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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Ian Strengthens to Category 1 Hurricane Again, New Advisory Out; Large Portion Of Sanibel Causeway Washed Away In Hurricane Ian Surge; "Historic" Flooding In Orlando, Many Parts Of City Got 14 Inches Of Rain. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 29, 2022 - 20:00   ET



CHIP FARRAR, RIDE OUT HURRICANE IAN IN MATLACHA, FLORIDA (via telephone): And I just want to clarify, the bridge is not out, but the road that leads to the bridge has 50 feet missing, that was just washed away.

So, we can't go left back to mainland and the bridge to the right is also out. So, we can't go to the island. We're just -- we're trapped in five square miles. Yes.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Chip, please stay safe. And I hope if you need you need to get out, you'll be able to. I know we just talked to the Admiral of the Coast Guard and they're working hard to get everybody out. Thank you so much for telling us and thank you.

FARRAR: No problem, AND if you can let everybody know that if anybody has a boat and come out and get some people, it would be much appreciated because that's the only way to get here.

BURNETT: All right.

Thanks so much for chip and thanks to all of you. Our coverage of Hurricane Ian continues now with ANDERSON COOPER: 360.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: There are no words to describe what we saw. John Berman in for Anderson in Fort Myers, Florida tonight. That's what Carmine Marceno, the Sheriff here in Lee County told reporters this afternoon about the destruction that is everywhere tonight.

No words to describe what we saw and are seeing in the present tense, which is important to note because this is an ongoing disaster both here in Florida, but also potentially in coastal South Carolina, where Hurricane Ian, yes, it is a hurricane again, is taking aim.

This is what it did to Fort Myers Beach when it came ashore as the most powerful storm ever to hit this part of Florida.

Late today, Sheriff Marceno gave a CNN photojournalist and me our first look at the area from above. It is far from the only destruction on a scale that can only fully be revealed from the air. Ian struck the local Barrier Islands hard severing the bridge to Pine Island as you can see here, along with the Sanibel Causeway, which is also impassable tonight.

It also did considerable damage to marinas up and down the coast pushing even larger boats around like toys sending them floating down city streets with all the damage that can do.

Florida's Governor called this a 500-year flood event for the State. We have some time lapse video of the water pouring into one neighborhood here. Stunning as it is, this was not isolated, and this in nearby Charlotte County, more than 500 people had been rescued as of this afternoon and at least 700 statewide.

And again, this isn't over. Even after weakening into tropical storm power, Ian caused huge amounts of flooding as it pushed east across the State. This is Orlando where local authorities told CNN they have done at least 200 rescues today.

The storm also caused major flooding and St. Augustine on the Atlantic side breaching a seawall and covering parts of that historic city in water, and a short time later, it did become a hurricane again, and is now threatening the Georgia and Carolina coast.

In a moment, the latest from the CNN Weather Center on what we can expect in the hours ahead from the storm that has already taken at least 17 lives.

First, though, a better sense of what happened here. As I mentioned, late today, the Lee County Sheriff and I got on a helicopter to survey the destruction. This is what we saw.


BERMAN: All of that debris is littered everywhere. These were buildings, this was a building right there?

SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: There were buildings restaurants and what used to be the Fort Myers Pier.

BERMAN: How far back does the sand go?

MARCENO: It goes straight through to the bayside. Empty spots that you see there were homes.

BERMAN: I am sorry, so these, on this beach here There used to be homes?

MARCENO: You're going to see the empty lots right here. As you see those lots right there, those were homes. Those were hotels. Those were real property, two, three, four, five stories high washed away.

BERMAN: The buildings just ripped off of their foundation, then just swept backwards.

MARCENO: That's right, when you look to the right side here, there are actually boats thrown into the mangroves, vehicles inside the water submerged because. There is a car in a canal right there, too. You see that? This is like Mexico Beach.

BERMAN: Look at that, I can see the foundation of where those houses were right there. How many rescues have you done today?

