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Aftermath of the Hurricane; Another al Qaeda Leader Killed; Animals and Earhquakes

Aired August 29, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our thoughts and prayers are with those who`ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz. Our top story is what you just heard President Obama talking about, a big Atlantic storm called Irene.

This thing ripped its way up the U.S. east coast over the weekend. More than a dozen people were killed, millions lost power. When Irene made its first landfall on Saturday, it was a hurricane. By yesterday, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

We want to give you a sense of how the story developed. So we`re going to look back at some of the reports that came in as Irene churned up the U.S. east coast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you`re looking at here is houses that are about underwater in places. And this is the Bogue Sound. You can see that. You`re looking out, right now, at the Bogue Sound that has come inland here. And there goes the camera. You can feel the wind and the rain. And we have waves literally racing inland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pretty much escaped off of Maycol (ph) Road. There`s a tree down. And we hit Parron (ph), and it was trees down, the wiring, everything`s down. We literally got stuck and escaped here. And now we`re at Calvert (ph) High.

PHILADELPHIA MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: This is the first time a state of emergency has been declared in the city since 1986.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got about a hundred trees in various parts of the city down, and live wires down. So we, obviously, never go near a live -- any wire. It could be live and literally could kill you.

NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: We`ve had the wettest August in New Jersey history, before Hurricane Irene. And so the problem is that we have saturated ground. We have -- we have swelled rivers.

And with the winds that we`ve had, we also have a lot of trees taking down power lines. So with a half a million people and growing without power, and with more flooding to happen on Monday and Tuesday, as these rivers crest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Irene is still a hurricane, although you would describe as a minimal hurricane, let me tell you something, I`ve been in a lot of minimal hurricanes. It`s still a hurricane. We are taking damage on this boardwalk right now, as water continues to flow in.


AZUZ: So what do we know? What don`t we know? We know that Irene caused serious flooding. That seems to be one of the biggest concerns that officials have. We know that President Obama declared states of emergency for many of the states that were affected. That`ll speed up the flow of federal money for recovery efforts.

We know some people were relieved that Irene wasn`t as bad as they`d worried it might be, but we also know that on Sunday authorities were warning that Irene was still a large and potentially dangerous storm. What we don`t know is exactly how expensive Irene will turn out to be.

Some estimates said this storm might have caused more than a billion dollars in property damage. But that`s just an estimate. That could change. And it doesn`t necessarily include the impact on coastal tourism and the airline industry. Thousands of flights were canceled because of Irene.

CNN iReporters captured the storm themselves. Here are a few examples of what Irene looked like through their eyes.


WILLIAM GASKINS, CNN iREPORTER: We`re on the creek side of Pawleys Island, and as you can see, there is an incredibly high tide and a very fast-moving current.

TRAVIS CAMPBELL, CNN iREPORTER: There went the roof of something.

GREGG NIGRO, CNN iREPORTER: You can see it down here, the current looks down (ph). (Inaudible) like the ocean out here.

GEORGE NIKOLIS, CNN iREPORTER: Wow. We are definitely (inaudible).



AZUZ: Incredible pictures. You can find out more on the Spotlight section on our home page, There`s a gallery of photos that tell the story, like this one over my shoulder from New Jersey. Construction equipment came to rescue of some residents affected by flooding.

In Maryland, you see one of the many trees that were ripped out of the ground by Irene`s winds.

And, finally, a car making its way through a flooded street in Brooklyn, New York.

Check out all these images at And while you`re there, you can check out ways to help the people who were affected by Irene. Relief organizations are up and running, getting aid to the victims of this storm. Find out how you can get involved by clicking the "Impact Your World" link on our home page.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the Facts: hurricanes develop in three stages. First is a tropical depression, then a tropical storm and, finally, a hurricane. These storms are rated by their intensity, using the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The most important factor in rating a hurricane is wind speed. A Category 1 has maximum winds between 74 and 95 miles per hour. A Category 5 hurricane has winds greater than 155 miles per hour.


AZUZ: This is a grim anniversary of another storm. Six years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the U.S. as a Category 3 hurricane. It was downgraded to a tropical storm by later that night, but it left an unforgettable impact on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Katrina is the single-most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history. Across seven states, more than 1,700 people were killed, and it wasn`t just the storm. Several lake and river levees, barriers that are designed to prevent flooding, broke. Eighty percent of New Orleans ended up underwater.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The highlighted country on this map is Pakistan.

Legit. Pakistan is about twice the size of California, and home to more than 187 million people.


AZUZ: Another member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network has been killed in Pakistan. You might remember that Al Qaeda`s leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed there in May.

The latest is that this man, Atiyah Abdul Rahman, died in a rural part of Pakistan. Reports say he was targeted by a drone, an unmanned aircraft. Rahman was second in command at Al Qaeda. A former terrorist who knew Rahman says he was like Al Qaeda`s CEO, and would be tough to replace.

Another story we`ve been following, Libya`s civil war: the rebels who are fighting their country`s government say they made more progress over the weekend, taking over several important areas of Libya.

But one big question that remains Sunday night, where is Libya leader Moammar Gadhafi? The man who controlled Libya for 42 years hadn`t been found, though he`s sent radio messages, telling his supporters to fight on.

We have one more story for you before we go today. It`s about last week`s earthquake in Virginia. This thing was felt all over the eastern United States, and a lot of people were surprised when it hit, but not everybody.

Lisa Fletcher of affiliate WJLA says there were some warning signs. You just had to know where to look.

LISA FLETCHER, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): These gorillas were among many animals at the National Zoo to actually sense that something big was about to happen.

DR. DON MOORE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, THE NATIONAL ZOO: I`m no longer surprised by animal abilities because I know that they have better sensory capabilities than we do.

FLETCHER (voice-over): Dr. Moore says as soon as the shaking stopped keepers from all over the zoo began reporting strange animal behaviors that happened right before the quake. The great apes raced high into their lookouts, and Moore says flamingos gathered into a big pink ball known as a defensive flock.

Perhaps most impressive, the lemurs, who called out and clamored a full 15 minutes prior to the quake.

MOORE: There were all of these behaviors, were atypical, given the behaviors that we observe in these animals at this time of day every single day.

FLETCHER (voice-over): Snakes that would normally be sleeping were writhing about their enclosures, and orangutans bellowed, surprising their keepers.

KC BRAESCH, NATIONAL ZOO: We thought it was strange. We stopped what we were doing and we watched her, and then we knew what was going on once we felt the shaking.

FLETCHER (voice-over): Elephants can hear sound at lower frequencies than we can, and pick up vibrations through their sensitive foot pads, nearly every animal here likely more attuned than we are to our surroundings.

MOORE: Whether they`re hero animals that can go and save people, or some other kind of hero animal that might be able to warn us of a heart attack or an earthquake or something like that, they have extrasensory abilities. And it fascinates us.


AZUZ: Fascinating indeed. Probably need some serious research, but in the scientific community, a sixth sense for sniffing out earthquakes could really shake things up.

Thanks for spending part of your day with us. I`m Carl Azuz.