Return to Transcripts main page


Hurricane Michael Hit the Coast & Headed to Tallahassee; Helicopter View of Mexico Beach: It's Gone; 2 Dead after Hurricane Michael Shredded Neighborhoods in Panama City; Trump Speaks on Hurricane Devastation. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 11, 2018 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Here's the view from above. We're starting to see the full extent of really the catastrophic devastation from Hurricane Michael after it slammed into the Florida coast, the panhandle. After it slammed into the coast, it headed straight to the state capital, Tallahassee.

Let's go there. CNN's Ryan Nobles is on the ground in Tallahassee.

Ryan, what are you seeing there?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the cleanup has begun in Tallahassee. Believe it or not, folks here are feeling pretty relieved as to how the storm impacted the capital city. I want to show you this street in Tallahassee. And 50 percent of the city is covered by trees. When the big winds came through, they knocked down these big old massive trees into the lawn. We have been here with this family. They started cleaning up all morning long. They have done a tremendous amount of work. It was much worse when we came here earlier today.

The other big problem is -- take a look at this. These trees were knocking down power lines all throughout the city. At last check, they're still somewhere in the range of 100,000 customers without power in Tallahassee. We saw a crew. In fact, their truck is on the other side of the tree that's coming around to assess the damage and see exactly where they need to focus their efforts.

I did talk to a family that lives in this neighborhood, not too long ago, that actually rode out the storm in a closet. They are feeling very thankful this morning that they are alive and able to tell about it. Listen to what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED TALLAHASSEE RESIDENT: This was worse than any in Tallahassee. It was worse. The noise wasn't as laud as I thought it would be. I heard people saying it was like a train down the track. That wasn't as bad, but the trees popping got to be nervous. You could hear them popping. And then when your lights went out, you said that was it. My street is completely blocked. Nobody can come down my section of the street. It's like we thought we prepared but you can never prepare for a tree to fall.


NOBLES: And they were very lucky. There were trees that fell in their yard. None fell on their house. Ryan (ph), the 8-year-old -- we share a name so we made a connection. She was brave and told me it was a scary few hours but she was happy to come out with serious injuries or problems.

Still, even though they never saw the category 4 force winds in Tallahassee, it's still an enormous cleanup in the capital city, and a heavy concentration of population here. You have Florida State University, and a lot of people that came from the coast to seek refuge here. So, Kate, while the damage is certainly not as bad as it is along the coast, a major and massive cleanup under way here in Tallahassee.

BOLDUAN: It's just showing the force of Mother Nature and the devastation that it is wreaking havoc all across that state, heading into Alabama, heading into Georgia. We're watching it, now heading into the Carolinas.

Ryan, thank you so much.

We'll stay close to Florida. We'll be back on the ground in one moment to give you the latest on the devastation.

Coming up for us now, we are going to take another look at another bad day for your 401(K). The market in the red again after yesterday's massive dive. What's behind this? We'll be live at the exchange.


[11:36:42] BOLDUAN: I want to take you now back to the center of the devastation, Mexico Beach, Florida. Brooke Baldwin has flown in on a helicopter. I believe we have reconnected with her -- Brooke?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, here we have made it to Mexico Beach, Florida. We saw it from a helicopter, and we finally now have been able to get a signal to talk to you because there's no cell service anywhere near here. And just the pictures tell the story. I said it from the sky, I'll say it having been here, Mexico Beach is gone.

We are standing in what would be somebody's backyard. I have seen mattresses, cars, grills, books, toilets, all just tossed around because of the storm surge and also because of just the sheer velocity of the winds.

To me, we wanted to stand right here in front of this home. This home used to be about a football field away, right along the water. This storm and the wind carried it 100 yards this way and landed it on its side like straight out of the "Wizard of Oz.

Scott Boutwell, come on in, sir.

You have been incredible to wait with us as we got a signal. Come closer to me. Thank you so much.

This is Scott. Scott is -- lives in Mexico Beach.

Your home was right here. You rode it out.

SCOTT BOUTWELL, MEXICO BEACH RESIDENT: We stayed. We thought that the hurricane was not going to increase but decrease. We tried to stay until the day before yesterday, and then after the bridges all closed and everything, we knew we had to stay here and bunker down, so you can see behind me and stuff how all the homes, when the surge came in and stuff, it was so tremendous that once it came in, you couldn't do anything besides hear all the homes tumbling.

BALDWIN: What were you seeing? What were you seeing fleet past your window?

BOUTWELL: What we seen first was the cars started floating by and stuff. All the debris was in the air and the wind was just so tremendous, so strong and stuff. The next thing, the water. When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home and stuff. And then once you seen that, then everything went black. You couldn't see anything anywhere. The storm was so strong. You could see behind me.


