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Michael Now A Tropical Storm Slamming Georgia; Hurricane Slammed Florida At Nearly A Category Five Strength; Turkey Leaks More Details About Khashoggi's Disappearance; U.S. Lawmakers Force Human Rights Investigation; Pressure to Confront U.S. Ally on Journalist's Disappearance; Down Day on Wall Street. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 11, 2018 - 1:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone, this is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell live in Destin, Florida. We begin this hour with the very latest on this powerful storm that hit the U.S. State of Florida, the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael already historic in nature came on shore as a Category Four storm and we certainly felt it throughout the day, what's been a long day and right now it is still on the move. It's moving inland there hitting parts of the State of Georgia. Right now as a tropical storm.

Here on the Florida coast, it hit this part of the state with massive storm surge and with very fierce winds, a Category Four winds near 250 kilometers per hour. As I'd mentioned, Michael is presently in Georgia. It's headed toward North and South Carolina. Those two states already ravaged by Hurricane Florence just last month. Michael was the strongest hurricane ever to strike the Florida Panhandle and the strongest to make landfall in the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Now, residents near Mexico Beach, Florida they really felt the impact of this storm. You see the result of what happened there. The winds strong enough to tear down trees, to destroy homes, rip buildings apart, even send large pieces of debris flying into the air.

And this video shows the force of this storm. Take a look at this roof being ripped off the house there in Panama City, Florida. It's been quite an intense 12 hours to say the very least. My colleague Brian Todd was outside that house earlier with his assessment of the damage there.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here is the aftermath. Up there on the second floor, we were told by a relative of the owner that that was the kitchen and the living room up there and then you see the wall just got sheared away on the side there. This -- the roof that got torn off blew down the street here about 75 yards. It's kind of embedded on a fence over there. We talked to the son-in-law of the owner who came by here with his wife. Her mother owns this place. Luckily no one was here at the time. They were just devastated looking at this. The mother who owns this lived in Missouri, but they were just you know, thinking that she was very distraught they said and they're just going to come back and assess some more damage a little bit later on.


HOWELL: And another video came to us from a storm chaser in Panama City. It shows the sheer force of those winds that you've seen take a look.

And unfortunately, we must report that Michael has proven to be a deadly storm. At least two people died as a result of it. It's also left hundreds of thousands of homes without power across multiple states. From here in Destin and east across the Florida Panhandle, the sheer force of the storm was brutal and that was especially true in the town of Apalachicola, Florida which is just to the south-east of where I am now. My friend and colleague Meteorologist Derek Van Dam was in the middle of it there. Watch this.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're in Apalachicola and we have sustained hurricane-force winds where we are. But what's the most surprising and the most astounding to be quite honest is how quickly in the storm surge has taken over this town. Streets behind me, you can see we've had measurements within the past hour of about six and a half feet above low tide. So high tide hasn't even occurred yet and this water is still filling in this area. We've seen submerged vehicles, we've had dumpsters floating by us, we've had all kinds of debris, and so frankly just getting a little bit difficult to stand up in these conditions.


HOWELL: Wow. Right there in the middle of it. Our Meteorologist Derek Van Dam now in Apalachicola live for us. Derek?

VAN DAM: George, it was a 12 hour period of hell here for the residents that decided to ride out the storm in Apalachicola. It was a one-two punch from major Hurricane Michael. We had storm surge and hurricane force winds, gusts in excess of 90-100 miles per hour. Look at what the force of a hurricane that magnitude can do. Just behind me, this is one of many across Apalachicola. This is the roof blown off of a home across this area. And you know, there is debris scattered across this town. There are about 2,000 residents that call this location home. Hopefully, there are only zero people or a few at best that decided to ride out the storm.

[01:05:20] We did see a few individuals aside from the media and the emergency personnel that were in town. But you can see this is a very heavy structure so the sheer force winds over 100 miles per hour taking that, almost taking it like a sail on a sailboat and just lifting it in the air. My producer and I were driving home from our live shot that you just saw on T.V. a moment ago and a billboard flew in front of us as well. It was almost like we were in a movie scene.

When hurricanes become this strong, they also whip up so much of water from the sheets of rain that are falling and you always get a sense of vertigo because you can't see in front of you more than three or four feet because it just goes completely white. It's almost complete whiteout conditions. As if you're in a blizzard or so. The other thing that was astounding to me, this is my first experience with extreme storm surge as well. It rose so quickly. We parked our vehicle to do that live shot that you saw and before we left 15 minutes later the wheels were submerged on our vehicle.

We had also countered dumpsters that were floating in front of us. We had just random debris that was completely submerged including full SUVs, vehicles. The damage across Apalachicola moderates -- this is the extent and kind of what we're probably expecting to see once we get first glimpse of daylight in the morning at sunrise which is about 7:32 in the morning. But we know the further west we travel where the eye of Hurricane Michael made landfall, Mexico Beach, Panama City, we know that devastation there is catastrophic. That's what we were expecting unfortunately about.

