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Dorian Threatens Eastern U.S. After Devastating Bahamas; Flooding In Charleston, SC As Dorian Approaches; Mayor John McCann of Hilton Head Island Is Interviewed About The Hurricane Dorian Which Is Approaching To Their Town; Democratic Candidates Stress Need For Action Is Urgent. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 5, 2019 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00]

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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Right now Hurricane Dorian is again a major category 3 storm and its winds and rains are slamming the southeastern U.S. coast. The massive hurricane has been slowly tracking just offshore since making a northerly turn right before hitting Florida.

Of course, before that, it devastated parts of the Bahamas and we are getting our first view of some of the damage there in the Abacos. Miles and miles of what was a tropical paradise has been reduced to rubble. Incredible aerial shots there.

And the airport in Freeport is still closed. Just one look at damage there, of course, explains why. The death toll in the Bahamas now stands at 20 and that is expected to rise.

Well, CNN's Patrick Oppmann has an exclusive report from Freeport. Coming up, our Paula Newton is on the island of Abaco and our Derek Van Dam is standing by in Charleston, South Carolina. But let's begin with the forecast.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CHURCH: One place on high alert is Charleston, South Carolina, and meteorologist Derek Van Dam is standing by for us there.

Good to see you, Derek. We're getting word of flooding in Charleston as a result of Dorian's approach.

What are you seeing there?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you're right, Rosemary, this is a city of high alert tonight because of a trio of threats that it faces. Not only the fresh water and salt water flooding from the storm surge and the heavy rainfall but we have the potential of hurricane force winds going forward.

Just since we've been here, we have had flashes of green illuminate the skies behind us. The electricity has flickered, all telltale signs that a hurricane is approaching.

[02:05:00]

VAN DAM: I would be very surprised if we hold on to electricity where I'm standing now, just with the Ashley River behind me just outside of the city center of Charleston.

There's also been sheet metal flapping in the distance as the winds pick up. We've had reports from police of road closures downtown Charleston with flooding ongoing within the city and the historic center. So we know that this city is particularly vulnerable -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, I wanted to talk to you about that because Charleston topography does make it very vulnerable in a hurricane situation like this. Talk to us more about that.

VAN DAM: I mean, really all you need to do, Rosemary, and for our viewers, is just look at a map of Charleston. You can see clearly that it is a vulnerable city because of its proximity to the ocean. Literally the Charleston harbor is open directly to the Atlantic Ocean, so there is nothing between an approaching hurricane and the city center.

For our international viewers, this would be something similar to Hong Kong, for instance, if a typhoon was approaching the area. We have a competing water source.

So the heavy rain we're experiencing now, 3 inches an hour, 72 millimeters an hour for our international viewers, that falls inland, it makes its way through the tributaries and the rivers meets up with the approaching storm surge from the hurricane and that forces the water to rise in the city.

In fact, some of the forecasts call for some of the inland blocks within the city of Charleston, three to six blocks inland from the waterway, to become flooded as the storm makes its high approach.

By the way, we have a tidal cycle over the next 12 hours. High tide now, Rosemary, and another high tide at 2:00 pm coinciding with the strongest part of the storm approaching Charleston. So a busy night ahead.

CHURCH: Very much on high alert there. Our Derek Van Dam reporting live from Charleston. We're going to check back in with you very soon. Appreciate that.

Of course, before hitting the southeastern U.S., Dorian spent what seemed like an eternity over the Bahamas in parts of the Abacos. What was a tropical paradise is lost now, reduced to ruins and in recent hours the death toll has risen to 20 and that grim number, unfortunately, is expected to rise. Rescues are underway and help is coming in but the need is great. Our

Paula Newton is there and describes what she sees.

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PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is absolute destruction because you actually see all the debris thrown everywhere.

The extent of the damage, buildings that were supposed to withstand the hurricane force winds just completely crumpled and torn apart. And that's the kind of devastation. I mean, you're seeing appliances thrown everywhere that will just go flying, boats turned upside down but then flying through the air.

