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Live Coverage of Hurricane Irma; Latest Details of Irma's Path, Conditions. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 9, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Water is what these hurricanes thrive on, what gives them their energy and with that track keeping it just off the Florida coast from Naples to Fort Myers and up towards Tampa, they could be experiencing potentially very violent weather from day time tomorrow.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right. Ben McMillen (ph) for us in Punta Gorda.
Again, the storm surge there could be 10 to 15 feet. Not just on the coast but also in the rivers and bays.
Ben McMillen, thank you so much.
CNN special live coverage continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Before coming in to CNN's continuing coverage of Irma, you see John Berman in Miami. We are now in Naples, Florida along the western coast. This path has shifted with the hurricane. We heard about it early this morning. The change has stayed in terms of what the expectation is, that the central to west coast of Florida is now expected to see the worst of hurricane Irma from here all the way up from Tampa bay.
Right now, I'm going to give it to John Berman who is in Miami. I'm going to try to get my communications back, John. I can't hear you, but you can hear me. So tell people the situation down there. Let me try to get reconnected.
BERMAN: All right, Chris. Take care of business over there. We are sort of the appetizer for what Chris is going to get over on the west coast of Florida. And what he gets on the west, we get here first in Miami. We just got drenched about 20 minutes ago as the strongest rain band we have felt yet. And now the wind is really blowing stronger than we have seen up until now.
Hurricane Irma, a category three storm, but it will get stronger. And it has started to make that north ward turn. It passed Cuba. It pounded the north coast of Cuba. Now headed north to the Florida Keys, the next target before turning over to Florida peninsula and potentially bringing devastating storm surge to some parts of the west coast of Florida. Naples, Fort Myers, all the way up into Tampa. And Miami will be not be spared either even though the eye will not hit here, expecting a storm surge of three to six feet. So a lot of concern. Still evacuations in place. Still curfews that will be starting very shortly in some parts around here.
Let's get straight to the CNN weather center. Tom Sater is there to give us a sense of just where the storm is now and what we can all expect. By all I mean, the 20 million people in Florida, Tom, in this storm's path.
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I tell you what, John, I know everybody wants to know exactly what time land fall is and exactly where. All weeks long we have been trying to get the word out until Irma makes a turn to the north, we can't do that. I thought by now the system would have made the right turn. Sure, there is a northerly component, but it is west worth west. I mean, if this continues on a west northwest track, we may barely get a land fall in Key West. Now, at some point it will turn north ward. And notice the color of red, on the infrared satellite imagery, higher cloud tops. Notice how it broadens off this coast. This is getting stronger, this is the first category five to make land fall in Cuba since 1924. That should tell you how massive the storm is.
Now we have got tornado warnings. We have seen quite a few of them. One to them Broward County. Looks like just to the southwest of Fort Lauderdale. Another in Miami Dale. We have had one of course in Key West. That will continue to be a threat and for the next several days.
But the eye that is barely off the coast right now has a secondary band around it. This may be going through an eye wall replacement cycle which means once that secondary band forms it tightens up and spins and get stronger.
Now, 125 miles per hour winds that's sustained, only five miles an hour away from category four. I have more confidence that it is going to become a category four than where is going to make landfall.
Notice a tornado watch. Just the beginning, these bands are moving in at four or five hours John. It is really going to start to come down on you. As we look at this forecast track, land fall is only considered land fall when half that eye crosses a land mass, all right? If this passes Key West, let's say by daybreak, we need to get some kind of wobble in towards the east to have Fort Myers land fall which could be somewhere around maybe 2:00 in the afternoon. If that wobble doesn't take place in Port Charlotte, that may be 9:00, 10:00 at night.
But right now, we are still looking at a west northwest of a track. As it continues northward, it continues to hug of course the coast and Tampa. That means on each edge of the eye wall is where the winds are the strongest. Now, everybody is talking about Charlie back in Punta Gorda, right. Ben had maximum winds from the center only out 25 miles. These maximum winds are about 70. And if gets stronger, it will go to about 100, which we had the other day.
I am a little concern concerned about Tampa bay as we get the system north of you because that's when the storm surge would come in from a north and westerly track. So that is a big concern.
I'm also concerned about Jacksonville because some of the accumulation rates for rain fall put quite a large amount. As you get the bands of rain in here, just like Matthew asked here, significant flooding in Jacksonville and what is I believe St. John's River. So we are going to continue to watch that.
