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Hurricane Dean Churning in Caribbean; Identical Quadruplets Born; Chopper Crew Saves Couple That Fell
Aired August 20, 2007 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Hurricane Dean's Caribbean nightmare -- pounding Jamaica, barreling toward Mexico. And it could blow up into a Category 5, the strongest, today.
Hang on for dear life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was really tired at the time and she had just kind of given out.
CHETRY: Escaping floodwaters in Oklahoma more than once. We're live with the rescued and those who saved their lives.
Plus, a billowing fire on a jet overnight. The incredible pictures and tales of survival on this AMERICAN MORNING.
CHETRY: And welcome.
You know, when you look at the pictures, you think, how could anyone have survived that? But, really unbelievable turn of events.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: More news to come.
CHETRY: Yes, we'll let you know.
But meanwhile, it's Monday, August 20th. Thanks for being with us.
I'm Kiran Chetry.
SANCHEZ: And I'm Rick Sanchez, sitting in for John Roberts.
Almost a Category 5 hurricane going through the Caribbean. Just think about that for a minute.
CHETRY: Right. Gaining strength.
We're talking about Hurricane Dean. It already did some damage on Jamaica, ripping trees from their roofs, tearing off rooftops, and triggering a life-threatening mudslide on the island of Jamaica. Reports of more than one mudslide, in fact, on the island. Well, now Hurricane Dean is on the move. After sideswiping Jamaica with intense winds and at least a foot of rain, as well as the storm surge overnight, it battered Jamaica's southern shores.
Well, now Dean is continuing to move. It's still a major Category 4 storm. That means winds up to 150 miles an hour. It's stronger than Katrina when it made landfall, and Dean could become a Category 5, the most intense storm there is, as it pushes toward one of the hottest spots for tourism in the world, Cancun, Mexico.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know, weather is really in the news today. Not just there in the Caribbean, but we're also watching extreme weather in the states as well.
Remember Erin? That was the hurricane/tropical storm that came through last week. Well, dramatic flooding and rescues are taking place in Oklahoma.
Watch this. A woman plunges back into the floodwaters right after she had been pulled out of the water. She fell from that rescue helicopter. All this the result of Tropical Storm Erin's last stand. That's what it's being called.
It wasn't a perfect save, but at least, you know what? It worked out in the end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't do this very often. So I'm sure it was a learning experience for them. But, you know, once they got the lady, the first person being rescued, up on the skid where she could sit on the skid, then that was the way to transport them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Yes, which, by the way, is a makeshift way of doing that. See, when you watch rescue helicopters by the Coast Guard, they actually have a harness that pulls them up. Here, they're just hanging on to the skid. That's why id didn't work effectively.
How is everybody doing? Well, in just a couple of minutes, we're going to be talking to the chopper team and some of the people who were saved in that situation as well.
Isn't that amazing, Kiran?
CHETRY: It really is when you see it. Boy, we're going to hear their survival story today.
And we start once again with Hurricane Dean. We have reporters covering every angle of this story.
Susan Candiotti is in Montego Bay, Jamaica, checking out the damage after the storm passed through there. We have Rob Marciano in Cancun, Mexico. They're bracing for the storm that could reach Category 5 strength. And our Reynolds Wolf is tracking all of it from the CNN weather center.
But we start our coverage with Susan in Jamaica.
Do they have more of an idea this morning, Susan, about the toll that Dean took on the nation?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, only because the sun is just now coming up, they really don't, because at last check, it was very difficult to get information for those people whose job it is to find out what's going on, because the conditions had been, Kiran, far too dangerous for them to go out. Although, get this. Just a little while ago, before we went on -- and we just lost it -- a rainbow over my shoulder, perhaps could be -- we hope, wouldn't that be nice to say, an indication that Jamaica may have escaped the worst possible damage?
So far, we can tell you, no deaths have been reported. And, of course, that is most important and excellent news for everybody here.
We can tell you that in Montego Bay, on the north end of the island, we didn't get very much rain. We got strong winds and gusts of up to Category 1-force strength, which would be around 95 miles per hour overnight. But from what we can see from our vantage point here, not much street flooding. They always get it, but as the daylight comes up and we go out on the streets, we will be able to tell you more.
However, Kingston, on the south and eastern end of the island, really got a pounding. People there were describing it as absolutely scary, fiercest of winds.
They have had reports of mudslides, they have had reports of roofs being blown off of both businesses and homes, and an accumulation of maybe up to 20 inches of rain, a storm surge of nine feet. So that is where much of the concern is on the south end of the island.
We'll be finding out more as teams get out there and find out exactly what kind of damage there is -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Thank you so much.
Susan Candiotti for us in Jamaica.
Well, the final destination for the storm seems to be Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It may be a Category 5 monster when it gets there.
CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano is standing by live in Cancun, Mexico, where they are bracing for this storm.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Kiran.
You know, a Category 5 storm, that is a scary proposition, no doubt about that. And folks here on the Yucatan Peninsula have been preparing much like we would in the states, preparing for the worst -- boarding up.
