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At Least Five Deaths from Hurricane Florence; Typhoon Mangkhut Slams into Philippines. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 15, 2018 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Our breaking news coverage continues this hour. Welcome to viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell, live in Wilmington, North Carolina. Covering Florence. Now a tropical storm. That has proven deadly.

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Monitoring the path of Typhoon Mangkhut. It was downgraded slightly after making landfall in the Philippines. But could pick up steam again pushing toward China.

HOWELL: Anna, we will, of course, keep in touch with you. Throughout the show. We start this hour in Wilmington, North Carolina. With tropical storm Florence and we are feeling the effects of this storm. Wind coming in a few minutes ago no wind. We're feeling it again. Rains come and ago. We're on the dirty side of the storm. The north eastern quadrant. Capable of producing tornadoes and very strong thunderstorms.

We are under a tornado watch. That watch through 7:00 am Eastern time. This is a very slow moving system that we have been talking about. It's drenching the Carolina coast for 24 hours. With much more rain to come.

And sadly, this storm has proven to be a deadly storm. At least five people died. Due to the storm. Including a mother and infant killed by a fallen tree. The firefighters posed to pray for the victims.

Across this region more than 900,000 customers are without power. Including us here. Stationed reporting on this story. No power here. Rescues under way throughout the region. First responders identified some 500 people needing evacuation from the rising floodwaters throughout.

The big concern is that this major system is moving at a snail's pace and is capable of dropping a great deal of water and causing severe flooding for several days. Rescuers will be working around the clock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a matter of seconds my house was flooding. And we are stuck in the attic.

HOWELL (voice-over): Trapped and waiting for help as waters continue to rise. Tropical storm Florence is becoming more life threatening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) yelling for help. And he tried to go outside. But then the water got up above his chest. And he had to come back inside. It's the worst feeling in the world. (INAUDIBLE) You can't do anything.

HOWELL (voice-over): Emergency crews across the Carolinas are working to rescue as many people as they can from catastrophic flooding. Worsening by the hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rain and flooding equals danger. That means we have to have patience.

HOWELL (voice-over): In the meantime. Flying debris. Downed power lines. And uprooted trees. Show the force of Florence battering the Carolina coast. For more than 24 hours.

Here in Wilmington, North Carolina. A family of three was trapped. When a tree crushed their home. Crews work to save them. Some firefighters even prayed outside but the storm claimed the lives of a mother and her infant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This loss of life is devastating.

HOWELL (voice-over): The tragedy adds to the death toll officials warn may worsen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be a very trying period. This is something that we have not had before.

HOWELL (voice-over): Powerful. Slow and relentless. The deadly storm is inching further inland. Promising days of severe flooding.

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HOWELL: Again, we're feeling the effects right now. Here in Wilmington, North Carolina. The eye of the storm to the southwest of us. Moving inland. Bringing a great deal of rain and moving ever so slowly.

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HOWELL: In the week ahead, search and rescue teams will be critical. Certainly over the next 24 to 48 hours. One of those teams is the Cajun Navy. You'll remember these volunteers rescued a countless number of people during Hurricane Harvey in Texas. And, of course, Katrina in Louisiana.

And they're doing the same thing now with this tropical storm Florence. Joining now on the line we have Todd Terrell, the founder of the Cajun Navy.

Todd, honor and a pleasure to have you on the show. The work you do cannot be understated. It's important work after these storms. Tell us your thoughts about the aftermath of this storm. And the work you have ahead.

TODD TERRELL, CAJUN NAVY: We're still going through storm right now. We're sitting in our vehicle. It's probably some of the best weather we have seen so far. We'll have a long day tomorrow. I'm not sure what we'll wake up to. There's a lot of tree damage and trees down. We'll wake up in the morning and we'll have water and trees down everywhere.

HOWELL: Todd, one thing that officials are doing, certainly here. In the Wilmington area. They're asking people to stay off the roads, especially overnight. There's a curfew. They want to make sure people stay off the roads. We have been out there. We have seen the downed trees and the flooding. Associated from this storm.

Talk to people. People who are watching right now. Who may have left who want to get back into their homes. And talk to the people who maybe listening on. People who may need rescue.

TERRELL: If you haven't left, just stay in place. The water is terrible. You have to worry about downed power lines and putting the rescuers in trouble to get you. Just stay in place. Listen to the weather authority. (INAUDIBLE).

HOWELL: How do you guys coordinate with officials on the ground?

It's so important to make sure that there is that -- are you still there?

