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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Hurricane Matthew Leaves Many Without Power; South Carolina and Georgia Prepare for Storm; Hurricane Continues to Cause Destruction. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 7, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:02] DON WALKER, BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: No reports of injuries. We've got about 160,000 people though in our county right now that are without power. So, Florida power and light is working diligently to restore that power. Even in the heat of the storm, they were still out putting people's power back on. I think the last count I saw was 13,000 people who at one point had been without power, have walker that didn't have it before. So ...
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Right. Don Walker, Brevard County Emergency Management, thanks so much for being with us. We wish you luck in the coming hours as you assess the damage in your county, which hopefully as you say, isn't as bad as it could've been largely I think because of the preparation of emergency officials like you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So right. So that's Brevard County. The storm is moving north. The latest track as we got an update at the top of the hour, continuing to get updates, the western eye wall is about 95 miles southeast of Jacksonville, Florida. Huge concern there, because just how Jacksonville's made up of low-lying area, storm surge is the biggest threat right now. That's what they're keeping an eye on in this slow-moving storm.
Hurricane Matthew. We're keeping an eye on it. Our breaking news coverage continues after this.
[11:35:40] BOLDUAN: Continuing our breaking news coverage of hurricane Matthew and its path. What you're looking at right now are two live pictures, we'd show you kind of the scope of the storm that we're looking at now. On the left, that would be in New Smyrna beach, Florida. That's just south of Daytona Beach. That's more towards the end of the storm as its traveling north.
On the right side of your screen, you're looking at Tybee Island, Georgia. That is where a lot of the focus moves because that is where the storm is headed and that is where a low-lying island -- where they've had a mandatory evacuation under way.
The storm is hammering Florida's east coast right now and the storm as you can see it just from those pictures, far from over. Mathew is still a dangerous category 3 storm. More than half a million people without power. The first death blamed on the storm was just confirmed. A Florida woman died overnight of cardiac arrest. Emergency responders unable to reach her because of the storm conditions.
BERMAN: The warnings are moving up the coast into Georgia, also South Carolina. Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina just moments ago urged people one last time to evacuate while there is still time. But she really made clear it's not much longer. This looks like it will be worse for South Carolina than previously thought. She wants people to listen. President Obama does as well. He just plead, he said they are very concerned about the storm surge all the way up from Northern Florida up through South Carolina.
Joining us now on the phone is Lenny Curry. He is the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. Mayor Curry, thanks so much for being with us. You are very soon going to be, you know, near the eye of this storm. It is passing you very, very shortly and there is a great deal of concern from the president on down about storm surge in your city. What can you tell us?
MAYOR LENNY CURRY, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Sure, absolutely. We are under tropical storm winds right now. The hurricane winds are moving towards us. It's bad out there right now. It'll be getting really nasty around 2:00 on through midnight and even with the aftermath through the evening until tomorrow.
We began an evacuation here two days ago, started with our beaches, cities and low-lying areas and then moved to other areas early yesterday. So, a city of over 860,000 people, we have over 450,000 people under evacuation orders. That's how seriously we took this. Life-threatening storm surge is over three feet. We expect up to nine feet at Daytona (ph) Beach of the northern coastal communities.
BOLDUAN: So mayor, I mean, when you talk about the storm surge like that, if you say it's up to nine feet, there are some projections that it could be 11 in some places. I mean, what does nine feet storm surge in parts of Jacksonville, what does that mean?
CURRY: Anything over three feet is deadly, it's life-threatening. Our evacuation orders, we are letting people know this storm can kill you, you must take this seriously. Yesterday we had projections that it had moved our surge up to 12 feet. They dropped to nine. That is not encouraging. We're glad they dropped to nine, but nine is incredibly dangerous and as well as the flooding and the aftermath that will happen when this monster storm clears out.
BERMAN: You know, and it's not just the beaches that are a concern in your area. It's the St. John River as well. How far up the river are there fears right now, mayor?
CURRY: Yes. So, between the beaches and then the river and the pockets and estuaries and the canals, the reason we extended our evacuation order yesterday into the third zone which was zone C was because exactly of that concern.
So, we evacuated the three zones. Almost half of our population, and we're now encouraging people to stay tight until this thing moves through. Don't go out of your homes. And we will be prepared -- I mean, we are prepared on the back end to get in and make sure that people are safe.
BOLDUAN: Mayor, you said about half -- basically half the population, half the city is under evacuation order. Did everyone get out who you think needed to get out?
CURRY: People, there are people that did not heed the order. We beat it like a drum. I did, the governor did. We let them know that when the hurricane force winds are here, unfortunately, we can't send -- we will not send public safety orders out into conditions that aren't safe for them. That being said, those that chose to stay. There's no value in passing judgment at this time. We are where we are and we will be there for them when this thing clears out and it's safe to get in.
[11:40:11] BOLDUAN: That was an excellent point there. Really well said. Mayor Lenny Curry, thank you so much. The mayor of Jacksonville. Thank you so much for jumping on the phone with us. You got a long day night ahead in 2:00 p.m. through midnight is when you think it's going to be pretty bad. That's a long time to be facing bad conditions for your city. We'll be watching closely. Thank you so much, mayor.
