Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Hurricane Dorian Not Done Yet in Bahamas; States Close to Dorian's Path Prepare for its Impact; Disgruntled Employee Killed Seven and Injured Dozens in Texas; From Vacation to a Tragic End; Hurricane Dorian Devastates Bahamas On Way To Florida; U.K. Parliament Returns Amid Brexit Chaos; Hong Kong's Carrie Lam Denies She Considered Resigning; Eight Children Killed In School Attack. Aired 3- 4a ET

Aired September 3, 2019 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

Hurricane Dorian weakened slightly over the past several hours; now, a category three. But as you can see from this image, from the International Space Station, it remains a very large and a very dangerous storm. It's the biggest hurricane ever to strike the Bahamas. And at least five deaths are reported there.

And it hasn't quit. Dorian has been stalled for more than a day over Grand Bahama Island, after delivering a crushing blow to Abaco Island to the east. The prime minister says the islands have suffered a historic tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: The initial reports from Abaco, is that the devastation is 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And in the United States, mandatory evacuations are under way in four states. The storm is predicted to turn north at some point. But people along the U.S. coast are urged not to take any chances.

CNN is covering this hurricane from all the angles. Patrick Oppmann is in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Derek Van Dam is in Stuart, Florida along the states east coast, Nick Valencia is further north in Melbourne, Florida.

So, let's hear from our meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera who is in the studio here. And of course, the big news, is that you're sensing, certainly from what you're seeing, that Dorian could very well move, start to move, in about five or six hours.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I think it will start moving today finally to the north. It's too late for the Bahamas. I mean, think about it. This thing has been stalled there 24 hours, category five or category four storm-force winds.

It's dark. There's no power. All you can hear is the wind howling out there. Ad then the water, of course, you know, the storm surge, Rosemary, that has been just continuous. So, the Atlantic Ocean has been just going over and over and over the western part of the island.

And then on the eastern half, we have less population here on the other extreme as far as the southerly winds. So, 120 mph, if you're just joining us. Yes, that is down. This is a weaker hurricane. It is not a weak hurricane. It is still a category three and that's a major hurricane. Wind gusts around 150.

So, they could be experiencing that certainly in the Freeport. We don't know. The instruments there haven't been talking to us. As you would imagine there's no power. And so, it's going to take a while.

We've been seeing the pictures from the ground from up above. It's going to be quite something else as we begin to see those the next couple of days.

But look at this spin here. I mean, it's just stationary. It has not moved. And what that means those outer rain bands have continued along Florida East Coast. And of course, we have those reporters that we're going to be talking to.

Stuart, 33-mile-an-hour wind gust. I mean, it's a windy night and we have some gusty showers rolling through. But nothing right now dangerous here. But that is going to change because we are expecting this to begin to move.

And as it does so parallel in the coast, Florida will begin to push some of that water in. The potential for coastal flooding is there that the storm surges, the water comes in especially at a time of a high tide. And that's going to be an issue, not just today.

But look at Wednesday, it's still east of Jacksonville. And then, it heads up to the north. And of course, because of the orientation of our east coast here we have the potential for this. Unless it makes a complete hook to the right possibility. But the other possibilities, it makes landfall some time on Thursday, along the Carolina coasts, both the South and North Carolina are in play for that.

So, obviously, 18 to 23 feet, some of the islands below that, so you can imagine the devastation. Four to seven-foot potential from the coast heading up to the north.

And I want to show you this particular map. There it is at 119 still gusting. Watch the clock. Tuesday evening. And then as we head throughout the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, still tropical storm force wind gusts. But notice what happens towards the end here as we head into Hatteras, we'll begin to get into the 70s, perhaps even 90s, as far as wind gusts, not sustained winds. That remains to be seen.

But I'll tell you what, compared to what the Bahamas have been going through, nothing like that. But not a complete miss for Florida. But my goodness, compared to where we were last week --

CHURCH: Absolutely.

CABRERA: -- we thought there was a cat four on the way there.

CHURCH: yes.

CABRERA: They certainly dodged a bullet with Dorian. The Grand Bahama Island certainly did not. They took the brunt of it and continued to do so.

CHURCH: Yes. And it's going to change the landscape forever.

