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Recovery Efforts Continue in Bahamas; Hurricane Dorian Slams Carolinas. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired September 5, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK FOX, FORMER NBA PLAYER: And we have to find people. We have to recover people.
And, look, we have had -- I have relatives. The deputy prime minister is a cousin. And his whole district in East Grand Bahama is underwater. You know, the prime minister has lost a brother.
Like, there's so many people that are -- have passed away that we haven't even located yet. So, we need to locate and at least alleviate the remaining folks that are there...
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Yes.
FOX: ... just wondering where their family members are.
CAMEROTA: Understood, Rick. We hear your plea. I'm sure that government officials hear your plea.
So, thank you very much for coming on. We know how much you care about the Bahamas. We will check back with you. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Alisyn Camerota, in for Brooke Baldwin today. Thank you for watching CNN's continuing special coverage of Hurricane Dorian.
This is now a Category 2 storm. It is bettering the Carolina coast. It is leaving, as you can imagine, downed trees, floodwaters everywhere. It is also spawning tornadoes, like this one in Brunswick County, North Carolina.
And, of course, it is not over yet. Some 1,600 members of the National Guard have now been activated, as officials say a storm surge of up to eight feet could hit some parts of the state.
And right now, peak surges are happening in Charleston, also in Myrtle Beach. That's where police discovered this SUV that you see on your screen right now. This was abandoned near the shoreline. Apparently, a driver wanted to get a better look at the waves today. So their jeep got stuck. We're happy to say that the driver got out.
CNN's Brian Todd is in Charleston for us.
So, Brian, tell us what you're seeing at this hour.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, this is what makes the situation here still precarious, still a little bit dangerous here in Charleston, downed power lines, downed trees all over the place here, some roads still flooded.
And we're just past high tide, so people are coming out and getting more of an assessment of what's going on now. But you got to be careful if you're going to come back to your home and try to look around and see what's going on here.
Check out what the storm did to this tree. You see where it just split it right there. This is a large tree that just got split in half, and just teetered over, and now is leaning against the power line here.
We're staying a safe distance from it, so that, if something happens, we're out of danger here. But there is a power pole just beyond that is also kind of tilting and teetering.
We just spoke to a police officer who came down the street to assess the damage, and he said there seems like this all over Charleston right now. You have got to be careful.
Alisyn, they had 440-some-thousand people evacuate from South Carolina. That is just about half the people who were under evacuation orders. A pretty good percentage of people did get out, but half of them did not.
And you talk to people who stayed, and they -- some of them say that this is one of the reasons that they wanted to stay. They wanted to be by their houses if something like this happens, so that they can assess the damage and try to get help quickly.
Others say that they're afraid, if they go to far away, it'll be too hard to get back to their houses. And what I can tell you is, that is still the case here this afternoon. Even as the storm moves a little bit further away, we have got still 110 road closures in and around the Charleston area.
So people wanting to come back earlier, trying to assess the damage in their homes, might have -- excuse me -- might have a tough time getting back -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Yes, because, of course, Brian, I mean, driving back to your house once the storm has passed is also dangerous, with all of those floodwaters.
So thank you very much for showing us the danger there right now.
CAMEROTA: So, this afternoon, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster had a blunt warning for anyone thinking about going out into the storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): We urge everybody to stay inside. If you don't need to be out, don't go out.
And in this kind of situation, you don't need to go out. Stay off the streets. It's very dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK, joining us now by phone is Major General Diana Holland. She is the South Atlantic Division commander for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Major General, thank you very much.
We understand that you actually met with Governor McMaster earlier today. So what did he want you to focus on?
MAJ. GEN. DIANA HOLLAND, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Hey, well, good afternoon, Alisyn. And thank you for having me on your program.
Well, he's got the same focus for us as he does for everyone, which is to be vigilant and be as ready as possible, and to be ready to respond to whatever -- as the storm passes, whatever the requirements are going to be out there.
CAMEROTA: What's your biggest concern as you watch all of this damage and all this flooding?
HOLLAND: Well, of course, we worry a lot about the flooding, the storm surge.
I heard your meteorologist talking about the storm surge, the rain, winds. This is a very dangerous storm bringing a lot of water. And so even (INAUDIBLE) how we can support the state as they (INAUDIBLE)
HOLLAND: (INAUDIBLE) facilities (INAUDIBLE)
CAMEROTA: Major General, sorry to interrupt you. Not surprisingly, communications are tough with all of these winds and rains.
We thank you very much for all of the work that you're doing and for updating us.
So, new at this hour the mayor of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, declaring a civil emergency because of Hurricane Dorian. Hurricane- force winds are set to arrive in Myrtle Beach this afternoon, along with that storm surge that we keep talking about of up to eight feet.
And, of course, another major concern are these possible tornadoes. There's video outside of North Myrtle Beach today. And it shows what appears to be this fast-moving tornado. And you can see all of those ominous black clouds surrounding it. It has -- there's reportedly damage to several homes there.
So let's go to CNN Rosa Flores. She is in Myrtle Beach for us.
