tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 8, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
prep be taken. >> it's extremely serious. they call this the calm before the storm and since tuesday t mayor, the city manager, we've been trying to tell everybody the importance of evacuating. and it is critical. there is going to come a time where first responders, police and fire, will not be able to respond to assist those in need. >> let's talk about what the common responses are. because there are people we have a lot of viewers in florida. thank god for that. we love them. but they need to listen right now. the first pushback we get is well, it's a 4, not a 5, it's already getting less. it will probably be okay. your response? >> my response is that i'm glad that they have that kind of faith, but they're really putting their own life at hand. and it is critically important that they understand that there's a lot of science that goes into this. there's a lot of thought that goes into evacuating an area, and when emergency managers are telling you to evacuate, we consider that a last resort,
that that is a must that needs to happen. >> another common response is, i've been through it before, chief, and this is my home. i want to be here so that as soon as it's over, i can get a jump start on fixing, recovering, rebuilding. this is my home. >> and that's extremely important and that is something we're extremely sensitive to. but you can't be here if somehow you perish. and so, what we have done as a city is to make sure that as soon as the storm hits land and we can start clearing up, to allow them to come in and start rebuilding because we think that's a critical component of the rebuilding. >> now, something else they say is, we have you. we have some of the best first responders in the world here in south florida. they will be here for me. they will come. true, you are uniquely equipped, uniquely trained and you handle a ton but what is the reality about what you're capable of. >> reality is that after 140-mile-per-hour sustained winds we don't put people on the
street ch it's not safe for them and it's not safe for the people that are out. we have to go pick up. and you know, our -- come tomorrow morning o, , we will s evacuating some of our units off the beach and we'll be going to the mainland and so we won't even have a full force to deal with anybody calling 911-chi. >> chief, thank you for doing everything that you're doing to get ahead. we're here to help get out any information that we can. thank you, chief. >> thank you. >> be well. be safe. so, look, you heard it from the fire chief. he's a lifelong public servant. he knows the realities but there are people who will say, but the science, the storm, it goes back and forth. let's go right now to michael brennan at the national hurricane center. he is studying the maps, the models, the realities. good to have you with us. is it true that hurricane irma is no longer an if but a when in
terms of contact with florida and the keys. >> it certainly looks that way, that we're pretty confident now that irma is going to move in over some portion of the florida keys or the florida peninsula and it's certainly going to bring direct hurricanes to a large part of the whole state of florida in terms of the high winds and rainfall. >> and then what? >> all right, so if that's the reality that you're going see hurricane-type conditions, whether the eye goes over or not, it doesn't have to be a direct hit to be a bad hit. what are you seeing in terms of realities now about levels of expectation as you move through this state? because we just heard governor scott saying, you know, all floridians should be ready to evacuate. that's more than we've heard before, and he says that the risk goes from south beach to jacksonville at the northern end of the state. why so? >> well, because the track that it looks like irma's going to take is going to take it, you
know, up most of the peninsula, so you're going to ed nd up wit hurricane conditions on the west coast and east coast and the core and there's also a significant risk of storm surge. that's what really drives the evacuation decision making in a state or in a locality and so anybody who's at risk of storm surge, if they've been asked to evacuate, they should. the areas here that we have highlighted in dark pink are under a storm surge warning. there's a storm surge watch up in east central florida. these are areas that are at risk of life threatening inundation from irma that could be five to ten feet or even six to 12 feet aboveground level here in areas of southwest florida so that's really a life-threatening hazard. >> what are you looking at in terms of duration of exposure in different areas? i mean, one of the calculations is how long until the first responders can get out and help people because 911, you know, is just not the lifeline that it can be during the actual storm. so, can you measure that? like, how long you'll have to put up with irma, let's say, in
