Return to Transcripts main page


Hurricane Dorian Devastates Bahamas On Way To Florida; Bahamas PM: Hurricane Devastation Unprecedented; Trump Back To Work As Hurricane Dorian Bears Down; 8 Dead, Dozens Missing In Fiery Dive Boat Disaster; Seven Killed, 25 Injured In Shooting Rampage; Hurricane Dorian Hits Bahamas; U.K. Parliament Returns Amid Brexit Chaos. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 3, 2019 - 01:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow here at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Take a look at this, the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas has brought death and destruction and it's not over yet. Hurricane Dorian has been pummeling the island for more than 24 hours now and it's been packing category four winds and storm surges over 20 feet in some places.

Dorian is devastating but also painfully slow. It's barely moving. Meaning, residents there are being hit over and over again. And flooding is also a major threat on low-lying islands. The prime minister says at least five people are dead. He's calling it a historic tragedy.


HUBERT MINNIS, PRIME MINISTER, BAHAMAS: Many homes, businesses, and other buildings have been completely or partially destroyed. There is an extraordinary amount of flooding and damage to infrastructure.


CURNOW: Meanwhile, in the U.S., millions of people have been ordered to evacuate. Officials say Dorian will move dangerously close to Florida over the coming hours. At least 2,700 flights into, out of, and within the U.S. have been canceled.

Well, CNN is on the ground in Florida as Dorian begins to bear down. Derek Van Dam is in Stewart along the state's East Coast, Nick Valencia is further north in Melbourne, and Ivan Cabrera is here in this studio. OK, so let's start with Ivan. And we have an update.


CURNOW: We have some more information. What do you hear? CABRERA: Yes, brand new update. And so now we have a category three hurricane here. So the winds have come down which is somewhat good news here. But the problem is it hasn't moved and it still continued to do so. But a category three, we haven't talked about Dorian being category three since mid-last week.

That has been how long this has been a major hurricane. And by the way, a cat three still is 125 mile an hour winds. It is still stationary so it has not moved in the last 24 hours which is again just something just don't see a category five, and then four, and now three spinning on top of Grand Bahama.

And as long as that happens, the winds here are fierce, right, category three winds. You're going to continue to pile water over and over and over. Sometimes you get the storm starts coming in and then it comes back out as things are supposed to go. But when you get as hurricane parked on top of you, this is what happens here.

And then on the backside of the island, by the way, we have a reverse storm surge right coming in with a southerly wind, although this is way less populated than Freeport but not that entirely. So some of the outer rain bands that you've been seeing, those are what our reporters have fanning along the east coast of Florida there, and we've had some close to tropical storm force.

Wind gusts, particularly in Stewart, had a 38 mile an hour wind gusting, now up to 35 but that's been ongoing. Those showers that continue to move will contain some tropical storm force wind gusts. But I don't think we're going to get into hurricane conditions until we get into the next couple of days.

And what I mean by that, hurricane winds are possible along the coast which is why we have a hurricane warning but notice the cone is east of Florida. A lot of folks think that when you out of the cone you're out of danger. That's not the case especially with the strong hurricane here.

If it makes a close enough pass, the water is going to get pushed in. We have so many rivers and inlets. I'm from Florida. I know this state very well. It has been through many hurricanes. And this one is unique just like they all are. And because of the bathymetry or the shape of the coastline here, some areas are more vulnerable than order others which is why we have some evacuations in some areas.

Now, here's the forecast here from the latest advisory category three, still a major hurricane, 125 Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. It is still lurking east of Florida. That will be the case east of Jacksonville by Wednesday 8:00 p.m. And then eventually it makes a run for the Carolinas here.

And again, the reason this has been slow-moving, Robyn, you've been asking about this, they don't steer themselves. They depend on the upper levels of the atmosphere, the winds that are going on aloft, and it's been stuck between a high to the east and a high to the west, but we're finally you see that orange there. We're going to dig in this trough and it's going to begin to pull

Dorian finally away from the Grand Bahama Island and then along the Florida coast. Watch the clock your Tuesday into Wednesday and then to the Thursday all the while hitting the east coast of Florida with significant rain and then the potential for storm surge as well.

So double threats there in Florida that will continue. Is it going to make a landfall in Florida? We don't think so at this point which is excellent news but we can't say that about the Carolinas because basically the coast just jets out and so it's going to run out of ocean and hit the Carolinas potentially Thursday and into a Friday.