You would see people's furniture from one house end up in another person's backyard meters away. It is indescribable. Air conditioners pulled out from their homes and tossed upside down. It is just an absolute mess, an absolute mess.

And when you see that, when you see the debris, you witness that for yourself, you realize how lucky people are to come out of this storm alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And it is amazing to consider what was then a category 5 hurricane was over the Abacos and Grand Bahama for almost two days, pounding the area relentlessly with winds and rain for hours and hours.

Freeport took a beating, especially the airport there. And our Patrick Oppmann made it on Wednesday to that airport and has this exclusive report.

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PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We saw airplanes coming over this island along with helicopters, the first signs of any organized search-and-rescue effort, any effort to bring in help from outside of this island.

We thought perhaps that meant the airport here was functional or had reopened so we went to the airport and what we found was total devastation.

We were on the runway at the Freeport Airport. It has been inaccessible for days. There was a river between the rest of the city and this airport. It was completely underwater. It looked like the waves were crashing -- waves were crashing against this airport. Look how destroyed it is right now.

Just about every side, 8-10 feet up has been leveled, ripped in, torn in. Look at it now. I don't recognize it. There's not a wall standing. You think about the need this island has right now for a functioning airport to get injured people out, to get supplies in and this airport right now is completely destroyed. I've never seen anything like it in my life. This is complete and

utter devastation like I've never seen.

Jose is going to point the camera over here. Look at this. That's a wheel. This is the underside of a plane. This is what's left of the wing. You think of the force required to throw a plane from the runway into a terminal. If anybody was here, I don't know how they would have survived.

[02:10:00]

OPPMANN: I've seen a lot of damage on this island. This is the absolute most devastated area I've seen so far. It will be impossible for anybody who was injured or just wants to get off the island to leave from here.

Aid will not be able to come in this part of the airport if it's an airport at all because it's just a debris field now. So if help is going to come, it's going to have to come through some other way. Boats, another airfield, but this is really the only -- this is the only airfield for this island and it is in utter ruins.

So that terminal that we gained access to was one of the domestic terminals. We tried to visit two other terminals that were still standing but had been in floodwaters for days.

And at one of the terminals which is four flights to and from the United States, we were told that it was simply too dangerous to enter, that nobody had been in there to do a damage assessment just yet.

We looked inside and we could see tremendous damage from the days of flooding. No one has begun working so far to clear the runway and that debris will keep flights from landing at this airport, flights that could be carrying vital aid -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN Freeport, the Bahamas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: An incredible account there of the damage in Freeport from CNN's Patrick Oppmann.

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CHURCH: And my next guest is Christy Delafield. She is the director of communications for Mercy Corps and joins me now from Nassau.

Thank you so much for talking with us.

CHRISTY DELAFIELD, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MERCY CORPS: Thank you.

CHURCH: Now, we just saw there in Patrick Oppmann's report the total devastation at Freeport's airport in the Bahamas. Clearly unable to receive planes at this time. Although the international terminal is apparently still standing but damaged from flooding.

What's your organization's plans right now for getting aid deliveries in for those most in need?

DELAFIELD: Well, you've put your finger on just the biggest challenge that we're facing right now. These are two islands that were incredibly hard hit. There's widespread flooding and there's almost no way to get supplies in.

There was a flyover done yesterday in which we saw basically Freeport sort of standing and then flattened ground on either side of it to the north and south of the island.

So at this point all responders are standing by while we allow the authorities to prioritize search and rescue efforts because that medevac is so important and just can't wait, that lifesaving aid.

And we're using this time to mobilize, to assemble ourselves and to coordinate supply chains so that we know that we're prioritizing the aid that's needed most urgently and that we're going to be ready the second that we're able to get on the islands.

CHURCH: Right.

