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Isa Soares Tonight
Millions Of People In The U.S. Brace For Hurricane Idalia; Military Officers In Gabon Seize Power; Russia Experiences The Biggest Drone Attack On Its Territory Since Its Full-Scale Invasion Of Ukraine; Hurricane Idalia Makes Landfall In West Florida; Cuba Cleans Up Hurricane Aftermath; U.S. President Joe Biden Speaks As Idalia Thrashes Southeast U.S.; Date Set For Australian First Nations Referendum. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 30, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, millions of people
in the U.S. are under direct threat from Hurricane Idalia. Where is it headed next? Military officers in Gabon seize power of the Central African
nation, placing the president under house arrest. We'll have a live update.
And Russia experiences the biggest drone attack on its territory since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine which began last year. Well, Hurricane
Idalia now bringing the threat of catastrophic flooding to the state of Georgia after leaving a path of destruction in northern Florida. It made
landfall in Florida's Big Bend area hours ago as a Category 3 hurricane.
It's the first major storm to hit the state this hurricane season with the water levels right on the gulf coast reaching record highs due to that
storm surge. Idalia is now tracking across Georgia as a Category 1 hurricane, packing winds of up to 135 kilometers per hour. Its center is
expected to cross into South Carolina soon. And here's what the Georgia governor said a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): People need to prepare, they need to be ready when it's coming through. They need to, you know, move a county or two up if
they have the ability to do that. If not, make sure they are in a secure location. Watch out for downed power lines and other things of that nature,
and just, you know, if they've got hour or two or a couple of hours before the storm gets there, get a little extra bottled water if you get cut off
or lose power.
Do smart things like that. We've got a lot of information on the website and obviously the phone number people you can call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to speak any minute on a hurricane, and we will bring you that live when it happens. Right now, I
want to go to our meteorologist Chad Myers who is covering the developments and tracking the storm. Good to have you with us, Chad. So, this was the
strongest storm to hit that Big Bend of Florida in --
CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST: Right --
KINKADE: Over a century. What's the biggest threat right now as the high tide approaches and the storm moves further north?
MYERS: Well, yes, now we have other states involved here. Not just Florida where this -- we call this the Big Bend or the catcher's mitt of where all
of that storm surge ramp up there. Some spots could have been 5 meters deep, and a lot of the areas here, the towns are far enough away from the
coast. It's not really a beach here, it's more like a wildlife refuge, kind of a buried low-land area.
But now, the storm has moved up into Georgia, down to 120 kilometers per hour, that's the good news. Losing strength now that is overland and not
over water. And then finally, pulling out into the ocean and away. But likely affecting towns like Savannah and Charleston before that happened.
Yes, we do still have tornado-watches because sometimes with a tropical cyclone, whether it's a typhoon or whether it's a hurricane or whatever,
you know, I mean, this is the area that you -- when you get to spin, some of these storms that spin on land can also spin themselves -- at coriolis
force there, and they can make tornadoes.
So there you go, Savannah, the heaviest rain showers coming to you in about an hour or so. I listened to the governor where he was just saying about
Georgia, you can go if you want to go, it's just too late right now. There's no time to go. We're just -- we're covered up in rainfall, just
hunker down, stay away from everything, stay away from the windows, because some of these wind gusts are still going to be close to 85 miles per hour,
somewhere in that 130 kilometer per hour that you talked about.
But the massive power outages here, there are so many very tall pine trees. Literally, 30 meter high pine trees here all across the area, and those
were all coming down across power lines and across roads. Some of the major interstates are closed right now, because of the tree debris that are
actually on the roadways. An awful lot of rainfall still to come, more flash flooding likely still to come.
More people, Lynda, are killed by hurricanes in North America due to flash flooding because of rainfall than because of the storm surge which is
This will all be freshwater flooding, you need to stay away from where it's raining right now because there are plenty of places that have seen upwards
are now of about 300 to 400 millimeters of rain just in the past four hours.
KINKADE: Yes, incredible record amounts in some areas. Chad Myers, good to have you with us, thanks so much. I want to go to Florida's west coast now.
CNN's Carlos Suarez is in Gulfport in Tampa. Good to have you with us. So, obviously, we know several books -- several bridges rather, are now
inaccessible. Just talk to us about the impact there. It looks like a lot of floodwater, a lot of storm surge.
