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Midwest Copes with Continued Flooding; Bush Pushes Congress to Ease Drilling Restrictions; Their Crops, Your Wallet; Injured Tiger; Fifth Foot Washes Ashore

Aired June 18, 2008 - 13:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands and thousands of acres of some of the most prime farm ground we have in our nation. Totally lost.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Misery along the Mississippi. The flooding follows the river downstream, putting many more levees at risk, and people, as well, leaving long-term disaster in its wake.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Oil beneath the ocean, beneath the Arctic tundra, in the shale of the Rocky Mountains. President Bush says it's there for the taking, and now is the time to start.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live in New York.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: More sandbags, more people trying to save their homes, more levees breaking by the day. The Midwest on the brink of what could be a record flooding disaster, and all of the sandbagging, all the volunteers, all the desperate efforts might not be enough to even stop it.

LEMON: Kyra, you are absolutely right. And, of course, CNN is your severe weather headquarters. And this is why: our state-of-the- art weather center. Mr. Chad Myers has your latest forecast. Jacqui Jeras, also our meteorologist here, has the latest iReports for you.

And our weather producers standing right here next to me in the severe weather center tracking the flood waters every single inch of the way here.

And we want to tell you: no matter where the floods have been, where they are, or where they're going, our CNN correspondents are there in the field, in the water. Our Allan Chernoff is in Oakville, Iowa. He's been out on a boat bringing us brand new pictures of the devastation. Sean Callebs is in Des Moines County, where people are trying to save their communities. And, of course, our Reynolds Wolf is in Quincy, Illinois, and he is there because people are bracing for the worst where he is.

Let's get right to it now. Allan Chernoff, what is going on with you?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: Don, you mentioned earlier, all the effort that has been made by people in Iowa to try to build levees to prevent the water from going through. They tried that here in this community. Look what happened.

You're looking at miles and miles and miles of farmland here. Seven miles down is -- the river grew (AUDIO GAP). These fields were filling up.

Right over there, you see an irrigator, obviously not necessary now. All of this crop land is lost, lost for good. The question, will it recover? Will it recover even by next year?

We're talking about hundreds of farms over here. It's simply devastating for the farmers who put in so much effort and money into trying to grow their crops.


KIRK SIEGLE, FARMER: That's basically like losing your job and not knowing when you're going to get back. And trying to think ahead of what it's going to take to clean up and recover from this also. It's just very disturbing to me.


CHERNOFF: Also disturbing, the homeowners, the farmers live on this land. We spoke to Kirk's father, Richard, who has lived here for 47 years. We were on the boat with him as we passed around his home. The only thing showing, the roof and an American flag still on the flag pole 20 feet high, the water 10 feet deep. He was simply astounding [SIC] and devastated.


RICHARD SIEGLE, FARMER: Don't know where to start. You don't know where to start. It's just -- it just depends what Mother Nature does. When the water goes out, whether they get the levee repaired.


CHERNOFF: And we've got situations like this all over the Midwest. Let's head over now to Sean Callebs to find out more -- Sean.


We're just about ten miles ahead of a town called Burlington, Iowa. If you look here, you can see all of the work that's been done for the past several days. They've been putting sand bags up here, trying to hold the mighty Mississippi back. The river's usually more than 100 yards that way.

And, actually, yesterday the water got to the very top of the sandbags but then was able to recede somewhat when there were levees that were breached across the river on the Illinois side.

What's going on today, we have volunteers who are getting in their ATVs. They're driving up and down this levee. They are checking it to make sure there are not boiling points, meaning water that is seeping through some areas. They've been doing this throughout the day. So far everything's been holding up.

And here's the problem -- if we can come back to this camera -- there's a little bit of water right here. You can see, it's clear, and that's the good news. If it was dirty, they would be concerned it would be eating through the dirt, causing some scouring, and that could lead to some devastation.

And this is what is at stake. If you look out here, just hundreds and hundreds of acres of fertile Iowa farmland. There's the famous Iowa corn, about knee-deep right now.

And here's what happened yesterday. We have some very dramatic aerial pictures from across the river, Gulfport, Illinois. When the levee gave way, just a gaping hole, allowing the river to rush in there, flooding the area.

I'm sorry. Well, you should have -- anyhow, Gulfport is the area that got hammered yesterday.

For more than a generation, generations now, people have tried to control the Mississippi River by building this system of levees, dirt, mounds if you will, between 10 and 20 feet high. That keeps the river from flooding every year. But what does happen, when it gives way, it just causes horrific flooding.

LEMON: Absolutely, Sean, and we're going to...

CALLEBS: ... more interesting. Quincy...