When we see that first glimpse of light in the morning, we are going to have our worst fears realized and we know that we've got a long road ahead for recovery not only from electricity, rebuilding homes, but just getting an infrastructure back to normal for these people, George.

HOWELL: Derek Van Dam in Apalachicola, Florida. Derek, thank you so much. We're glad you're safe. We'll keep in touch with you of course. A team from one of CNN's local affiliates captured the peak of the storm in Panama City. Watch this.


VIC MICOLUCCI, REPORTER, WJXT: The eyewall coming through right now making landfall in Mexico Beach. That's about 45 minutes from where we are. We're told the winds are 155 miles an hour. 157 miles an hour is what would make it the most powerful category storm, a Category Five. So right now you are looking at the strongest, most powerful Category Four hurricane to exist. And this is one for the history books. This is going to be a record breaker. And unfortunately, we are so very concerned for those in the path.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about what happened here along the coast with Mike Theiss. Mike, a storm chaser and photographer for National Geographic joining now by phone from Panama City. Mike, you were there what was it like for you these past 12 hours?

MIKE THEISS, STORM CHASER: Hey, George. Yes, we were just talking about this 24 hours ago about this possibility and unfortunately, it did come true. This storm surge did come in and devastate lots of parts of the coastline of the Florida Panhandle. Points east of Pensacola -- I'm sorry not Pensacola -- Panama City which is where I was at, Panama City Beach, and points east and there was really bad. Right at Panama City Beach itself, the surge wasn't too bad because the eye passed just to the right of us, to our east, but the wind damage is the big story there.

I witnessed tonight driving around trying to get around the Panama City area, a train that was blown off its track, a big, huge, iron you know, metal train blown off its tracks with all the cars behind it also blown off the track. That is by far the highest example of powerful winds damage I have seen in a hurricane.

HOWELL: That's for sure. I mean, you really got a sense. You know, just seeing these winds come through, feeling and hearing them, this was something that hasn't been seen here in quite a long time. Mike, talk to us about the damage, the extent of damage so far along the coastline. You surveyed a lot of things, what are your thoughts?

THEISS: My thoughts are that again, Panama City dodged the bullet as far as the extreme storm surge that they could have had but they did get the extreme wind. But points like Mexico Beach, you know, I'm hearing really bad things about Mexico Beach from other chasers' firsthand account and it's just really bad. I mean, we knew this was going to happen, we just didn't know exactly where. It's really crucial exactly where that eye comes in but it's catastrophic damage on that coastline.

And let me tell you further inland, it's amazing how far inland the damage is. There are trees down everywhere, there are power lines down across the road everywhere, there's people getting stuck in the power line so they're blocking traffic, there's gridlock. It took me two and a half hours just to get across the town of Panama City today because I had to keep taking different roads to figure out how to get over there. People were walking around in the day. I mean this was a very powerful and scary storm for a lot of people.

[01:10:36] HOWELL: You know, that does lead me -- you're leading right into my next question. I always think about what do people want right now. People want to know where the storm is. Well, it's over the state of Georgia moving toward the Carolinas. People want to know can I come back home especially those who left and they've been watching on. So you know, given what you've seen and given what it may take here along the Florida Panhandle to you know start clear clearing this damage, what do you think? That could take several days, yes?

THEISS: Oh definitely several days, yes. If you're somebody and you're not at home now, I would -- I would stall off another day or two. I wouldn't rush back because it's going to take them a while to open these roads and all you're going to do is create more of a traffic jam. Let the emergency personnel come in and do help with people who are there that need to help and give it a couple of days because you're not going to be able to move around. There's no mobility.

Every -- all the roads are blocked with trees and there's times you can drive around the tree that's laying in the road, but then you drive over into the mud and people are getting stuck in the mud. I mean it's just -- the navigation and the driving around that area is impossible right now.

HOWELL: Mike, you know, we covered Florence together on North Carolina so it's kind of like we're back at it here. I'm glad that you're safe. Thank you so much for taking time with us and giving your perspective on what you've seen through your travels. Mike Theiss, thank you.

Well, tonight now transition to our Meteorologists Pedram Javaheri in the International Weather Center in Atlanta. And Pedram, Atlanta feeling the effects right now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely. The storm well to the south of Atlanta but certainly seeing the impacts. You've had a tornado warning across the city as well. But really the storm far from over. When you take a look at a satellite presentation, still pretty symmetrical, still pretty impressive considering it's been well over 11 hours now that this storm made landfall here with 110 kilometers per hour winds. It's still retaining its intensity over land here and pushing in through central and southern Georgia.