south beach. >> well, what we can look at here is -- oops. i've lost my screen here. what we can look at here is we can look at when the winds are most likely to start, and that's at a real key important point because people need to get ready at a certain time and in south florida here, for example, looks like saturday during the day or into the evening is going to be that critical time get ready. looks like we'd be dealing with tropical storm conditions at least all the way through sunday and into monday with the hurricane conditions in the middle of that time period. >> all right, michael brennan, i appreciate it. i know that you have to crunch all the numbers and put in the science just to get close on these, but the closer that the storm gets, the more accurate that all the predictions become. we'll check with you. thank you very much. and we appreciate the information. so, what have we seen with irma so far? we saw what it did coming through the caribbean. this is a deadly storm. you have at least a couple of
dozen lives that have been stolen by this storm through the british virgin islands, through the caribbean, now it's coming over cuba, doing damage. sthed they had to evacuate the whole northern shoreline of tourists there. we'll still learn what the devastation is that the storm brought to bear. so you would think that people in the florida keys, seeing what's coming their way across puerto rico and now cuba and now towards them, that they would have taken flight first. not the case. bill weir is in key largo, the key closest to the peninsula of florida. bill, what's the reality you're seeing there to this minute? >> reporter: actually, chris, minor correction. we were in key largo this morning but we came all the way down. welcome to key west. welcome to the southern most city of the united states. welcome to the corner of green and duval streets which on an average friday would be wall to wall with revelry and tourists and now we have just an occasional barback going to
work. that's the thing about the florida keys. you're never going to have a full mandatory evacuation in a place like this because it goes against the psyche of the people who come down and make their living in this place. there's a certain stubbornness, a certain sense of fierce individualism, but that doesn't mean they're not afraid. by this point, most of the people who wanted to leave have gone. that's about two-thirds of the 75,000 who call the keys home but we met a couple people with varying degrees of angst. take a look. >> yeah, we hunkered down and we're staying. there's a lot of people that are staying. >> yeah? >> just mostly the tourists left. i know a lot of locals are staying. >> reporter: and what is it about a true native conch that makes you defy all those warnings and orders and makes you think you can survive. >> we've been through plenty of hurricanes. i know this one's a little bit bigger, but i'm sure we'll be all right. >> i'm feeling confident about where i'm staying and i'm just more worried, i think, the
aftermath at this point. i grew up in the chesapeake bay and seeing what some of the storms did up there and the nor'easters and we're down here, i think we would be kind of a last to get supplies over miami, ft. lauderdale and the bigger cities. >> reporter: she did express real worry, and this is somebody who's lived down here for quite a while. most people refer back to wilma, 2005, which was the last time the storm surge inundated about 75% of key west. they're worried act the storm surge. they're worried about a bridge going out because that not only cuts off transportation and supplies from the mainland but their water and electricity as well. we understand there is a meeting of city council folks tonight. they'll get the very latest update. but if you listen to the locals here who have been studying the sea and the sky all their lives, the consensus here seems to be on the coconut telegraph that it will come ashore at marathon, some of our meteorologists have been saying the same a little further north from here and most have said they're hunkering
down. it's too late to leave at this point because by the time they go two hours to miami, then there's all the traffic of i-95 going north. but this place has no shortage of characters. i will introduce you to several of them in the coming hours, chris. >> well, bill, first of all, thank you for making that effort to go all the way down even further, deeper into the danger zone and you know, you call them conchs as a nickname and it makes me think, in italian, the word for conch is used as a word to kind of describe somebody who's a little not right in the head, who sometimes makes decisions that aren't a hundred percent. and i have to tell you, if you talk to the experts, they say staying where you are right now, you know, may make you a little bit of a scungili in terms of thinking about risk assessment. >> absolutely. no, i mean, from the outside, it makes utter no sense at all. especially when you talk to the guys who are going to ride it out on their boats. even some long-timers say that's
suicide. the guys we met last night. but when they do the math in their heads, they say, well, the building codes in the keys are much stronger than, say, tampa, so i'd rather ride it out in a structure that's rated for cat 4. there's all these interesting bits of calculus that they're doing whether to stay or go. but that is the reality. that's the psyche of the conchs. this is the conch republic and they fly that flag proudly. >> all right. i hear you. i get it. i mean, we all respect the spirit, but the choices, certainly the first responders aren't respecting them, not that much, not that deep down that close to where the storm is expected to come. bill, you stay safe, my friend. we'll check back with glouyou i little bit. >> thank you. >> where bill is, they're checking a lot of boxes of risk factors down there.