Now, I eluded to the fact once this moves north, John, that the models are all over the place, the good news is even though it is going to down thousands and thousands of trees, those pine county in the southeast, I think we are going to see the system dry out. So it can move up to the Tennessee valley and maneuver all at once. It doesn't have the water source. We are not looking nearly at the type of scenario we had with Harvey stalling in Texas.
[19:05:46] BERMAN: All right. Tom Sater for us at the CNN weather center. Tom, thanks so much.
The message there from Tom, he is concerned just about everywhere on the Florida peninsula because one way or the other, nearly every Florida citizen will be affected. Some worse than others. New concern along the west coast for this enormous storm surge.
On the phone with me right now, Florida governor Rick Scott.
Governor Scott, first of all, thank you so much for being with us this second. I apologize if I sound pretty windy, but the wind is blowing out here in Miami. We are standing out here so people get a sense of just how serious it is.
What's the most urgent message you want to deliver right now to the people of Florida?
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA (on the phone): The biggest thing is if you are in the evacuation zone, you need to -- you can evacuate, you need to evacuate as fast as you can. Or open up shelters. We have almost 400 shelters open right now. We are opening up more shelters in every county in the storm's path. But I want everybody to be safe. I want everybody to survive this storm. So the biggest thing is if you are in an evacuation zone, you have to get to safety.
I am really concerned about the keys right now. They are going to have 18 to 15 inches of rain as you know. And they are going to have unbelievable storm surge. So and they - you know, the winds is already impacting them. Southwest Florida with this potential of 15 feet of storm surge. I mean, it is going to be devastating to our state.
But like you said, you know, everybody is going to be impacted in Florida. This is a statewide impact. And it is a gigantic storm. So we are working hard. We have great emergency management people at the state and local level. Great law enforcement. We are going everything we can to get people into shelters and take care of every citizen in the state.
BERMAN: And Governor Scott, we have seen you so many times every day over the course of this week delivering such a consistent message. And it is important to keep on delivering it so people heed the warnings. We have heard from some people on the west coast t Florida. Again, these shelters are open. There is space on them. But in some cases, the public busses to get to these shelters have stopped running. So if you are still at home in one of these cities and you want to get to a shelter, what do you do?
SCOTT: So you can call 1-800-342-3557. That's the state emergency number. We are going to keep trying to do - we are going to do everything we can to help you evacuate until we can't go anywhere because of either the wind or the water or the rain, whatever it is. We'll do everything we can. I know local law enforcement is doing the same thing. We want people to get to safety, but do it as fast as you can. And just every place where you can get to safety you need to get to safety. Whether it is a shelter or family or friend, it is not convenient. It is not like your house. The evacuations are not convenient. It's no fun. But I want everybody to live. I love my family. I know everybody loves their family and they want to see them all after this storm.
BERMAN: You know, Governor Scott, you know, people can see wind. One of the reasons we stand out here is so people can see the force so they understand how serious it is. For a lot of people, storm surge is sort of a theoretical concept, not something necessarily they have seen firsthand. Along the west coast, especially Naples, where I know you're from, and up in Tampa. These are low lying cities, Tampa. The bay there, you know, that water could come up and a whole lot of people could be affected. What is the plan?
SCOTT: The plan is to, you know, we are telling people where we believe the impacted areas are. We have evacuations zones where everybody is doing everything to get people out of these evacuation zones. We are continuing to monitor this storm as it moved west and these storm surge numbers have gone up so fast. And, you're right, people don't know what it means so just stop and think about it.
If you had a wall of 15 feet of water just come in so quickly and then pull out so quickly, we had a hurricane last year up in the panhandle and there was a lady, we had six-foot storm surge that stayed in her house because of her pets. At three feet she knew she wouldn't live so she finally got out. She only survived because she just happened to have the last high water vehicle who was just driving by her house on the way out. If it wasn't for that, she would have passed away.
You can't survive these storm surges. You can't survive them. So you have to get out. You have to evacuate. I know all across the state. We are still trying to get everybody to safety. But this storm is coming, so understand this storm is here, we can't evacuate anybody.
[19:10:34] BERMAN: Right. The only way to keep yourselves safe from storm surge is to get out before or while there is still time.