(CROSSTALK)

HOWELL: It's important to make sure that communication is there between agencies.

TERRELL: It sure is. The first thing we do is go into an area we think the weather will be bad. And give the local authority. We tell them we're coming and who we are. Needs and wants. We tell them the equipment we have. Boats or trailers, four wheelers, chain saws. We try to work together with the local authorities.

We don't want to duplicate assets and go into an area where authorities are already there. We want to help.

HOWELL: Todd, assess this particular storm. We're talking about millions of people who are affected. This will be a multi-day event. It will bring plenty of flooding and we have still have to find out exactly how much water will be filling into the various rivers.

How bad is this one and how much work do you suspect you have ahead?

TERRELL: This could have been a lot worse. It slowed down pretty good. That happened to a lot of people. Once it slowed down, they thought it wasn't going to be as bad. But it has been really bad.

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TERRELL: And I think the worst is yet to come. We're in the middle of a really bad storm. The rain is coming down sideways. And doing this for three or four hours. We'll wake up in the morning and a lot of flooding and damage. (INAUDIBLE).

HOWELL: Todd, so good to speak with you about this. We're looking at a tree that just went down. That's really gives you a sense, these pictures shows you exactly what the storm can do. It's great to talk with you, Todd Terrell. We understand the work that you have ahead of you.

And we want to make sure viewers clearly understand what's happening with this storm. No hype, just the facts. It's dumping a lot of rain. It will cause flooding and people like you will be on the job to rescue people when they need it. Thank you so much for your time. We'll stay in touch with you.

TERRELL: Yes, thank you.

HOWELL: Millions in the Philippines are feeling the wrath of a major typhoon. Bringing flooding and devastating winds. We have an update on that storm. Where it's going next. My colleague, Anna Coren, is following it live in Hong Kong. More on that as CNN breaking news coverage continues after this. Stand by.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to the continuing live coverage of two major storms on opposite sides of the globe. One effecting Asia and the other in the United States. Here in the Carolinas, tropical storm Florence has weakened from a full blown hurricane with a steady rain and strong winds killed at least five people.

A lot of damage to report also along the Carolina coast. Recovery is going to be long and slow. It will be expensive. Nearly a million customers are without electricity. Including us here as we cover the storm. First responders also have identified almost 500 people in need of rescue from the rising waters.

Earlier my colleague Chris Cuomo spoke with the governor of this state, North Carolina. About the massive rescue efforts underway.

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ROY COOPER, NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: We have great first responders who are out in the water right now. Rescuing people. We have had loss of life. And we mourn that. I'll tell you this storm is relentless and excruciating and very slow. Moving at three miles per hour.

And with every inch of rain that falls in our rivers, it's that much closer to significant inland flooding.

We have already experienced the ocean surge that you're about to experience in South Carolina. And now we're deeply concerned about massive flooding inland. And we're still evacuating areas all along the rivers in North Carolina.

There's probably not a county or a person that won't be affected in some way by this very massive and violent storm. We in North Carolina are pulling together and we'll get through it. And we'll recover.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I think you'll wind up finding out you have friends that you never knew about. Not just in the state. Or in the neighboring states. But all across the country.

People are watching the storm. We come together in moments like this. It's one of the signature traits of us as a people. And God willing, it will be there again in a moment of need as we recover from this event.

You said there's been loss of life. We have been reporting five.

Is there an update?

COOPER: There are three confirmed deaths. We are investigating other deaths that have occurred to see if they are related to the storm.

You mention the help that we have gotten. We have received personnel and equipment from 23 states across the country. I have talked to numerous governors who have sent help here. First responders who are putting their lives at risk.

We're all Americans when something like this happens. I am very grateful for our local, state and federal partners and the volunteers, the faith based groups and particularly people who have come from as far as California to help us out here in North Carolina.

CUOMO: Governor, what are your emergency experts and officials telling you about the biggest concern with the duration?

I have stood in worse. You've lived through worse. Different times in North Carolina. I'm in South Carolina. But I have never seen anything be so consistent for so long.

What are they telling you about the concerns on that level?

COOPER: The problem is the combination of the ocean surge that we're getting, the storm surge from the sea. On top of the relentless rain that we're having. There's really nowhere for the river water to go. It usually discharges into the ocean. The surge backing it up.

The rain on top of that is causing massive flooding and the flooding is going to occur for several days. Because the rivers are going to continue to rise. Water is our main problem. And we know that floodwaters kill.

And we're urging North Carolinians to stay in place. And unless you're told to evacuate. And if you are, go. Get out of there. Hit the high ground.