As we talked about here comes in as the third strongest storm by its central pressure being the slowest in recorded history. Over 292 hurricanes have made impact on the United States as a category -- as category one through five, this one comes in number three out of 292 and it kind of puts it in perspective, stronger than Katrina, stronger than Andrew, of course, strongest since Andrew came ashore in 1992 to impact the U.S. but so strong that the weather observation sites are in fact that they failed.

Once the storm made landfall we had the anemometers, the wind measuring devices here, they fail to report so we had peak winds at least measured on the ground there at 209 kilometers per hour before observations went down. But notice we do have a lot. Four million people underneath tornado watches right now, the storm still has quite a bit of rotation just south of Macon, Georgia. So with that rotation as it interacts with land here could spin up a few more tornadoes and that's the concern from Savannah towards Charleston, and towards Columbia, South Carolina as well into the morning hours.

And it is going to be a quick mover. It was a quick mover initially and now really picking up at its forward progression moving at about 30 kilometers per hour. We'll expect that even pick up more so by this time tomorrow, this storm system is well offshore of the Carolinas and beginning to move away as well. But before we get there, I want to point out what happens here sometime Thursday night into the overnight hours as well in the system, well part just off the Delmarva region, the Delaware Bay here, I just want to pump in quite a bit of water right towards this area. So certainly going to see a storm surge threat build across that region as well before Michael finally exits the picture.

And of course, the rainfall totals are going to be pretty impressive here. 200, 250 millimeters certainly not out of the question. And some of these areas are identical areas to where Florence impacted. So we're going to watch that here with gusty winds, a lot of rainfall to go around and the soil already saturated. Notice right along the immediate coast. Of course, Florence came ashore not far from Wilmington, that's where we expect widespread power outages to continue across this region.

And of course, when you look at what happened down here Apalachicola where the storm made landfall, catastrophic damage in place there. We know power outages there could persist for several days, potentially several weeks before it's all restored. And a front comes in here and skirts the system offshore very quickly. So at least the weather pattern begins to improve as early as tomorrow night into Friday there, George.

[01:14:49] HOWELL: Pedram Javaheri in the CNN International Weather Center, Padram, thank you so much. We've been talking about Panama City, that city hit hard by this hurricane. The damage left behind at one middle school gym really tells the story. Take a look at this. This video shows you the massive destruction there. Part of the roof they're just torn off. Debris everywhere and the basketball court covered with water. CNN Correspondent Natasha Chen is in Panama City and joins now live.

Natasha, look, you see the damage there. You understand how bad it was but it's still very dangerous out there throughout that city and around.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. That's why there's a curfew in place right now until 8:00 in the morning because officials do not want people trying to navigate in the dark around damage like this. You see how the winds just tore apart metal as if it was paper and ripped roofs off of buildings like you mentioned, toppling trees into roadways and power lines, as well.


CHEN: Hurricane Michael made history as it's slammed into Florida's Panhandle and swept across the southeast.

Hurricane Michael is the worst storm that the Florida Panhandle has ever seen. One of the worst power storms to ever make landfall in the United States.

CHEN: The catastrophic fast-moving storms smashed homes and businesses, knocked out power and inundated towns with water.

PATRICIA MULLIGAN, RESIDENT, MEXICO BEACH, FLORIDA: Devastation. This is total devastation.

CHEN: Just before making landfall, Michael intensified with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. Michael became the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew, 26 years ago.

DARIUS FLANAGAN, RESIDENT, PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA: We were praying as my stepfather and brother were just watching them a window.

CHEN: Michael continued its historical path becoming the first major hurricane to track into Georgia since 1898. But the destructive storm won't be done anytime soon. Michael continues to pack powerful winds and threaten people's lives.

Now, those in Michael's wake are left to pick up what the monster storm left behind.

REP. NEAL DUNN (R-FL), HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE: And this could be an amount of damage that we have not seen -- you know, in the living memory in this part of the country.


CHEN: We've got an emergency alerts on our cell phones all night talking about a boil water advisory, talking about this curfew, and alerting people to the fact that violators of the curfew will be arrested. We've already heard of looters being caught by police. George, back to you.

HOWELL: Natasha, tell me what are you hearing about locals there? How are they dealing with the aftermath of this and looking ahead?

CHEN: Well, some of them were actually staying in the hotel with us. They talked about how this is the worst they had ever seen in their lifetimes here in this spot, on the Panhandle. You know, some of them said that they are a little bit desensitized when they hear of reports about a hurricane leading up to the storm and then maybe sometimes the storm tapers off and doesn't pack the punch that was promised, but this is the opposite of that.

They actually got a little bit surprised here at how quickly this storm picked up speed. As of yesterday, we were in a restaurant hearing people talk about whether this might inch toward a Category 4 within 24 hours. Here we are talking about a high Category 4, just shy of a 5. George.

