tv CNN Newsroom CNN August 27, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
those conditions underneath those umbrellas who would have dedicated the memorial this weekend. send your i-reports, video, whatever you can as long as you can do so safely. >> thanks so much, john, our comprehensive coverage of hurricane irene continues. "the situation room" continues right now with wolf blitzer. >> thanks very much and happening now, hurricane irene is pushing up the east coast. it's packing winds of got 85 miles an hour. at least four deaths are reported along with widespread damage and flooding. irene's winds are tearing through virginia, ripping open roofs, almost 1 million customers are without power in virginia, and north carolina right now. president obama has declared a state of emergency in nine
states, along the eastern seaboard. new york city has ordered an unprecedented evacuation, of 370,000 people. some of america's biggest cities are now bracing for the worst. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." we want to start with chris lawrence, he's joining us from maryland, the chesapeake beach, right now, chris, this powerful storm is moving in your direction, what are you seeing and what are you feeling? >> reporter: i feel very wet, and i can feel a tremendous amount of wind, that kicked up in the last few hours. where i'm standing now and a lot of the areas right around it, earlier this morning when we were here at 11:00 in the morning or noon, this was sand and very quickly over the past
few hours, we have seen the tide start to rise and the winds get more and more intense here. it really says something, when you consider how far we still are from the -- a lot of these homes are built on a cliff and i was speaking with the mayor here a little while ago and he said there was a real chance that because the majority of -- is going to hit this area at got maybe 2:00 in the morning. and 4:00 in the morning is high tide. and he's very, very concerned with the amount of energy and -- storm -- that might just erode the soil enough to send some of those houses collapsing underneath themselves. about 1,000 people here already without power, the mayor has been going throughout the town
trying to check on people. there was a mandatory evacuation for people who live within 100 feet of the beach, up on one of those cliffs. the mayor was saying a lot of people have chosen to stay here and ride out the storm with their homes. wolf? >> chris, are they saying, the experts you're talking to including the mayor, this is worst than they expected, what they expected? not as bad? what are they saying? >> reporter: two answers to that, wolf, wind wise they don't think it's going to be as bad as they initially expected. other storms the winds were more powerful, isabel, and again the winds probably won't be as bad as they originally thought. but what they're very concerned about is the in fact that this storm is moving so slowly and that the brunt of it is going to get right around the same time as high tide and that is a real concern, that it will bring so much water that the storm surge
may flood amou lot of those are. >> all right, we're losing our connection with chris lawrence. he's in chesapeake beach? maryland. obviously a bad situation unfolding there. we're reporting live from washington, d.c., the storm is moving towards the nation's capital right now, we'll be reporting a special situation room for the next three hours live from the nation's capital. let's bring in our severe weather expert chad myers, chad, the hurricane, they have just released a new update, a new forecast, is that right? >> that is correct, wolf, they have reduced it from an 85-mile-per-hour hurricane to an 80-mile-per-hour hurricane and they have reduced it to a category 1. but just forget about the winds, do not fear the wind as much as fearing the water. sure the winds will blow down the trees, but the water will cause flooding, it will cause surge and fresh water flooding in rivers. and all of this saturated
ground, from d.c. all the way to new england, tree also fall on houses, trees will fall on cars, trees will fall on streets with all of this wind, and saturated ground t root also not be able to hold those trees up. the hurricane right now is just about exiting north carolina and will move back into the gulf stream. it may generate itself just a little bit. it not expecting any regeneration. in fact as it moves off and just very close to virginia beach, it will travel right along the jersey shore and right into new york harbor. why do i say fear the water more than the wind? you can deal with the 60 or 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts, it will be just fine, limbs will be down, trees will be down, but the problem is already, wolf, think about this, new york harbor at the battery, how far is this storm away, 300 miles away away, the wind has already pushed an extra amount of water into battery park. and that's not moving out. and that water will stay there
during these tidal surges. there hasn't been a low tide, water just keeps getting pushed in there. almost 12 hours from being at its peak in new york city, this is going to be a flood event even for the city itself. >> that explains why they shut down all the subways, the trains in new york city, already. chad, a million people in north carolina and virginia have already lost power, think about it, no electricity for a million people and this storm is moving to maryland, and it's heading north towards new york. a lot more people are going to be losing power. >> and you know what? this is is mutual aid issue. typically is something hits north carolina, they'll call sa virginia and they'll say, hey, can you send your crews out here to help, they'll say yeah, we'll send them down and get your pour back up. this is going to be delayed because crews are going to be worried about their own stuff. people will be coming in from