LEMON: Yes, thank you very much for that, Sean. We're going to go now to our Reynolds Wolf, who's in Quincy where the storm is about to hit. Take it away, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, I know one thing we've been seeing all day long, all week long, have been sandbags. If you're wondering where they come from, they come from centers like this one in Quincy, Illinois, where we're with a bunch of younger people -- and when I say younger people, in their teens, early 20s, where, here we are approaching summer. They could be anywhere in the world spending their time. Yet, they're here, trying to help out their fellow man. How cool is that?

I mean, take a look. As far as you can see, you've got all kinds of backhoes moving around. You've got all kinds of men, women, some people from the armed forces. People from not just this community but from all over the country that are coming together for a common purpose. And that purpose is to help their fellow man battle this huge event.

It is amazing to see this. It has been a weather story. Now it's really turning into a story about people. And seeing these people selflessly give their time and do what they can to help others in crisis.

The river still expected to go up here in Quincy a little bit, expected to go up also, further downstream. Thankfully in this town, they're in pretty good shape. The town's built up on a block. But that certainly isn't the situation further downstream.

And that's what's going to happen with these bags. These bags aren't going to stay here. They've been loading these things up on these big bags -- these big trucks you see back here. They're going to load them up and then send them off farther downstream.

Not quite sure where they're going. Each time we fill up one of these bags, there's no idea where exactly it is going to be going, what particular town, but it really doesn't matter. Again, it's all doing what we can do to stop that river from affecting other communities.

It's going to be a busy day. They're going to be doing this the rest of the afternoon, into the evening, as long as it takes. Looks like it's going to be a battle that's going to last at least through the weekend.

Let's give it back to you.

LEMON: Reynolds Wolf. Absolutely. This is the best stuff we've seen all day. And we'd love to talk to those people behind you a little bit later on in the newscast. Reynolds, thank you very much for that.

We're going to turn now to Chad Myers, who's in the severe weather center, tracking the floods minute by minute, inch by inch.

What do you have for us, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, it's interesting. We see these people sandbag every year. It's the Susquehanna. It's the Mississippi. It's the Missouri. But people think, well, why don't you just dump sand on top of that levee? Because it just washes away. It has to be in this bag, and the Army Corps of Engineers have issued 10 million of these bags out there.

So you need to put this in there so it doesn't wash away. And you stack them up just in different little places and different little ways, wide bottom, slower to the top, and then you cover them up, throw some more on top of them, trying to make a mound high enough to catch this water. Water that is obviously right now way too high for some of these levees. Still over two dozen levees not high enough without sandbags on top.

So let's show you what's going on. We'll kind of take you to the river and where the water's coming in and where the water's going. It's obviously heading down towards St. Louis. We'll take you to a couple of cities and we'll kind of fly you in here. From Quincy right through Canton and to Burlington. We have seen places. Here's Burlington. I want to show you the river gauge here on Burlington. It has gone up and it's gone down. It's gone up, and it's gone down.

You're thinking, why wouldn't it just be a big bubble? Well, it would have been then, had that levee across the river not burst. So now the river there is five times as wide as it was. And so the level went down for a while. Now we're going to see that bump back up, but not quite as high as it was.

Farther downstream, we're seeing perturbations (ph) we'll call them. These up and downs, if you will. This is Keokuk, Iowa. And you see another little dip there. That's from the levee upstream there. The blue is what has already happened. The green is what is going to happen.

And a lot of these levees, Don, a lot of these numbers have been coming down a little bit in the overnight hours because of these breaks or these -- or these over-washes. These levees aren't going away. The one did. But the water's just going over the top and down the other side. That relieves a little bit of that bubble for people downstream.

LEMON: Chad Myers on top of it. Thank you very much.

CNN is your severe weather center. We're on top of it for you today, here right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Talking the economy now, issue No. 1. With public outrage rising along with gas prices, the stage is set for a battle over offshore oil drilling.

President Bush today challenged Congress to lift the 27-year-old moratorium on drilling along the U.S. coastline. He also called again for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act. Americans will rightly ask how high oil -- how high gas prices have to rise before the Democratic-controlled Congress will do something about it.


PHILLIPS: Now, Democrats want to keep the offshore drilling ban in place. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says lifting the ban would benefit the oil industry, not consumers. Another Democrat argues that oil companies need to do more drilling in areas where it's already allowed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: Come on, guys. They are not developing what they have now. There's 20 years' supply out there underneath their idle leases that could double our domestic production, and plain and simple, they haven't developed it. And then when they're done with that, then we can have a debate about more leasing in other places.


PHILLIPS: Well, is offshore drilling really worth the effort? Would it really cut oil, gas prices? CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi here with a bit of a fact check.

Good to see you.


