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Deadly Hurricane Closing in on U.S. Coast; Florida Governor Rick Scott Gives Update on Deadly Hurricane; Trump Holding Town Hall As a Dry Run for Next Debate; Hurricane Andrew Packing Winds of 140 MPH, Nearing Florida. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 6, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Hurricane Matthew. Officials warning this is a storm of catastrophic proportions. It is a monster. A category four right now threatening to wreak havoc across Florida and the Eastern sea board. At least 26 million Americans in its path. It is a deadly storm. Winds at this moment 140 miles and higher per hour. Officials warning there will be tornados. The death toll already 113 from this storm as it approaches the United States.

Two million people told to evacuate. You are looking right now at live pictures. These pictures are coming out of Tallahassee. Of course, the capital of Florida. Governor Rick Scott about to hold a press conference there. We're going to be listening to that. Because the Governor has not been mincing words talking about this catastrophic storm. He issued this grim warning earlier today.


GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: There are no excuses. You need to leave. Evacuate. Evacuate. Evacuate. This storm will kill you. Time is running out. We don't have that much time left.


BURNETT: He told people to get out and try to save your life. Matthew is just hours away from land fall. This hurricane right now is only about 80 miles away from West Palm Beach.

Our reporters are in position across the state of Florida tonight as we await that land fall. Jennifer Gray begins our coverage. She is OUTFRONT in Melbourne, Florida. And Jennifer, what are the conditions right now? Obviously you can see the surf already starting to rise behind you.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We're already starting to see the water rise. We are right along the Indian River and you can see it splashing over the wall behind me. Earlier today wasn't doing that at all that. And then when we get one of those rains band in it really gets thrown up pretty high. We're expecting to see storm surge where we are six to 11 feet. So it's going to be over my head. And if you look out across the Indian River, you can see the barrier island of Melbourne Beach.

That is the area that is a huge concern because it is at Barrier Island and storm surge is expected to get so high they have urged people to evacuate. So hopefully the people on the Barrier Island at Melbourne Beach have evacuated. Emergency personnel have no idea how many people actually took that advice. Because they won't know until unfortunately emergency call start coming in during the overnight hours and they can't get to them. It's too late at that point.

Conditions will continue to deteriorate as the sun goes down. And then by the wee hours of tomorrow night -- wee hours of tomorrow morning rather that is when we are going to be in the brunt of it. We have 140 miles per hour winds that are headed our way right around that eye wall. And so this is a dangerous, dangerous situation and with it running up the coast we could see miles and miles of destruction -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. A storm sort of going along the East Coast for this long, perhaps the first time in history.

Let's go to Nick Valencia who is OUTFRONT in West Palm Beach. Nick, this where you are really could end up being ground zero for the storm according to the current track.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Erin, this is what the start of a hurricane looks like. We've been out here since very early this morning and the storm has not really been as intense as it has been in the last 30 minutes. You check out some of the debris that has already been ripped off some of this palm threes. Of course it is debris like this that is a huge concern for officials. It may not seem like much right now just laying there. But whipping around at 70,80,90 miles per hour, it can be really, really dangerous.

It was about at 1:00 p.m. that we got a hurricane alert saying that the Hurricane Matthew was well in its way here. That it was approaching. The weather did take a brief turn. There was intense rain, intense wind. That ebbed and flowed throughout the afternoon and it really it's just been the last 30 minutes that things have gotten significantly bad. I just spoke to the mayor of West Palm Beach. Just check out this wind gust right here. Check out this palm trees.

The mayor of West Palm Beach Erin, tells me that there are scattered power outages currently in the county, she says that wind gusts are sustained about 35 miles per hour. She wanted to stress to the viewers saying it is really important. They hope that you evacuated. We hope that you got out of here. You heard what Governor Scott had to say. He didn't mince words this morning. That really ends up being (AUDIO GAP) for the first responders when they go in inevitably, to go have to pick up people that were left behind, they not only put their lives in jeopardy. But you know, the people that are staying behind put their lives in jeopardy but also the first responders. We'll be keeping an eye on this as it intensifies it has already picked up here just in the last 30 seconds as you could tell -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Absolutely. We can see that starting to take hits on his shot, as you can see when that shot went down where Nick was. You know, look, they are saying the severity of this could be such that some areas become uninhabitable for months. I mean, that is just something to think about for just a moment. Uninhabitable for months.

I want to go now to Tom Sawyer, our meteorologist in the Weather Center. And Tom, Governor Scott saying the storm will kill you. Get out while you still can.


BURNETT: Urging people to evacuate. As you look at the path of this storm, what do you see?