And what about perhaps some other alternatives like receiving aid from boats and distributing those deliveries to people across the islands?

Is that possible?

How would that work?

DELAFIELD: At this point it's not because, as I said, there are some limited access points and the local authorities are really trying to prioritize those lifesaving elements, search and rescue, getting people medevac and kind of making sure that that gets first priority.

As a very important and very urgent next step, we're looking at getting clean water supplies to people. What we're seeing in particular on Abaco is that all of the groundwater supplies are likely contaminated. So, this means that saltwater and flooding has made it so that those wells are just undrinkable.

So, we're going to be needing to look at getting desalination supplies in. We're going to be needing to look at getting jerry cans and other containers so that people can transport clean water. And this, as you know, is a huge health risk because water-borne illness can creep in so quickly after a disaster like this.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, it is the highest priority, isn't it?

What about air drops from above with water, food and medical aid of some sort?

Has that been considered and how viable is that?

DELAFIELD: So, the challenge with an air drop -- and I haven't heard it raised in a coordination meeting. That doesn't mean that it hasn't been considered. But the challenge is then having organization on the ground to ensure that supplies get distributed fairly, evenly to those people who need it most.

So, you really need that ground game in place so that you can ensure that once supplies get there, they get to the people that need it. But, look, we need to -- we need to be considering everything that we can, everything that we can do safely, everything that we can do efficiently because these are people who are in desperate need at this point.

CHURCH: Mercy Corps is a great organization. It does so much for people in need and after devastation like this and disasters across the globe. The task ahead is immense for sure. Christy Delafield, thank you so much for all you do and your organization.

DELAFIELD: Thank you for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And if you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian, just go to cnn.com/impact. And there you'll find a list of organizations working to help Bahamians with medical supplies, food and water. And you can do your part.

Well, Boris Johnson has some strong ideas about how Brexit should happen. But the prime minister just experienced four crushing defeats.

[02:15:00]

CHURCH: What that means for him and the U.K. We'll have that on the other side of the break. Stay with us.

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CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the British prime minister's Brexit plan is in tatters. The House of Commons dismissed his demand for an election. It voted to prevent him from leaving the E.U. without a deal. And he's lost 21 members of his own party. That's all left Boris Johnson weaker than ever.

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JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: I really doubt this is motivated by a desire to improve the legislation, not a bit of it, but to filibuster it, an undemocratic cabal in Downing Street, aligned with an undemocratic and unelected house to override the democratic will of this house expressed in the bill that we have just given a third reading to.

If they can't win the argument, they try to shut down debate. A general election isn't a plaything for a prime minister to avoid his obligations, to dodge scrutiny or renege on commitments.

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BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Forty-eight hours ago, he was leading the chants of stop the coup, let the people vote.

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JOHNSON: Now he's saying stop the election and stop the people from voting.

I think he has become the first, to my knowledge, the first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation to an election.

I urge his colleagues to reflect on what I think is the unsustainability of this position overnight and in the course of the next few days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins us live now from Berlin.

Good to see you, Dominic. So four crushing defeats for Boris Johnson. With the U.K. Parliament rejecting his no-deal Brexit and demand for a snap election, he's looking pretty weak right now and isolated.

Where is this all going?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yes, Rosemary, he's looking weak. Remember when he won the Conservative Party election just a few weeks ago, he came out with the acronym DUDE. His goal, first of all, was to deliver Brexit by October 31st. That's not going to happen.

He promised to unite his party. His party is perhaps historically never been more fractured. He has members being booted out of the party.

Members voting against him. He's been talking about prorogation, which means that the action of defeating Jeremy Corbyn or energizing the country has completely backfired because in fact now you see a coordinated response from the opposition who have taken control of the legislative agenda.

You have a prime minister that can no longer legislate because he's lost his majority and he now, essentially has to sit and wait and have the future of the outcome here dictated by the opposition that are now in complete control.