illinois and iowa. ocean city, you're already seeing green, 40-mile-per-hour winds, pay attention to the light green, but also pay attention to the yellow, when the yellow gets close to your house that's a 60-mile-per-hour wind. ocean city, you're going to get that in about three or four hours. all the way up the atlantic shore, and eye moving right over a virginia beach, this is a 70-mile-per-hour wind gust, cape may and wild wood, all of this wind is pushing water into new york harbor, by about 3:00 in the morning, new york city is already 50 miles an hour and it goes up from there. there's the 60, 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts right along long island and even into connecticut and now into rhode island there's the eye, very close and just east of philadelphia, winds will be coming from the north in philadelphia because of the way the spin is here, so watch that when your trees start blowing trees to your north, some of those trees may fall. philadelphia has had 13 inches of rainfall this month, and
there it goes new york through hartford knocking down trees in boston and even up into vermont as the wind speeds go down. those winds speeds are still 50 miles an hour. huge storm, lots of wind, just not that 130-mile-per-hour wind. big storm. >> you can see behind me, chad, we'll stay in very close touch with you, 1 million power customers, customers have lost power in north carolina and virginia so far, so many more people, there are two, three, four, five people living in a household so a lot of people without power, many millions already without power, let's go to jean meserve, she's in ocean city, maryland. where they're supposed to be vacationing right now. ocean city, i understand, jean, pretty much desserted, is that right? >> that's right, the winds here are really starting to pick up now and as i look down the beach, i can see at least one window where draperies are
blowing out and there's an indication that it's -- but what they're really worried about here is exactly what chad was talking about, a water event. look at this ocean, it is just ferocious, it is hungry, it is already chased us halfway up this dune in the ten or so minutes we have been out in this weather. fortunately, these do you knows are here, their intention is to protect all this valuable real estate, most of the people, the 200 or so,000 who were here did evacuation, about 300 were left last night. some additional ones evacuated today. we spoke to the mayor earlier and he had a message for the people who have chosen to stay here. >> my message is it wasn't a good decision, but if you're here, stay inside. do not venture outside. this is not a hurricane party, this is a very serious storm. i think everybody's reacted responsibly up and down the coast, we urge them to do the
same. be safe, keep yourself safe and do not put our emergency personnel in danger, that is a mistake. the word is the same for boaters, we have to get into the wur and check navigation before you can bring your boats back in here. but for now, we're dealing with the storm itself. the army corps of engineers was out here, measuring trying to see what they have to do to protect all the real estate
here. >> you are once again, when do they expect the worst to hit ocean city, maryland. of course of course the storm track is a little bit unser, but they're saying, four, five, six hours, we will be very close to the eye of this storm. and i'll tell you the water is right up here by our ankles already, right at the foot of this dune so it's going to be quite an interesting evening. >> we'll check back with you, regularly. david mattingly is in a state where irene made landfall this morning, we're talking about north carolina, david's joining us now live from kill devil hills. you lived through that hurricane, once it hit there, how did it go david?
>> let's try one more time to see if we can check in with david. david, can you hear me okay? >> yes, wolf, i can hear you, can you hear me now? >> tell us what it was like when that hurricane hit where you are? >> for the last couple of hours -- >> all right, we are going to try to reconnect with david. let's be patient for a second and see if we can reconnect with him. david, are you still there? can you hear me? >> reporter: can you hear me now? >> we hear you, go ahead, we lost some of you.
>> all right, as i was saying this, storm -- [ no audio ] >> all right, we're obviously having hurricane related technical problems and we'll check with david soon and hopefully we'll be able to speak with him from north carolina. this storm is goc to contining to move up the eastern seaboard. we're going to be reporting live for the next almost three hours as this storm moves closer and closer to the nation's capital. we're also going to new york city where hospitals have been evacuated, and people are getting very, very nervous. and ventilated seats wrapped in nappa leather, the same shade of supple cowhide you'd find on a certain high-performance, luxury automobile, the name of which, of course, we can't mention, but we can say it's italian. it's got a horse leaping across the grille. and without being too specific, it rhymes with "merrari."