[19:05:02] SATER: Well, I'll tell you. Where do we begin Erin? After a humanitarian crisis in Haiti. And death toll still rising. Contaminated water, no power, no communication. Thirty five homes on the coast of Cuba washed away. And these are not homes made up with -- roofs, there were well-built homes with concrete. Washed out to sea. But they evacuated. Now the Bahama Island chain may be looking at the strongest storm --

BURNETT: We're going to come back to you, Tom in just a couple of moments.


BURNETT: I just want to interrupt you because the governor of Florida Rick Scott is now speaking. Let's listen to Governor Scott.

SCOTT: We have individuals up here with me from Fish and Wildlife. Of course Brian Kuhn (ph) who is responsible for state -- a highway safety, the National Guard, we've got General Turner who is responsible for five states for the Army Corps of engineers. We've got law enforcements. We've got (INAUDIBLE) and of course we've got National Guard. And we have Jim Boxlo who's making sure that we continue to have our evacuation routes open and moving. Some are not moving as fast as some of the others but they are all moving.

I've spoken to all 67 counties, as part of our 5:15 call. The state along with all the Florida counties are focused solely on life safety. We want everybody to survive this horrible storm. It's the most important thing we can do. I just think about my own family. Counties that aren't in the storm's path are standing ready to help those impacted. I've talked to sheriffs. I've told sheriff, utility company, and county emergency management officials to call me if they need anything. I've given my cell phone. Call me 24 hours a day.

The goal is to solve any problem as quickly as we can solve it. We're focused on protecting life and the state stands ready to help any community that needs helps. I spent the past four days traveling the East Coast, urging people to prepare and get ready for Hurricane Matthew. It is here. It's absolutely here. It sounds very far off the coast of Palm Beach. We are already starting to see the impacts. And it is a monster. Again, our number one priority is protecting every life in this state. I think about my grandchildren, my daughters, my son-in-law. My wife.

I want everybody to survive this. We can rebuild homes. We can rebuild businesses, I just think of my own family. We can't rebuild a life. If you're in South and Central Florida, the storm is making its way in tonight. Please stay safe, keep listening for alerts. There may be tornados that come and your radio and cell phone will give important messages. If you're in Brevard County or North of Brevard County, in an evacuation zone, you still have time to leave. Get out. There is no reason to take a chance. It just doesn't make any sense.

At 5:00 p.m., Hurricane Matthew was located 100 miles East/Southeast of West Palm Beach with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles an hour. Stop and think about that. Hundred and forty miles an hour. It remains a cat four. Seems like fluctuating intensity or likely what the hurricane moves towards the coast of Florida. But Matthew is likely to produce devastating impacts from storm surge, extreme winds, and heavy rains along portions of the east coast tonight. This storm is a monster.

Again, protecting life is our number one priority. In fact, Hurricane Matthew are as follows. Heavy rain up to 12 inches along the East Coast. And just remember, in storms like this, you will get a band and get more. And when you get those band, you will get immediate flooding. Strong rip currents, beach erosion. The risk of tornados. Hurricane-forced winds. Hurricane-forced winds. Just remember that. Hurricane-forced winds. Storm surge. Think about this. Eleven feet possible of storm surge. You're standing on the ground. Eleven feet. Stop and think about that. Eleven feet of storm surge. And on top of that, waves. So in your house, if you are close, you could have the storm surge and waves over your roof. Storm surge will also go along the St. John and St. Mary --

BURNETT: You're listening to Governor Rick Scott there of Florida talking about just the scale of this storm, referring to it as a monster saying people are going to die if they don't get out. You can't rebuild a life and there is no reason to take a chance. Talking about the fact that you are going to have waves of tens and tens of feet on top of an 11 foot storm surge.

I want to go now back to Tom Sater in our weather center. Tom, what is the track right now? And when we talk about for northern parts of Florida that this could be the worst storm in more than a century. What does that mean?

SATER: Well, I'll tell you, we just received a haunting statement really out of Jacksonville's national weather service. They have said that this is unlike anything they have seen in modern times. That the last storm to affect Jacksonville like this was in October 1898. But there is no one alive in that 118 year span that can give us any modern memory. What they are trying to tell us as well is that they may have a surge much like that of super storm Sandy in New Jersey. Hunting statement.

[19:10:15] Right now the Grand Bahama Island is getting hit with the storms that they haven't seen anything like this since 1935. And these storms rage through the Bahama Islands all the time. Freeport is getting hit so hard right now the 47,000 that live there are most likely without communication, without power, maybe without water. Same thing happen in Nassau. All the largest city of 245,000. Now it is within 80 miles let's say of West Palm. The track again pushes it very close if not on land. Now, a land falls at the eye at least half over land. Take a look at what we have here, at Fort Pierce.