CHURCH: So what do you see as the next step forward?

I mean, what can we expect in the next few days? I mean, it's been difficult to predict all of this but just give us an

idea of possible scenarios here going forward.

THOMAS: What we can certainly expect is the unexpected, as we've seen with Brexit throughout. What's interesting now is that the House of Lords have said that they will support this parliamentary bill to prevent a no-deal.

And so, the big question then comes, at what point do we trigger or does a general election get triggered by the opposition providing their ascent?

We know that on Monday the queen can provide ascent. That would be the earliest point at which she could approve a legislation blocking a no-deal.

But there is a lot of suspicion amongst opposition ranks that if a general election called on the desired date proposed by Boris Johnson, which is mid-October, that should the Conservative Party win and should he have a new and parliamentary majority that he would then endeavor to repeal this particular action.

So there's a lot of pressure here to try and guarantee that will not happen -- and that seems difficult to do legislatively -- or to wait until after the 31st of October to ask Boris Johnson to go to the European Union and ask for an extension, which, of course, strategically works very well for the opposition, because it will further weaken his attempt to bring the Brexit party into the fold and to support the Conservatives going into a general election.

So we end up with a very fractured political landscape in which ultimately the outcome of a general election remains highly unpredictable.

CHURCH: Although Boris Johnson was fairly right when he mentioned the opposition is trying to avoid an election because when they look at the numbers, so far it doesn't look like they would do well.

THOMAS: Well, this is the big question. For them the number one concern right now is the question of the no-deal. So they want to try and make sure that if a general election is triggered and the power is with them now, the government cannot just simply call a snap election and Boris Johnson was unable to get the two-thirds majority.

But yes, you're absolutely right. The polling points to the fact that the Conservative Party is ahead. They're not ahead sufficiently to garner a total majority.

For them to do that, they'd need the Brexit Party and the Brexit Party is not going to be happy with the way in which this is unfolding and certainly in the kind of leadership that Boris Johnson is providing.

When one looks then to the opposition, there is no way in which the Liberal Dems end up with an ultimate majority and there's a big question as to whether Jeremy Corbyn can lead the Labour Party to a majority. But there is a possibility then of a coalition of an opposition that could do very well in the election. Certainly, things have not been going well for the Conservative Party over the last few days.

CHURCH: Indeed. And, of course, the other part of that story is that Boris Johnson expelled 21 Conservative lawmakers from the party for moving against him, including the grandson of Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames.

So where does that leave the Conservative Party in the midst of this apparent crisis?

And what impact might that have on any snap election?

THOMAS: I mean, the Conservative Party essentially is facing a complete crisis.

[02:25:00]

THOMAS: Its only opportunity of doing well electorally, one could argue, is by bringing the Brexit Party back into the fold. We saw at the European elections back in May that a strong message was sent to the Conservative Party leadership that, unless they can deliver Brexit -- and not just any Brexit but a no-deal Brexit or a hard Brexit -- they're unlikely to support them.

So that has weakened them. But Boris Johnson has also weakened the Conservative Party since he took over. His party is full of -- his cabinet is full of Brexiteers pushing for a no deal. So he's alienated and marginalized many members of the party.

The issue of prorogation has divided the party and of course excluding the members of the party who do not want to vote or get with him is extraordinarily hypocritical because it's precisely the Brexiteers and Boris Johnson that throughout this Brexit process have disrupted every single vote and action legislatively that went through Parliament.

So the party is not in a very good position heading into a general election. And this is an even greater concern now to those Conservatives that have essentially held power since David Cameron came in in 2010.

CHURCH: Yes. It's going to be interesting. And, of course, the British tabloids are having a lot of fun at Boris Johnson's expense. That's worth taking a look for anyone out there. Dominic Thomas, always a pleasure to get your analysis. Many thanks.

