shape of the eye, because it may be bigger, we are on the edge of it. We definitely are not in the middle of it. And you don't have to look at a radar map to know that. We were in the middle of it last week for Hurricane Ivan in Alabama, and it was completely calm, completely for an hour and 20 minutes.
Right now, we are getting some breeze, but the rain has stopped. And 30 minutes ago we had torrential rain and winds of 110 m.p.h. And now we are standing here and you could have a picnic in this parking lot right now. As a matter of fact, there were flood waters here half an hour ago. They have receded. That quickly it happens.
Tremendous damage here in St. Lucie County. The county administrator telling us this is far worse than Hurricane Frances. That they are going to take advantage of this opportunity, this lull in the storm, to help people. And there are reportedly many people who need help. They have gotten calls that there are some injuries. Some roofs that have blown off and they are now going to go out and start helping those people.
They have also have had reports, as we told you, that a car may plunged into the inter-coastal waterway off the bridge right behind us that goes to the barrier island, Hutchinson Island (ph). We assume that they are going to go there and start looking, too.
But the fact is, right now, it is relatively calm. But we know it is only a brief respite, that it will pick up very quickly again soon.
Carol, back to you.
LIN: Brief indeed, Gary. We are told by the National Hurricane Center that those rescue operations maybe have about two and a half hours to go check out the situation before the backside of Hurricane Jeanne slams into you once again. So, the calm before the second storm. Thanks, Gary. Let's go back up, take a look at Gary's position. And now, take a look at what is going on in Melbourne, that is not going to get any kind of a break. It is amazing. Just, what? A 100 miles apart, Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, Carol, if Gary Tuchman is having a picnic in Melbourne (sic), I wish he would save us a seat and a couple of sandwiches, because it is no picnic here right now. I can tell you that.
This is probably the worst we've seen, the last 10 minutes or so. The winds really pretty bad. The sky just lighting up now, again, another transformer exploding. I want to show you the view from this other camera.
You can see a metal fence that is very much in danger of being ripped right off and becoming airborne. Part of the fence has already been removed. But that fence, we are watching it very closely. It is pretty far away from us, so it is not an immediate danger to us, where we are standing, but it just gives you a sense again, of the power of these winds.
And, Chad, I'm really surprised at the -- I mean, with Frances we didn't get any rain here. I mean, we got some rain, but not a huge amount. I am amazed at how much rain we are getting.
MYERS: Yes, exactly. As this moves inland, this rain has a force to it as well, Anderson. And anybody here with an east facing wall, this rain is getting blown through the wall. This happens a lot in a Category 2 or a Category 3 hurricane, where the water will be forced through windows, forced through doors, and literally forced through the soffit of your home. So people inside of their homes are now getting wet, even though everything else is all shut up, all closed up. The force of this rain, the water in the wind, in fact increases the force of wind itself.
COOPER: That is amazing. I mean, there is no way to know, I guess at this point, but how much kind of rainfall we're getting in terms of inches.
MYERS: Well, Rob Marciano can tell you, because our Viper System will actually add it up for you. The problem is the rain is coming down so sideways and normally, a normal raindrop will fall from the sky and it will be collected or added up on the ground. This rain is spinning around so much that these raindrops are being added up -- whoops!
COOPER: All right, we were going to have a very close encounter there.
MYERS: I know. The gusts now, Anderson, are 94 m.p.h. That gust I had, before you came to me, was 94 m.p.h. So, it is hard to stand up in that kind of wind.
But as the winds are actually blowing these raindrops sideways, they are counted more than once. So sometimes the Doppler estimates can actually over estimate the how much rain will come down in a hurricane.
But I'll tell you what, if I can estimate, there has been at least two or three inches right where we are standing here.
COOPER: Yes, it is amazing. I don't know if you can see, I don't if you can pan down but the water is already all over. This is a parking lot. And you can only imagine what it is like elsewhere in Melbourne.
But again, the fact that we are still seeing some transformers blowing up, means that some places in Melbourne must have power. I mean, I try to look out there to where the barrier island is. You can't really look out, but you can tell that there are no lights.