Melbourne has a high tied at midnight. Worst possible outcome for this. West Palm is going to have hurricane force winds but on the backside it should not have the storm surge. Everyone from the eye northward is going to have hour after hour of a pounding surge, heavy bands of rain and hurricane force winds that will extend from the coast inland 60 miles. That's well past I-95. If you look a little bit further north, here is where Jacksonville. We have never in the history of our tropical season in the Atlantic ever have a major hurricane makes land fall north of Daytona.

I mean, that goes back to 1850. What we're looking at now though is if the system stays over water, Erin, it is going to continue to fuel the storm. It means water, that is its gasoline. If it moves inland it could, yes, create a wild impact. Catastrophic area but only for six or eight hours. But because it is staying over water, this is going to be a 24 to 36 hour event where it is not just the beach homes that get affected. It is several blocks in.

Flooding with the storm surge and heavy amounts of rain and then the winds are going to create all kinds of damage. Little concern about the coastline from George of South Carolina. Because 20 to 40 foot high waves with the system will crash and create higher amounts of rainfall in greater surge. The population, you can see it from Miami to Jacksonville. You can imagine 40 foot high waves. So, there are so many aspects Erin with the winds, the surge and of course the flooding rains that are enough that are going to be a problem. That this is going to be something that is going to go down in the history books. I hope everyone got out of the way.

BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much. We're going to be checking back in with you of course as this storm right now is approaching, going to be striking land in just a few hours here. Talking about 40 foot waves and you're talking about that states and states north.

OUTFRONT now, the mayor of West Palm Beach Jeri Muoio. And Mayor Muoio, thank you very much for your time. I don't know how much you just heard of Tom. But talking about this being the worst storm since 1898. We're talking about more than a century. Unlike anything in modern times they are now saying from the weather center. You are right in the center of this. How bad do you expect this to be?

MAYOR JERI MUOIO, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA (on the phone): Well, it is definitely scary. You know, we are prepared for it to be the worst. We are certain that we'll be getting hurricane-forced winds. As Tom said (INAUDIBLE) places north of us will be getting but, you know, we are just doing our best to get ready for this.

BURNETT: So, I want to ask you about the evacuations. You know, obviously Governor Scott has said, this storm is going to kill people. It's a monster and get out because you need to live. And he is not mincing words.

MUOIO: All right.

BURNETT: Part of your city are in the evacuation zone. We have told people to get out.


BURNETT: But you have said more people are staying than leaving, what is going on? What can you say to them in these last few hours they have?

MUOIO: Well, at this point we are actually saying to them to stay where you are. Don't go out now. You're going to have to shelter in place. Hunker down. They could have gotten out earlier today. Many of the shelters are filled. We have 6700 people in the county who are in shelters. And, you know, it is going to be very difficult for us should they have a problem and need emergency services. Once the wind is blowing our emergency crews will not go out and it might take a very long while for us to get to them. So we urge them all day and all afternoon to go to the shelters, go to our friend's house, go to our relative's house. Just get out of that evacuation area. Some people did but not everyone.

BURNETT: And I know you've talked about, you know, a lot of people now in your downtown, younger people who perhaps don't have the perspective to know that they needed to leave and obviously the worst thing that could happen is in trying to save someone that in an emergency, someone from the emergency services could lose their life. That is a horrible thing. To the people that are riding this out, what do you say to them now?

MUOIO: Well, they need to find a safe room, as the Governor suggested. A room in their house where there are no windows, that, you know, should we get high gusts and windows break in that would be in a place that would be safe. And if they have shutters, please put them on. If you haven't already, put your shatters on. But be careful because it is getting rainy and windy. So, that is -- they need to stay safe.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Muoio. Thank you very much. We wish you luck and that everyone in West Palm Beach is safe.

MUOIO: Thank you.

[19:15:32] BURNETT: Thank you for talking to us tonight. And next, we continue to follow this major breaking news. Hurricane Matthew now a storm, the biggest storm in modern history about to slam the United States. The strongest to strike Northern Florida in more than a hundred years. Most desperately trying to get as far from Matthew as possible. But there is one man right in the thick of it who knows about these kinds of storms going to be my guest, next


[19:19:28] BURNETT: We're following breaking news on Hurricane Matthew. Massive category four storm barreling towards Florida, going to strike in hours. Winds 140 miles an hour. Tens of millions in the storm's path just tonight and then it will move up the coast. The Florida governor warning that the storm will kill you. Those are his words. The National Weather Service warning the storm could make some areas uninhabitable for months. Already more than 23,000 people are without power across the state of Florida and that number is going to surge and they could have no power for a long time.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT from Daytona Beach, Florida. That area is not a direct hit from a hurricane for four decades and now you're looking at a possible, the greatest storm in modern history. Sara, the mayor just said this is the most serious threat in the city's history. What are conditions like where you are right now as it approaches?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is raining for the first time and raining steadily. Not hard but it is also blowing. The wind has been strong. It is getting stronger and stronger and stronger each half hour. We can also tell you we spoke with the police chief. We went for a ride with him up and down the main strip here. And he said to me, look. We're going to have every single one of our officers, they are going to be on duty starting at 6:00 p.m. We are going to close the bridges so if you are not off by 6:00 p.m., you cannot come back onto the beach.

