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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Now: Idalia Over Southern South Carolina, Flood Threat For Georgia And The Carolinas; Idalia Is Now A Tropical Storm; Idalia Lashing Georgia, The Carolinas After Pounding Florida; Mitch McConnell Freezes For The Second Time At A Press Event. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 30, 2023 - 20:00   ET


RYAN MARANDO, WGZA METEOROLOGIST: I'm also holding a towel across my legs because this sand, when it pushes you back, it completely hurts. You can see nothing because of the sand, it is like a sandstorm that is out here right now.

It is just whipping all of this sand up on our skin, it is feeling like it needles and the wind, you certainly feel hurt, and of course, I am having trouble even keeping myself held up.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: It is tough, too, when there is nothing for you to hold on to there.

A tornado warning is in effect right now in parts of North Carolina. Our breaking news coverage of this tropical storm continues right now with AC 360.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: John Berman here, in for Anderson. We are at a truck stop in Perry, Florida. This is a location and a part of the state that took enormous damage from Hurricane Idalia, now, Tropical Storm Idalia, which still does pose a serious threat elsewhere.

You can see the damage it did here at this truck stop. The storm passed directly overhead here and it took that awning behind me and simply just tipped it over. And there was brick and metal that was holding it in place. It's now just shredded. This exploded brick in this twisted metal with the awning leaning completely on its side.

You can take a look. This is actually what it looked like right where I'm standing earlier today as the worst of the wind hit. You can see the awning, there it is, and that's it tipping over.

Here in Perry, it was a wind and a rain storm. Along the gulf coast though, it was all about the storm surge, a surge not seen in a lifetime.

This is Alexis DeLeon, and yes where she was in the hometown she had recently returned to, swimming down the street was how she ended up getting around. Alexis will join us shortly. We're also going to speak to a resident of another hard-hit area, the barrier island of Cedar Key, a man who told us last night he was staying in part to help any neighbors who were hunkering down. And in a moment, the latest on where Idalia is right now, where it is going and who is at risk.

First though, the scope of it all so far, from our Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Keaton Beach, Florida in the bullseye of Idalia. Just look at what's left of this home in Keaton Beach, the roof is gone, but miraculously, the big screen TV is still attached to the bedroom wall.

This structure was also badly damaged.

At this home, the waves in high water overwhelm this porch nearly burying it.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): There will be impacts far beyond the eyewall.

KAYE (voice over): Impacts the Big Bend region of the state hasn't seen in more than a century, like 125-mile-an-hour winds. Heavy rains and a storm surge powerful enough to flood neighborhoods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That building on the end down there is going to come apart.

KAYE (voice over): And powerful enough to soak homes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just hoping that our house is in a houseboat when we get back.

KAYE (voice over): In Perry, Florida, one family had a real scare when trees nearly toppled on their home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I just heard something crack. Look, there it goes. There it goes. Oh my gosh. No. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

KAYE (voice over): In that same area this happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, look at it. Here we go. Oh, the house. Oh. Oh my gosh. The whole roof just came off the house, Mike.


KAYE (voice over): Also near Perry, Florida, the rain and wind toppled this gas station.

In some areas, the conditions were so dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the thick of it. We are in the middle of it right now. You can hear that roar.

KAYE (voice over): Driving even for storm chasers hazardous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God. Oh [bleep].

KAYE (voice over): Not even the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee was spared. Florida's First Lady posting this photo of what she said was a 100-year-old oak tree that split in two and fell on the mansion. She said she was home at the time with their children, but nobody was hurt.

Making matters worse, the lack of power. Hundreds of thousands of customers in Florida were left in the dark, which also became a problem as the storm tracked east across Georgia, promising another long night.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


BERMAN: Those pictures really do tell the story and as you saw there, Cedar Key sustained serious damage.

Last night we spoke with resident and playwright, Michael Bobbitt, one of the voices you heard briefly off camera in Randi's report. He was riding out the storm. Thankfully, he made it through and he shot some just incredible video through it all and he joins us now.

Michael, I have to say, it's wonderful to see your face after everything that you went through.