But the threat continues for the Bahamas for another ten to 12 hours. They're getting pummeled there. It's going to be two days running with a major hurricane offshore. I just -- never seen anything like it.


CURNOW: No, we haven't. Thanks so much. Thanks for keeping us updated, Ivan Cabrera. So let's get more now from the Bahamas. Basil Deane is the Deputy Director of the Bahamas Department of Meteorology. Sir, thank you very much for joining us here on CNN. This is the strongest storm to hit the Bahamas. What's happening right now?

BASIL DEANE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY: Right now Dorian is sitting smack over Grand Bahama. It's been sitting there now for the last nine hours and that's pretty much unfortunate because the battering waves, the storm surge, the rains are causing quite a mess in Grand Bahama. We had some surges inundating the entire island of Grand Bahama.

And persons have been crying in for relief. Unfortunately, because of the very strong winds, relief workers are unable to get in there. But looking at the sunlight pitches and the radar imagery just before I left the station, the sudden eyewall is now starting to creep across Grand Bahama. And that means that the intense 140 mile per hour winds should be battering the central portions of Grand Bahama as I speak.

But that hopefully will continue during the course of the night. And if that eyewall continues to move northward, we can see some lighting up the effects of that storm over Ground Bahama. But right now Grand Bahama is taking a beating of very strong winds 140 miles per hour as I said. And storm surge that the major, major factor today. And as a result, flooding has inundated the entire island.

CURNOW: Have you been in any communication with people on some of the worst-hit areas? What do we know about the destruction, the level of destruction and also the toll on human life?

DEANE: Communication has become very few -- connectivity is very sparingly. We have started to lose communication. I spoke with one of my forecasters in Freeport about six hours ago. And at that time they had to relocate from a ground floor to the second floor of the building that they are in simply because of saltwater that is now seeping in. And they lost also the electricity. And right now we are now unable

because I suspect that their phone's batteries have all gone dead.

CURNOW: OK, well, we'll pray for them. Good luck. Please keep us posted and we hope this storm moves on very quickly. I appreciated, sir.

DEANE: It is certainly all of our prayers. And we wish all the best and hope that comes sunrise tomorrow the news is not as bad as we anticipate.

CURNOW: That there is some sort of later. Basil Deane, I appreciate you joining us here on CNN. Now as Dorian sits over the Bahamas, the next few hours as we've been reporting are crucial and telling us where it'll go next and hopefully move off the Bahamas. Derek Van Dam is in Stuart, Florida. Just give us a sense of where you are and what -- and what people are expecting.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we are about a kilometer off the coastline from the actual barrier island that's on the east coast of Florida. We aren't experiencing anything like the nightmare -- never-ending nightmare that is unfolding just 100 miles to our east in the island of Grand Bahama.

But regardless of that, every 30 to 45 minutes, we are getting walloped by literally these outer rainbands from Hurricane Dorian. It is transporting its energy from the center of the storm and it is bringing it to the coastline in the form of strong winds and heavy rainfall. It is still periodic but it comes and it goes. And when it hits us, we know it very quickly.

We heard Ivan talk about some of the wind reports in Stewart which is just about a half a kilometer away from where I'm located right now. And that location has a 30 mile -- 38 mile per hour wind gusts. So we're approaching that tropical storm force and we expect that to continue as time goes on.


Now, we've seen the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. We know that this is weakened to a powerful category three, still a very formidable dangerous storm. But when these large hurricanes start to weaken, the wind field expands.

This is significant because regardless of the track of this storm, it will stay offshore for the coast of Florida. That's the likely scenario here that's going to play out. But we're still going to get that large area of tropical storm force that will bring impacts into the coastline especially along the barrier islands where we have mandatory evacuation taking place here.

So this is really a game of miles. Any deviation to the west, any deviation to the east means everything for these residents. They're hoping for that easterly turn to take place quicker than it is right now at the moment. Threats here storm surge. We have the potential for flash flooding,

maybe a spin-up tornado or two and strong gusty winds that could take down electrical poles as well as power -- or as well as trees here around us. Robyn?