now you get here to south beach and it becomes a very different dynamic. you have a much more dense population and you have mandatory and involuntary evacuation orders and it's hard to keep track of everything. so, let's go to west palm beach, let's go to brian todd, he has been monitoring the police actions almost, brian, going door to door to see who got out, who decided to stay, and what is their condition. >> reporter: that's right, chris. the police were here just moments ago on south flagler drive here in west palm beach putting it in incredibly plain and stark terms on their loud speaker, saying, this is a mandatory evacuation. please evacuate, doing it very loudly on the loud speakers so that everybody could hear it. some people came out of their homes and talked to the police. but you would be surprised, chris, how many people are going to ride this out and one of the reasons this area is under mandatory evacuation is storm surge. our people are telling us this could get five to ten feet above normal water levels of storm surge. right now, if you see down here, the intercoastal waterway, this
is low tide, maybe eight feet above the water but at high tide, we're only going to be five feet above the squawater a then five to ten feet more. that's why they're trying to get palm beach evacuated right now and they're trying to get people across these bridges. we are told that in west palm beach, there are some poorer neighborhoods that are being evacuated, tens of thousands of people getting on buses to go to shelters on high ground. but a lot of people here on this street have decided to ride it out and they think -- they're confident in the structure of their houses, and they just believe that you know, they've been through this before and they can ride it out. that is not the advice that they're getting and it leads to another question, chris. are, you know, is the city going to be able to spend the resources, are they going to want to spend the resources to rescue these people when there might be other people in more dire need who are trying to get out but maybe kobt. tho couldn't. those are tough decisions. >> brian, and you put your
finger on the exact issue that we keep hearing from all the officials. it's not that they're just making a decision to stay that is a decision for them. it's going to impact the first responders as well. our thanks to brian todd. we'll check back with him in just a little bit. and you know, there are a lot of considerations here. and the first responders all say, we get that it's a hard choice. but sometimes just because something is a difficult choice, doesn't mean it is one you should not make. we're going to take a break here. when when he come back, there's a whole variety of reasons to stay and shelter in place. we're going to introduce you to a man, a chef, who has a very unique reason to stay. stay with cnn. super-cool notebooks, done. that's mom taking care of business. and with the "25 cent event", office depot officemax takes care of mom! now, all this just 25 cents each!