How were you and your neighbors? How are you doing tonight?

MICHAEL BOBBITT, CEDAR KEY, FLORIDA RESIDENT: We are surprisingly well. The community did what we've always done in a time of tragedy, it came together.

One of the great things about this island is that we truly live in community with one another and we've got each other's backs. It was a difficult evening and a difficult morning, but seeing everyone out cleaning up the streets and checking on their neighbors, it is a little bit of a silver lining to a really tough situation.

BERMAN: This is the first chance I'm getting to see the video you shot. And I have to say, it takes your breath away when you look at what you went through. What was it like?

BOBBITT: Well, let me tell you, I'm just going to turn around here, that video you just saw, here's the aftermath. This was an amazing week -- this is the Far Away Inn, these are all little old school Florida villas and they were just picked up and carried into the gulf. So that was heartbreaking to see.

Before I moved here, I used to stay in this very cottage, number one down here and it was hard to see because the owners here, they knew that this property floods, but it is just a real trial by fire. And if you look down there by the water, all along the ocean, there are chairs and microwaves and hair dryers. It's a pretty surreal experience.

And when the wind was kicking in the middle of the night, and when the water was coming toward us from all three sides, it looked like a leviathan trying to reach out of the water to devour us whole. It was Biblical -- at the end of the day, there were no serious injuries and I was able to talk two of my elderly neighbors into leaving the island at the last possible moment.

My neighbor's house across from me was submerged to the roofline, but we had no injuries were here. We'll rebuild. We'll do what Cedar Key does. All in all, I feel incredibly blessed.

BERMAN: Was there ever a moment through it all, Michael, where you thought to yourself, I made the wrong choice. I may not make it through this.

BOBBITT: No, not really. I mean, again. I mean, I'm a Floridian and I've been through hurricanes since I was little. There was a moment when I thought, you know this is going to get real, real, real rough. But I didn't make the decision (INAUDIBLE) it was the line in the sand moment for me. I was there because like I needed to be there and what's going to happen is going to happen.

The real scary moment was (INAUDIBLE) there goes mine, so, you know, I was comfortable with my decision the whole time, but I'll be honest with you, I was scared out of my mind.

BERMAN: I can't blame you. I'm scared out of my mind looking at the video.

Michael, we're picking up a lot of wind on your phone. So if you can try to shield the microphone in some way. We'll be able to hear you much better.

You had at one point, you had boats. You had boats at the ready to use if you needed them to help rescue your neighbors. Did you end up using those boats?

BOBBITT: Oh yes. Just as soon as I thought that the surge was no longer coming, I was in a kayak up and down checking on my neighbors checking on the historic district. I never ended up getting a motorized skiff in the water. There was just too much debris.

There were parts of buildings and houses and cars and submerged pickup trucks everywhere. So, I never ended up getting a motorized skiff in the water, but I spent a good amount of time, I think if you watch The Weather Channel, someone said there is an idiot in a kayak. I was the idiot.

BERMAN: Oh, that's a moniker you can be proud of for the rest of your life. You saw buildings -- you saw buildings float away. Can you describe what you saw floating away?

BOBBITT: It was like the end of days. It was hard to see especially because I knew the people that owned those buildings. I knew the couple that had invested their whole life savings into buying the Far Away Inn and watching it, watching it just disappear was heartbreaking.

This is an area where it's incredibly difficult to get insurance, and to know that they were just going to basically have to bear the brunt of rebuilding this, it was incredibly hard to see.

BERMAN: What does Cedar Key need in the coming hours and days?

BOBBITT: Well, I can't believe I'm about to say this because I'm a Southerner where we like our government, small and local and limited. But we have had a remarkable response from the federal government, from the state government, and especially from our local government.

Our mayor here, Heath Davis is the finest example of a public servant I've ever met. Throughout the storm he was here with me doing what he needed to do to get resources in place to help the island.

Although, Governor DeSantis, if you're watching, if you'd like to send us some of those public structures you sent down during Ian, we'd be happy to have it, but I mean, all kidding aside, we've got what we need. The resources are in place, and we're already about the business of rebuilding this island.