COOPER: It is the barrier island, clearly without electricity.
MYERS: But the flashes are getting farther and farther away. They are farther in the distance. We were getting them very close for a while. Now you can see they are lower on the horizon and they are not as bright.
COOPER: I'm wondering, I mean, where we are, how much worse can it get?
MYERS: Well, you keep asking me that, Anderson.
COOPER: I've been waiting for you to give me answer that I want to hear.
MYERS: If you would stop asking it would get better.
We are in the heat of it now. We are in the peak of what we're going to see. That wind gust that just blew us by, the good news is that we are actually in a protected spot. We have trees behind us that are actually protecting us.
So, the winds that you see in that other camera have not protection whatsoever. Those winds are blowing in at 95, at some point, some of those gusts are now 100 m.p.h., no question at all.
COOPPER: It is interesting, when you look from that other camera, and you see the - wow! OK. This is good. Now getting very hard to stand.
I was just about to say that when you see the view from that other camera, you can't imagine being able to stand up in that wind and yet being here, I mean, I don't feel like I am in those winds. I feel like I'm in a different one.
MYERS: You are not, you are in a different wind. We have protected ourselves down below. The water is about 20 feet below us. And then there is a ramp of dirt, a cliff, if you will, at about a 45 degree angle. And the winds that you are seeing there are in fact about 10 feet over our head.
They are hitting that cliff, they are blowing up and over the top of us. And in fact, they are hitting the top of our hotel, but they are not hitting us where we are. That is why we are parked right here where we are.
COOPER: I just want to give you a sense of the strength of these winds and what it can do to buildings. I showed you that fence before. Take a look, if you can pan up to where we showed before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. My zoom is gone.
COOPER: OK, we're having a problem with the zoom in the camera. Don't worry about it. I think the water has affected the camera.
But parts of the building are already coming loose. That is sort of a soffit up there. We are watching, again, that very closely, because again, if that becomes airborne it could become very dangerous indeed. So, we are keeping an eye on that. It has been wobbling, frankly, like that for the last hour or so. So, I think it is pretty much set.
But you know, that is one of the things, when it gets dark like this you just don't know what is out there. And you start to hear things. You know, you start to hear the fence breaking. You start to hear this fence over here.
I don't know if you can see. There is someone walking over there. There is a guy walking over there. You probably can't even see him in this wind, but there is a guy in like a pair of shorts.
You see that guy?
MYERS: Yes, he just lit up a cigarette.
COOPER: A guy lit up a cigarette here in this wind. I mean, I don't what he's smoking, but ...
COOPER: I'm going to go try to talk to that guy, a little bit, because it blows my mind. There is a guy smoking a cigarette in his shorts, in this wind. You know you see the oddest things in storms.
Last storm, Hurricane Frances, we saw two guys suddenly showed up in this vehicle, with hurricane research team written on it. And I figured that they were like scientists or something. Turns out they were just two guys who really like storms. And they were out here kind of videotaping themselves, you know, in a storm. That is how they get their kicks. So, you see the darnedest things in hurricanes, Carol.
LIN: One person down there? It looks like it is a whole group of people out there. I thought that maybe they were trying to save that fence or, you know, do some reinforcing in that area. But they are just hanging out? COOPER: Just hanging out. Yes, you know, why not hang out? What's -- the one good thing about all this rain is, you don't actually have to go and drink water, because if you open up your mouth for long enough, enough water will pour into your mouth and keep you hydrated.
LIN: Now, that is looking on the brighter side of things, Anderson. All right, thanks. Hold tight there. Hold tight there. I know you are in the midst of it.
Let's go to the CNN weather center, Rob Marciano. Tornado warnings where Anderson Cooper is standing, right now?
MARCIANO: Yes. No, no, circulation noted on that, but I was just -- we just popped on off the printer here for a tornado warning for Flagler County in northeast Florida. That is up near Daytona. So, as far north as Flagler County. Wow!