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HOWELL: The governor of North Carolina. Speaking to my colleague, Chris Cuomo. Chris also coining a phrase I have used recently on shows. Don't get caught up in the category.

What do we mean?

The storm came in it was category 4. Dropped to 3 and 2.

[01:20:00]

HOWELL: Became a category 1. Some people might have thought we're in the clear. Not necessarily. It's such a strong storm system. It is moving so slowly. What we can say with certainty is over the next several days we're talking about a multi-day event. With heavy rain and flooding. Strong winds.

These are things people have to watch out for and we heard earlier these rescue crews that will be out here to help people, their work is made worse when people don't wait. Give it time. This is a major system. We're just in the middle of it.

We're covering again two storms around the globe. Here, of course, in the States and this storm hitting the Philippines. Our Anna Coren is live in Hong Kong. Following this story with us this hour.

COREN: Thank you. Typhoon Mangkhut roared ashore Saturday. Packing damaging winds and pounding rain. It's moving offshore after cutting a path through the Northern Philippines.

Its next landfall will be here in Southern China. It will likely strengthen as it moves across the South China Sea to Southern China. Mangkhut lost its supertyphoon status while passing through the Philippines. But it's still an extremely powerful storm system.

Many of the country's north are reporting rising floodwaters. Flying debris and damaged buildings.

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COREN: Let's go live to the Philippines. Our Alexandra Field is standing by in Santiago City. With more on Typhoon Mangkhut.

What are officials telling you about the extent of the damage and update on fatalities?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They just do not know the extent of the damage yet. That is because of the problem with communications. They were prepared for the storm of this magnitude to hit. It came in overnight. That means in the daylight they now need to see what it did.

We're seeing the early pictures. There's debris strung across road. And downed trees. Damage to small buildings. That was expected. There was damage to a regional airport. For the most part you're talking about a largely rural area. These are small buildings, mostly one story buildings. This kind of damage was expected.

But it's extraordinary that officials haven't been able to report any casualties. They say they have received none of those reports at this time at last check when the press secretary held a press conference earlier.

We have heard the same thing from local officials. We're waiting for another update. That will happen later today. The word we have been hearing across the region --

[01:25:00]

FIELD: -- is they are dealing with downed power lines. That's, of course, a problem. Trying to assess the damage to structures. They're worried about the heavy winds whipping through especially in the northwestern part of Luzon. And they're worried about the rain. Landslides can follow. So it's still a serious event.

It's really the lack of communication that makes it hard for officials to know if everyone is accounted for.

COREN: That really is quite extraordinary. Considering the ferocity and how big the storm system is.

What can we put that down to?

Better preparation?

Better planning from authorities?

FIELD: It does feel almost unbelievable. We just keep caging with the fact that there are a lot of people that need to be located and reached. We here at CNN have been trying to reach people on the north coast. The most battered area the storm affected. And it's impossible to reach the land lines there.

Officials are deploying teams on the ground. You have to give credit to preparation. We know that 3,500 families were evacuated just yesterday by military personnel. They were strongly urged to leave their homes on the coast.

Eyes are remaining on possibility of storm surge. That can cause flooding which is often the cause of disaster in the aftermath of these kinds of events. Right now officials are tentatively saying they haven't heard word of reports but there's a lot of work to be done.

And certainly this is a region that has to be canvassed and widely. (INAUDIBLE) going into the areas that they believe may be most affected right now to try and understand the picture on the ground (INAUDIBLE).

COREN: Huge operation ahead. Alexandra Field, good to see you. Many thanks.

Our coverage of these monster storms continues after the break. We're back in North Carolina. As torrential rain from tropical storm Florence pounds the area. Please stay with CNN.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell, live in Wilmington, North Carolina. Covering Florence, a tropical storm. That has proven deadly.

COREN: I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. We're monitoring the path of Typhoon Mangkhut. Downgraded slightly after making landfall in the Philippines but that could pick up steam again as it pushes towards China.

HOWELL: Anna, of course we'll stay in touch with you throughout the hour. In the States we're following Florence. Currently under a tornado watch here. The storm feeling the effects. A messy system that will cause problems for several days.

This also has proven to be a deadly storm system. Five people have died, among the victims, a mother and infant. Killed when a large tree fell on their home. Firefighters paused there to pray for the victims and another victim died while attempting to connect power cords in the rain.