CURNOW: Yes, it's still such a vulnerable coastline. Thanks so much, Derek Van Dam. So Nick Valencia is live this hour in Melbourne, Florida and we're going to go straight to Nick there. I mean, what are -- millions of people under these alerts and evacuation orders, how prepared do you think the coastline is?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think there's a little bit of fatigue going on, Robyn, because they started to prepare Wednesday of last week for the possibility of a direct hit. You know, when this storm was first forecast, it was predicted to make a direct impact, direct landfall into Central Florida. The track changed. And I think a lot of people just sort of read the collective sigh of relief and let their guard down.

We can't tell you what's going on right now though is that we felt the strongest winds that we felt since we've been out here. We haven't felt a single drop of rain just yet but we just felt a really strong wind gust here. That is only going to get worse throughout the morning hours.

I mentioned that fatigue though, the fatigue factor. And I want to talk to you about you know what I'm seeing here is that you know a lot of businesses as early as yesterday hadn't really been taking the precautions or preparations. We saw limited sandbagging. We saw a limited plywood going up, no shutters deployed.

That's change -- that changed a little. Yesterday, in fact, just across the street from here, of course, you can't see that behind the camera, but all the businesses here within eyesight have been boarded up. Mandatory evacuations went into effect at 1:00 p.m. yesterday, but all the residents I spoke to -- I was just across the causeway here on the Indialantic Beach, all the residents I spoke to said that they were going to take their chances and stick it out.

I know that sounds crazy to a lot of people that are seeing that storm, seeing the storm system, and seeing what's on its way to Florida. We have to remind our viewers, you know, this is a state that has been through a lot worse before. You know storms that have impacted this state, five major hurricanes in the last four years.

And since this storm is only expected to grind up the coast, it is going to show some tropical storm winds here but that serious impact that was expected last week is not going to happen. Of course, emergency management officials are still going in front of the cameras and holding press conferences urging residents to take precautions and to listen.

So far though, a lot of people that we've spoken to say they're just going to take their chances and ride this storm out. Robyn?

CURNOW: OK. Nick Valencia there, thanks so much for that report. So as millions of people along that southeastern U.S. coast brace for Hurricane Dorian's impact, President Trump is back to work after a weekend of golfing and tweeting.

His aides are reportedly keeping him briefed on the storm. But as Kaitlan Collins now reports, the president may need help keeping the facts straight.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Today, the President teeing up at his golf course outside Washington as Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas and bore down on the U.S. Critics reminding him of this promise he once made to supporters.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf.

I'm not going to be playing much golf.

COLLINS: He also spent the morning attacking the media and a prominent union leader on Twitter while retweeting updates on the storm and the boat fire in California as White House officials insist he was briefed hourly on Dorian's movements.

TRUMP: The federal government stands ready to assist.

COLLINS: After a weekend at Camp David, the President returned to Washington for a briefing at FEMA's headquarters where he appeared baffled by the storm's intensity.

TRUMP: I'm not sure that I've ever even heard of category five. I know it existed.

COLLINS: Even though there have been four category five hurricanes since he's been in office. It's not the first time he's claimed surprise about the common term. He said the same thing after Hurricane Irma 20:17.

TRUMP: I never even knew if category five existed.

COLLINS: The National Weather Service also forced to correct the President after he claimed Alabama was in Dorian's path.

TRUMP: So for Alabama, just please be careful also.

COLLINS: The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama says that's not so tweeting: "Alabama will not see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain Too Far East."

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


[01:15:17] CURNOW: I'm coming up here at CNN, a holiday boat trip turns into a

nightmare. We'll update you on the search for dozens of passengers after flames engulfed a diving boat. Stay tuned for that.

Plus, what investigators are learning about the man who went to a shooting rampage in Texas over the weekend. New details also coming up on that.


CURNOW: It is what we're tracking right now, Hurricane Dorian. And just a short time ago, the storm was actually downgraded slightly to a Category 3 hurricane, but that's because the wind speed decreased by five miles an hour. Dorrian is still a deadly, dangerous storm.


And for more than 24 hours it's been sitting over the Northern Bahamas, pounding those islands and leaving desperate people wondering when the rain and the wind will ever stop. We know at least five people have been reported dead. And in the U.S., mandatory evacuations are underway in four states with the path of the storm still quite up in the air. We'll have more on that in just a few moments' time.

But another story we're following here at CNN. It was supposed to be a fun overnight scuba diving trip off the Californian coast, but it turned into an utter nightmare when a dive boat caught fire, trapping dozens of passengers below the deck. So far, eight people have been confirmed dead, 26 others still unaccounted for. And our Nick Watt now reports there are many, many questions about what went wrong.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A mayday call just before 3:30 a.m.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayday, mayday, mayday. Conception -- Platts Habor -- Northside -- Santa Cruz.

