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NEW DAY

Flooding Threat Grows as Dorian Moves North; Hurricane Update from NOAA Hurricane Hunters; Rescues Underway in the Bahamas; Dems Release Climate Plans ahead of Town Hall. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 06:30   ET

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


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[06:30:48]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. John Berman in Daytona Beach, Florida, this morning. This is CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Dorian.

We're getting a steady rain here and consistent wind, but so far this morning not as many of the very powerful outer bands passing over, at least not yet. We are expecting that to pick up in the coming hours throughout the morning.

It has caused several thousand power outages along the Florida coast up in South Carolina where the storm could make landfall tomorrow. More than 200,000 people -- 200,000 people-plus have moved off the coast and the low lying areas to get out of the storm's way.

Let's find out how things are going elsewhere on the Florida coast. I'm going to bring in CNN's Nick Valencia. He is in Indialantic, Florida, a little bit south of where I am.

Nick, tell me your conditions.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, residents here have waited more than a week to feel the effects and impact of Hurricane Dorian. And in the last 24 hours, they have. We're on Indialantic Beach here where the rain has been steady but really the wind has been more of the factor. And as this storm continues to hover over coastal Florida, beach erosion will no doubt play a factor or be a factor in the coming days.

This area of Brevard County, where we're at, which is just across the causeway from Melbourne, has been under mandatory evacuation since 1:00 p.m. on Monday. But driving in, you wouldn't be able to tell that. There's a lot of residents that clearly stuck this out.

And I think the story in the last couple of days here has been fatigue and complacency. In fact, at our hotel yesterday, some residents who had evacuated said that they were going back home and deciding to ride out the storm there. They're hoping that in the coming days things can return to normal, but they know, as this storm goes north, those north of us here won't be so lucky. John.

BERMAN: All right, Nick Valencia for us in Indialantic.

I will say, in the hotel we stayed in here in Daytona last night, there had been a number of elderly who had been evacuated from a home much closer to the water so they could get a little bit off the coast. And you know why they do that because if the storm does get worse, they won't be able to move during it, so safety first. That is so important here. And people need to be vigilant really just for another day here in Florida.

All right, this is what the storm looks like on the ground.

I want to bring in NOAA flight director Richard Henning, who joins us from 45,000 feet, flying from South Carolina, really almost above me where the storm will be very shortly.

Mr. Henning, thank you so much for being with us.

What will you be looking for this morning?

RICHARD HENNING, FLIGHT DIRECTOR, NOAA HURRICANE HUNTERS (via telephone): Well, thank you, John.

One of the really critical things that aircraft reconnaissance does is get a fix of exactly where the center is. And, unfortunately, I don't have good news in that the storm has continued to gain longitude. In other words, it's moving west along with that northerly motion. Right now the movement is northwest at about eight miles per hour. And if you look at the geometry of the coast and the geography, you can see that the more it heads to the west, the more and more unlikely it would be for it to turn sharply enough to miss the South Carolina coast.

So that's the biggest concern right now is the direct landfall tomorrow in South Carolina. And right now, based on the positions that we've been reporting, it's more and more likely that that's going to happen.

Another piece of bad news is that the storm continues to grow in size. We're looking at hurricane force winds extending now outward 60 miles from the center with tropical storm force winds out to 175 miles from the center. So it's no longer a compact, intense hurricane like it was when it was a cat five. It's now a much broader storm.

But the bad news for that is that the broader the storm is, the worse storm surge becomes an issue. Storm surge is more prone to large hurricanes. So the threat of a very, very severe storm surge along the South Carolina coast is growing larger at this point.

[06:35:11]

BERMAN: Director Henning, two key pieces of information you just told us there. Number one, the storm is spreading in size, which means its impact can be felt over a much broader area. And then the key bit of news is perhaps on a more westerly track than we would have all have hoped, which means that a landfall in South Carolina is more likely.

As the storm moves out over the open water of Florida now, now that it's moved past the Bahamas, it is in the open water, what do you see in terms of the strength of this storm?

HENNING: Well, right now it's holding steady at about 963 millibars of pressure in the eye. It still got a very large circulation wrapping thunderstorms in towards the center. The core of the storm remains disorganized, but our concern and the concern of any forecaster at this point would be that it's sitting over the Gulf Stream. So it's over extremely warm water.

The problem with the storm yesterday and earlier was that it had stalled over the Bahamas and was up will in cooler water. And that helped to kill the intensity of the storm off from a cat five down to a cat two.

Well, that's no longer the case. It's got plenty of warm water to work with. Water temperatures around 86 degrees underneath the eye of the storm. So there is concern that it could intensify some. Right now that is not the forecast from the Hurricane Center. They forecast that it's going to maintain this 105 mile-per-hour intensity up until landfall. But it's always possible for it to regain some intensity with the waters being so warm.