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. It's another day of rain and wind out here as Gulfport is still dealing with some
significant flooding. As you noted, there are several bridges that connect the Tampa Bay area to Pinellas County, which is just to the west of Tampa
Bay. They've been closed for the better part of the day now.
Earlier today, the one bridge did reopen, which means that folks that live in the Tampa Bay area can cross over to Pinellas County, and the folks that
live in Pinellas County can also make their way over to the Tampa Bay area. This is how things look like here in Gulfport. This is some of the worst
flooding that we have seen in our time here.
Again, we were able to get here earlier today because of that one bridge that reopened. The city's mayor out here tells me that the city did not see
a lot of wind damage. It seems that a lot of the damage out here was contained to the flooding that was brought on by all of this water that
made its way from the storm surge associated with this hurricane.
All of that was just pushed into the Tampa Bay area. You then add to that, the rainfall totals anywhere between 2 to 4 to 6 inches of rain, and then,
you mix in a high tide, which right now in this part of Pinellas County is already underway. And that is why you're seeing all of this flooding, we do
not expect low tide out here until about 8 O'clock tonight.
So we're talking about several more hours of all of this water pretty much standing still out here. It has not receded and officials really are trying
to get folks to essentially stay away from this part of Pinellas County, because we're right up along the shore. This water really is not going
anywhere, and the last thing emergency officials want are for folks to be out here, essentially, not taking the precautions they -- that they've been
stressing for the last couple of days.
Which is really, there's no point of you being out here, you should -- you could enjoy the walk if you like, but you can't get your car out here, and
it's just overall, probably not the safest thing for you to do.
KINKADE: Yes, and Carlos, we have heard reports about people like seeing fish and other animals in the waters. What are the risks right now
especially as the high tide comes in?
SUAREZ: Well, you've got a number of risks, right. With all this water moving in, you've also got some sewer lines that may have overflowed. And
so what we're standing in really at this point is a bunch of debris, it's ocean water, it's from sewer lines that may have overflowed. And so, there
are of course, health concerns for folks that are coming out here aside from what you mentioned, right, the possibility that there might be fish
out here, there might be some sort of, you know, other type of animals that may have made their way a little bit more inland.
And so, officials overall, that's why they're stressing, right, if you don't really have to be out here, don't -- you don't really know what's in
this water, you probably don't want to know what's in it any way, and more importantly, you don't want to come across anything that will surprise you
including any possible fish.
KINKADE: Yes, we certainly do know. Carlos Suarez, good to have you there for us, stay safe. Appreciate it. Well, I want to bring in Commissioner
John Allocco; Chairman of Florida's Hernando County Board of Commissioners. Good to have you with us.
JOHN ALLOCCO, CHAIRMAN, HERNANDO COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: Good to be here, thank you.
KINKADE: So Idalia became a hurricane around 8:00 a.m. when it made landfall. The storm surge it seems is the biggest threat. Is that still the
case right now especially as that high tide rolls in?
ALLOCCO: Yes, so, we had our -- we had our peak of our surge probably about two hours ago, but we're coming up on -- actually just finishing a high
tide now at king tide. And so, the combination of the surge and then the tide has given us somewhere between 2 and 3 meters of storm surge along our
KINKADE: And you are in Hernando County, which is one of the 10 counties where there were mandatory evacuations in place for low-lying homes and
buildings. Did most people adhere to those warnings? And have any -- has anyone that you know of needed a rescue?
ALLOCCO: So, yes, probably about 80 percent of the people did leave as requested. There were still quite a few who decided to stay back, and we
had a few -- we've had a few rescues between our sheriff's department, fire rescue, and the National Guard actually.
We've had several airport(ph) rescue, large trucks out where as far as they could go to help kind of bring them closer to the land. It's been
interesting, a little frustrating when we have to put our first responders at risk because people didn't heed the warnings, but unfortunately, does
not believe like we've had any loss of life.
KINKADE: Yes, that is good news. So far we know two people reportedly killed in car accidents related to this storm in Florida. But in terms of
other damage, damage to buildings, homes, businesses. What do you know about the extent of that damage at this point in time?
ALLOCCO: Based off of some of the video evidence we've had, we know that single-story homes have seen plenty of water make them into those homes.
Some of the businesses, the restaurants that are in those areas look like they've had some water, get intrusion into the buildings. We're not really
sure yet, we're waiting for this storm surge and the high tide to start to resolve.
And then we'll extend our officials out there to do a first survey of it, to make sure it's safe. Certainly going to be a little while before we can
probably get the electric up in certain areas, because we know there's salt water intrusion into the walls of the first-story homes.