PHILLIPS: So what do you think? Is it worth it? And will it really reduce gas prices?

VELSHI: Well, nothing will reduce gas prices immediately. These are longer term projects that will, you know, eventually give us more oil.

But it gets down to brass tacks. With oil at $135 and gas at over $4, what it does, it makes you realize: what do you think the problem is? If you think the problem is that there's more gas and we need -- more oil and we need to find it, then what the president is talking about, like what John McCain is talking about, makes sense.

If you think the problem is we're just using too much. Demand is growing too fast, and we have to curb demand, then you do what Barack Obama is suggesting: not more drilling, pulling back on demand.

And then there's what Congress is doing and the commission that's looking into speculation. Do you think the price is being driven up by speculation?

Now you have to make a choice: who do you believe? The president is saying we need more oil supply, and he's saying we should drill.

PHILLIPS: All right. So bottom line, we don't know if it's going to reduce gas prices or not until we see something go forward. OK, so let me ask you then, if indeed the offshore drilling took place, how long does it take to build those rigs and actually get the oil?

VELSHI: A minimum of probably three years before we see the first oil coming out. There are some rigs in place. But remember, rigs are in demand all over the world. They're massive. We've seen these things. To get them, $650,000 a day is the rate that they charge for these rigs.

So we would see maybe the first oil in three years. The last drilling in ten years. This is not a quick solution at all. PHILLIPS: OK. So reality check, who really wants to take this on? I know Virginia.

VELSHI: Right.

PHILLIPS: The state of Virginia has talked about this.

VELSHI: Right.

PHILLIPS: And now Florida, you've got the governor kind of flip- flopping.

VELSHI: Right. He...

PHILLIPS: What's the deal?

VELSHI: He didn't like it. Now with John McCain saying that he's interested in this, now Governor Crist is talking about it.

Most people probably don't realize that the only oil drilling that goes on offshore in the United States is on the western part of the Gulf of Mexico and in California, to some degree. A very small amount in California.

But there's potentially oil all around the United States. It costs up to about $60 a barrel, by the way, to extract some of it, because some of it's shallow and some of it's deep. So if you've got the oil, it can pay for itself.

But there are a lot of people who are against it. They think it's dangerous. They think that oil spills could occur. It'll hurt wildlife and animal life. Same complaints they had about doing it on land.

So it's a big debate, and it has to be part of a whole portfolio of what are we going to do to reduce our reliance on oil over the next five, 10 to 15 years?

PHILLIPS: Interesting how it's becoming political when you talk about states, Virginia, Florida.

VELSHI: Sure. Absolutely.

PHILLIPS: Because these candidates that are running for president, they want those votes. Right?

VELSHI: If your state all of a sudden gets a lot of money, because you decided to drill for oil, that could help your tax base. In tough economic times, a little extra money coming in from oil production could sound very exciting to people.

PHILLIPS: Ali Velshi, great to see you. Thanks so much.

VELSHI: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: All right -- Don. LEMON: All right, Kyra.

Two more levees breached today, and dozens more are in danger. Make sure you stay with the CNN NEWSROOM for the latest on the Mississippi River floods.

And just two days after his dramatic win at the U.S. Open, a painful announcement from Tiger Woods. You won't believe what it is, and we'll tell you why it happened.


PHILIPS: Overtopping, breaching, leaking, or seeping, Midwest levees are in big trouble. We want to try and get some answers from one of the men in charge. Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp is the U.S. Army chief of engineers and commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sir, thanks for being with us.


PHILLIPS: I just want -- well, we -- definitely, a lot of people looking for answers in the midst of all of this chaos, sir. And I just look at the number of levees that have been breached right now in Illinois, 45 miles south of Gulfport near Myer, and also south of there in the Indian Graves levee district. You've got two breaches there. Then you've got John Jefferson, the sheriff of Hancock County, saying a levee broke in two places.

Is this a failure of the levee system?

VAN ANTWERP: Well, first of all, I'd just like to say my thoughts and prayers and the thoughts and prayers of the Corps of Engineers and the Army are with those families that have lost loved ones, that have lost property and a lot of their way of life. So our thoughts and prayers are with them.

A lot of these levees, there's about 12,000 miles of federal levees in the countries and then countless thousands of miles of what we would call a non-federal levee, a levee that was built for agricultural purposes. They were not built to 100-year protection. Many of them are anywhere from 10- to 50-year protection.

As you look at these levees, a lot of them have served their purpose in that they did -- they did reduce the risk, and they did allow people to evacuate. But this overtopping that we're seeing now is just due to the sheer volume of water that has come into these 14 main river systems in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, and so -- and then Minnesota, too. So actually...

