Return to Transcripts main page


Tropical Storm Nate Lashes The Gulf Coast; Nate Leaves 250,000 Plus Without Power In Mississippi; Trump Speaks Out On Tillerson,; Trump: North Korea Should Have Been Handled 25 Years Ago; Interview With Dauphin Island, Alabama Mayor Jeff Collier; Motive Of Las Vegas Gunman Still Unclear. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 8, 2017 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: -- "SNL" opened their show with Aldean delivering a message to the victims and their families and then he performed a tribute to Tom Petty who died Monday by playing, "I Won't Back Down."

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. We are so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. Breaking news, Nate no longer a hurricane downgraded to a tropical storm, but parts of the gulf coast still suffering from widespread flooding.

PAUL: So this morning, as you're waking up here, we know that Nate made landfall as a Category 1 overnight and here are some of the pictures to prove it. The biggest concern right now for some areas is storm surge, but this is how powerful it was when it hit land in Biloxi overnight.

BLACKWELL: The flooding is so high the Biloxi firefighters have to wade through flood waters as this Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi. Look at this, the cars, a couple of them at least, still in the hotel's parking garage just floating around being tossed around by those water.

PAUL: Now last check the storm knocked out the power to nearly 73,000 customers in Alabama, the Florida panhandle and Mississippi, although, we did get more recent numbers just a couple of minutes ago, 270,000 actually is how many people in Mississippi right now do not have power.

We do know that crews are on stand-by there and getting ready to go out as soon as the sun comes out to help a lot of you who are sitting in that mess to get power back this morning hopefully to remedy the situation.

BLACKWELL: The reports tracking impact of the storm with a team of meteorologist here in Atlanta. We got reporters in Alabama and Mississippi. We are going to start with our meteorologist, Chad Myers. Chad, not done yet with Nate.


BLACKWELL: Where is it headed next?

MYERS: Well, it's headed to Dothan and Montgomery, Alabama and even some wind for Atlanta, but it's a 70-mile-per-hour storm. So, I know we are calling it Tropical Storm Nate, but it still has a lot of wind and a lot of power line downed, damage potential.

Making landfall here second landfall near Biloxi and last night, it did make a landfall near Venice. That little finger that sticks out there as the Plaquemines Parish commissioner talked about a little bit earlier, it's still the wind damage.

We did see wind 90 miles per hour or 89 at least, that is close justify. And surge, surge was the big deal, 10-foot of surge in places like Biloxi. Ocean Springs and Gulfport.

Biloxi itself, Pascagoula, Dolphin Island, all had that same type of surge. So I know our focus is where our crews on, but the entire area is suffering as well and now we are getting the storm into parts of Pensacola all the way into Panama City and then it moves up.

This is the game-changer for Tennessee, for Kentucky, for West Virginia. This is going to be a flood event for you. Flood warnings going on eventually here today because we could see 5 to 7 inches of rainfall as it slides along the front.

The front will not let it go any further to the west and so that's going to make the rainfall focused in one spot, very close to the center of the storm or just to the east of the storm and it's still going to be a 35-mile-per-hour storm in Louisville.

So, we are going to see power lines, trees damaged all the way up and down Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia and even across Chattanooga and Knoxville as the day goes on. A quick moving storm, it was the fastest moving storm ever in the Gulf of Mexico right now.

Still moving at 23 miles per hour. So, there is still damage out there. There is still the potential for tornadoes today as well. Biggest I've ever seen water spouts came on shore yesterday with tornado warnings there across the gulf coast. They are still possible today.

PAUL: They are. OK.

BLACKWELL: Chad, thank you so much. We got an update from officials in Alabama. The number of customers without power now up to 50,000 there. Add that to more than 270,000 in Mississippi and thousands more in Alabama and along -- rather the Florida panhandle.

We are going to -- the morning goes on, see the full scope of the damage created by Nate. We do know Louisiana, no power outages there. We learned that from the Lieutenant Governor Billy Nunguesser. We'll continue to check those other states. Let's go now to Mississippi.

PAUL: They felt some of the worse of Nate not too long ago. The storm surge is one of the biggest issues there right now and who stood through the whole thing, one Mr. Martin Savidge, who is still there in Biloxi. So, let's see here, Martin. Sun should be coming up here shortly. What are you noticing?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think that is going to be a big tale right there, the sun coming up. The good news is I can already see breaks in the clouds which means we will see sunshine here. Wind still blowing but the surge that we had has definitely subsided.