HOWELL: You know, people went to sleep, it was a Category 2. They woke up and realized it was a Category 4. You're right, it was the very opposite of what we saw with Florence, which dropped down to Category 1.

CHEN: Yes.

HOWELL: A bit lucky there, but this was quite a different story. Natasha Chen, following that story, live for us in Panama City. Thank you for the reporting.

Again, we're here live along the Florida coast. The Panhandle of this state, where the storm packed a punch, left a great deal of damage and still on the move.

John Vause now back in Atlanta with other news around the world. John.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, George they haven't seen anything like that before. Another couple of miles that we've been in Category 5, but that just shows you how powerful all of that was.

HOWELL: Unbelievable, John. Yes. VAUSE: OK, George. We'll get back to you at the moment. I will take a short break in the meantime.

When we come back, Turkish officials leaked more details about the disappearance of a prominent journalist and critic of the Saudi Crown Prince.

Images of 15 Saudis arriving in Istanbul just before the dissident went missing. Turkish media say they were sent by Riyadh. But so far, the Turkish government is keeping quiet. We'll explain.


[01:21:40] VAUSE: Well, Turkish officials continue with the slow leak of evidence which appears to directly link Saudi Arabia to the disappearance of prominent journalist and dissident, Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkey state-controlled television aired these images describing the 15 Saudis as operatives. Saying, they arrived in Istanbul just hours before Khashoggi did enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and vanished.

But there's been no official word from the government. No statement from the Turkish police about their investigation.

Meantime, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is forcing the Trump administration to launch a human rights investigation. President Trump, says it looks a little bit like the Saudis are involved. But then, added it's too early to say what the U.S. response might be if that is true.

Jomana Karadsheh outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This human rights investigation by the U.S. president, which he's being forced to do is something against key Act. Which basically says, "If there is evidence of human rights violation, the U.S. has to investigate, and if that is found to be true, then the usual punishment here is after 120 days, sanctions are imposed.

Which essentially the sort of the automatic outcome here. But yet, the U.S. president is hedging on this. Which I think, says a lot about his relationship with Saudi Arabia.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is such a significant moment, such a significant move, John. And so many people have been waiting to see this on when it comes to this case, specifically. People we've been talking to over the past week, people who know Khashoggi.

His friends and colleagues been saying that the only one country is going to make a difference in all of this and if that is going to be the United States. Because of the leverage it has over Saudi Arabia. Because of the close relationship, President Trump has with King Salman and with the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that the United States will be able to push them for answers.

And when it comes too generally, you look at all the accusations of human rights abuses committed by Saudi Arabia. Accused of putting activists and human rights activists and critics behind bars in this crackdown over the past year, and other abuses.

Plus, you've got also the accusations of civilian casualties in the war in Yemen, human rights organizations for a long time have been calling for international action. They've been calling on the international community in the United States to halt Saudi Arabia Council and to do more.

So, perhaps, this is seen as a moment where this has been a wake-up call for the international community to start seriously investigating, and seriously looking into all these allegations from. But we have to wait and see. We've heard the president's statement there, and it doesn't sound like he's ready just yet to say what the United States is going to do.

VAUSE: Yes, it's all -- you know, a little weak tear a moment. But if we're waiting for official statements from governments, it seems we've sort of waiting a long time to hear -- you know, official statements coming from either -- you know, Turkish police or the Turkish government.

You know, there has been some of -- you know, statements coming out for the president's office. But it's all very tepid, it's very opaque -- you know. No one seems willing within their Ankara to come out and just accuse Saudi Arabia of -- you know, committing murder on Turkish soil.

[01:25:00] KARADSHEH: Look, they've been really cautious about this, John. You know that President Erdogan is not a man who's known to really hold back. He's not reluctant to speak his mind, and -- you know accused countries of being behind certain things.

But throughout this crisis, as you mentioned, you know, you had President Erdogan being very diplomatic. Saying they're looking into these 15 Saudis, and doing this enough. But not going specifically in accusing Saudi Arabia of being behind the disappearance of Khashoggi.

And at the same time, you've had these leaks, you had unnamed officials who are making all these comments, making information out of the investigation so far. But no official statement about where we are when it comes to this investigation.

And the feeling is -- you know, these are two major powers in the region. Saudi Arabia and Turkey that have had their disagreements, they have a rocky relationship. But that Turkey was not really ready to push the button and move this towards a full-blown diplomatic crisis just yet. They wanted the backing of the international community.

And so, the feeling was perhaps this is a calculated move that they are slowly drip-feeding out information from this investigation to try and get more international support, especially from the United States and some observers here. Some analysts' feel that this has been a strategy that's worked so far for the Turkish government that now they are getting the backing of the United States and other countries. John.