Last question, Governor Scott, if I could take up one more minute of your time, what do you need right now?
SCOTT: I need everybody to listen and get out. That is the (INAUDIBLE). From my standpoint at this point, we have done everything we can to prepare. I need every citizen that is in an evacuation area to say, you know, I love my family, I love my friends. I'm going to go to safety. I'm not going to take a chance or riding this out. There is no fun in riding this out. All this is life threatening. And I'm not going to do it. That's what I want everybody to say to themselves and do everything they can to get to safety.
BERMAN: Governor Rick Scott, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for the continuous message you have been giving to the people of Florida to get to safety and take this storm very seriously. It's going to be a long night for the people of Florida. It is going to be a long night and long day for everyone, including you, so good luck. Thank you for your time, sir.
SCOTT: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right. Governor Rick Scott of Florida. We saw him just a few minutes ago briefing. I promise you we will see him again.
One of the key things that you need to do as a public figure is keep people informed. People do have the information of just how dangerous this storm is. It is up to them to listen.
I think Chris Cuomo back in Naples, you know, it is hard to get communications out in this type of storm. Chris Cuomo back in Naples has things sorted out. Let's go back to him -- Chris.
CUOMO: John, that's the job. I mean, that's why we are here is to get out the information. We heard from the FEMA director yesterday saying the job of the government is three-fold. It is informed, inspire and then influence, especially before the storm to get people out.
Here in Naples, the governor was discussing a specific concern here. He has home here but that is not his concern. It is that it is low- line. It is spongy. It can't take a lot of water and it expects a lot of storm surge. We have had a couple of cells come through here, (INAUDIBLE), nothing the likes of which my come when hurricane Irma is here in earnest some time tomorrow afternoon and the streets flood very easily. It pools quickly. And that lets you know that it just doesn't have a lot of threshold for water. And that means things are going to flood easily.
The number one killer in a hurricane is not the wind. I know intuitively you think it is. But it's drowning. And that storm surge is the number one component of that. That's why the governor keeps telling the story of an elderly woman who only survived because she got lucky. And that is a very important story because you have to make a decision. Is it worth taking a chance with your life just to make sure you get and stay home more and get back into the business of recovering sooner?
Because that's the proposition for a lot of the people that we are showing you on television that say I'll be OK. I'll stick it out. I don't think it is going to be as bad. I have been here before. You are taking a chance with your life if you're in an area of acute concern. That's something for you to think about.
Now, the governor when he was giving his details, the big numbers, 70,000 are currently in shelters. They still need nurses to help with the elderly and the infirmed. He said the need was a thousand, it is now less because so many of you who have those skills have stepped up and thank you for that. When we have seen people stepping up to help one another, it is one of the most beautiful and essentially components of recovery. He said they are expecting up to two feet of rain in the keys.
So let's get to Bill Weir. He is down there.
Bill, two things spoke to your situation. One was the governor was worried about the amount of water you are going to see there, the amount of rain. And, two, he hates seeing the people who say I can stick this out. I know better than those who are telling me to go. You have been experiencing that firsthand.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. We have seen prime examples of both of those, Chris. We have actually moved our location over to the bay side.
Ryan, why don't you give them a shot of where we are. We are kind of huddling under a fish cleaning Tiki hut there. But this will be the dirty side of the storm will maybe come up on this side. We are seeing, you know, it is sort of the battle of the bands. One comes and then it eases and the next one comes stronger and more vengeance. But we are in this little bit of a hurricane hole, as sailors have called it, surrounded by mangrove swamps.
This harbor is thankfully quiet other than a few car alarms that have been touched off by the wind which adds even more eerie sound track to this whole scene here. But we are at another big marine, Curtis (ph) marine on the other ocean side of Key Largo (ph).
And take a look at this video. You see the strangest things when you are hanging around boat harbors in the Florida Keys. These are hearty folks. The woman in the kayak, her name is Carol. They call her the queen of that marina. She has been sailing all her life. Her boat, (INAUDIBLE), she tells me, was the only boat to survive hurricane Andrew back in 1992. For some people that would be a sign to get out of sailing. But obviously, it hasn't stopped her. And she took a steak knife, put it between her teeth, paddled out to tighten the marring lines of the both next to hers so it wouldn't bash into her boat. These are folks about five different families that are riding out the storm. They do have a concrete shelter right next to that marina right there with, you know, steel shutters. So they feel pretty safe there.