PHILLIPS: So -- so I understand the overtopping of the water, sir, but with regard to the cracks in the system and the breaching, is this a failure of the levee system? You're pointing out that they're old, decades old. So as the population increased, shouldn't something have been done to rework those levees to keep up with the number of people coming into these areas to live?

VAN ANTWERP: Well, a lot of the levees, as you say, were built years ago. What happens when a levee gets overtop for a period of time, then what normally would happen is what we call a breach, and that is a hole in the levee begins to appear because there's scouring and other things.

The questioning about whether you should have put more money into these levees over time, and that, frankly, the infrastructure in the country, as we look at this over the long-term, the bill would be big to make, for instance, 100-year storm protection of every levee. A lot of these are private levees, non-federal levees.

What we're going to do after this is to assess what it is we need to do to rebuild this back and how we can give maximum protection for the dollars that we can put into these systems.

PHILLIPS: Well, sir, here's what's so frustrating. This is what we all experienced during Katrina. It's always after the fact. Well, look what happened, look at the devastation. Now we need to go back. We need to assess, figure out how to fix.

Why is it we see this continued problem? And you're the chief guy here. You're in charge of these waterways. Time and time again, when these floods come through, we're always saying we should have done this, we should have done that.

So how do you move forward and be proactive and prevent these old levees from giving in when storms like this hit?

VAN ANTWERP: Well, I think, first of all, I'd say, for a lot of these levees, you could not prevent this. You -- take Cedar Rapids, for instance. We all saw that on the news.

The storm of record in Cedar Rapids was in 1851. This storm has put water 11 feet over that record flood. So you have massive water coming from these huge water basins, now emptying into the Mississippi River.

So the reality of it is, you probably could not build a system that would have protected against this particular storm.

PHILLIPS: So you're talking act of God and also failure of man here?

VAN ANTWERP: Well, I think act of God to a great extent. And there's been risk. There's always risk when you live behind a levee. Most of these levees are agricultural, and the consequence is that you farm in the floodplain and those, unfortunate, right now with those levees being overtopped, a lot of that floodplain is flooded.

Phillips: And, sir... VAN ANTWERP: Go ahead.

PHILLIP: Final question. There's still dozens of levees at stake here, at risk. What are you doing to try to get to those levees to inspect them or prevent what we're seeing in these other levees that have been either broken or breached?

VAN ANTWERP: Kyra, great question. We have 250 people out with the local folks that are looking at the levees. We have a way of predicting, using the National Weather Service predictions of -- and we know the levee heights, so we're able to go in and say where we think a levee might be overtopped and by how much. If it was a foot, I guarantee those great Americans are out there right now filling sandbags.

We've issued 13 million sandbags out. Enough to stretch from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., end to end. It's -- so there's a lot of hard work going. There'll be some places where it will be much more than a foot, and probably -- and what -- what our warning will do is say those are areas where you must evacuate.

PHILLIPS: And our viewers will be waiting for those warnings. General Robert Van Antwerp. Sir, really appreciate your time today.

VAN ANTWERP: Thank you, Kyra. Great being with you.

LEMON: All right, Kyra. Good job holding his feet to the fire, because people have the same questions, especially if you're living in that area.

We're going to move on now and talk about Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. What's going on down there where cameras aren't allowed? A human rights group claims evidence of prisoner abuse and torture.

PHILLIPS: Five human feet, zero explanations, one grisly mystery on the coast of British Columbia.

LEMON: And two days after what many call his most thrilling victory ever, Tiger Woods says he's done for a year. We'll see how serious a serious injury could affect his career, coming up.


PHILLIPS: It's still above $4 a gallon, but the price of gasoline has fallen for the second day in a row. AAA says the national average for regular is now $4.07 1/2 a gallon. That's down three cents, or three-tenths, rather, of a cent from yesterday.

LEMON: And let's take care of business here, as well. High fuel costs are crippling the airline industry, resulting in cost-cutting measures of all kinds.

Our Stephanie Elam joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange with the latest from the not-so-friendly skies. Stephanie's on the floor today.

Take it away, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, it's one of those cases where you've got to be happy that this is not your fuel bill, because United is saying that this year they could pay about $9.5 billion for jet fuel. And that is about $3.5 billion more than they paid last year, and they're still talking about current prices. So that means this could get worse, as well. So this is a big problem for the airlines here, is the cost of fuel.

Now, of course, they don't pay the same amount that we pay to fill our cars. Right now jet fuel is going for about $3.91 a gallon. But still, experts saying it's probably going to get over $4 at some point, as well.

Now, United saying that they plan to cut 100 of their 460-jet fleet to try to cut back on some of their costs. They're going to trim their flight capacity, cut their workforce a bit.

And they're not alone in this. United is not the only airline that is feeling the pain, Don.