[06:05:03] I don't know if you can see it behind me that is Highway 90. At one point, the water was almost up to where I am standing here in the front of the Tourist Bureau so that is how much water came out of the Gulf of Mexico, came pouring on to land here and blocked that major highway.

That was the big concern especially for first responders because that's main east/west road along the coast here. There is flooding and there is going to be a problem with that flooding.

You already saw some of the casinos have suffered. It didn't get into any of the gaming areas we are being told, but it did get into some of the public spaces and got into the garages and other areas and no doubt as the day wears on and we begin to hear from more outlying areas, flooding is going to be a real, real problem.

The good news is they are starting to have traffic go on this roadway. We are still under curfew here and going to be until 9:00 a.m. local time and then you talk about the power outages, those are also adding up.

So, it's not like the storm came and went without any problems. It's clear there are going to be problems. It just wasn't as bad as perhaps they feared, but they are still adding things up -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Martin Savidge there in Biloxi, thank you so much. Let's stay in the city of Biloxi and bring in Vincent Creel, public affairs manager for the city. Vincent, good to have you back this morning. What is your priority right now?

VINCENT CREEL, PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Our priority is going to be getting down on Highway 90 and as Martin referred to, getting that roadway cleared to where -- that is our economic life blood, Highway 90, which runs along the entire Mississippi gulf coast.

Getting that roadway back up and running. I got to tell you, originally, I thought was we were going to have a fast-moving freight train coming through Biloxi and talk of a Category 2 with an 11-foot storm surge. We will take what we got any day of the week.

If you look out there, there is a lot of debris that needs to be cleaned up and power outages, but frankly we are not aware of any serious injuries or loss of life so we are very thankful today in Biloxi, Mississippi. PAUL: How many people do you have on standby to try to assess and clean up, just trying to get the timeline --

CREEL: Well, our governor yesterday (inaudible) that the state had assets down here, that as soon as those winds died down and that sun came up, we are going to have that equipment out there on that highway and be cleaning up.

We are looking forward to that process beginning just as soon as we can. I know the public is anxious for that curfew to end at 9:00 a.m. So that we can start getting things back together and let the public know we are open for business and ready to move forward.

This was something that could have just been so bad and it was just such -- it was a storm, quite frankly, you have to wonder if it lived up to its billing and we are very thankful that we escaped the way we did.

BLACKWELL: Vincent, I'm seeing some of the video of the storm surge. We've also got pictures of some of the water coming in. Often the water doesn't move out as quickly as it comes in. Any reports yet of standing water still several hours after the worst of the storm?

CREEL: For the most part, throughout Biloxi, as I understand, the water has receded. Unfortunately, the remnants we are seeing is debris that's been left in its wake. I think that is one of the really big issues in addition to our power crews that are out there looking to restore electricity to those who lost it.

This was quite an impact for the city of Biloxi and the gulf coast when you consider here, here on the Mississippi gulf coast, we had just thousands of visitors in town all week who were looking forward to winding down an event that grew people from across the country.

I'm referring to crews on the coast where we had 8,200 vehicles from, I believe, 47 states here in Biloxi. Do you know before this storm struck, we had 750 RVs along our waterfront? Just right there exposed to the elements --

BLACKWELL: You had to get them out of town two days before the storm started.

CREEL: -- without injury or anything was just fantastic.

PAUL: People listen to you and that was very, very good to hear and we are glad you have no injuries or rescues or anything to report to us. We hope that everything goes smoothly as the sun comes up. We are going to keep checking in to make sure that everything is OK throughout the day. Thank you so much, Vincent Creel. We appreciate it.

CREEL: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Alabama is feeling Nate right now. Some parts of the state are dealing with significant flooding as we have seen and thousands more are without power. We've got Ryan Young there in Mobile for us. What more are you seeing, Ryan?

[06:10:08] RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. You can see the convention center here in Mobile. They built that a

little higher, but you can see the water that's in the street. Let me tell you something, they have had to make several rescues here because of cars getting stuck in the intersection.

Just on this side, there is actually a car that's still sitting in that intersection with its lights flashing. The firefighters just went and did another check to make sure that no one was in that car.

Overnight, they've done some other rescues at homes where they had to go in and save two to three people from different homes because of localized flooding. As we drove through the area, the good news is the flooding is near where the water is.