They're trying move away from the coastline. They're trying to get tourists out of here. And those that are sticking around have gone to the supermarkets, they have loaded up, they have loaded their cars as well.
This area, one of the few places in the world that have seen a Cat 5 hurricane make landfall. Hurricane Gilbert back in 1988. Miami, Hurricane Andrew, just south of Miami back in '92. So, there's only a few spots in the world.
It doesn't mean they're used to it by any stretch. As a matter of fact, something that probably did a little bit more damage was back in 2005, Hurricane Wilma, which just exploded out there in the Caribbean, dropped to an immense pressure, record-breaking pressure, and then just sat off the coastline and raked it for 26 hours, did all sorts of damage. Over 90 percent of the infrastructure, at least tourism infrastructure, was damaged.
All right. Along this beach you can see the tide is already starting to come in. It's right up to my feet here.
There's a lot of spots along Cancun and the Yucatan where the beach was wiped out by Hurricane Wilma. They try to restore it, but the water does what it wants to do. And in many cases, even in a normal high tide, which is pretty much where we are right now, the water comes up to the streets, right up to the balconies of these hotels.
So, with the storm surge coming in with this system, even though it looks like the direct hit will be a little farther to the south, we're going to get a tremendous amount of storm surge and a tremendous amount of wind with this as it comes onshore. So, there will be serious damage in the hotel zone here in Cancun. With this storm being a Cat 4 or 5, it doesn't really matter. It's still going to be a big one when it comes in later on tonight, tomorrow morning.
Kiran, back to you.
CHETRY: All right.
Rob Marciano in Cancun.
Well, we go now to meteorologist Reynolds Wolf in the CNN weather center. How much of a difference would a 4 versus a 5 make as we're looking at this Dean getting ready to hit the Yucatan Peninsula?
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you'd be dealing with stronger winds, you'd be dealing with a bigger storm surge and, at the same time, possibly some heavier rainfall.
Kiran, let's go right to the computer and just show you the size of the storm, which is right on the cusp of going from a Category 4 to a Category 5 and is expected to strengthen to that because it's going to be entering an area where you have minimal shear and very, very warm ocean water. Perfect opportunity for the storm to strengthen, and that's what we're forecasting.
Also, the sheer size of this storm. If you include not just the core, but also the outflow, this storm is bigger than the state of Texas as it rolls its way to the West. It is expected, indeed, to become a powerhouse, making landfall -- at least the latest forecast has it making landfall as a Category 5 storm north of Honduras, as well as the Belize-Mexico border, and south of Cancun, as well as Cozumel. That is at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, with winds of 160 miles per hour.
Then the storm by 2:00 p.m. Tuesday should make its way back into north of Campeche and into parts of the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 1, losing strength because it's going to be away from the water. And then by the time we get to 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 miles an hour.
So we're talking about a very, very large storm. Again, you've got to look at that cone of probability. There is the chance the storm could move a bit farther to the north.
It' is not likely, but it is possible this storm could miss the Yucatan altogether and veer into the Gulf of Mexico. Or move farther south into Honduras.
It's something we're going to have to watch very, very carefully.
Let's send it back to you -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Reynolds Wolf, thank you -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: All right. Let's go to the big wall, because a couple other stories that we want to show you.
What we're going to see here is Los Padres National Forest, and you're going to see some of the fires they're dealing with there. This is obviously in southern California.
Fire crews say a growing wildfire at Los Padres is now one of the largest in the state's recorded history, in fact. It started on the 4th of July. It's now burned an area equivalent, they say, to about -- about five boroughs of New York City. Wilderness wiped out at the rate of a thousand acres an hour. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also has declared a state of emergency for parts of Ventura County.
Oh, by the way, speaking of heat in different places like in California, now I want to show you this. It's a deadly heat wave that's going through parts of the southeast and the Midwest. Two more heat-related deaths reported in Memphis over the weekend. At least 49 people have been killed after 10 straight days of triple-digit temperatures in the region. Amazing.
In one breath we're talking about hurricanes and water. In another breath, we're talking about the heat and the problems with the dry air. Also, some of the families of those miners in Utah are outraged this morning. You probably heard the news that they said it's just too dangerous to send people down there. So they're going to suspend the effort.
Those six trapped miners may end up staying there. They may never be found. That's what the mine owners announced with government officials.
They say they're giving up on the rescue effort, leaving the men for dead. A mine owner told reporters yesterday that a fourth drilled hole showed that the air quality would most likely not sustain life. So even if they were down there, they wouldn't be able to survive.
Well, when family members heard about that, they're starting to demand that rescuers drill another hole, one large enough to be able to send a rescue capsule down into the mine like Quecreek in Pennsylvania. Underground tunneling was stopped after three rescuers were killed, as you'll recall, last Thursday.
Well, the new semester is just getting under way. Already, they're dealing with a crisis at Virginia Tech.
This is interestingly ironic story. Twenty-three people, most of them V. Tech students, hospitalized this morning after a carbon monoxide leak at an off-campus apartment building.