KINKADE: And John, for those that did evacuate and are currently in shelters, are staying in schools. What's the advice to them? When can they
come out and check their homes, inspect the damage?
ALLOCCO: Well, interesting and interestingly, what we found was a lot of the people who were in the shelters were coming from either mobile homes or
they were living alone, and they didn't actually live right along the coast. It seems like a lot of the people who evacuated from the coast
either went with friends and family -- or hotels or just, you know, left town.
So, we're starting to wrap up our shelters right now. We're going to move to -- them out of schools, and then those who still need a shelter will --
we have an enrichment center that's on the eastern end of our county, and we'll have those people who still need shelter, start moving in that
direction soon so that we can start cleaning up the schools and get them ready to reopen.
KINKADE: Excellent, and just quickly, any indication when they will be open? Will school be back tomorrow?
ALLOCCO: I believe that they will probably be open on Friday. But it's going to take a while to clean them up. I have not got confirmation, but
from the beginning, we assume Friday would be the day they'd be -- they'd be back open, but we're going to need some time to clean those schools up
after we've had -- you know, we've had a pet shelter, we've had, you know, general population shelters and we've also had special needs shelter open.
KINKADE: John Allocco, we appreciate your time today and what is a very busy day, thanks so much for joining us.
ALLOCCO: Thank you.
KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, intense -- intensified air attacks on both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We'll tell you about the
biggest drone assault on Russian soil since the war in Ukraine began. Plus, military officers in Gabon say they've seized power and put the president
under house arrest. We'll have a live report from the African region next.
KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. An adviser to Ukraine's president says the war is increasingly moving to Russian territory, and it cannot be
stopped. He spoke after six regions across Russia came under attack in what was the biggest drone assault on Russian soil since the invasion of Ukraine
began. One attack target at the airport and a region in NATO members, Estonia and Latvia, that is hundreds of kilometers away from the frontlines
A Russian state news agency says four military aircrafts were damaged, no casualties are reported. Russia is also intensifying its own air attacks,
hitting Kyiv with drones and missiles in a massive bombardment. Officials say two people were killed, calling it the most powerful attack on the
capital since the Spring. Military officers in Gabon say they have seized power of their Central African nation from President Ali Bongo.
They announced on state television that Mr. Bongo was under house arrest, and they are avoiding the results of that election in which he declared
himself the winner of a third term. They're also dissolving the government and closing the country's borders until further notice. The coup threatens
the Bongo's family's 56-year rule over Gabon. And it follows Niger's recent coup in Africa where the military seized control. Our David McKenzie is
following the story and joins us now.
ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, OUSTED PRESIDENT OF GABON: I'm Ali Bongo Ondimba; president of Gabon. And I'm to send a message to all the friends that we
have all over the world to tell them to make noise. To make noise --
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an extraordinary appeal in English.
ONDIMBA: And my family --
MCKENZIE: Just hours ago, Ali Bongo seemed untouchable, now he's under house arrest --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MCKENZIE: Because of this. In this season of coups, a group of army officers making an all familiar announcement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I've decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime. The general elections of August 26,
2023, as well as truncated results are canceled.
MCKENZIE: On the streets of Libreville, celebrations, shots of liberation from some and a scene replayed over and over in recent months. The coup
leaders say that the just concluded polls were not transparent. And said Bongo's leadership threatened, quote, "chaos". International observers
weren't allowed in and the internet was curtailed. From former colonist France, a well-practiced response.
OLIVIER VERAN, SPOKESPERSON, FRENCH GOVERNMENT (through translator): France condemns the military coup that is underway in Gabon, and France is closely
monitoring the evolution of the situation on the ground and reiterates its desire to see the results of the election respected once it's known.
MCKENZIE: Gabon, the latest in a cascade of coups on the African continent, if solidified, it will be the eighth in Central and West Africa since just
2020. Most of them, former French colonies, but each of them a different cocktail of power plays and discontent. In Gabon, the citizens have lived
under a dynastic regime for more than 50 years.
Omar Bongo ruled for more than four decades, much of that time, spent in France, a critical ally. The elder Bongo, members of his family and
confidants were accused of eye-watering corruption, often linked to OPEC member, Gabon's significant oil wealth. Ali Bongo took over from his father
in 2009. He's been praised for conserving Gabon's vast forest and taking innovative steps to develop carbon credits to combat climate change.