But there is just, you know, the governor can say it until he turns blue. Unfortunately there is a population in the keys that is never going to evacuate, like retreat is just not in their vocabulary and all you can do is cross your fingers for them and hope Irma spares them and ultimately that they can maybe pay it back and use those boats to aid others once this thing blows past -- Chris. CUOMO: You know, Bill, we were talking yesterday how a cank (ph), you
know, an Italian that did word for that is (INAUDIBLE). And that is the term that people use when someone is not thinking quite right. And you know, a little bit of this is tongue and cheek. And a little of it is deadly serious.
The governor doesn't like hearing the stories of these people for a reason. We need to be there. Bill Weir is doing excellent work letting you know what's happening on the ground there. And actually it's helping the first responders and the government officials as well to assess the risk they will have to deal with afterwards.
So Bill, thanks to you. Stay as safe as you can. We will check back with you in a little bit.
But remember why the governor doesn't like it. Of course we prize rugged individualism in the United States. It is signal to treat of Americans. But not in this situation because you are putting others at risk. The first responders who have in this case down here in South Florida, they have an amazing team. We spent time with them. We know they are prepared. We know they are uniquely capable and some 50 strong men and woman are tasked with being here for the rest of us.
But they have left their own families and many of them are in jeopardy to help save as many as they can. Why tax them anymore than necessary? Why create risk? Why take a chance if you didn't need to? That's the assessment the governor wants everybody to make. He wants him to air on the side of caution. This is a concern that has been specific to where Kyung Lah is. She is in Miami Beach, another spongy place, another place that is expecting storm surge, another place that has struggle with getting the mandatory evacuation orders heeded.
Kyung, what have you seen in the last couple of hours since we last checked in?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is still people walking about, Chris. And it is really astonishing, considering that this place has been under a mandatory evacuation order for a couple of days now. And we are hearing some very strong words from the city to make sure that people heed it. And in about 45 minutes a curfew goes into effect and the police have said that if you are out and about, you are subject to arrest.
Now, I can say to be completely fair that this is southwest and it does look like many people in this astonishingly, bit normally busy place, you can see it completely boarded up. This part of it is completely empty. There aren't any people out. There is surprising for south beach so it does appear that some people are, you know, trying to heed the mandatory evacuation. There is even a little bit of art here.
But one thing that the fire department wants to make sure and the city wants to make sure that people understood is that with the track changing, with the forecast showing that it is heading all west, they do not want people to become overconfidence and think that they can come back to Miami Beach. Here's what we heard from the city. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Are you concerned that with the latest weather forecast people will say, we are done. We are coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope not. We want them to stay safe. Stay inside because this is still a highly, highly serious situation and dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And they don't want people to come back. What they want to see is this. They want it to be completely empty. And we did see police officers who were out and about. So they are absolutely, Chris, planning on enforcing that curfew rule and talking to people and making sure they get inside if they have not heeded that mandatory evacuation order.
So one other thing I want to point out, Chris, if you could walk with me this way, you can see over here, the lights are still working. We actually have power here. There have been a number of places that have lost power in Miami. But here in Miami Beach, we have not. There's a guy on his bicycle. Hopefully we knows at 8:00 that he is going to be subject to arrest - Chris.
[19:20:23] CUOMO: Now Kyung, there had been reports that about 35,000 were already without power in Miami-Dade in that (INAUDIBLE) area. And you know, that's a frightening suggestion because the storm isn't even here yet. They are expecting as many as a million people could be left without power. And not just for hours, but for days, maybe even longer. That is the word from the government officials tasked with monitoring the situation.
Again, Governor Scott in no uncertain terms said if you are in a low lying or evacuation area, where it is mandatory, heed the warning if you can. And if not, please have a plan and have the supplies you need to go as long as three days without any help. That's how long it could take.
We are going to take a break right now. When we come back, we are going to go and speak with one of the people who has made a decision they can tough it out. They will be OK. They happen to be in Key West, one of the most vulnerable part of the keys, which is the most vulnerable part of Florida.
Please stay safe. Heed the calls to evacuate, if you can. And stay with CNN if you are going to be watching the coverage.