This, just as students were coming back after 32 were killed there last year. The students are said to be in critical condition after this.
Fire officials say a water heater malfunctioned and began filling the building with the deadly odorless gas. It happened the same day that the memorial was dedicated to those killed in last year's campus massacre -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, that makes it even more unbelievable, the timing of that situation.
Well, it's time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new this morning.
Investors still catching their breath from last week's wild ride.
Ali Velshi is here with a look at what we can expect today.
How are futures looking, Ali?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Future are looking good, actually, Kiran. The issue today, Japanese markets recovered overnight. You know, the U.S. markets did really well on Friday, although even after that rally on Friday, let's look at what they did for the week. The U.S. markets were still down for the week. But just a percent, a little over a percent on the Dow, a little more on the Nasdaq, and half a percent on the S&P 500.
The thing to remember is that most Americans invest in mutual funds, Kiran. And I looked at the top 10 mutual funds in the United States. In other words, the ones that are most widely held by Americans. And for 52 weeks, for a real year, not the year-to-date, those mutual funds are up better than 10 percent on average.
Take a look at where we are on markets in the United States year- to-date, however. It looks better than it's seen for the last little while.
The Dow is actually up about four percent, the S&P is up, the Nasdaq is up. So, it actually hasn't been that bad a year for investors.
It's August. August is supposed to be the slowest month of the year. So, after Labor Day, we'll start to see what direction this market is really going in. On September 19th, about a month from now, the Fed may cut interest rates for everybody.
So, for now, we're looking at a good start to the trading day -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Ali Velshi, sounds great. We'll check in with you a little later. Thanks.
CHETRY: Well, turning now to a rare medical event, identical quadruplets. The chances of that, one in 13 million. And they were conceived without fertility drugs.
Elizabeth Cohen is watching this one.
First of all, how are the little girls doing? Four little girls? How are they doing this morning?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Four little girls, and we are told, Kiran, that they are doing terrific. They were actually born at pretty good weights considering that there were four of them and they were nine weeks early.
They weighed between 2 pounds and 1 ounce -- that was the smallest -- and 2 pounds, 15 ounces. Those weights are pretty good. Again, considering nine weeks early and that there were four of them.
What's amazing, Kiran, they never need to go on ventilators. None of them did. That's really pretty incredible.
Doctors say long term, they expect them to be fine. And their names, by the way -- this is quite cute -- are Autumn, Brook, Calissa and Dahlia. You will notice, A, B, C, D. They were named alphabetically in the order in which they were born, by Caesarian section -- Kiran.
CHETRY: That is very cute.
Now, we talked about how rare this is, one in 13 million. Is the family wondering, how the heck did this happen to us?
COHEN: I am sure they are, because, incredibly, this mother never took fertility drugs. Can you imagine? You just get pregnant the natural way and you end up with not just quads, but identical quads?
What happens here is that the fertilized egg just kept splitting. That's how you get identical twins, and with more splitting you get quadruplets. So it was just natural. But again, one in 13 million.
CHETRY: And how much weight did she gain during her pregnancy?
COHEN: You know, a lot of women are going to be amazed at this. She only gained 35 pounds and she was pregnant with four. Lots of women gain more than that and they are only pregnant with one. But doctors say that actually was perfectly fine. And as I said, her babies were actually a pretty good size considering their gestational age and the fact that there were four of them.
CHETRY: Right. Well, she went nine weeks early. You can pack on a lot of pounds those last nine weeks.
COHEN: That's right. Maybe that's why it wasn't very much.
CHETRY: Elizabeth, thanks so much.
SANCHEZ: The big story we're following for you right now obviously is Hurricane Dean, and here's why it's significant. We're expecting an advisory here at the bottom of the hour, sometime within the next half hour to 40 minutes.
The folks down at the National Hurricane Center are going to be telling us if this thing is actually now a Category 5 storm, as opposed to a Category 4. That's important.
So we'll have that for you as soon as it happens. We'll also be checking with our team of correspondents all along the Caribbean. We'll have it right here.
Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.
SANCHEZ: And good morning, everyone. I'm Rick Sanchez. Welcome back to the most news in the morning.
I want to show you something. These are amazing pictures. You see that right there? Take a look. I mean, that's a China Air jetliner engulfed in flames. As we also say in this business, fully engulfed in flames.
The reason you can somewhat smirk or smile about this is every single one of the 165 passengers and the crew that was on board this China Airlines plane -- I know it's amazing when you hear me say this -- every single one of them was able to get off this plane in Okinawa, Japan.
This is a 737. It's a Boeing. It just arrived on a flight from Taiwan, incidentally.
Officials say the plane was already being evacuated when suddenly the left engine exploded into a ball of fire itself. That made things worse and that's what led to this situation.
In fact, do we have a picture? Look what it looks like after. All right?
You'll see it now. The fire is gone. I mean, it looks like just a heap of nothing. The plane basically a pile of burned-out twisted wreckage.
Again, the good news is everybody was able to get out. Amazingly, Kiran.