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we're watching hurricane irene move up the east coast of the united states. it landed earlier today in north carolina. let's check in with david mattingly once again, i think we have re-established contact. david, you're still feeling the power of irene, aren't you? >> >> reporter: that's why you keep losing my audio is that -- feeling this storm kicking up now for over 24 hours. it has been absolutely relentless, the last couple of hours have been the worst. that was the when the eyewall went over this area, the winds intensified very abruptly, and actually the hotel that we're in suffered damage, part of an exterior wall peeled away, littered the entire area with zr
debris, when you have hurricanes like that in the area, that's when it's the most dangerous, but this hurricane has been causing widespread out damages and damage. take a look at this surf, the sea is absolutely white with foam as far as the eye can see here, that's not going to be going away any time soon. [ no audio ] heads north, not floating from the ocean, not surprisingly enough, but from the sound on the other side of the island. when this storm goes out -- it's going to blow that water in the sound on to -- >> all right, we got the gist of it, we keep losing the audio from david mattingly in kill
devil hills. the technical problems will be evident not only with david mattingly but with our other reporters that are covering this story. five new york city hospitals now under evacuation along with 370,000 people, living in some of the low-lying areas of new york city. the mayor michael bloomberg is ordering people to take this unprecedented order to leave seriously. >> we have seen a marked increase in the number of people evacuating, most are getting the message, but for some reason, some people have yet to leave so let me just one more time, i hate to sound like a broken record, but it is exactly what we are trying to do. if you haven't left, you should leave now. not later this evening, not later this afternoon, but immediately. >> our senior medical important elizabeth cohn is covering the medical evacuations in new york city. >> reporter: wolf, they went
surprisingly well given that hospitals had about 12 hours to get all of their patients out. and if you take a look at this map we're talking about five hospitals in new york city, lower manhattan, staten island, coney island, et cetera, but when you add nursing homes, wolf, and other health care facilities, 22 facilities had to get people out. and i sat at new york university hospital and watched as they brought people from the intensive care unit, we're talking premature babies comes out of the nicu and it was really done in a smooth and calm fashion, as you can imagine, there is a story behind every patient who had to leave the hospital to be transferred somewhere else. i caught up with one of those patients, irene whose brother has a cancerous brain tumor. let's listen to irene. >> it just feels like what else can you throw into this. it's bad enough having to live with his diagnosis and try and get the medical help and then,
you know, it's just -- everything that you try to do, you just keep getting slapped back down. but, you know, we'll get him to a hotel tonight and, you know, have a maid and we'll just weather the storm there. >> now her brother was in good enough shape that he could make that trip out of the hospital, but you know what, wolf, there's about ten patients at nyu who were too sick to evacuate that hospital. so they were there as we speak, so it would have been more dangerous to move them than to keep them there. nyu is right near the east river. we're talking there's the river, there's fdr drive and then there's the hospital. and if that storm surge brings water into the basement, that's going to be a real issue, because that's where their generators are. >> do they have any backup plans if that were to happen at nyu medical center? >> yes, they do, they do have backup plans and they're just
hoping that the surge doesn't ruin "the back-up plathe bak th. basically it all came down to an equation that moving them was just way too dangerous because they are so critically ill. >> because if you're in intensive care and you're a premature baby, making the decision to move you at that stage of care, it's a tough choice between staying put or moving with all the complications that could develop from a move like that. >> that's right, wolf, that is a tough choice and when i talked to nyu, they said they made each decision pain ingly made, trying to decide whether they could be moved or not. it's great that there's a facility that they could go to, but some of them, they just
couldn't make it. so we're praying that they're safe staying there at nyu. >> are the experts at new york saying they learned vital lessons on how new orleans dealt with hospitals during katrina. >> yes, absolutely, as a matter of fact bun of tone of the high ranking firms is now in new york city so he brought that wisdom with him. they certainly also learned from things that happened in the big snowstorm this year and they have been practicing these kinds of evacuations really for years, since katrina and this is the first time they have been able to put it in practice and they evacuated hundreds and hung drea hundreds of patients in about 12 hours. doctors and nurses, enormously complicated job they are. according to a government model, almost 40 mill wrong people are
li likely to see stronger winds in this storm. more than 37,000 buildings will likely sustain wind damage alone, and economic losses just from the heavy winds, they'rist mated at more than a billion dollars. if you e're looking at flood damage, those could be even higher. we're bracing for irene, our special coverage continues. ask if something is simply the color of gold, is it really worth more? we don't think so. chase sapphire preferred is a card of a different color. unlike others, you get twice the points on travel, and twice the points on dining, and no foreign transaction fees. call now or apply at chasesapphire.com/preferred.