So, just on the very edge of this tornado watch. We have now a tornado warning for a possible circulation, a tornado possibly dropping out of the sky there.
I'll just read off some of these names, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Andalucia (ph), other locations in the warning, not limited to, Espanola, could be some waterspouts, probably because this area is close to the water.
And by the way, waterspouts are nothing but tornadoes that are over water. They look real pretty, because they pull up that water and it looks real clean. The reason that tornadoes look a lot uglier is because they are pulling up dirt and all sorts of other garbage and they just look a lot more nasty, but they are just as dangerous.
Inside this watch box is where we have the potential for tornadoes. Inside these highlighted red counties is where the National Weather Service in those local areas have put up tornado warnings for radar indicated tornadoes or places where they think there is a strong possibility of one dropping out of the sky.
All right, let's shift the box down just a little bit.
By the way, Orlando about to get in it now, they have been seeing wind gusts and they are about to see some rain squalls with this system as well. And they too, if the power is not out there, will be in the next several hours as the strongest - they will see hurricane force winds along with some gusty rains.
Melbourne, where our folks are, where Chad is, where Anderson is, where the guy smoking whatever he's smoking is, Chad said that it is about as bad as it is going to get and I think he's right on there. There is a potential over the next 30 to 45 minutes to see winds gusting higher than where they are right now.
So it is not going to get better right away. That is for sure, for our crew out there. My goodness, I just get lost in those pictures. I was just out in Ivan last week and the force of those winds is just incomprehensible.
Anyway, back to the radar, Fort Pierce is in the eye right now. So it is calming down there. Vero Beach, trying to get in the eye, but likely still in the northern quadrant of the eye wall; likely still some nasty, nasty weather right there.
And there is Sewall's Point and Stewart where the center of this hurricane came onshore. No doubt it is really calm here. And might even see some stars in the skies. It must be an amazing place to be. You know, not when the hurricane hits, not when the backside comes through, but certainly when you are in the eye of this thing.
And to think that two have come through in the last three weeks is amazing.
Another point of history, is that we have never seen, since they have been keeping records, a major hurricane make landfall north of Palm Beach, to the border of Georgia, and Florida. So that is unbelievable as well, I mean, not only this storm but the entire season of 2004 is going to go down in the record books no doubt about it.
Lucky thing for Lake Okeechobee; if this thing made landfall a little bit farther to the south, down around Palm Beach, down around West Palm, Lake Okeechobee could have easily seen a significant storm surge. As it is, probably the southern spots in Lake O, where that is where a lot of the folks live, is likely seeing a bit of a storm surge, as well.
Good news, I guess, Carol, aside from the winds -- by the way, West Palm now in the backside of this thing. But they are going to see squally weather for several hours and it won't be any picnic there either.
Storm surge, the difference between high and low tide, this particular time of month is only about two or three feet. So that hasn't been a big deal, but luckily, this storm coming on shore right at low tide. So that is an added bonus. Storm surge shouldn't be as significant as it would be, if it would be in six hours from now.
But certainly could see storm surges on the barrier islands in excess of 10 feet in spots. But Melbourne and our crew, they have to be careful. If you can get word to them. Just, you know, keep and eye out. It is definitely getting dangerous up there. And they will be in it for at least another half hour to an hour of really nasty stuff -- back to you.
LIN: Rob, you take a look at your map, I mean, West Palm Beach, John Zarrella getting slammed there and our crew up in Melbourne getting his as well. It is going to be a long night for them, indeed.
Thanks very much, Rob.
We have much more ahead on our special coverage tonight. Hurricane Jeanne, making history tonight. It is not as big as Charley. It is not as slow as Frances, but it may be more deadly. Now the fourth hurricane to hit the state of Florida in one season. Never happened before.
LIN: Hurricane Jeanne, having made landfall in the last hour. The eye of the storm is now over St. Lucie County, right in that area. Right around Fort Stewart, it is an island of calm amidst incredible turbulence that we have seen up in Melbourne and down in West Palm Beach, where winds are blowing upwards of a 100 m.p.h. in some cases.