BOUTWELL: I used to live here. My parents used to live here. This is their homes and all their belongings and everything. You're standing -- there's that mattress and, you know, there's their bed stand.

BALDWIN: Your home, belongings. We find you on the road carrying the one briefcase that you managed to find.

BOUTWELL: When we got back to the house and stuff, that's all that was. We had furniture in our house that wasn't even our furniture. The surge had brought stuff in so bad. It's like the walls collapsed and everything and stuff. So like you said, the only thing I could find of ours was my briefcase.

BALDWIN: You have been so lovely with me, sitting over here, asking me, knowing I'm from Atlanta, if I'm a Braves fan. That's where your head is. You're exhausted. You have been generous with us, with your time, but this is your home, and the word I keep hearing from you is gone.

[11:40:04] BOUTWELL: Well, our lives are gone here. Yes. All the stores, all the restaurants. Everything. There's nothing left here anymore. All the homes on this side of the road, the beach, they're all gone. So all my friends, you know, all their--


BALDWIN: Your neighborhood across the street. The thing is no one has any sort of death toll count here. BOUTWELL: The thing is, across the street from me, a lady lived

across the street on the beach side, and her car was there, she was home. So when this came in, everything -- the winds were so strong, you wouldn't see nothing. Once it subsided, we finally realized and visualized everything in front of us was gone. The beach was below us.

BALDWIN: And into the woman's home. You saw her car, her home.

BOUTWELL: Everything was gone. Her home, her car, everything is gone. It's totally leveled. We don't know where she's at.

BALDWIN: Where are your emotions today?

BOUTWELL: It's like this, I'm trying to grasp what's actually happened here and stuff because this was never in our imagination. This here was such a tremendous thing that I never imagined this was what was going to happen to our home here. So it's hard to grasp. Where do we start now? What do we do? There's nothing left here.

BALDWIN: But you're OK?

BOTUWELL): We woke up today, and we're alive.

BALDWIN: Can you tell me more about Mexico Beach? You said it was a close-knit --

BOUTWELL: It's a family-oriented community. It's great fishing tournaments here and stuff. This is like all local people that we all know each other and stuff. We're all neighbors and everything.

BALDWIN: I'm glad you're all right. And thank you so much for your generosity of spirit and time. I appreciate it and appreciate you, Scott. Thank you very much. I'll make those phone calls to your baby brother and sister that you're OK.

BOUTWELL: Let them know I'm OK.

BALDWIN: I will. I will.

Kate, we're going to continue touring on Mexico Beach and head back in the helicopter to do my show at 2:00 eastern, but it's just absolutely devastating.

BOLDUAN: Brooke, Thank you so much. I think, with that, we have lost her shot.

Thank you so much, Brooke. I really appreciate it. She can't hear us at this point.

From what you heard from that man, "we had furniture in our home that wasn't even ours." The only thing he could salvage from his home is his briefcase. I can only imagine what it was to live through that. Thank god he at least has his life.

Those are the stories coming out of this devastating Hurricane Michael.

We'll be right back.


[11:47:14] BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everybody. The Florida panhandle is really just trying to wrap its mind around. comprehend the catastrophic left from Hurricane Michael. These are the aerial pictures that show what's left of Mexico Beach after taking the direct hit from the storm. We're now starting to get the view from on the ground. As we heard

from Brooke Baldwin on the ground just moments ago, blocks, communities, businesses, just demolished. Just wiped out. You can't even count the plot lines anymore where these things were.

Then I also want to show you drone pictures from Panama City, Florida. You can see it's also devastation. Neighborhoods torn to shreds. At least two people are confirmed dead.

More than 450,000 customers are without power across the southeast, as Michael heads toward the Carolinas.

Let's go over to CNN's Dianne Gallagher, joining me from Panama City, Florida.

Dianne, you remember vividly, it was 24 hours ago, you and John Berman really getting tossed around in the rain, in that wind. Now today, you're getting a look at what that all brought and what that left behind. What are you seeing there?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, and, Kate, as intense as that was, I have to tell you, I was still shocked to see the way the damage kind of worked itself out in Panama City. If you take a look behind me, you can see this firestone ripped to shreds. I want to see - (INAUDIBLE) -- foundations gone from it, it's been ripped around these light poles which have been snapped. They're all over the roads here. And it's like this on every block. It looks almost like tornado damage, except it would be thousands of tornadoes all over the city.