But he's faced growing discontent from many, with violence breaking out after a disputed polls in 2016, and an attempted coup three years later.
But these scenes have wider consequences. Many fear that Gabon is not the last domino to fall. The African Union and international actors have failed
to effectively counter recent military takeovers. And Bongo's fate in house arrest remains tenuous.
ONDIMBA: I'm calling you to make noise. To make noise. To make noise really.
KINKADE: Our thanks to David McKenzie for that report, and we will speak to him later this hour for an update on that coup. Well, as I mentioned
earlier, an adviser to Ukraine's president says the war is increasingly moving to Russian territory and it cannot be stopped. It comes as Russia is
also intensifying its own air attacks, hitting Kyiv with drones and missiles in a massive bombardment overnight.
Officials say two people were killed, calling it the most powerful attack on Kyiv since Spring. And Melissa Bell is following all the developments
tonight from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine and joins us now live. Good to have you with us. So this was the biggest drone attack in Russia since it
launched its war in Ukraine. At least six Russian regions we know were hit. Explain what the targets were.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is something that's been going on for some time. You mentioned what the presidential adviser here in
Ukraine had spoken of, this war being brought increasingly to Russian soil. That's been a very deliberate strategy. It's about a number of different
things, and whilst Ukrainians don't recognize, neither confirming nor denying specific attacks, increasingly officials including President
Zelenskyy fairly recently have spoken about the strategy.
Bringing the war to Russian soil is first of all, reminding the Russian people that Vladimir Putin is not keeping them safe. It is as President
Zelenskyy explained, recently, only just and fair. They're just as the Ukrainian people have to suffer, so too should the Russians. But it is also
specifically Lynda, about targeting infrastructure and specifically, infrastructure that allows Russia to keep feeding its forces here in
So when you take the attacks of last night, across six regions, Russian air defenses fairly effective, and most of them, specifically for instance
surround Moscow, the four airports were closed for a while, a number of planes and flights redirected, but the drones themselves were intercepted.
The ones that hit the airfield however spoilt, made it.
And what they were targeting and what they hit were transport planes. Planes that could be used to carry troops and weaponry and equipment to the
frontlines of Ukraine. And we've always seen over the last few weeks is oil depots being targeted, airfields, military bases. Things that allow Russia
to keep feeding this war. And so, it is a deliberate strategy, and I think what is interesting about last night, even if the air defenses were
relatively successful across most parts of Russia, that they should have managed to launch as many drones such a large attack.
And bear in mind that the airfield that we're talking about where the airplanes were hit, is very close to the Estonian border. But some 600
kilometers from the Ukrainian, they were deep inside Ukrainian territory. In fact, the spokesman for this -- the Kremlin was asked this morning about
whether the drones might have been launched from elsewhere, from Estonia or Latvian territory.
And the reply came that this would be thoroughly investigated. Another message from Moscow this morning that this massive drone attack would not
be without retaliation, Lynda.
KINKADE: And Melissa, we were just looking at some pictures from the capital of Ukraine. It was hit last night with what officials described as
a massive bombardment. That attack of course, was deadly. What are the details?
BELL: It was the largest aerial attack of Ukraine since the Spring. We simply haven't seen that sort of intensity in several months. Overall
though, again, Ukrainian air defenses proved how efficiently they were working, of the 28 missiles that were sent, and 16 drones all were
intercepted, apart from one of the drones. Still, those images above Kyiv, spectacularly lit up.
Of course, the loss of life that you mentioned, the debris this morning fairly spectacular. Still, Ukrainians -- the Ukrainian defenses fairly
effective today. This is also part of a deliberate strategy on the part of Russia and has been for many months now, of trying to hit deep inside
Ukrainian territory, and perhaps, all the more so, Lynda, that there are now small and yet significant advances being made just south of here in
Zaporizhzhia region by Ukrainian forces in their counteroffensive.
The fighting is intense across many parts of the frontline, not least the north towards Kupiansk, where Russian forces have been added to try and
make a push up there. Here in the south, though, the fact that they are moving forward, something, at last, a glimmer of hope for Ukraine after
nearly 3 months of a counteroffensive that really hadn't gone very far.