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barreling toward points northward including where i am right here in washington, d.c. scores of trees are down throughout the east coast. the number of people without power has jumped to almost 1 million. that's the number of households without power, a lot more people don't have power in north carolina and virginia right now. and we have just received word the storm already has claimed five lives, among them a boy killed in virginia after a tree crashed on an apartment complex. three people died in north carolina, and another person died in virginia. we'll give you all the specifics, that's coming up soon. this storm is a wide, big hurricane. >> i'm going to go through that, about the wind field we're talking about and how the pressure is so low that it could be a much bigger.
understand that there are winds 40 miles an hour all the way from atlantic city, all the way down into central parts of north carolina and south carolina. put this into motion for the next three hours. it moves offshore, 7:00, ocean city, you're already in the dark green, that's 60-mile-per-hour winds, richmond, you're in the 40s-mile-per-hour winds, washington, d.c., baltimore, you're getting there, by about 1:00 in the morning, and philadelphia, all the way to long branch in north carolina, about 40 miles an hour, but by 2 3:00 in the morning, there are some very big winds in the ocean, they don't wrap all the way around for a while. but you will see the winds here, 70-mile-per-hour, will affect the eastern sections of long island. right there, 6:00 in the morning, this storm running up ore atlantic city and then toward new york city, the closest approach to philadelphia, wind speeds 50 to 60-mile-per-hours in
philadelphia. at 9:00 in the monk, knocking trees down, because the ground is so saturated and then by the afternoon, it does move onshore and getting back to my original point, we just had an airplane, a hurricane hunter fly through the storm, it picked up the pressure, it dropped a little box, we call it the drops on. it found a pressure of 950 millibars. anybody that's watching this could sustain an eyewall of a category 3. right now there's not a category 3 anywhere. it's stretching out for hundreds of miles. we have a big storm with moderate winds.
. >> these represent varying coastal flooding. these low-lying areas will likely get storm surges on any hurricane that makes landfall near new york city. residents in zone d will be flooded in category 2 strength for higher, and residents will see surge flooding only in a major category 3 strength or higher. that's unlikely in new york city, not necessarily impossible, but very unlikely right now. let's stay in new york right now. our national correspondent is in long beach, new york.
are they getting ready for this hurricane there in long beach? >> hi, wolf, i think for the most part they are. and certainly the reason that we are positioned here in long beach, which is a barrier island off long island is that it is one of the possible targets for the eye of hurricane irene. so we may very well be straight in the path of that eye passing right over us, you see the surf kicking up here, it's been building each day, but remember the storm is at least 340 miles due south of here so we have quite a ways, not expected to hit as chad was telling you until sunday morning most likely, so that storm surge will really be coming up. these barrier islands are very close to sea level. only about three to four feet above sea level. so one of the things i've been doing along the beach here in the last couple of days is to take some of this stand, move it around and try to create more of a barrier, so you see these
dunes that they're building up here, i would say, i'm five feet tall, so at it's highest, it's built up to maybe 20 feet here. so trying to protect the buildings that are on the opposite side in front of me here, some of these buildings are about 10 stories high, probably at their highest and the thing about that is that when a hurricane comes in, remember the higher up you are, and that's for here, that's for any place, the stronger the winds are, another 20% higher, the higher you go. so if you're on an upper floor, that can be very dangerous. obviously the windows can also blow out and we have seen people preparing, they have built putting together sandbags, they have been boarding up their homes and businesses, and we talked to one contractor who was busy doing that, take a look. >> i have been running around, boarding up a house at the house.
