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Tropical Storm Barry Becomes Hurricane upon Landfall on Gulf Coast; Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome Interviewed about Possible Flooding from Nearby Rivers; Coast Guard Aids in Evacuations and Rescues in Gulf Coast Cities; Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser Interviewed about Flooding Through Louisiana; Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jerry Turlich Interviewed about Flooding in Plaquemines Parish; Vice President Mike Pence Visits Immigrant Detention Centers; ICE Plans Raids in Cities Across Country to Deport Undocumented Immigrants. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 13, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield. This breaking news, Barry makes landfall as a hurricane, but it is now a tropical storm. Take a live look at Morgan City, Louisiana, where you see the impact already being made there. Right now the storm is carrying maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. This is what the flooding situation looks like in Lafayette, Louisiana.
And it's not just people dealing with the effects of this storm. Animals are also battling these rising waters, deer right there. Earlier we saw horses being rounded up. And we've also learned that a levee in Myrtle Grove, Louisiana, is now overtopping in 15 spots. That levee is about 40 miles outside of New Orleans. It is one of two levees that have not been reinforced with funding in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Moments ago, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards acknowledged that the overtopping was expected at that levee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, (D) LOUISIANA: We actually anticipated that the back levee would be overtopped, and so we are not surprised by what has happened. But what everyone should understand, no Mississippi River levee has been overtopped, and not a single levee in the state of Louisiana as of right now has failed or breached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So we're covering this storm across the region. You see our reporters are in all corners of Louisiana. The governor urging residents not to go sight-seeing. And then look at these new images coming in out of Braithwaite, Louisiana, where you do see the rising water. At the same time you see a lot of properties are on stilts, so there has always been that expectation of rising waters given the way they built these homes. But flooding, standing water nonetheless very dangerous. These images coming from our drone shot there that you are able to see.
Let's check in with our Randi Kaye first. She's in Baton Rouge. So Randi, what's happening?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, we are here in Baton Rouge, just at the casino here. And we have the mayor of Baton Rouge kind enough to make some time for us today. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, a busy day for you. We've been looking at these rising waters here, certainly the winds have picked up. What's your greatest concern right now?
MAYOR SHARON WESTON BROOME, (D) BATON ROUGE: We are certainly concerned about the Comite River rising, because, as you know in 2016 we had a massive flood here that impacted thousands of homes, and many of them were in Baton Rouge were as a result of the Comite River. And so we're monitoring that. We're concerned about the rising levels of that. But in the meantime, we're preparing. We've been doing it all week, and so I believe that our citizens are in a position of emergency preparedness, that they are ready for whatever comes.
KAYE: I know some of the public works folk have gone out. They're looking at the pumps, they're making sure that the drains, that everything is going to drain properly, because in this area, even though it's inland, as we say, the water really has nowhere to go if it comes, right? So you feel like that's in order?
BROOME: Absolutely. Our Department of Public Works has been very proactive during the whole week, making sure that we address those issues that have been historically areas that have had heavy flooding. And we have done that strategically through mapping, through digital mapping. And so I believe that we have done our part as a government to try to make sure that we minimize the impact of whatever results from hurricane Barry.
KAYE: And the National Guard is here, as well. They have these high- water vehicles. When I look at that, I'm glad they're here, because we can see it coming up. And I spoke to one woman who told me she had five feet of water in her home back in 2016 during this storm in that area of Denham Springs.
KAYE: Is that a concern for you?
BROOME: Certainly people are concerned about flooding. I will tell you firsthand that in 2016 my home flooded. I did not have as much as the lady in Denham Springs, But I had enough that kept me out of my house for over a year. And so as a result of 2016, I believe our people are smarter, that we are being more proactive. We are prepared, and we are doing everything that we know how to do to deal with this weather event.
KAYE: But the bottom line is, you don't want people out, right? Stay safe.
BROOME: Absolutely, absolutely. We are encouraging people to stay off of the roadways, and they have been doing that, to shelter in place, to keep in contact with Baton Rouge government through our Red Stick Ready app, and we're keeping the lines of communication open. Our people are staffed and staged at MOHSEP. We have a shelter ready for individuals who might want to go to a shelter. So we're ready.