THOMAS: Thank you, Rosemary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Well, Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength as it makes its way up the U.S. southern coast. We will go live to South Carolina, where they are already feeling the triple threat of wind, rain and storm surge. We're back in a moment.

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[02:30:00]

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. While as the southeastern U.S. prepares for Hurricane Dorian, it's grown more powerful and is once again, a major Category 3 storm. Now, this, as we are now getting sobering images of what the storm did to the Bahamas earlier when it was at its full Category 5 strength. And this is what's left of houses and buildings in Abaco. Some areas are now a ravaged wasteland surrounded by water. At least 20 people have died, and sadly, that number is likely to rise. Search, rescue, and recovery is the priority now. The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued at least 61 people so far.

Food shortages are also a major concern. The World Food Programme said some 60,000 people on the islands may be in dire need of food relief. As the recovery starts in the Bahamas, the southeastern U.S. is bracing for Hurricane Dorian. More than 1 million people in North and South Carolina are being told to get to safety now. The National Hurricane Center warns there could be dangerous storm surge and winds whether Dorian makes landfall there or not. So, let's get the latest now. We turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. So, Pedram, talk to us about the path, talk to us about who's experiencing the worst of Dorian right now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary, you know, after of course, almost two weeks of tracking the storm system, we're really at the 11th hour here when it comes to landfall and impending landfall across the eastern United States. And unfortunately, it is a strong category 3. It is a category 3 and a strong storm on approach towards places such as Charleston. It sits about 90 miles south of Charleston at this hour and we expect those wind gusts to really pick up an intensity within the next couple of hours. So, we'll kind of show you the hour-by-hour progression.

Within the next hour, they are going to get very close to hurricane force gust, but you notice, shortly after sunrise in this Thursday morning here, we'll see winds push up closer to 85 miles per hour, as the storm remains just off shore of Charleston. The forecast models will kind of parallel this up towards Myrtle Beach, eventually up towards Wilmington, where winds could be upwards of 100 miles per hour. This will be for later on Thursday night.

And we think landfall sometime into the overnight hours of Thursday into Friday morning, potentially around Morehead City or around the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but anywhere across the coastal region of North Carolina has the high likelihood here have seen landfall as strong -- potentially at that point, strong category 2 storm coming ashore. So, we're really going to kind of teeter between a category 2 to category 3 here within the next 24 so hours.

But here it is, a massive storm system spanning some 500 miles across from its western side towards the eastern side. We've kind of made the analogy of dropping the storm over, say, the state of Texas, and would encompass nearly much of the state, about 80 percent of the state from one end to the other. So, it really speaks to how large of a feature it is. And in fact, tropical storm force winds extend some 190 miles away from the center. So, even if you're nowhere near the storm, even farther inland here, you're going to feel tropical storm force winds within the next few hours.

Notice how close the storm gets towards Charleston, of course, the city well known here to be surrounded by three bodies of water, two rivers, and also of course, the ocean just in front of town here, going to really see all of that water want to surge into Charleston Harbor. And the storm then kind of parallels the coast, making that landfall potentially into the Outer Banks of the Carolinas before it finally moves away from the U.S. So, this is really been a long drawn out event, a historic storm. And unfortunately, we are at the final hours here of seeing the storm finally impact the mainland of the U.S. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, it really has taken its time moving slowly, first, of course, over the Bahamas and now it's long, long way, all the way out here. Hopefully, it will move out soon and do as little damage as possible. Very much -- thanks so much, Pedram, for that, bringing us up to date.

JAVAHERI: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, joining us now on the line, Elliott Summey, chairman of the County Council in Charleston, South Carolina. He's at the emergency operations center that's been set up in the city. Good to talk with you. Tell us about this flooding we're hearing about, and where it is worst in Charleston right now?