MARCENO: We've done dozens. As you can see, look to the front of our -- these are major, major boats throw into the mangroves.

BERMAN: Where? Boats up in the mangroves right there.

MARCENO: Not just one, dozens.


MARCENO: Thrown everywhere.

BERMAN: How long will it take to get this back?

MARCENO: When I look at this, this is not a quick fix, this is not six months. This is long term. Long term, I mean you're talking about you know not refurbishing structures, you're talking about no structure left. You're talking about foundations and concrete. You're talking about homes that were thrown into the bay.

This is a long term fix and it is life changing.


BERMAN: When you see it from the sky, it almost doesn't make sense. You see pools with no houses left beside them. As you see, you saw that one house in a canal, you saw boats in the middle of the mangroves, things just not where they should be, but nature move them or in some cases, just flat out erased them.

Look at that. Just flattened. Almost a block there, gone, swept away, pushed completely back from the ocean, back into the bay and the sand goes all the way back across the island there. It is stunning and it is awe-inspiring in all the wrong kinds of ways.

More now on the extensive damage the storm did to local marinas. Our Randi Kaye joins us from one of them.

Randi, what are you seeing tonight?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, when you say that things are not where they're supposed to be. We have a perfect example, just yet another example to show you.

We are just on the edge of Legacy Harbor. We are not in a boat yard. This was not ever a boat yard, but these boats are now on dry land. Here is one for example, these boats were in the harbor during the storm and before the storm, but they ended up here because of the force of this 10-foot storm surge and these high winds that came along with Hurricane Ian.

I just want to show you, if you can see it back here, there are from this side, there's about one, two, three, four, five boats stacked up right next to each other. They were in the water, once again, again not where they are supposed to be, they are still supposed to be in the water but they are here on dry land.

And this is a huge piece of the dock. I just wanted -- this was also in the water with the boats and is now the water is well on the other side of where we are. So, they had come through the air with this giant piece of the dock as well.

There are a couple of oars on the ground there as well and I just want to show you something from one other perspective here, which is really remarkable. Let me just carefully climb over here. Just look at this. This is on this boat, which is also on its side not supposed to be here, this is the boat's line, okay?

This John, if you look is still attached to the dock. This piece of dock came along, this boat brought its piece of dock with it, right here to this now brand new boat yard that was never supposed to be.

I'm also told, just very careful there, one more rope. Yes, there you go, okay.

As we go along here, I understand that the owners of these boats, many of them actually lived on them. So this was their livelihood. So this is what they had. We tried to speak with some of them, they are obviously distraught by what's happened. Didn't want to speak on camera.

This is the other side of that boat. Just look at the damage. You can see here just how much force was used to carry these boats and these pieces of the dock to this area.

John, now we have this new makeshift boat yard and we'll see what they do, how long they'll be able to stay here, what they'll have to do. Of course, you know, so many people trying to rebuild. These owners will now have to figure out what to do here -- John.

BERMAN: People live on those boats. Their homes right now are the things that are upside down, literally, you know, a block away from where they used to sit in the water. What about rescue missions in your area -- Randi.

KAYE: Well, we know even last night before the storm ended, they were -- the Coast Guard here in Fort Myers was plucking people off the rooftops. That's how desperate they were. We understand now that they've rescued about 200 people here in Fort Myers, the Fire Department, and they said that they're not rescuing anymore. They haven't received any more calls.

But we also know that a lot of people did decide to ride out the storm. They thought it was going to go closer to Tampa. So they say they don't have any more rescues to be made in the City of Fort Myers. But we do know that at least 500 people have been rescued in Lee County here where Fort Myers is and also in Charlotte County where Punta Gorda was, where I spent the day yesterday.

So, certainly a lot of people needed rescuing. It's unclear how many others might be out there -- John.

BERMAN: Randi Kaye, thank you so much for being there tonight. Remarkable sights.