[14:05:5] KAYE: And we should mention too, that the two shelters that are open here are pet-friendly, because I know a lot of people, they don't want to leave their homes and they don't want to leave their pets behind. So it's really smart that you did make them pet- friendly.
I also know you have a big press conference coming up 4:00 eastern time. So we'll get you the latest on that, as well. Thank you for giving me an excuse to stay inside a little bit here, a little more sheltered and dry. I appreciate your time on this busy day.
Fred, back to you.
WHITFIELD: Randi Kaye and the mayor, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
CNN's Natasha Chen is west of New Orleans in Morgan City. Natasha, we checked with you a few minutes ago, and you helped demonstrate how high that water has gotten. What's going on? Now you've got wind that's kicking up.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Fredricka, we talked about coming back up the steps, so I did. But definitely the wind is much stronger up here. It definitely feels like that rain is being slapped in my face. And that is what people are experiencing all over town. They are dealing with the lack of power, downed trees and power lines blocking lots of roads.
As I mentioned a few moments ago, we did learn about a home nearby that seems to have had its roof torn off. The National Guard is also assisting here with high water vehicles. And the mayor has a message for the people at this point who are still in town. Here's what he had to say.
WHITFIELD: All right, it looks like --
CHEN: OK, so the mayor is basically saying --
WHITFIELD: Go ahead.
CHEN: He basically saying that it's not a good idea to come outside right now, as you can very well see from what we're dealing with. And he's hoping that people will stay hunkered down as the pumps in the city continue to work hard to try and get all of this water out, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Right. We'll try to locate that soundbite coming from the mayor and get that on the air as soon as we can. Natasha Chen, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
In the meantime, AMS meteorologist Chad Myers is back with us now. So let's take a look at this. Now, it's still tracking about the same, even though it's just lost its intensity in terms of wind power.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's lost five miles per hour. So to be honest, hurricane, tropical storm, at that threshold it really doesn't mean anything when it comes to a lack of rainfall power. The lack of rainfall, which was always the problem, is exactly the same. And we do expect all hurricanes to die as they hit land because the water is their fuel. Your car runs out of gas, it's going to slow down. And that's what's happened here.
So tropical storm, 70 miles per hour, going to be 65 in just a few hours. But still the rain is going to be coming down off the ocean, off the gulf, into New Orleans, still coming into places like Biloxi all the way over to Gulfport and Bay of St. Louis, and over here toward Morgan City where our reporter was there. It's still coming down very heavy.
Now, we're going to see 15 to 20 inches of rainfall, even 10 would be the minimum for Baton Rouge. Same at Port Natchez. Slightly less now for New Orleans as the storm shifted to the left, but you're still under that high risk of flooding not because the water is going to get in the Mississippi. The water doesn't go into the Mississippi from New Orleans, unless it's pumped there. It goes into the Pontchartrain, goes to the Bonnet Carre Spillway into Pontchartrain, and then finally back out.
But this is the problem. Just two reporters ago they talked about the Comite River. The Comite River right now is somewhere around a foot, a foot-and-a-half where we should be. That's the level, because it hasn't started raining yet. Fred, this river is going to go to 34 feet. That means in the next day-and-a-half to two days this river is going up 34 feet from where we are now. And at times it may go up five or six inches per hour. And you're not going to be able to get away from that river if it goes that quickly. You need to take the precautions now if you're along the river and if that number means anything to you, because that's the same kind of flooding we saw just a few years ago when there was all the water in the system.
All this water that's in the Mississippi right now came from the rain that flooded Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri months ago. So that's how big this system is and why it's such a problem now, because the water isn't in the Gulf yet. It's still holding here and then running down. You push more water up, that was always the risk of any overtopping. And now the governor and the National Weather Service and NHC saying, no, we are good. We are two feet at least from overtopping. It doesn't take more than that. It just has to be right there on the top or less, and that's where we are. So good news for those Mississippi River flood levees.
WHITFIELD: That is a lot. But it is good news that no levees have been breached or broken. So that --
WHITFIELD: -- is quite comforting right there.
MYERS: On the Mississippi. WHITFIELD: On the Mississippi, that's right. But there is
overtopping. All right, Chad Myers, thank you so much.
