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Category 5 Hurricane Dorian Pounds the Bahamas; North and South Carolina Brace for Dorian; Texas Reels from Second Mass Shooting in a Month. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 2, 2019 - 05:00   ET



DAVE BRIGGS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Continues right now. Catastrophic hurricane Dorian steam rolls the Bahamas, the southeast is next. New update just in from the National Hurricane Center.

AMARA WALKER, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Still few answers after another mass shooting in Texas. Don't expect much movement on efforts to slow the gun epidemic.

BRIGGS: People will need to recover from the hurricane, it will be pricier. New round of tariffs on Chinese goods now in effect.

WALKER: And serious back injuries for actor Kevin Hart, his car rolling down an embankment. And good morning everyone and welcome to our special Labor Day edition of EARLY START, I'm Amara Walker in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Good morning, good morning to all of you, I'm Dave Briggs, Monday, September 2nd, 5:00 a.m. in the east and the Bahamas and in South Florida, that's where we begin with the breaking news this morning. Hurricane Dorian seen here from the calm International Space Station unleashing her Category 5 fury on the Bahamas.

Gusts over 200 miles an hour, sustained winds now at 175. The hurricane made landfall on Grand Bahama Island overnight, the strongest storm anywhere on the planet this year, and the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas.

WALKER: Hurricane watches in the state of Florida now extending all the way north to the Georgia border. And a storm surge watch has also been expanded to the same regions. Evacuation orders now in effect for much of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coastal areas.

Officials calling that inconvenience a small price to pay for the damage Dorian might deliver.


DAVID SHOAR, SHERIFF, ST. JOHN'S COUNTY: Think of the worst case scenario. This is a storm of storms. Don't know where it's going to hit, don't know what the impact is going to be, but it's not going to be good if it hits or gets close to land. GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): North Carolina has to take this seriously.

Be ready. The storm might look far away, but it's already kicking up dangerous surf and rip tides at our coast.

GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): And with these announcements, we know that we cannot make everybody happy, but we believe that we can keep everyone alive.


BRIGGS: The Atlantic basin has now experienced the Category 5 hurricane four years in a row. That is unprecedented. Since reliable data began back in the 1960s, Dorian will be crawling along at 3 miles per hour over the next two days -- a walking pace for most of us.

So, the worst of the storm is clearly far from over. Chad Myers tracking the system live from the CNN center in Atlanta. Good morning, Chad, so we're talking massive, powerful winds and a slow- moving --


BRIGGS: Storm. Worst-case scenario?

MYERS: Yes, worst-case scenario is that people think this is a line and they don't understand that this is a storm and OK, it's going to be 30 or 40 miles offshore, that's 30 or 40 miles, but you know, the eye wall is 25 miles across.

So, you are going to get something on the Florida East Coast, it just may not be the eye wall. Let me update some numbers for you now, 165 miles per hour and the storm is moving at 1 mile per hour right now according to the hurricane center.

Here's the new 5:00 advisory, not that far from the space coast, really, just in a couple of days, but a couple of days to just go a couple of 100 miles, it is the people right now in the Bahamas that are suffering. They suffered on the Abaco, now they're suffering their Freeport, the storm is about 40 miles east of Freeport right now and it is still moving at a snail's pace.

There is a slight uptick for northern tick to the radar. Here's the radar sequence, the last couple of frames, I know they're hard to see, but it may be starting to turn that little bit to the right that we were hoping for a way from the islands and of course, away from the U.S.

But look at the size of this -- if you can imagine, you're over here on Sweetings Cay, you have now picked up about six hours of wind at 165 to 170 miles per hour, and Freeport about to get the front of the eye wall. You're in a kind of an outer eye wall now, winds are about 120, but they're going to go up from here.

You think, oh, it can't get worse from here, yes, it is going to get worse in Freeport. Hurricane Hunter just found 177 mile per hour wind gust, so the hurricane center has now reduced the sustained winds to 165. I really don't think you can understand what 165 is because 157 begins Category 5.

For a time, a lot of people were tweeting out this hurricane Category 6. Well, there isn't such a thing, but if we had a break points, it would certainly be past the 5, no question about it. This is almost as strong as the hurricane typhoon that hit the Philippines, it's called Haiyan, and did major damage.