WATT: 30 miles from the mainland, just north of Los Angeles, first responders beaten back by the inferno.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It keeps being extinguished and re-flashing possibly due to the amount of fuel on board. Unsure why.

WATT: Five crew members escaped.

CPT. MONICA ROCHESTER, U.S. COAST GUARD: The crew was actually already awake and on the bridge and they jumped off. Five people were evacuated aboard and good Samaritan pleasure craft known as "The Grape Escape."

WATT: One brought ashore in a stretcher rushed to the hospital, one limping an injured ankle, two shoeless and shocked. 34 others were below deck. We're told there are numerous fatalities. Listen to the dispatcher on that mayday call asking questions.

COAST GUARD: Roger, are they locked inside the boat? Roger, can you get back on-board and unlock the boat, unlock the door so they can get off?

WATT: We cannot hear the answers and the Coast Guard has said the boat was in compliance.

MARK BARNEY, PETTY OFFICER, U.S. COAST GUARD: We are combing the store line. We have vessels, two vessels from Coast Guard station to (INAUDIBLE) harbor. We have Coast Guard helicopter, aircrews, so we are throwing everything that we have here by area to search for these missing 34 people. The boat sank in 64-feet of water, just 20 yards from the shore of Santa Cruz Island. The Conception 75-foot dive boat seen here in video on a previous trip, had left Santa Barbara Saturday morning.

The cause of that fire that destroyed her, still unknown. The NTSB is on route and the Coast Guard is working with the vessel's owner, but the priority right now, the fight with hope fading to find any more survivors.


CURNOW: And that was Nick Watt reporting there. And as Nick reported five people were able to escape those flames and were rescued by nearby boat. Well, the owner of that boat says he doesn't feel like a hero. Take a listen.


BOB HANSEN, OWNER OF GRAPE ESCAPE BOAT: I wish I could have picked all 35 of them up. I mean, all of them. I got the space. You know, if they could have all just gotten in the water, and I could have got them out of there.

Don't feel like I deserve being called a hero. I was just a guy there in that place, and I would hope that anybody would do the same thing.


CURNOW: Hansen and his wife discovered the disaster after they were jarred awake by the sound of pounding noises on the side of their boat from the dive boat crew seeking help. We'll continue to monitor that story.

Meanwhile, new details are emerging about the man who went on a shooting spree in West Texas on Saturday. Seven people were killed, more than two dozen injured. Ryan Young has the latest on what authorities are learning about the gunman and the calls he made before and during the shooting.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, this still remains very tough for this community. Obviously, heartbreaking as everyone tries to figure out exactly why this shooting happened. And some of the victims' names obviously are starting to be released now. We know the numbers have been updated to 25 injured, and of course, seven killed. But, the FBI released new information about the 911 calls that were happening during and before the shooting.

Apparently the shooter showed up to work. He seemed like he was in distress. Once he was fired, he called 911, the employee called 911, but he left before police could arrive. While he was in that car, apparently called the FBI tip line. When the state trooper got behind him while he was driving erratically, he had no idea that these phone calls were being made. The shooter reached into the back of his car, pulled out that AR-15 and started shooting through the back window. That trooper was injured but survived.

And during the next part of the shooting spree, he was still calling 911 to say that he was the shooter that added a lot of confusion to this. In fact, listen to the FBI talk about this investigation.


CHRIS COMBS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: He showed up to work in a very distressed mental state. So, it's not because he got fired, right? This did not happen because he was fired which other active shooters have occurred. When he showed up to work, he was already enraged.


YOUNG: Robyn, we know the youngest murder victim in this was just 15 years old. The oldest was 57. A lot of questions about this case, especially when it comes to background checks.


Apparently, the shooter was denied buying a gun two times because he failed the background check. We're not sure why just yet, but we know he was still able to get that AR-15 style assault rifle. So many questions about that. The ATF and the FBI are drilling down on that part of the investigation as we speak. And of course, as we learn more information about that, we'll pass it on to you, Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks for that right, Ryan.

Well, Hurricane Dorian remains a living nightmare for those in the Bahamas. We have the latest on this monster storm when we get back. (INAUDIBLE).



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world.

Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow here at CNN's World Head News quarter -- World News Headquarters -- I can't get it out, can I -- here in Atlanta. It has certainly been a very, very busy few hours because we are

watching this monster Hurricane Dorian it has been weakening over the past few hours. It's now a category three hurricane but it really is still very dangerous.

As you can see from this image, from the International Space Station, it remains a very large, as I said dangerous storm. It's been stalled.

Now this is the problem. For more than a day over the northern Bahamas, we know at least five deaths are reported. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters med-evac'd 19 people from Abaco Islands to Nassau but bringing in emergency aid will have to wait until this hurricane passes.

And mandatory evacuations are underway in coastal communities from Florida all the way to North Carolina. Florida's Governor urged everyone to get out while they can.


GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: People need to remain vigilant. If you are ordered to evacuate you need to do that from Palm Beach County all the way to Nassau and the Florida-Georgia border, all those coastal counties have issued evacuation orders.

And it is important that residents heed those calls. You know, get out now while you have time while there is fuel available and you will be safe on the road.


CURNOW: So far Grand Bahama Island has been getting the worst of Dorian.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has been there and is in the resort town of Freeport. Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Dorian unleashing its fury on the Bahamas. The record-setting storm striking, leaving behind catastrophic destruction. Wind gusts spiking over 200 miles per hour, becoming the most powerful storm to hit the island.

Dorian shredding homes here and setting debris across neighborhoods.

HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: This is probably the most sad and worst day of my life to address the Bahamian people. We are facing a Hurricane Dorian that -- one that we've never seen in the history of Bahamas.

OPPMANN: Heavy rains creating blinding conditions -- some towns submerged in floodwaters. Dorian making landfall in the Abaco Islands on Sunday leaving utter devastation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- please I'm begging you. My baby's only four months old, please pray for her.

OPPMANN: Listen to a mother's desperate plea. Gertha (ph) Joseph waiting with other residents along with her baby. Their apartment building now roofless and surrounded by murky floodwaters rising around them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People trying to make it to the other side where there's wide (ph) houses but some people -- the water just took them and those are the only people that got to make it over there. Some people didn't get to make it.

OPPMANN: Those horrifying scenes playing again and again across the Bahamas.

With the scale of the destruction now coming to light, haunting images showing Hurricane Dorian's dangerous power as it now takes aim at the U.S. coastline.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Freeport Bahamas.


CURNOW: Thanks -- Patrick for that.

Well, CNN is watching the hurricane minute by minute.

Nick Valencia is in Melbourne, Florida and Ivan Cabrera is tracking the storm from the CNN Center.

So let's begin with Ivan. Ok. so in the last half an hour or so we have had new information. A little bit of good news.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A little bit of good news. It is no longer a Category 4. So there is that, right. We're down to a Category 3. The problem is it's still stuck and still stationary. it's not moving at all. And so it's still pounding the same very area we were talking about this time last night across the Grand Bahama.

So here's an update here. Dorian, now Cat 3 remain stalled over that same area but we are expecting and anticipating that turn to the north to begin sometime on Tuesday. And then it will parallel the coast along Florida which is not going to be a good thing either. But it is going to be better for Grand Bahama.

I mean talk about a worst-case scenario. I had this eye on top of the eastern flank of the island. It just bisected the island entirely. I mean this is a small target and for a Cat 5 eye to do that -- just quite remarkable. And then for it to just stall on top of them is quite something else.

125-mile an hour, 125 mph -- it is gusting to 155. And there it is -- movement, zero, stationary. North of zero sometimes the anemometer will show.

But there is Dorian. There are those outer rain bands. The tropical storm force winds extend out over a hundred miles. We are easily well within that now in Florida here.


CABRERA: So as we've been checking in with our reporters along the coast including (INAUDIBLE) Stewart, you see those showers that he has been talking about? Each and every one of those kind of the bands coming in on the extreme outer bands of Dorian.

Those can contain tropical storm force wind gusts and in fact, they have over the last several hours. And I think that will continue right through tonight and into tomorrow.

By the way some of the buoys are picking up winds north of 40 miles an hour. There's our Cat 3 hurricane now. Remember Category 3, still major hurricane -- 111 starts that and we're at 125.

So this is not going to weaken significantly so that then we can say Florida you're fine. You're not because again, the water getting pushed in and my main concern will be with this hurricane watch and warning from north to south will be the storm surge and the potential for that flooding that comes in as that water gets pushed along the shore. at times of high tide that will make things worse.

125, Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.; 24 hours later through Jacksonville and then eventually because of the way the coastline is shaped here across the southeastern U.S. we are looking for a potential landfall, some time on Thursday and into Friday as a result of that turned there.

But it still has a chance for our good friends in the Carolinas, there is still a chance that it could go out to sea but we have to prepare for landfall because some of the models are indicating that at least raking the Carolinas with a potential Cat 2, Cat 3, Wednesday, Thursday and into Friday. That had been two weeks at that point that we have been covering this thing. So -- incredible.

CURNOW: Yes. Ivan Cabrera -- thank you so much.

CABRERA: Yes, you bet.


So Nick Valencia is also covering the hurricane for us in Melbourne, Florida. Ivan was talking about checking in with our correspondent. We want to see what it's like where you are right now.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn the wind is strengthening with every minute that ticks by. We still yet to see any or feel any drops of rain. But that, of course, is going to change as the morning hours progress. It will really be -- the impact will really be felt here around this time tomorrow morning.

I mentioned a lot of Floridians here in and around the area have been keeping a close eye on this track. And there is starting to feel like there's some fatigue among the residents. They have been prepared for this storm as early as last Wednesday. Initially the storm was expected to hit last night, Sunday night or -- rather Sunday night into Monday morning.

The preparations are not as significant as you would think. Yesterday when we were going around this community, we talked to a lot of residents who were under a mandatory evacuation warning but were on not evacuating at all. A lot of the conversations I had were people that said that they've been through worse storms before.

When this track changed from going to making a direct hit through to central Florida to just grinding (ph) up the coast, I think a lot of people let their guard down. Emergency Management officials, they don't like the sound of that so they have been out front and center trying to reiterate. People need to take precautions and telling people that they should know that these tracks can change at the last- minute.

Even so thought, Robyn -- most of the conversations that we've had with people are those that are going to wait this out and take their chances. And right now as it stands it is really just a waiting game -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Ok. Nick Valencia there on the ground. Thanks so much -- Nick.

So coming up here on CNN as British MPs get back to work after the summer holiday, many are gearing up for a last-ditch face-off with the Prime Minister, the new Prime Minister, over Brexit of course. We have a report from London. That's next.



CURNOW: We continue to track Hurricane Dorian as it cuts a wheel of destruction across the Bahamas. The storm has sat over island for more than 24 hours now killing at least five people.

Dorian is slow-moving, downgraded now to a Category 3 but millions of people are being also ordered to evacuate in the U.S. It is feared the storm could move closer to Florida over the coming hours.

And another story we're watching here at CNN Hong Kong's embattled chief executive says she never discussed the possibility of resigning with China's central government despite a leaked audio recording obtained by Reuters that had her saying she would quite if she had the chance.

Well, CNN's Anna Coren joins us now from Hong Kong with more on that. Hi Anna -- update us.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Robyn -- Carrie Lam, she attended a weekly press conference this morning that we were at and she was hit with a barrage of questions following that leaked recording obtained exclusively by Reuters that has her on tape saying that if she could quit she would, if she had the choice.

This conversation was had with business people here in Hong Kong at a private luncheon last week. And first I want to play that audio clip to you. Take a listen.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: If I have choice, the first thing is quit, having made a deep apology is to step down.

So I make a plea to you for your forgiveness.


COREN: Now Carrie Lam was hit with a barrage of questions at that press conference this morning in relation to this audio clip. And she was quite dismissive of it. She said that she was shocked that this recording was made and that it was leaked. This was a private conversation.

But she just continued to say, Robyn -- that she has never considered resigning and she has never tended her resignation to Beijing.

This obviously left journalists in the room very frustrated including myself. Take a listen to this exchange.


LAM: The simple and strict answer to your question is I have never tendered any resignation to the central people's government so your answer does not arise. I have never tendered any resignation.


COREN : I put the question to Carrie Lam, why won't China let you resign? You are there on tape saying that if you had a choice you would quit, why won't China let you resign. And as you could see she just avoided the question altogether.


COREN: But in that leaked recording, Robyn -- she said there is no short term solution to these protests which have now dragged into a third month we're seeing those violent clashes week after week between protesters and police.

She said this is not going to be wrapped up by the 1st of October which is of course the 70th anniversary of the formation of China -- that national day of celebration and that China -- Robyn, is playing the long game.