We will be open for business soon, and we'd sure love to see you all here on the island.

BERMAN: There are dry buildings now. Were there buildings that were untouched on the island?

BOBBITT: Not in the commercial district. I would say 100 percent of our restaurants, our hotels, our shops, they are inundated with water. But there are a good number of vacation rentals and homes, at least 50 percent that survived.

BERMAN: Michael Bobbitt, as I said, it's wonderful to see you. I should make clear to the audience, what you did, you know every official you speak to advises against. The officials, you know, they want you to evacuate when they say to evacuate. I'm not here to lecture you at all.

I'm thrilled to see you. I'm glad you made it through, and it was kind of you to help those who did stay behind. Thank you for sharing your video. Thank you for sharing the experience, Michael Bobbitt.

BOBBITT: Nice talking with you, John. Godspeed, Cedar Key.

BERMAN: What images. What a story.

We do have some new video posted on social media showing what people outside Florida are now dealing with. This is a highway in Goose Creek, South Carolina. And that through the windshield is a car in the exact wrong place as a tornado cuts across -- oh my goodness -- cuts across its path.

After flipping, it hit another car. Amazingly truly, the only injuries in both cars are minor. That is so eerie to see that car just upended. Again, we can't stress this point too much. Idalia remains a threat to life and property.

With details and the latest National Hurricane Center bulletin, let's get right to meteorologist, Chad Myers.

Chad has been busy for the last 24 hours. What areas are seeing the biggest impact now?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I think that tornado threat is likely the biggest threat. There are still some wind. There is still wind 65 miles per hour blowing down the beaches and there is also now flooding into Charleston.

The National Weather Service in Charleston saying it is now the eighth largest high tide ever, so -- and that's still going up, so those numbers could go down a lot. We could be top five or top four. We'll see.

But it is the tornado threat that we know right now is the largest threat along the coast. Every time one of these cells from the Atlantic comes on shore, it may be spinning. I know there is a tornado on the ground just to the west of Wilmington, North Carolina about 30 minutes ago because we could see the debris on the radar spinning around there to the west of Wilmington. There had been more than that as well.

Many, I would say at least four tornadoes now. Some of them waterspouts that came on shore of course, but that's still a tornado if it hit something, but a little bit of a gap here along the Myrtle Beach zone, but then on up here toward Wilmington, still more weather there and more storms will likely rotate in from the Atlantic.

There is still flooding going on. There is still heavy rainfall, especially kind of on up toward the Piedmont. Well, I was watching the Kiawah Island, South Carolina camera. It is very rough. The ocean was rough that day, my friend an awful lot of whitewater out there, Kiawah Island, 450,000 people still without power.

Notice how dark these counties are. That means more than 90 percent of all customers in those counties are without power. That is going to take some time to put back up. There is the rainfall here across the Carolinas, at least another four to six inches with the flooding possible tonight. And after dark, it is going to be hard to see that flooding. So really, really be careful.

John, I'm going to back you up 120 hours to the forecast from the National Hurricane Center. They started out way down here near Cancun. I know this looks like a spaghetti plot with no color. But these are the forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.

Believe it or not from 120 hours to what the present is, the spread was only 55 miles and in fact, the very first -- the very first forecast that was put out five days ago missed landfall by 10 miles -- 10.

Now it was a Category 1 at their forecast and it turned into be a major hurricane and we know that the category is the hardest thing to forecast. But when you can get it five days away, 10 miles from where it actually hits, you've done your job.

BERMAN: And I've had officials tell me today that the accuracy of this forecast saved lives, Chad, and you can understand why. Just remind us again what's in store for the rest of the night?

MYERS: Well, we still have a 65-mile-per-hour storm. It's not that far from Savannah. It is the surge that is into Charleston right now. We know that it is kind of over the battery, it is on to the city itself and water is still going up. The tide is still going in.


That same story for Myrtle Beach, for Surfside, all the way up even toward the Carolinas.