CHETRY: Yes, especially when you see the pictures that everyone is OK this morning.
Well, speaking of amazing video, some absolutely amazing video of helicopter rescues taking place in Oklahoma, an area just ravaged by floods. Watch this.
This is a woman being rescued. She loses her grip, trying to hang on, falls back into the water before the helicopter eventually swings back around and safely brings her to higher ground.
The virtually identical thing happened to her partner who was with her. Their truck had submerged in the water.
So, how did this amazing rescue come about?
Here from Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Bernice and Leroy Krittenbrink.
You guys are all dried off this morning, looking no worse for the wear. I bet you're very thankful, as well as the person who rescued you, fire chief Randy Poindexter (ph).
You're the one who actually hung out the window of the chopper to bravely rescue the two of them. Thanks to all of you for being with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. BERNICE KRITTENBRINK, RESCUED: You're welcome.
CHETRY: Let me start with you, Bernice.
Your truck was swept off of a bridge. I mean, the amount of rain that came down and came down so quickly really caused a lot of problems in the area. You knew you were submerging.
What was going through your head at the time?
B. KRITTENBRINK: Well, we were just thinking about how quickly we were moving with the water, and we were trying to keep posts and such in sight to see whether it was rising. And just hoping that there was going to be a rescue. And we were doing some praying.
CHETRY: And Leroy, we saw how difficult it was to get a grip on that helicopter. In fact, you slipped once, as did Bernice.
What was that like?
LEROY KRITTENBRINK, RESCUED: Boy, it wasn't good.
CHETRY: I imagine it wasn't.
L. KRITTENBRINK: I couldn't get my hands around the pipe or the skid on the helicopter and hang on. So Randy here grabbed me by the arm and pulled me up high enough to where I could get my arms locked around that skid. And that took me up.
CHETRY: Yes. Speaking of that, Chief Randy Poindexter (ph), did you guys sort of throw convention out the window and do whatever you needed to do, or are you trained specifically to rescue people in this manner?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I don't know how we would prepare ourselves to rescue people and train to rescue people in that circumstance. We had to get them out of the water. We did it the best way we knew how. And that's how we ended up getting them out.
CHETRY: I mean, we even see your partner going in there and trying to grab -- trying to offer a hand as well. How difficult was it to pull off that rescue?
Those pilots, without their expertise in flying, I don't know how we would of done it. They got me down there perfect where I could get on to Leroy and Bernice and get them both up and out of the water, and I'll tell you, hats off to those guys. They're wonderful.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, they're good people. And all I did, I had an easy ride. I sat on the skid and picked them up and got them out of the water.
CHETRY: Oh, you're downplaying it. That looked so harrowing, so scary. And we see the pilot. He has one hand the entire time and flying the chopper. Bernice, what was it like when you started rising up? I mean, the first time you fell you were pretty close to the water again, but then you started going up a little more. Were you afraid that you might fall again?
B. KRITTENBRINK: No. Not so -- for one thing, at that point, your adrenaline is flowing so. And you don't have too much time to be afraid. You just want to hang on.
And Randy had a hold of me by then. And I was able to sit on the skid, and they took me to high ground. And like he said, had it not been for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, with it flying the helicopters and with him on the skid to pull us in, it could have been a really different situation.
CHETRY: Yes, absolutely. And we've seen the toll in Minnesota. Six people killed in flooding. Similar situations when the vehicle just gets submerged in water and just washes away.
Leroy, how are you guys feeling this morning?
L. KRITTENBRINK: How am I feeling? Pretty good. A little bit sore. But I'm going to make it.
CHETRY: And Bernice, did you get a chance to thank everyone who helped to assist in your rescue?
B. KRITTENBRINK: We've gotten a chance this morning, that we've seen the pilots and this was the first time we've seen Randy, because they have worked all day yesterday.
CHETRY: And what did you say to Randy?
B. KRITTENBRINK: "Thank you." Gave him a big hug.
CHETRY: Well, hats off to you, Randy, because you really did. I mean, you were out there saving lives yesterday, risking your own in the process. And the video is just unbelievable when you see them drop back down and you guys just kept going and you ended up saving several lives yesterday.
Well, anyway, thanks to all of you for joining us and take care.
B. KRITTENBRINK: Thank you.
L. KRITTENBRINK: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: I like Leroy. He's a good guy. "Yes, I'm fine. A little sore." No worse for the wear.
CHETRY: You know, they're understating the situation. I mean, Randy said, "All I did was just hold on for the ride." No, he saved some lives this morning.
SANCHEZ: A little bit of a fall.
All right. Your "Quick Hits" now. Let's go through these for you.
Homeowners in Indiana fed up with rising property taxes, so they held a modern-day version of the Boston Tea Party this weekend, throwing their property assessments right into a so-called tea bag and chucking it into the water. There it goes. Bang!
Also, this next one is just unbelievable.
This is a man in Florida. He gets a rocket launcher and turns it into police. In return, they give him a free pair of sneakers, no questions asked.
What? That story is coming up in just a little bit. We will explain it, folks. Stay with us.