BERMAN: We've been watching on the path of the storm right now, hurricane Matthew, as it moves up to coast of Florida, headed toward Jacksonville, then Georgia, then South Carolina -- perhaps some more northern track putting areas of South Carolina at much greater risk than previously thought. We'll bring you an update next.
[11:45:07] BERMAN: All right, as hurricane Matthew moves up to Florida coast, a great deal of concern now has shifted to Georgia and South Carolina where the storm is headed next. They're very worried about storm surge there. I want to go right to Savannah, Georgia, that's where CNN's Sara Ganim. Sara, what are seeing, what are the people there doing? Are they heeding the warnings?
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. just a few minutes ago you heard the president say specifically mention Georgia and the potential for an 11-foot storm surge here as it begins to rain, officials here are warning people now is the last time to get out. There's time within the next hour.
So this buses, there are about 40 of them that have left so far in the last couple of days. More than 2,000 residents of the Savannah area have gotten on these buses and are evacuating. John, one of these residents on a bus about to leave is Vintosha Green. She lives here in the Savannah area.
Vintosha, thanks for talking to us. Why did you decide to evacuate with your kids?
VINTOSHA GREEN, EVACUATING SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: Well, because most of all, I was scared. I'm not sure how this storm, where this hurricane is going to hit, so I have to be more safe than sorry and think about my kids first.
GANIM: You have kids.
GANIM: You have neighbors.
GANIM: A lot of them did not leave. Are you worried about them?
GRENN: Yes, I really am. You know, my aunt came over and awoke me to actually leave because I was going to make the decision to stay. Like I said, my whole life is here so leaving it all is a big, you know, heartache for me. So, with my neighbors, I just hope everything works out for them because a lot of them are staying.
GANIM: What were you able to grab to bring with you?
GREEN: Well, I basically grabbed one suitcase. All of our stuff is in it. I had to pack for three kids and a dog. So, it was a limited of what we could've bring. I think it was like two bags per, you know, family. So ...
GANIM: I know you said you're nervous. What do you tell your kids in a situation like this?
GREEN: Well, right now, the only thing that I could do is pray with them, caress them as much. My oldest daughter asked me are we going to die, you know. So, it's extremely crazy because you never know.
GANIM: Yeah, and she's doing the right thing. Thank you very much Vintosha for talking to us.
John, Vintosha is doing the right thing. All the residents of Savannah on this bus doing the right thing by getting out of here. Officials taking them to Augusta, Georgia to shelters. They don't know when they're going to be able to return home but they know that at least they will be safe there in Augusta, Georgia. Officials here saying that tonight beginning at dusk, there will be a curfew. If people, residents of Savannah who stayed behind are still on the streets, they're going to arrest them for their safety, to take them inside as we expect to see the worst of hurricane Matthew hitting this area overnight. John?
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sara, I mean, it is both heartbreaking and heart-warming to see Vintosha there with that sweet little baby in her arms and of three kids and a dog she had to pack for. She of course left herself out of that equation because she's really worried about them. Can you ask her, does she know where she's headed as she evacuate?
GANIM: Sure. Vintosha, Kate, who is the anchor of the show, she has a question for you. She wanted to know, do you know where you guys are going? GREEN: They told us that we're going to be going to Augusta. I'm not sure if they are going to take us to some kind of safe shelter or where to be exact. But I know the destination is Augusta, Georgia.
GANIM: Yeah, that's right, Kate. And they are taking all of these people to Augusta. Some have told me that they do have family members there they plan to meet up with. But a lot of these people are on these buses because they didn't have another place to go otherwise.
So, in Augusta, the Red Cross and state officials have come together to get these people to safe shelters and that's where they're going to stay.
BERMAN: And I'm sure they will be taken care of once they get there. A smart decision by Vintosha to get her family out of that area. There is a great deal of concern now about Savannah, Georgia. The president as Sara just said mentioned it specifically right now the worry is storm surge moving up the coast into Georgia and South Carolina as well.
BOLDUAN: The concern greater than it was in the last projection.
BERMAN: Greater than it was an hour ago.
BERMAN: They're very worried as this forecast ...
BERMAN: ... changes that the storm's surge is getting worse than they thought.
BOLDUAN: And the governor's voice which really rings in our head when she said this is the last time you're going to hear my voice and listen to it, evacuate, evacuate, get out now. And Vintosha Green being a very, very good mama for getting her kids out right now. Thank you so much Sara for bringing that. That's very important to get the face of whose evacuating, who's getting out in the middle of the storm.
Let's move now back to Florida where there has been hammered all throughout the night, continuing to be hammered today. Alison Kosik is live in Orlando. Disney parks Alison, closed for only the fourth time since 1971. What are you seeing around there?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, Disneyworld known, Kate, as the most magical place on earth. Today it's kind of known as one of the quietest places on earth. I'm giving you an idea, here, take a look at this intersection.