But he also said, look, in the middle of the storm, if you decide to stay, if you make that mistake they will not be able to save you. He's not going to put his officers in the path of danger and potentially have them killed trying to get someone who has been warned to get out. Very stern words from Police Chief Mike Chitwood. I can also tell you this. This is the boardwalk. It's usually a fun place to be. You can see the wind, you can see the trees starting to whip around a bit. These are all the hotels where the tourists like to come.

There are very few, if any, tourists left. The boardwalk is boarded up. As you go down towards some of the businesses there. A lot of people have heeded the warning and they have evacuated. But there are those who are staying. They said they are not going the leave their businesses and homes and they are going to try to hunker down. But this is an extremely dangerous storm. And even I after speaking and said, you know what, you may want to re-think that. We've heard it from the police chief, we have heard it from the governor and many, many more and the mayor.

This is a dangerous storm. And we can start feeling it now. You are seeing some of this rain and hearing some of that winds come in. And the waves are getting very, very high. They are expecting these waves, if this storm comes as close as they think it is, to Daytona Beach, to be about 20 feet high -- Erin.

BURNETT: That is pretty incredible. As the Governor said, just stop and think about that for a moment. Twenty to 40 foot waves. Eleven foot surge. As he said the worst storm in more than a century possibly.

Let's right now bring in Jeff Piotrowski, he's a storm chaser, we're looking right now at live pictures from his dash cam in his car. He's in Jensen Beach, Florida. So, Jeff, you know about these storms. You chase these storms. This is what you do. What are conditions like right now as you are driving around? And I'll make the point here that obviously we don't see anyone else on the road right now. Looks like a lot of people have gotten out.

JEFF PIOTROWSKI, STORM CHASER (on the phone): No, it's just -- the only people on the road over here is me and the law enforcement. And they are out in full force. A number of county sheriffs as well. Highway patrol is here in full force on the outer Barrier Island. There is a few elderly people staying in some mobile homes out here in Jensen Beach. Very concerned about those people. Been contact with them -- a day this afternoon. But I'll tell you. We're having some light damage. Some telephone polls. You know, some tree limbs that kind of stuff off the big trees out here.

And that's about the extent right now. But the hurricane forced-winds are only 20 miles off the coast from my location to the Northeast of Palm Beach and then also, just to the east of Jensen Beach here. We've got hurricane forced-winds. And then you go up to winds up to 130 miles an hour. And now only 70 miles to the Southeast of Jensen Beach. And by the way, Freeport Grand Bahama, they were in the northeast eye wall for about the last four hours and they have taken a major hit.

The damage will be extensive and possibly catastrophic at Freeport. So, the eye wall is passing them now and on its way to the northwest towards the coastline here. The winds will continue to increase especially as we get towards the 9:00 all the way to about noon tomorrow along the coastline here. And especially towards Thomasville and that area of the Cape is where we expect the potentially most damage.

BURNETT: And Jeff, when you hear the Governor saying, you are talking about death. People need to get out because the storm will kill you. Those were his words. You look at a storm like Katrina which obviously hit has a category three. Moving much more slowly but of course had significant water damage. You know, nearly 2,000 people lost their lives in that storm. The Governor is very serious when he says this. We are now talking about a stronger storm. Perhaps the worst to hit parts of Florida in more than a century. On the ground, what does that mean when people hear that?

PIOTROWSKI: Well, I think, you know -- problems in hurricanes is that people (INAUDIBLE) -- I survived Katrina or I survived, you know, in fact (INAUDIBLE) in coast Florida, we have Charlie, Francis, Gene, Ivan. And people try to relate. Yes, it didn't have pretty much damage, at that time where the water wasn't very high. That's totally different then. Well, its hurricane has totally different, what the storm surge is going to do, as well as the wind damage is going to do. They had a different angle of approach and also the speed of the movement as well as intensity.

[19:24:55] So just because you survived in the past, just because your house wasn't damaged in the past or the storm surge didn't have damage your location doesn't mean you won't have damage when this comes ashore. But I will tell you, looking at live Doppler Radar and its absolute data in the hurricane -- all afternoon and evening in the eye, I will tell you, when this eye, this eye comes ashore there will be catastrophic damage in the Western eye wall, if it comes up towards Melbourne and stays off the coast, that is something that is a very close call, then the damage will be a lot less but if it comes ashore the damage will be catastrophic.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. As we said, storm chaser. And next, Donald Trump preparing for the next debate on live television, talking about the hurricane, live television, getting ready for this debate. We're going to see it right here OUTFRONT this hour. And more on the breaking news of Hurricane Matthew as you just heard, just miles now from land fall in Florida.