[19:26:16] BERMAN: All right. John Berman in Miami. It is raining very windy now. Wind gusts now over 40 miles an hour. Very strong to the point now where probably the search and rescue crews and first responders hesitant to go out. Also getting dark.
Joining me now David Halstead, the former director of emergency management for the state of Florida.
And David, it is significant as we go into nighttime here, 7:30 or so at night. What do people need to know as it gets dark?
DAVID HALSTEAD, FORMER DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR THE STATE OF FLORIDA: Well, what they need to know is their first responders as you mentioned the 911 system, one sustained wind reach about 40, 45 miles an hour. Law enforcement and fire department are going to be very ready (ph) and probably eventually stop responding to 911 calls. So everyone, especially down on the Keys at this point are probably on their own. Later this evening we are going to see Miami and probably even lower in the Naples there will fall into that same realm. At some point tonight 911 calls cannot be answered.
BERMAN: And when you say on your own, how would you advise people to be on your own once that point has come?
HALSTEAD: Well, first of all, they have to know hopefully at least a little basic first aid or CPR or have a neighbor that knows it. Someone close by in case something were to happen because heart attacks happen during storms just as a happen other times. That's one reason that people, especially elderly people should make sure they have evacuated. But certainly knowing a basic first-aid or having someone in their immediate family that is there, that knows some immediate first aid is very important.
BERMAN: And if you made the decision to stay at home, don't move now.
HALSTEAD: Don't move now. That time for movement, especially down in the keys is over with. The time for movement certainly out of the Miami area is pretty much over. You should be in a shelter. Get to a shelter now.
BERMAN: I want to be clear that Governor Rick Scott made clear that if you are further up on the west coast, and Naples and For Myers, there still is time to move. I meant, once it gets to be dark, once the winds get north of 40 miles an hour, that's the time to stay as safe as you can at home.
David, one of the big concern is storm surge. And here in Miami we are looking at a storm surge of three to six feet which would bring the water up, you know, to our knees or higher right now. On the west coast of Florida they are talking 10 to 15 feet. That is a serious concern.
HALSTEAD: I think Governor Scott said it best. That is something that is almost unimaginable. You can't even imagine people surviving that kind of storm surge. Over on the west coast, unlike here, it is -- the ground is typically saturated already. It doesn't hold a lot of water when it rains. So a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet is just unimaginable and it is going to travel inland a lot of ways.
BERMAN: So it was your job when you were director of emergency management to plan for that. Look, I should also acknowledge it is now raining and blowing harder than it has yet. It was your job to plan for worst case scenario. And I imagine a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet would be something like the worst case scenario there. So how do you deal with that?
HALSTEAD: Well, the locals have a solid plan. Certainly, (INAUDIBLE) county where Naples is at, Lee County where Fort Myers is at, they know where to move their people. We did a regional evacuation study. That is we did light activated radar all along the coast of Florida, the entire coast, out of funds we got from the 2004 and 2005 seasons. So we know exactly where the high points are. We know exactly where the low points are. The locals know that. And they will move their people to safety based on a 10 to 12 possibly 15 feet storm surge. They will have to move.
BERMAN: David Halstead, thanks so much more being with us, former director of Florida emergency management.
And that's the message we heard a moment ago from Rick Scott as well. Listen to your local officials. They are the ones making the decisions. They are the ones that know best. If they say get to higher ground, get to a shelter and there is still time to do it, do it.
So David, stick around.
I want to bring in now John Hines, who I believe is joining us from Key West. John Hines is a chef. Despite the order for mandatory evacuation, he decided to stay.
John, if you can hear me, before I talk about the decision to stay, we haven't had a chance to talk to anyone down in Key West yet. Give me an update of what things look like outside right now.
[19:30:30] JOHN HINES, KEY WEST CHEF (on the phone): Right now, it is really windy and starting to get pretty squirrely. It is not raining really hard, but we actually have waves in Key West which we never had. The right caps, limited waves, the palm trees are bending pretty good probably 50 mile and hour runs. It's starting to rain a little bit but not quite bad. It is going to be a lot worse. I believe Irma is about 110 miles out and she is about to smack us right in the mouth.
BERMAN: So, John, again, there were mandatory evacuations orders in place for the entire Florida Keys. Why did you decide to stay?