The fighting down here extremely intense as Russian forces have also sent in reserves to try and counterattack and prevent Ukrainians from taking
more territory. They insists that they're advancing meter-by-meter slowly and painfully, and yet still, finally advancing. Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes, it is good to see that there is some progress in that counteroffensive. Melissa Bell for us from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, thank you
very much. And CNN's Christiane Amanpour is reporting from Ukraine all this week. Last hour, she spoke with Fiona Hill, who was the deputy assistant of
former President Donald Trump. She also served as a senior director in the U.S. National Security Council.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Let me start by asking you first. You know, it's not unusual to see attacks into Kyiv, not unusual
to see them intercepted, thanks to the Patriot missiles and others. But this massive attack into Russia is a first. How do you assess what's
FIONA HILL, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE & RUSSIA, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, look, I think, you know, from the Ukrainian point
of view and you're there on the ground in Kyiv, Christiane, and I'm sure will be talking to people about this. In part, it's for domestic audiences.
In Ukraine, and also in the audience of western allies who were standing by and supporting Ukraine to show that, you know, Ukraine has urgency in this
This is not just a one-sided conflict in which Russia was relentlessly attacking Ukrainian territory and trying to keep on to -- hold on to the
territory that is already taken. But Ukraine has some capability of reminding people in Russia that there is a war. And it is not without
consequences in Russia itself. I don't think that the Ukrainians have fully taken the conflict into Russia. There were also constraints around that in
part because of course, Ukraine is trying to make the case, that is, defending its own territory.
This is not a dispute with Russia over territory or an effort by Ukraine to expand its gains. This is Ukraine's effort to bring its territory back, but
by telling Russia and the Russian population that there costs to continuing this war. It's a signal to the Russian population, as long as it is to the
domestic population in Kyiv in Ukraine were large, that Ukraine has the ability to make its presence felt inside of Russia.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it's extraordinary and people here are all talking about it. This incredible range over -- apparently these drones, and that even
President Putin's own spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called a massive attack, of course, they frame it as terrorism. So, what do you think, knowing
obviously, the way they think, operate, et cetera. What do you think this is going to mean to President Putin, despite what you say is really for
domestic effect here in Ukraine. Do you think it will have any effect on -- you know, on the Kremlin and the leadership?
HILL: Well, look, I think one of the reasons that Ukrainians have been so careful about this is because, of course, a lot of these bombardments can
have the exact opposite effect of what you want to have. I mean, we see for example that Russia's bombardment of Ukraine has in fact strengthened the
resolve of Ukrainians. And you know, throughout history, we've seen that aerial bombardments very rarely have the effect that the aggressor wants it
to have, which is to, you know, break the spirits of the people who were under aerial attack.
And in the case of, again, Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow, it's meant more to signal that Ukraine can put certain -- basically, physical objects,
have some kind of jeopardy in Russia. But the -- you know, the risk is of course, that the Russians react to this. They rally around Putin and his
accusations -- and Peskov, other accusations of terrorism, and it has an unfortunate, unintended consequence of hardening the attitudes of the
I mean, basically, what the Ukrainians are trying to do with this, is to also encourage the idea of Russia eventually, engaging in some kind of
diplomacy down the line, by basically saying look, this war is a self- defeating exercise for Russia as well. I mean, I think you know, we have to watch this very carefully because, of course, Putin will try to play this
to his advantage.
And I think, you know, the Ukrainians themselves are trying to calibrate this accordingly. There are some downsides and upsides to doing, you know,
this kind of drone assault on Moscow, Peskov and on other cities within Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: That was our Christiane Amanpour speaking to Fiona Hill. Well, still to come tonight, Hurricane Idalia's powerful winds head inland after
pummeling the Florida coast. We'll have a live report. And later, cleanup is underway in Cuba after the island was hit by that hurricane when it was
still a tropical storm. We'll have a live report.
KINKADE (voice-over): Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
We're checking Hurricane Idalia as it makes its way across the state of Georgia where it's threatening millions of people with more flooding and
strong winds. Look at this new image from the International Space Station, showing the sheer magnitude of the storm as Idalia begins turning its wrath
on parts of the Eastern U.S. coastline.
It came ashore in Western Florida as a category 3 hurricane with powerful winds and a destructive storm surge. Idalia is the strongest hurricane to
make landfall in the so-called Big Bend region of Florida in at least 125 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE (voice-over): This is some of the damage left behind in the aftermath of Idalia. Rooftops ripped off, flooded streets and
neighborhoods, downed trees and power lines. Complete estimates are not in.
But Idalia could become another multibillion-dollar superstorm. I want to bring in CNN Ryan Young, following developments from Savannah, Georgia.