VAUSE: We're out of time Jomana, but the -- I guess the other question would be, is Erdogan outraged? Or does he see this is opportunity maybe, is it a leverage with the Saudis and a number of issues that he needs to dealt with around the world? I guess -- you know, again, we'll see what happens. But Jomana, we appreciate your being there live in the rainforests there in Istanbul.

A Chinese intelligence officer has been extradited to the U.S. where he'll face charges of economic espionage. The Yanjun Xu was arrested in Belgium back in April. Made a court appearance Wednesday in Ohio.

He's accused of trying to steal trade secrets from aviation companies in the U.S. One of those companies, G.E. Aviation, and since that the Ohio cooperated with the FBI in this investigation, Donald Trump as president has warned to crackdown on China's theft of intellectual property.

Coming up here, we'll have more on the journalists who disappeared after visiting a Saudi consulate. Including pressure from the U.S. Congress on President Trump to confront the Saudis.

And wind speed usually get most of the attention during these big tropical storms, but its water which usually do the most damage. And Hurricane Michael dumped a ton of it when it came to shore.


[01:30:07] HOWELL: Welcome back.

I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida.

Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 storm and we certainly felt that here along the Florida coastline. Incredibly strong winds -- those winds sustained around 249 -- 250 kilometers per hour.

As of now Michael has been downgraded. It's a tropical storm and it's making its way over land in the U.S. state of Georgia and moving toward the Carolinas which were hit just a month ago by Hurricane Florence.

Michael first hit land near Mexico Beach, Florida on Wednesday. It left a great deal of destruction in its path as you can see. Officials say the storm has killed at least two people. It is proven to be a deadly storm.

It's also destroyed building. It's downed trees and brought down many power lines leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without power at this hour.

And then this video -- it really shows the storm's force. You see a roof being ripped off a home in Panama City, Florida. It's been quite an intense 12 hours to say the least.

My colleague Brian Todd was outside that home earlier and has this to show.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Here in Panama City Beach, this is one of the most devastated neighborhoods in the entire city. This is Surf Drive, just a few feet from the Gulf of Mexico. They had the storm surge threat but it was really the wind that did the damage in this neighborhood.

Look at this house here. This was captured on video earlier on Wednesday as this roof here got completely sheared off and just about half the house is missing, at least on the top side of it.

We're told by the family who owns this place that that area there that was just so devastated used to be the living room and the kitchen upstairs. And so not, that's completely gone. The roof -- a hunk of twisted metal was blown completely off, tossed about 75 yards down the road and is now embedded in a fence. You can see part of the wall here was also sheared off.

The family here we talked to them as they came by. A gentleman whose mother-in-law owns this place, they were just devastated at this. They saw this happening on the news. They saw the video being shot as this was going on.

Luckily no one was here. The woman who owns it, this gentleman's mother-in-law, lives in Missouri. No one was here at the time. But we did talk to the beach patrol and sheriff's deputies who came out here in this neighborhood.

And they said they did have to go door-to-door and they did have to pull some people out of these houses. Not necessarily because they were trapped but because they needed to be pulled out of houses like this that are just uninhabitable, that have had the roofs torn off and other infrastructure just completely damaged.

Here's another example of that -- this house right here on Surf Drive. Again, you know, half the roof was torn off. There's a wall around that corner that was completely torn apart and just fell apart. And a lot of debris just got tossed around the house and thrown up against that sliding glass door right there.

We have also smelled gas in this area around the side of this house. That's a hidden danger in this area as are, you know, many things that you come across especially here in the pitch-black.

These downed power lines are especially dangerous right now because without these camera lights it is completely black. If you try to drive or walk around this are, you could easily run into them. That's why officials are saying please do not come back into these neighborhoods. They're having trouble keeping people out of them though as people try to get back to their homes or just curiosity seekers trying to get pictures.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Panama City Beach, Florida.

HOWELL: Brian -- thank you very much for that report.

So east of Destin, Florida where we are now in Wakulla County, a three-meter storm surge hit several coastal communities there very hard.

I checked in a bit earlier with Chris Savary; Chris -- the public information officer for the sheriff's office there. Here's how he described it. Listen.


CHRIS SAVARY, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, WAKULLA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We're forecast to possibly get a 15-foot storm surge which was, you know, unprecedented in this area by a ton. We ended up with probably just a little over 10-foot storm surge which is still you know close to catastrophic.

It came in quick and it came in fast. I've lived here pretty much my whole life and I've been working hurricanes here for a little over 20 years. I've never seen a storm surge come in as quick and as violent as this one did.

It brought a lot of water in. And it brought it in very quickly. It completely inundated Panacea, St. March, Shell Point -- all of our coastal areas. In fact, the water has yet to recede. We're hoping that happens overnight. But we can't even get in there to see just how much damage has been caused.

HOWELL: All right. Important to point that out. So the water is still there, hasn't receded. You're having trouble getting in.