Another thing that's going on is that if you remember from a few days ago when you saw me, we're talking about Franklin out here, a 150- mile-per-hour storm that didn't hit anything, but it made waves and those waves now are being added to the waves from our current tropical storm, so it is rough surf for sure out there, all along the Carolina coast.

BERMAN: All right, Chad Myers, it is not over yet. I am sure we will hear from you again soon. Thank you very much.

In a moment, the woman who started out surveying the damage on a bike, then on foot, then as you see her here, swimming through the street where she lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. That's like --




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the thick of it. We are in the middle of it right now. You can hear that roar. I mean it is the sound of a Category 3-ish storm and this is the power.



BERMAN: You know what, a perfect description there. The roar of a hurricane. The entire feel of it even before the wind starts to come down is simply otherworldly and not in a good way.

At the top of the program, we showed you some remarkable video of a woman on Anna Maria Island, swimming through floodwaters. Her name is Alexis DeLeon, and she joins us now.

Thank you, Alexis, so much for joining us. It's wonderful that we are looking at you right now. Can you walk us through what you experienced? Or maybe I should say, swim us through what you experienced as the storm began to pick up?

ALEXIS DELEON, ANNA MARIA ISLAND, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Yes. Thanks for having me. I'm super glad to be here. It was scary to say the least. You know, we decided to stay out there and not leave the island. So that was a pretty scary decision in the first place. But we kind of knew this storm wasn't going to be as much wind and rain, as we're typically used to with storms.

So we just knew that storm surge was going to be coming in mixed with that high tide, that was the scariest part. You know, once we started seeing the tide come up, we waited until -- it was starting to go back down before we started venturing out and we realized, you know, it wasn't coming up into our house.

We had some neighbors where it came up next to the trailer park. They were all flooded through there, so we decided to venture out, and that's where you saw that clip there just down the street from us.

BERMAN: I'm looking at this video now for the first time. That's an awful lot of water. That is an awful lot of water.

You said you decided to stay because you heard that the winds and the rains weren't going to be serious. But you knew there was going to be storm surge. When that storm surge was coming in, ADRIANA DIAZ: you feel like you'd made a questionable decision?

DELEON: Well, you know, after seeing Hurricane Ian last year, I think it kind of gives every Floridian that little scared moment in the back of your head, you know, we act all tough, and we're all ready for the storms and excited and whatever. But you never know what can really hit you in that time.

So I think once me and my sister, we saw it coming up, it got a little scary. Once we started realizing how high it was actually coming up, you know, golf cart, cars flooded, the trailer homes, I mean, it was up to our knees, our waist, we're riding bikes through it, so it got pretty high.

BERMAN: So, the swimming, which is amazing to see and I have to say, normally when you see someone in a situation where they have to swim through a storm surge, there's a lot of times that won't end well, but explain how it got to that point where you had to swim through it.

DELEON: So yes, the swimming, when we got down to that part of the street, we had originally walked through there and that water is actually probably about waist high there. And we were wearing, you know our shoes, and they are just getting pelted through the bottom with debris and shells and barnacles, and I mean anything you could be walking over in that time.

So we felt in that moment in that specific spot on the street, it was probably best just to swim, so we were above the ground, and then shortly thereafter, we were luckily able to walk out, but it was still you know, covering up half our bodies walking through the streets.

BERMAN: What made you decide to film it? To shoot the video, and then post it on TikTok?

DELEON: I mean, I TikTok everything else in my life. I'm a van lifer. So I do that and you know, record the rest of my life. And last year during Hurricane Ian, I actually did the same thing and I've had hundreds of people in my town and people who vacation here. It's such a big area that everyone knows. They really thanked me for it and were really grateful that they could see the damage that was done and how well we did or how well we didn't do in that time.

So really, I was thinking about a lot of those people and showing them what was going on and easing their minds a little.

BERMAN: And are they -- are people reaching out? Are your friends and neighbors who left reaching out to you and saying hey, how's my home?