Good to have you with us, Ryan. We know the hurricane force, the winds and the rain are expected to come to Georgia soon. Looks like you already got
some of the rain headed your way.
What are you expecting there when the storm hits?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To be honest, so far, we've not really had a lot of the heavy rain. And the wind we are told we will get in the next
hour and half or so. We prepositioned ourselves to get ahead of the storm and some of our other crews stayed south.
YOUNG: I'll show you something. A lot of viewers have been to Savannah before and this is a big famous bridge. It stretches across Savannah and
the Savannah River. It is so majestic.
We were told around 2 o'clock our time here they closed the bridge and we watched emergency crews go across as they made sure it was clear. The
reason why is because of the heavy winds that will come through the area. They want to make sure everyone is safe.
On top of that this is the Savannah port, one of the busiest ports in America. That will shut down today. And as you look in this direction, you
can actually see the rain and some of the swells coming this direction.
That is something that has changed in the last half hour or so. Businesses are concerned about the heavy wind and rain. They started putting up
sandbags throughout the area, to make sure the water they do expect to come into the area doesn't flood some of the local businesses.
As you understand, this would have been a busy holiday weekend in the area. They were expecting so many people to come in from across the country and
the world to be here for this weekend. Now it will probably not happen with the airport slowing down operations and a lot of flights being canceled.
Even as we are talking to you right now, you can finally see Mother Nature decided to turn on the wetworks and hit me in the face with this water. But
it has been slowly coming and not a lot of power outages in the area so far.
KINKADE: Ryan, we appreciate you being there, getting soaked for us. Thank you very much. No doubt, we will check in soon.
I want to bring in our storm chaser, Brian Emfinger, joining us now from Keaton Beach, Florida.
Brian, good to have you with us. You are a three-time Emmy-winning storm chaser, really.
How does this compare to hurricanes you have covered in the past?
BRIAN EMFINGER, STORM CHASER: Certainly, there was potential for it to be very significant. But I think the main thing I'm coming away with is, when
I was at Keaton Beach, the residents were so concerned about the forecasts, being a 10 foot plus storm surge.
And they got maybe half of that. They could handle it. There was some wind damage, one home had the roof completely removed but overall it could have
been worse. We always say that.
But you know, I've covered a lot of hurricanes and this was one of the few times where I think everybody in that community evacuated. They were very
concerned about the potential for some serious destruction there.
KINKADE: Exactly. We're just looking at some of your vision, some of your video of the storm surge. It looked quite incredible. The winds obviously
very strong. Describe for us what you saw.
EMFINGER: Yes, so, the first half of the eye, the winds were all offshore. They were very strong but that pushed the water actually away from the
shore. The water level was very low.
But it was causing, there was a lot of wind gusting about 100 miles an hour. That is when all of the wind damage occurred. Then the eye came over;
it was completely calm, no wind to all, actually flew the drone. Some of the shots that I got were flying the drone in the eye.
In the second half of the eyewall, it was onshore flow. That is what pushed all of the water that had been pushed away from the shore, pushed it on
very rapidly. In just a matter of minutes, it went from a calm eye to strong 75 mile an hour winds, pushing water under homes.
Most of the homes there are on stilts. So it really did not cause too much destruction with the storm surge.
KINKADE: We are looking at one of your shots. Looks like taken by a drone, of a house that seemingly, was ripped apart by these winds. Just describe
EMFINGER: Yes, that house was on the backside. There was a little bit of water behind it. Most likely, as the wind was coming across that body of
water, it accelerated. There really wasn't a whole lot that was as bad as that house, maybe just had a weak roof or something like that.
There was a lot of homes that had roof damage. They might have had holes in the roof or shingles and things like that. But that was by far the worst
home as far as damage goes.
Most people are going to come back home and they were already streaming in when I left a few minutes ago. The storm surge just finally starting going
away so you can actually travel around. They will find their homes probably a lot better than they expected when they left them.
KINKADE: That is good news. It really is incredible seeing the home ripped apart, next to home that is standing seemingly without any damage
whatsoever. You have to wonder how the other home was built. Brian Emfinger, good to have you with us. Thank you for sharing that incredible
Now to Cuba, the cleanup is underway after Hurricane Idalia tore through the island yesterday. It was obviously a tropical storm when it hit there.
