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EARLY START

Hurricane Dorian Intensifies Rapidly, Bearing Down on Florida; White Ends Automatic Citizenship For Some Military Kids; Constitutional Crisis in U.K.; Serena Survives Scare to Reach U.S. Open Third Round. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 29, 2019 - 05:00   ET

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


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: There's a new track for hurricane Dorian. Why the entire state of Florida should be on alert for a major hurricane.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Another move to keep immigrants out. This time the White House is targeting children of service members overseas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:00:06] CROWD: Stop the coup! Stop the coup! Stop the coup!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Anger boiling over as the Queen gets dragged into the Brexit mess. What it means with the clock ticking towards a no deal Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, all right, all right. How you doing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: And the actor is now the professor. Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey is going back to school. We'll tell you where.

Good morning, everyone. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Amara Walker, in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

Good morning to you, everyone. I'm Dave Briggs, Thursday, August 29th, 5:00 a.m. in the East, 5:00 a.m. down in South Florida where we begin with the breaking news.

Hurricane Dorian intensifying rapidly as it heads straight for Florida. Wind speeds doubling over the last 24 hours. Dorian is now forecast to hit the U.S. mainland as a category 3 hurricane on Labor Day.

The storm's latest tracks show Dorian shifting west. Why does that matter? It's heading for central Florida, not just sideswiping the coast.

Governor Ron DeSantis now declaring a state of emergency in 26 counties.

WALKER: Overnight, Dorian pounded the U.S. Virgin Islands with heavy rain. The first images from St. Thomas show a good deal of debris. Downed trees and damaged roofs with winds reaching 111 miles an hour.

For Puerto Rico, a much needed near miss. FEMA was prepared with over 3,000 people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, territories that are still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

BRIGGS: Right now in Florida, they're bracing for a direct hit. Residents stocking up on water and other emergency supplies. Long lines are forming at gas stations. Georgia emergency management also increasing the alert level as Dorian approaches.

Let's get straight to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri in the CNN Weather Center.

Good morning. What's on the way?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Dave. You know, the update just came in from the National Hurricane Center. No major changes with the storm system, still looking very much poised to become a major hurricane potentially as early as Friday, going into Saturday. Now at this point, the latest model suggests the storm system could be a category 2 by later on this afternoon or this evening.

So, rapid intensification is certainly a possibility. It's already gone into a rapid intensification just in the past 24 hours. It's now pushing in towards a stronger category 1 hurricane. But notice, the storms system really has worked its way towards an area conducive for development. So, not only category two, but potentially getting up to category three this weekend.

Of course, the initial areas of impact could be portions of the western regions of the Bahamas there, and then beyond that, you notice how the forecast cone fans out including portions of Georgia all the way towards even the southern tier of Florida. In fact, the southern tier of this cone here has actually pushed the storm a little farther toward the south. So, even the Florida Keys could be involved in an area with landfall there. And, of course, if it takes that southern trajectory, interacts with portions of southern Florida, which is of smaller land mass than the northern tier of the state there, of course, this could be a strong storm between the Gulf of Mexico beyond the initial landfall into Florida.

The perspective here really shows you why this particular storm, and just look any storm, when you look four to five days out have significant variability in it, because the American model brings it in in the overnight hours potentially Monday, pushes them for northern Florida, southern Georgia while the European model, which a lot of the forecast models have agreed with the European model, and historically that is the model to depend on. You notice this particular model brings a strong storm into portions of southern Florida. And again, that sort of trajectory or tract could enter the Gulf of Mexico which opens a can of worms for a lot of folks across the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast states.

But it really all has to do with the steering currents and the environment here going in towards Friday and Saturday, because this ridge sits in place, it's a weaker ridge as the American model suggests, it will guide it northbound into portions of Georgia or even the Carolinas. While if it strengthens, like the vast majority of other models, suggests this takes the system further toward south.

But what is certain at this point is all conditions are favorable for a major hurricane to develop, it's just the track of this major hurricane and which U.S. state it's going to impact is going to be something we follow all weekend.

BRIGGS: You bet. We'll check back in 30 minutes. Pedram, thanks.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

WALKER: And joining us now is Captain Joann Burdian, sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami.

Pleasure to have you on there, Captain.

So, as we just heard there from Pedram Javaheri, I mean, the track of Dorian is really unclear at this point. We know it's going to be a pretty intense storm. So, what kind of preparations are being made right now?