CHETRY: All right. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.
Police in Orlando, Florida, got a bit more than they bargained for. It was a gun buyback program. You turn in your guns, you get a nice pair of sneakers.
Well, one guy turned in a surface-to-air missile launcher. The programmed promised free sneakers to anyone turning in a gun. I guess they should have extended that to weapons in general. And also, promised no questioned asked. So, the man with the launcher was not identified, but he did get a size 3 Reeboks for his daughter.
SANCHEZ: The man with a launcher. Brings in a bazooka. Here you go.
CHETRY: You know they got a little more than they bargained for. But hey, the rocket launcher is off the streets today.
SANCHEZ: Proving once again that sometimes things are stranger than strange.
Well, you can't make it up, but here's a story coming up that you can't miss. We have declared this week "College Week" on AMERICAN MORNING. The fall semester is getting started.
CHETRY: Everyone is going back to school early.
SANCHEZ: Wow. Remember those days?
Back on campus at Virginia Tech, in fact. Now, what has changed? What are students facing? How is everyone coping?
This is important. Remember, they lost 32 of their classmates last year. So...
CHETRY: We're going to check in with them.
And we'll have all eyes on Hurricane Dean as well when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.
CHETRY: And welcome back. It is Monday, August 20th. I'm Kiran Chetry. And that big, big red ball you see on your screen is Hurricane Dean, as it passes Jamaica and moves toward Cozumel as well as Cancun today.
SANCHEZ: Yes. I'm Rick Sanchez. You see it was passing Jamaica right there. And you see as you watch the loop, you see the outer bands that are striking that area around Jamaica there? That is what they are trying to get a sense of, what actually it did today, what kind of damage it did. And by the way, it's now heading for the Cayman Islands if not already there. See, Cayman is right there going just below that and then it continues on to Cancun, Mexico. Again.
CHETRY: Yes. A big mess of storm system making its way there. And CNN Is your hurricane headquarters. We're tracking Dean, delivering a blow to the Cayman Islands, as Rick just said. Right now it's on a collision with Mexico. We have team coverage. We have Rob Marciano who is live in Cancun, Reynolds Wolf is at the CNN weather center as well.
We begin with Rob in Mexico, where a lot of tourists, popular, popular destination for tourists around the world. They are trying to get out. Are they still able to at this point, Rob?
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: At this point, they are still able to. Just not sure when they're going to close in that airport. But I can tell you when we flew in yesterday, the planes were rather empty flying in but they needed to get those planes here so that they can get people out.
And talking to some of the people who work at the airlines, they were flying in some cases a few extra planes in to try to get those tourists out of here. Heavily populated as far as tourists go in Cancun. If you've never been here, I mean, it's miles and miles of hotels that are right along the beach.
And in some cases like the beach we're at here, there's not a lot of beach between the water and the parking lot or the water and the hotel and a pool or the water in my feet in this case. This is just a normal high tide right now.
And later on tonight and tomorrow morning when we get a bit of a surge with this and we get winds potentially cranking up over a hundred miles an hour, we're going to get a whole lot more water here and we're probably going to see a whole lot of damage which is what they saw back in 2005.
Hurricane Wilma came through this area. It was a Cat. 5 but it spun just off the coast line here and battered it for over 24 hours and they sustained a tremendous amount of damage. They have come back quite a bit since then. Amazing the amount of money that the Mexican government pours into this area because it's of so heavily touristed.
But it looks like they are going to get hit pretty hard again. Even if the track goes south of here we're going to be on the northern side, the right side, the dirty side, the stronger part of this system and with hurricane winds at this point extending up to 60 miles from the center and possibly more than that as it strengthens, no matter where this thing goes on the Yucatan, Cancun, for sure, is going to be hard-hit -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Rob Marciano in Cancun, Mexico. We will check in with you throughout the morning. Thanks so much. Right now we are going to go to meteorologist Reynolds Wolf, he is tracking a storm from the CNN weather center.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi there, Kiran. It's pretty interesting what we see with Dean just over the last hour or so. In fact, as we take a look at it, just let's -- if we can, let's pull this thing up in full so you can get a good shot at it. Take a look at the last couple of frames. And you'll notice the eyewall dead in the center of this storm actually beginning to break down a little bit and it looks as though it is starting to try to reform a little bit farther off towards the west.
Very interesting cycle to see so winds may actually weaken just a little bit. A little bit of a hiccup if you will before it begins to power up. And we are expecting this storm to continue overall to strengthen before it makes its way onshore into the Yucatan.
Right now it's just the south of the Cayman Islands. It is delivering not only heavy surf and heavy rainfall to the Caymans, but also winds, tropical storm force winds for the island. I would imagine that would occur for the next 12 hours or so.
OK. We know where the storm is, let's talk about where it is headed. This is the latest projected path from the National Hurricane Center that brings the storm north of the Honduras, south of Cancun and Cozumel. As a Category 5 storm with winds sustained of 160 miles per hour. Again, a Category 5. You can't get any stronger than that. It should make landfall right around 2:00 in the morning.