So, that is where it was expected to be and of course, this is some of the storm surge that has come into this area. But throughout the areas that are a little higher we haven't seen significant flooding or trees down.

But they did make some rescues for people who decided to go out and kind of tour and see what is going on. In fact, we had firefighters and rescue workers trying to stop cars that were trying to drive through this. You can tell that the water once it takes over that car is just too late to get someone to stop driving through it.

So, obviously, they want people to stay inside during this time. You can see how high the water is in this part. We walked all the way out to that way it would be waist high. The good news here, no in terms of significant damage. No serious injuries. None of that happened so overnight really a sigh of relief.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Ryan Young, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump talked to reporters about -- he talked about a lot, several topics last night including his relationship with Rex Tillerson and John Kelly and what he plans to do about North Korea. You'll hear it next.

PAUL: Also, the Las Vegas gunman left behind key calculations pertaining to his massacre. Remember this note that was left in the hotel room? Authorities believe they know what those numbers mean now.



BLACKWELL: President Trump attended an RNC fundraiser in North Carolina last night, but before he left the White House he weighed in on a few topics, North Korea and Harvey Weinstein and the reports of a growing rift between himself and Rex Tillerson after the secretary of state reportedly called him a moron. He also talked about the future of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: John Kelly is one of the best people I've ever worked with. He is doing an incredible job and he told me for the last two months he loves it more than anything he's ever done. He is a military man. But he loves doing this which is chief of staff more than anything he has ever done. He's doing a great job. He will be here, in my opinion, for the entire seven remaining years.

(Inaudible question)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. He likes Secretary Tillerson and so do I. We have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher, but other than that, we have a very good relationship.


BLACKWELL: The president said, again, he wants to make a deal with Democrats on Obamacare. He says that program is exploding, but he would not clarify something else. His calm before the storm comment. He also would not talk about his tweets on North Korea.

All this is coming as this is new AP University of Chicago poll that finds President Trump's approval rating is at an all-time low, 32 percent.

PAUL: So, Julian Zelizer, CNN's political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University is with us now as well as Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News. Thank you, Gentlemen and good morning to you on this early Sunday morning.

We just heard there from the president what he was saying about Rex Tillerson. It's interesting, Julian, because I know you wrote a piece for CNN and in it you say sometimes unhappy cabinet officials can have a beneficial effect by staying on the job but not with Trump. Why not?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, sometimes the point of tension becomes so severe over policy where secretary fundamentally disagrees with the direction of administration, that stain in the administration is not necessarily the best thing to do.

If Secretary Tillerson ultimately departed, it would have big political ramifications and it could certainly help to undercut some of the support that President Trump has retained among Republicans.

PAUL: Now, I want talk about too what he is saying about North Korea. He had a couple of tweets yesterday saying, "Presidents and their administration have been talking to North Korea for 25 years. Agreements made and massive amounts of money paid has not worked. Agreements violated before the ink was dry making fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry but only one thing will work." He is not giving us any indication as to what that one thing is. But Errol, is there any sense that the president, when he says only one thing will work, does have a plan for one thing?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not so sure he does have a plan. The reality is not much has changed as far as stalemate that we have been in before. Let's give him the 25 years that he is talking about. It's a lot longer than that.

So, if you've got a situation where the president says we have been wasting our time and money and nothing has, quote/unquote, "worked." Well, look. We haven't had a nuclear war on the peninsula. That is not a small thing.

I think what past administrations have done has, in fact, worked. The goal is to keep us from being plunged into a thermal nuclear war. Now the president seemed to have a different opinion about that.

But there has been a lot of bluster and talk about one thing only, you know, one thing is going to work and so forth. But until we see something more real, he is well along the way to being one more administration that did the very best they could to make sense of a very bad, very tough, very ambiguous situation.

[06:20:10] PAUL: Julian, is there credence to his comments that this is something that should have been taken care of long time ago or have things changed in North Korea since Kim Jong-un has come on board that would negate that?

ZELIZER: No one disagrees that we need a better situation and no one disagrees that we wish the United States had a better path over the past 25, 30 years. But no one has been able to put forward that path short of a military confrontation.

And the hubris of American presidents is often that they'll be able to use military power in a way that no one else has been able to do and successfully in way no one else has been able to do.

So, you can argue this has been the best alternative that we had. It's a version of containment which is what we saw during the Cold War.