ELLIOTT SUMMEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you, Rosemary. We're seeing it in a couple different places. Fortunately, it's not been as bad so far as is -- as was forecasted. We're seeing some flooding downtown in the city itself, and then in some of the outlying areas that normally flood. We -- again, we're surrounded by several bodies of water down here. So, it's not unusual to have flooding. We're hoping that this thing will hurry up and get out of here, but the next high tide is what we're really worried about at 1:00 p.m., when the storm could be right near us.

CHURCH: Right. And how bad do you think that could be? What are you seeing?

SUMMEY: Well, you know, we're -- so far, the National Hurricane Center has told us we could -- we could see a seven to -- a seven-foot storm surge, which would -- only at high tide, which would -- could be pretty devastating. That would be make it -- you know, right out of 10-foot storm surge or 10-foot tide here in Charleston, which would inundate a lot of water. Our biggest concern is making sure that people, you know, shelter in place at this point. And if the water does get up, don't try to get in your car and get out because that's how people -- that's how death occur. [02:35:27]

CHURCH: Exactly. I mean, now at this point, people just have to hunker down. And of course, we have talked about the vulnerability of Charleston, particularly. We were looking at that map there that gives people an idea how it is surrounded in water and how vulnerable it is in a situation like this, particularly with the hurricane coming from the direction it is. Talk to us a little bit more about that. And you did mention, too, that you're not -- it's not as bad at this point, at least as what people thought it would be.

SUMMEY: Yes, ma'am. And, you know, we -- so what we are concerned is, is that folks don't get lured into a false sense of security.

CHURCH: Exactly.

SUMMEY: And so, those waters can rise and they can rise quickly, especially with the amount of rain that can potentially be dropped from the storm. So, you take the rain, and take the high tide, and the storm surge, and it can be very deadly. Our -- they call this the low country of South Carolina for a reason because we are right at sea level. And water rises rapidly. And when it does, people get caught in it, and it becomes a very scary, scary situation.

CHURCH: Yes, and for the most part, as you say, people have taken notice, and we've talked about this for the last few days. Those people who think, oh, it's not as bad as what we thought it would be. So, they let their guard down. And that is a very dangerous point for anyone to be at. So, what has been the advice given by the city -- the City Council at this point to the residents there? Who for the most part know and understand the dangers?

SUMMEY: Well, absolutely. We've had an exponential growth in population here in Charleston over the last four or five years. And so, we've got a lot of new people here that have never experienced a hurricane like this, they're from elsewhere. And so, we've been trying to educate folks, let them understand how serious this is, and our advice was to leave and -- but at this stage in the game, our advice is now if you haven't left, don't leave, shelter in place. Once the storm gets -- the winds get up to 40 miles an hour, our fire trucks and EMS units cannot go out and safely go get you. But to shelter in place and once the winds die down, we'll come and -- we'll come and help.

CHURCH: Right, some very good advice. And as you say, the next high tide at 1:00 p.m. So, the danger is not over yet by any stretch of the imagination. Elliott Summey, thank you so much for joining us and pointing out the vulnerabilities there in Charleston and what you're experiencing right now and possibly in the next few hours. Appreciate it.

Well, just ahead, we will check on how another city is bracing for Dorian. An interview with the Mayor of Hilton Head in South Carolina. That is next. Do stay with us.

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CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Hurricane Dorian is moving toward the Coast of South Carolina with renewed strength. It's back up to a category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, that is 184 kilometers per hour. The storm is expected to run along the coast of the Carolinas from Thursday into Friday, and is now flooding downtown Charleston in South Carolina. More than 1 million people in parts of both North and South Carolina are under evacuation orders right now. And earlier, I spoke with John McCann, the mayor of Hilton Head in South Carolina, about the approaching storm.

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JOHN MCCANN, MAYOR OF HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA (via telephone): We plan for this all year long. We have a full department of people that planned just for the hurricane season. So, we're very well-prepared, very well-drilled. Our residents are very well-educated on preparing a plan. But you don't know anything until the storm hits. Right now, I'm sitting here and the winds are howling outside the window, the tides are rising, and we expect heavy, heavy surge. We're looking for anywhere from eight to 12 inches of rain. It should be a very interesting evening.