Now, just behind this firestone here, there's a mobile home park. You probably see video of it now. Almost every single trailer in that mobile home park suffered damage. Almost every single trailer had somebody inside of it. And that's the thing. There were a lot of people who didn't evacuate for whatever their reasons were during this storm in Panama City. And you know, a lot of these trees fell onto these buildings. A lot of the wind ripped things apart.

I talked to one man who said that he's been through hurricanes before. And this really had him shaken up still.


GALLAGHER: You said you survived Katrina. Was this like that or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Similar. The only problem with this is nobody has gone house to house, foundation to foundation to find bodies the way I did in Katrina.


GALLGHER: I will tell you, Kate, there are a lot of people out here helping. We have seen convoys with convoys with states like Louisiana and Mississippi written on them. The National Guard is here. There are power trucks and flatbeds of generators coming through. Cell phone service is still spotty. I could only get service on one carrier. We have been letting people use our phones to let people know they are alive. They know these images are on TV and they know that people are worried about them. They don't have power and are not expecting to get power for quite some time. People who live in the trailer park said all they want is food, some water, and if somebody can try to remove this with chain saws so they can try and remove this themselves, they plan on staying. The said, we don't have anything else, that's why we didn't evacuate. We don't have the money to go anywhere, we don't have the means to go anywhere else. So they'll, at least for the next few days, stick around in those homes or what's left of them and hope they get help in between -- Kate?

[11:50:50] BOLDUAN: Dianne, in the neighboring Franklin County, I was speaking with the sheriff last night, and he said what's different and challenging about the aftermath of this hurricane is that, in certain places, you are really cutoff because trees are on the roads and the roads are washed out. The Cajun Navy described the distance that should take 15 minutes takes hours to navigate. What has it been like for to you get around? I'm sure -- because it can give us a window into what first responders and emergency crews are up against.

GALLAGHER: We are doing what most people should do. Trying to stay at least on passable roadways. We're not heroes out here or something to go into places we don't need to go. I will tell you, it's not easy to get around. We were trying to get to a middle school, Jinks Middle School, that is not far from here. Less than a mile from here, Kate. My producer and I were driving and we had to find other ways. There are trees in the roadblocking them completely. Sheets of metal have been ripped off roof tops, are blocking roads and neighborhoods. Trailers have been pushed over. This middle school was gutted. The gym, all you see is the backboard of the basketball hoop up on the ceiling. What's left of volleyball nets. Everything else is gone. Walls are missing. To get to it was difficult. It took a lot longer than it should have. According to the map, it should have taken two minutes and it to be probably three, four, five times that to find our way around because of everything in the road.

You see people are driving around. And this is a main stretch. They're cleaning it up. They had small bulldozers taking all the metal in the roads. Where the cars are now, where Jonathan is shooting. There was large metal stuff strewn across the road. They have done a good job in cleaning the main thoroughfares and routes to the hospitals, but there's a long way to go and it's hard to get around -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Sure do. We're spoke to the principal earlier today and he said something I think we should be remembering: We can rebuild the building and Jinks Middle School, it's rebuilding the lives for the students who want to get back to something. This is not just their school, but their community.

Dianne, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

We will have much more on this Hurricane Michael, the devastation left behind, the lives disrupted, and now the fight to rebuild. We'll be right back.


[11:58:11] BOLDUAN: I want to go to Washington now. President Trump, at a bill signing moments ago, he talked about Hurricane Michael and the devastation left. Let's listen in.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. I very much appreciate your being here.

We have hurricane reports on Hurricane Michael. Unbelievably destructive and powerful. The one good thing we can say, we were discussing, is that it was the fastest hurricane anybody has seen. It was speedy. If it wasn't, there would be absolutely nothing left. It was incredibly powerful. We have seen the destruction. It's moving through Georgia at a much lesser pace both in terms of speed and in terms of its power. 50 or 60 mile per hour winds. Some winds reached almost 200 miles per hour, which is unheard of. People are saying it's the third-most powerful they have seen hit our country anywhere.

We've done -- FEMA has gotten rave reviews and the first responders and law enforcement. Everyone got rave reviews. I spoke with Governor Scott. Happy. Food is being brought in. We have unbelievably large amounts of water and food and everything people could want.

The electric companies have been terrific. They are already working and the roads are being cleared out. Many trees are in the paths of the electric companies. The roads are being clean and, for the most part, they are open enough to get the electric companies in. A lot of electricity is already back on. Some of the off electricity is back on. That's in Florida. They are following up in Georgia.

A lot of water will be in North and South Carolina, added to the horrible situation they had with Florence two weeks ago. They are incredible people and they know how to do it. They've done it before and they'll do it again. But they know how to do it.