tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 8, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
high. and ferocious wind with millions of people in its path. we have a new forecast that's just been released. destructive force, we are getting grim new images of the devastation irma has caused across the caribbean where the storm has killed at least two dozen people. and tonight another powerful hurricane, jose, is looming in the atlantic. converging paths, multiple forecasting models now show irma's monstrous eye striking the florida keys first, then whipping its way up the entire state with hurricane force winds. officials say the only question is how devastating the damage will be. and out of time, florida's governor implores people under evacuation orders to leave now and says all florida residents should be prepared to flee soon. but for many, clogged highways and gas shortages are hindering their escape. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer.
you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news tonight, hurricane irma racing toward florida and leaving a trail of death and widespread devastation across the caribbean. a new forecast has just been released extending the hurricane warnings and watches north on both florida coasts. right now, irma is packing winds of 155 miles an hour. it is on track to make a direct hit on south florida early sunday. the storm surge is forecast to be as high as 12 feet, potentially inundating the keys. the threat is being called catastrophic and it's prompted what could turnout to be one of the largest evacuations in u.s. history. officials have ordered millions of people in florida, georgia and south carolina to flee, but many in florida are encountering
clogged highways and shuttered gas stations. and tonight we are getting a grim new sense of irma's destruction in the caribbean where the storm is blamed for at least two dozen deaths. the islands of antigua, barbuda and st. maarten are among the hardest hit, and now they're under a new hurricane watch for jose. another category 4 storm. we are covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, including top fema official katie fox and the director of the national weather service, louie uccellini and our correspondents and specialists are also standing by. let's get straight to the cnn hurricane center. our meteorologist alison is tracking irma for us. alison, there is a new forecast just out. you're getting new information. >> yeah, we have a lot of new updates that have come in within the past hour, so let's get straight to them. first and foremost, wind gusts have increased from 185 to 190 miles per hour. the movement going from west at
14 miles per hour slowing a bit down to 12, this can often happen when you're interacting with land as we see with the bahamas as well as cuba. but the thing to note, it's in its prime spot. it's in open water here. this is a necessary ingredient for a lot of these hurricanes to be able to either maintain strength or actually intensify. and that's what we expect it to do, intensify, up to a category 5 storm just before it crosses over the florida keys. then as it goes into the florida pan handle, and the main peninsula region, it will likely make land fall as a category 4. but over the florida keys, if it ends up making land fall there as a category 5, it would be only the fourth category 5 storm to ever hit the united states in modern times. so, again, just to show you how rare of a thing this would actually be, we talk about some of the big concerns. obviously being winds, but storm surge is going to be another huge impact here.
from west palm beach stretching down towards key west, we are looking at storm surge of 5 to 10 feet. north of that cape canaveral could be looking at 3 to 6 feet. on the southwestern side, naples down to key west, this is where we could actually see some of the highest storm surge of 8 to 12 feet. it's called shoeling. the reason is it has to do with depth there. on the eastern side of florida, it's a pretty steep dip once you get in towards the ocean from where the beech is. on the western side it's much, more gradual when the water starts to dip off. because of that, it allows that water to be able to come up higher as it moves inland. so, you're naturally going to have slightly higher storm surge in that southwestern portion of florida. we also talk about the expansion of hurricane watches and hurricane warnings now that we are getting closer to land fall. and these are likely to spread even farther north over the next 24 hours. so, just because your county may not be under a hurricane watch or warning right now, doesn't
mean it will stay that way. we will likely see more counties added to this in the next 24 hours. here's a look at the forecast intensity, because you have to understand the size of this storm. it is massive. and because of that, the hurricane force winds will actually extend on both sides. so, it doesn't really matter if you're on the miami side or the naples side. you are going to get hurricane force winds out of this storm. it's not likely to weaken below that until it gets close enough to the georgia state line. now, a lot of comparisons have been made to andrew. one of the big differences is that size. this is two scale. this is andrew. this is irma. you can see the sheer difference between the two of them in not just size, but also strength. and, yes, wolf, we talked about the models. for the last couple of days, they've been a little off. you have to kind of pick and choose. now you don't have to because both of the models, especially the main ones that we look at, have really come into agreement