Linette Trabulsy is the public information officer for St. Lucie County.
Right now, Linette, the situation there I think is calmer now. Maybe it might give your people a chance to assess any damage, address any 911 calls?
LINETTE TRABULSY, PIO, ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FLA.: Actually, in St. Lucie County, we are in the northern end of Fort Pierce. And I don't know that we are actually going to see any of the eye. We are in the top part of the eye wall, the northern end of it. And I don't know that we'll ever get a chance to get out at this point.
LIN: Oh, really?
TRABULSY: Yes, at this point.
LIN: Yes, because of the way it is moving, as it kind of scraping up the coast.
LIN: It really all depends on your positioning. It is so important.
TRABULSY: Yes, if we get any of the eye wall it will be very brief. It won't be I mean, if we get any of the eye it will be very brief. It won't be for very long, so I don't know that our fire rescue will be able -- or law enforcement will be able to get out and do anything.
LIN: You know, Gary Tuchman, our Gary Tuchman is situated at Fort Pierce, and he was saying that there were at least two phone calls, two 911calls about a car that went into the water off the inter- coastal highway. Do you know anything about that?
TRABULSY: I gave him that information. He knows as much as I do at this point. I do not think that we're going to get out. The Coast Guard was going to try and get out and I do not believe they are going to get a chance to go out and investigate that. We did have two separate 911 calls that came in saying they saw somebody drive through the barricades that were blocking the east-bound traffic going over the bridge to South Hutchinson Island. And then the car went over the bridge. So, you know, that is all we know. None of that is really confirmed. We cannot -- there is no way we can even go out and do any kind of search and rescue at this point.
LIN: Right. What other kind of 911 calls have you gotten in the last four hours?
TRABULSY: For the most part, the calls that we are getting are from the folks whose roofs have caved in. And, of course, like you were saying we just had Frances that hit here three weeks ago to the day. And it is almost the exact same track, I mean, the eye made landfall in Stuart, just like it did today, this evening. Stuart is just right down the road from us in Martin County.
And we're getting, in both cases, the worst end of it. We are getting the north eye wall of the each of these hurricanes. And this one is a faster moving storm, thank goodness, for us. But it is just worse because the winds are that much higher. I guess, we have heard gusts of up to 126 m.p.h. winds.
LIN: Right, right. And the buildings just that much more vulnerable after having been pounded for the last several weeks.
TRABULSY: We had so many houses that were damaged already and you know, the insurance adjusters were, everything was just so slow moving, and then we were just stuck. Many people as they could put tarps on their roofs and the tarps are gone. And so it is just an awful situation our residents, it really is.
TRABULSY: It is testing everybody's patience and it is really hard.
LIN: It has to be. Linette Trabulsy, it is going to be a long night. Thank you very much.
TRABULSY: You are welcome.
LIN: She is the public information officer for St. Lucie County.
Now, right now, we want to take a look at what is happening on the northern edge of the eye wall, which is right around Vero Beach. We got a report here now from WFTS.
DON GERMAISE, REPORTER, WFTS: Yes, we are getting too much debris blowing by here. In fact, this is the definition of hunkering down, guys. We have storm chaser to protect me incase anything blows, but it is just blowing too hard right now. And we're also starting to get some swirls so that debris is flying this way sometimes and that way sometimes.
And it really is too hard to stay safe. So, we're OK. We're going to sign off for a little bit, hunker down. We will continue to bring you the pictures, if you want. And we can check in by phone through the evening but right now it is probably a little too dangerous for us to be out. So we are going to send it back to you guys.
Boy, I'll tell you, you just see this stuff fly by and it is scary. We're going to send it back to you guys in the studio and go break down, and hunker down for a little bit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Don, one quick question. Some viewers are curious, I'm sure, as to where you go from there. Are you going to stay with storm chaser, there? Or are you going to move to a different location?