CAPTAIN JOANN BURDIAN, COAST GUARD SECTOR MIAMI BEACH COMMANDING OFFICER, MIAMI, FLORIDA (via telephone): Good morning, Amara. Good morning, Dave. Yes, thanks for the opportunity to be here.

We've had teams out over the last couple of days serving courts, marinas, and other waterfront facilities to make sure that folks are ready.

[05:05:10] We're working closely with our DHS partners as well as other federal agencies, local, state and county partners as well as court stakeholders, business owners, court facilities on the waterways to make sure that we're taking steps to preserve waterfront activities as long as possible and cease the activities when it's no longer safe for them to occur.

BRIGGS: When do you want those activities to stop? And how prepared are Florida's ports along the path of the storm?

BURDIAN: Well, as you know, our ports and waterways are the life blood of the American economy, so we take steps early and often to make sure we understand what's happening in the ports and folks here are ready. We're communicating continuously.

Like you, we're monitoring the forecast and it will be well in advance of the storm's actual arrival, so that we can make sure the folks who operate the facilities evacuate safely. We'll have large vessels depart court and then for smaller vessels who are required to stay in port, we're making sure to understand what they're doing to secure the vessels in heavy weather.

We're also talking to marinas and encouraging recreational vessel owners if at all possible to remove their vessels from the water and if their vessel is too large to remove, that they must remain in the water, to secure any vessel hazards and make sure they're using extra mooring lines to secure them.

WALKER: Just lastly, I mean, how frustrating is it to you, because, you know, every time there a storm, we see surfers taking advantage of the choppy waters that obviously aren't a regular occurrence. What is your message to those who like to get out in the waters as the storm approaches?

BURDIAN: Amara, I would -- I would encourage everyone to stay out of the water during the passage of any tropical cyclone event. Dorian in particular looks like it's going to be a major event, more dangerous than some. And while I can appreciate there may be some desire to seek a thrill and head into the water, you really are taking your life in your hands.

And particularly during the passage of the storm, my primary interest is preserving public safety and the safety of coast guardsmen. So, depending on the actual conditions that we're experiencing, we may not have response access on hand during the passage of a storm if someone gets in trouble if they choose to head into the water.

So my best -- my best advice is just stay out of the water until the storms have passed and clear.

BRIGGS: And heed those warnings. Captain Joann Burdian from the Coast Guard there -- appreciate your time this morning. Keep us up- to-date as the storm gets closer. Thank you.

WALKER: Now, as Dorian barreled toward Puerto Rico, President Trump displayed a stunning lack of empathy tweeting this: Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either incompetent or corrupt. And, by the way, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico.

Remember, nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans were killed by Hurricane Maria.

BRIGGS: President Trump continuing the tweet storm, vowing: FEMA and all others are ready and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it and give them a big thank you. Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent mayor of San Juan.

The San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz firing back at the president.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: My hope is that the president really keeps his mouth shut and lets the people that are doing the work do the work that needs to be done to save lives.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Mayor Cruz went on to tell CNN she's not going to concern herself with President Trump's behavior nor his, quote, lack of understanding.

WALKER: Children of some U.S. service members living abroad will no longer automatically become American citizens. A new Trump administration policy appears to affect children of naturalized U.S. citizens serving in the Armed Forces who have not lived in the U.S. for a required period of time. About 100 children a year will be affected.

Many U.S. government employees and service members are temporarily assigned to posts overseas for extended periods and their children were previously considered to be living in and outside of the U.S. for the purpose of eventually gaining citizenship.

BRIGGS: Lackluster fundraising coupled with a poor showing in the polls leaving Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to drop out of the Democratic presidential race. Gillibrand ran as a champion for women but her message failed to catch on. She said she's proud of her team and what they accomplished, adding let's go beat Donald Trump and take back the Senate.

[05:10:03] Gillibrand's decision coming after she failed to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate. She has spent millions on advertising, hoping to find a way in. Twenty Democrats still remain in the race.

A Quinnipiac poll shows the top five Democrats in the race all beating the president easily in those head-to-head match-ups. That was certainly a surprising poll to even see Buttigieg there easily topping the president.

Long way to go, though.

WALKER: Yes, sure is.

All right. Well, how would you like it if this were coming straight at you? A volcano eruption in Italy sends people running and boating for their lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[05:15:23] CROWD: Stop the coup! Stop the coup! Stop the coup!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Chants of "stop the coup" after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth to suspend parliament. It appears to silence Brexit critics, the queen did agree, which puts her in an unusual position of being right smack in the middle of this political fray.

