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A Photo Shows a Highway in Texas Became a River; Inside a U.S. Missile Defense Base; Construction Crews Unearth a Suspected Triceratops Skull

Aired August 31, 2017 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Great to have you watching CNN 10 this Thursday. From the CNN Center, I`m Carl Azuz.

We`re starting with the photograph that gives you a sense of just how bad the flooding is in parts of southeast Texas as it continues to struggle

with the effects of Hurricane Harvey. This is Interstate 10, a highway near the city of Beaumont before the floods. And this is the same stretch

of road as it looked on Tuesday.

The picture was taken from a boat. Ad Logan Wheat, the man who took it, said the waves were anywhere from three to four feet high.

The mayor of Port Arthur, which is between Beaumont and the Gulf of Mexico, says his entire city is under water but that rescuers are on the way. Port

Arthur is near Texas` border with Louisiana and that`s where Harvey made its second landfall early Wednesday. Forecasters are predicting an

additional three to six inches of rain from southwestern Louisiana to western Kentucky.

In Texas, officials say this storm has killed at least 28 people, including a police sergeant. Governor Greg Abbott says more than 8,500 people have

rescued so far, 14,000 National Guard troops have been activated to help with relief and security efforts, with 10,000 more on the way.

And 33 counties in Texas are under an emergency disaster declaration. What that does is speed up government money and supplies to those who need it.

Rainfall totals and the hardest hit parts of Texas measured almost 52 inches last night. That`s a record for the Continental U.S. Houston

police say they`ve gotten between 60,000 and 70,000 calls for help.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Each year in the U.S., flooding takes more lives than lightning strikes, tornadoes, or hurricanes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a three-and-a-half-foot pass (ph) right there to my left. We`re sitting at three and a half and four-foot deep right now.

JAVAHERI: But the quickest and one of the most dangerous forms of this type of weather are flash flooding events. Now, as their namesake

indicates, these events happen at a moments notice. Now, if you had heavy enough rain in a short time period, it can fully saturate the soil. If the

surrounding soil is overwhelmed, the ground essentially cannot hold anymore water, you have yourself a flash flood event.

Urban environments, mountainous terrain and poor infrastructure can really worsen the effects. But once the rain stops, flash flooding typically

stops, generally lasting between minutes to hours. And all of that water has to find an exit point and it typically finds it by making its way to

rivers, streams or creeks.

If enough rainfalls run off (ph) in streams can turn into raging rivers. These rivers can rise for days or weeks. Even if the rain has stopped at a

given location, as the water begins to rise, it can eventually become a flood and depending on the water level, it can range from a minor to a

major flood. The crest is the point where the river reaches its highest point.

This in essence can be a slow motion disaster because that water wants to find its way to the main river mouth and be deposited back into the bay or

the ocean. These events can last a period of weeks or months, spanning hundreds of miles before the water recedes back to its normal level.


AZUZ: American leaders are discussing how to respond to North Korea`s latest`s weapons test. It involved a missile that flew over Japan, a U.S.

ally, before landing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. North Korea`s government controlled media called it a, quote, meaningful prelude

to containing Guam. That`s a U.S. territory in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military ran a successful test of its own on Wednesday, when an American destroyer at sea shot down a missile that was test-fired

from an American base in Hawaii. Defense Secretary James Mattis says America is never out of diplomatic solutions to international problems.

But as you`re about to see, the U.S. does have a backup plan.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is America`s final shield, the last and only protection against an incoming North Korean nuclear

missile, housed deep underground in the heart of Alaska`s wilderness at Fort Greely, about 150 miles north of Fairbanks. The heavily armed 49th

Missile Defense Battalion secures 38 missile silos, dotting a landscape frigid even in late summer. The tip barely revealing what lies beneath.

We`re allowed rare access to bring you up close to America`s ground-based missile interceptors or GBIs.

COL. ORLANDO ORTEGA, COMMANDER, 49TH MISSILE DEFENSE BATTALION: This is what will be launched here out of Fort Greely to intercept any threat

that`s coming into the defended homeland.