DELEON: Oh, yes. I mean, I have hundreds and hundreds probably thousands -- over a thousand DMs on TikTok and Instagram, comments, several hundred comments of people giving me their exact address, their streets, everything: Hey, can you go by here because the island was shut down until about 5:00 PM today, so no one could get on.

No one knew what it was like. I was one of the very few people still out there. So I was just going up and down each block, you know, videoing as much as I could and just posting it so people could maybe see their house and see that it was okay and got through the storm.

BERMAN: Well, Alexis DeLeon, we appreciate you being with us. We appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Again, I should note that this is the type of thing officials warn people against doing. They say this is not a wise thing to do.

Nevertheless, we are glad you made it through. We're glad you can smile tonight about the experience.


To the north of Anna Maria Island, Hernando County also suffered serious damage. Joining us now is Sheriff Al Nienhuis. Sheriff, I understand there were several rescues done this morning in your county. How many? And are there still people out there who need to be rescued?

SHERIFF AL NIENHUIS, HERNANDO COUNTY, FLORIDA: Yes, fortunately, there were only one or two. One of them was a little bit more dramatic than some of the other ones. We had a lady and her young son that were in their vehicle on a bridge at Pine Island, which is kind of in the northwest part of our county, it's an island out there, a beautiful island and they decided they wanted to leave the island right at the peak of the storm surge and they were stuck on a bridge out there.

And for a couple hours, we were trying to get them off, and fortunately, working with Fire Rescue and one of the division chiefs of the Fire Rescue, Marc Zopf, he was manning the airport there, and he was able to get to them and get them back to shore safely. They were checked out very briefly by Fire Rescue and were able to be reunited with family.

So to say it was -- and I just happened to be there at the time myself with one of our county commissioners, and it was heartwarming to say the least because it could have turned out very, very badly.

BERMAN: You know, lucky for them that you were there and able to get to them. Has there been any significant damage to homes and other structures?

NIENHUIS: Yes, we have I think that fire, actually that that says it is in Hudson, we had a similar situation just like you're seeing on the screen now, in Hernando Beach. We did have a house fire, at least one or two, I think there was one in Weeki Wachee as well, right at the height of the storm surge. And, unfortunately, Fire Rescue couldn't get to them right away, so it took some time, and I think there was some significant damage there.

We also have several dozen houses with water in them. We're still assessing them. I am very happy to report that as of right now, we don't know of any injuries, much less any fatalities that occurred because the vast majority of people heeded the warning and understood it was much better to be on dry land wishing they were out on the beach than to be out on the beach wishing they were -- had gone to dry land.

So fortunately, the residents here have been through this a few times, and heeded our warnings and the ones that did stay on the beach, we were fortunate that the storm surge occurred during low tide. So, it wasn't near as bad in Hernando County as it could have been had the storm been six hours faster or six hours slower. It would have been much, much worse for us.

BERMAN: That is wonderful news and I hope it sticks, no injuries in your county.

What do you think the next 24 hours look like for you?

NIENHUIS: Well, the next 24 hours is obviously trying to make those people that have sustained some damage, particularly water damage in their house, trying to give them peace of mind that the Sheriff's Office is going to be out there keeping their homes safe, whether they're in their homes, or whether they're not able to stay in their homes.

And we're going to have people on the water, and of course on the land, we're going to have a lot of deputies in the area, making sure that those some of those people that would stoop to taking advantage of this situation in a criminal way, we're going to make sure that that doesn't happen and if we do catch anybody, they can rest assured they're going to be held accountable for that.

BERMAN: All right, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis. Thank you so much for being with us. Wishing you the best of luck in the coming days.

NIENHUIS: And thank you for your coverage. We appreciate you helping us get the word out. Have a good night and stay safe.

BERMAN: Thank you.

Coming up, more on the raw power of the storm surge. We're going to be joined by someone we met last night whose family owns a marina not too far from where we are now. They decided to ride the storm out. We're going to check in on them, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My house is down at Keaton. I don't know if it's there or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you got anyone that you're in touch with to know what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, there's a guy -- he's a couple of miles up the -- off the coast. He says it's horrible.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said trees have fallen in the yard. He said he's scared. We've never seen this before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Category 1, that scared us, man. I mean, we've -- usually a Category 1 tropical storm will come to Perry and ride it out. This right here is bad.