That's what's happening right now in the Bahamas. Moving up here, we will get storm surge, we will get thunder and lightning, we will get heavy rain, we will get hurricane conditions along the East Coast. There's not a question in my mind that you're going see 75 to 100 mile per hour winds right along the shore, not in-land 20 or 30 miles, but right along the coast, there's nothing stopping, it's going to rip right off the ocean and right on to all of those built-up areas all the way from Florida to Jacksonville.

And then after that, just hugging the coast right on up to Hatteras, right on up to Cape Fear, so very close, you can't take your eye off this. Because it's not a line, it's not a point, it's a 70-mile wide bowling ball that's going to try to approach the Florida coast to California -- the Carolina Coast and all the way up towards the East Coast later on this week.

WALKER: Yes, Chad, very important information, no reason to get complacent just because --

MYERS: Right --

WALKER: The storm is moving so slowly off the coast there in the Bahamas. Appreciate you joining us Chad Myers, thank you.

MYERS: Yes --

WALKER: Well, catastrophic damage is already being reported in the Bahamas.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone pray for us please, please pray for us.


WALKER: The first areas hit by the storm are devastated. Dorian ripped the roof off of this home.


HUBERT MINNIS, PRIME MINISTER, BAHAMAS: This is probably the most saddened and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people, and I just want to say that as a physician, I've been trained to withstand many things, but never anything like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: Storm surges are still expected to lift water levels as high

as 23 feet above normal, producing large and destructive waves. Our Patrick Oppmann is in the Bahamas with more.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm on the island of Grand Bahama where the weather conditions are deteriorating severely. All morning long, we are feeling these powerful gusts of wind lashing us. It sounds like a jet engine where we are right now in the city of Freeport.

You have to imagine what it's been like for so many Bahamians who do not have power here, and they spend the entire night listening to the sound, the trees cracking, the wind roaring past, and this is not the worst of it. The worst of it is about to come for hours from now when the eye is expected to pass over Grand Bahama later today, but for the moment, this storm is stalled out over us.

It is causing devastating damage, we've already seen in other parts of the Bahamas, how this torn off roofs, how it has flipped cars and how it has completely submerged whole neighborhoods. It is expected to bring a storm surge here of over 20 feet. And of course, on this island, the highest point is 30 feet.

So, it is a real danger, and it is going to continue on all day into tomorrow. For so many people here, help is not coming for several days, they are just going to have to ride it out.

BRIGGS: OK, Patrick Oppmann there, stay safe. And eerie calm in coastal Florida as Dorian inches closer. Tolls now suspended on the state's major highways to assist evacuation orders, evacuation orders now in effect for Palm Beach, Martin, Saint Lucie, Brevard, Indian River, Volusia and Saint John Counties. Martin County sheriff's warning a near miss or devastation, both possibilities.


WILLIAM SNYDER, SHERIFF, MARTIN COUNTY: We are within 20 miles of an apocalyptic hurricane coming ashore on the treasure coast. If it does what the models are predicting, we will be OK. If on the other hand, the storm wobbles 20 miles to 30 miles off its current path, and that's not a lot, we will have landfall.


WALKER: A steady stream of power trucks is arriving in Florida. They are being stationed all over the state. At noon today, Orlando Melbourne International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will suspend commercial flights and close their terminals.

Expect more of the same as watches and warnings move north towards the Carolinas.

BRIGGS: Joining us now live by the phone right now, Georgetown, South Carolina Mayor Brendon Barber. Mayor, thanks for being with us bright and early here on EARLY START. How prepared is your town? Still a couple of days away from what is now a devastating storm.

MAYOR BRENDON BARBER, GEORGETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA: Dave and Amara, good morning. In Georgetown, we just started preparing last night. All of the city directors and city administrators, we met, and we're doing things to start to make sure we prevent flooding, which is we're going to do debris pickup and trash pickup beginning early in the morning.

And also we're going to clean and make sure that all of our storm- water drains and church basins are clear so that we can have water continuing to flow throughout the city.


We must let all residents know, make sure that you follow the orders of our first responders, that's our firefighters and our police officers. We will be out directing and monitoring traffic.

WALKER: The coastal areas of Georgetown is under an evacuation order, correct? I mean, that's supposed to start at noon. Our Chad Myers was telling us that some of the coastal areas will be experiencing 75 to 100 mile per hour winds. Knowing that, have you seen these evacuation orders being heeded yet, even though it doesn't go into effect until about seven hours from now?