[19:29:37] BURNETT: All right. Breaking news. A deadly storm headed straight for the Florida Coast. We're going to go there live throughout this hour, as the winds are picking up. Already the storm surge beginning. You can see there right now on the coast. And that storm surge going to be at least 11 feet. Think about that with waves on top of it as much as 40 feet in some areas. Worst storm for some in more than a century, modern history.

[19:30:01] Right now, though, I want to go to Sandown, New Hampshire.

Donald Trump in a pretty extraordinary event is going to be taking is it stage in a town hall. Really this is what his campaign says is a dry run for the debate which is just three hours -- three days away, I'm sorry. A town hall format. It's the first time we've ever seen anything like this. He's doing his debate practice so we can all see it on live television.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT at the town hall in Sandown, New Hampshire.

And, Sara, what have you learned about this event? As you said, when it comes to this sort of a thing, preparing for a presidential debate, it is extraordinary what Donald Trump is doing tonight.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, look, Erin, Donald Trump is doing debate prep behind closed doors as well. But he and his advisors have always felt that his time on the campaign trail is a little like debate prep for the candidate. And today they are taking that to a new literal sense. Obviously, the holding a town hall style debate is just days away. So, he's going to be holding a town hall right here in New Hampshire. It's one of the smallest venues we've seen Donald Trump in.

And, in fact, it looks like more of a throwback to the Republican primaries. The Republicans that Donald Trump ran against did dozens in some cases hundreds of town halls in spaces like this. Not Donald Trump. He held those big rallies during the primary. And even though his campaign is of an opportunity for him to take unfiltered questions from voters, it is not going to be exactly like that.

People who are in this room have submitted their questions ahead of time. They have written them down on an index card and Donald Trump would be asked those questions by a conservative radio host Howie Carr who's going here to moderate that forum.

So, it is not entirely unfiltered but it is an opportunity for Donald Trump to sort of test his back and forth when it comes to dealing with members of the audience so we'll be looking for not only how he answers their questions but what his body language is like. What his tone is like when he's taking really any question you could imagine from voters here in New Hampshire Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much.

David Gregory is former moderator of "Meet The Press", with me, along Maggie Haberman, presidential campaign correspondent for "The New York Times". Nia-Malika Henderson, our senior political reporter, joins me, along with Mark Preston as well, our executive editor of politics.

But, David, let me start with you. Only Trump would do something like this. His debate prep on live television, but nonetheless, it is pretty extraordinary that he's doing this at all. He was supposed to show up about a half hour ago. So, we're awaiting for him to come to the stage. But this is trying to mimic what he'll face in just days at the town hall with Hillary Clinton.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think is right. There's nothing that's par for the course with Donald Trump. I think he understands the stakes are high here. We saw in the first debate a real swing in the momentum for Hillary Clinton. It got her base more excited. It got Republicans more anxious about Donald Trump.

He's got do something about it. And I think he's got the capacity to do it. He started strong in the first debate, showed signs of discipline, was able to mount a pretty clear, well-articulated change message, took the fight to Hillary Clinton and then he unraveled as we've documented I think so well up until now.

This is different. He's got to be able to interact with voters, make a change message and show that he's got some empathy and ability to listen and ability to be present in these moments and show people a different side of him. I still don't know what to expect and I still think at the end of the day, no matter what his advisors are telling him, he's going to do what he wants to do. That's what he's done every time, and he's still going to ride his gut wherever it takes him. Win or lose.

BURNETT: So, Maggie, you know, one thing you pointed out though that Donald Trump is a quick learner in some ways, which is obviously very relevant when in this sort of live practice session that we are about to watch live.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There are certain aspects of politics that he's picked up very quickly. And he has managed to adopt to his own style very quickly.

I do however agree with David that I think a couple of things, number one, one, you know, mock town hall, which is this or mock debate prep which this is, is not going to get you where you need to be in basically a week and a half after the last debate which was, you know, the aftermath of which was calamitous for him in terms of the polls. He's also being interviewed by a very Trump friendly moderator at this debate. It's Howie Carr, conservative radio host, who has called Trump a friend. The questions are pre screened.

So this is not at all like what the conditions are going to be like on Sunday night. And Trump -- both Trump and Hillary Clinton sort of struggle to emote, struggle to connect with voters. This is a challenge for both of them, but Trump has done so much less of this than Clinton has. His town halls during the primaries often felt coarse, they often felt strained. His interactions sometimes were great, they got better at the later ones but he didn't very many of them. Retail politicking is just not his thing.