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you are in the "cnn newsroom." we have special live coverage of hurricane irma and it is not just south florida fleeing irma. nearly 270 miles north of where chris has been in miami beach, people are getting out there as well. i want to go to cnn's sara sidner in daytona beach, florida, where a mandatory evacuation will soon begin there as well. sara, talk to us about what you are experiencing there in daytona beach and what you're hearing from some of the residents. >> reporter: basically what the residents and business owners are doing especially here on the boardwalk is boarding up their businesses. we were here in this exact spot during hurricane matthew. this place did get some damage from that. there was water inside. business owner here said water inside his business but he is very nervous this time. he says his family is panicking,
they want to leave and then they are going to try to leave this area. we should reiterate that there are mandatory evacuations for low-lying areas and those who are in mobile homes here in the daytona beach area and the sheriff was very clear in saying that they will shut down the bridges. so you'd be trapped on daytona beach if you don't leave sunday between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m., those bridges may be shut down because of the high winds and potential of flooding at the bottom of those bridges. so, they want people to be aware of what's going on. they told them to prepare and go to shelters. one thing that i thought was interesting was that when you go to a shelter, they said, you have to bring preparations for yourself. so, bring food, bring clothing, bring your animals, dog food, cat food, bring all that with you, because they do have some things like water, but really, you're supposed to be self-sustaining as you go into those shelters. they're telling people, be ready for that. those shelters were open on saturday. >> so, sara, those shelters, are
they there in daytona beach or are they north of there? we keep talking about shelters and people need to get out of harm's way. where are they going, exactly? >> reporter: yeah. if you go over the bridge, they have them all listed for them. as to where it is they can go to make sure that they are in a little bit higher ground than right here on the coast. i do want to let you hear from people because people are listening to these evacuation orders, clearly. we were out up and down, going to and from orlando, which is about an hour drive from here and we bumped into a gentleman who had his two dogs, his wife and his mother-in-law and he was getting out of town. >> it was, you know, a couple of these electricity so i'm used to it but i've never seen anything like this. i'm usually the last one, i'm the most skeptical one to evacuate. so, i'm -- now i'm taking this seriously because i realize that it's twice the size of andrew. it's too much not to, you know, put my family at risk and get
out. >> reporter: so, he's getting out. he is heading north. he said the traffic was fine for him. that was a few hours ago. as he came through orlando. but people are taking this seriously and there's definitely a look on people's faces of, you know what, this is a big storm. even if it doesn't hit us directly, we do need to pay attention and listen to authorities. >> it is great to hear people are heeding those warnings, sara sidner, thank you for that in daytona beach. let's head south now, go back to chris in miami beach. and chris, it looks like people are clearing out from the scene behind you. are people there listening to the authorities? >> reporter: yes and no. they say it has gotten better, that there's been a cultural evolution here in terms of taking evacuations seriously. some are resistant for good reason, some for bad reason but i'll tell you, it is rare to hear the governor of florida say, everyone from jacksonville to south beach must be ready to evacuate. it's no longer just about the keys and just about this area
here around the south beach area. so lest go to miguel marquez in lake okeechobee north of us. and what's the situation there, miguel? >> reporter: well, look, it's a pretty decently running evacuation at the moment. but it's a lot of people, 32,000 in this far western side of palm beach county just in the shadow of lake okeechobee. i want to show you what's happening here. this is a middle school in bellglade. people are gathering here by the hundreds and then taking buses from other parts of palm beach county, whether they are city buses or school buses here or there's more, if you come around this way, you can see there are more city buses that are now leaving the area. they may be going to another shelter. what they are doing is from different locations in the lake region here, south of lake okeechobee, they are loading people on to these buses and then moving them to seminole ridge high school about 30 minutes east of here because that is somewhat higher ground and certainly much more hardened
positions to be in to wait out this storm. the problem here are many. this is a very poor community, mostly working in the corn fields or sugar fields, also it's very heavily creole-speaking population, not exactly the most trusting community to get on buses, but you see whole families carrying everything they have on to these buses, not sure if they have anything to come back to for two reasons. right now, the track is either near or on this very area and it may come very close to here. the other problem is that lake. there's 143 miles of levees surrounding lake okeechobee. it has been worked on. this is from 1930s, they started building this thing. it has been worked on this recent years and hardened in certain places but it is still not perfect and it is not clear it will hold. if not only the rain water from the storm itself but from this massive, massive drainage north of the lake in the days after the rain is gone, if it will raise the amount of water in