[14:10:00] Still ahead, overcrowding at the border, detention facilities housing migrant men, women and children. CNN sat down for an interview with the vice president, Mike Pence, about what he saw during a recent tour at two different facilities.
And we're continuing to follow the developments of now tropical storm Barry. More coming up.
WHITFIELD: A live look right now at Morgan City, Louisiana, where rain is certainly pummeling the coastal city there, as well as some surf kicked up pretty well there. We'll continue to follow the latest on Barry and get you back out to Louisiana in a moment. It is now a tropical storm.
Turning now to the political firestorm around immigration. ICE agents, Immigration Customs Enforcement agents, are expected to carry out raids against undocumented immigrants in at least nine U.S. cities across the country starting tomorrow. Here's a look at where those raids are expected to take place.
But mayors in several of those cities have already made clear that they will not allow their police forces to cooperate, to assist with ICE agents. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is defending the deportation raids as a critical way to enforce the law and stem the flow of illegal immigration. CNN's Pamela Brown spoke with the vice president. And Pamela, you're at a Catholic Charities there in McAllen, Texas, and talk to me about the anxiety there and what the vice president had to say.
[14:15:02] PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm here because this is where a Democratic Congressional delegation was just visiting. This is the facility where many of the undocumented migrant families come once in CBP custody. They're processed, given a court date. They're taken to Catholic Charities. And what was interesting in talking to the Democrats today, Republicans yesterday, including the vice president, both sides had very similar things to say. Both sides say Customs and Border Patrol is doing the best job it can under the difficult circumstances. Both sides said the conditions are unacceptable in the single adult migrant facilities. And both sides said Congress needs to do more.
But there is still no long-term solution. And the vice president was here touring two facilities, one housing and one housing those single adult migrants just before these ICE raids on Sunday, these raids that are expected to target families facing deportation. Around 2,000 people are expected to be round up. It's going to take place over several days, targeting several different cities. And I pressed the vice president on whether these raids will be targeting families. Asked him four different times. And he was vague on that matter, but said he did say the priority was on those who are criminals. Here's what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: It's important to ask you about the ICE raid on Sunday that the president talked about. Who exactly will agents be targeting?
MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I can't speak about the timing of a law enforcement activity.
BROWN: The president said Sunday, today.
PENCE: But let me say that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has continuously been doing their job over the course of this administration. But the upcoming efforts are going to focus exclusively on individuals who have been fully adjudicated and ordered by a judge to be deported.
BROWN: What about families?
PENCE: These will be individuals who are facing a deportation order, and the priority that Homeland Security and ICE will be placing will be on those individuals who have also committed other crimes in this country and represent a threat to our communities.
BROWN: So not just crossing the border illegally, but other crimes?
PENCE: The focus and the priority will be on individuals who have also committed other crimes. But it's very clear in my conversations with Immigrations Customs Enforcement officials and DHS that every individual who will be apprehended in this upcoming effort has already been ordered out of the country by a judge, is facing a legal deportation order. And we expect Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to act on deportation orders and remove people from this country that are --
BROWN: But are you concerned families will be separated? Will families be separated?
PENCE: People will be separated from this country who our courts have ordered to be deported.
BROWN: So families could be separated?
PENCE: I want to be clear on this, Pamela. The priority is going to be on individuals who have committed crimes in this country, members of MS-13, and people who have engaged in violent acts in this country in many cases. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will be moving against those individuals and deporting them under the law and under a lawful order by a judge that they be deported. That's what the American people expect us to do. We have to have border security, but we also have to have interior enforcement.
BROWN: But what happens if a child is at daycare or summer camp, the parent is arrested -- is the child going home to an empty house? What's going to happen?
PENCE: Pamela, I am very confident that the American people recognize that the way forward to deal with this crisis of illegal immigration is to enforce our laws. And enforcing court-ordered deportation orders is exactly what we have Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to do. The American people expect us to secure our border. They expect us to enforce our laws and put the interest of Americans first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, again, the vice president was down here in McAllen, Texas, yesterday, visiting these two facilities. The first one housed families. It was a large facility, newly built, just made to help with overcrowding. It was air conditioned, there was an abundance of supplies, of food and drinks for the children, for the families there. We walked into one of the rooms and the kids were watching a Hispanic animated movie. The vice president asked them if they were well-cared for, and they said yes. A couple said it took two or three months to get there, and that was evidenced in some of these kids by the crusted mud on their pants, on their shoes. But we are told they are given showers shortly after being processed. So it did appear the CBP agents were caring for those children, making sure their needs were met.