on where this is going to make land fall and when. and at this point that wind looks to be early sunday morning for south florida. >> the american model and the european model now in agreement. all right, alison, stand by. i know you're working your information. we'll get more from you shortly. it's not just florida's coast in danger. there is fear of life-threatening flooding inland as well. let's go to our national correspondent miguel marques. he's near lake okeechobee in florida for us. miguel, communities there, they are clearly under evacuation orders. >> reporter: mandatory evacuation orders here and mass evacuations and escape throughout the state. it is time to either roll the dice and hunker down, or get out. tonight, hurricane irma heading straight for florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction across the caribbean in its wake. homes and buildings decimated. no water and hundreds of thousands without power, irma
slammed the islands of turks and caicos early friday as a category 4 hurricane. >> last night was the worst of my life. the wind, it was just banging against the wall. >> reporter: the british virgin islands also hit hard what used to be homes, now just frames and debris. trees snapped in half and an airport in rubble. tonight the storm is on track to hit florida early sunday morning. residents across the state are being warned, get out. >> i don't know anybody in florida that's ever experienced what's about to hit south florida. >> reporter: now what could be one of the largest evacuations in u.s. history is underway. >> all floridians should be prepared to evacuate. >> reporter: thousands of motorists on roads headed north while others crowd airports for the few remaining flights out. some who are staying are pouring into shelters. >> this storm is wider than an entire state and expected to cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast.
>> reporter: now, i tell you one issue here in the center of the state, lake okeechobee may not be the storm itself but the rain it will dump. it is a slow moving storm and dumps tons of water on the lake and the watershed north of it, it could threaten those 143 miles of levees protecting all that water from spilling out and it could have a massive difficult astdisaster on our hands where we're standing now. wolf? >> miguel marques reporting for us. fema's acting deputy administrator katie fox is joining us once again. katie, thanks very much for joining us. what are fema's top priorities in these hours before this monstrous storm hits? >> fema's top priorities are to really echo what the state and local officials have said, which is to follow the guidance of your local officials. if they tell you to evacuate, get out. do not mess around, do not delay. do precisely as they say to keep you safe. >> at this point, katie, are
there any significant changes we potentially could see as far as the hurricane's path to make things better or worse for floridians? >> you know, i think as you just heard in the previous report, this is a massive storm and so the entire state right now is in the path. it's been a little bit difficult to predict a couple miles here or there. so, i would just say, you know, follow the advice of your local officials. make sure that you have your supplies, your emergency preparedness kit, and that you're ready to follow those orders. >> at this late stage, katie, what should floridians, residents, visitors in florida be doing right now if they haven't evacuated? >> you know, it depends on where you are exactly. some people are in higher ground and they have good places to shelter and that may be the safest place for them to be. so, again, follow the advice of your local official. if you've got the fema app, take a look at that emergency checklist. double-check it, make sure you haven't forgotten anything. do you have your medications, do
you have food and water for your pets, make sure that you're ready to go. if you have some spare time, you could look at ready.gov and do some training or where to help until help arrives. be ready to help your neighbors because we know, looking in houston and every place else that neighbors are often the ones who are the most useful right in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. >> does fema right now, katie, feel overextended, given what you've just gone through with harvey in texas and louisiana? >> you know, this is what we do. we prepare for the worst and then we're ready for it. so, we are marshaling all our forces across the department of homeland security, certainly within fema, and really across the federal government. we're working with our state and local partners to increase our forces and be ready for whatever may happen. >> it's going to be a category 5, we're told. once it hits the keys, as it moves up through the entire
state of florida, there is going to be an enormous amount of power outages. what are folks going to do if they lose power for days and days and days? >> you know, i think we're going to, again, have to take the advice of the local officials. but as you can be prepared, i've heard lots of guidance coming out from those officials about charging up your freezers and your refrigerators. you know, if you have a generator, make sure that you've got some fuel for it. and i also always recommend having a hand crank radio so you can stay tuned to the weather alerts and what those officials are saying. >> what do you anticipate? you're an expert in this area. are millions of people in florida going to be without power? >> the estimates that we have seen so far is that there could be tremendous amounts of power outages. >> what does that mean, tremendous amounts? >> i don't have the numbers right in front of me, but, you know, there are a lot of -- this is a massive storm and there could be a lot of folks in florida without power. >> and would that last for days or weeks?