PAUL: All righty. I want to talk about something that we haven't talked a lot about yet, but it's certainly out there, Harvey Weinstein. He has been very generous to Democratic candidates. He has hosted fundraisers for President Obama and for Hillary Clinton. He is somebody that President Trump knows as well and the president talked about that. Listen, as he was asked about Harvey Weinstein.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: He's not surprised to see it, these allegations of sexual abuse that are coming out regarding Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein, we should point out, has, for the most part, admitted to it saying that he has to deal -- he has to got to confront his demons.

But this is a man who gave a lot of money to a lot of Democrats. How well known, first of all, how extensive was the knowledge of his behavior? The president knew about it, Errol. How many other people knew about it?

LOUIS: Well, look, I don't know what the president knew or didn't know. He often throws out these little teasing comments. The reality is "The New York Times" has already sort of shown is that there have been stories out there. There have been rumors out there for decades.

If past scandals are any more of a guide, we will see a lot more people coming forward saying, by the way, x, y, and z. So yes, these kind of things, it's part of the crime and part of the misconduct that it's always one-on-one, it's one person's word against another.

And people don't have quite enough information to want to mount criminal charges or allegations or quit a job or take back their support and so forth until the dam burst. Ask Bill Cosby about that.

PAUL: So, Julian, here is the question a lot of people might be looking at this and saying if it was well known, even though Errol brings up great points, if it was one-on-one, you didn't know what to believe, but if it was well known, you'll have people who say, look, the Dems took this money anyway. To that you say what? Is there a risk to Democrats right now?

ZELIZER: Absolutely. I think it's a fair criticism and I think Democrats certainly have to respond at least with clarity by disassociating themselves with him and being vocal about this conduct and it was not acceptable.

It seems that some of them won't be able to walk back having known about some of this, but now they can take action and I think they will hear criticism if they don't, and it's particularly important, given many of the controversies that have swirled around President Trump that there is no ambiguity in terms of where they stand on this kind of behavior.

PAUL: Errol, we do know there are senators, Patrick Leahy, Richard Blumenthal and Elizabeth Warren, have said the money they received from him will give back or redirect to a charity. Is that to distance themselves?

LOUIS: Well, probably not. I should say there will be some uncomfortable -- some accountants going through campaign finance records this weekend who are going to have quite an uncomfortable time coming up with a number that they have to dispense of.

But that is the flip side of our raising campaign finances. As long as you're taking money from people in the amounts that Democrats and Republicans are taking, you're going to be bound by their -- you're sort of attached to them at the hip.

If you can't come up with a better system -- I must tell you, I have no sympathy for any of the lawmakers who are now going to go through this because if they would simply come up with a sensible system to put limits on the kind of outside money, you wouldn't have this public/private partnership where you're tied to all kinds of characters that you just met at a dinner one night.

PAUL: Which is a whole other conversation and I wish we would time for it, but Julian Zelizer and Errol Louis, thank you both so much.

BLACKWELL: We are pushing forward on our continuing coverage what is now Tropical Storm Nate causing problems for so many on the gulf coast.

[06:25:07] Power outages now topping 330,000 customers. We will go over the biggest concerns on the coast and have the latest next.


PAUL: Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. The breaking news this morning, Nate is now a tropical storm after it made landfall twice overnight. First in Louisiana then in Mississippi. Each time as a Category 1 hurricane. This is the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago in 2005.

PAUL: The storm is bringing strong winds, heavy rains. Look at the flooding that was happening there in Biloxi. This is video taken inside the Golden Nugget Casino there and this storm is expected to weaken as it continues to move farther inland but take a look what they were dealing with there.

[06:30:00]We know that there are 330,000 customers who do not have power in Alabama, Florida and the panhandle - the Florida Panhandle and Mississippi. Now meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking Nate and wondering now that it has come on to the coast, how much power is it packing as it's going to move up toward Tennessee, Chad?

MYERS: Well, it's still 70 right now so it's still a pretty good storm but by the time it gets to Montgomery or Birmingham it's going to be 50, then 40, then 30. So by the time it gets up to D.C. it's going to be 10 or 15. So nothing really left except rain.

Right now it's a 70-mile-per-hour storm. Came on shore last night very close to Biloxi, Mississippi. That's where the storm made its potential eye wall landfall.

But the storm surge spread all the way to almost Pensacola through Gulf Shores, Gulf Port right -- this is an area that really is susceptible to surge because it acts like a catcher's mitt right here. All that water comes up and then has to stop. It doesn't glance off like we had a glancing blow from Maria or from Irma.

