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Hurricane Matthew Barreling Towards Florida; Georgia Governor Declares State of Emergency, Orders Tybee Island Evacuation; Hurricane Effecting Key State in Elections: Florida. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 6, 2016 - 11:30   ET



[11:33:19] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Evacuate or this storm could kill you" -- that dire warning from Florida's Governor Rick Scott. He's not kidding. Hurricane Matthew is big, and it's getting stronger, and it's barreling toward the state.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It could make landfall tonight. It is now a powerful category 4 storm.

Marty Kiar is the mayor of Broward County, Florida, and joins us by phone right now. That's where Fort Lauderdale is, for people who don't know that.

Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.

The question we want to know right now, are people listening to you, are they following orders, are they getting out where they need to get out?

MARTY KIAR, MAYOR F BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (voice-over): Well, thank you so much, John and Kate, for the great work that you all do in keeping America informed.

And I can definitely tell you our residents are definitely listening to us. Folks have boarded up their homes, they have put their shutters up. They've basically have cleaned out our grocery stores, buying water and necessities and medication. And we have opened up a number of shelters and folks are going to the shelters. We have also strongly encouraged folks to evacuate the mobile home communities, low-lying areas and coastal communities. They have complied there as well. Folks are taking this very, very seriously. Honestly, our residents have made this much easier for Broward County government and our emergency personnel to do their job.


BOLDUAN: That's great news to hear. We were hearing different stories elsewhere that folks are still saying we have ridden storms out before, we will ride this one out as well.

At this point, a lot of this is as this storm could change and could change quickly, and things will change on the ground very quickly overnight. What's your biggest fear right now, mayor? KIAR: Well, my biggest fear is that the storm could change. Right

now, the storm is supposed to hug the Florida coast and in Broward County, we are not supposed to get the eye of the storm but anything can change. What I like to tell folks is just think of Hurricane Andrew. When Hurricane Andrew hit in the 1990s, it was supposed to hit Broward County, and Broward County was very prepared, but at the last minute, it shifted and hit Miami-Dade County, where they weren't as prepared. So what I worry about is that this storm could shift just a little farther to the west and then the tropical storm and hurricane-force winds would be greater. That would be my biggest concern at this time.

What I am happy about, like I said before, is our residents. We are a county of approximately 1.8 million people and have millions of visitors that come here every single year. Our residents and visitors are taking this very, very seriously and really getting prepared.

[11:35:52] BERMAN: Just to be clear, as we have been saying, this is now a powerful category 4 storm that is gaining in strength as it heads closer and closer to Florida. You just talked about your biggest fear. What's your biggest need at this point, Mr. Mayor?

KIAR: Well, our biggest need is now for all of our residents in Broward County and in south Florida to start getting off the roads and start making sure they go to the shelter, making sure they go home, that they hunker down with their families. Because when people are on the roads, when they are out and about during high wind conditions, that endangers them and also endangers our first responders, who have to go and save them and protect them. So what we are asking our residents to do right now is preparations should be just about done and now it's time to hunker down. And that is the biggest thing we are asking our 1.8 million residents to do and all of the visitors and tourists that are here at this time as well.

BOLDUAN: Mayor, I was reading that already locked down in the county. What does that mean? Can people --

KIAR: Sure.

BOLDUAN: I assume that means people can still get out. What does that mean?

KIAR: That means when bridges are locked down, that just means that large boats cannot go underneath them. They are basically locked in place. So folks can still travel the bridges, but they are locked down for boats to be able to go under. That's what that means. So if folks in our coastal communities, for example, Fort Lauderdale and others, folks can still evacuate those coastal communities by going over the bridges.

BOLDUAN: Got you.

BERMAN: You mentioned so many tourists are in your county right now. I imagine they are confused and just trying to figure out when they are going to be able to get out. This vacation did not go the way they assumed it would. KIAR: There's a lot of uncertainty. We closed down the airport

today, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, at 10:30 a.m. No flights can go in or out. We will open it tomorrow or maybe the next day depending on when the conditions allow.

What we have been doing is we have been reaching out to our hotels and we encourage all our tourists and visitors to call 311 in Broward and when they do that, they are able to find significant information that can help them. Then we also have a website,, and that can also assist them with their travel plans to provide information to them. Because we do understand there are a lot of tourists and visitors who have never been through a storm before.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Unfortunately, not so sunny right now. But still, folks should be checking the website and staying close to it.

Mayor, thank you so much for jumping on the phone. Long night ahead for you, and everyone in Broward County.

KIAR: Thank you. Thank you for the great work that you all do. Have a wonderful day.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. You, too.

We will continue to follow this breaking news. Hurricane Matthew now a very dangerous category 4 storm. That is the latest update.

BERMAN: Live pictures from Nassau in the Bahamas right now. You can see just how devastating the storm is, and it's getting stronger.

BOLDUAN: We heard from the mayor there mentioning Hurricane Andrew, past storms. How does this storm and what we are looking at in terms of the track and the strength compared to previous storms that have wreaked havoc on the area? We will take a look coming up.