>> you know, it really depends on the magnitude of the storm. i mean, as you've heard, this is a category 5 storm with incredibly strong winds. it really remains to be seen what happens with the infrastructure. but it could be a little while. >> are there enough shelters open right now, katie, and do they have enough clean water, food, other supplies, medical equipment that the people will clearly need? >> my understanding from the state is that they have what they need in terms of shelters. i know that in the last couple of days they have marshalled a volunteer force of 17,000 to supplement the regular force of shelter workers. and we've got prestage food and commodities ready to supplement the state as they need. but my understanding is that right now they're in pretty good shape. >> katie fox is the acting deputy administrator of fema. thanks for all the important work, katie, you and your colleagues are doing. we're all grateful to you. appreciate it very much. >> thanks so much. >> let's bring back louie
uccellini, national director est weather service who has been with us here in the situation room. when the water is warm as it approaches florida, the power of this hurricane is only going to intensify. >> the source of energy for these storms is the warm oceans, and it's now approaching another warm pool of water, open water, less friction. so, this -- and we've seen now during the day, this tendency to start intensifying again. we are predicting now at 160 miles an hour at land fall in the northern keys. so, it's feeding off the energy of the warm ocean. it remains, it remains a very dangerous storm. we can expect destructive storm surge and heavy rainfall as it hits florida and moves up. the other aspect of this we need to emphasize is when you get this powerful storm making land fall, you have to worry about the tornadoes in that northeast quadrant of the storm.
so -- >> there is going to be the power of the hurricane and there is also going to be tornadoes that are developing? >> you get these tornadoes that spin up very rapidly in the section of the storm. in this case it will be the northeast sector of the storm. that's just another part of the threat that this storm -- that people are going to be facing as this storm makes land fall. we've heard it now, you've just heard it from fema. i want to reemphasize, it's the local officials that are making decisions to save lives. and people have to listen to them. this is an incredibly dangerous situation. >> so, when you say there could be tornadoes developing from the northeast part of the hurricane, that's the part that's going to hit presumably areas like miami, right? >> miami and all the way up the coast. >> are you saying, louie, there could be tornadoes in the miami area? >> we're saying that within that whole northeastern sector as it moves up, we have to be particularly cognizant of the fact that that's what tornadoes usually spin up. it could happen on the back end
of those bands as well. so, this is one of the meteorological threats we're emphasizing as the storm makes land fall and moves up florida. >> we have some new video from barbuda in the caribbean. i want to put it up and show our viewers. i want you to watch. take a look at the devastation, louie. take a look at this. look at the video. you can see it right there of what happened. this island was basically devastated, 95% we are told, destroyed in what was a very beautiful caribbean island. look at these pictures. is this what we can anticipate happening in south florida? >> this is exactly where the eye passed over. passed over this island. this is where the forces are maximized around a hurricane. it's within the eye wall. that's what you see, okay, that kind of destruction with these kind of winds. we are predicting winds that will be slightly lower than what it was when it went over this island, but we are just talking
about ten miles per hour, 15 miles per hour difference in sustained winds. you can see the kind of destruction these kind of winds can cause. we should be very concerned for those areas where this eye will pass over on land fall. >> stand by for a minute. louie will be with us, louie uccellini, national director of the weather service. in cuba now, the storm is developing. patrick, be careful over there, but tell us what you can. >> reporter: you know, just since the last time we talked, wolf, the first major squall has come in. rain blowing sideways. we can no longer see the islands off the coast. it is really blowing here. i think it's just the beginning of this very powerful storm, category 5, coming to this section of cuba. and i think it's just the beginning of a very long night. >> when we spoke just a little while ago, patrick, it seemed relatively calm, pretty sunny, almost like a normal day.