CHURCH: Right. And what sort of storm surges are you expecting?

MCCANN: Seven to eight feet, I understand. And we're not sure what it's going to do in high tide or not.

CHURCH: Right. And you feel prepared to be able to deal with that?

MCCANN: We do, you know, we put here for our EMS and fire all filed (INAUDIBLE) island. We have a lot of people still here, so we have an obligation for the safety of the people that are here. We rode around today. The hotels are closed, the restaurants are closed. 99 percent of all the businesses are closed, so people listen to the warning. This is a severe storm. And if it turns one way or another, it could be a catastrophic storm for us.

CHURCH: Yes, exactly. And you can't really label that point enough to residents in the area. I did want to ask you what sort of preparations had been made for the elderly, and of course, those in hospitals, those more vulnerable, more exposed structures. Do you feel that you are ready for this?

MCCANN: We closed the hospital at 2:00 yesterday. So, if our EMS trucks go out for an emergency, they have to take the person an hour and a quarter away from Hilton Head because the hospital is closed. Yesterday at 1:00, we closed down all the nursing homes and assisted living homes, move those people within two hours outside the island. So, the hospital is closed, the nursing homes are all closed, the assisted living homes are closed. Motels closed down yesterday. And it's just the residents that are left. We think about 40 percent of the residents listened to us and evacuated, and the rest is still here. CHURCH: Right. And what advice are you giving the residents of Hilton Head as you prepare for Dorian, and are they -- are they all heeding the warnings? There are usually situations where some people, they want to hunker down, they stay in areas that are more exposed. Have you found, for the most part, that people have heeded the warnings?

MCCANN: We think so. It's hard to tell. We drove around today, the town manager and myself, for about four hours, visiting all fire stations and our EMS people out there. There was very little people seen, very little crossing the street, which either means they left or they're staying hunkered down inside. But people have gotten the message, there's no one out in the streets at all, so it's a good thing.

CHURCH: That's good to hear. Good to hear.

MCCANN: We have a curfew at 10:00 tonight until 6:00 tomorrow morning. So, during the night hours, they'll be no one out (INAUDIBLE) instituted a curfew for tonight and tomorrow night.

[02:45:09]

CHURCH: Right. And, of course, Charleston is further north than you are, probably, more vulnerable. How much -- how much communication and liaison does there tend to be between your area and Charleston?

MCCANN: Oh, it's interesting. For the last four days or five days now, we've been meeting -- the governor has a meeting every morning, and it's been all the counties, all the towns on the coastline. Anybody that can be affected from Hilton Head, all the way up from Myrtle Beach.

So, we talk every day in the morning at 9:00 to 10:00, and every day in the afternoon at 4:00 to compare notes and see where we are and what we can do for each other.

CHURCH: Good idea, good to hear as well. John McCann, the mayor of Hilton Head, many thanks for joining us and we wish you the very best as Dorian approaches. Take care.

MCCANN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

CHURCH: Well, climate change has reached a crisis point. So, how will the next U.S. president handle this dangerous problem? Democratic candidates offered their solutions earlier in a CNN town hall. We'll have a little bit of that when we come back.

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[02:50:05]

CHURCH: More now on our top story. Dorian has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane again. It is battering the southeastern coast of the U.S. and is now flooding downtown Charleston in South Carolina. Forecasters say, Dorian's destructive winds, heavy rain, and life- threatening storm surge will impact the coast of the Carolinas for many hours to come.

More than 1 million people in North and South Carolina are under mandatory evacuation orders right now.

And in other news we are following for you, a federal judge has ruled that the government's list of people on its terrorist screening database violates American citizen's constitutional rights.

Being on that database can restrict people from traveling in and out of the country, and exposes them to greater scrutiny. The judge wants the plaintiffs and the government in the case to file more briefings before deciding what legal steps to take next.