[11:43:14] BERMAN: Breaking news, Hurricane Matthew is now a very dangerous category 4 storm and gaining in strength at this moment. There's a warning from the governor there about potentially catastrophic rain, wind, waves and storm surge.

BOLDUAN: We have people fanned out watching this closely as the storm heads towards Florida and the coast.

Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the storm. Boris Sanchez is in Daytona Beach, Florida. Sara Ganim is up the coast in Tybee Island George.

First, let's get to Chad.

Chad, you are watching this moment to moment. What's the latest track? Give us an update.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It just moved over Nassau, the Bahamas, at about 140 mile per hour storm. Although, most of the storm was just to the West of the island. Great news there. Cable Beach got some damage to the south, got some damage, I have see tree fronds down. Haven't noticed anything bigger than that. The eye wall is about to make a run at Florida. The eye wall at 140 miles per hour may skirt the Florida peninsula, the each coast of Florida, for many, many hours, for many hundreds of miles potentially. 145 mile-per-hour storm off the coast. Still making huge waves, lots of lightning, a lot of beach erosion. But here is when it makes its closest approach maybe to Melbourne or up toward the Palm Coast. That's where you still could have 140 mile-per-hour storm.

This is the potential radar. You always talk about computer models. I will just show you one. Here's the coast of Florida. There's the computer model. There's the eye of the potential hurricane coming in. Notice how it is on land, here, Fort Pierce, almost down to West Palm. You think, oh, the eye's not onshore. The eye's not the problem. The eye is where it's calm. It's the outer eye wall that we are worried about, right there onshore, creating damage, taking power lines down everywhere and certainly pushing water onshore. When it pushes water onshore, you get that storm surge, and that could be the salt water flooding that could get people in trouble. As soon as the water comes up into your home, there's no way for anyone to get you. Even the first responders can't get there by boat because the winds are blowing too hard. That's why they want you out of those places.

[11:45:20] Something else I wanted to talk is really what else has hit in this area? What else has hit Florida in a very long time? Obviously, we know about Andrew. Andrew was a much lower pressure storm. We are at 934. This is 922. $26 billion worth of damage as it ran right to the south of Miami and Coral Gables into Homestead. That was a major event. The event continues into Charley in 2004. I was in Tampa waiting for this as it turned right and hit Punta Gorda and knocked down a whole lot there, especially these retirement homes. It was so sad. The retirement communities where someone had saved their whole life for a place near the ocean so they could retire, and then it got knocked down because of the hurricane or because of a flood with no insurance. Then they had to rebuild. How do you rebuild when you're 80 years old? How do you make enough money to buy a new place? That's was a devastating storm for me. Then I was at Frances. I went to Melbourne. It went to Fort Pierce. $8.5 million in damage. Then Jean, I was there again. $7.66 billion in damage. Half of that damage seemed like the storm before it, Jean, Francis, they had torn it all up already. Boards were flying because they were already loose. One storm right after another certainly a devastating event.

BERMAN: Chad Myers, thanks so much for that and the forecast.

I want to go to CNN's Boris Sanchez in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Daytona Beach, that area where Chad just mentioned this storm may be making something of a hit -- Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Just to paint a picture of what we're seeing right now, the beach behind me, the tide continues to creep higher and higher. The line where it is right now is actually where we were standing when we spoke to you yesterday and the waves continue getting stronger. We were hit with a gust of pounding rain just about an hour ago that forced us to run inside.

We are not the only people still here, believe it or not. There are still families that are out here deciding whether or not they are going to stay here to weather the storm. They are from Indianapolis. They were visiting Daytona. Not expecting to deal with this kind of weather. Right now, they told me they are kind of between staying and going. We have alerted them that they should probably leave. As Florida Governor Rick Scott has said numerous times, this storm will likely cause fatalities.

We were actually evacuated from our hotel. And you can see behind us, it's actually boarded up already. There are sandbags outside. And this is just one of dozens of hotels along this strip in Daytona. We have seen businesses that are boarded up as well. So obviously, preparations are under way.

But there's always that risk for people who stay behind. It is something that, again, the governor has made very, very clear. If you are indecisive about leaving or staying, you should absolutely leave and do it as soon as possible so that, once conditions worsen, you are not in the way of the storm. As you heard from Chad, we have also heard from the police chief come

to se you in hurricane conditions. So if you decide to stay, you are really putting yourself at risk for at least a night, potentially several days of being helpless and on your own -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: I remember earlier this morning, the mayor of Daytona Beach said this is the most serious threat this community has ever faced. The police chief said the bridges are all going to shut down. They are all going to close at 6:00 p.m. tonight so you have to get out before it gets worse, or you don't have a shot.

Boris, thank you so much.

Boris will be there for us.

Let's go to Georgia right now. Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in counties near the Atlantic coast and ordered mandatory evacuations for Tybee Island east of Savannah.

That's where CNN's Sara Ganim is, live on Tybee Island.

Sara, what are you seeing there?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, moments ago, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal extending that mandatory evacuation to six coastal counties in Georgia east of Interstate 95.