[03:05:01]

CABRERA: No question about it.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. The devastation. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Ivan. I appreciate that.

And so far, Grand Bahama Island has been getting the worst of Dorian, as we've been telling you. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has been there in the resort town of Freeport.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been hours now that during Dorian has been battering the island of Grand Bahama. And still, the winds continue to rise. Gusts of wind, hurricane-force winds continue to come in. Trees are bending over my shoulder there. There are waves out behind me. They're out growing that the storm surge coming and that it's flooding people's homes.

It seems incredible things are only getting worse, not better, on this island. But that is the situation. A little while ago, some people's homes have been flooded near where we are staying, came into this building asking for water and towels. We went down, we gave it to them.

They are bringing their pets, carrying them in their arms. There was one woman who would fall and broken her hip and they carried her as well. People are increasingly desperate because there's no way to get help to them. Officials are just completely overstretched, as well.

It is simply just too dangerous for emergency officials to come into the area, where so much of this weather, this extreme weather is raging.

So, despite the fact that it's now been almost two days since Dorian first hit the Bahamas, in many, many places, the weather conditions are getting worse. They are not getting better. And even as more and more people are increasingly getting desperate need assistance, there is no relief in sight.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Freeport, on the Island of Grand Bahama.

CHURCH: All right. So, watching the Bahamas there, let's turn to the United States and to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam, who is in Stuart, Florida. And our Nick Valencia in Melbourne, Florida. Good to see you both again.

So, Derek, we are hearing now that Dorian will start moving in about five to six hours from now. What will that mean for Florida? And talk to us about the current situation where you are, in Stuart.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, what that means is it is a slow pace. A slow crawl for a dangerous category three hurricane. The closer it edges or wobbles westward towards the coast of Florida, the more intense the elements become, especially along the coast.

We are in Stuart, Florida. And just to give you an indication of what we're experiencing here, every 30, 45 minutes, we get lashed by one of the outer rain bands from the center of the storm, which, by the way, is 100 miles offshore. But it's taking that energy, transporting it to the coastline and creating the strong, gusty winds that you see occasionally in the live shots throughout the course of the overnight period.

Now Martin County, that's the county that I'm located in, there are mandatory evacuations for the barrier islands the low-lying regions, the susceptible houses, like mobile homes that are susceptible to flooding. There are evacuation centers and shelters that have opened up here.

Unfortunately, if people have not evacuated yet, it is too late to do so because tropical storm-force winds have set in. They have become sustained at the local airport here. So, they are no longer accepting residents into those shelters.

The causeway, the bridges that connect with barrier islands with the main Florida peninsula -- there's one of the gusts that I mentioned -- the causeways are closed because of the gusts you're seeing on TV now. It is simply too dangerous to cross over the intercoastal waterway, especially with any vehicle.

So, if people decided to ride out the storm on the barrier islands where the mandatory evacuations are out, it is time for them to shelter in place. Wait for the storm to pass. Unfortunately, Rosemary, we know and understand that this is moving at a snail's pace. So, they may be in for the long haul, 24 to 36 hours, before the storm fully pulls away. Back to you.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Our Derek Van Dam reporting there from Stuart, Florida. Many thanks to you. Let's turn again to Nick Valencia in Melbourne, Florida, further north, of course. And the people where you are nearby, they're no longer concerned, are they?

They're not worried anymore because they've looked at the trajectory and they think well, it's not going to come anywhere close to us. But we, you know, we've been talking about the storm surges, the flooding, and how dangerous that can be. But how prepared is that part of Florida for those surges?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was in Hollywood, Florida last week, Rosemary. And residents on Monday of last week were already starting to get prepared because they saw this potentially dangerous storm.

[03:10:05]

They thought it was going to make a direct impact on coastal Florida. By Wednesday and Thursday, there were local news reports that some stores had sold out of water because there was a rush to gather supplies.

I think really initially last week, people were taking this seriously because they saw it tracking towards making a direct impact going through central Florida. As soon as that track changed, though, as you mention, I think people started to get, let their guard down.

And what officials here are dealing with is that fatigue. That for days and days residents have been expecting this major storm event. That as the track shows right now, it's going to grind up the coast of Florida. But it isn't going to be what we thought it was going to be last week.