[14:20:03] And because of that supplemental funding from Congress, most of the children, the families, are moved out of the processing facilities well within the 72-hour limit. They come here to Catholic Charities where I am now.
It was a very different story at the next facility for the single adult migrants. We walked into what's called a sally port. The stench was horrific. The only thing these men had, nearly 400 of them, were these blankets like tinfoil. We're told they are given these because they're more hygienic and they don't have to wash them. But it was hot in there. Some of them were crying out that they haven't had any shower. The trailer with the showers just got there the day before the vice president visited. Some of them complained about being hungry, about not brushing their teeth.
CBP did say it's cleaned three times a day, they get three hot meals a day, and they brush their teeth once a day, but did concede that many of them probably hadn't had showers yet. And DHS says, look, we are building a new facility for the overcrowded adult single migrants because of the supplemental funding from Congress that they have been asking for ICE beds from Democrats and had been rejected.
But certainly, this is a complex problem, and the VP's office said they wanted the media to see both the first facilities with the families and the immensely overcrowded ones so you could see up close what is really happening at the border. Back to you.
WHITFIELD: Yes, and I think I recall from you trying to talk to some of the men, at least one, said that he may have been there for 40 days. Do you know whether the vice president saw any other areas of those detention centers that perhaps you or the cameras did not see?
BROWN: We don't know that specifically. In fact, there was a back and forth over the media going in there. We were told that's because the secret service didn't want the vice president to go in there for safety concerns. But then finally we were let in.
Now, we should note, some of the men I spoke to did say they were there for more than 40 days. However, CBP says no one had been there longer than 32 days.
It's also worth noting, though, Fredricka, at the center with the families, the vice president spoke to the kids, spoke to the mom with kids. But at the facility with the adult single migrants, he did not interact with those -- with them, and did not ask if they were being well cared for as well.
WHITFIELD: All right, Pam Brown, thank you so much.
Coming up, back to our breaking news. Tropical storm Barry has been downgraded from a hurricane to now a tropical storm. And you're looking at live pictures of New Orleans there as they continue to brace for yet more rain from this system. We'll be right back.
[14:26:14] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We continue to follow this breaking news. A short time ago Barry made landfall as a hurricane and quickly became a tropical storm as it hit land. It is carrying now maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. But this biggest concern remains, and that is flooding. Ryan Young is in New Orleans for us. So Ryan, still some rain there, but not like in other parts. What are people experiencing there?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been looking for the rain. We thought the rain bands would be hitting us. We've been looking at the radar, especially our mobile radar, and so we really haven't been hit with any heavy rain so far. But look, the big eyes right out there. The mighty Mississippi, which, of course, we know is about 10 feet above what it normally is. So they thought if we get 10 to 15 inches of extra rainfall that it could provide a problem from New Orleans. Everyone was thinking about the levees, they were thinking about the streets, especially after Wednesday when you had that rainfall that really sogged out the middle part of downtown, and had people had their cars trapped on the highway.
Since then, we have been pretty much the sounding board for people as they have been walking by looking for something to eat. As we talked about earlier, you know there are plenty of tourists in town. They wanted to get something to eat here in New Orleans, and as they walked through the downtown area, a lot of businesses are closed because, clearly, the employees have been told to shelter in place, as well.
There are a few places that are open downtown that are serving food, but most are walking over to us and say when is the storm going to hit? This is the conversation everyone is wondering. In fact, the mayor has warned people to continue to shelter in place because they don't want people venturing out when they believe this slow-moving storm will start to move through the city.
So lots of questions about what will happen next. With no lightning, no heavy wind, no heavy rain so far, that is good news. And of course a lot of people are just trying to figure out what the next few steps will be over the next few hours, especially no power loss either. So those are the good parts of the story, Fred, as people start wondering, is anything going to happen next?
WHITFIELD: Right, at least from New Orleans. All right, Ryan Young, thank you so much for that.