This was a real head on blow from land falling hurricane. It's about 85 miles per hour when it made landfall but still the potential for today for tornadoes. Certainly tornadoes.

And coming on shore water spouts even maybe a bigger story for all of those populated areas right along the beach. Here comes the rain. Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and even in the parts of Virginia itself.

This is just today. This is where the rainfall goes today. This is still a fast moving storm.

It's still a 25-mile-per-hour forward speed storm or call at least pretty close call it 23. But the rainfall is going to spread out but it's going to rain quickly. This is a tropical rain like you've not seen.

You're going to go, how is it coming down this hard? I can't even see out of my car windshield. And this may be a day when you get that rain shower over your car that you may need to put your flashes on, pull around, pull off the road somewhere and just let it rain.

It will be over in 20 minutes but it's going to rain so hard you may not be able to drive right through it. Here's your tropical storm now. You can see it's just -- it's dying itself because as the storm comes on land it is going to die.

So here is what is going to happen now for the rest of the day. The rain showers are going to be right along the Gulf Coast of course. But then as it tracks up and along there is going to be flooding, Kentucky, Tennessee, maybe even the parts of Pennsylvania.

Everywhere that you see orange, you are going to see that three to four-inch rainfall potential. Now we're talking through the four inches in just a couple of maybe an hour or two. That is enough to make significant flash flooding as we work our way into the afternoon.

That is the story. Heavy, heavy rainfall but brief heavy rainfall and the wind will be maybe 40 or 50. Even here in Atlanta the winds will be 40 miles per hour and that will knock down some pour lines, take some trees down and also the branches. That is what's happening now.

That's why our power outage numbers are ramping up so quickly this morning.

PAUL: No doubt. All right. Chad Myers, thank you so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

PAUL: And as we said, you know, Mississippi really got hit but we are understanding Dauphin Island is really getting hit as well. Of course they're a barrier island there in Alabama and there is some serious flooding there so we are waiting to try to connect with somebody there to see if we can get the very --

BLACKWELL: Yes that causeway -- we got a video there from Dauphin Island. We understand that the causeway that gets people to one end to the island has been cut off. There is about four to six feet of water there. If we can drop that banner and people can get a better idea of what they are seeing here across Dauphin Island, Alabama. And we are hoping to get an official on. So if you're watching we're going to get the mayor of Dauphin Island to talk about what is happening in Alabama as we go across the Gulf Coast.

Good news from Louisiana. Not much going on there. We spoke with the lieutenant governor, Billy Nungesser, all things going well there.

In Mississippi, with the majority of the 330,000 power outages, they have 270,000 of them. Also 50,000 in Alabama and then tens of thousands more across the Florida Panhandle. But you see here the path of the storm, as Chad said, this will be heading up the coast here and eventually getting to Boston but just be rain by Tuesday morning very early morning there.

PAUL: It is interesting to consider how far off the coast it is --


PAUL: -- when you're talking about getting into Tennessee and what not. And it still has that much rain associated with it.


PAUL: Martin Savidge is in Biloxi and he felt the brunt of it when it was coming through. We have seen the pictures. We are glad to see that -- what are you just experiencing some wind now, Martin? Or is it still raining?

SAVIDGE: I think so.

No. The rain has stopped. That actually ended when the eye went past.

We didn't get much rain after that but the wind is still blowing and still stuff blowing around. You can see there's a little more traffic out here. A lot of this is still first responders who were -- those people who have clearance to get to some of the areas that have flooded inside of Biloxi itself.


Because there is a curfew still in effect and good reason too. I mean, U.S. 90, was just walking along it. There are parts of piers.

In fact, the fishing pier that used to be back there is all torn up and now large chunks that are strewn across areas of U.S. 90. On top of that a lot of the beach is on U.S. 90. There are sections you can walk in and you'd swear you were walking on the beach until you see the center line. So they got a lot of that to clear up.

Is it really severe stuff? No. You get a greater going by and you get a street sweeper clear a lot of it up.

But I think that they're just going to have to wait until deadlight (ph) -- daylight, excuse me, to get a real good assessment of that. But you can see the vehicles are moving so at least it's passable for first responders. That was not the way it was, say, about four hours ago when you just had the Gulf of Mexico had flowed right all over it.