It's tremendously difficult for emergency management officials to try to get in front of this. To try to emphasize that, you know, you're still not out of the woods yet, that the storm could still bring a major impact. In fact, you know, we've seen the steady wind, you know, the winds stay steady the last hour that we've been out here. And it's just within the last 30 minutes that we felt are first drops of rain.

That's only going to get worse as those morning hours progress. But I think long-time Floridians who have been through worse storms than Hurricane Dorian is expected to be, are just sort of shrugging their shoulders at it.

I did interview somebody yesterday who had only been in Florida for a couple of months. And they were a little bit more anxious than those veteran Floridians, those veterans of storms that I interviewed later on in the day.

Those individuals, you know, we're expecting all of them anyway, we're expecting to hunker down and ride the storm out. And I think from the conversations I've had that's the overall theme, that people were going to wait and see how this is, and stick around and stick this out, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, it's understandable that if you think there's any possible way that this can be avoided, you're going to be happy about that. But never let your guard down.

Nick Valencia, reporting there from Melbourne. Derek Van Dam in Stuart. Thanks again to both of you.

The mayor of Palm Beach County, Florida, Mack Bernard, joins me now on the phone. Thank you, sir, for talking with us.

MAYOR MACK BERNARD (D), PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Thank you for having me, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Now as your state braces for the approach of Hurricane Dorian you have some evacuations for some residential structures in Palm Beach County and you've made shelters available. Where do things stand right now?

BERNARD: Well, right now, we, the evacuations were for two zones that we have in Palm Beach County. And that's for our mobile homes and our substandard housing and also low-lying areas that are prone to water intrusion and also the barrier islands.

And we opened up nine shelters. And also, we also opened up a special needs shelter which are for our most vulnerable populations. We have close to 3,000 residents right now who are in our shelters in Palm Beach County.

CHURCH: Right. And so those people that were asked to evacuate they oblige and they have gone to these very shelters or elsewhere, then.

BERNARD: Yes. We've been, you know, we've been sounding the alarm to all of our residents because this is a dangerous storm, as we're speaking right now. This storm is battering the Bahamas. And our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of the Bahamas.

Specifically, we have a lot of residents in Palm Beach County, and in south Florida that are Bahamian. After this storm passes in Palm Beach County, we spend to help in terms of helping the Bahamas in terms of short and long-term relief.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, let's talk about that. Because some of the footage that we've seen come in from the Bahamas, and this is catastrophic consequences there for people. It is deadly. We know that there's been loss of life at this point. And it is horrifying to think what we will find once Dorian moves on.

But at this stage, Dorian is sitting there moving at one mile per hour and that is causing even more devastation. What are your thoughts as you look at what's happening in the Bahamas?

BERNARD: We're really, really concerned about it because it's not even -- it's not even moving right now. It's basically static. And you know, as it's not moving, you know, it's 105 miles east of us. And with a wind -- with a wind gusts at 165 miles per hour, and it's 140 miles per hour, you know, wind speed.

And so, we're really concerned. And you know, because it's stalling, we're concerned -- our major concern, as we're speaking right now, is storm surge in the coastal part -- in the coastal part of our county. That's because of the fact that we have, in some parts, we have two sorts of water. We have the intercoastal waterways and the Atlantic Ocean.

[03:14:58] And we're expecting four to seven feet of potential storm surge. And

also, we do have high tide, which is also an additional three feet. So, these are some of the things that we're watching. And as of tonight, we're concerned about some of the feeder bands because this storm is stalling. And in some areas, we're going to see wind speeds of over 44 to 45 miles per hour.

CHURCH: That is all very terrifying, isn't it? Do you feel ready to deal with this?

BERNARD: Rosemary, because of the fact that we are in Florida, we prepare on a daily basis in terms of hurricane preparedness. Two years ago, we were impacted by Hurricane Irma in Palm Beach County. And so, we've tried to improve some of the things that went wrong during that time.

And so, you know, you can never be 100 percent for mother nature. But our team in Palm Beach County, we've been activated at level one. And so, we have I'm at the emergency operation center as we speak right now, monitoring the situation to making -- to make sure that we save the lives of every resident in Palm Beach County.