KINKADE: Idalia downed trees and power lines as it crossed over the western part of the country. Electricity was knocked out for thousands of people in
the area. Cuba also had to deal with heavy wind and rain. Idalia reached Cuba late Monday before heading into the Gulf toward Florida.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Cuba, where the cleanup is underway.
We still see there is still a lot of flooding in the region. Many without power in the west of the country. Talk to us about cleanup efforts
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that's where I am right now, Lynda, the town still cut in half by the floodwaters. Residents say, if I'd been
here at the height of the hurricane, I would be underwater. That is how much these floodwaters have receded.
Just look over here. You can still see some houses are still cut off. This would be a field for growing rice and they are still under several feet of
water. Those homes are where people had to be rescued. During the storm, rescue workers coming in boats because dozens of people were trapped in
They were in danger of being swept away by the floodwaters, which are still receding here, 12, 20 hours since the storm really left this part of Cuba.
It's much still underwater just, tells a story because people on this island do not have resources as many other countries.
If your house gets absolutely soaked like it is now, you lose your house. If you lose belongings, it is really very difficult for recovery. So people
here are beginning to clean up. We see rescue workers still out doing rounds.
We've seen other workers trying to reestablish electrical connections. Phones have been going in and out. But the sun is out and it's a beautiful
day. People are trying to do pickup work, of course, knowing that hurricane season is far from over.
KINKADE: And, of course, this is the same area in Cuba that was hit by a hurricane less than a year ago.
Had most people fully recovered from that storm, when this one hit?
OPPMANN: I'm in touch with people covering the storm. And they are still having a tough time, getting back to where people have electricity every
day, they have drinking water. It still needs to be trucked into certain places here.
To have another storm to come so soon after, even though it didn't cause the same devastation that Ian did, it hit pretty hard. And it's really for
the people behind me, whose homes were underwater for hours.
That is where you basically lost everything. And again for Cubans, it is so hard. You need relatives to bring those items again. You just don't find
these in stores here so when you lose something, perhaps in another part of the world, you just get on Amazon or go to the store.
But here it's a deeper loss. Yes, no injuries here, no reported lost lives. But for many, the economic loss is as great as anywhere else.
KINKADE: We wish them all the best as this cleanup gets well underway. Patrick, thank you so much.
Still to come tonight, the U.S. Commerce Secretary wraps up a trip to China. Her take on U.S.-Chinese relations after saying some Americans found
KINKADE: -- expected to talk about Hurricane Idalia, the damage that was caused and the sort of funding that might be needed in the recovery from
this storm. This storm hit the U.S. coast of Florida, an area that had not seen a hurricane like this in over 125 years.
Right now, it's moving up the coast, heading toward Georgia. We bring you those remarks from the U.S. president when it happens.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- this morning as a category 3 hurricane. And it's moved over land and has now shifted to a
BIDEN: But it is still very dangerous with winds up to 75 miles an hour. And the impacts of this storm are being felt throughout the Southeast even
as it moves up the eastern coast of the U.S., affecting Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
And we have to remain vigilant and there is much more to do. I just came from the Oval Office, where I met with the FEMA administrator, who's
standing to my left here, and our federal response for folks.
And early Monday morning, long before the storm made landfall, I spoke with governor Ron DeSantis and approved an early request for an emergency
declaration to enable him to have the full support ahead of time to protect the people's lives in the state of Florida.
And we surged personnel to Florida to help the state move people quickly to safety and out of the danger zone and to help the governor and his team to
the greatest degree possible in advance of the hurricane's arrival.
I directed the FEMA to redeploy resources, including up to 1,500 personnel and 900 Coast Guard personnel throughout the Southeast. I directed
Administrator Criswell to stay in close touch with the governor. She was with me when I was speaking to him as well.
And I guess maybe he is tired of hearing both of us but he seems like he welcomed it. As a matter of fact, I have asked that she get on a plane and
leave for Florida this afternoon.
She will meet with governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow and begin helping conducting a federal assessment at my direction. Federal teams on the
ground will continue to work with the first responders in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, to get people to safety.
You've all been reporting this; you've seen it on television. There are number rescues already taking place. As I walked out of my office a moment
ago, to begin to recover from the impacts of the storm.
I let each governor -- I spoke with NOAA, if there's anything, anything the states need right now, I'm ready to mobilize the support that they need.
I don't think anyone can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore. Just look around, historic floods, I mean, historic floods; more intense
droughts, extreme heat. Significant wildfires have caused significant damage like we've never seen before not only for the Hawaiian islands and
the United States but in Canada and other parts of the world.