BERMAN: So, with everything that happened, cell phone connections can be spotty here and getting around, not so easy either. We're hoping for a live report tonight from CNN chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir. He is on Captiva Island as we speak. We've just heard from him and are expected to be getting some of his video from there soon. He also spent part of the day in Cape Coral. This is some of what he saw there.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It is so fascinating now. I spent the last 36 hours trying to picture what a 17-foot storm surge looks like, given the projections, as Ian was streaming ashore, but you come here and you realize three feet of storm surge is enough to destroy lives, to take everything.

The sad part is, a lot of these folks had no insurance. Search and rescue has been going through. Some volunteers.

I saw the South Florida Search and Rescue, some of the best trained people in the country in that field. They helped out with a tower that collapsed a couple of years ago over near Miami. Coast Guard is trained with urban search and rescue as well.

But oh my goodness. I'm just feeling with my feet, hazards that you can't see and that's what's so worrying for officials now, concerned about folks who are eager to get back and see what's left of their lives and may accidentally electrocute themselves. There have been fires that have started because of natural gas leaks.

I worry about snakes. You've got to worry about sewage and maybe oil spills. This is just the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is amazing. Not that I want you to see this, but absolutely amazing that that water --

WEIR: My goodness.


BERMAN: My goodness. To get back home to that. Bill Weir in Cape Coral today. He is on the way back here now from Captiva. And again what people here went through and continue to go through takes on even more significance further north along the eastern seaboard now that Ian is back to hurricane strength.

So for more on where the risk is highest tonight, let's go to CNN's Jennifer Gray in the Weather Center.

Jennifer, so the storm is not done yet. What is the latest on its path and its strength?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. This is a storm it just keeps on going, it will not let up. We are now back to a hurricane, 75 mile per hour winds with gusts of 90, but all along the Georgia and South Carolina coast, they have been feeling tropical storm force gusts throughout the entire day.

The wind field on the storm is more than 400 miles. So, we are feeling very strong winds for a wide, wide area. So, this is moving to the north northeast at 10 miles per hour. You can see, it looks very disorganized as it is. But even though it doesn't look impressive, it is going to be impressive because we're going to see a push of water, we could see five to seven feet in some locations just to the east of the center.

Now, the National Hurricane Center made it clear in their five o'clock update that the track of this storm even though it is so close to making landfall tomorrow in the early afternoon is still very uncertain as to where exactly this is going to come in.

And just as we saw on the southwest coast of Florida, where that storm comes in makes all the difference and where that storm surge is going to be. So, while we've been talking about Charleston a lot and places around there, as we should, it's all going to depend on where the center of the storm comes in.

Because just to the east of that eye, that's where the strongest storm surge is going to be. We know that places along the coast in the southeast US are very, very vulnerable. So low country very low lying. Charleston will flood even with an abnormally high tide.


GRAY: So if you bring several feet of storm surge in there, it is going to flood downtown Charleston, the rivers, the inlets that go all through there, so it's going to be very important to see and watch this track, John, to see exactly where it makes landfall because just on that eastern edge is where we're going to see the highest surge.

So, four to seven feet right now, the Hurricane Center is pinpointing and the d, o include Charleston in that, but we could see storm surge all up the coast even into North Carolina. Wilmington now is under that storm surge threat, two to four feet there, all across the coast.

So, we're going to be watching this carefully throughout overnight hours tonight into tomorrow morning. It should make landfall as a Category 1 and I failed to mention, this is also going to jump up to a foot of rain across portions of South Carolina.

So even if you aren't in the biggest storm surge threat area, John, you could still just see incredible amounts of flooding. And we saw what this storm has already done in places like Orlando, so the flooding is no joke with the storm either.

BERMAN: No, and the people in Florida will tell the people in South Carolina, pay very close attention to all of this. Jennifer Gray, thank you very much.

GRAY: Thanks.

BERMAN: Next, an update on the rescue efforts. We're going to be joined by the Fort Myers Fire Chief and later, the Mayor of Sanibel which is cut off from the mainland tonight.



BERMAN: Looking at the studio of local station WINK here in Fort Myers, which had to go off the air last night because as you can see, it was under several feet of water.