So, Rosa, what are you seeing in your location right now?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, right now, we're -- we are feeling some of those bands. It's been very windy. You can see behind me that we are in high tide.
But you were mentioning the tornadoes, Alisyn. And my team and I actually just drove back to Myrtle Beach from that neighborhood, only because we're expecting conditions to deteriorate here in our area. And we wanted to make sure to be safe.
But we have that video for you. From talking to residents in this community, they say that that tornado barrelled through their neighborhood at about 4:30 this morning. It snapped trees, downed power lines, ripped parts of the roofs of some of those homes.
And, today, these individuals, these residents are counting their blessings. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was around 4:00, 4:14 this morning. We just heard the loud rumbling noise. Kind of sounds like a train in a sense, and just went to the window to see what was going on.
There was a wind. The trees were about sideways. We were lucky we didn't have any damage. I don't -- we lost a few shingles, but that's about all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: Now, here's the good news. No one was injured in that neighborhood, according to all the neighbors that I talked to and the fire department as well.
But, Alisyn, this area is still under a tornado watch. It will be under a tornado watch until 4:00 p.m. And one of the things that the mayor of this city of Myrtle Beach tells me is that her biggest concern is storm surge, because we're expecting four to eight feet.
Right now, it's high tide. And on top of all of that, we're expecting between four eight inches of rain -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Yes, absolutely, Rosa. That is a big concern all along that Southeastern coast. Thank you very much.
Just ahead, I will speak live to a general in the South Carolina National Guard who is coordinating the emergency response there.
Plus, the U.S. Coast Guard says it has evacuated dozens of people from the Abaco Islands and that the rescues are ongoing, this as we are hearing for the first time from people who survived the hurricane there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERRIE ROBERTS, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I'm from Tampa.
ROBERTS: And I just want to let my family in the States know that we're OK.
QUESTION: I'm so sorry.
ROBERTS: We thank God for life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, you just hear the desperation and the gratitude there in her voice.
We have so much more CNN footage from the ground in the Bahamas to show you next.
CAMEROTA: OK, we have some stunning new images to show you from the hardest-hit parts of the Bahamas today, as survivors grapple with their new reality.
I mean, imagine coming home to see all of this on your screen. Crucial international aid is starting to trickle, and U.S. Coast Guard rescue missions are ongoing, we're told.
The death toll in the Bahamas at the moment is 20 people, but that is expected to rise as the extent of all of this damage and the aftermath becomes clear.
CNN's Paula Newton spent the night in one of the hardest-hit communities, the Abaco Islands.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Everywhere you look on Abaco, on these islands, you see destruction everywhere, the terror that people went through for several days here.
They really find themselves speechless to even describe it to us. And yet, when you look at the debris, you can understand what they're talking about. This is someone's living room. They describe coaches, pieces of their ceiling, their roof, any of their appliances, any of their belongings coming at them as projectiles.
They are talking about the force of wind that was like multiple tornadoes touching down. And you can see what's happened here. You have got everything, debris everywhere.
This is as people were wondering when the storm was going to end. Everyone here was fearing for their lives, wondering what would happen next. They were completely cut off from all communication.
And now they're left with this destruction. People are thankful for their lives, and yet they understand the horror of what they just went through will be with them for a long time to come.
Take a listen.
ROBERTS: It's not just us. Everybody's hurting. We're not any worse than anybody else. Everybody is hurting. And we thank God for life. We have got each other. And we thank God for life.
God is good. Through it all, God is good.
NEWTON: And you were with your family when you went through the storm?
ROBERTS: Yes. Yes, yes. Yes, we will be OK. We will.
NEWTON: Any children here with you?
ROBERTS: My grandson.
NEWTON: I see. Right.
ROBERTS: My grandson. My husband. My daughter...
NEWTON: Hi there.
I think I met your daughter. Christine (ph)?
ROBERTS: Yes, yes.
NEWTON: What was it like, though, to ride out the storm? I mean, what...
ROBERTS: Words can't describe it. I don't wish it on nobody. Nobody. Words can't describe it.
They could never categorize this, never. It as like an atomic bomb went off. It just...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My grandfather ran out in the middle of the hurricane, because the roof of the house, water was leaking in. And he ran out in the middle of the hurricane (INAUDIBLE). He came out and he saved us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had to go underneath the house to get a ladder (INAUDIBLE) in the middle of the house. It was crazy.
I don't know how he made it out. Every one of us was screaming, telling him to come back inside. But, if it wasn't for him, the whole house probably would have blown down.
ROBERTS: But the community has come together. And families have taken in other families. Everybody has been awesome. I mean, everybody has come together.
Like I said, we're all...
NEWTON: I can tell.
ROBERTS: We're all hurting. It's not just us. We're all hurting. And we can't thank you all enough for getting the word out for us.
You all are our voices. And we thank you for it.
NEWTON: Abaco all about living the island dream, the island paradise. And many people here now are wondering if they can ever come back. One thing they do tell us is that Abaco will never be the same again.