So, he has a couple of challenges. He has to both pass a commander in chief temperament test and see if he can connect to average people and not talk about himself and talk about them. So I'm not sure that this is going to be precisely what he needs but we'll see.

[19:35:01] BURNETT: Not enough, yes.

I mean, Mark Preston, it is interesting, I remember doing a town hall with Donald Trump. I was very much surprised at that time. We all know -- if you know Donald Trump he doesn't like to touch people, like he -- you know, he likes -- Purell sort of guy, OK?

He's gotten over that a lot on the campaign trail. But I remember someone coming out touching his hair. He interacted with people. He could be rather engaging and charming with them. But as Maggie points out, on this campaign we have not seen a lot of that. One night is what he's got. You see Governor Chris Christie there who's been helping him and, of course, was one of the kings of town hall, did 76 of them in New Hampshire alone.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt, you know? And what I heard about Chris Christie today is the continued their question and answering back and forth. Him and Reince Priebus were asking Donald Trump questions. Reince would ask, Chris Christie would ask a follow-up.

The room that Donald Trump is in doing these sessions now I'm told is much smaller than it was the last time. There were a lot of voices and there was a lot of confusion. But to your point Donald Trump has seemed to have thrived at these big events where he gives these big sweeping speeches, where he makes a lot of promises and he revs up the crowd.

But he is somebody in a one on one atmosphere you can get a totally different vibe from him.


PRESTON: He's more warmer and more friendly, no doubt about that.

BURNETT: Yes, he is. PRESTON: But, you know, as we've been talking about here, this is really not enough preparation. Hillary Clinton embraced the fact that she has prepared so much. And it helped her. And she turned around in the polls. Donald Trump really needs to focus in on policy because at these town halls, if somebody asks you a question from the audience and you don't answer that question. That person might ask again and say you didn't answer my question and I think Donald Trump who's very, very light on the details of policy, that could be problematic for him.

BURNETT: Yes, Nia, what do you think about that? There is something different as a viewer when you watch someone interact with another citizen as opposed to someone like us, a member of the media. There might be antagonism from the viewers to the members of the media, right, but not to another system who's in there just asking their question as a voter.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You can't blow off a voter. You have to answer those Chris Christie is going to be his mentor and tutor in dealing with this town hall and prepping. He certainly is the king of town halls. He often used humor in engaging with voters.

Of course, Chris Christie had that courtroom experience. So he was very good in those instances. He's going to have to figure out how he connects policy to people but also kind of keep it grand and large in terms of tapping into that vision he talks about in terms of where he wants to take the country.

I talked to a couple of Republicans who acknowledge that Trump isn't a policy guy. He's not going to get into the granular details on what he would do on drum policy which might pop up in this debate but he has to keep it broad and big and also avoid talking about himself because he's someone who likes to talk about himself, who likes to talk about how great he is.

So, he's going to have to not do that so much and it is going to be about interacting with that audience there and also body language in terms of how he's relating to Hillary Clinton. You remember John McCain was very good at these town halls as well but times in some of these town halls he'd be wandering across the stage and led to an "SNL" spoof of that because it just looks odd on camera.

BURNETT: It's true.

And Donald Trump is about to begin here. So, let's just listen in, Maggie. He's getting ready. And, of course, Howie Carr, the moderator, is already seated. So, let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some commission that is. Let me tell you.

So, I want to thank everybody. This is great. You know, New Hampshire, we won New Hampshire in the primary, big league, far exceeding the numbers that everybody thought. And now I hear we're winning by one and tied and winning by two and tied in another one. How are you?

So, I just want to thank everybody. This is great to be with you.

So, this just came out. Remember whenever we won I like to talk about polls. If we're doing badly I don't talk about polls. No, it's true. When we do badly, I don't know about polls, right? But when we're doing well I know about polls.

I used to drive Chris Christie's here, our friend. Where is Chris? Over here. And he was a tough competitor.

And he said, you used to drive me crazy when you talk about those polls. Why did you talk about the polls? I said because I was number one. But if I was number two or something, we wouldn't be talking.

But first of all, thank you everyone. And New Hampshire is where we had our first victory. Remember that? And then we went on to lots of other places. Lots of other places.

And we had tremendous support from so man of our friends. And tremendous compliments. Tom Brady and Coach Belichick, and so many people we just have great relationships with and great relationships up here.

So, these just came out. Just literally came out. Rasmussen, that's national poll. Trump 43, Clinton 41.


"Los Angeles Times" national. Great poll supposedly. Well that is because I'm leading. Trump 46, national. Clinton 42.


UPI, national. Trump 49. Clinton 47.