When Anderson spoke last night to Fort Myers Fire Chief, Tracy McMillion, conditions were too dangerous for first responders to operate. A vastly different story today and Chief McMillion joins us now.

Chief, thank you so much for joining us.

The you know, the Fort Myers Mayor told CNN that more than 200 people have been rescued by your department. Can you describe some of those rescues today?

FIRE CHIEF TRACY MCMILLION, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: Yes. So, a lot of it actually happened in the early wee hours, you know, right after the winds died down. You know, once around eleven o'clock, 12:00 AM our crews went out. It was pitch dark.

We utilized one of our military vehicles that our police department has along with our fire engines. And, you know, just got in there to find where the people work. As you know, in our procedure, it is calls and just we just log those. So, we knew exactly where they were. And once we had an opportunity to go get them in the early wee hours, we went after them and we got them out.

BERMAN: Are there any areas where you worry that people are still trapped in their homes? Any places you haven't been able to reach?

MCMILLION: No, since we were able to be pretty aggressive last night and get out there, this morning, we were able to utilize our Public Works and our Parks and Rec to actually do a lot of road clearing. We were able to actually go and do some searches in the daylight, there was a lot of neighbors checking on other neighbors.

At this point in time, you know, still early, we don't know what we don't know. Even though we had a full day of daylight, there's still areas that we -- still have to get to, still have to knock on those doors and make sure all our residents are okay. So, it's going to be a dynamic situation for a few days here.

BERMAN: I was able to up in a helicopter late this afternoon over Fort Myers Beach and it is hard to put into words the scope of the devastation there. What this storm left behind.

Can you tell us about the damage that you have personally seen?

MCMILLION: Yes. So, you know, us being the City of Fort Myers, you know, we actually sent a couple of texts to the Fire Chief over at you know, Fort Myers Beach, but here locally in the City of Fort Myers, you know, we had flooding and storm surge. We had, you know, boats in places where the boats shouldn't be.

Some of our docks were actually relocated a half mile down the road; cars displaced; trees down. You know, some of our iconic and historic landmarks that were actually here since Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, damaged. You know, so these are things that are really impactful to our community. It is all, awestruck when you see these things in the damage.

BERMAN: So there's still a curfew in place in Fort Myers tonight. What's your message to residents here? And what's your number one concern as we head into another night here?

MCMILLION: Yes, our number one concern is always going to be our people, you know, our residents, our visitors, our business owners. And so our slogan is, you know, help us out, don't go out.

So our main thing is if they can just kind of you know, come out during the day, do whatever remediation they can do, recovery they can do, but at night, just lock it in. So, this way, the roads are clear. There are still power struggles here. So, a lot of roads are dark. There are still trees down. There are still things that could actually become hazards and of course, obviously, you know, our nature, our wildlife, and so at night, those are things that actually might be a little bit more active.

So we want our folks just to bunker down in the home. As we say, our slogan, help us out, don't go out.

BERMAN: All right, Chief Tracy McMillion, thank you so much for taking a moment out of what I know has got to be a very hard day and there still won't be much sleep for you tonight.

MCMILLION: Yes, sir. You know it. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, just ahead, we are going to be joined by the Mayor of a small community on Sanibel Island, where we showed you earlier parts of the bridge connecting it to the mainland were wiped out by the hurricane. I'm going to check in with Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith, next.



BERMAN: Another small community that felt the brunt of Ian's destruction, Sanibel Island right here near Fort Myers. The situation there is different because not only is Sanibel an island community, it is connected to the mainland by a causeway, parts of which were just washed away by the storms -- by the hurricane storm surge.

Last hour, Florida's Governor said that destruction may potentially require a complete rebuild. Operations to help people there he said had been mostly by air.

I'm joined now by Holly Smith, the mayor of Sanibel.

Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. We've seen the pictures, the images of the destruction to the causeway that leaves the Sanibel Island. Have you or your emergency services been able to get there since the storm hit?