The risks remain high. This, again, a multi-day event, a slow moving storm system. That is drenching the Carolina coast. And has done so for the past 24 hours. And will for many more hours to come. Much more rain ahead and across the region. About a million customers are without power. Including us here as we cover this storm. Except for a couple generators to keep going.

Boats and high water vehicles have been very busy. First responders have identified some 500 people needing evacuation from the rising flood waters. Our Derek Van Dam has been following this, also live this hour in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

What a difference a day makes. We were in the middle of it the other day. And we're still in it. Tell us what you're seeing.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm sure you had a similar experience. You're about 20 miles away from where I'm standing at the moment. I'm closer to the coast. When the eye came through Wilmington and Carolina Beach, there was a false sense of calm. False sense of security. By the residents here.

People, the ones that decided to ride out the storm came outdoors. They went and checked out the state of their property. And then the wind picked up and everything changed. The debris that was knocked over from the front side of the storm moved in the other direction because the wind changed direction.

This storm has very similar characteristics to what was Hurricane Harvey last year. Roughly a year ago in Houston. It's picking up so much of the Atlantic moisture. Similar to Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico. We're starting to see a feeder band. It takes the moisture from the ocean and deposits it in heavy rain bands over the coastal area.

We saw the reports, over 23 inches of rain in Newport. And Morehead City. Incredible amounts of precipitation. Depending on where the bands set up, we will continue to see the threat of flash flooding including where I am now.

We're in a bit of a lull in terms of the rainfall. It's sprinkling. The latest radar we see a very heavy band coming in. We're concerned about flooding. Other concerns here, obviously the lack of electricity and lack of cell phone towers. Communication has been cut off for all the people that have decided to ride out the storm.

Authorities are warning individuals to only reach out to them if they are in dire need of help. If they are in an emergency situation. Then they can use whatever means they can to try to communicate with police or firefighters. Within the area.

In terms of damage, general trees have been knocked down. Because of the moisture in the ground, easy to topple over. There have been roofs blown off. And walls collapsed. This is a beach side community that relies so heavily --

[01:35:00]

VAN DAM: -- on its beach. And there's about two feet of erosion taking place. The boardwalks that are ground level have been eroded by two feet. That will have to be replaced. A major thing for the tourism sector.

Going forward, flash flooding. Tornadoes, very easy to spin those up. As they interact with the coast. And really the potential for downed power lines within water. It's really important for people to remember not to move into standing water as the rains continue. Here in Carolina Beach on the coast of North Carolina.

HOWELL: Derek, so important to pass information along. Thank you so much. We'll keep in touch with you.

Let's get information from Jessica Loper. The communication and outreach coordinator for the New Hanover County North Carolina. Joining us by phone. Jessica, we heard from our Derek Van Dam. Talking about dangers, the

risks out there. I'm thinking about three groups of people. The people who are watching, who left. Maybe many miles away, wondering when they can come back.

I'm thinking about the people who stayed to hunker down in their homes and wait it out.

Also the rescuers who have work ahead of them. As the storm passes through.

What are your thoughts about where we are now, speaking to the groups?

JESSICA LOPER, NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: We're seeing a lot of inland flooding. Beach flooding. A lot of wind damage that brought down large trees and damaged roofs. Roadways are -- many of them are not passable. We have crews out there working today.

When it was safe to try to clear some of the main thoroughfares, that will continue tomorrow. They are not safe for people to be on. Folks trying to get back into the community, our suggestion is wait. Until we can clear those roads.

And we'll be experiencing tropical storm force winds and rain throughout tomorrow. Into the evening. So it's still not safe to come back. It's not safe to leave your home. If you're here.

We want to make sure our rescue workers, our public safety teams that are on the road can remain on the road and be safe. And can get those roads clear. For our community.

HOWELL: We just heard. I have information from producer Robert Howell that I'm working with. Telling me that we now can confirm record breaking wind gusts here in Wilmington, 105 miles per hour.

At the airport. Wow. Getting your thoughts about the intensity of this storm. As it pushed in.

LOPER: It really has been intense. I think many people in our community were happy that the storm was downgraded to a category 2. But I think that was a false sense of security. Because this storm packed a big punch. A lot of water. A lot of Surge. And significant winds. Like you said.

We have a lot of roof damage around the county. We have huge live oak trees that are throughout the community that have been uprooted and falling down. The wind was a significant factor throughout this storm.

HOWELL: What do you tell people about the next several hours to come?

Especially here in the overnight. Here in Wilmington, for sure, we are under a tornado watch. There's even a curfew on the streets. To make sure people don't get out with the winds still picking up. To make sure as the rain is coming down.