Reuters/IPSOS, South Carolina, Trump 49, Clinton 44. South Carolina is great. That was where we had another great -- I'll tell you the results in South Carolina during the primary were amazing and it was fantastic. Great people.

Colorado, Trump 45, Clinton 43. I just left. That was a good one.


And Wisconsin, where I'm going tomorrow. Wisconsin they have Trump at 42 and Clinton at 42. And that is okay because I was about 15 points behind three or four weeks ago. I think, right? So that's one.

All right. Anybody can check them. You can check them.

Now, here's one that's a biggie. UPI, just came out like a little while ago. Virginia. I love Virginia. Tremendous properties in Virginia. A lot of employees. I think all my employees are voting, I'll tell you.

Virginia, Trump 50, Clinton 45.


UPI. That's a big one. That is a big one. A little surprise. Look at the media, they are going crazy, they don't know. They don't know. They can't believe this. They are not happy.

I want to tell you. This is not the way it's supposed to be happening.

The American people, right? This is not what they had in mind. Crooked media with Crooked Hillary.

New Hampshire, 48, 48. What's wrong? What's going on here? New Hampshire, 48-48. I don't like that. That doesn't sound like my friends, we're going to win New Hampshire. We're going to win New Hampshire.


These all just came out a little while ago. Arizona, 52, Clinton 42. Wow, up by ten.

Here's a good one, North Carolina. UPI. North Carolina. Trump 50, Clinton 46.

Whoa, look at this one. The state of Pennsylvania where I went to school, went to college. Pennsylvania, Trump 50, Clinton 46.

And here's another good one. Great state. I love the people of Georgia. Trump 52, Clinton 43. Wow. Send them back to the press so they can examine them.

So I just want to thank you very much. It's really amazing.

And I want to thank Chris for being here and all of my friends. So many.

Steve, I see over here and all of the friends that I have. It's been incredible.

You know, I wanted to be here, because we have lots of energy and we love the people. And we love the people, in particular because it was my first state, it meant so much for me. --


Thank you. I feel the same way.

But I used to come up and we used to have meetings with people. And they kept talk about heroin, heroin, heroin. I tell the story all over New Hampshire, because it's so different than the little valleys and the trees.

BURNETT: All right. Trump giving a lengthy preamble here. He's going to be taking questions. That's the important part to see. I want everybody to know here, with the storm, we're going to be

talking to the governor of Florida in just a moment. But as we await, Donald Trump will be taking questions. I just want to go to you, Maggie, here, because what we saw was vintage Donald Trump. Talking about polls. Most of which don't match any scientific polls that are out there, talk about the crooked media. His normal preamble. This is not what the town hall is going to be like on Sunday.

This is more of a stump speech that he's giving before he takes questions from what, as you have pointed out is a friendly prescreened audience.

HABERMAN: Yes, Trump does very well in mediums he controls and rooms he controls and he's used to and that matches a certain criteria where he can take the reins. That's what he's doing here. He's doing his comfort zone. He is talking about polls, some of which might be true, but it doesn't do much at this point in the race to pull out an isolated poll and say this one shows me winning because it's the aggregate polls. He's insulting the media. He's talking about, quote/unquote, "crooked Hillary".

He can do this and does do this any day of the week. That is not what the debate is going to be like. If it is, talking about his own poll numbers over and over again while others are asking him real question about their lives, that would be problematic. We saw in the town hall forum that he and Hillary Clinton did with Matt Lauer.

[19:45:01] He got asked a question, it was a national security forum of veterans. A female veteran asked questions about PTSDs and suicides, and he corrected her and his correction was actually wrong on the information of the number of suicides per year.

And you saw her shake her head and she was clearly not pleased to be corrected by him. That is what he needs to be working on. This is not it.

BURNETT: Right. The interaction that he's going to have. And, David Gregory, as we're getting ready here. We want to hear him take questions. Here he is, still giving his stump speech essentially.

GREGORY: Look, this race is in a settled position. There is not a whole lot that is going to change, as we goat into the final weeks. Donald Trump had a huge opportunity to get a second look at the first debate and he squandered it.

He's now losing independent voters. He is a lot of wary Republicans who are moving away from him and key groups, where you have to add, among women, college educated voters. He's losing ground.

He's in a precarious position, as tight as the race is. So, the notion that he's going to show us something fundamentally different I think is not going to happen. But Donald Trump has the ability to make a fundamental change argument and an argument against Hillary Clinton. He's not doing this on our air right now.

And he is going to have to find a way to do it in the course of this town hall debate, and deal with a lot of the concerns that voters have about whether he's qualified to be president and has the temperament to be president. You've got majorities of both of those categories who think he is not.

And he's yet to really start to address those things and he's certainly not doing that right now. This is Donald Trump from the primary days talking about the polls and not where e wants to take the country and in that town hall with Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper, there are going to be strong up follow up on these points as well.