all of a sudden this developed. what are they saying in cuba right now? how much time do you have before the real hurricane develops? because this is just the outer, outer circle of it. >> reporter: yes, these are just the outer bands. we're not -- the worst of it will be early tomorrow morning. but all day long they've been telling people here, the coastal areas of cuba, this part of cuba, that it could flood, that the wind is going to come like this. and it's going to be very strong and that people need to evacuate. there will come a time when they will no longer be able to evacuate. that time has now come. you can't drive in this. you can't walk in this kind of weather. it is just going to continue to deteriorate. for people in florida who are still on the fence, these are the beginning of the conditions that they will face. this is not the full force of the storm by any measure because, remember, the storm is passing by cuba. it's not going to hit cuba the way it's going to hit florida. and i have to say, you know, i'm leaning in the wind now.
half an hour ago there were almost clear skies. we've seen this come in and now it's blowing the trees. i can no longer see the water out there. it is a very much changed situation and it happened in the space of a few minutes, wolf. >> a few minutes. stand by, patrick. louie uccellini the national director of the weather service is seeing this. this is just the beginning for the cuban people. >> that's correct. it's just the beginning. and they're on the south side of the storm. so, it will be the north side of the storm and then the east side of the storm as it makes the turn. it's actually going to be the worst part of the storm. so, they're being brushed by the storm and they're on the south side, not the worst part. and you see what's happening already. >> patrick, very quickly, there are millions of people over there potentially in harms way in cuba. are they prepared for this? have they evacuated? are they in shelters? >> reporter: so, the cuban government says hundreds of
thousands of people across this very long line have already evacuated. tens of thousands of tourists were taken off the islands behind me from the hotels there, the beaches and taken to other parts of the island or to airports where they can fly home early to cut their vacations short. other cubans have gone to stay with relatives, have actually gone up into caves in the mountains. so, everybody who is going to evacuate probably at this point has done so. other people here in this town where i am have said they are going to ride it out. they have moved their furniture up to high levels. they know there will be heavy flooding here. and this is a dangerous storm, but for many people they just want to be in their homes, try to protect their belongings. of course, this is a very poor country. so, when a storm comes to cuba the way this storm is coming, it can have a devastating impact, wolf. >> do we know, patrick -- i'm not going to bother you too much longer because i know the situation is getting awful over there -- what the condition is at the u.s. naval base in
guantanamo bay, qugitmo, they he troops and prisoners there as well. >> reporter: absolutely. they are hunkering down. the storm is going to miss them. i'm on the central coast. the cuban government has said every bit of the coast line, the northern coast line was going to be affected. the whole length he said up to havana, probably perhaps was going to get some sort of weather. u.s. diplomats the first time since i've lived here, six years now, evacuated. they were allowed to evacuate. they didn't have to evacuate, but the state department said if diplomats wanted to leave from the embassy in havana, they could do so. many people took them up on that offer. of course, this storm is going to continue to go along cuba tonight and tomorrow, and then go up into florida. so, it just shows you how quickly the conditions can deteriorate, wolf, and can be a scary situation. >> patrick, one of our courageous journalists.
we have journalists all over the path of hurricane irma right now. thanks very much. be careful over there. we'll stay in close touch. get some shelter. this is only going to get worse for you, for the people of cuba over the coming hours. we're going to take a quick break, resume our special coverage right after this. this is not a cloud. this is a tomato tracked from farm to table on a blockchain, helping keep shoppers safe. this is a financial transaction secure from hacks and threats others can't see. this is a skyscraper whose elevators use iot data and ai to help thousands get to work safely and efficiently. this is not the cloud you know. this is the ibm cloud. the ibm cloud is the cloud for enterprise. yours. we just got to take itthe one game at a time.rprise. next question. odell! can you repeat everything you just said? my livestream won't load.