What do you tell people about the risks associated with getting out on the road right now?

LOPER: When it's dark you can't see very well. You can't see the downed power lines. You don't want to drive over a downed power line. You can't see some of the flooded roadways. And you can get stuck. It's just really not safe to be out on the road. When it's dark.

We encourage residents, anyone out there, to stay home. Stay safe. Let us do our job as public safety officials. So we can keep the community safe.

HOWELL: Jessica Loper on the phone with us, thank you again for your time.

Again CNN covering two major storm systems. Here on the East Coast of the U.S. and also the storm affecting the Philippines. Our Anna Coren is live following this story in Hong Kong.

COREN: Thanks so much. Typhoon Mangkhut roared ashore in the Northern Philippines Saturday. With damaging winds and pouring rain. It's battering the island of Luzon. Unleashing floods in damaging buildings. The next landfall will be in Southern China. Likely strengthen across the --

[01:40:00]

COREN: -- South China Sea. Mangkhut lost its supertyphoon status passing through the Philippines. But it's still a powerful storm system. Many in the north are reporting rising floodwater, debris and damaged buildings.

We're joined on the phone by Jerome Ballenton (ph). He's one of the humanitarian response officers with Save the Children. He's in Santiago City.

Jerome, what are your people telling you on the ground about the situation?

Can you hear me?

Hello?

It's Anna Coren.

OK. We seem to be having technical issues there. Which is understandable. Considering what is happening in the Philippines. We were trying to speak to Jerome Ballenton (ph) from the Save the Children organization. But we certainly know that there are many areas that have been cut off.

And the government is reporting no casualties at this stage. Which is extraordinary. We understand it will be some hours before we get a clear picture. The sheer intensity of Typhoon Mangkhut means the need for medical, housing and other aid is going to be critically important once it passes.

Earlier my colleague Pauline Chiou spoke with Matthew McGarry (ph) with Catholic Relief Services in the Philippines about the recovery process.

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PAULINE CHIOU, CNN HOST: It is very difficult in terms of getting communications going with the area of the northern part of Luzon. To find out what's going on.

Have you been able to reach some of your crews out there to get early assessments of damage?

MATTHEW MCGARRY (PH) WITH CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: Pauline, thanks. We have been having some of the same challenges. Communication is one of the primary difficulties. We have assessment teams ready to go as soon as it's safe. And we're in contact with local organizations. But right now communications really are a major challenge.

CHIAO: Give us an idea of how many crews and the resources that you have mobilized and where are they and when will they be ready to go?

MCGARRY (PH): We tried to learn lessons from Haiyan. And be better prepared over five years. Learning from the destruction of that storm. We have kits for 5,000 families. Prepositioned outside of Manila. In a disaster like this, the early response would focus on shelter. Getting families out of the elements and somewhere safe. Focus on water as well.

The drinking water is one of the most immediate concerns. Third, we would focus on health and hygiene kits that prevent the spread of disease. Which can spike after contamination of water.

We'll be sending two assessment teams tomorrow morning. And we'll link up with local organizations and local government. To assess the damage and see the needs and respond appropriately.

CHIAO: The estimate of the number of people that would be impacted was 4.25 million people in the path of the supertyphoon. What's your biggest concern?

MCGARRY (PH): These same communities were hit by another powerful storm a couple years ago. At that time, it's more a mountainous part of the country. There's a risk of landslides and concern about some of the communities being cut off. For days or longer.

Obviously the first concern is the loss of life. With storm surge and winds and rain. Second, it's the damage to shelter. A lot of the communities are rural and isolated. And homes aren't built to with stand a storm of the strength. And the access to water. Clean drinking water. And the risk for disease. After a storm of this magnitude.

CHIAO: You had touched on the lessons learned from Haiyan.

What other lessons did you learn?

And we should note that it struck a different area. Of the Philippines and the terrain is different. What were some of the important lessons that you carry through in

preparation for this particular storm?

MCGARRY (PH): That's correct. It was further south. It was extremely strong. Even more powerful than this storm.

One of the lessons -- the government of the Philippines does a tremendous job in term of preparation and evacuation. Getting people out of harm's way, getting them out of the immediate storm surge which was one of the drivers of the loss of life in Haiyan.

I think we as a civil society organization have done work with communities with local government. Drilling and practicing, preparing. Prepositioning stock. Identifying safe points and preparing evacuation centers so communities can get out of harm's way.