LEMON: Not alone at all. In fact, I think at least two more airlines are joining the cost-cutting party today, Steph?

ELAM: Yes. Just today alone, we're hearing from Northwest, Air Canada, both of those airlines saying that they have to do some maneuvering here to try to save tight and make things work for them. And, you know, American, Continental, Delta, we've already heard from those airlines, working to cut capacity, working to cut jobs here.

Air Canada, they're saying they're going to cut 2,000 jobs and reduce capacity by 7 percent. Northwest will further reduce their capacity by a total of 10 percent of a reduction by October. Layoffs, they're saying, are possible, they're saying, but first they're going to try to shrink their staff by going through voluntary buyouts. They don't really know at this point how many people they plan -- or how many jobs they plan on downsizing.

But for investors, it means a lot of unloading airline stocks today. So pretty much all of them are down. Northwest down about 6 percent. United, the parent company of United Airlines, actually down about 3 percent.

So as you might expect, the stocks in general to the downside here on Wall Street today, including FedEx. And one stock that I have to tell you about, simply because we do see them as an economic bellwether. People are shipping, they're buying. We can see that through all the shipments.

But they're saying that they lost more than $200 million in the last quarter, slammed by those rising fuel prices, same thing in and out.

All right. The Dow off 135 points, 12,024, NASDAQ on the downside, as well. And coming up in the next hour, we're going to take a look at oil prices. They've been dancing above and below the flat line. Right now they're actually on the up side right now by 39 cents. We'll see what's going to happen with them.

Gas prices also down, but we want to see if oil can make it a fourth day in a row to the down. That would actually be -- down is good today, Don.

LEMON: I thought you were going to break into a little dance there when you were doing that. All right.

ELAM: Yes, but that's it. That's it.

LEMON: Dancing Stephanie Elam at the New York Stock Exchange. We appreciate that.

ELAM: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Well, despite miles of sandbags and thousands of people trying to save their homes, the Midwest remains on the brink of a record flooding disaster. We're live in the flood zone and in the CNN severe weather center. Stay with us.


LEMON: Hello, everyone, I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips live in New York. And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And it's just past 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Here's some of the stories we're working on right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

The world's number one golfer out for the rest of the year. Tiger Woods says he's got a major knee injury and a stress fracture in his left leg. He played through the pain to win the U.S. Open on Monday in a dramatic payoff but now he's taking a break.

And President Bush renewing his call for Congress to lift a 27- year ban on the offshore oil drilling. Mr. Bush says that Americans need a break from high gas and oil prices. Congressional Democrats have already rejected the president's request.

And flood waters swamping the Midwest. The government says 20 to 30 more Mississippi River levees could overflow in the coming days. Most of the levees in serious danger protects farmland, not heavily populated areas.

LEMON: Speaking of those flood waters and those levees, our Chad Myers is in the Severe Weather Center. He is tracking the flood waters inch by inch, minute by minute here.

MYERS: Yes, they're coming downstream. They're coming out of Iowa. And the way this '93 flood is different from this flood that we have right here, is that we had flooding in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. Now there is some Indiana and Illinois flooding, but not like we had back in '93 when all of this water tried to rush into this basin all at the same time and tried to rush down the Mississippi River and literally flooded millions of acres here.

But it's still coming up in some areas and already now coming down. Iowa City coming down. Rapid City coming down. Cedar Rapids coming down. That's some of the good news.

Now the bad news is, that water is still getting down to the Gulf of Mexico. It still has a long way to go. It's not even to St. Louis yet. But as we -- the bad news is, as we lose levees, we also lose farmland, but we lower the level of the water because we make a giant river out of what was trying to be a one mile wide river. It may be five, six, seven miles wide before it is.

Let's take a look. Now here's where the graphic that I want to show you is. Here's where all of the water's coming down. The purples and the reds here, those areas are either in moderate red or purple severe floods. And that severe flood is going to run all the way down through Chester and run all the way down even into St. Louis.

But the good news about St. Louis is that we do believe that the levees will hold there, although there is a little bit of concern about this bubbling. And the way the bubbling works is that you have so much pressure on the backside of this levee that you can, in fact, get water to come up from under ground and through the bases of this. And that could be the threat there.

I'm also seeing a little threat today in Florida. That just popped up there for you. There is some strong weather, possibly some severe weather. Some small hail. Maybe an offshore or onshore waterspout coming on shore. We'll watch that for you in southern Florida.

They could use the rainfall, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that, Chad.

And you know we're getting new pictures in all the time. You saw the pictures of the pigs and stuff -- unbelievable stuff.

MYERS: I know. And, you know, pigs get sunburned, too, when they're top of that without shade. It looks pretty sad.