Joining me now on the phone is Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser. Lieutenant governor, glad you could be with me. So a little bit of a sigh of relief in some places like New Orleans, no reports of too much water. But then when we look at our drone shot of Braithwaite, Louisiana, where it appears that there is a lot of water. How do you address the variation of effects here in your state?
LT. GOV. BILLY NUNGESSER, (R) LOUISIANA: Well, there's a couple problems. One is the fact that nine federal levees that are not completed, that are being constructed on the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish, that back levees being over top are in the process of racing against time to get these cattle out before those pastures are undertaken by water, and then the highway. And we're hoping the back levee holds up before we can get these cattle out of here.
Most of the people are gone from this area. But it's something. The levee is under construction. Most of the federal levees are under construction. But these couple areas where we're seeing problems continue to flood year after year when we have these storms.
WHITFIELD: Yes. The governor did say there were 11 people rescued in Terrebonne Parish. Thank goodness for the U.S. Coast Guard there. What are your concerns about anyone else out there who might be in trouble?
NUNGESSER: We know a lot of people in south Plaquemines are going to ride it out. Usually they would convoy out on the Mississippi River levee. But the corps is not going to allow them, with the river so high, they are not going to allow people to convoy on that levee. So anyone that is in south Plaquemines will be cut off until the water goes down. And as this water continues to flow in, we could see days before that water goes down or is pumped out and the people in south Plaquemines can make their way out.
[14:30:08] WHITFIELD: Right. And, of course, now it's no longer a hurricane, because that storm has hit land. Now it's downgraded to a tropical storm. But it's still slow-moving. There is still a lot of water in the system. What are your concerns about what potentially still could be next?
NUNGESSER: Well, these levees could give way. And then we would see an additional amount of water. The wind still blowing down here. The water is still coming over the top of the levee. And if the levee structure does not hold and they do fail, then the water would pour in, and within a matter of minutes, we would see Highway 23 underwater, which essentially is the only route to south Plaquemines, pretty much cutting the parish in half.
WHITFIELD: Right. Of course, you lived it, you remember Katrina more than a decade ago. That was the case in that people didn't necessarily feel everything right away, days later, levees breaking and water coming in. Thank you so much, lieutenant governor.
NUNGESSER: Thank you. Be safe.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.
Still to come, more of our breaking news coverage. And we're continuing to track tropical storm Barry as it moves over Louisiana. Much more right after this.
WHITFIELD: We're continuing to follow our breaking news. Hurricane Barry, which made landfall just about a half hour ago, now tropical storm Barry with wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour.
[14:35:05] Earlier I spoke with Guy McGinnis, the president of St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, about what they are telling residents in the area as Barry still churns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY MCGINNIS, PRESIDENT, ST. BERNARD PARISH, LOUISIANA: Sheriff Pohlmann and I are assessing our parish right now. And we have got a few downed trees, a couple downed power poles, and about 1,000 residents out of power. So that's about it at this point.
WHITFIELD: So that's good news so far. But are you also on pins and needles because this is such a slow-moving storm, it seems to be nearly standing in place because it's creeping along at just 40 miles per hour, and it is expected to dump a lot more rain over the next couple of days?
MCGINNIS: We are still staying vigilant and we are still taking this storm seriously. I'll tell you, back on Wednesday when they were talking about the flood stage being at 20 feet, knowing that our levees are an average of 20 feet and there are some low points in our levee. So there was a lot of contentious discussion amongst local leaders. Our governor, John Bel Edwards, did a great job in getting the correct information to the local officials to make sure that we could give our residents the right information.
But I can tell you, this is a three-pronged approach to us. We have a surge from the river, surge from the gulf, and a heavy rain event that we might get. As you know, New Orleans got flooded just a couple of days ago with the deluge. But we are always on the lookout for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, up next, more of our continuing coverage of tropical storm Barry. The powerful storm making landfall as a hurricane. More right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:40:53] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Get out now is what residents in Plaquemines Parish are being told as the floodwater continues to encroach there. The levees in the Plaquemines Parish have overtopped in multiple locations, and there is a concern that the water could wash over a major highway, trapping anyone who has not evacuated.
I want to bring in now Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jerry Turlich. So Sheriff, while the governor and lieutenant governor have said the levees have been overtopped, not necessarily breached, talk to me about the concern and how threatening is it that people are being asked to get out now, at least within a couple of hours.