CHURCH: And tell me how much coordination is there with other Florida counties in the lead-up to a massive storm like this? And what plans do you have in place for after Dorian has left? Or do you not even think about that at this point?

BERNARD: Well, when we're planning for a hurricane, first of all, we think of, you know, our plans before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm. And before the storm, you know, we work with our emergency operation center where we have daily conference calls with our state emergency operation in Tallahassee.

And so -- and also, the governor is always on some of those phone calls. So, we're communicating with our emergency operation. And also, because the president and the administration issued a state of emergency, a state of emergency order, then we were able to have FEMA involved.

And so, this is a coordination between Palm Beach County -- our local municipality, because in Palm Beach County we have 39 different partners that work with us at the local level. And then we work with the state, FEMA and administration. So, in that way, we can execute our hurricane plans to save as many lives of our residents in the county.

CHURCH: And that is exactly the goal. Mayor Mack Bernard, thank you so much for talking with us. And our thoughts are with you, and the people in your county across your state. And of course, as we watch Hurricane Dorian just hovering there over the Bahamas. So many people in its path. It is a real worry for everybody. But thank you so much for talking with us. We do appreciate it.

BERNARD: Thanks for having me, Rosemary. Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, a holiday trip turns into a deadly nightmare for a boatload of scuba divers with more than a dozen passengers still missing and many questions unanswered. We're back with that in a moment.

[03:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

We continue to track this years' powerful storm. Hurricane Dorian has been slamming the Bahamas for more than 24 hours now, killing at least five people. And Dorian is moving at a painfully slow pace, not even one mile an hour. And that means some areas have gotten no relief from the winds and the rain for more than a full day.

Dorian is set to shift toward the U.S. State of Florida in the coming hours. These images show the storm from the International Space Station. And you can see Florida and Cuba, but what you don't see are the Bahamas. And that's because the islands are completely covered by that storm.

Well, another story we are watching very closely. What was supposed to be a fun overnight scuba diving trip off the California Coast turned into a nightmare when the boat caught fire as dozens of passengers sleep below deck.

So far, at least 15 people have been confirmed dead. More than a dozen more are still unaccounted for. And that is according to U.S. Coast Guard officials who spoke to the Los Angeles Times.

As our Sara Sidner reports, there are many unanswered questions about what went wrong.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayday, mayday, mayday. Conception --

(END VOICE CLIP)

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, the desperate search for survivors after a 75-foot dive boat caught fire off Santa Cruz Island.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vessel in distress this is Coast Guard sector Los Angeles on channel 16, what is your position and number of persons on board?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Coast Guard has received a mayday call from an unknown vessel. All mariners are requested to keep a sharp lookout. Assist if possible and report any sighting to United States Coast Guard.

(END VOICE CLIP)

SIDNER: The 34 passengers were below deck in an area used for sleeping.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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?

(END VOICE CLIP)

SIDNER: All five of the crew members onboard in the main cabin, escaped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crew was actually already awakened on the bridge and they jumped off. Five people were evacuated aboard a good Samaritan pleasure craft, known as the great escape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: Authority say the boat was burned down to the water line.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, you don't any firefighting gear at all? No fire extinguishers or anything?

(END VOICE CLIP)

SIDNER: It's believed the 34 passengers below deck may have been trapped there by the flames.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire was so intense that even after it was put out, you know, we're not able to actually embark the vessel and, you know, look for survivors.

(END VOICE CLIP)

[03:24:59]

SIDNER: The Conception is owned by Truth Aquatics which does boat charters. According to the company's web site, Conception left Saturday on a three-day cruise and was scheduled to return this evening.

The Coast Guard says the vessel is in good standing and the owner- operator is cooperating with them at this time.

James Kohls brother works on the boat, but he hasn't yet heard if he made it off OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES KOHLS, BROTHER OF CONCEPTION CREW MEMBER: He's the galley cook and the deck hand on the Conception. They do a lot of research and diving and fishing trips on it. It holds about 30 people, maybe. Many as 40.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: We have been told that that crew member's family have been reunited with the crew member. But we should also mention the devastation being felt by 26 others families. Twenty-six people still missing. We now know that four bodies have been recovered, taken to the coroner's office on Monday. Four more bodies were seen but remain at the bottom of the ocean.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Ventura County.