LEMON: Yes. We're getting new pictures in by the minute. And as soon as we get it, we'll bring it right here to the CNN NEWSROOM.

And, you know, our CNN i-Reporters are all over the flood zone. There are documenting the devastation. Their videos and still pictures, as well as their stories, just keep pouring in and pouring in. Let's go now to our Jacqui Jeras. She joins us now from our i- Report desk over there and she's going to tell us what's going on.

These pictures the i-Reporters get, Jacqui, are just amazing. JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They really are. And it's so great. We're so appreciative to them too. I hope you guys all realize that because, you know, we've got our correspondents in Cedar Rapids. We've got them in Des Moines. We've got them in Quincy and other places. But we don't get, you know, a lot of these smaller farm towns.

And here's a perfect example of that. This is from Hole, Illinois, and that's very near Hannibal. We've talked a lot about Hannibal and record flooding anticipated there. Well, Scarlett Meyer has sent us these photos. And the folks in this town have been working frantically to build a 30-foot levee to prevent the waters from really inundating their entire town. Scarlett said she was 15 years old during the floods of 1993 and her town was lost at that time. So they are very determined now to prevent that from happening a second go round.

And the other thing she tells us, and this picture tells that story so well, and also, look at the smiles on these peoples' faces. She says, "love for our little farm town has brought all of us back together again. It's so very moving." So thanks to Scarlett Meyer from Hole, Illinois, right there along the Mississippi River.

Now we've got some other pictures we want to show you. These are coming in from Missouri. This is from La Grange, Missouri. And this comes to us from Pam Thurman. Pam actually lives in Quincy, Illinois. But this town, La Grange, is just to the north of there not very far. This is the casino there. You can see it's called Terribles Casino.

And they've actually been able to stay open the last couple of days. They finally decided to close this thing down, I guess, at midnight last night. And there you can see a different perspective as we go to our next picture of the casino from the other side. You can see all of those flood waters surrounding it.

Now, Pam has sent us an incredible number of i-Reports over the last couple of days and so we wanted to get her perspective. She spent the day I guess yesterday sandbagging.

Pam Thurman, are you with us?


JERAS: Thanks for joining us. Tell us, what's the latest? What's going on in your town?

THURMAN: Oh, what's going on, the latest? In our town, we've had approximately four breaches in the levee here in the last 24 hours. We've had two breaches in the Meyer (ph) levee. And this was approximately 1:00 and 6:00 a.m. this morning. We've had a breach in the Indian Graves (ph) district. And we've had a breach in the levee in the Marion County drainage district in the south Frank (ph) levee area.

JERAS: Now have you been able to get out and get around and see what kind of an impact that's had on people? THURMAN: I have not been out yet this afternoon. I do plan to go out and see what has developed recently. My main focus today is going to be volunteering at that Oakley Lesley (ph) Center filling those sandbags.

JERAS: Yes, we're looking at some of those i-Report photos that you took yesterday from there. Tell us about what it's been like volunteering and the work involved in filling up those bags.

THURMAN: My experience with filling sandbags was a little fierce there originally. I kind of filled the bags three quarters of the way full. But the city crews, they helped me develop the proper strategy in filling the sandbags. But it was a blast down there. Great people, as you could see from some of the photos. Dr. Crystal Perry (ph) was down there. There's a lot of city crews. They are working mandatory overtime. The National Guard has been deployed to our area. They have been a phenomenal help. We really appreciate it.

JERAS: How many people would you say were all involved in this volunteer effort?

THURMAN: Yesterday afternoon, it looked like, to me, at least 500 to 1,000 people throughout the day.

JERAS: All right. And tell me this, one of the quotes that you wrote down on your information from the i-Report was, "we need everybody with a pulse and respiration to come down and fill up those sandbags. Do you still need that there in Quincy?

THURMAN: Yes, we do. We absolutely do. Whether -- even if you're physically challenged, you are able to sit on a milk crate. You can help just hold the bags. Help tie the bag. Somebody else can do all the heavy work.

JERAS: All right. So there's always something for somebody to do to help in that volunteering effort.

THURMAN: Yes there is.

JERAS: Pam, thanks for sending us the pictures and thanks for talking to us today and we wish you and your community the best of luck.

THURMAN: Yes, thank you.


LEMON: All right. Very interesting. At least she has a good attitude about it. A good attitude about it. Thank you very much for that, Jacqui.

We're going to continue our coverage now because we're getting some new video in from Iowa where flood waters are engulfing homes, farms, and crops. It might be their homes, their farms, and their crops, but it's going to affect your wallet. So listen up. Let's go straight now to CNN senior correspondent Allan Chernoff. He joins us now from Oakville, Iowa.