BERMAN: There certainly are parts that have never seen anything like this before. Idalia is now a tropical storm, but the storm surge it created set records for highest water levels in multiple locations in Florida. With me now, Carlos Suarez in Gulfport. Carlos, can you show us what it looks like where you are?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the folks out here spent the day taking a look at all of this flooding, and tonight, they're spending their time taking a look at these sailboats that washed ashore overnight. We're talking about at least three sailboats that broke free last night as this hurricane made its way north. We were talking about a storm surge at the time of anywhere between four feet to six feet. And so, we're told that one of these sailboats on the far end of the beach where we are right now, broke free of its line and when that happened, it took out a second and a third sailboat. That third sailboat ended up taking out a part of the dock.

Now, we began the day over in Hillsborough County that is home to the Tampa Bay Area. That is where we saw some of the more significant flooding. Homes there saw anywhere between three inches to four inches of water come in overnight. The concern going into the storm, of course, was this storm surge, and that really did materialize. Now, as we made our way on to Pinellas County here in Gulfport, we came across yet another three feet to four feet of flooding out here.

The good news, John, at this hour is that much of that water has receded. Much of the power out here has been restored. And those two mandatory evacuation orders for both of those counties have been lifted. In fact, the cleanup and the recovery effort out here is well underway. A number of businesses, restaurants, even a couple of bars are hoping to get things going over the next couple of days. John?

BERMAN: It is good news for the residents there. Carlos Suarez, great work, as always.


With me now, someone who was with us last night, Chase Norwood. His family owns the local marina in Steinhatchee in Florida. Chase, it's wonderful to see you. And I'm so glad you made it through and your family is OK. You made the decision to stay, to protect your marina. How did it go?

CHASE NORWOOD, OWNER, CHASE-N-FISH CHARTERS: It went pretty well. So, you know, we didn't know exactly what to expect. We were watching the storm very carefully and watching it very close. But we were expecting the storm surge to come around high tide in the middle of the morning around 3:00. And so, this morning we were down at the marina at three o'clock, looking to see how the storm was doing and see if we had any water. And we didn't get any surge on the high tide.

So, we started to think that maybe it ain't going to be that bad of a storm surge. And right around daylight, when everybody was saying that the eye of the hurricane was going to be here, right around seven o'clock, when you can start to see some -- see out the windows and stuff, the winds started picking up. We started to get around probably like 70-mile to 80-mile winds. And probably within a ten-minute window, the water just like flowed in like a river. And it was probably coming in at least 10-mile to 15-mile an hour. It was just a giant current.

You could see it kind of going down the middle of the river, a giant rip. And I mean, it flooded everywhere quick. It was just like a flash. And so, it was no joke. I mean, if we were near danger, the house we stayed in was like 20 feet above sea level. So, we were really high up. But if we were in like back in the woods, like a lot of these people's homes were, we would not have stayed in town. But we were fortunate enough to have a nice place to stay at. But overall, I mean, it could have been worse.

We could have had major things going down, major buildings gone down. But overall, it's probably the most intense hurricane that this area has ever had. But I think it's -- we were actually kind of blessed for what it could have been.

BERMAN: I'm looking at the pictures and I'm thinking where my car was parked last night, as I was visiting with you. And the water is above -- I mean, the water line is above where the top of the car would have been. So obviously, the water rose an awful lot. How much damage did the marina suffer and how much is it going to take to get things back to normal?

NORWOOD: So, we probably took on about an 8-foot to 9-foot surge. Like, where your car was parked, it was definitely over that. I think it was only a foot from touching the roof in the inside of the marina on the first floor. So the marina itself, it survived a couple hurricanes where we've had water come inside the store. So, that isn't really a main concern on the damages. But our docks out front, we had some of the concrete pylons just collapse near, like, the kind of center part of the channel. And the docks put so much pressure on those concrete pylons collapse. And half of our docks kind of like broke apart and they're all bundled up in a giant ball.