CHURCH: And new details are emerging about the man who went on a shooting rampage in West Texas Saturday. Seven people were killed and more than two dozen injured.

CNN's Ryan Young has more on what authorities are learning about the gunman.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This investigation continues. And in fact, the FBI is putting out some new information about the shooter and how he was acting before the shooting even started.

What we know is when he arrived at work he seemed to be in some sort of mental distress. And during that point, he was fired. He called 911 and so did the employer. But from there he left before authorities could arrive.

It was once he was inside his car, he called the FBI tip line. And according to the FBI, he was rambling on about how unfair life had been to him. He also called 911 and when the trooper walked up, he had no idea about these phone calls that the shooter apparently had made.

He pulled out an AR-15-style weapon and started firing, through that back window hitting the trooper. That trooper did survive. But through all this and all the driving and shooting as he moved on, he apparently called 911 at least two other times to say that he was the shooter.

And let's not forget, the numbers have been updated. At least 25 people injured in the shooting. Seven people killed. We know the youngest was 15. The oldest was 57. The FBI talked about how they're moving this investigation forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER COMBS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: He showed up to work in a very distressed mental state. But 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: And as this community tries to come together to heal, there are still so many questions about this investigation. The FBI is sort of drilling down on the gun.

Apparently, the shooter had been denied a gun license two other times. When he tried to purchase a gun, he was denied due to a background check. So how did he get the gun? That's the question that investigators are trying to answer at this point.

Ryan Young, CNN, Odessa, Texas.

CHURCH: Well, the latest on Hurricane Dorian is straight ahead. We will take you live to Florida where residents and tourists are nervously waiting to see what this monster storm will do next. We're back in just a moment.

[03:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. We do want to update you on our top story. Hurricane Dorian has weakened slightly, but remains a major threat, churning over the Bahamas. The storm has battered the island for more than 24 hours now, killing at least five people. It is now a category three, but still packing fierce winds.

Dorian is set to shift toward Florida in the coming hours. We think maybe five to six hours. Millions of residents are being ordered to evacuate. And people are stocking up on supplies, boarding windows and preparing for the worst.

So, let's bring in CNN meteorologist, Derek Van Dam in Stuart, Florida along the state East Coast and our Nick Valencia is a little further north in Melbourne, Florida. Good to see you both again. Good to see you're still up. What is the latest for Stuart, Derek? We will go to you first, as residents prepare for possible storm surges, possible flash flooding.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's nothing like the never- ending nightmare that is happening just 100 miles to my east on the Grand Bahama Island. We really think of them at this moment in time, but where I'm standing now, in Martin County, in Stuart, as you mentioned, we are getting the periodic outer rain bands that come in and literally smack us with strong, gusty, tropical storm force winds, brief, heavy rainfall. And a few flashes of lightning, as well, in the distance from time-to-time.

There's also been some transformers that have blown behind us, as well. We're fortunate to have electricity still at this hotel that where we're at. Let's talk about the threats that are posed to this particular area. Storm surge, as you mentioned, Rosemary, three to seven feet along the immediate coastline, 1.5 to 2 meters, approximately. There are mandatory evacuations along the barrier islands where they're susceptible to this storm surge. Remember storm surge will also create the coastal erosion, which is

also a major hazard here. And as the storm starts to weaken, I know it's still a strong category three. As typical with hurricanes of this magnitude, when they weaken, they actually expand in their wind fields. So it becomes larger, the storm itself. The tropical storm force winds extend further from the center. So, the storm, as it gets edges closer and closer to the Florida coastline, that means we'll feel more and more of the winds.

[03:35:04]

So, the threats there, obviously, gusts that could take down some tree limbs and some electrical poles, as well. And then we can't forget about the potential of flash flooding. We have five inches of rain in the forecast for the next 24 hours, that's a 120 millimeters for our international viewers. It's a lot of ran to get in a day's time. So, we will some of the creeks fill up rather quickly here. As Stuart makes its closest approach within the next 24 hours here in Stuart, Florida. As hurricane Dorian comes.