MAYOR HOLLY SMITH, SANIBEL ISLAND, FLORIDA: Yes, and first of all, I just want to say some of these images that you're showing me, it is the first time I've seen them.

So when I take a look at it, it's pretty emotional for me.

Yes. In answer to your question. Yes, so actually, today was day go. Our first priority was getting on the island for search and rescue, as there were a significant number of people that remained on the island during the catastrophic weather event that we faced.

And so, we were able to coordinate that effort. FWC coordinated with us. We got boats over there, and search and rescue started to go based on the information that we had of the people that were on the island.

So, we got on there very quickly, and started to go to the locations that we were informed that those people might be at.

BERMAN: How many people decided to stay on the island? And is it your belief that you've reached all of them now?


SMITH: It's really a moving target. So far, we've had about an accumulation of about 200 residences that we're checking into. But honestly, John, I'm getting texts as we speak with people that are saying, can you check here? Can you check there? So today, I've decided want to look at some of the facts that I had. They did, they made a number of the household checks, and a lot of the checks that we were doing was to say, are you OK? Are you OK to remain? Because we wanted to make sure that we wanted to get to those people that had the injuries or critical needs as much as we could.

So, we were able to have 12 people that were taken off that did have injuries. And we did have about 40 people that were uninjured. And were able to get transportation off the island, via the boats with the FWC and our and our teams. And, sadly, we did have a couple of fatalities that were verified today as well.

BERMAN: For the people who want to stay at this point, what services exist for them? I mean, how much damage is there? Is it livable?

SMITH: Frankly, no. But they do have the right to stay there. And right now, you know, it's important for us to just go ahead and say, OK, do you have food and water? Are you OK? As we go to those next areas, because it's going to take a few days for us to get to all of the places that there have been reports and continue to get those reports coming in. And then we're going to -- we're really -- we're coordinating right now with our other services to make sure we get barges over there so we can get the assets we need to start clearing those roads and looking all around, LEC (ph) to see what the power grid is if we even have a power grid left. And then we will have to be making those decisions to say whether and, you know, what the next step will be. I mean, it's such a coordinated effort of what we have to do before we can even allow the residents to get back on the island because we need to make, make sure that it's safe for them to get on, get to the areas debris cleanup. Everything is on the way wildlife is all over the island, as you can imagine.

So, we just want to make it safe to say even if people can get on to look at their homes to see what is there that it's safe to do so. But as far as livability from what I have seen, not right now. I'll be doing my flyover tomorrow and getting on the on the island, my boots on the ground as well, tomorrow so I can get a better assessment. And again, I'm watching so much of what you have for the first time.

BERMAN: Yes. I can only imagine how hard that is and what a mammoth effort it will be going forward. Mayor Holly Smith, thank you for being with us tonight. We're thinking about you, we're thinking about your community.

SMITH: Thank you so much. Appreciate that we need it.

BERMAN: So before introducing our next guests, I want to show you what one of them confronted in their Naples apartment building.

Radu Marginean took that video and got some bumps and bruises in the process. He joins us with his wife, Alexis tonight. It's nice to see both of you. Thank you for joining us Radu. We just showed the video of the door and your building caving in due to the water pressure. What happened after that?

RADU MARGINEAN, NAPLES, FLORIDA RESIDENT: lost my shoes. I got completely submerged under water all above my head. And I ran up the stairs barefoot after that.

BERMAN: I'm sorry, I'm looking at this for the first time and it's unbelievable. I mean, you were lucky to have survived that. How did you escape from the water?

R. MARGINEAN: I grabbed onto a guardrail because initially the water pushed me up the stairs and then it sucked me back down as well. And so, I had to grab onto a guardrail.

BERMAN: I keep watching that again and again and again. And I'm so glad that you made it through that. What's the status there in Naples? Do you have power? What are the conditions?

R. MARGINEAN: We don't actually have power right now. I'm using several flashlights pointed at the ceiling. And we -- it looks like a bomb went off here but (INAUDIBLE), it was beyond what I thought was capable of happening.