The concern now is what kind of flooding did you have on the ocean front here in Biloxi and they are just starting to assess that.

PAUL: Yes, as the sun comes up there. Martin, we're glad you and the crew are OK. You have toughed it out through a couple of hurricanes already.


PAUL: We hope you get home. You get dry there. Thank you so much, Martin Savidge.

SAVIDGE: Thank you. Bye.

PAUL: So there is some key information that is being revealed on the note we have been talking about that was in the Las Vegas gunman's hotel room.

BLACKWELL: Yes. There were numbers that were on that note but we are now finding out what those numbers mean potentially. We will tell you after the break.



BLACKWELL: Alabama is getting hit hard by Hurricane Nate. The mayor of Dauphin Island, Alabama Jeff Collier is on the phone with us.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for your time. I understand that you have got some problems with the four to six feet of water there. Describe what is happening there on the island.

JEFF COLLIER, MAYOR, DAUPHIN ISLAND, ALABAMA (on the phone): Yes, sir. We are -- first of all, we are a barrier island so we are susceptible to these types of things. And we actually had the western most portion of the island was actually under three to four feet of water before nightfall yesterday.

And then overnight, as the storm came ashore, probably around 1:00 our time we have experienced even further significant flooding throughout other parts of the island. As much as one to three feet of water, salt water throughout many other parts of the island and that has -- we have had some homes flooded, numerous vehicles, things of that nature, that have occurred. Fortunately, we don't believe we have had any types of injuries from this.

PAUL: Have you had any calls from anybody? As I understand it, you have about 1,200 -- a little more than 1,200 permanent residents there and you believe all of them stayed, is that right?

COLLIER: Well, I think most of them did. I don't have an exact head count but just looking around the island yesterday when I was surveying, it seemed like there were more people here than not.

Of course, most of the visitors, tourists were not here. A lot of the realtors encouraged them to leave, particularly the more flood-prone type areas.

So -- yes, we did have calls. I talked to our police chief early this morning and they did get numerous calls from individuals but it was more inquisitive as to when is the water going to start receding. And fortunately I can say that in the last hour, it has. I think the worse is now behind us.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dauphin Island, Alabama, Mayor Jeff Collier, thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us to give us the latest from that barrier island and we wish everybody there well as the water starts to recede.

We're going to have more on the impact of Nate in just a few minutes. But first, we want to turn to the latest in the investigation to the Las Vegas shooting.

PAUL: Yes. Remember we have been talking about this note that was left in the hotel room of the shooter? There it is highlighted on your screen.

Well, a source now tells CNN that note did contain written calculations and they believe those calculations targeted the crowd at a country music festival, gauging how far away they were perhaps, where they were. Paddock, remember, killed himself after he killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 last Sunday.

CNN Scott McLean is in Las Vegas. Scott, what are you being told about how authorities have moved into this investigation and particularly how this note plays into what they have learned?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Christi and Victor, good morning.

So we haven't heard anything yet specifically from police on this though we are expecting a press conference later on this morning. But so much has been made about this note found inside the shooter's hotel room because there have been so few clues, up to this point, as to what his mindset was or what his motivation may have been.

This was not a suicide note. This was not a manifesto. This was, as you said, a series of numbers that relate to the trajectory and the distance from the shooter's hotel suite to that concert venue that he was shooting down on.

It really shows how meticulously he planned this attack. It's also perhaps not surprising considering the distance between that's hotel suite and the concert venue. It was probably a couple of football fields away, at the very least.

Yesterday Vice President Mike Pence he was in Las Vegas to offer his support for the victims and their families. He said this was a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. He praised first responders, hospital staff, and all of the ordinary people who showed some pretty extraordinary courage Sunday night.



MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In America, we mourn with those who mourn.


We grieve with those who grieve. And I stand before you today on behalf of my family and every family in America to say we are with you. Today, we are all Vegas strong.


MCLEAN: And the family of one of the victims who was killed on Sunday night is now asking the state of Nevada to seize the suspect's assets. We know that he was a gambler, a retired accountant. Potentially also a real estate investors, according to his brother.

A guy with some pretty deep pockets. He wants that court to seize those assets so that they were available for any potential future lawsuits from the victims' families against this estate.

PAUL: All right. Scott McLean, thank you for the update. Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in now CNN's senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.

Tom, good morning to you. And I want to start with of course the question why. Everybody wants an answer to that one.