And so, that's a major damage we had. But then behind our marina, we had this big building that's our mechanic shop. And it's kind of -- it's like a tarp-type building. But it got tore up. It's all broken apart in pieces. We've got some pictures on Facebook of what it looks like now. It's just (inaudible) right now. It's a giant tarp/barn. So, we tried our best to strap it down, but the winds just store it up. So, we got a handful of rentals that took on a lot of water, a lot of furniture damage.

One of our properties that we have that's kind of towards the mouth of the river that a lot of our employees stay at, it got really bad flooded. And the windows were blown out in it. The front door was completely blew out. And a lot of their belongings and personal items got destroyed because they just kind of raised everything up thinking that it was only going to come up maybe three feet to four feet. This is inland too. And it pretty much


NORWOOD: Picked everything up in there and it's like a washing machine, just destroyed that whole entire house. So, it was a lot of damage. But, like I said

BERMAN: Water damage case.

NORWOOD: We didn't lose buildings. That's good.

BERMAN: Yeah. You didn't lose anything important, which is each other. I'm so glad you made it through this. I know it'll be a lot of work to clean up, but I know you'll do it. I look forward to seeing you in better times. We need to go fishing. Chase Norwood, thank you so much.

NORWOOD: No problem. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Just ahead, tracking Idalia's next move. We're going to have a report from North Carolina on the fallout there.



BERMAN: All right. Again, Idalia is now a tropical storm, bringing the threat of flooding and as we showed you earlier, tornados in the Carolinas. Just a few moments ago, we got word that water levels tonight in Charleston Harbor are now the fifth highest on record. At the beginning of the hour, as Chad Myers told us, they were the eighth highest, so obviously, it's climbing fast. Dianne Gallagher is up the coast a bit from there in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. Dianne, how are conditions there now?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, about 30 seconds ago, it was torrential sideways raining here in Carolina Beach. That has stopped. And that's kind of what we've been experiencing this entire time, almost this band effect. The winds have died down again out here. Just an hour ago, we actually had to rush into the lobby of a hotel because of a tornado warning, two tornados spotted in the area as well as a water spout in the area. And we're going to see more of that throughout the night and kind of see the wind picking up out here as we're in a tornado watch until four o'clock in the morning.


And the Emergency Manager of New Hanover County tells me that their biggest concerns are potential for moderate flooding and moderate winds. Early this morning, around the time that most people might be commuting to work, this is still a several-hour event into the future for the Carolina coastline. Now, here in Carolina Beach, the Town Manager says that, look, we have trouble spots that flood anyway.

But as everyone has been discussing from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and here, the king tide complicates things when it comes to that storm surge, only expected to be about one feet to three feet in the New Hanover, Wilmington, Carolina Beach area. But because of that king tide, some of these low-lying areas may experience some moderate flooding. That do anticipate that to be early in the morning on Thursday here for this area. They anticipate we're going to see wind gusts throughout the night peaking at about 40-mile per hour gusts around seven o'clock, they tell me, a.m. tomorrow.

Now, look, they say that they hope that the dunes that they have on the beaches will prevent some of that flooding, especially in areas like where I am now. But, again, we're seeing the gusts come through, John. In the seven o'clock hour, there was just intense sheets of rain sideways. The ocean itself looking angry. You can see it coming in. The tide is all the way up again. There are still people out and about, but they've asked anyone who's not an experienced surfer, not an experienced swimmer, especially if you're visiting the area, don't go in the ocean. And really just don't go out until maybe after nine or ten o'clock tomorrow morning in this particular part of the country, noting that there are a lot of visitors.

We've talked to them today who were here before Labor Day weekend. So, they're asking people to stay out of the water. Also because of Hurricane Franklin out in the ocean, those swells combined with what is coming from Idalia are creating a very difficult ocean for people who are not experienced swimmers to just be out there with their children or anything like that. So, the key here is asking visitors not to get into the water and potentially all the way into this weekend even after the weather improves, John.