As you can see, their lives are now strewn all over these islands. If they're lucky enough that they're safe and they're healthy, they say they will try to rebuild, but they already know what a monumental task they have in front of them.
Paula Newton, CNN, Man-O-War on the Abaco Islands.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, we thank Paula Newton for that emotional report.
So, we mentioned the tornadoes popping up across the Carolinas. I will speak live to a man who had his business destroyed today by one of those.
Plus, with the rescue still under way, the president of still defending presenting this doctored map to back up his false claim about Alabama.
CAMEROTA: As Hurricane Dorian batters North and South Carolina, there is a frightening addition to the wind and rain. And that's tornadoes. Look at these images of storm damage from Emerald Isle right there on your screen. That's Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
A tornado flipped mobile homes and boats. You can see the path of destruction in its wake there. So, tornadoes are common in the thunderstorm bands of hurricanes and tropical storms, often giving little, if any, warning.
And that's what happened to Paul Musco, our next guest. He lives in Emerald Isle. He owns a water park on the island that sustained heavy tornado damage.
So, Paul, thanks for being here.
Tell us what you experienced this morning.
PAUL MUSCO, WATER PARK OWNER: You're welcome. Good afternoon for having me on.
So, this morning, I was actually on the way over to the park. I wasn't at the park when the tornado hit. There was actually pretty clear skies early in the morning, and the storm was starting to jog a little closer to the coast. So I thought I would go over there and do some last-minute preparations.
And as I was headed over to the bridge to head onto the island, I could see the cloud formation and things flying up in the air. Got to the scene just after it happened. And it just was -- I mean, like they said, it looked like a tornado hit.
It was just devastation from the ocean to -- all the way to the other end of the island, where it went off back into the sound side. There was -- like you said, there was mobile homes flipped over, trailers flipped over, and just debris everywhere.
CAMEROTA: And, I mean, Paul, if you had been there, if you had been running just a little bit earlier, what would you have done?
MUSCO: Well, I had actually turned around because I called my manager and asked him to meet me up there. And he said, hey, look, there's a real heavy rain band. Why don't you wait a few minutes?
And I said, OK, I will turn around and grab some food. So, I actually turned around to go eat, and it was headed back onto the bridge when the tornado came through. So we should have been there. We were supposed to be there, but luckily were not.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, that is a stroke of luck.
And do you know if people were injured?
MUSCO: From what we were told, somehow, some way, there was only minor injuries.
A lot of the homes that were flipped over were -- happened to be vacant. A lot of people heeded the advice to evacuate. Now, there were people in that park, and there was actually -- my manager's -- one of my managers, his mom is over in that park and she was there. And her camper was pretty much unscathed, and the one literally five
feet from it is totally gone, destroyed. And it was -- happened to be empty.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
MUSCO: So, I think just it was just a stroke of luck that there was no major, major injuries.
CAMEROTA: That is incredible. I mean, it just shows how capricious, as we always see, Mother Nature and particularly tornadoes can be.
And so what happened to your water park?
So it was -- like I said, the weather hasn't even turned back yet -- or it hadn't. It's starting to now. And so I don't think anybody even had their guard up yet.
The water park has got major, major damage. It took heavy metal tables and threw them hundreds and hundreds of yards. And the building from next door, which is a granite shop, Artisan Granite, his building ended up on top of my building and through the roof inside of the building.
And so now it's just raining inside the building now. But others just -- the whole place is basically totally destroyed, except for the back slides, which tornadoes do -- totally untouched.
CAMEROTA: And so are you still going to have a business?
MUSCO: Well, luckily for us, we were only going to have a few more weeks of business and we would be done to the season. So we will have the winter to rebuild.
Obviously, it wasn't on my list of things to do. I own some other businesses. And rebuilding the water park was certainly not in my agenda.
But, right now, it's going to take months and months and months to rebuild.
CAMEROTA: So, Paul, listen...
MUSCO: But we will rebuild.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's -- you're showing the determination that we hear from so many people in your area.
But we also understand that there's a -- I think a mandatory evacuation in Emerald Isle at 7:00 p.m. tonight. So what's your plan?
MUSCO: There is.
So there's a curfew and an evacuation. I'm going to try to mitigate the damages as much as possible. We have got some -- I have got a lot of good friends and network of people that already, as soon as it happened, were over there at the park with heavy equipment, with tools, with tarps.
I mean, it's been pretty amazing how the community pulls together when these things happen. And I think that's sort of the silver lining in all these natural disasters that happen, is to see the communities pull together, and the love and -- you get from everyone around.
And so we were able to get the building off the top of my building, get the tarps on. And we're hoping to just finish up before 7:00, when we have to be out and head off. I live a few miles from the park, and we're just going to hunker down there and hope that the storm itself isn't as bad as it's planned to be.
But the tornadoes are really what scares me, the scary part in these.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, it sure does, looking at the aftermath of all of these.
Well, Paul, listen, those stories of humanity are always just really comforting for everybody, including yours.
So, thank you very much...
CAMEROTA: ... for sharing -- sharing the story of your loss and how you will rebuild