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this was the scene only moments ago in cuba. watch this, hurricane irma beginning to hit cuba. that's our correspondent patrick oppmann. been reporting in sunshine till a little while ago. then all of a sudden he was caught in the wind and rain. this shows you how quickly the bands of rain and wind can hit. patrick now is safe. he's under cover, but there he is. you saw what was going on. we're going to check back with patrick shortly. there is a new forecast that's just been released extending hurricanes warnings and watches north on both florida coasts. the storm now is expected to be a category 5 when it first makes land fall over the florida keys. let's go back to florida right now. the mayor of fort lauderdale jack seiler is joining us right now. mayor, thank you so much for joining us. you look at that, all of a sudden what happened to patrick oppmann, if there are folks in fort lauderdale, your beautiful city thinking about ride ing it out, maybe they see pictures like that. that's only the beginning of
what we can anticipate. this hurricane is only beginning over there, the outer bands. maybe they'll get some second thoughts and decide it's not too late to leave. what do you think? >> you're 100% right, wolf. between the visual of this storm with the immensity of it, intensity of it, to see it firsthand right on the screen, this storm looks just outrageously huge from space. it looks huge from the ground. and then to see what it just did to your correspondent, it's scary. we've been warning our neighbors, we've been warning our visitors, and we have made sure that we have been ready and prepared for this storm for several days. and cnn has put a spotlight on it and has made it known to everybody that this storm is coming. >> when is the last chance, mayor, for the folks in fort lauderdale and a lot of our viewers have been there right along the atlantic, when is the last chance to get out? >> well, we've been telling people tonight. we want everybody in their higher, dryer, safer space
tonight. and, so, we've got police officers out on the cause way bridges. i was out on the beech earlier today. i was just down on the beach an hour ago. we're trying to tell people that unless you're there for a specific reason, this is an evacuation zone. you know fort lauderdale. it is a barrier island on the east side that is all subject to flooding. and then as you move with about 200 miles of navigable waterway, we have low lying areas. in essence, we're telling people if you are in a low lying area, if you're in a flood zone, if you're on that barrier island, please move to higher, dryer ground and get yourself situated tonight in a safe space. go with friends. go with family. but please get off that barrier island. don't put us or our first responders in a difficult position. >> what if some of these folks, older people, for example, can't get out of harms way right now, what are you and other authorities, local authorities, state authorities, federal
authorities, doing at this last minute to save these people? >> well, we have been communicating for days. i mean, as you know with this storm, we have watched this storm move across the atlantic. we have watched it go from island to island. and every time it hits this warm water it gets bigger. so, we have had a massive campaign going commensurate with this storm. a massive campaign to educate and inform our neighbors. we've had very good success. and i think they understand that, look, this is not one you want to ride out in your condominium on fort lauderdale beach. this is one you want to get out. the biggest misconception i've been hearing, i'm on the third floor of my condo, i'm on the 4th floor of my apartment house. can i stay? and i explain to them, you might be above that surge -- that water surge line, but guess what, your lobby is not. your elevator shaft is not. all your infrastructure is not. and when all that gets wet or when all of that gets under water, you may be stranded. now you become your own first
responder because our first responders can't get to you. our first responders can't access the elevator to get up to you and so we've made it very clear to people that, hey, doesn't matter if you're on the 4th floor or the 20th floor. if you're on the barrier island, if you're in a low lying area, please move to higher, dryer ground. >> i spoke earlier with the mayor of miami beach, philip lavine who said all the hotels, all the retail, all the strants, everything, is shut down. it's like a ghost town. is it the same along the atlantic coast, the area of fort lauderdale? >> the majority of it is. we have a few bars that have always stayed open and traditionally stayed open until the last minute. they'll be closed. i actually talked to one of the bar owners when i was leaving the beach tonight. they're closing down. but as of tomorrow when all the effects start to come on shore and when he start to see the bands and the wind, and as i've said from day one, the storm surge is my biggest concern. when we start to see those
issues tomorrow, we'll have a curfew in place and we'll be very strict in terms of enforcement. we do not want people coming onto the cause way or crossing the cause way coming onto the barrier island. more importantly, after the storm. we don't want to see looting. we don't want to see people taking advantage of those who have been disadvantaged by the storm. so, our police have been told if they need to take whatever necessary measures are to keep the barrier island free of people during this curfew period, if someone stays in their unit, they're going to stay in their unit. we're not going to criminalize that. but we have encouraged every single person with the same message that you all have had. this is a serious, serious storm. and all you've got to do is watch your coverage of cuba right there to recognize 150, 160 mile an hour winds, rain, and my big concern, a storm surge with a potential high tide with an east wind. we could see five to 10 foot storm surge. >> the mayor of fort lauderdale jack seiler, good luck to you.