GERMAISE: We're not sure exactly what we're going to do. We're going to discuss it once we get into a little bit of a better, safe position. If we think we can take storm chaser out and shoot some video we'll do it.
If not, there is a furniture store in this plaza that is boarded up and actually has steel shutters over the windows and it is in a concrete room. They are hunkered down in there with some, about 15 or 20 people. And we will probably spend some time in there with them. Those are people who work and live around here and they're homes were destroyed or damaged so badly in Frances that they didn't feel comfortable staying there.
So, they have a generator inside the furniture store. They are boarded up.
LIN: All right, thanks to our affiliate, WFTS, for sharing that moment out of Vero Beach.
In the meantime, the situation in Melbourne, there is going to be no let up in the wind and the water that is descending down on Anderson Cooper and Chad Myers. This is an angle that gives you -- well, we appreciate a lot more of what you guys are going through, since we can see you down below.
COOPER: Yes, it really gives you a sense of the winds, which we're seeing and feeling. It is interesting that depending on where, what level you are on, you really get affected by the wind differently. We're actually somewhat protected here, so we're not getting kind of pushed around like we were just a few seconds ago at the last location.
MYERS: You know, that is enough of that. Kind of like we were in Frances, for a while it was fun. Then it go serious, then it go dangerous. So, we just moved to a better place. We're protected by a lot of other things around us. So the winds are going to blow over the top of us and you can watch them on your TV screen.
But what people are watching now, they are watching in Orlando and they are watching Kissimmee (ph), and they are watching in Lakeland and all the way up, even into Leesburg. And those people are saying, oh, my gosh, this stuff is coming my way. What can I do? Well, there is nothing you basically can do outside, but a lot of folks are going to lose power.
And one of the best things you can do, for yourself, right now, is to go to the freezer and turn it down all the way. Make it as cold as you can get it. And that will freeze all of your stuff as hard as it can be frozen. And it will last a little bit longer, may not last long enough, but it will last longer if your power goes out for a while. That is just one little trick that you don't usually talk about. You talk about putting water in the bathtub, because if you don't have water, you need that water for other things, not for drinking or even for shaving or maybe even for washing. But maybe to use for flush the things down the little commode.
COOPER: Of course, as soon as you said that, it reminded me, I forgot to put water in the bathtub in the hotel room.
MYERS: I remembered for you. And there is a pool in our place. And I'm sure there will be nobody in it tomorrow, because of all the palm fronds will be in it.
COOPER: I want to show you the angle from the car, the other camera angle that we had. Oh, we don't have that angle. OK. We'll try to get that to you later.
But Carol, you really get a sense of this wind, which is just, I mean it is extraordinary to see, to stand here, to be in the midst of it. I don't know if television really does it justice. But to actually to be here it is a whole different thing.
MYERS: It might not do it justice, but let me tell you, I walked up to you, and some of those gusts, and we know they were about 100, and the word I said was, man, this is "evil". It just feels -- it doesn't feel like we should be in the middle of this, for one. And it doesn't feel like this should ever happen on the planet Earth. But obviously it does. And we're not even in the worst of it. If you travel down 30 or 40 miles from where we are now, down to the Sebastian inlet, those folks are getting it even a lot worse than we are getting it right here.
COOPER: Yes, that is something to be thankful for. And the people here in Melbourne, they got hit hard in Frances, but not -- I mean, thank goodness, no one was killed here. And in terms of property damage, some communities 20 miles south of here, at Barefoot Bay, they got some damage to the mobile home community. But really a lot of the houses around here are very sturdy, didn't come to see the damage that it could have been.
MYERS: Yes, a lot of shingles off most of the homes. I don't think we saw probably saw too many homes, unless it was that tile, the Spanish tile roof. Most homes had at least a couple of shingles off. And when you get a couple off you are probably going to have to redo the whole thing or you are going to have a spotty looking house. But that is the least of their problems. You just don't want to have that structural loss, where you loose plywood. Because when you loose plywood then you loose the integrity and you get the rain really comes in the house.
COOPER: Now, I'm told there is a tornado warning right now for Melbourne. What does that mean?