We've never seen this much fire. And while we are dealing with the latest extreme weather event, I am remain laser focused on recovering and
rebuilding efforts in Maui. We were out there and many of you were there as well. It is devastating what happened there.
When I took office, I directed my team to raise our game in how we lead and coordinate our responses to natural disasters. And because I've been around
a while and I know how these functioned, to ensure we met the people where they are, when they need our help the most.
Because of the devastation of wildfires from California to New Mexico, Oregon, Washington state, Idaho and Louisiana, we have learned a heck of a
lot. A lot of damage in meantime.
KINKADE (voice-over): You've just been listening to U.S. President Biden, speaking at the White House. He was addressing the concerns around
Hurricane Idalia. He said he's reached out to all of the states and has offered federal help.
He said later today, the head of FEMA will head to Florida to help with recovery efforts there.
KINKADE: Tomorrow, will meet with the governor of Florida. He also said if anyone doesn't think climate change is real, it is. He said you only have
to look at the record floods, the record drought and the record fires we are seeing right now around the world.
He was just talking about Maui at the end and the fires. The federal government is pledging $95 million to help rebuild the electrical system
there. We will have more on the developments and more on where Hurricane Idalia is moving next, after a short break. Stay with us, you are watching
KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
The U.S. president has just commented on Hurricane Idalia, now hammering south Georgia with strong wind and heavy rains. Hundreds of thousands of
people are currently without power in Georgia and Florida after Idalia made landfall in Florida's Big Bend area as a category 3 hurricane.
This is the strongest storm to slam that particular region in at least 125 years. Idalia will continue to pound Georgia into the evening before moving
toward South Carolina. Mr. Biden is calling for vigilance, across the Southeast.
Australia is now set for an historic referendum on October 14. Voters will decide whether to change the constitution to recognize the nation's
Indigenous Australians. Supporters say a yes vote would give them a seat at the table advising the government and laws that affect First Nations
people. Olivia Caisley with Sky News Australia has more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A referendum day will be the 14th of October.
OLIVIA CAISLEY, SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA (voice-over): A jumpstart to the referendum campaign in Adelaide, the place of the Red Kangaroo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's that that kangaroo never goes backwards, only forwards.
CAISLEY (voice-over): Australians will soon decide whether to take the constitutional leap and recognize Indigenous Australians in the nation's
birth certificate and establish a voice advisory body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A once in a generation chance to bring our country together. And to change it for the better. No more waste, better results
where they are needed.
CAISLEY (voice-over): The Yes Campaign mobilizing an army of over 30,000 volunteers, driven by guest appearances from across the political divide,
including the Greens leader and former Labor leader, Bill Shorten, side-by- side in Nobel (ph).
Albanese government ministers and tales (ph) together on Perth's popular Cottesloe Beach. And senators from across the aisle, amassing together in
the nation's capital, setting up a David and Goliath battle between the Yes and No camps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all elbow. He the one who started this. And if he thinks that the voices are the answer to fixing everything, this magic
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to suggest that we have not had a voice is completely and utterly misleading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says that all the detail would be provided after the vote takes place. If you don't know, vote no because this is the biggest
change to our constitution in our country's history.
CAISLEY (voice-over): The Yes campaign has won over one-time voice opponent former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: An assembly of the kind that is proposed, was proposed, would be, in effect, a third chamber of
I've reflected very long and hard over it. It will not be a third chamber of parliament but it will have enormous influence. We should not kid
CAISLEY: Yes campaigners hope their voices will be the loudest. But they will have to shout louder, according to the latest polls. To succeed, they
have to convince the majority of Australians as well as at least four of the six states.
CAISLEY: With New South Wales and Victoria leaning toward Yes, Queensland and WA leaning toward No, Tasmania and South Australia are shaping up to be
the key battlegrounds.
PETER MALINAUSKAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA PREMIER: If our great-grandparents can say yes to waves of migration, if our grandparents can say yes in 1967,
then this generation is capable of saying yes to an advisory committee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Canberra is important, we are not a state. So obviously, we do not count on that test.
CAISLEY (voice-over): The prime minister insists, this is a once in a generation opportunity for voters, which should not be wasted.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: And do not close the door on the next generation of Indigenous Australians. Vote yes.
CAISLEY (voice-over): Olivia Caisley, Sky News, Canberra.
KINKADE: Thank you for joining us tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade, stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.