good luck to all your folks over there. good luck to everybody in florida right now. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. appreciate the coverage. >> just ahead, we'll have more on the breaking news as florida braces for a direct hit by a catastrophic storm. we're tracking hurricane irma with the latest forecast, then we'll go live to florida where officials are making a final last-minute appeal to residents to get out or get to a shelter. [burke] billy-goat ruffians. seen it. covered it. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ the whole country booking on choice hotels.com. four words, badda book. badda boom... let it sink in. shouldn't we say we have the lowest price? nope, badda book. badda boom. have you ever stayed with choice hotels? like at a comfort inn? yep. free waffles, can't go wrong. i like it.
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the breaking news tonight, the killer hurricane irma expected to strike sunday with a storm surge up to 12 feet. let's go back to our meteorologist alison. she is getting more information. all i son alison, hurricane warnings, now they have been extended on both coasts of florida. >> wolf, that is likely to continue as we get closer and closer to the land fall. more and more counties will be added to the list. if you think to yourself, my county is not under a watch or warning yet, that may change. don't plan your evacuation plans base off of that. as we get close tore land fall, more of those counties will be added. one of the big differences we noticed in the latest advisory was the shift. it takes the track further west about 12 miles. that may not seem like that much, but that could end up being the difference between a
land fall over miami or a land fall over a place like key largo. so, every little bit of a shift counts at this point. now, winds right now 155 miles per hour. winds have increased up to 190 miles per hour and the forward movement west at about 12 miles per hour. it's going to be entering incredibly warm water over the next 24 hours. that is going to allow this storm to intensify back up to a category 5 storm. we expect the winds very early sunday. we're talking say around midnight to 4:00 a.m., to be around the 160 mile per hour range. 157 by the way, for reference, is when we make that flip back over to a category 5. so, it's expected to be a category 5 as it goes over the florida keys. then when we get back to the main peninsula here, it's likely to go as a category 4, and then weaken very quickly after that point. storm surge is going to be one of the big concerns with this storm. we're talking west palm beach
down towards key west. we could be looking at storm surge up to 5 feet. cape canaveral, three to five to 6 feet. sarasota, tampa, 4 to 5 feet. naples to key west, this is where we're going to have the highest amount of storm surge. expected around 8 to 12 feet. keep in mind, a single story building is on average 10 feet tall. so, you're talking the entire first story of a ranch home, for example, under water. very similar to what we saw in houston during harvey. here is a look at those watches and warnings that we talked about. they have now extended further north, places like daytona beach, orlando and tampa under a hurricane watch. fort lauderdale and miami, under a hurricane warning. but these are going to shift north as we get closer to that land fall. we talk about some specific cities. take miami, for example, in order for them to start feeling those tropical storm force winds, that could arrive as
early as 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. hurricane force winds could arrive as early as 6:00 a.m. on sunday morning. total rainfall, about 6 to 8 inches possible over the coming days. naples could be looking at tropical storm force winds to arrive around midnight tonight. and hurricane force winds, wolf, could be expected as early as 8:00 p.m. tomorrow. and this is going to be a long thing for a lot of these cities where you're going to be dealing with those intense winds and heavy rain for hours as it moves over florida. >> looks like that whole state is in danger right now. alison chinchara, stand by. we're going to get back to you our meteorologist. let's go back to cnn's patrick oppmann in cuba where winds have calmed down. it seems like a few minutes since we talked to you. it's coming in waves, right? >> reporter: that is absolutely right, wolf. it's not blowing hard. there's no rain. just about 15, 20 minutes ago