Then the storm is expected to cross the Yucatan as it pops over the other side into the Bay of Campeche, it will weaken. It will weaken to a Category 1 with winds 85 miles per hour. That will be 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. Watch the time frame. Let's fast forward again to 2:00 a.m. Wednesday. Winds around 105 miles an hour moving out into the Gulf once again and then expected to be just near Tampico, Mexico, as we make our way into the early morning hours. And still, remember, Rick, a lot can happen. The storm can move a little bit more to the north, more to the south. These storms do wobble quite a bit, so we are just going to watch it for you carefully and bring you the latest. As it comes out, we will deliver it to you. Back to you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: You know, there is something else that I think is really significant just from experiences in the past covering these things, especially when you're talking about a Cat. 4 or a Cat. 5. On top.
And, Kelly, if you could put the loop up once again. I want to talk a little bit just about that area and the outer bands there. That area on the top of that very small concentric cone you see in the middle. Not only are those whipping winds of up to 140, 150 miles an hour, but there's actually even tornadoes inside there, correct?
WOLF: Rick, that's possible. Any time you have any of these systems, you can have some weak tornadoes that do tend to spin off. And you've also brought up a very good point that the top half of this storm, the upper left, the upper right quadrant is really the strongest area of the storm. That's where you have the real weight of the winds, of the waves, of the heavy rainfall.
And I would expect as this continues to strengthen, again, as we mentioned, expected to be a Cat. 5 when it makes landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula, it should be at its peak strength with winds 160 miles an hour, a true Cat. 5 storm.
SANCHEZ: Yes. We will be waiting for that advisory. Apparently something is coming out of the National Hurricane Center some time around 8:00. And we'll get more information to you.
We're also waiting on getting some of the fresh pictures out of Jamaica. Because remember, this went through there overnight. They still haven't been able to go to those areas and actually record what happened. As soon as we get that in we are going to be sharing it with you. So stay with us here this morning on AMERICAN MORNING.
Also, this amazing story of survival. Watch these pictures. Take a look at this. This is a China airliner, it's 737 that explodes into a ball of flames, happened at an airport in Okinawa, Japan. Amazingly all 165 passengers and crew on board managed to escape. Kyung Lah is joining us now this morning from Tokyo with more on this.
When you look at these pictures, it's hard to imagine how anybody was able to get out. Can you explain to us how they were able to get out?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing. A lot of luck is what we are hearing from the Japanese officials, Rick. What the pictures also don't quite tell you is what a close call it was for the people aboard this plane. Minutes before the plane exploded into a fireball, we saw people sliding down emergency chutes. So a very close call for the 165 people aboard that plane. As you say, simply extraordinary. China Airlines, 120 -- Flight 120 took off from Taiwan's International Airport this morning and it didn't appear that there was going to be any sort of trouble. It appeared to land safely in Okinawa but as it was taxiing toward the educates, according to China Airlines, some of the ground crews saw fire shooting from a part of the plane.
Now China airlines says that it is possible that the plane may have skidded on the tarmac and that is what may have started that fire. Well, what the witnesses have been telling the Japanese press is that they then felt an explosion coming from the left part of the plane. They are really looking at the left engine from underneath the left wing.
At that point, China Airlines says that the crew began to evacuate everybody on emergency chutes, 165 people, 157 passengers, eight crew members all of them somehow were able to escape and at this point, we're not hearing any reports of any sort of major injury.
And it certainly is astonishing when you look at the pictures. Something else that China Airlines adds is that they were able to drag up some of the routine maintenance of this plane. This plane had just come out of routine maintenance. They say at this point they're going to try to figure out exactly what may have caused a routine flight to end up like this -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: That's an amazing story. Thanks so much, Kyung, for bringing us up-to-date and letting us know what is going on with that.
Kiran, over to you.
CHETRY: Well, all right. And our terror watch now. The FAA just issued new security rules for airline cockpit doors. Not everyone is happy about it, though. CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is live in Washington.
So what is the plan?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, one of the new rules from the Federal Aviation Administration says a pilot has to be able to see what is happening on the other side of the cockpit door and a peephole or a video camera can do the job. The object, as you say, is ensure that pilots don't open the door and let in a hijacker.
But the Airline Pilots Association and a flight attendants group are saying the new rule does not improve security at all because cockpit doors already have peepholes. According to the pilots, the peepholes allow a very limited view of the cabin and it wouldn't be hard for a terrorist to avoid them.
The security chairman for the airline pilots group says the FAA is, "basically saying what we have is good enough." And the Association of Flight Attendants says it shows the FAA is still not thinking outside the box when it comes to security -- Kiran. CHETRY: There has also been some controversy about a second communication rule between the pilots and the flight attendants. What do you know about that?
MESERVE: That's right. The FAA also says that flight attendants must have a discreet way to communicate with pilots if they see anything suspicious in the cabin. The Association of Flight Attendants and the families of September 11th wanted to see wireless devices distributed to cabin crews.