that lake and wear away at those levees and flood this entire area. they could -- this could make texas look like a cake walk if that lake goes and this area floods. >> god forbid, miguel, but you're pointing out the right issue and you're talking about one aspect of resistance, cultural resistance but there's another kind of resistance, practical resistance. take a look at the traffic. this is from ocala. this is what's happening as people are trying to move knot north. the traffic is maddening. there's no question about that. there's an expression down here we heard from one of the state actors this morning who said, something like face the drive so you can survive. you know, just because it rhymes doesn't mean it's true but the reality is that is the proposition. do you want to be stuck in traffic but get to where you need to be or do you want to choose convenience and wait out a storm that could really take you sideways. so, let's get some perspective from a man who knows the job,
who knows the risks and the realities. cnn contributor dave halstead, the former director of state emergency management here in florida. dave, thank you very much. so, let's deal with points of resistance. did you see that traffic? i'm not going to do that drive. i'm better off staying home. >> that's the problem. we get so gridlocked in our thinking and gridlocked in our driving that it makes it impossible for people to see the reality that it's still better to get out of here. yes, they're stuck in traffic now. they're not going to be stuck there when the storm hits. it's going to be cleared. they're going to be taken to shelters or they're going to be able to clear the area. >> second thing we've been hearing, not so much from the locals but the people who are vacationing down here. look at this. it's beautiful. it's beautiful. look at the people still on the beach. what is the reality about the violence of the shift? >> the reality is tomorrow you and i cannot stand here. we would not be able to stand here because of what's coming in. so the time to leave, the time to evacuate is now. yes, it's a piece of paradise
right now, enjoy it but you better be thinking, where am i going to be tomorrow when the real storm hits. hopefully it's far away from here. >> you scared me and said it would be like andrew, that's a 5. now they say it's going to be a 4. the eye may even miss us. it's not going to be that bad. what's the reality of the difference between a direct hit and a bad hit. >> oftentimes, on the north side of the storm, you've got actually worse weather than you would if the center came right over you. it's going to push that water and build that water up. the storm surge, in fact, could be higher. so let's say that it misses us slightly to the east. that storm goes up the coast. what's that eye wall doing? it's pushing that water more and more on shore. so the closer it is to shore, the worse it is for the storm surge and the worse it is for that possible flooding that you and i talked about and that again is where a lot of our deaths occur. >> explain one other thing we keep hearing. the concerns about getting hit by the dirty edge of the storm. what does that mean? >> that's really where the bad stuff comes in.
that is where the worst weather comes in. that is also potentially where you get tornado activity, which, again, compounds everything that you're working with. so that's what i'm talking about when that weather gets on the wrong side of the state or on the wrong side of where you're standing or living, it's going to build up and build up and hit you very hard even if the eye wall doesn't strike. >> dave, you are completely indistensab indispensable to this coverage. i will be leaning on you heavily and probably physically not too long from now. >> no problem, chris. thank you. >> appreciate it. so here's the good news and the bad news. the good news is the dirty edge scenario may not happen with irma. but the bad news is the reason it's so big, literally estimated to be about the size of texas, that it will be evenly distributed in a way that it is all dirty edge. those are the realities and the possibilities we're dealing with. what are the specifics of the forecast? let's take a break. when we come back, we will get you the latest information on
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welcome back to our special live coverage of hurricane irma and for those still deciding whether to evacuate coastal florida, take a look at this stunning image. it has been edited to compare hurricane irma to hurricane andrew and it is irma that devours the 1992 storm in size. the cloud field covers nearly 300,000 square miles. to give you some perspective, that's about the size of the
state of texas. and irma is also breaking records left and right, no storm on
record has maintained 185 miles per hour winds for as long. it has since dipped and with hurricane jose trailing just behind, the atlantic now has two hurricanes with winds blowing more than 150 miles per hour for the first time ever. george wright a meteorologist and is joining us now. george, as you take a look at the maps, at the models, what does a trained eye see that you think is most significant? >> well, i see most significant is the more westerly track now. the storm had been moving from the west to the northwest, now it's more on a westerly track, still moving at 14 miles an hour. and that means that it's going to start taking that northerly turn, which is what the models are predicting. so, it look like the eye will come ashore near key west at 8:00 a.m. or approximately 8:00 a.m. on sunday morning. >> so you do still see it goes straight up the middle, straight up the peninsula.