[01:34:54] And to that point, if you would talk about, you know, what it is going to be like for people who may have evacuated who want to come back home, I would imagine it's going to take you guys some time to certainly clear things out and get a sense of how bad things are.

SAVARY: Absolutely. I mean as soon as the, you know -- as soon as the conditions became safe that we were able to get our first responders back out in the field to start the assessment of just, you know, how much damage is out there and clearing debris, we quickly realized that we weren't going to be able to get into those low-lying areas.

And we man post there -- well, there's still a little bit of daylight left and everybody saw just the high winds have stopped so everybody is trying to come home. We had to turn them around because you just -- you simply can't get into these areas.

So our first priority is as soon as possible, as soon as we can deem it safe enough for our guys to go in there in boats if we have to or high water vehicles we got a list of people who didn't evacuate and where they're located.

Those are the first places we're going to check on them. And we can't let people go back in the area until -- until it is safe to do so, until that water recedes. And we're hoping that's done by the morning but, as you know, we can't -- we don't know that right now. We're hoping it happens but we don't know if that is going to happen. And it's a wait-and-see game right now.


HOWELL: And that's really the warning. You know, it could take these crews some time to really get a handle on the damage. There has been extensive damage. We've seen it already.

And rescue teams have been on the move throughout Florida. One volunteer group that you might have already heard about in the past -- the Cajun Navy; they're using their own boats and equipment to rescue people in desperate need.

Earlier, a member of the Cajun Navy told my colleague Anderson Cooper about some of the things they've been doing since the hurricane hit Florida.


JASON GUNDERSON, CAJUN NAVY: Well, I'm standing in the middle of the street right now. And it looks like a third world country and that's not exaggeration. Every street is impassable. All the power lines are down. All the trees down on everybody's houses. There's no power.

It's a very creepy situation. We came down the block knocking on doors. And had a roof crushed in by some trees, garage on top of the car and we found a lady inside. She was down in a fetal position with -- there was no roof and a tree right over her head. And we were -- we had to go in and try to rescue her and move a lot of things out of the way. It was a dangerous, sketchy situation.

We had to cut the trees out of the way so the ambulance could come down the street. Power lines down everywhere. It is a sight to see and very sad, very horrible.


HOWELL: Look, rescue teams have been busy and there's a lot that will still be assessed as light comes through in the morning. But it was a powerful, powerful storm -- John. And you know, certainly historic in this part of the country. And right now it is still Affecting Georgia and moving through the Carolinas.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We have seen the rain. We've seen (INAUDIBLE) here in Atlanta. Obviously the outer bands are vital. Nothing compared to what the folks are going through where you are and where it's been.

But clearly this is a storm which is going to stick around for a little bit longer. George -- I should say, thank you.

We'll move on now. At least ten people have died and a child is missing after a flash

flood on the Spanish island of Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea. Two of those who died were British, according to the U.K. foreign office. Emergency services say several others are missing.

The heavy rain and flash flood left behind a trail of destruction. Many cars have been washed away in the fast-moving water. Residents swept water and mud out of their homes as the floods subsided on Wednesday leaving roadsides strewn with wreckage and beaches covered in debris.

Well, there's new pressure on the U.S. President Donald Trump to order an investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi journalist. In an interview a short time ago, President Trump said it looks a little bit like the Saudis were involved but he also said it is too early to say what the U.S. would do if that was in fact the case.

And Donald Trump spoke earlier in the day with reporters.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you hold the Saudi government responsible.

TRUMP: Well, I have to find out who did it. But people saw him go in but they didn't see him come out, as I understand it. And we're going to take a very serious look at it. It is a terrible thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you spoken to the Saudis.

TRUMP: I'd rather not say but the answer is yes.


VAUSE: A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent the President a letter a few hours ago triggering a human rights investigation. Alex Marquardt has more now from Capitol Hill.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the mystery of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance deepens so do the anger and frustration in the United States which the Saudi journalist has called home since last year.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If this did in fact happen, if this man was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul -- that would cross every line of normality in the international community. If it did happen there would be hell to pay.

[01:39:56]MARQUARDT: There was silence in Washington following the early reports of Khashoggi's alleged murder. Now the White House is demanding answers from the Crown Prince and Saudi officials. TRUMP: This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen to

reporters, to anybody. We can't let this happen. And we're going to get to the bottom of it.

MARQUARDT: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security advisor John Bolton and senior advisor Jared Kushner have all personally spoken with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. They asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said "We will continue to monitor the situation."

Harsher language on Capitol Hill from members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, who say this could alter the decades' long alliance between the U.S. and its closest Arab ally.

SENATOR BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Our relationship with them in Congress is very weak and falling hourly.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Well, it's despicable and the whole world is watching. You know, the Crown Prince is portraying himself as a reformer that's trying to improve and open up Saudi society. Reformers don't kill their political opponents.