But the FAA nixed that, saying attackers could threaten a flight attendant, get control of the device, and then fraudulently use it to get into a cockpit. Instead, the FAA says existing interphones in the aircraft, the kind you see flight attendants use every day, are adequate.
Critics say terrorists know about that system and can easily disable it. It is completely vulnerable, says the Airline Pilot's Association. The group says the FAA is opting for the status quo here -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. So the controversy continues. Jeanne Meserve in Washington, thank you.
SANCHEZ: You want some quick news hits? We got them for you. First of all, outsourcing spying, that is what tops our quick hits. The Pentagon is reportedly set to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to gather and examine intelligence. The figure would be the most ever spent on outside sources for intelligence work.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having a surprising effect on police training right here at home. Why? Because they're causing a shortage of bullets. That's right. More than 1 billion rounds a year are fired in those two wars. Departments in all parts of the country are reporting delays -- or actually reductions and training as a result. One department is even proposing that paintball guns be used in some of these firing drills instead of bullets.
Students at Virginia Tech are beginning the fall semester this morning dealing with another tragedy. They're coming back to school and guess what, close to two dozen students are in the hospital right now after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning at their off-campus apartment complex. An update on this is coming up in just a little bit here right on AMERICAN MORNING.
SANCHEZ: That's the fight song. The old college days. College week here now on AMERICAN MORNING. Listening to the "Tech Triumph," that's fight song for the first day of classes there at Virginia Tech. The Hokies, you know? Students and teachers gathered for an emotional dedication ceremony on Sunday for the memorial to the 32 students and teachers killed in April by a student on a shooting rampage. The center stone of the 32 gathered around reads: "We are Virginia Tech, we are Virginia Tech, we will prevail." Remember those words? From the poem written by Virginia Tech professor Nikki Giovanni. Remember that inspiring day where she stood in front of the crowd and said those with tears in her eyes as everybody else did too. Professor Giovanni is good enough to join us this morning from Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.
Good morning to you, Hokie!
NIKKE GIOVANNI, POET & VIRGINIA TECH PROFESSOR: Good morning, Rick. How are you?
SANCHEZ: I'm just wondering if the students are going to be coming back to campus somewhat forlorn, how the spirits are. I mean, it has got to be difficult, but yet it's a new day, right?
GIOVANNI: It's a new day and it's beautiful day here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We have a record freshmen class here, 5,200. And I think that the Hokie spirit is alive and well. I think that we're very excited the classes are starting, that we're moving into a new year.
SANCHEZ: Do people -- other professors there and other instructors and members of the staff as well as students, when they look back on this, do they see it just as a freakish incident that really could of happened anywhere or do they take some ownership of this?
GIOVANNI: No. I don't think that we're denying ownership, I don't think that at all. But I think that we recognize that this sort of tragedy could happen any place and at varying degrees has happened, other places, from Columbine to back to University of Texas to the Toronto shootings to the Iowa shootings. We have had a number of shootings.
Virginia Tech took a big hit but I think that we have embraced each other and we have been embraced on this planet, actually. We've gotten greetings from all over the -- from every country on Earth. And it has been a wonderful thing.
SANCHEZ: Here is the question that I think a lot of people would want to know. People who might be thinking about sending their kids either to Virginia Tech or any other school, for that matter. Do you feel, as a working person at that facility, that everything has been done to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again?
I know you can't prevent it. But have they looked at security completely now and revised whatever they needed to do to revise it?
GIOVANNI: I think that we have done absolutely the best that we can do, Rick. But you know, I travel over bridges every day. You never know. And so you know, if you're in Minnesota, one of them falls. But I think that we're doing everything we can. We do not want people to send their children here that we send them back in a box.
The president of the United States says the same thing. He doesn't want to lose his soldiers, either. We all want to protect our youngsters. I think we're doing what we can -- no, I don't think that. I know that Dr. Steger is doing what we can. And we have new information.
We can immediately text message if there is a problem. The classroom doors now all have locks that can be locked on the inside. The dorms are being locked down 24 hours a day. And you know, ordinary prudence.
I've been on campus this morning since 5:30, so it's really beautiful. I love this campus for the beauty of it. But the students were out -- the kids were out doing their jogging, everybody is in a good spirit. And I think this is wonderful.
SANCHEZ: Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Hokies. And oh what a football team you have.
SANCHEZ: That is probably, if nothing else, going to put a lot of smiles on people's faces real quick. I think your first game is against East Carolina, if I recall correctly?
GIOVANNI: Yes. And it's going to be an emotional game. But you know, no matter what, people say they love me and what I've done for the school but nobody offered me tickets to the game.
GIOVANNI: It's a humbling experience.
SANCHEZ: All right. Professor, we'll see if we can hook you up. Thanks so much. God bless. Nikki Giovanni, thanks for talking to us.
GIOVANNI: Thank you.
CHETRY: She is amazing, isn't she?
SANCHEZ: Yes, she is.
CHETRY: Well, the truth about zero trans fats topping our quick hits now. Federal regulators allow labels to say zero trans fat as long as there is less than one gram per serving. Health officials though say you should be concerned because people often eat more than one serving and those possible small amounts can add up.