BARBER: Well, we have to take into consideration that we're siding on the side of caution and also lives first. We want to save lives first, so, therefore, we want everyone to heed to the orders of the governor and also our county emergency operations center.

When you think about Georgetown, you think about a low-lying area which is -- which is conducive to flooding even on chain ties without any storms at all. So, we know that water is one of the main things that causes loss of life. So, we want all of our citizens to hear first, to saving their lives, then we'll worry about property later.

BRIGGS: Yes, you will not see thankfully those 18 to 23 foot waves that they will see and are seeing in the Bahamas. But still, some say you could have eight -- seven, eight-foot waves there. How receptive is your population to these types of warnings? You've seen so many storms before and been through so many near-misses.

BARBER: All right, I'll tell you what, our citizens are just fantastic when it comes to just following the instructions from the Feds, the state officials and local officials. So, they will go ahead and take action and they will begin the evacuation procedures and also preparation.

We want everyone in the city of Georgetown to be prepared, we want to make sure that you have food, water, have the necessary clothing and make sure at this point to start thinking about your vehicles. Make sure you have a full tank of gas. Now, we want you to move westward in the state.

So, go towards Columbia, Greenville, what have you, but make sure that we clear the coastal area so that we can protect your life. And you know, the other thing which we have to think about is loss of life, and I'm listening to your report and we're praying for the folks in the Bahamas and also our citizens here. So, therefore, let's just all together as a nation continue to pray and also support one another.

WALKER: You know, officials are sounding so many dire warnings, one official calling it an apocalyptic storm. I'm just curious to know, Mr. Mayor, regarding your constituents attitude, I mean, how are they taking this, especially with there being so much uncertainty around the storm, you know, if and when it will even make landfall along the U.S. coast?

BARBER: Well, in the past we've gone through this before. But like I said again, our citizens are very patient. And the other thing about it is that they followed the instructions put in order by the governor and also by the state officials, particularly our local officials, we do a good job of communicating and that's what we've done for the continuation of this watch.

BRIGGS: South Carolina -- Georgetown South Carolina Mayor Brendon Barber, thanks so much for being here on EARLY START, check back with us once the storm gets closer in a couple of days, stay safe.

BARBER: Thank you.

WALKER: All right, new details overnight as Texas comes to grips with its second mass shooting in just a month. The "New York Times" reporting the Odessa shooter had been fired from his trucking job hours before killing seven strangers miles apart, 22 others were injured.

After losing track of the gunman Saturday, police were able to stop him by engineering a collision with a vehicle that he hijacked. He was then killed in a shootout. They still don't have a motive.

BRIGGS: That face is not the one you should remember. It's faces like this 17-month-old Anderson Davis, she is one of the injured, her mom said she will have surgery today to remove shrapnel from her chest, fix her mouth, tongue and lip. Her mom texting Texas Governor Greg Abbott in part, "toddlers are funny because they can get shot, but still want to run around and play. We're thanking God for that."

CNN's Ryan Young in Odessa, Texas, with more.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Dave and Amara, still so many questions about this shooting. In fact, it started Saturday around 3:17, and since then investigators have been working to figure out exactly what was going on. What was the motive behind this case?

Well, what we do know is that 36-year-old white male was getting pulled over for not making, you know, proper lane change. And when that happen, as officers started walking up to that car, he started using AR-15 to fire through that back window toward officers.


From there, it was an all-out spree in terms of gunshots and police trying to track this man down. And according to authorities, he then met up with a postal worker, he car-jacked her, shot and killed her before being shot and corralled by police. But since then, this fallout has been amazing in this community.

We saw at a candlelight vigil, so many people, hundreds of people come together, try to pay their respects to the fallen. You're talking about 7 people dead and 22 injured. So many questions, not only about the shooter's motive, but how this community move forward. In fact, we talked to two young ladies who lost a friend during the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though she's gone, she's still here in our hearts. And this is all for her so people can know who she was because she was everything, and everyone misses Leilah Hernandez.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think that she needs to come -- higher in my mind, I want her to come back, but she can't, and I don't know, I just pray to God that she's OK wherever she is, doing well and we'll see her again.


YOUNG: We do know FBI investigators executed a warrant at the suspect's house, and what we figured out there is they believe he was a truck driver. He's been arrested before for minor offenses, but nothing so far points to the sort of destruction that was created in the streets between these two communities.