>> pretty much parallel to the peninsula, bisecting it and it also will stay on land for more than 24 hours, which is unlike andrew. andrew came on shore in dade county in 1992 and then that system just continued to move from east to west and it moved out into the gulf. now, this storm will be tracking right up the florida peninsula as you can see a very powerful category 4 storm, winds of 145 miles an hour expected at 8:00 a.m. on sunday morning. >> a lot of people in the field have said we lived through andrew. our building survived through andrew. andrew was a category 5. right now, irma is a category 4. what do you tell them. >> i tell them that this storm will be over land for a much longer period of time than andrew was and it will be affecting a much larger area. >> so this one's more dangerous. >> yes. because it will be affecting a larger area. as a matter of fact, there could be flooding all the way up into georgia and south carolina. >> so, also, i understand andrew
did not have the storm surge. we're hearing three to ten-foot storm surge with irma. when would that happen? >> well, most likely, the worst of the storm surge, anywhere from five to ten feet, will occur late saturday night and during the day on sunday and as the storm tracks to the north, the backlash, because a hurricane tracks in the northern direction, the winds are blowing counterlockwi count counterclockwise so the northwesterly winds will start to pile up water. so all this water will be piling up into the bay as it moves gradually northward. >> so you're saying the storm surge might hit before people feel the impact of the winds? >> well, the tropical storm force winds are expected to move in to the southern part of florida around 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. so, during the day, it will get windier and windier and we have high tide at noon and around midnight tomorrow so that's when, like, tomorrow night is when the maximum storm surge will start to take control, not
the maximum but that's when you start to see the water. >> that's before the eye takes the center. >> that's right. and when that eye will be moving, you know, northward and it will continue to pile up the water. the winds create the storm surge because there's frictional drag with the wind on the ocean surface and that will pile up the water and push it into the bays and it has nowhere to go but of course to flood. >> so people need to get out of dodge. george wright, thank you for explaining how that all works. now, we know of at least one man who has decided to stay in miami. he's apparently keeping his restaurant open, today at least, unless he is forced to close. he'sgoi he's going to join our chris cuomo live on the other side of the break back in miami beach. stay with us. super-cool notebooks, done.
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there's a range. how intense? there's a range. but it's going to be bad. so, there are a lot of mandatory evacuations taking place. the governor, governor scott, said that all floridians must be ready to evacuate from south beach at the southern end of florida to jacksonville, the northern tip. many are leaving. some are not. some can't. some are infirm, elderly, they're in hospitals. they're too tied to the situation. they're first responders. others are just choosing to stay. and there's a whole range of reasons for that. one such person is with me right now. his name is adam. he's a local tavern owner of a place known as gramps and he is staying. why? >> well, we want to be here to be able to open as soon as the storm's over. that's the priority. also, the building that we're in happens to be all concrete, concrete roof, so as far as a person who chooses not to
evacuate, i'm in a pretty good situation there. >> you have a generator? >> i do. i have two. we'll have those on after the storm. >> how many days of gas do you have? >> i don't know. but 70 gallons. whatever that works out to. i'm pretty hopeful it will keep the beer cold. >> do you know what your burn rate is? >> no clue. i did call the cooler company, asked what the wattage was and whether the generator that i had would keep it running and they said the beer could stay cold. >> i'm not worried about the beer. i'm worried about your life and your lights and the power that you'll need to hold up for a while. i'm giving you a hard time but it's only because i care about your safety. >> and i actually do too. i've spent the last week preparing. i was pretty sure last week that something big was going to happen so i've spent the week preparing and gathering supplies, taking care of the house, sent my daughter to portland with my mom. hi, gigi. and yeah, we're just -- we've
kind of got that list checked, checked again, checking it again today. we were planning on staying open as late as it was safe and we're about calling it now, even though the sun's still out, because i think that as far as safety goes, that includes preparing and taking it seriously and so i don't want anyone out not spending these last couple hours preparing. so we'll be there, you know, when it's over, but as far as our own safety, the safety of the folks that work for me, and we're a big family, and everybody's concerned about each other. we spent the last 48 hours kind of going to each other's houses, everybody's trying to gather supplies, if anybody's missing repliwoo plywood, things like that, we have a lot of tools sitting around so we've been a well for people to go to as far as that goes. >> you can't even keep your phone safe. you just dropped it in the sand. >> i'm nervous talking about it. >> you think you're going to be okay for this hurricane? why not just go?