LAH (on camera): the key piece of equipment is right here?

ORTEGA: The kill vehicle is right there towards the top.

LAH (voice-over): The kill vehicle, to take down any potential intercontinental ballistic missile coming to the U.S., including from North

Korea, which the U.S. could face in the future.

Here`s how it works. North Korea launches --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Impact location is Los Angeles. We are engaging this threat at this time.

LAH: -- instantly activating a secured room in Fort Greely. What you`re seeing now is a drill, declassified, so we could show you generally how the

ground-based interceptors work to protect the U.S.


COL. KEVIN KICK, COMMANDER, 100TH MISSILE DEFENSE BRIGADE: As the alarms would go off, what you`d see is the white shells that you see behind us

would separate extremely quickly and then immediately, you`d see a flash of flame as that GBI would leave the tube at a really incredible rate of


LAH: Outside the Earth`s atmosphere in space, if it works the interceptor kills the incoming nuclear weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We train to shoot a bullet at a bullet and destroy it so it doesn`t destroy us.

LAH (on camera): Have the drills this year taken on a new meaning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What that does is just makes it more real for us because now, I`ve got a leader of a foreign country who says, I`m going to

take my missile and I`m going to kill your citizens with it.

LAH: What kind of confidence do you have if North Korea launches a missile that this system will work?

KICK: I have 100 percent confidence this system will work.

LAH (voice-over): That`s despite a 60 percent success rate. Out of 18 test launches, the interceptors have only struck its target 10 times in

controlled launches.

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R), ALASKA: Just because we`ve had some failures doesn`t mean we`re not learning.

LAH: Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan believes the interceptors are still America`s best shot as a last defense, as North Korea rapidly moves closer

to being able to strike the U.S. mainland, introducing a bill boosting the number of missiles to a total of 72, setting the possibility of 100 missile

interceptors. So far, a cost of $40 billion to taxpayers.

SULLIVAN: Doing nothing in the face of this threat when we clearly have the capability to make sure we have a very protected homeland is not an

acceptable option, and I think most Americans would agree with me on that.

LAH (on camera): So, what about the argument that North Korea will never strike, that this is all just a bargaining chip? Well, Senator Sullivan

says the flaw in that thinking is that it assumes that Kim Jong-un is rational. He calls expensive, but a necessary insurance policy.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which of these dinosaurs is believed to have been a herbivore?

Dilosphosaurus, Irritator, Spinosaurus, or Triceratops?

Though triceratops is estimated to have been 30 feet long and more than 12,000 pounds, paleontologists say it was a plant eater.


AZUZ: Scientists in Colorado say they found a rare fossil from a triceratops.


JOE SERTICH, CURATOR OF DINOSAURS, DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE: As soon as I got inside, I realized it was a pretty important dinosaur find,

which are pretty unusual in the Denver area. And after cleaning up the site, it looks like part of skull of a triceratops, a horned dinosaur, and

maybe parts of the skeleton.


AZUZ: The fossil was found by construction crews who are working on a fire and police station. They stopped working so scientists could excavate.

Researchers say the skull could be one of three found in the area and this Smithsonian display shows you what the three-horned triceratops might have

looked like.


AZUZ: A U.S. pizza company and a car maker have teamed up on a project to deliver pizzas without a pizza delivery person. Once ordered, the pie

would be baked and loaded on a self-driving car that also has an oven. Once it arrives at your home, you`d go out, enter a code and get your

pizza. This is being tested right now in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A spokesman says it`s not being done to find out whether a self-driving car could deliver pizza, but instead, how costumers would react if they had to

go outside to pick up their food.

It`s certainly food for thought, but what would be the tipping point? If it brought the wrong order, you could tell it to get in gear, you can say,

hit the road, Jack, but while it might be stalled, it wouldn`t be sorry. I guess that`s a pizza information the company is hoping this will deliver,


I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN 10.