HINES: We decided to stay when we first knew the thing was coming. We were on the fourth floor of a concrete condo. The hurricane is not going to knock down the concrete condo and we' are on the fourth floor so we are not worried about storm surge. You know, I'm a chef, so we obviously have plenty of food. We have plenty of water. We have plenty of mood and we are ready to ride it out.
BERMAN: If you said plenty of food. John, I'm not hearing you too clearly, you know, congratulations on that position. You might need it through the course of the night.
We are looking at live pictures by the way from Key West, Florida right now to give people a sense of what things are like out there. You said plenty of provisions, talk to me about your plans for the
night. It is going to be a long night, John, and a long morning. What are you going to do? I know you are up on the fourth floor, but you know, are you in the bathroom, you are in a stairwell? Talk to me about the plan here.
HINES: Right now, we are sitting on the couch watching CNN and eating ribs. We have our storm shutters, you know, closed. We are ready to ho. We know it's going to get loud. It is going to get nasty. Power is probably going to go out. And it is going to be warm in the morning. But I'm here with Melissa. We will hang out and we will do what we can. And when it clears out we will go to test the damage and the mess and help folks need help and treat the first responders.
BERMAN: Again, if you are sitting on a couch dry right now, watching TV, I'm a bit envious as it is pouring rain out here and the wind has started to blow.
Again, I talked to you about your plan for tonight, your decision to stay. How about the days going forward, John? Because you know Key West could be cutoff. It could be days before help arrives for you.
HINES: Yes, sir, yes, sir. You know, we talked about that before, too. If a bridge did taken out, I got to say, I would much rather be home with, her with the food, and you know, than on the other side of the bridge wondering where I'm going to stay, how I'm going to get back, you know, 12 million, probably ten million people zigzagged Florida because they thought they had to go to Miami then they got evacuated from where they evacuated and you know, it's crazy. You have to figure out hotels. You got to figure when you will be get back. We are already here. We are home. We have food. We are good to go. We just felt it was safer to be here in a category five concrete complex.
BERMAN: Look, John Hines, we wish you and yours the best tonight and tomorrow. You made the decision to stay. Again, you know, if the decision the governor of Florida is telling people in places where they still can get out, you should. Key West not one of them anymore, but if you are on the west coast of Florida, if you are in Fort Myers, if you are in Tampa and the local officials are telling you to evacuate these are warnings, you need to listen to. That from the governor of Florida just a short time ago.
All right. We are now getting warnings in a lot of the counties of Florida of tornadoes, tornado warnings. It happens when the wind gets as strong as this and starts to swirl.
CNN's special live coverage of hurricane Irma continues after this quick break.
[19:33:35] CUOMO: All right. CNN is in continuing coverage of hurricane Irma. It is no longer an if, but a when and a how in terms of how this storm is going to impact the coast of Florida and really the entire state according to governor Scott. Now, there are different variables that are being injected. Obviously
rain, wind, flood and storm surge. You are also hearing about tornado warnings and now something else.
Let's go to Tom Sater in the weather system. Water spouts, now what are you seeing and what does that mean about how this storm is developing?
SATER: Well, Chris, when you take a look at the radar, this is probably one of the better ways not just to analyze the eye but the feather (hp) bands and of course the circulation. When these storms are picking up this energy offshore, and these bands coming, we saw this is with Harvey, this is what devastated parts of Houston and Beaumont even days later. These bands are generating a quite a bit of energy and it is called training where it is one thunder storm after another like one box car after another.
We do have some video I believe of a waterspout taken from a crew in Miami. This is not unusual. In fact, we are going to see numerous tornado warnings. Now, it is hard to say because we do have tornado warnings now if this thunderstorm cell is responsible for the tornado warnings we have. Many times these will come on shore and do some damage. But if we get back to the radar and I will going to be able to zoom in a little bit more, you will be able to see the tornado warnings in effect.
First, we have to watch and now we will put in some of the warnings that you can see. Now, we got Miami-Dade. This is very close to homestead, but the thunderstorm cell is north of them, so they are in the clear for now until the next band moves in. Then we have Brower County and to the west of Fort Lauderdale it is the thunderstorm cell with the water as well.
To the North, now, you get into Palm Beach County. It is very possible that the bands that you see moving in, the ones that are down here now in Miami-Dade, this could be the warning that pretty much produced that waterspout because it was some time ago to get the video fed in. But again, this is going to continue to be the story. And I know that we are always talking about, all right, the strongest winds moving to southwestern Florida, moving up the western coast. This is why Miami and Hollywood and Boka Ratan (ph) and Dell Ray beach are not out of this.