you're in an area where they want grow go. you could come back immediately after it, open up, it could be a big celebration of the response to irma. >> i really just can't imagine le leaving at this point. i think that wipdnd' window's cr me. anyone who's left, i think they made the right decision. some of the people that stayed, like you mentioned, they can't for so many different reasons and i respect those as well. i just hope that everybody's safe and like i said, taking the last couple hours to really buckle down. i mean, you know, and if you have those last-minute doubts, definitely be calling friends and trying to figure out who's got the concrete block house or the impact window or if that isn't available, just a really solid bathroom to hide out in. >> you going to take care of the first responders and those who make it through afterwards.
>> absolutely. everybody in the industry, teachers, first responders, those guys, they know where we're at and we're going to be there for those guys. >> you be safe. i want to see you hopefully at gramps after irma. >> that sounds great. thank you very much. >> be well. be safe. let's take a break here, and look, you know, there's a fine line. you don't want to give somebody a hard time. everybody makes their own personal choice, but remember, the first responders, they leave their families to come save the rest of us, and the people who make a choice that turns out to be a bad choice, now they have to come in. they have to do what they do best, search and rescue. but the less need, the better. so, that's one thing staying here, he's in a big cement place, he's got the generators and the supplies that go along with the business. what if you don't? what if you're in one of the keys? what if you're in key west? all the way down there. certainly in the line of what's coming, and you decide to stay. we have somebody who's doing exactly that and we'll check in with him right after this break. oh, you brought butch.
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the problem is once the window starts to close, it's going to close very, very quickly. the message from the locals all the way up to the president, if you're going to get out, do so now and, if not, make sure you have supplies. the hemingway museum, ever heard of it? the probl it's in key west. the man who takes care of it is going to stay there. what about that decision? is it the right one for him? listen to why he says it is. mr. gonzalez, can you hear me? >> yes, i can. >> we get that you care about the museum, we get that it is a special place, but you are in key west. that is right there in the line of danger with hurricane irma. why stay? >> there are two choices, really. one is to evacuate and two is to find a safe shelter.
the building you see behind me has been here since 1851. it's constructed out of solid 18-inch blocks of limestone and we are not in the flood zone. we are sitting at one of the highest elevations of land in all the florida keys. >> all right. i'm not going to go fact for fact with you, because you're in charge of the museum. i know you know everything. but do you have all the supplies you need? do you have a plan for this period of up to 72 hours where people won't be able to get to you if the power gets shut off, if you don't even have access to water? do you have what you need? >> yes, we do. this is not our first rodeo. we have ample water because our office uses five gallons of bottled water for our water fountain. we have about 30 of those 5-gallon bottles on hand. we have an ample supply of food. we have three power generators which we plan on running our refrigerators and air-conditioning off of.