If it -- the key is if it gains some organization in the core, in that eye, if that eye wraps around completely and begins to shrink again, that will be a bad sign.

BERMAN: All right, Richard Henning, flight director, 45,000 feet above us taking a look at this storm, thank you very much for that information. It will be key for all of us the next several days. Thank you so much, sir.

Again, the news he just gave us from his vantage point above the storm, it looks like it's taking a more westerly path. What does that mean? It means landfall more likely in South Carolina in those low lying areas.

We'll have much more on the path of Hurricane Dorian right after this.

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[06:41:46]

BERMAN: All right, welcome back. John Berman on Daytona Beach in Florida as Hurricane Dorian moves up the Florida coast, bringing rain, strong winds, some storm surge. The storm has already wreaked havoc, caused so much devastation and, frankly, despair in the Bahamas where only now they're getting a sense of how much damage was done.

Joining me now by phone is Neko Gibson, who runs a medevac company in the Bahamas, who's had a chance to get involved in some of the rescue and recovery operations. He just got back from Exuma Island -- I think I'm saying that right -- just landed back in Nassau.

Neko, if you can hear me, tell me what you saw.

NEKO GIBSON, FOUNDER AND OWNER, BAHAMASEVAC SERVICES: Hey, John. How's it going?

You know, everybody's -- everybody's definitely, you know, doing our best here and trying to do what we can. The problem is the winds and the weather has really been a hazard for traffic to get in and out of Abaco. U.S. Coast Guard, everybody on that end has been doing an amazing job. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force and all of the government aides here that we've been trying to -- that we've been working with have been, you know, amazing as far as trying to get the helicopters in for wind. And the runways down there are totally still unusable other than the one airport located in the south.

(INAUDIBLE) we're coordinating with the Bahamas civil aviation and everybody there to get more supplies and get more people out. But the focus right now is just getting all of the injured people that really needs to get out via helicopter back to Nassau. So they've been doing that all day yesterday. And everybody's just been doing an amazing job. And we're just doing what we can.

Again, another -- we had an -- they had an emergency meeting at the (INAUDIBLE) headquarters yesterday. I was able to connect with (INAUDIBLE) Russell (ph) and the commander (ph) of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. Everybody is just doing an amazing job as far as coordinating efforts on the ground.

We're still getting a lot of reports out of people that really need help as far as food, baby food, you know, they're running out of waters and shelters and all of that stuff. But -- so to be (INAUDIBLE) this morning is to, we've got about -- we've got about 50 airplanes on the ground now. So everybody's just -- just waiting for that wind to die down yesterday. Visibility was a mess trying to get -- you know, for airplanes to get in. So, literally, as soon as we get the all clear from the meteorology department, we're just going to start doing what we can on this end.

BERMAN: Neko Gibson. Captain, thank you very much for being with us. Good luck today. The need is enormous. I know there's some frustration because so many of you want to be flying up and down regularly to those islands that are in need. Hopefully the weather clears enough today for you all to do it. Thanks so much for joining us.

GIBSON: All right, thanks so much.

BERMAN: All right, we're getting new updates on Hurricane Dorian as it moves up the Florida coast. We just heard it's taken a bit of a westerly turn, which means that Charleston, South Carolina, could get a direct hit. Much more right after this.

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[06:49:07]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, Kamala Harris has just released her plan to fight the climate crisis. She aims to be carbon neutral by the year 2045. Five candidates have unveiled their plans within the past few days ahead of CNN's big town hall on this very topic tonight. So how do the plans stack up?

Let's bring in CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir.

Bill, great to see you.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you.

CAMEROTA: Very exciting what's happening tonight in terms of --

WEIR: Yes, it's big. It's big. Seven hours.

CAMEROTA: And -- seven hours on the climate crisis. So just take us behind the scenes. Why did you all decide to do -- why did CNN, I should say, decide to do one topic with this?

WEIR: Well, because there was so much cry out from those voters who will caucus for Democrats or independents, who put this topic at the very top of their concern list. And many were calling for a dedicated climate debate with all ten on stage. The DNC didn't go for that for whatever reason. And so we thought, well, that -- make it happen. So we're doing back-to-back-to-back-to-back town halls just focused on this.

[06:50:03]

And, look, I'm biased. I think we could do a town hall a day on this and it wouldn't be enough to cover it because it is everything. It's all -- everything in our lives, from energy, to politics, to geopolitics, to psychology, to history. So, you know. But I will say, as somebody who used to finish my term papers in the elevator on the way to class, I respect Senator Harris coming down to the wire.

CAMEROTA: This morning putting out her plan. But there's been a flurry of activity lately from a lot of candidates --

WEIR: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: Who, right before the exam, are handing in their final -- right before the grade are handing in their paper.

WEIR: Right.