bagging up as much sand as possible to get ready for this storm. >> i'm not concerned about the house. i'm taking it just in case. because you never know what can happen. you know, it can be just a windy day or it can be the end of a day. >> reporter: now one thing all the officials around here, police, fire, one thing they're all sure of is that there will be flooding, this is such a low-lying area, both the south shore and the north shore are in danger of that. >> susan, we'll stay in close touch with you as well, we're watching it all unfold here in washington, d.c. this hurricane is just leaving north carolina entering virginia, but we're beginning to feel the outer bands here in the nation's capital. it's raining for several hours, so it's only going to get more intense here in washington, d.c., we're watching it together with u you. meanwhile when we come back, we have got some unique perspective on hurricane irene, from one woman, one very courageous you
woman, who flew right over it, our special coverage continues right here in "the situation room." ♪ got so many scratches and scars ♪ ♪ maybe time can mend us together again ♪ ♪ it's not what we've done but how far we've come ♪ ♪ i know that we will recover [ male announcer ] here when you need us most.
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here in washington, d.c., an estimated 67,000 sandbag 67,000 sandbags are being filled to prepare for hurk aricane irene. right now let's bring in the deputy administrator for noaa, katherine suddenly have. h sullivan. i was actually flying back to washington, watching cnn on this plane. you told an amazing story when you were flying through this hurricane. tell us what that was all about. >> we're flying every two hours through this storm. >> chad myers gives us the new forecast, that's the work of
noaa. >> that's right. >> the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. >> noaa pulls all that information together from around the globe, we run it through the supercomputer models and then we turn and rely on partners like you, wolf and chad myers to make sure that our citizens understand. we go the other way and work with core partners in the emergency management sectors so the mayors and governors that you've been featuring on your show today, our guys are tied zrektdly and embedded with their staff to see if they is the -- tough decisions they have to make with this danger baring down on their communities. >> i have been on bumpy flights where there's been turbulence, i can only imagine, it's a p-3, right? i can only imagine going through hundreds of miles of a hurricane, at what, 12,000 people? >> 12,000 people sand below. >> just describe it.
how bumpy, how shaky is it? >> there are some hurricanes with very intense, compact eyewalls that are terribly bumpy and put the airplane at some risk now and then, irene last night when we through the eye, it was astonishingly wide, it's like an ice skater who put her arms out, sort of slowing down a bit. a very wide eye, the winds are calm and you feel like you have the walls of a stadium afternoon you. but i got bumped afternoon more on a commercial flight today than i did on that whole flight? >> buy. >> i think number one a p-3 is a tank compared to a commercial jet liner so it just plowed through the turbulence and the range bands than we did have. it's just a more stable platform. and the eyewall coming apart at that point, we didn't have as
tight a rain bands coming through. >> new york city, how much danger is new york city in right now? >> well, this exposure to tropical storm or low hurricane force winds, the water that's mounding up, you've got surge, plus rainfall, plus waves, on saturated ground at high tide, so it's a stack up of factors that really do pose great jeopardy for low lying coastal areas, new york city has not seen these kind of conditions running right on the money as the current track suggests. people should definitely take heed, listen to your local officials, they're getting their best day together and fusing it, making the evacuation orders, it's a wise thing to do to listen to them. >> some people are tweeting me or e-mailing me to say that we're blowing this out of all proportion, it's not that big a deal, you disagree? >> i do disagree, and i invoke a
little bit of astronaut wisdom, it's better to be overprepared than underchallenged. the other way around is a bad circumstance. >> thanks very much for coming in, i hadmire you. president obama is watch bhag's going on over at the white house, he cut short his vacation at martha's vineyard. we're going to speak to dan lothian when we come back. ♪ [ gasp ]
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of the outer bands of hurricane irene, hurricane irene has just moved from virginia into washington. the wind is picking up, we're staying on top of this story, not far from where i am, dan lothian, our white house correspondent, he's inside the white house, smart, dan, tell us what's going on, the president made a point of being on top of this crisis earlier in the day. >> that's right, wolf, first of all, i should point out that you know that the president cut his vacation short on martha's vineyard, so he could come back here to martha's vineyard, they felt it was prudent for him to be here on martha's vineyard. they're getting the track of the storm and the update on what all the various federal agencies are doing to respond to the hurricane and then later in the
day, the president did go over to fema headquarters, more specific, that is where you have representatives from different parents oftsz government who are able to stay in touch with state and local officials also private organizations and volunteers. to so make sure there's a free throw of information so that people can get that information quickly. the president toured the facility. the president said that they're doing a good job, but they need to stay on top of the situation. >> it's going to be a long 72 hours and obviously a lot of families are going to be affected. what we heard, the biggest concern i'm having right now is it will be an enormous strength and that makes the days even longer in some cases.