we also have our veterinarian visit us on wednesday, overstocked us in medications for the cats that need them. we have first aid kits and we are stocked up, we're boarded up and we are in probably the strongest fortress in all the florida keys, the ernest hemingway home and museum. >> who is "we" and are you open to taking those who decided to stay in if they can't find anyplace else? >> good question. we're not a public shelter. we have ten of our employees who have chosen to stay with us because they are either in low-lying areas, which are in flood zones, which we are not. we are at 16 feet above sea level, one of the safest places to be in the florida keys. so those ten employees are camping out with us right here inside this museum and our administrative offices. i personally reside in the residence in the guest quarters in the rear, so i'm just going to stay at my own home on the property. this is, again, a great shelter
for those employees that were living in low-lying areas that would be subject to the floods. this is not a flood zone here. >> i understand that, and it's a good thing, but have an open mind and an open heart. who knows what the needs will be when the storm comes. if it's equal to or more, people will be scrambling. mr. gonzalez, thank you for talking to us. i look forward to talking to you after irma comes and goes. be safe. >> thank you very much. good day. back to you, anna cabrera. there is a whole range of what we're going to see here in the run-up to hurricane irma, people who stay for good reason, for bad reason, who are ready, who are not. the only thing we know for sure is it's coming. >> and we're trying to provide the latest and most crucial information to our viewers to make sure they are ready and to make sure we get that information out so people can stay safe. of course, the officials have been urging everybody who may be in harm's way to evacuate, to
get to a shelter where they believe they have instilled the proper protocols and have the right facilities in order to get people through this powerful storm. i want to get to cnn's rosa flores who is at one of those shelters in homestead, florida. rosa, what is the situation there? >> reporter: well, you know, an a -- anna, a lot of people heeding the warning. you just told me a lot of schools have turned into shelters. people are heeding the warning. >> exactly. we expect 1,000 residents to seek shelter in our schools. we have over 24 schools. we're built to withstand these high winds, category 4 and 5. we are prepared for feeding and housing anybody who comes to our
schools. we have cooperation with the national guard and county entities to open another 12 schools, and we'll continue to go until every single person in our community is safely accommodated. >> reporter: what is it you need right now? because this is a huge responsibility to the superintendent of schools and also a school district, because your job really is not to house people, it's to educate people. what is it that you need at the moment? >> it may not be our job, but it's fundamentally our moral responsibility to serve and protect and provide for those who need the assistance right now. we have the resources we need on our side. i need swifter response in terms of red cross and national guard to assist us with the processing of individuals. our fundamental responsibility is not to operate the shelters, it is to open the shelters and feed the individuals. there is some degree of delays between people and our folks who are here at 6:00 in the morning and the arrival of the true shelter managers. that needs to be accelerated a bit. sometime tonight the wind will start to pick up.
by tomorrow, tropical storm strength winds will be in effect, and saturday night to sunday, the hurricane will strike. shame on us if the cavalry does not arrive in time to ensure that every single person in miami-dade, those that live here, those that were born here, citizen or not as well as a tourist, is accommodated safely. >> superintendent, thank you so much. we really appreciate everything that you're doing. anna, the superintendent, by the way, has been saying hello to all of these students. not only is he doing a great job allowing people to go into his schools, it also appears he's doing a great job educating these children as well. back to you. >> before i let you go, i know you've also been in touch with folks at the airports to find out exactly what's happening with people who may be visiting or trying to get out. we know there are flight cancellations. bring us up to date on that real quick. >> reporter: you know, i was just talking to the superintendent a moment ago about that. he was saying people from miami international airport are arriving to shelters here in
homestead, to shelters that are schools that are now being turned into shelters to make sure people are in a safe place to ride out the storm. you know, i talked to a lot of people at the airport earlier today, some of them foreigners who literally just wanted to get out of miami to higher ground. and i haven't been inside the shelter. we will not be allowed in because it is a shelter. but from talking to the superintendent, he tells us some foreigners are here. they are seeking shelter in homestead. >> people doing what they can to stay safe. rosa flores in one of those shelters, thank you so much. we heard the conversation there about all the meals, all the water, all the supplies that they have on scene. we know there are millions of liters of water, millions of meals that fema is preparing to move in as hurricane irma continues to get closer to florida. on you live coverage continues in just moments.
welcome to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in for jake tapper. it is becoming much clearer that florida is a not-miss for this potential hurricane full of catastrophe. hurricane irma puts miami right in the path of this storm, and all of south florida, and eventually the entire peninsula, for that matter. this is the approximate size of hurricane irma. it is