MARQUARDT: Critics are accusing the Trump administration of being too cozy with the Saudi regime of fuelling ascent (ph) of impunity.

President Trump was welcomed with great fanfare in the kingdom in May last year. He participated at the traditional sword dance and with King Salman opened a center to fight extremism.

Many are now calling for a stronger line from the Trump administration which has made a point to forge a closer friendship with the Saudi monarchy than President Obama.

(on camera): As American pressure builds on Saudi Arabia they have remained consistent, adamantly denying any complicity in the disappearance of Khashoggi.

But now lawmakers here in Washington are taking it one step farther -- more than 20 senators from both parties signing a letter to President Trump that could pave the way for sanctions against Saudi Arabia. A truly incredible step against such a close ally.

Alex Marquardt, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: Well, Khashoggi's opinion pieces in the "Washington Post" earned him many admirers, especially the courage he had to criticize the Saudi prince. For many in "The Post" the President's tepid, noncommittal responses to Khashoggi's disappearance has been more than disappointing.

Here's what one of his colleague wanted to hear from Donald Trump.


KAREN ATTIAH: I'd like for him to say -- if I could be honest -- I'd like for him to say that attacking or detaining or murdering a U.S. resident, someone who lived in Virginia, someone who was a writer for the "Washington Post" is unacceptable beyond condemnation. That it is unacceptable and that we will pursue this to the fullest of our means.

That's what I would like to hear from the President. And that I think that will send a very strong message not only for the Saudis but for a lot of people who are really scared right now.

Jamal Khashoggi was very prominent, very well known, had had a lot connections here in Washington and around the world. If -- whoever did this could get away with silencing him, just imagine all the other journalists -- you know, who they go after -- people they go after without consequences.

So that's the enormity of this. That's how dire the stakes are. People are calling me, asking, am I next.


VAUSE: Well, Saudi Arabia has denied those allegations coming from Turkey that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, global financial markets brace for another sell-off after Wall Street posted (ph) one of its worst losses in history.


VAUSE: Well, it's looking to be a down day for global markets, rattled by Wednesday's sharp sell-off on Wall Street.

Major Asian markets are all down there. Nikkei down almost 4 percent -- it was actually over 4 percent just a few moments ago, Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 3.25 and Shanghai composite continues to fall, now lower than it was previously heading towards that 5 percent into negative territory.

The U.S. President Donald Trump blaming U.S. Federal Reserve for stoking fears of increasing interest rates but he also said the sell- off was a long-awaited correction.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 were all down by 3 percent to 4 percent on Wednesday. One of the biggest losses in the Dow's history.

CNN's Clare Sebastian has details.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, the U.S. market started the day lower and the losses only got worse. In the end the Dow closed down more than 800 points and that was the third worst point drop in history. The tech-dominated Nasdaq was worst (ph) down more than 4 percent, its worst day in over two years. Fears among investors have been rising in recent weeks. Ironically because of mounting evidence of the strength of the U.S. economy. We saw that reinforced again last week with news that U.S. unemployment was at its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

Now, the problem with a strong economy is it is leading to higher interest rates, higher bond yields that affect everything from car loans to mortgage rates. And at potentially faster pace of rate raises from the Federal Reserve which could raise borrowing costs for companies and hit earnings.

Tech stocks were the worst hit -- Apple, Amazon, Facebook and especially Twitter -- all sharply lower on the day. Now these are seen as the riskier stocks and that means they're the first place that the investors pull their money out of when interest rates are rising.

And on top of that, with no signs of a breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade war, investors are getting increasingly nervous about a slowing Chinese economy. That played out today in some of the luxury stocks that rely on the Chinese markets. Just look at Tiffany's -- that was down more than 10 percent.

In the end this was the fifth straight day of losses for U.S. markets -- a pretty scary start to October.

Clare Sebastian, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: Still to come here -- Hurricane Michael now one for the record books. We'll look at the impact of the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle.


HOWELL: Welcome back. I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida.

Hurricane Michael was a fast-moving storm as it came ashore and it didn't take a lot of time for it to leave its mark.

Look here at how the storm felt and sounded as it hit Florida just a few hours ago.


GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Now the storm is here. It is not safe to travel across the Panhandle. If you are in a coastal area do not leave your house. The time to evacuate in coastal areas has come and gone.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see the homes here. The homes are built very tall to offer protection. Most of these homes have been built since Hurricane Dennis in 2005. And people here know that when they come it likely won't look the same. But we don't know how long we'll be able to stay here because the flood waters are expected to come from the gulf and start cascading in this direction. DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) is no longer responding to calls. They say the conditions at this point especially in certain parts of the county are just too dangerous.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: We're starting to see the effects of the storm surge in Apalachicola at the moment. (INAUDIBLE)

TODD: Really deteriorated here in the last few minutes -- a lot of rain coming down now. But the rain is really not going to be issue at least initially. It's going to be the wind event here creating storm surge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is definitely the strongest that I felt all day long. In fact, I was just saying the raindrops almost feel like little needles on my (INAUDIBLE) right now, it's so intense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the streets behind me. You can see we've had measurements within the past hour of about 6.5 feet above low tide. So high tide hasn't even occurred yet. And this water if filling in this area.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The wind simply pulsing (ph) in your face right now like razor blades. The power is out. We heard transformer explosions all across this part of Panama City Beach where we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Imagine that hitting you, you know, at 100 miles and hour or even hitting your car as you're trying to drive.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The storm has made landfall just to the northwest of Mexico Beach. And here is Mexico Beach right there. You can see the center of the storm making landfall right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This came upon this area very quickly -- 150 mile an hour winds, just two miles an hour shy of being a Category 5 when it hit landfall at Mexico Beach, just east of here.


HOWELL: And that's what it has been like really over the past six to 12 hours -- very intense winds, storm surge, life threatening. Some of the worst damage you heard from our correspondents in Mexico Beach, Florida. That's near the spot where the storm made landfall Wednesday. You can see just how bad it hit that town.

The city councilwoman there got out of the area just before the hurricane moved in. Listen.


LINDA ALBRECHT, MEXICO BEACH CITY COUNCIL: There are a couple of (INAUDIBLE) I know. we're very concerned about Michael. And they said I don't know what it is but don't let it go. This is going to be major.

And so with that information then I did start to go around the house and said ok my husband passed away last November. And so I would go into a room and I would say, what here is a memory that I want to keep of him, or of me or my parents or my children?

And so I literally just want one of them. Now I left a whole of stuff I wish I would have taken but I do have a lot of -- of special memories and I just didn't grab. I really thought about each room. What do I want to take from them?

What do want to have in two months? It feels like a nightmare. Somebody needs to come in and shake you up and wake you up. And looking at the pictures I'm thinking there's not a house left in that town. We're only like three miles by two miles. I can't even imagine. I know somebody who's six blocks away from the Gulf of Mexico, their house is under water.

And I don't know about my house. I had the people say I'm sorry about your house but I haven't had any specifics. I don't know if it is under water. I don't know if it is just thrown to shreds or if a miracle happened and it is half there. I don't know.

[01:54:59] I'm expecting the worst. I know you shouldn't be. I know you should be optimistic but at this point I am expecting the worst that I will be thrilled if I see (INAUDIBLE).


HOWELL: And that really is the sobering reality as we see the light of day. Many people -- that's one story of many who will come to see the reality of what is left over from the storm.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following the remnants of the storm. This tropical storm, it's still on the move -- Pedram.


You take a look at the storm system. It has picked up a little bit of speed and a forward progression but seeing this continue to weaken now down to 95 kilometers per hour.

So it is now weakening as a tropical storm system but again, you see a storm that made landfall here as a menacing feature. And we'll put the mass in motion as far where the storm system is headed. It's pushing right out of the state of Georgia now, very quickly moving to the state of South Carolina.

These boxes and polygons here -- these are actually tornado watches that are in place, impacting about two million people now across this region. So certainly going to watch this into the overnight hours, typically they're dangerous times. These types of storms kind of spawn tornadoes so we'll watch this quickly weaken as we go into the early morning hours.

And by this time tomorrow, this system has already moved off shore to the Carolinas. So it'll be a quick moving system and what is left of it here is kind of going to be flooding rains that are going to the next area of concern for portions of the Carolinas. We could see potentially another 200 to 300 millimeters of rainfall on top of what occurred here with Hurricane Florence just a couple of weeks ago.

And of course, as it departs one more area to watch carefully here around the Delaware bay region of the mid-Atlantic states, that's where we do have a risk for storm surges yet again around that region.

And the rainfall amounts are going to be pretty impressive for some of these regions. From George into the Carolinas, notice some of these areas 150 to 250 millimeters of rainfall in the forecast and of course, with the heavy rainfall, with the gusty winds again you look at this region, the area with the highest concern for widespread power outages is going to be right along the immediate coast.

And of course, this story played out a couple of weeks ago with Florence and it is back again now with what is going to be left of Michael. So certainly not what you want to see for parts of the Carolinas there -- George.

HOWELL: Pedram -- just 24 hours ago we were talking about a strengthening storm --


HOWELL: -- what a difference a day makes.

Pedram Javaheri -- thank you so much.

And thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm George Howell, live in Destin, Florida.

Our special coverage of the impact of Hurricane Michael continues right after this break.

You're watching CNN.


[02:00:11] HOWELL: Live in Destin, Florida Hurricane Michael has made its mark --