so we're really going to have to stay on top of the recovery in the next days to come. >> while the president was over at fema, he took part in a videoconference call with the emergency management officials across the country. also governments in those states that are being heavily impacted by the hurricane, we should also point out that the president has issued a state of emergency in at least nine states and also puerto rico, this obviously will free up federal dollars when they're needed most, wolf. >> the president, i assume his too much advisors they are sensitive to make sure they don't repeat some of the mistakes that president bush made after katrina. are you hearing from white house officials? >> privately, those are things, that certainly they are thinking about, wolf, as you know, any president that doesn't act quickly enough in a disaster like this, whether a man-made
disaster or a natural disaster will get criticized for that. we saw that last summer, in the oil spill, there was criticism that they didn't work quickly enough, and so they're going out of their way to show that the administration has been getting ready for this, not just over the past couple of days but in the last few weeks, and in 2009 even, they point out that president obama took part in an exercise simulating a category 3 hurricane. >> dan lothian is our white house correspondent, we're going to be speaking live with thed.c gray. he'll be coming here to our washington bureau. we'll speak with him as irene heads right towards the nation's capital.
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. raining here in washington. raining sort of major rain. windy. but these are just the outer, outer bands of hurricane irene. you can see the streets of washington. you see basically empty. almost everyone smart. very smart. they are inside. they are riding out this storm right now. not many cars on the streets of
the nation's capital. cnn is getting remarkable ireports from the hurricane zone. our meteorologist alexandra steele is getting a look at them. >> reporter: this is unbelievable on so many fronts. in terms of the planes, traveling in and around the northeast corridor 7,000 flights cancelled and certainly that will only grow in time. trains as well. amtrak in the northeast. not at all will be used tomorrow. service completely suspended for that. cruise lines around new york and mid-atlantic at least 20 rerouting their cruise lines. mass transit which has been an unbelievable scenario, never before an unprecedented scenario in and around new york city. ireport from rob harper. an ominous look. they've never done anything like this in terms of this over haul of mass transit. the subways and trains including the lir. everything you could imagine. last time this was done was in 2005 and then also just days
after 9/11, but never for the amount of time, the anticipation. maybe not even on monday re-opening these subways. thank you rob harper for sending this in. closures at the airports today. we got them around new york including laguardia, jfk and newark. closures in the sense that they are not allowing any arrival flights. why? because then when they get to at the airports where would they go? what would they do and how would they get there because there's no mass transit. that's the scenario. nothing coming in to new york. hudson valley similar. fairfield, connecticut, hurricane warnings in fairfield, connecticut and along that 95 corridor. that bumps up along the long island sound. pretty scary scenario. awaiting on the governor of connecticut who has talked about potentially banning any roadway, any highway traffic on those interstates in connecticut. we'll learn more about that
later today but he's potentially saying he wants everybody off the road tonight. beginning tomorrow no road traffic. incredible scenario. something the northeast has never seen. >> who would have thought. thanks very much. fleece our viewers out there if you have a chance, send us more ireports. we love your ireports. don't do anything risky or dangerous to get those reports. video, still photographs, be an ireporter here at cnn. we'll share your ireports here in the united states and around the world. we'll speak live with head of new york's emergency management. we'll talk about the shutdown, how long, what's going on. lots of questions need to be answered. we'll have the answers when we come back. and who ordered the yummy cereal? yummy. that's yours. lower cholesterol. lower cholesterol. i'm yummy. lower cholesterol. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste?
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