Sure, they may not have the catastrophic winds. But when you have tornadoes and again 60, 60, 80 tornado warnings for a land fall is not uncommon. We had over 200 with Harvey. This event is just beginning and this will be the threat throughout the evening and throughout the day the next couple of days all the way up the coast - Chris.
[19:41:10] CUOMO: The wind numbers get the headline, but the number one cause of death in a hurricane is you have been instructing us all day and throughout this coverage is drowning. And that's why storm surge is so important.
Tom, before I lose you, if I still have you, we are in Naples and we have seen now some concentrated cell activity here. SATER: All right.
CUOMO: It was hard but now they seem to be coming in bands. What do you see? Because the streets here are flooding quickly, and this is one of the areas of concern because it is a spongy place. It can't take a lot of water which is why it was mandatory evacuation even before the path shift. What are you seeing?
SATER: All right, let me show you. Besides the rain bands, and this is what's important about where you are, Chris. This is a storm surge inundation map that comes from the national hurricane center. It is almost based on a worst case scenario. It is about the 90th percentile. Everything you see in red is over nine, ten feet, OK. You get into orange and you are talking six to nine. Yellows are good three to six.
Now, I'm going to drop, go in here. You see where Naples is. Let's come in a little bit closer. When you look at this area of Naples and you think, OK, we got a storm surge. It is going to go over the beach. It is going to go over the dunes, maybe flood, you know, some coastal hotels.
This is ten miles in. It is passed ten miles, past golden gate where you are over three to six inches of rain -- feet of storm surge and the surge. And then of course the storm surge gets greater closer to the coast.
Let's continue and move up a little bit because I think everybody should see this. When you get a little bit closer, we are going to go in now. You can see where pie now and center is. Notice all the red inundating everything. Here is Fort Myers. Up the river, all the way in to Fort Myers, you have got red, which is over nine feet. So the surge is shoving everything and every canal up in every little coastline as we head up to Punta Gorda here. Again, you are going to see up toward Cleveland north ward of Southport, all of this is inundated.
You know, four years ago, Chris, with super typhoon Hayan made landfall in the Philippines, it is the strongest ever to make landfall anywhere in the world, 63,000 people died mainly from the storm surge. Days and days and even weeks later when you interview some of them that survived, the villagers, they were asked, why didn't you leave? You knew a storm surge was coming and they said, you know, we didn't know what a storm surge was. If you would have used the word tsunami, we would have left. So there is that educational gap there that I know that the national hurricane center is really trying to close. And that is everything you see in these amounts, that is above dry land. That does not include the waves that are crushing in as well above it. Do not worry about low and high tide. That's minimal right now because this is a long duration event.
CUOMO: Well, Tom, thank you very much for increasing the information and the urgency. You have been explaining it throughout the day. We will keep prompting you and having the rest of us tell us storm surge is no joke. It is not just about the coastline coming up a little bit higher and losing some beach. It is about literally having a wall of water come into places where it should not be and it will overwhelm you.
Tom, thank you very much.
Let's take a quick break here. When we come back, we are going to check up all of our different correspondents that are peppering the coasts of Florida down into Miami, all the different places that the governor said they are most concerned about right now. If you are in Florida and in an evacuation zone, please heed the governor's warning. Do what you can to be safe and stay with CNN.
[19:48:42] CUOMO: All right. We are following the path of hurricane Irma. Now it is all but a certainty that Florida is going to get hit. The keys are first in the path and we have been putting out the call that is echoed by the governor and literally everyone who knows anything about this hurricane that you need to get out if you are in an evacuation zone.
Someone who heeded the call and with good reason is joining us on the phone right now. Her name is Stephanie Besil and she was in Key Largo and she evacuated. And you know why? Because she is in a sensitive situation.
Stephanie, can you hear me right now?
STEPHANIE BESIL, EXPECTANT MOTHER EVACUEE (on the phone): Yes, I can hear you.
CUOMO: The good news is the beautiful news, the blessing of this situation is that you are pregnant with twins. Am I right?
BESIL: Yes, I am.