MYERS: I know there is a tornado warning for Flagler Beach. I did not hear about the one for Melbourne.
COOPER: That just came in my ear.
MYERS: When you get these storms rolling on shore, and they come onshore with such force, the whole storm is obviously rotating, it is a hurricane, but a few of these individual cells can also rotate. And that rotation is picked up by Doppler. And they are typically waterspout like storms. They are F-0, F-1, but they certainly can do damage. And they certainly can cause fatalities. We saw them with Ivan in Panama City. And those were the same type of tornadoes that are formed with a hurricane.
People often ask me, when I'm out talking to schools: What is worse, a tornado or a hurricane? Well, if a hurricane can contain tornadoes, obviously, a hurricane is much worse.
COOPER: I wasn't not paying attention. I keep hearing a metal banging. I wanted to make sure there is no debris (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my way.
MYERS: It gets a little unnerving when you hear bumps go in the night.
COOPER: That's true.
MYERS: And so many of these storms have happened at night.
MYERS: And that is really unnerving for the people who are sitting there listening to their shutters bang on their house, listening to whatever that just hit their car. They don't even know what that was. And it is so much better to have a hurricane to make landfall, if it is going to make landfall, in the daytime.
Well, Carol, still things pretty bad here. Let's go back to you.
LIN: All right. Thanks, Anderson.
Obviously, Hurricane Jeanne, more than just shades of Hurricane Frances, which made landfall in Florida as a Category 2 hurricane, 105 m.p.h. winds, similar situation that we're seeing right here with Hurricane Jeanne. More to it than that, though, Dave Hennen, at the CNN Weather Center, comparing the two.
Dave, very spooky that both of them made landfall in the same spot.
DAVE HENNEN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is amazing, Carol.
In fact, I have the bulletin, this goes back to Frances. And this is dated 1 a.m. on Sunday, believe it or not. So we are almost at the exact same time. And it says the center of the large eye of Hurricane Frances finally making landfall near Sewall's Point. And of course, that is what we've been talking about for the last hour or so. Here's the center, here is Sewall's Point, and it is moving over, basically, the exact same area as it did some 21 days ago, at the exact same time.
A little bit of a different perspective I want to show you here. Here is a look at the satellite picture now. This is the current satellite picture that we just pulled off from Jeanne. And a very large hurricane, as you can see. Very clearly distinct, the center, the eye of the storm, as it moves inland.
This goes back. This is Frances back on September 5, almost exactly the same size. What I have done now is actually super-imposed the images and you can see the line of Florida, here's the state borders of Florida. And look at how eerily similar these storms are. You can barely tell the difference. Even the outer bands of the hurricanes are basically exactly the same. The eye of the hurricane basically matched up almost perfectly.
A couple of differences with this storm, it is actually a little bit stronger. Winds with this storm 120 m.p.h., at landfall. They were 105 m.p.h. with Frances. Pressure is a little bit lower, which makes sense for the stronger winds as well.
Another important difference as well, we talked about the track of the storm. With Frances it went north of the islands of Hispaniola, here. And of course, we have been talking for days about the devastation and tremendous loss of life down in the Dominican Republic and also in Haiti. Frances did go north of that, but as you can see here, our track is very similar.
And from now on, too, it is going to be very similar. This is the forecast track now, for the storm as it moves inland. And this is Frances as it moved inland. So, you can see, Carol, this is basically the same storm.
LIN: Yes, except for that weird loopty-loop that Hurricane Jeanne made out to see and that is why a lot of people in Florida really didn't take it seriously. They never thought that it would possibly go from a Category 1 to a Category 3 or 4, make landfall.
HENNEN: It is not unprecedented, though, Carol. We have seen these storms do this loopty-loop. It is just weak steering currents in the upper atmosphere. And that is what happened with this one. And finally the pattern set up to bring poor Sewall's Point another storm.
The only thing I can think of that is even close to this, and I was trying to find this town in Nebraska that go hit by a tornado within 45 minutes of each other. Of course, this happened a couple of weeks apart, but certainly the landfall there, just unbelievable to have that in the same exact city.