CURNOW: Yes it certainly is.

Anna Coren -- thanks so much. Great reporting -- appreciate it.

So in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to seek an early election to keep lawmakers in his own party from blocking a no- deal Brexit. U.K. media say a snap election could come as early as October the 14th if so-called Brexit rebels vote against the government in the coming hours. Well, Mr. Johnson offered this message to the rebels and to the E.U.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are no circumstances in which I will ask brussels to delay. We are living on the 31st of October, no ifs or buts. We will not accept any attempts to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.


CURNOW: So as parliament reconvened Tuesday after summer break and protesters gathered on the streets of British, lawmakers look set for an almighty battle over Brexit in the coming weeks.

Bianco Nobilo now looks back at how Prime Minister Johnson got to this point.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the British parliament as on the streets, the battle lines have been drawn for what promises to be the fiercest clash yet in this long-running war over Brexit which has gripped the country for the last three years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson digging in on his position to leave the E.U. by the 31st of October, do or die. Opposition parties not going down without a fight, coming together in a rare show of unity to launch a new bill which would stop a no deal Brexit.

JOHNSON: If they do they will plainly chop the legs out from under U.K. position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible.

NOBILO: Adding fuel to the fire, Johnson announced he would suspend parliament early. Reducing the time left for opposition lawmakers to act. A bold move, labeled a constitutional outrage by his opponents with some saying this amounted to the demise of democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is more interested in running into the arms of Donald Trump than actually looking after the interest of the ordinary people of this country.

NOBILO: While many in Britain have been enjoyed a relaxing summer off with heat waves across the U.K. the Prime Minister has been hard at work. Positively skipping through his first diplomatic meetings abroad where he not only got to rub shoulders with his staunch supporter, President Trump but also appeared to find personal chemistry with his European counterparts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prime Minister, are you hopeful of a deal.

NOBILO: Johnson says he still hopes to translate this (INAUDIBLE) into a revised Brexit deal, ahead of the 31st of October deadline.

JOHNSON: The backstop is no good. It's dead. It's got to go. The withdrawal argument is dead. It's got to go. But there is scope to do a new deal.

Nobilo: That's a little sign of compromise from either side yet. Johnson has also looked buoyant on the domestic front, still enjoying the so-called Boris bounce, at least in polls from his Conservative Party since he took the reins.

That combined with the fact that the Prime Minister's working majority in parliament is down to a razor thin margin. that means many still think an election could be on the cards in the near future.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN -- London.


CURNOW: It's possible the U.S. may soon see the beginning of the end of its longest running war. The U.S. Envoy for Afghanistan says it reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban pending the final approval of President Donald Trump.

A top U.S. diplomat says the U.S. could start pulling troops from five bases across Afghanistan within 135 days, so long as the Taliban meets conditions set in the agreements.

Now news of the deal comes as violence in Afghanistan has spiked, officials say 16 people were killed, more than a hundred wounded in a car bomb attack that targeted a police station in Kabul.

And tensions between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Israel are escalating. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday's clashes with Israel ushered in quote, "a new stage in its confrontation with Israel".

He says Hezbollah no longer has any red lines when it comes to defending Lebanon. And he warned Israel that if it attacks then his side will fire back. His remarks came during a televised address on Monday. Ove the weekend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would watch to see what his blood does next because his military acts.


CURNOW: And there are dark clouds on the horizon for the U.S. state of Florida. Our continued coverage of Hurricane Dorian, next. Coming up.


CURNOW: There is no rest for the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian. This powerful storm is now a Category 3, parks over Grand Bahama Island with pounding rain and fierce winds that is not leaving for the next ten hours or so.

The Prime Minister of the Bahamas said at least five people have been killed by the storm. It absolutely devastated the Abaco islands with major flooding and buildings torn apart by the winds.

[01:54:49] MINNIS: The initial reports from Abaco is that the devastation is an

unprecedented and extensive. They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking.

Many homes, businesses and other buildings have been completely or partially destroyed.


CURNOW: I want you to take a look at this image from the International Space Station. It shows just how huge the storm is as it moves through the Bahamas.

The U.S. East Coast is preparing for Dorian's arrival. Florida though maybe spared a direct hit but the threat of flooding and storm surge is still very, very real.

So you're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of Hurricane Dorian. We will continue to keep you updated on any news.

I'm Robyn Curnow. The news continues right after this.

You're watching CNN.