BERMAN: Alexis, I understand you were -- you went to Naples hoping to escape the worst of the storm whatever we thought it was initially headed to the Tampa area. What were you thinking when you saw how bad Naples was getting hit?


ALEXIS MARGINEAN, NAPLES, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I honestly couldn't believe it because all of the predictions said that Tampa was going to be hit the hardest. And I was just in complete utter shock at the devastation and that we were seeing outside of our window. All of the cars being just floating down the road and floating halfway into the canal across from our window. There's dumpsters floating, and it was just insane. And I feel that a lot of people here were underprepared for these horrible events that happened.

BERMAN: Well, Alexis, and Radu Marginean, I'm glad you're both OK. I know how hard this must have been to go through this. And how daunting it must look going forward. But you have each other, you're OK right now. Thank you so much for being with us.

A. MARGINEAN: Thank you for having us.

BERMAN: Up next, the flooding in Orlando. Congresswoman Val Demings, who represents parts of that area will join us to discuss what she has seen on the ground there.


BERMAN: All right, just to give you a quick idea of why this storm is still so troubling going forward. This is a wider shot of what it looks like here. And again this is a storm that is still destructive.


Earlier today, Orlando's fire chief emphasized the historic levels of flooding and the danger it poses saying that standing water is actually electrified in some areas. Floodwaters are expected to remain for some time and one of the worst hit areas of the storm. Also tonight, no timeframe for reopening the city's airport. The state's busiest, intensive thousands and surrounding Orange County are without power.

I want to bring in Congresswoman Val Demings, who represents part of the area. Her husband is also mayor of Orange County.

Congresswoman Demings, thank you so much for being with us. I'm glad you're safe. And thank you for joining us under these circumstances. What is the situation where you are in Orlando?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well, John, earlier today, my husband and I had an opportunity to go out and tour some of the flooded areas. And I have to tell you, I grew up in Florida. I was on duty at the Orlando Police Department in 2004 with hurricanes Charlie, Francis and Jean. But I have never seen or experienced anything like the flooding in the old Vista area in West Orlando that we thought today. The county received anywhere from 12 to 16 inches of rain and the devastation has been overwhelming.

We saw people in basically knee deep and even higher water today. Many of them were being rescued by Orange County Fire Rescue, I just thank God so much for them and their duty to service. But look, John, we have a long way to go to recovery.

BERMAN: So, you were first responder for almost 30 years. And I mentioned your husband is the current Mayor of Orange County, Florida. And based on everything, you know, where do you see the greatest, greatest need at this hour?

DEMINGS: Well, it's going to take a while for people to rebuild, to be made whole. You know, I chair the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery, just getting back from Puerto Rico, assessing the damage there from Hurricane Fiona. And now here we are, as you know, Ian hit Florida hard. My heart goes out to the people in southwest Florida, to the families who lost loved ones. We know that there's they're going to have to rebuild that almost from the ground up in many areas.

And so, we're going to continue to be in contact with FEMA, we've received almost daily briefings or daily briefings, assistance approach of the storm. We've just got to make sure that we improve our resiliency, cut some of the red tape so we can make people whole again, repair, restore some of the bridges and roadways that are completely closed. People are shut off. And so, we John, we have a lot of work to do.

BERMAN: You know, we heard the President say today earlier today that he is committed through FEMA to get Floridians the help that they need that you're just calling for there. Do you believe that Florida has everything it needs now to respond to the challenge at this minute?

DEMINGS: You know what I really appreciate so much, people have kind of just wrapped their arms around Florida from all over the country. We have about 42,000 line technicians that are here ready to restore power. We have over 5,000 members of the National Guard, numerous volunteers, I mean, people like as I said, our first responders have just been such a blessing to Florida. But look, I will never say that we have everything that we need. A lot of people need to be made whole.

I was glad to hear the President grant the major disaster declaration that will certainly help to quickly unlock additional resources. We're going to monitor day by day and make sure that local state and the federal government continue to work together to make Floridians whole again.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Val Demings, thank you for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

DEMINGS: Thank you. Take care.