SHERIFF JERRY TURLICH, PLAQUEMINES PARISH: Well, we have multiple overtoppings of our back levee canals. We have it in Myrtle Grove, we have it in Point Celeste, and Jefferson Lake Canal. We just recently found that overtopping. And I just left the Point Celeste, and it looks like rapids coming over the back levee. So it is a lot of water that has already been dumped in some of these areas. And what has continued, the winds blowing a consistent 30 miles per hour down here with gusts 50, 55 miles per hour. So it just keeps pushing that water towards our back levees. And it's not supposed to let up for a while.
WHITFIELD: So give me an idea of the proximity of homes, livelihoods to some of these areas where the levees have been overtopped.
TURLICH: In Myrtle Grove, we have a waterfront community. But those houses are built up several feet. So I think we were OK in those areas. The problem -- there's not so many communities in this area as a lot of cattle, which right now we have rescue efforts on the cattle. But the problem comes in, is Louisiana Highway 23 is our main and only means of travel from the north end of our parish and Belle Chasse to Venice. And from where the overtopping is, it appears that there is going to be water on L.A. 23 in the near future. So it will cut our parish in half. So the communities of Diamond, Port Sulphur, Empire, Buras, and Venice will be cut off. And we cannot even get on our river levees because the river is at historic high level. So it's going to be difficult. We are going to be cut in half if the water continues to rise and overtops Louisiana Highway 23.
WHITFIELD: So when the message is get out now or get out within a couple of hours, and you talk about how this -- at least Louisiana Highway 23 could be threatened, can't drive on the river levees, then how are people to get out? What's the safest approach when you hear about this potential encroachment of safety?
TURLICH: Well, obviously, we want all our citizens safe. So we issued a mandatory evacuation first thing Thursday morning, because we kind of anticipated some of this. We were hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. So the people who have not evacuated, we hope in those areas below Jefferson Lake, like Pointe La Hache South, we hope they get out. We don't anticipate any water getting in those areas, but the problem is, they'll be cut off from the northern end of the parish. So that brings on its own set of problems.
WHITFIELD: Yes. So then are you anticipating that there are likely to be some rescues? I know the governor said their Coast Guard rescued 11 people in another area. But are you now anticipating that rescues are forthcoming?
TURLICH: At this time, at this time we don't. But some of these water communities say they lose power or they kind of get stranded, and they didn't pack enough water or food or -- I can see that happening if they didn't prepare in some of these communities that are stranded or surrounded by the water.
[14:45:16] WHITFIELD: Sheriff Jerry Turlich, thank you for your time from Plaquemines Parish. We wish you the best and of course safety, safety throughout.
CNN's Natasha Chen is west of New Orleans in Morgan City, where there was a lot of wind, a lot of rain, a lot of high water. What's happening there now?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're still getting pummeled here, Fredricka, with heavy winds and rain here. Yesterday when we saw the St. Mary Parish emergency officials, one of their concerns was whether the rain bands would continue to hover and repeat over this area. And that is certainly what we're feeling over here. For the last hour or two it's gotten the heaviest -- the deluge here.
And I want to also point out that this is the highest level of water that we have seen so far today. I think earlier today I was pointing out the top of a trash can right there. So this is the highest that it has gotten since we have been here early this morning. We've seen firefighters drive by. We have also seen the National Guard with their high-water vehicles. We know that there are residential streets throughout town dealing with a lot of blocked roads because of downed trees and power lines. There's a building that had its roof completely ripped off.
Luckily, so far we have not heard reports of people needing to be rescued for any reason. However, the Morgan City emergency officials have assisted with another town in trying to rescue a family where a live power line came down on their mobile home. They're also concerned about medical calls, whether they can get to those easily.
Now, there was a voluntary evacuation here, but a lot of people decided to stay, and this is what the mayor would tell them now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANK "BOO" GRIZZAFFI, MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA: There's a lot of work to be done. We are out there to protect you, but it's hard to do it when we're trying to deal with a lot of sightseers. So hunker down. We'll get power restored as soon as possible, and we'll try to get this city back to normal. But the problem is we haven't seen the worst of it yet. It's just starting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And we are seeing a lot of people without power around town, so we are going to continue to track this and see how long it might take for the city to pump out all of this water and get the electricity back online, Fred. WHITFIELD: Yes, it's going to take a lot of patience and hard work.