The trick, look for partially hydrogenated oils, that is the primary source of trans fat, which can plug your arteries.
Well, it's video game that can take your pulse. Programmers in Toronto say they've developed a modified version of Tetris called BioBlox. And the game measures your heart rate. The faster your heart beats the faster the block drop. And it's supposed to keep you calm. It will soon be available for download on your PC.
And it is the best TV in the world. It is the highest of high defs. So what does it have to do with saving lives? Chris Lawrence has a look for us.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kiran. Yes, it is 23 feet wide, it is nine feet high, 200 million pixels. Coming up, I'll tell you what that means to the future of your living room and what it means to scientists right now. All that and more coming up after the break on AMERICAN MORNING.
SANCHEZ: All right. As we look at the loop, we just got that. Remember we were talking a little earlier about getting the advisory from the National Hurricane Center down in Coral Gables, Florida? We understand they just did put advisory out and they are keeping the storm not at a Cat. 5, but at a Cat. 4.
So they're thinking when it gets into some of these warmer waters, maybe little bit past the Cayman Islands, that could increase to a Category 5 storm. Right now the latest information, once again, brand new information that this thing is going to be staying as a Category 4.
But we're hearing talk that the sustained winds are pretty close to 150. That's a big hurricane, folks. That's the kind of hurricane that can certainly do a lot of damage and there is some still -- there still, as you can see, some land ahead of it there as it heads towards Cozumel and parts of Cancun.
We are going to be checking in with Reynolds Wolf in just a little bit to give us the break down of this advisory. Because there are other little things sometimes about barometric pressure that would signal whether the storm is going to increase.
And we also need to know, just to be able to map this thing out, how fast it's moving now, whether it has increased in speed or slowed down. And we will be getting that from -- hey...
CHETRY: Yes, but it's moving -- I think it's moving near 21 miles per hour right now. Moving west-northwest, still on the same track. But as Reynolds pointed out, it doesn't move in a straight line. I mean, oftentimes you'll see it wobble back and forth.
SANCHEZ: But I think Booker (ph) just told me it's up to 155 miles -- did you stay...
CHETRY: Maximum sustained winds near...
SANCHEZ: Oh, OK. So actually this storm is still five miles away from being a Category 5 storm. If it has sustained winds here -- follow here. If it has sustained winds right now -- which is what they seem to be saying, right? That it has sustained winds of 150 miles an hour, it needs to get to 155 miles an hour before it's officially a Category 5 storm. So it's pretty darn close. CHETRY: All right. And meanwhile, let's just take a look again. If you haven't seen these pictures yet. Oklahoma, boy, in a bit of cleanup today. Luckily the weather is shaping up a little better and it looks like a lot of the rain has moved out of this area. But these are some pictures from the rescues that were taking place all day yesterday.
SANCHEZ: Well, they're trying to do a rescue on a helicopter that is not equipped for rescues. That is not a rescue helicopter.
CHETRY: They simply didn't have enough time. These people got swept away in their truck and they didn't have time to use that net that you sometimes see. We saw it a lot on the rooftops during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
But anyway, we spoke with that couple this morning, they survived. A little bit sore this morning, but they're doing OK and giving a big thank you to their rescuers. But that was the scene across cities in Oklahoma because of the devastating weather there yesterday.
SANCHEZ: More on the hurricane, more on Oklahoma, and lot more news on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
CHETRY: Well, many of us haven't bought our first high def TV yet, but at the University of California, Irvine, they are already watching something a hundred times bigger and better than high-def.
AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence has the story.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Picture Disney's hit movie "Cars" on a screen 23 feet long and nine feet high, 200 million pixels, the images 100 times sharper than the best high def TV.
On a normal screen, zoom in, you lose the context. Zoom out, you lose detail.
STEPHEN JENKS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE: So the intent of the hyperwall was to show the big picture and the detail at the same time.
LAWRENCE: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, roads were flooded and blocked by debris, maps were useless. But hyperwall gives a detail down to the street look at the entire Gulf Coast.
JENKS: So this could help first responders figure out where to go and where the roads are impassable.
LAWRENCE: Scientists at U.C. Irvine, are using hyperwall to map earthquakes in South America and study patients suffering from depression. DR. JIM FALLON, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE: You really see different things. Patterns come out that you wouldn't see on a small scale in that one level of resolution.
LAWRENCE: Within minutes, they're discovering genes and brain patterns that took months to find.
FALLON: This not only saves a lot time but it saves suffering of people.
LAWRENCE: And more good news.
JENKS: There's no reason this can't be in somebody's living room in 10 or 15 years.
LAWRENCE: New technology will eliminate the edges that split up the screens. Picture an unobstructed wall paper display that constantly changes your view. How about an aerial shot of the Empire State Building or if you live in landlocked middle American, an ocean view of Australia?
JENKS: We'll be able to make huge rolls of this stuff that you will just be able to put on your wall and have many tens or hundreds of megapixels at home.
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