BERMAN: So, I want to go to CNN's Miguel Marquez who is in Charleston, South Carolina, where a state of emergency has been declared in preparation for Ian, which is now approaching the Carolinas.

Miguel, what does it look like where you are? Have you seen preparation for what is to come?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have a little bit of preparation to show you when they are preparing at the very highest level now both the City of Charleston, the county of Charleston at the very highest level of emergency preparedness where they go OPCON 1 right now.

And so, you sort of what's happening with the weather right now? Not a lot. The last couple of hours we started to see this rain, a little bit of wind in the afternoon. But the city's handing out sandbags by the thousands to many residents across the city but some people this is an area of Charleston that floods a lot, Charleston does get floods quite a bit.


These guys are prepped for this thing these things are filled with water and they're protecting one home here there's a couple of other pretty substantial barriers in this neighborhood as well that you can see.

But this thing is really impressive because it will protect this home from what the biggest concern is, is water, water coming from the sky and coming from the ocean they expect that the worst of this thing is going to be in about 12 hours. And at that time, the tide will be coming in. It peaks about 11:42 a.m. tomorrow morning, and between sort of 9:10 a.m. is when they expect the worst of the storm as well. So, you're going to have that storm surge, you're going to have tons of rain coming down. They have everything from trucks with very high lift trucks so that they can affect water rescues by truck if need be, inflatable rafts and boats if it comes to that as well and they have utility vehicles out there ready to try to help keep the trees if they start coming down and electrical wires. They are as prepared as they can be. Now they just have to see what this storm will throw at them. John.

BERMAN: Miguel Marquez, I have a feeling I'm going to see you tomorrow morning. You and your team please stay safe. Thank you.

MARQUEZ: I think so. You got it.

BERMAN: Next, Bill Weir, just back within the last cap couple of minutes from Captiva Island. We will check in to find out what he saw.



BERMAN: So, we showed you video earlier in the hour from CNN's Bill Weir when he was in Cape Coral, and look where he just turned up here in Fort Myers, just back from day visiting some of the islands here that have been hit so hard. And we want to show people that we're seeing our video that you took that we're seeing for the very first time here. So, let's get this up and describe to us what you saw on these islands.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: So John, we went out into the barrier islands with Cajun Navy, and other volunteers who are coming down here on their own dime and on time to try to rescue Americans, frankly. And this is actually St. James City, which is on Pine Island. And that is where we saw by far the most devastation, just complete utter chaos homes in the canals, motor homes in the canal, sunken yachts. And we actually went out there because a woman had called the Cajun Navy and said could you pick up my father and mother, he's an amputee, he's elderly. And so, we went and found them. And we had all of this kind of tough to do without GPS communication is really sketchy right now.

BERMAN: Waze doesn't work with the Cajun Navy.

WEIRD: Waze does not work with the Cajun Navy. But we managed to, you know, by counting the number of houses down and figured out where they were. And there's the gentleman there, Richard, who we met and they were so grateful, she got very emotional when she was told that her that her kids were worried about her. Because that was like the next level of stress right after they've survived the storm. They know that their kids have been watching the storm on TV and are worried sick about them. And so, it was a great relief for her and her husband to get back to dry land and they're with their family tonight.

BERMAN: And some of these islands you can't get to by road --


BERMAN: -- that causeway is wiped away and other.

WEIR: Exactly, exactly. We did also go out to Sanibel Island, we haven't cut that video yet. A lot of people know about that. It's sort of a shell collectors paradise and beautiful homes there, which were not nearly as damaged. And what I really witnessed today, it's a tale of two storms based on how much of a house you can afford to build around yourself, how much protection you can have. That is the great injustice of the climate crisis. Those folks who contribute the least to the problem suffer the most pain, whether they couldn't can't even some cases afford to evacuate. They can't afford the gas, so to speak.