Here in Tybee Island, 18 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, about 3,000 residents were told yesterday they need to get off this island. And let me show you why. This is a post that represents a rough estimate of what the storm surge could look like in a category 2, 3, 4 or 5 hurricane storm. Look at this. I'm 5'7". I don't even -- I'm not even as tall as the category 2 surge estimate. This could be 11 to 15 feet of surge. And you can see that these buildings aren't built that much higher than this post. There's really just about a few feet, these buildings lie only a few feet a sea level here on Tybee Island.

We have been talking to residents here. Some have left, a lot have left, but some have stayed. I talked to one woman who owns a B&B, a bed and breakfast here, and she was so concerned about the elderly residents, the people without cars, that she stocked up. And has not yet evacuated.

[11:50:14] Now, county officials have brought in these buses, trying to get people to get off the island of they don't have any other means to get off, if they don't have a place to go. But we haven't seen that many people actually get on those buses. The mayor really encouraging people, today is the last day. You go to get off.

I'll tell you this. We are going to heed that warning. After this hit with you guys, we're getting off of Tybee Island as well. We're going to head west. We were evacuated from our hotel as well. So people who live here, in the coastal cities here in Georgia, need to listen to those officials, just as we are -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. That coast behind you is terrifying, in what it shows, and the storm surge as South Carolina and Tybee Island get hit.

Thank you, Sara.

BERMAN: Yeah, get going, Sara.

We'll have much more on this fast-moving and deadly storm coming up, including the latest forecast, the latest track. This category 4 storm only getting stronger.

We'll be right back.


BOLDUAN: Breaking news. A live look right now of Miami, Florida. Just look at how the weather has changed since this morning. It's already starting to feel the first effects, first real whipping through there of Hurricane Matthew.

BERMAN: By the way, Miami's not even going to get hit hard. It's further north. This is the area that will dodge most of it. It's going to be so much worse. A powerful category 4 storm only getting stronger.

This all happening right in the middle of a presidential election in key states to this presidential election.

So let's talk about that. We're joined by CNN political analyst, Kirstin Powers, who used to work for the Clinton administration, also writes for "USA Today." Also with us, CNN political analyst, Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast."

You know, Kirstin, this is serious. Already Obama had to cancel an appearance in Florida for Hillary Clinton to register voters. The registration deadline is next week. This is already having an effect on this race. KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, though I don't think we

can probably -- I think this kind of situation, unless something went terribly wrong in the way the president responded to it, for example, would probably have any impact on the race. President has very high approval ratings that just came out and he's about 55 percent and that obviously, I think, bodes well for Hillary Clinton. So barring something, you know, some sort of bad response to this, I don't see it having an effect on the race necessarily.

BOLDUAN: But this late in the race, Jackie, now -- I mean, what happens on the campaign trail for the next few days before the debate is -- could the race be just kind of frozen until Sunday when they take to the stage?

[11:55:19] JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, because this is happening right before a debate, you imagine they're going to go kind of underground on, you know, and be focused on the debate. But, you know, we'll have to see. I mean, I think what's going to be interesting is if Florida is hit in the way that we think it's going to be, the talk about, you know, an emergency supplemental, something like that, funding that Florida may need going down the line, I think that -- and there's a -- because of the nature of how Congress is now, there could be fight over that. But, you know, that's projecting way far down the line at that point.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: So that debate is happening Sunday night in St. Louis. Anderson Cooper, one of the moderators there.

There's been speculation, will Donald Trump bring up Bill Clinton's past. Well, he told page six of all places, "The New York Post," the gossip page, "I want to win this on my policies in the future, not Bill Clinton's past." So, Kirsten, does that settle it?

POWERS: We hope so. It's interesting, too, in that call, described as him taking the high road. Now this is the high road to not attack your candidate's spouse's sexual life. That's an interesting place we've gotten in the campaign. It interesting that even Kellyanne Conway has said he hasn't gotten enough credit for the fact he's not attacking Hillary Clinton's husband's sexual life. So, you know, I think that I would -- I actually don't think we know for sure whether he'll bring it up or not. I think he's saying he's not going to bring it up. To the -- flip of the switch and he can change his mind if he gets mad enough.

BOLDUAN: Jackie, he's getting a practice run, if you will, tonight in New Hampshire, doing kind of a scrimmage of a town hall event there. Town halls are different. When you're getting questions and you've got people, voters, right there in front of you, it might feel a little more uncomfortable to bring up Bill Clinton's past in a situation like that.

KUCINICH: Yeah, very true. But the one thing that's going to be missing for Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton and that's who's really been able to provoke him and cause him to go off the rails at the last debate. It's a very big part of the piece of this town hall that he'll be missing.

But the thing is, the thing is that's going to be tough for him. He's got to stay on topic. When these voters ask him a question, they're going to actually want an answer. And so if he looks like he's one of these, you know, everyday people, it might look a little worse than if he does it, say, on a talk show.

BOLDUAN: Guys, great to see you. Thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: We're going to end with this. Keeping an eye on this image. These are live looks we're going to show you right now of Miami, Florida, just already starting to feel the major -- start feeling the first effects of this powerful and very dangerous category 4 storm. Hurricane Matthew, heading towards the United States.

We're going to continue our coverage after this.