[11:50:06] Normally on a day like today if they were on a Hurricane, you would see buses, you would see cars, you would see lots of people going in and out of those gates of the Mickey and Minnie gates there. Not happening today. There is a mandatory curfew in effect. Some cars have come out on the road anyway, despite the curfew, but you've got not just vacationers here in Orlando. But because Orlando is 70 miles in land from the coast, you also have evacuees. You've this crush of people who come here to Orlando, obviously not just for vacation, but to evacuate those coastal areas. So, we've seen a lot of these hotels. They are solidly booked. We also saw a lot of chaos on social media. Some of these pictures taken, some of these video taken, in the restaurant areas of just a crush of people trying to get food. People on social media saying its taking you know, it took three hours just to get dinner. I know it took me an hour and a half just to have them make me a hamburger last night.
So, it's been a little tough for some people at the hotels, but on the other hand, a lot of people understanding that this is Mother Nature, you can't control it. Then writing it out in the lobby, playing cards, dancing, trying to entertain their kids, something not easy to do, especially since you look at this weekend. Its Columbus Day weekend, a big family vacation weekend. The timing of this hurricane, not good. But then again, a hurricane never easy to take no matter when it strike. Kate?
BEMAN: That is so true. Alison Kosik of course in Orlando. You know, waiting an hour or two for a very small inconvenience compared to what they could have face or could be facing elsewhere along the coast as that hurricane keeps moving.
Joining us now by the phone is Mayor William Capote of Palm Bay, Florida. Palm Bay down the coast about south of Orlando. The worse of the storm, we believe at this point Mayor Capote has passed you. Have you had a chance to get out, have your officials had a chance to get out and assess the damage?
MAYOR WILLIAM CAPOTE, PALM BAY, FLORIDA: Yes. A combination they got out first and I'm second now out and about in the community. I'm kind of taking a look at what Palm Bay looks like after the storm, and we were lucky here in the city as that storm on the 11:00-11:30 kind of pushed out east into the water which helped us a lot.
I'm a kind of -- I was here in 2004 for both storms, Francis and Jean and I could tell you by being out here and driving around the community. That is -- there is no comparison. It could've been worse, if that category 4 would have hit us directly like Francis and Jean did, but we fared well. We got some widespread power outages, but I can live with that. We had no light bulbs go down. It's still assessing utilities and public works. The traffic lights weren't down like in 2004 and our roads are solid.
BOLDUAN: Mayor, is it -- what's the message for people in Palm Bay? Is it safe to head out now? Head outside?
CAPOTE: No, not yet. Not yet. We will be doing that pretty soon, and telling them too that they can go out and about, but for now, please, stay in your home.
BERMAN: Mayor Capote, as you said, the warnings for this storm were coming really for the last several days from officials top to bottom, and they were very stern warnings. Warnings like we really haven't heard before at least not for decades, for people to evacuate, for people to take this seriously.
BERMAN: Now, it may be in your part of the state that it didn't hit as hard as it could, but help much did it help the fact these warnings were made so early and that people by and large seemed to pay attention to them?
CAPOTE: Correct. That really, this time around, I that for those they have the experience of 2004, kind of helped the newcomers that were here, and our two shelters were full. So that's telling me that they heard the warnings. Our service people first responders did a wonderful job in communicating with the public. We made sure that we were educating in advance, and I think that's why we fared so well.
BERMAN: All right, Mayor William Capote, thanks so much for being with us. We'll let you get back out on the street and assess the damage. We are glad and happy for you and your community that it seemed you've gotten through this okay. Thanks again for being with us.
BOLDUAN: That is in Palm Bay, Florida. The threat, the focus, moving north towards Jacksonville, north towards South Carolina and Georgia and in language we have never really heard before, the director of the National Hurricane Center has made a personal appeal to everyone in the path of hurricane Matthew. He says, if you still have time to evacuate, especially in places like Georgia and South Carolina, get out now. Take a listen to his message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK KNABB, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: If you are in an area that has been told to evacuate and your authorities are telling you that you still have time to evacuate, I want to personally plea with you to get out right now.
[11:55:10] Don't wait one more moment. Save yourself. Save your family. Save your friends. Don't be part of the history of this hurricane that might include a long list of fatalities in the U.S. due to water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: And I have to say, that's been the message, the coordinated message ...
BERMAN: ... from emergency officials, from government officials all the way up to the president coordinated in a way that I have not seen before in a storm for people just to heed the warnings and evacuate if and when you are told to, perhaps it saved a lot of lives here. BOLDUAN: A slow moving storm, I mean they're looking now is the threat continues overnight in till to morrow. This is really unfolding as we speak in the slow-moving storm still a very dangerous Hurricane Matthew. Our special coverage of hurricane Matthew continues after this.
[11:55:15] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics", I'm John King. We begin the hour of course tracking the breaking news. Live pictures here from Daytona Beach, Florida. As you can see howling wind and driving rain battering the east coast of Florida throughout the day. The most distressing news, Hurricane Matthew moving slowly. Not letting up anytime soon. President Obama ...