So, these are a lot of prefabricated homes. And the real heartbreaker is a lot of them don't have any insurance. Either a gamble that it's too expensive, and they're going to just going to take place sort of Hurricane Roulette and see how they make out. The woman who's the video you saw running throughout the day that I was walking into her house with her for the first time and she was seeing the damage --

BERMAN: Look at that stuff (INAUDIBLE).

WEIR: Yes. It's forgiveness not being cut more artfully. We're going to put this together in a beautiful --


BERMAN: Bill literally just drove up here from being out in a boat with the Cajun Navy ran here, they plugged the video in and we're now seeing it all together for the first time, you've been working nonstop for days and days and days. Were there people associated with the houses? Were people in their houses? Were the houses empty. Could you tell?

WEIR: Most of them are empty. We found a few people, you know, who were frankly in shock, you know, just trying to take things in and maybe tidy up their yard and sort of just to give them some agency, something to do. But for the most part it was it was evacuated. But on Captiva Island, north Captiva Island, which is one you can only get to buy boats and again, better constructed homes there that held up, there's over 30 people who wrote it out and didn't want to didn't want to be rescued.

BERMAN: You know, I spoke to the mayor of Sanibel earlier, which is now cut off because the causeway has been swept away. And she -- I asked her, is there -- are there services for people who want to stay who may be running the storm. She says no.



WEIR: I mean, that's the thing when you realize you have to give these folks some time to adjust to the reality of situation, because you don't want to be out there. It is -- there we walked by, there's downed power lines everywhere. There's toxic stuff that has spilled into the water. On Sanibel Island, there was a hissing sound as we turn the corner and it's a natural gas tank. It's leaking out and there was a house fire just over the horizon. No one to put it out.

BERMAN: So Bill, you're kind of the human embodiment of the three aspects of this storm. You live through the wind in Punta Gorda when it was coming at you 140 miles per hour, then earlier today. Well then there's this which is the storm surge that --

WEIR: Right.

BERMAN: -- that swept through the islands. And then this video we're looking at, which is a view in Cape Coral, which is a mixture of all of it. It's some storm surge remnants but there's also some I think the freshwater flooding in the inland waterways filling up there. There's so much flooding and water is still in a lot of places like this.


WEIR: I know and then it's going to subside slowly. But then you got to deal with the mold, you know. And if you've ever had that much water in your house --

BERMAN: No, I know --


BERMAN: Because it doesn't happen in the Northeast like this. WEIR: And I don't know if it came up. I don't know which clips of these use. But the point I was trying to make is we spent, you know, you and I spent all last night worried about 17-foot storm surges. And what would that look like? It does -- it takes knee high water to ruin your life. You know what I mean? So, in, and depending on where that storm turns, this is the result. And it's just your heart aches for these folks.

BERMAN: What do you think the hardest thing is going to be for people to come to grips with, Bill?

WEIR: Letting go some places that aren't either salvageable. We saw that again, and again, I'm hopeful that I can save it. And then she walked in and saw this is Laura, who took us into her home, who saw, yes, I like to be an optimist. But this is this is a tear down and to in to come to grips with that. Right. And then at a certain point, you got to decide, is this a livable place anymore? Given the trajectory of these storms over time? How long do we keep rebuilding in these places, but what also is interesting is right where the eye of the storm came over, our boat captain took us over to his house, and it was unscathed to dry inside.

And so, for some people who have oneness bet, it might give them a sense of security, like, hey, you know, this is just another one. This is the cost of living down here. So why think about anywhere else?

BERMAN: Bill, thank you. Thank you for how hard you work today. Thank you for racing here with this. I know you've got more video that you're going to share with viewers over the next several hours, maybe tomorrow morning. Maybe you'll squeeze some sleep in there because man you've earned it.

WEIR: Yes, thanks, John.

BERMAN: Thank you --

WEIR: You too.

BERMAN: -- very much.

All right, we'll be right back.



BERMAN: Stay with CNN for the latest updates on Hurricane Ian. The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.