What we also heard a lot about is, how this community plans to step forward. But one question came over and over again, how do we stop the cycle of violence, Dave and Amara?

BRIGGS: That's a question, Ryan. Congress back in session a week from today, the president said none of these recent shootings would have been stopped by expanded background checks. So, don't hold your breath unfortunately --

WALKER: We're seeing him still flop on that --

BRIGGS: Just one --

WALKER: Position --

BRIGGS: Yes. Ahead, another escalation in the trade wars, new tariffs take effect between the U.S. and China, and they will end up costing consumers.



BRIGGS: Check out CNN business at 5:20 Eastern. The U.S.-China trade war has escalated again, 15 percent tariffs on an estimated $110 billion worth of Chinese goods kicked in Sunday. These tariffs are a big hit to consumer goods. Popular items like bed sheets, sneakers, sweaters and power tools, items people will be looking for after a hurricane are on the list. Meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables also targeted. Beijing's retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods also took effect Sunday. This is the third round of tariff increases in the trade war. Why is this different?

Well, they directly target popular items, meaning Americans are going to pay the price. High level trade talks with China are still planned for later this month.

WALKER: A dangerous escalation in violence along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah attacking an Israeli military base. The Israelis responding with artillery strikes, marking the first exchange of fire at the border with Lebanon in nearly five years.

Oren Liebermann tracking the latest developments live from northern Israel. It was quite an intense exchange. Walk us through what happened.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, the idea remains on high alert in northern Israel to see how this continues and how it progresses from here. We've also heard drones overhead all morning as well as a UN helicopter that was patrolling the border. So, there is still a tension along this border as there so often is.

But it's still a very different story than it was here on Sunday afternoon. At about 4:15 p.m. local time, Hezbollah fired a number of anti-tank missiles from right behind me here, that hill is Lebanon. One of those anti-tank missiles struck a building in its battalion headquarters right here behind me. Another struck a military vehicle about a quarter of a mile away from where we're standing right now.

Israel says there were no injuries or casualties in those strikes. Israel responded with about 100 artillery shells towards where those anti-tank missiles were fired from as well as what they called a very limited helicopter strikes as well. But just as quickly as this started, it appears that it ended.

Some two hours after those anti-tank missiles were fired, Israel lifted restrictions on civilians in northern Israel. And that is a very strong indication that Israel believes this round of fighting is over, though the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did say the idea remains ready to respond to any scenario.

Although, it's suggested they will wait to see how Hezbollah plays this at this point. Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate after an Israeli strike in Syria killed Hezbollah operatives about a week and a half ago, and that's how this one played out. Amara, you mentioned the last round of fire, which is about five years ago at this point.

That too was limited in scope and in depth. And as of right now, it appears this one may be as well.

WALKER: All right, Oren Liebermann, appreciate it, live for us there in northern Israel.

BRIGGS: All right, we're keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian pounding the Bahamas as we speak. The southeast United States is next. And she's stuck in a hospital battling cancer, but this 16- year-old got a very special visit, we'll show you who?



WALKER: Actor and comedian Kevin Hart seriously hurt in a car accident in Calabasas, California. According to an incident report obtained by CNN, Hart and the driver Jared Black sustained major back injuries, both were taken to nearby hospitals.

Now, Black was driving Hart's 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when he lost control of the car and then rolled down an embankment. This video shot by "TMZ" shows where the car went off the road. Officers determined Black was not under the influence of alcohol.

BRIGGS: The Jonas brothers added a special stop to their concert tour this weekend. Sixteen-year-old Lily Jordan was supposed to see the band Saturday in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Instead, she was in a hospital across the street getting chemotherapy treatment.

Like any teenager would, Lily took to social media, she jokingly invited the band to come visit. Sure enough, the post went viral and caught the attention of the Jonas.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for inviting us to come and see you --

JORDAN: Thank you for coming.


BRIGGS: They posed for pictures and offered to dedicate her favorite song SOS to her that night. Wonderful gesture by them, and the upside of social media we rarely get to see.

WALKER: Yes, that is awesome --

BRIGGS: Good stuff.

WALKER: Right now, Hurricane Dorian unrelenting as it batters the Bahamas. The damage even worse as the storm moves at a staggering 1 mile an hour.