Going to affect our wallets, Allan.

CHERNOFF: Don, have a look at that, and that is the reason that we're going to be paying more at the supermarket, not only for corn and soybean products, and there are so many as you know, but also for livestock, pork, beef. You know why? Have a look right out there.

Let's pan over, if we can. These over here. Those are actually hog barns. Inside those three barns over there, 20,000 hog were evacuated over the past few days before these waters actually came in. Tragically, there are still some pigs trapped out there. Many more dead, floating in the water. It's very sad to see.

We actually were on the water earlier today. We saw three pigs on top of one of those barns. It's just astounding. They were actually still trying to survive on some of the corn that has been floating up to the water. Who knows whether they will actually survive. But there have been farmers going out trying to bring them back in.

Now, it's bad enough to lose your crops, bad enough to lose your home. Consider this as well. The Mississippi River, three miles away, is now shut down for any shipping. That means grain processors are not buying grain. Many of the farmers here were counting on being able to sell last year's harvest right now so they could get some cash to pay off their loans, the money they had borrowed to plant these fields. A horrible financial squeeze here in the Midwest -- Don.

LEMON: Absolutely, Allan. And we haven't seen the end of it yet. We appreciate your reporting -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, five human feet, zero explanations, one grisly mystery on the coast of British Colombia.

LEMON: And two days after what many call his most thrilling victory ever. A lot of people saw it. Tiger Woods says he is done for the year. It's not even half way through the year, is it? We'll see how a serious injury could affect his career.


PHILLIPS: Monday's U.S. Open victory will be Tiger Woods' last win of the season. Why? Well, he just announced today that he plans reconstructive surgery for that torn knee ligament. Woods says that he's had the injury for months, but he hoped that the surgery that he had in April would have allowed him to finish the season.

Woods also reveals that he has a double stress fracture in his left leg. Doctors have told him his long-term prognosis is good with rehabilitation and training. An as you probably know, Woods played through that pain to win the U.S. Open in a pretty dramatic playoff as we watched over the weekend.

LEMON: Kyra, you're a golfer. Are you even that good without an injury? PHILLIPS: You know what, my game is just injured, Don.

LEMON: You need some rehab and some surgery for your game as well. Hey, a lot of us can understand that. Hey, Kyra, we're going to talk to Elizabeth Cohen now just about how serious these injuries are, this injury is. Our medical correspondent here.

So he knew that he was in trouble, obviously, during this. And I don't know if this is true, but doctors warned him that maybe he shouldn't be playing?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, that's what we heard was that doctors told him, maybe you shouldn't be playing, but he played anyway. And this is a tough injury to play on. Doctors say that when people tear their ACL, their anterior cruciate ligament, which is what's happened here to Tiger Woods, they feel it and it pops in their knee and they can tell and it is painful. And we saw that when he was playing, that there was some grimaces of pain. Look at that pivot that he does. You can see the pain and you can tell what kind of stress, when you pivot like that, that it does on the knee.

Now he has already had two surgeries. And the ACL, by the way, we're going to show you a picture of what it looks like. It is the major stabilizing ligament of the knee. There are 200,000 injuries per year to ACLs and about 100,000 people have reconstruction of the ACL.

LEMON: So it's not just for golfers. A lot of people get it.


LEMON: OK. So what's involved in this surgery? Is it just a really intricate surgery? What's involved here?

COHEN: It can be relatively intricate because sometimes what they'll do is they will use a ligament or a tendon from within your body, tissue from within your body, to graft on to the ACL. So here's what the ACL looks like. You see there's sort of two ligaments that are crossing? That longer one is the ACL. And it stabilizes the knee. If it tears, your knee's not stable anymore.

So what they do is they graft tissue from other parts of the body to fix the ligament, or they use tissue from cadavers. There's pros and cons to doing it each way. And sometimes while they're in there, if there are other problems, cartilage issues, they'll clean that up too.

LEMON: Oh, wow. How long's the surgery?

COHEN: The surgery will take anywhere from the very shortest would be about 30 minutes, longest would be about two hours if they have other stuff they need to do while they're in there.

LEMON: Yes, and look at this video. You can see like when he hits this, look at the look on his face.

COHEN: Oh, boy.

LEMON: And it's not for the shot. That's because he's in pain.

COHEN: Oh, yes.

LEMON: Wow, out for the rest of the year, Tiger Woods.

All right. Thank you very much, Elizabeth Cohen.

COHEN: Thanks.

LEMON: Kyra.

PHILLIPS: News developing right now as we're just getting this in to CNN. It's been called the Air Force tanker protest. Who is going to get the deal? A lot of companies wanting to be able to build various types of craft for the Air Force. Jamie McIntyre coming to us now from the Pentagon as he's getting the developments.