[01:45:00]

MCGARRY (PH): And the need for the speed of the response, how difficult the logistics were. That's why organizations have prepositioned stocks and the government has so much food and shelter items ready to go. There are teams as close to the disaster as possible. Who are ready to respond.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: That was Matthew McGarry (ph) from the Catholic Relief Services, talking about what the policies they put in place to reduce the loss of life. When we come back, reporting from the storm zone. The dangers and the safeguards.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to our continuing coverage. Two major storms on opposite sides of the globe. One affecting Asia. The other here on the East Coast of the United States. I'm George Howell in Wilmington, North Carolina. Tropical storm Florence has weakened from a hurricane.

Again, feeling what you see on your screen. We're feeling the rain come down. Winds have picked up. There was a record breaking wind gust at the airport up to 105 miles per hour --

[01:50:00]

HOWELL: -- reported there. So this is certainly a strong storm. And it is pushing inland.

We understand this storm has been a deadly one, five people killed, recovery is going to be long and slow with this storm. There are a lot of risks associated with covering a storm like this, risks that people certainly have to keep in mind.

Reporters, people who hunker down in their homes. To talk more about that, let's bring in CNN correspondent, Natasha Chen.

Natasha, I know you've been out and about covering the story as well. First of all, from the perspective of the people who are here, who decided to make that decision to stay, talk about the risks that you've seen.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did talk to someone who decided to stay through the storm. She lives on higher ground. She said she felt it would be harder to come back in once the storm had passed if had she left. That is her decision and not recommended by officials.

For those of us still in town, riding around is so hard. You could barely get from one street to the next. Everywhere we turned there was a downed tree, downed power lines. So I can understand why the officials put a curfew out tonight. You can't see anything. You don't know what you're running into.

HOWELL: Natasha, people also ask, they wonder what it's like to cover a storm. Listen, there's risks associated with what we do, whether it's covering wars, a big storm like this. Let's talk about how we go about making sure we're in safe places.

CHEN: Right now we're making sure our equipment is covered so we can go on the air. For you and I to be showing people what's going on with the weather, we sort of have to be in it in a safe way. We have to make sure we're (INAUDIBLE) protected area and yet can still demonstrate what's happening.

One of our colleagues, Dianne Gallagher, they were following a rescue crew today in New Bern; a lot of those boat rescues happening. And that's a risky situation sometimes. Their boat took on water, so they had to get out of there and had to help getting out of there.

From talking to the Cajun Navy today, their team telling me this is different situation from what they normally encounter with hurricanes. We're talking about higher wind gusts, swift water rescues, people stuck in their cars.

HOWELL: I can speak for our colleagues and people who we work alongside, it really is getting out to show people what's happening, not really about taking risks that put yourself in danger and then to bring the rescuers in to rescue you if that happens.

CHEN: Exactly. You don't want to set a bad example by being in a place other people shouldn't be; at the same time you need to somewhat demonstrate in order to put that human context in the story, what it means, what it looks like for a human being to be impacted by this storm, I think.

And so when we saw the flooded river today at the Riverwalk, that's a situation where, OK, can we see the bottom of the pavement?

If we can see that and safely step our foot on the edge of it, OK. But we're not going to go too far further in. There's no reason to do that.

HOWELL: And the storm's also very unpredictable, right?

We're here at a very strong building right now. Strong enough it went through this storm. But you could feel -- you could hear and feel the storm, especially right around the eyewall.

CHEN: Right now it's kind of a wind tunnel, to be honest. And the worse of it this morning, when the storm made landfall, you could hear the wind squall. Everyone inside this building, whether you were awake or working or you were in bed, you knew what was happening. That sound is deafening.

And because I'm from California, immediately, when you feel that sway of the building, it sort of shook, I'm thinking earthquake. But, of course, that's what the center of the storm was like, an earthquake coming through the building for me.

And I just thought of my colleagues, who are standing right in this spot being blown sideways as they're trying to talk to viewers about what's going on. So you've got to make smart choices and still be able to relay what's happening, while making sure that you are able to do your job safely.

HOWELL: Smart choices but again work that is in earnest certainly just to bring the facts to people, because again there are so many people who are watching far away. They wonder how their property, there are people in their homes, listening on (INAUDIBLE).

Pauline Chiou, thank you so much.

And we thank you for being with us this hour. I'm George Howell, live in Wilmington, North Carolina, where we're covering the effects of this Florence storm that has hit the East Coast.

COREN: And I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. We'll have more on Hurricane Florence and the devastation from Typhoon Mangkhut in just a moment. Thanks so much for joining us. You're watching CNN.

This water has come up in the last half-hour.

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