CHURCH: Absolutely, I know you're tired. Thank you so much, Derek, I appreciate that. Nick Valencia, let's go to you. You're further north as we mentioned in Melbourne, Florida, where people are feeling less threatened now by Dorian than they were earlier. But there are still dangers to consider and they must remember that.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. That has to be at the top of everyone's mind. Especially now, if they're waking up, they're really starting to feel those wind gusts. They're not quite the strength of tropical storm force winds. But certainly, you know, you can feel for the first time here, the effects of hurricane Dorian.

I think the storm has really been -- the key word has been the uncertainty about this storm. And I think initially the uncertainty of the storm, really kept a lot of people's attention, but as the days past and the track changed, I think a lot of people sort of, you know, started to go about their lives.

In fact, I'll tell you a story yesterday. I was talking to a resident who is at our hotel who had evacuated and speaking to I asked, are you going to stay here for the storm? And she told me that she was planning on going back and just taking her chances and hunkering down. This county is under a mandatory evacuation as of 1:00 p.m. yesterday. But you wouldn't been able to tell that from the sights on the beach.

There was a lot of people out there, seeing those waves churning, seeing what the storm had been doing. But -- it had been moving so slow, that I think a lot of people had been really fatigued by just waiting for this storm to come. And now that as I mentioned, Rosemary, that the track has changed. It's going to grind up the coastal part of Florida, the East Coast part of Florida.

They know that they've gone through storms worse than this before. Worse than this is expected to be. You know, so, they're going to take their chances. And that is of course, upsetting and it's unsettling to the emergency management officials, who have gone through so much, to make sure to emphasize that you need to be prepared for the worst, even if you think that it's not going to come. Though -- residents here, the truth is they really don't think that this is going to be as significant as they initially thought it was going to be last week. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It is a real concern. Hopefully people will take care, because the problems with flooding and the storm surges, I mean, they -- that can be deadly.

VALENCIA: That's right.

CHURCH: Our Nick Valencia, bringing us the very latest from Melbourne, Florida. And of course, before that, Derek Van Dam in Stuart, Florida. Many thanks to both of you.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, as British M.P.'s get back to work after the summer holiday, many are gearing up for last- ditch face-off with the Prime Minister over Brexit. We have a live report for you next.

[03:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. We want to update you now on hurricane Dorian. It's been parked over the island of Grand Bahama, for more than a day now, and might not move for another five or six hours. Dorian has weakened slightly to a category three. But it remains a powerful and treacherous storm. It's blamed for at least five deaths in the Bahamas and some people are unaccounted for. The Prime Minister says the destruction is unprecedented.

Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam said she never discussed the possibility of resigning with China's central government. That's despite a leaked audio recording obtained by Reuters that had her saying she would quit if she had the chance. Lam said quitting would be an easy out, but not one for her. She also says she deeply regrets pushing the controversial extradition bill that sparked months of protests against the government, but insist it had been her decision to do so.

Well, the first day of classes at one Chinese elementary school began in horror after a man killed eight young children and injured two others. According to the local government in the province of Hubei, the attacker is a 40-year-old man. The children's individual's ages were not released, but the school students ranges in age from 6 to 13 years. Police say they have the attacker in custody.

All right. We turn to the United Kingdom now. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threaten to seek an early election, to keep lawmakers in his own party from blocking a no-deal Brexit. U.K. Media reports say a snap election could come as early as October 14th, if so called Brexit rebels vote against the government in the coming hours. Well, as British lawmakers return to parliament today, the E.U. will be watching what happens. Our Nina Dos Santos, joins us live from Brussels. So, let's look here at the possibility of a snap election, how likely is that? What are the possible scenarios here for Boris Johnson and his strategy and of course, the likely response from the E.U.?

[03:45:00]

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has all been quite smoke and mirrors, if you like, at least from the E.U.'s perspective, Rosemary. On the one hand, Boris Johnson, the U.K. Prime Minister, remember, who took over from Theresa May, and hasn't yet been popularly elected yet. He said in the podium outside number 10 Downing Street saying, I don't want to call an election. I don't want to put you, the British people, through another process of voting yet again.