CAMEROTA: And so how do you expect viewers to be able to sift through all of this tonight? Is there a way for you to help them, give them sort of a cheat sheet of who has the most aggressive plan --

WEIR: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: Who has the most interesting plan, who has the most radical plan? What should people watch for tonight?

WEIR: So you should watch for -- I mean really what you -- the only way to gauge it these days is, people don't really relate to, you know, sort of changes, tweaks to the EPA laws or something. They talk about dollars, right? So at the modest end of the scale, you've got President Biden. His blueprint is about $1.6 trillion.

CAMEROTA: Former VP, but you just promoted him. But, go on.

WEIR: What did I say?

CAMEROTA: President.

WEIR: Oh, I'm sorry, yes.

CAMEROTA: He appreciates that.

WEIR: Yes. In an alternate universe maybe he is. But, yes, the former vice president, $1.6 trillion. Bernie Sanders says, I will see you and raise almost $17 trillion. And he wants to basically, you know -- Bernie's plan is by far the most ambitious. Wants to basically de facto nationalize the power grid the way FDR did car makers in order to fight World War II.

And so a lot of people are sort of positioning themselves on that spectrum, right? It's Kamala Harris, $10 trillion. Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren said, hey, I'm going to take Jay Inslee's plan, who had by far the most comprehensive. He was the climate candidate.

CAMEROTA: The most detailed.

WEIR: Yes. The Washington governor dropped out and said, but, here, anybody can sort of crowd source my material and it's interesting that Elizabeth Warren was the first to add -- take some of his ideas and add another trillion dollars to her plan.

Then you've got guys like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who, you know, his town of South Bend is just now working on a climate action plan after many cities have done that years ago. And he seems to be sort of thin on specifics so far. We'll find out more tonight.

Beto O'Rourke was the first in with a climate plan. You know, as -- as somebody who is watching him, it looks like he's putting all his chips on those voters who care about guns and the climate.

CAMEROTA: And is it fair to say that the most radical plan is Andrew Yang's?

WEIR: Well, it is in -- in sort of in keeping with the rest of his ideas. You know, his sort of -- his platform. He wants to guarantee everybody $1,000 a month universal income.

CAMEROTA: Sure. For the economy.

WEIR: And he thinks that that then will cover climate migrants as they relocate. There are some estimates that by the middle of the century, you know, hundreds of millions of people will have to move to higher ground. Is a thousand dollars a month going to cover that? You know, so the -- so we're going to parse all of that tonight, get really into the -- into the details and see who it inspires.

CAMEROTA: Well, Bill, thank you very much for helping us preview all of that.

WEIR: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Can't wait to see it tonight.

WEIR: Good to see you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, what would you like to see done about the climate crisis? Ten Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage on CNN tonight to discuss this very critical issue. That is starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, so tune into that.

All right, we've also just learned that Hurricane Dorian is growing and more likely to make landfall in South Carolina. So our coverage of the storm continues right after this quick break.

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[06:57:39]

CAMEROTA: Another fierce debate expected in the U.K. today over a bill to block a no deal Brexit. This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a key vote when a rebel alliance of British lawmakers seized control of the agenda in an attempt to thwart his Brexit plans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This country still stands then as now for democracy, for the rule of law, for the fight against racial --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right, let's bring in CNN's Max Foster. He is live in London again for us outside of parliament with the latest.

It doesn't seem like they're sorting this out, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We really are truly in unchartered territory, Alisyn, it has to be said. So we had 21 members of the prime minister's party expelled this morning. One of them by text. A lot of worry about that within the party, it has to be said, when you consider that one of them was the grandson of Winston Churchill no less, Nicholas Soames, the grande (ph) of the party. A huge amount of upset in the party.

Also, reality here is that the government has effectively lost control of parliament, at least for today. So those 21 members of his party, along with opposition members, are going to bring in a bill today which basically says there cannot be a no deal Brexit and there could possibly be a delay of Brexit going into January.

What will Boris Johnson do in response? Well, his side have already said they're going to call for a snap election tonight, but it doesn't look as though that's going to get approved by the opposition parties, which leaves us not knowing what's going to happen next. Boris Johnson will appear in parliament in the next couple of minutes

for his first prime minister's questions. That will be a big moment.

But, Alisyn, literally, the question we're asking here in the U.K. today is who's running the country.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Max, it just gets more and more complicated, it seems, by the day. Thank you very much. Please keep us posted as to what unfolds today.

For our international viewers, you will stay with Max. The prime minister will begin taking questions from parliament just moments from now.

For our viewers in the U.S., Hurricane Dorian is churning towards the East Coast at this moment, so NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

Good morning, everyone. I am John Berman. This is NEW DAY. I'm in Daytona Beach, Florida, underneath the outer bands of Hurricane Dorian. Alisyn Camerota joins me from New York.

[07:00:01]

The breaking news this morning, the storm is on the move. Not just moving up the Florida coast about 85 miles or so.

END