Jamie, tell us what's going on within the controversy and how Boeing is, I guess, sort of winning out now on this.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, big win for Boeing today, Kyra. As you know, Boeing was really smarting after the contract -- a $35 billion contract -- to provide the next aerial refueling aircraft went to competitor Northrop Grumman and the European firm AirBus. That was a big shocker back when that decision was made.

Boeing said all along the process was unfair. They protested. The Government Accountability Office took a look at the process.

You know initially analysts said, look, Boeing is just acting like a sore loser here. Northrop Grumman and AirBus won on virtually every account. But the more people looked at this deal, the more people said, hey, wait a minute, Boeing may actually have an argument here and it appears that the FAO has come down on their side ruling that, "the Air Force made a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what was a close competition."

Now this GAO finding is not binding on the Air Force, but it's going to put a lot of pressure on the Air Force to rebid this contract. That means a couple of things. One, Boeing could get all or part of the new contract and, b, it could further delay the critical need for refueling aircraft that the Air Force has that they were hoping to solve with this contract award. Instead of it going full speed ahead and ordering new refueling aircraft, which are essentially gas stations in the sky, they may have to go back and start the process over again. And right now the Air Force has an aging fleet of tanker aircraft that's really starting to get creeky.

So a lot of ramifications of this. Big win for Boeing. But it's not over yet. Boeing, of course, said, if it didn't get this contract, it may have to lay off a lot of people. It would be a big hit for them. So the next shoe to drop will be, we'll have to wait and see what the Air Force says, whether, in fact, they'll go ahead and rebid the contract -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, we'll follow it. Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon. Thanks, Jamie.

LEMON: All right, guys, this is a really grisly story. No other way of putting it. It is a grisly mystery, in fact. On the coast of British Columbia, human feet washing up on the beach, not once, not twice, but five times.


PHILLIPS: A human foot found in a sneaker on the west coast of Canada. Strange enough, but get this, it happened four other times in less than a year. We get the details now from reporter Chris Brown of CBC.


CHRIS BROWN, CBC REPORTER: BC's weirdest maritime mystery got even weirder with the discovery here yesterday of another human foot.

Where was it found? Right there?

This man told us it was floating in a shoe next to this dock. That's now five different feet in less than 11 months washed ashore.

TERRY SMITH, BRITISH COLUMBIA REGIONAL CORONER: Well, it stretches one's imagination. I can certainly tell you that I've never run across something like this.

BROWN: This all started with the discovery of two right feet last August, the first on Jedidiah Island and, six days later, on Gabriola Island. Then in February, another right food in a shoe turned up on Valdez Island. Three weeks ago, a fourth right foot washed ashore on Kirkland Island. And now a fifth on nearby Westham Island. But this last one was a left foot.

One of the strangest things about this case is that there were four right feet, and now that there's a left foot, the question is, will there be a match? Police won't comment. What they will say, though, is that it seems bodies wash ashore in this area more often than you might think.

Earlier this month, three bodies turned up in Richmond. Police say the deaths are not suspicious, but they also apparently haven't helped solve this case. The coroner says his team is trying to match the DNA of missing persons with what was taken from the first four feet, but no luck.

SMITH: We have run into a couple of problems in terms of razing a DNA profile from some of the samples that we've gathered.

BROWN: One clue, police say the feet don't appear to have been intentionally severed or cut.

MIKE LADISLAUS, FOUND 4TH FOOT: She wouldn't leave that running shoe.

BROWN: Mike Ladislaus has a theory of his own. He and his dog, Sophie (ph), found the fourth foot on Kirkland Island and believe the people died somewhere far from the coast and were washed downstream.

LADISLAUS: The only way you can get up that river is by power. A running shoe is not going to float up against a five-and-a-half to six knot current out.

BROWN: There are still far more questions than answers. Are these cases connected? How did the people die? And how many more feet are out there still to be found?

Chris Brown, CBC News, Delta, B.C.


PHILLIPS: So is it organized crime? Boating accidents? The Asian tsunami? Until police can actually match the DNA, we just won't know -- Don.

LEMON: What a weird story.

So what's Fidel Castro been up to? Until this week, he had been out of sight for months. We've got the latest sighting right here from Cuban TV.


LEMON: All right. So we don't see much of Fidel Castro. Not anymore. We certainly don't see much of him. But Cuban TV has aired some new footage. The first look at the ailing revolutionary icon since January. The 81-year-old Castro is talking energetically with his younger brother, Raul, who succeeded him as president, and with his long-time friend and protegee Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. Castro hasn't been seen in public since emergency surgery for an intestinal problem two years ago.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.