Remember that there's a certain amount of voting fatigue in the U.K. that set in after three votes, including the E.U. referendum over the last four years. Having said that, though, he said, if I'm backed into a corner by this so-called rebel alliance, with about 20 members of his own party, who want the U.K. to avoid a no-deal scenario and all of the other opposition parties ganged up against him effectively, they are going to be presenting a bill in the House of Commons later on toady that will force the government to try and ask Brussels for yet another delay to Brexit until the end of January next year.

He says then, there's no point in me continuing without getting a popular mandate from the people in calling a snap election. That means that the U.K. could be heading towards the polls within about six weeks' time. That date of October the 14th that you mentioned, is a potential date, it has been widely reported in U.K. Media over the last 12 hours, Rosemary. That is significant, because it would give Boris Johnson enough time to actually know whether or not he had been re-elected and had a no-deal mandate before the next E.U. summit that is set to take place on the 17th of October.

But the other thing that people don't know in Westminster, is whether or not this could be a trap here. The idea that Boris Johnson could then shift the electoral base all the way back to the next exit date for Brexit, which is the 31st of October. That is the big gamble for those rebels voting today. Also, the gamble for Boris Johnson, whether or not he would win a snap election in October, if indeed he were to call one in the next 72 hours. Rosemary?

CHURCH: It has been such a tortured journey, hasn't it, with Brexit? We shall see what comes out of Tuesday, in the United Kingdom. All right, our Nina Dos Santos, many thanks to you, bringing us the very latest from Brussels. I appreciate it.

Well, the U.S. Special envoy to Afghanistan, says he has reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban, pending the final approval of the U.S. President. Zalmay Khalilzad says the U.S. could start pulling troops from five bases across Afghanistan, within 135 days, so long as the Taliban meet conditions set in the agreement. Now, this comes as the Taliban claimed responsibility for a massive blast in Kabul on Monday. The explosion killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100 others.

On Saturday, Taliban militants attacked the City of Kunduz from multiple angles. Officials say, dozens of militants were killed in clashes with Afghan security forces.

We'll take another short break. Still ahead, hurricane Dorian has stalled over the Bahamas, but there are dark clouds on the horizon in Florida. The latest on this deadly storm's path. That is coming up in just a moment.

[03:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Hurricane Dorian is parked over the Bahamas right now, pounding the islands with heavy rains and winds of 120 miles an hour. That is 193 kilometers an hour. The storm surge has caused widespread flooding and at least five deaths are reported. The Prime Minister calls it a historic tragedy. Officials say Dorian will move dangerously close to Florida over the coming hours. So, let's get more on all of this with our meteorologist, Ivanka Cabrera. And Ivan, how many more hours before we start seeing the movement of Dorian?

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Not soon enough. But I think we have another six good hours here of the island getting pounded continuously with hurricane-force wind gusts, perhaps up to 150 miles an hour. Look at this thing, Rosemary. I mean, this is the eye of the storm here. It just stays there. I mean, this is incredible, now 24 hours, you kind of see it moving a little further north. It's not a movement, it's a wobble here just because of the structure of the eye and the things that are going on inside it. Also the interaction with a little bit of land there.

But otherwise not moving at all. Stationary at 120 is the sustained wind that puts it to a category three. Here's the radar already impacting with Florida, not with anything that would be hurricane force-winds, but we've been checking in with our reporters here along 95, route one there. We have been seeing tropical storm force wind gusts, that would be 39 miles an hour-plus.

Now, if you get a sustained tropical storm force-wind, that is going to eventually cause some problems here, I think with outages, as far as power. But the concern, at least right now that I see, is storm surge potential because you will have a category three, perhaps a two, paralleling the Florida Coast. Now water has nowhere to go, but inland. And so we have the potential here for Florida, a seven-foot storm surge as we head over the next several days. And that is I've been talking about, eventual potential landfall in the Carolinas. That is going to be the next threat after Florida. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much, Ivan, for keeping an eye on that for the last few hours, in fact we do appreciate it.

CABRERA: You bet.

[03:55:00]

CHURCH: And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. "Early Start" is next, with more of our special hurricane Dorian coverage. Do stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END