It's now almost a week since the massacre. What phase is this investigation going into now with no answer to that question?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Victor, it's not necessarily the phase. They just continue doing as much as they can possibly do to learn all about this and to try to figure out if he had anybody else knowledgeable or even an accomplice in this.

But I think we have to -- you know, we have to accept the idea that we may never know. We just may not ever know the true motive.

He worked at this a long time. He was meticulous. Now we are hearing about these number calculations but we haven't heard anything anywhere, any posted manifesto or comments to a friend or a relative or anyone of what his complaint was, with society in general or with the people at this festival specifically.

So we may never know.

BLACKWELL: Short of offering some closure to those families potentially, and finding out if there was a network of people helping him. There is a piece on that asks why does it matter why he did it?

It will never be justified. There will never be able to change policies specifically to meet his whatever mental situation was. And he's not going to be prosecuted because he killed himself.

What is the answer to that question?

FUENTES: Well, the answer is that, you know, there may not be that kind of closure for the people, the families and other loved ones of the victims.

You know, I think that is just -- it's hard to accept it, but there are some really evil demented people walking on this earth, that is why these things happen. But thankfully this type of event hasn't happened very often but -- you know, so it doesn't happen often enough to have a set profile on, OK, here is why he did this, we know this, we've seen it before, we don't want to see it again. But we may.

BLACKWELL: All right. Tom Fuentes, investigator still doing that work now. Putting up billboards around Las Vegas trying to get anyone who might have seen something to say exactly what they saw.

Tom, thanks so much.

FUENTES: Thank you.

PAUL: We are continuing our coverage of Tropical Storm Nate. There are 300,000 people, more than that, actually, waking up this morning without power in Mississippi, Alabama, along the Florida Panhandle.

What is the biggest concern along the Gulf Coast right now? We will talk about it. Stay close.



PAUL: So we are talking about Hurricane Nate moving ashore on the Gulf Coast overnight. More than 330,000 people do not have power right now in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Most of those people more than a quarter million people are there in Mississippi. We've already seen heavy rain and the flooding and the storm still could spawn tornadoes as it moves north. So the threat is not over.

Joining us on the phone now storm chaser Brant Beckman. He's following Nate all through the night from Gulf Port, Mississippi. Give us an idea of the worst of it and what you're seeing now, Brant.

BRANT BECKMAN, STORM CHASER (on the phone): Well, what we noticed so far is that along Highway 90, things are completely shut down. If you're right along the shore, the storm surge was a real threat and even into the morning hours, as we go, those are still going to be closed due some back winds over the next couple of hours. We made our way towards Pascagoula, Mississippi, where as the storm came in, things actually held together pretty well but as those back winds started to change direction as the eye of the storm came over, that is when transformers started to go because as those winds changed direction that is where trees start to go down and power poles start to go the other way and that could really cause problems as far as electricity goes.

And if you're trying to cross over bridges, even across Interstate 10 we had gusts going over 70 miles an hour so trucks were forced to stay on either one side or the other of the bridge so logistics have come to a halt as far as that area is concerned even as we get into the early morning hours.

PAUL: I was going to say, is the sun starting to come up yet there and what are you seeing, if so?

BECKMAN: The sun has not started to come up yet. And thankful there is power in pockets of areas. So some people are going to have power and some people aren't.

The damages so far, as far as structural and what not seem to be minimal. What we are looking at a lot of vegetation spread around and big trees that need to have a good root system. The water that has been soaked into the ground has made those trees weak so a lot of the bigger trees, even a small gust of 40, 50 miles an hour can knock those trees over and people in Alabama are finding this out as that is where a lot of the flash flood warnings are taking place this morning.

So this is not over and we are talking about the tornado threat that goes into this morning and even probably into the noon hour.


BLACKWELL: Yes. Certainly is not over.

Storm chaser Brant Beckman, thank you so much for giving us your point of view there from the Gulf Port where you've been following this throughout the night. We will check back in with you later today.

The latest on the damage along the Gulf Coast, we will talk about that and the forecast of what is now Tropical Storm Nate. We will have that for you after a short break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: Right now, more than 330,000 people across the Gulf Coast are in the dark after Nate slammed that area overnight.

[07:00:03] While you were sleeping, Nate made landfall, then a Category 1 hurricane. It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm and it is headed now towards Tennessee. And there are threats of potential tornadoes spawning. So the threat -- the danger here is not over.