BERMAN: Dianne Gallagher, up in North Carolina, which is going to see the wind and the rain for several more hours to come. Stay safe, Dianne.

Coming up, we're going to have more from here in Florida. Next though, more health concerns for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who froze yet again today at the microphone when speaking with reporters. Our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us right after a quick break.



BERMAN: In just a moment, we're going to have more here from Florida on the aftermath of Idalia. First, another televised health scare for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is 81 and today, while taking questions from reporters in Kentucky, this is what happened.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for re-election in 2026.

MCCONNELL: Oh, that's a

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you hear the question senator, running for re-election in 2026? All right. I'm sorry you all, we're going to need a minute. Senator? Eddie (ph)?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody else have a question, please speak up.


BERMAN: Not easy to watch. A spokesman for Senator McConnell said the Republican leader felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during the news conference. This is the second time something like this has happened. Just last month, McConnell froze for 30 seconds during a Capitol Hill press conference.


MCCONNELL: This week has been good bipartisan cooperation and a string off


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hear me? (ph) Anything else you want to say? (inaudible) do you want to say anything else to the press?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead, John (ph).


BERMAN: So as you can imagine, even a single episode like that and someone of any age is cause for concern. With us now is CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, again, as I said, it's hard to watch that. As a neurosurgeon, when you see Senator McConnell have a similar moment today as he did a month ago, what are your observations?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it is hard to watch. I mean as you said, I will tell you that the list of things that could cause this sort of thing is surprisingly long. I mean there are a few things. I think they said he was lightheaded. I think that's less likely sort of to explain all of this. Usually someone who is lightheaded, they may feel dizzy, they may need to sit down or something like that. He was frozen sort of in place. It's the freezing sort of episode of his body, of his face, of his speech, of his hands -- his hands are clenching at the side of the lectern.

You can see his aide coming over there and trying to sort of lift his hand. Sort of frozen in place there for about 30 seconds, this time around as well. So is this some sort of Parkinsonian like sort of thing when someone's medications are wearing off, sometimes they can freeze like this. Other things is a mini seizure, or even TIA which is a transient ischemic attack. Some of these things more likely than others, but as I say, the list is long. I think what really struck me, John, was that the aides came there quickly but they did not seem surprised.

So as you mentioned, we have saw this twice but you get the sense that this happens quite a bit because they kind of knew what to do.


And typically, you think straight off to the hospital, but clearly, they were sort of dealing with it as it seems like they've done in the past.

BERMAN: So obviously, the leader has had several health scares this year. What do you make of the sequence of events?

GUPTA: Well, I remember back in 2019, you may remember, John, he had a significant fall back then, actually fractured his shoulder. It was pretty significant. But if you look at this year alone, there have been a couple of falls earlier in the year. He has had episodes where he is at press conferences and has trouble hearing the reporter's questions, fell again in July and then it was the end of July where he had this previous episode that again could best be described as freezing while talking to reporters, same sort of thing you just saw that happened today.

So, there has been a few -- we know he had polio as a child that has affected his walking, but he does have -- he has had significant falls. He also has this sort of, what we call sometimes in the neurological world, masked faces where you don't have as much expression. And that sometimes can be associated with Parkinsonian like things as well.

BERMAN: You know, Sanjay, you mentioned what his aides did. They may have expected it. But they actually let him take another question or they let him stay there. Is it

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: When something like that happens, should the person be taken right to the hospital?

GUPTA: I think that's the question. If this were a first time sort of thing, like when we watched that in July, you would say, yeah, absolutely, we got to get this checked out. But I think there was a little bit of lack of surprise that this had happened. So again, we don't know what's going on there exactly. But for example, someone had Parkinson's disease, they were taking a medication, the medication wore off, they might start to have episodes of freezing like that before they could get their medication again. And he does have these periods of time where he has these episodes. But then he seems, as Manu reported earlier, seemingly fine a short time later. So whatever it is, it comes and goes seemingly as well.

BERMAN: Sanjay, thank you so much for helping us understand it or try to, at least.

GUPTA: Got it.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.

GUPTA: Yeah.