And the U.S. president rejects climate science. As, you know, Donald Trump has reversed Obama era initiatives. And he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

In a CNN town hall, every Democratic challenger took the opposite view and offered their plans for battling climate change. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this extraordinary moment of global crisis, I think we need a president, hopefully, Bernie Sanders, that reaches out to the world, to Russia, in China, in India, Pakistan, all the countries of the world to say, guess what? Whether you like it or not, we are all in this together. And if you are concerned about the children in your country, and future generations, we're going to have to work together.

And maybe, just maybe, instead of spending a trillion and a half dollars every single year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pull those resources and we work together against our common enemy, which is climate change.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of different pieces to this, and I get that people are trying to find the part that they can work on and what can they do. And I'm in favor of that. And I'm going to help, and I'm going to support.

But understand, this is exactly what the fossil fuel industry helps we're all talking about. That's what they want us to talk about. This is your problem. They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws, and around your cheeseburgers.

When 70 percent of the pollution of the carbon that we're throwing into the air comes from three industries. And we can set our targets and save by 2028, 2030, and 2035, no more.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's talk in language that is understood across the heartland, about faith. You know, if you believe that God is watching as poison is being belched into the air of creation, and people are being harmed by it, countries are at risk of vanishing in low-lying areas.

What do you suppose God thinks of that? I bet He thinks it's messed up. And you don't have to be religious to see the moral dimensions of this because frankly, every religious and non-religious moral tradition tells us that we have some responsibility of stewardship, some responsibility for taking care of what's around us, not to mention taking care of our neighbor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And across the pond, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson just endured a bruising session of Parliament, one day after he sacked 21 members of his own party for voting against him.

As CNN's Hala Gorani reports, it was filled with insults, yelling, and a lot of angst.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I won't get to a deal.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: A heated debate.

IAN BLACKFORD, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: The prime minister is acting more like a tinpot dictator than a Democrat.

GORANI: A whirlwind drama as British M.P.s wrestle to rule out a no- deal Brexit. Moments operatic.

PHILIP HAMMOND, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I would sooner boil my head than hand power to the leader of the opposition.

GORANI: Too outlandish. Pepper one of the most consequential debates in parliamentary history from the prime minister's creative name- calling.

JOHNSON: There's only one chlorinated chicken that I can see in these House, and he's on that bench.

GORANI: And expletive dropping.

JOHNSON: Their economic policy is alike rate Mr. Speaker by your leave or bust. I say -- I say it's both.

GORANI: To insults that are hard to interpret.

JOHNSON: Call the election you great big girl's blouse.

GORANI: The Speaker's attempts to regulate were usually futile.

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, UNITED KINGDOM: Order, very rude for members. Order.

GORANI: Even when using his most schoolmarm air.

[02:55:00]

BERCOW: Behave yourself! Be a good boy young man, be a good boy!

GORANI: Amid the yelling and angst, one M.P. was perhaps a bit too calm. However --

CAROLINE LUCAS, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, GREEN PARTY: The Leader of the House has been spread across around three seats, lying out as if that was something very boring for him to listen to tonight.

GORANI: Jacob Rees-Mogg was unfazed by criticism of his meditative pose in Parliament, which inspired a flurry of tweets, parodying his now-notorious horizontal slouch. And another Twitter flurry erupted after a stinging defection.

JOHNSON: Our exports -- our exports --

GORANI: When Tory M.P. Phillip Lee dramatically crossed the floor to sit with the Liberal Democrats.

JOHNSON: I wish -- I wish by all -- I wish I may (INAUDIBLE) all of it.

GORANI: As the debate unfolds, M.P.s prepare. One tweeting a picture of himself arriving for an overnight stay, ready for a long drama filled evenings to come.

BERCOW: Order. Order.

GORANI: Hala Gorani, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: So much drama. And thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Do stick around.

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