CUOMO: Look. And that is a beautiful thing. You already have a young child and we know that your child and your husband are with you. You evacuated put of Key Largo because you have twins, so that makes you a high risk pregnancy by definition, not because of any specific reason. You are about 30 or so weeks in. Where did you evacuate to and what is the situation there?
BESIL: We evacuated to Baptist hospital in Miami. Everything so far has been really good here. It's been very calm. The staff has been great. Very helpful. There's really been no panic. We decided to come here because we just decided it was the safest place with my pregnancy. If anything were to go wrong, we didn't want to have to worry about driving anywhere in a storm because we knew anywhere we go in Florida is going to get affected somehow. So it just seemed the safest place to be would be in the hospital.
[19:50:26] CUOMO: Smart. Smart thing to do. Better safe than sorry, of course. It is inconvenient. Everybody would rather be home, made even more difficult by the pregnancy. And you got your kid there and your husband. Certainly frustrating, not easy, but you did what the situation demands. Let me ask you, what's it like in that hospital? You said it's calm,
but how many people are in there? How many expectant moms made the same kind of choice? Have you learned anything?
BESIL: I think there are around 200 moms that are pregnant here. Yes, it's a lot. I mean, there's a lot of people here, but, I mean, everybody seems to be kind of following the storm on their phone. Everyone is remaining calm. But you can definitely feel everyone's anxious waiting for this to get over with and to see what the aftermath is.
CUOMO: Now, the stress, the anxiety, you know again, these pregnancies are sensitive especially with twins. We have them in my family. Are you OK? Is everything alright? Are you doing OK? Are the babies OK?
BESIL: I'm doing OK now. It's definitely been a very, very overwhelming last few days just deciding where we were going to go and what we were going to do. So it was stressful leaving our house not knowing what we were going to come back to. I mean, as my husband and I were locking the door, we both, you know, shed some tears because we don't know what to expect. But now being here is really the first time I started to feel relieved. And at least I know that I'm safe. I don't know what to expect when I go home, I don't know about my house, but I do know my family is safe and my babies.
CUOMO: And you know what? You put your finger right on it there, Stephanie. You know, there's a lot of unknown. There's frustration and fear that goes along with that. Our homes mean so much to us, but you are in Key Largo. That's where you live. Beautiful spot, but not a great place to be right now.
And you just said it. What matters most, you have secured. The babies inside you, your little baby with your husband, you guys are all safe. That's what matters most you have secured. The babies inside you, your little baby with your husband, you guys are all safe. That's what matters most. You can always go home. You can always rebuild but you can't replace what's with you right now. God bless. Be safe. We will check in with you. And Stephanie, thank you for talking to us.
BESIL: Yes. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: All right. Who knows? We don't know what the children are. We don't knot even know if Stephanie knows. But as we are wondering if there will be an Irma in the future of that family. We wish them well. Two hundred mommies to be are in that hospital. What a situation these hurricanes create for the entire community.
We are going to take a break right now. When we come back, we will update on the path, what the storm has done, just left Cuba not too long ago, and what to expect in the keys and beyond. Stay with CNN.
[19:55:21] CUOMO: All right. The coverage of hurricane Irma isn't just about what's going to happen next, not just about the United States, but what it's done to the Caribbean and now Cuba. We are getting some of the first images that we have seen. All the obvious signs, but really terrible destruction. Trees are down. Flooding is obvious. The winds that damage to so many structures there.
Remember, this is Cuba. We don't get as accurate and quick communication as we do from some of the other nations that have been hit, so I don't have numbers for you right now. The big concern is what happened there in Cuba and is this a look at what is to come for us here?
Please stay with CNN. We have Anderson Cooper who is in Fort Myers, north of here on the western coast of Florida. Now the focus of concern for hurricane Irma. He is going to pick up our coverage right after this break. Please stay safe and stay with CNN.
[19:59:31] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Anderson Cooper here in Ft. Myers, Florida. 8:00 p.m. That is the shot from Miami. You get a sense of the rain, some of the wind, and the impact there on boats. Starting to see that water rising and of course storms surge, that is going to be the story in the next hours in Miami and throughout much of southern Florida.
We have reporters all over Florida to talk you to tonight as well as in Cuba and elsewhere. So many places that have been affected already by this killer hurricane.
We are expecting now into tomorrow here on the west coast. As you know early today, the storm moved west --