Thank you so much, Natasha Chen. Appreciate it.
Still ahead, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are gearing up for sweeping raids at major cities across the country, but many of those cities are taking a stand.
[14:51:37] WHITFIELD: In Sanford, Florida, a survivor of child sex trafficking is fighting modern-day slavery one cup of coffee at a time. Meet Tina Kadolph in this week's "Turning Points."
TINA KADOLPH, TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR AND ADVOCATE: For me, I felt like coffee is community.
There you go. Thank you.
Community wasn't something I had as a child. My name is Tina and I am a survivor advocate for human trafficking. My earliest memory is at the age of four, remembering that my mom left me with the first man that I can remember. Somewhere in my teen years, I started struggling with anorexia. In my 30s, I had gotten down to about 70 pounds. That was because I hadn't dealt with the trauma that had happened. Once I started talking about it and after the treatment, I knew that instead of running from my past that I needed to embrace it and use it to bring hope to others.
I really wanted people to feel a comfortable place that they could go feel loved. But on top of that, I thought how cool would it be if we could do even more by having our profits go to fight human trafficking. So we started Palate Coffee Brewery. The person who buys our coffee is not just buying a cup of coffee. You're going to help us put that little four-year-old girl in our safe house. You're going to help us hand over a hygiene bag to a victim who just got pulled off the street. And I hope and pray I will be an inspiration to show them good things are possible.
WHITFIELD: Wow, huge inspiration.
And stay with CNN as we continue to track Barry, the powerful storm making landfall as a hurricane a short time ago. We'll continue to bring you the latest as we learn it now that it's a tropical storm.
Thousands of families are on edge this weekend as immigration raids are set to get under way across the country, starting tomorrow. Friday, hundreds across the country took to the streets, protesting the upcoming U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweeps on migrant families. ICE will target at least nine major cities across the country. A U.S. official says they are focusing on families who already have court orders to be deported.
For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval. So Polo, what do we know about this plan?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we know that this is the same plan that was set in motion several months ago, what was essentially put on hold just three weeks ago when President Trump gave Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, some time to work out what he described as this asylum loophole. Three weeks later, here we are. The administration now moving forward with its plans to execute deportation warrants that are still pending for about 2,000 undocumented people across the country throughout at least nine major American cities. We're told it could be about 160 to 170 this time -- at least last time we were expecting up to 170 people here in New York alone to be deported. Unclear if that will be the number this time.
What we do know, that it certainly has led to some national outcry across the country from local and state officials on both sides of the aisle. I want you to hear directly from Miami's mayor about the state of uncertainty that this has created for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, (R) MIAMI: Frankly, it's difficult as mayor to figure out exactly what's going to be happening in our city. It certainly creates a heightened sense of apprehension for people who are living in the city of Miami.
[14:55:00] And we are left in the dark without knowing exactly what's going to happen here. We don't know for how long it may happen. So it's certainly concerning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Concerning, And as you just heard from the mayor of Miami, many people certainly feeling in the dark here. However, it's also important to remember that these kinds of ICE lead operations are certainly not new here. They have been obviously executing these kinds of removal orders for quite some time.
What is significantly different here and really the source of the debate here is that the administration essentially now moving to prioritize some of these families who did not show up to immigration court and have that outstanding order by an immigration judge. And that's where the controversy here begins.
Finally, I should mention that here in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio did take to Twitter, echoing many of the statements he made last month before this was put on hold, and that was he specifically wrote, "Let's be blunt here. Donald Trump has turned ICE into a political weapon against our immigrant communities. To everyone worried this weekend, this is our city. We will do everything we can do to protect you." It's a statement that's very similar to what we're also hearing from the New York state governor. For its part, though, the administration saying that these are people who essentially did not self-deport as they were told to do so, so they are simply moving forward with the efforts to remove them and get them back to their original country of origin, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that.
And thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We'll have so much more straight ahead in our breaking news. Tropical storm Barry making landfall, dropping drenching rains on the Gulf Coast. Ana Cabrera continues our coverage after this.