LIN: Yes, really. Dave Hennen, heading up our intrepid weather department, in these historic times. Good to see you.
HENNEN: Good to be here, Carol.
LIN: Thanks very much.
All right, our continuing coverage, we are going be here all night long. So stay with us because there is more ahead.
LIN: Welcome back to our special continuing coverage of Hurricane Jeanne as it makes landfall along the Atlantic Coast of Florida right now. Winds gusting up to more than 100 m.p.h. The situation in Melbourne, Florida, they are not going to get a break as the position of this hurricane churns, the eye is not going to pass over this particular part of the state.
Bay News 9 reports from there, just moments ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: This is by far the worst we've seen. These bands come in and it is literally, it is tough to stand up, obviously. We're getting reports of some, first reports of some big damage here in and around the Melbourne area. And even worse -- look at these winds! Look!
Literally holding me up. It is incredible. Roofs coming off houses - cars being battered about. We have been driving around in a 10,000 pound HUMMER. The lights you see on me now, are from that HUMMER. And it is just been wobbly about.
Look at this! Oh! Whoa!
(REPORTER FLIES UP AND BACKWARD)
Oh, my god!
The wind just toppled me over.
LIN: Oh, no. You know, it is almost appears that we are taking advantage of an embarrassing moment, but it really does illustrate the power of these winds.
Rob Marciano, you were in Hurricane Ivan. I know you -- I mean, how -- can you gauge by his body position and the thrust that pushed him back, how fast those winds were going?
MARCIANO: Well, I'm telling you, there aren't many people that can stand in 100 m.p.h. winds. So, easily that gust that took him over the top was 100 m.p.h. wind. When we were in Ivan we stepped outside of our protective area for a while, but got down on one knee. Kind of leaned way into the storm. Certainly, not standing like he was and we probably saw wind gusts of 100 m.p.h., but that easily is a three- digit number, what took him down.
And you know, if he's in a spot where there is not a whole lot of debris flying by, I suppose it is not that, that dangerous. But I don't know where that guy was. Obviously, he's a little bit bruised and maybe the ego took a little bit of a hit as well. All right, here is the Viper radar, or satellite, I should say, indicating exactly where the eye wall is. I should also mention that Orlando now seeing wind gusts of over 40 m.p.h. And look at the expanse of this. Dave just highlighted this amazingly how big Frances was, how this just lined up amazingly.
We're getting similar conditions in Melbourne. Craig, let's just switch over to the radar and we'll show you a couple of things.
First off, the eye wall -- actually, I can't really show much here. There is the Melbourne video. At last check we had winds gusting at 67 m.p.h. at the airport, but certainly near the water and where there is less exposed area or more exposed area, they are seeing higher winds than that.
All right, here we go. Vero Beach, West Palm, it has taken a bit of a jog to the north, Carol. And we kind of expected that. So, we'll keep and eye on things as it continues to make landfall as a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of 120 m.p.h. A dangerous storm as we so vividly saw with that reporter taking a hit - back to you in the studio.
LIN: Right. You bet. All right, thanks very much, Rob, who is going to be with us all night long.
Let's go out to Melbourne. We saw quickly, a shot of Chad Myers, standing by in the storm.
Chad, you OK?
MYERS: Yes, Carol. Good evening. It is still picking up here. Let me tell you every time we look around we think it is going to calm down. But the winds just keep right on going. And in fact, now things are actually starting to come apart. We have got to that point where the buildings are starting to lose their integrity. We are seeing some shingles now in the air.
Also seen a couple of the areas here where pieces of the homes are starting to separate. And that is the first problem. When you start to see a separation, air gets in and you start to loose more of these homes. So, we'll have more coming up in the next hour -- back to you.
LIN: All right, Chad Myers and our team of correspondents and anchors up and down the coast of Florida. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center. Thanks so much for being with us. And stay right there because hurricane coverage continues right here on CNN.
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