BURNETT: Right. There will be.

All right. David Gregory, thank you very much. And, of course, we're monitoring this. When he does start taking questions. That's what we all need to see, what you need to see you. We'll go there.

But next, of course, the breaking news story tonight. Hurricane Matthew, the worst storm now in more than a century, approaching the Florida coast right now, hours away, 113 people already killed as the storm approaches the U.S. Florida governor telling people to get out and save your life. He is my guest, next.


[19:51:34] BURNETT: Breaking news, the death toll rising tonight in what could be the strongest hurricane to hit some of Florida in more than a century. The storm killing at least 264. Now, that number is more than doubled in just a moment here, as we're getting these numbers coming in.

Right now, it is less than 80 miles away from West Palm Beach, 26 million Americans in the path of Hurricane Matthew at this hour.

Poppy Harlow is OUTFRONT in Jacksonville, as we await the governor of Florida, who's going to be with me in a moment.

And, Poppy, National Weather Service is now saying at this moment, Jacksonville has not seen a storm like this since 1898. You are talking about storm surges here, like Superstorm Sandy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, or worse, Erin. It is a remarkable statement from the National Weather Service. What they are saying is it's been 118 years since a storm this bad has been expected to hit Jacksonville. The river, St. John's River, behind me, six to nine-foot storm surges.

And to put it in perspective for you, no one alive in Jacksonville tonight, Erin, as ever felt a storm as bad as what is expected to hit this city, the most populous city in all of Florida if it makes direct landfall.

They also say that the storm surge here and in Jacksonville and the coast will be worse than the storm surge that hit New Jersey after Sandy. Just think about that for a moment. Expecting and why you are hearing catastrophic, the mayor here saying a hundred year storm, going to the beach town today, personally begging people to evacuate because it is that dire Erin.

BURNETT: Poppy, thank you very much. As the storm is hours away from where Poppy is standing right now. Storm surge and waves where times her height, where she will be.

OUTFRONT now on the phone, the governor of Florida, Rick Scott.

Governor Scott, you have said this storm will kill you. You have told people to get out. It does not surprise you do hear the National Weather Service saying this is going to be worse than any storm in living memory, when he talks about Jacksonville, 118 years. This storm truly will be catastrophic.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA (via telephone): Erin, this is a monster. And we haven't seen something like this. Clearly in my lifetime, I've never seen anything like this.

You know, more than 10 feet of storm surge, on top of that the waves, on top of that 140 miles an hour wins. I called up 3,500 members of my National Guard which is over 50 percent of the ones available. You still have a chance of evacuate. I've been pushing people to evacuate here in Brevard County.

North Melbourne going north you have the opportunity to evacuate. I hope you still have. We've got shelters open. This is all about keeping people alive. It's all about how do we keep everybody in the state safe. How we keep them alive.

We have shelters open around the state and we're doing everything we can to keep people alive.

BURNETT: And, you know, we were just talking to a storm chaser driving by some mobile homes. People were still in them. That is pretty terrifying when you think about what you are talking about. People -- we hear about first responders. The mayor saying we're not sending first responders for people who did not evacuate when told to evacuate. Hurricane Andrew, 23 people died, Hurricane Katrina, nearly 2,000 people died.

Are we looking at something of that magnitude if people do not get out?

SCOTT: Well, look, I can't send people in, I can't send first responders in during the storm to save your life. So, if you're in barrier island on the east coast, if you are in a place you see flooding, if you are in a mobile home, if you're along a river that sees flooding, you got to get out.

You know, we kept our evacuation routes open. All of our evacuation routes are open.

[19:55:02] They are all moving. We have plenty of fuel. We have plenty of food at our shelters. It might not be as comfortable as your house, but it might your only way of surviving.

So, we're working with everybody to get people to evacuate but on top that, we're getting ready to take care of people as soon as the storm passes. I'll be up tonight. I got back to Tallahassee a couple of hours ago.

I'll be here following the storm, making sure we get every resource we can out to our counties, and keep -- my goal is, I love my family, I love my grand kids, I want everybody to think about their family and think how am I taking care of my family tonight? Take care of your family. Get them to safety.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Scott, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much tonight.

Mincing no words. Making sure everyone knows, a truly life or death situation. Emergency first responders not going out to help people who are supposed to evacuate so as to not lose more lives. Millions across the Atlantic Coast right now in a race against time to escape Hurricane Matthew.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: And the breaking news: Hurricane Matthew right now approaching Florida. Hurricane winds up to 106 miles from the center and the storm after it hits, perhaps the longest stretch of coastline in known history. Then could cycle back, extremely rare, and hit Florida again.

Thank you for joining us. Our breaking coverage continues right now with "AC360".