Max Foster joining us live in London with more.

Max, good morning. What's been the reaction to all of this?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you saw the protests -- calls for civil disobedience by many protesters here. Also, petition gaining more than a million signatures within 24 hours, calling for an end to this suspension.

The issue that many of these people, opposition politicians amongst them, is that Boris Johnson's move is fundamentally undemocratic. He's effectively reducing the number of days parliament has to debate the idea of a no deal Brexit which we're currently heading towards at the end of October, leaving the European Union without any sort of dealing in place.

And it took everyone by surprise really because Boris Johnson had dispatched a group of three counselors up to the queen's holiday home and asked her to agree to the suspension before it was even announced. So opposition leaders couldn't appeal to the queen effectively to say no to this. It's all going to happen.

So, now, we're in a situation where those opposition leaders are organizing an emergency debate in parliament to try to block the suspension, try to block a no deal, also a leading campaigner taking the government to court calling for an emergency judicial review. We'll see how it all plays out, but certainly, Boris Johnson seems to be on the front foot as we speak and we could be heading towards a no deal Brexit.

BRIGGS: Furious scramble is on. Max Foster live for us in London this morning, thank you.

WALKER: That's just a bit scary, right? A volcanic eruption off the island off the coast of Sicily sending people fleeing by land and sea. The Stromboli volcano covering the island with rock and ash, sending smoke over a mile into the sky. Firefighters report widespread vegetation fires on the island. This is the second Stromboli has erupted in less than two months.

BRIGGS: Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is stepping down at the end of the year. The move is boosting hopes for Democrats looking to seize his seat from a ruby red Georgia. Isakson e recently had surgery to remove a growth on his kidney, the latest in a series of health issues.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp will appoint a replacement who will have to run in a special election in November. That means Georgia will have two Senate seats up for grabs next year.

One person who won't be running, former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams who says she will keep her focus on protecting voter rights. She has been mentioned as a possible V.P. pick. But we shall see who gets that nomination.

Ahead, an early scare for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. Andy Scholes has that story in the "Bleacher Report" next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:23:32] WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. The University of Texas at Austin has a new professor.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, all right, all right. How you doing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey who graduated from U.T. in 1993 will be a professor of practice at the Moody College of Communication. McConaughey has been a visiting professor since 2015, co-teaching the script to screen production class.

BRIGGS: That'll be fun.

Serena Williams surviving a scare last night in the second round of the U.S. Open.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report".

Good morning, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Dave.

You know, Serena had never lost a set in the second round of the U.S. Open. So, when it happened last night, fans got a little nervous. Seventeen-year-old American Katie McNally taking the first set, but Serena was able to get it together. She went on to win the next two sets. 6-3, 6-1 to take the match and it ended right at about midnight.

Serena seemed a little tired afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME MAJOR WINNER: Serena, you made way too many errors today. What were you thinking? But it's OK. I'm alive. I'm still here. I'm happy to be on this court somehow and I'll do better, I promise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Serena's sister unable to rally like she did. The 39-year- old took on Elina Svitolina. And Venus, she didn't go down without a fight though. She stayed off five match points, but she would eventually lose this one, 6-4, 6-4.

[05:25:05] It's Venus's earliest exit at the Open in six years.

All right. To baseball, Rangers and Angels last night, Brian Goodwin hits this deep to center field. Check out Delino DeShields tracking it perfectly leaps at the wall, robbed the home run. He didn't reveal he had the ball for a moment to mess with Goodwin. Both of them having a nice laugh.

DeShields playing around like he was taking a bite out of that baseball. Pretty funny stuff.

All right. Finally, here's a little peewee football. Check out little guy named Dom. He gets the handoff. He goes behind the back with the football not once but twice before taking it to the house.

Dave, I would love to know what his coach had to say about going behind the back with the football because that's not really the brightest strategy in terms of ball security, I would think, right?

BRIGGS: Wow, Andy. Already worried about ball security. That is outstanding.

SCHOLES: That goes to fundamentals.

BRIGGS: Nice analysis though. I appreciate that.

Andy Scholes, good stuff.

SCHOLES: All right.

BRIGGS: What's coming up?

WALKER: We are tracking Hurricane Dorian. The path shifting west, putting the entire state of Florida on alert. We're going to speak with the mayor of Miami when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END