when we last spoke, it was a very different picture. >> yep, yep, let me put my jacket on. whew! wolf, i didn't have a rain jacket when it hit because it had not rained a single drop here all day long. we haven't seen any rain. it just goes to show how quickly these things can come out of nowhere. so, if you are in florida awaiting this storm, don't be outside. don't be near the water. don't be in a place where something like this can surprise you. you know, we're on the weak side of the storm. the storm is not expected to make direct land fall here. it is passing off the coast. cuba is actually missing a bullet here. it's going to strike florida as a much more dangerous storm. for that intensity, that brief moment there, it felt like a jet engine. i could not get the jacket on. i was having trouble standing. just goes to show how quickly conditions change, how dangerous a hurricane can be. and it's only beginning here, i
suspect, throughout the evening and tomorrow morning, we will get more moments like this where it just comes at you in a wave and there is very little you can do to defend yourself against it. the power of mother nature is really an incredible, but also very scary thing. >> certainly is, patrick. be careful over there. good luck to you. good luck to all the folks in cuba. louie uccellini, the national weather service director, is with us. explain what you just saw. this hurricane is moving north of cuba, but the outer banks are beginning showily but surely to have an impact. >> yes. as the storm moves to the west and it is rotating counter clockwise, these bands spin-off. looked like what happened, happened to your correspondent, he got hit by one of those bands and they do come on real fast and very powerful winds and very heavy rainfall associated with them. >> that's only a tiny fraction of what we can anticipate in florida. >> right. well, florida will be on the what we call the wrong side of the storm, north and east side.
as it comes in, they will actually have the movement of the storm plus the rotation contributing to the winds. to be in the stronger winds and the strong storm surge as well. >> this is very, very frightening. i've got to tell you. all right, stand by, louie is going to be with us. other breaking news in the meantime continues. we're going to get a live update from miami. what will hurricane force winds do to the many construction cranes dotting the city sky line? we're also getting new images of the incredible devastation the storm left in the caribbean. the cnn crew has just landed in antigua. we'll get a live update. more than i want to think about. choose wisely everyone. no cheating, no cheating. then we found out how many years that money would last them. nooooo! oh no. how did this happen?
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the breaking news right now, the latest forecast shows hurricane irma slamming into south florida as a monster category 5 storm. that's the same strength that devastated some caribbean islands and killed at least two dozen people. cnn's leyla santiago has just landed in antigua. leila, you were in barbuda just a little while ago, an hour or so ago. tell our viewers what you saw. >> reporter: you know, wolf, as we were flying in, we certainly saw devastation. we're going to show you aerials that we captured while we were coming into this once caribbean tropical island surrounded by turquoise water. and then when you get on the ground, you not only see the
devastation, you feel the desperation of the people there, people who are trying to still get out at this hour, actually, many of them evacuating to where we are right now in antigua. you know, as we talked to the last few people still on the island of barbuda and we were asking them to just describe what irma was like, one man described it like a lion roaring. another person said it was a monster. and so now the question is what will jose do? what will hurricane jose do to that island and the people who have already lost so much? most people left barbuda with just one bag because their things were destroyed. their homes were, were on the ground. their lives just kind of scattered out onto the roads. if you could tell that some of
them were road -- some of them were flooded. when you see it, it is pure devastation. and this is among people who will tell you, we are used to hurricanes, but we have never seen anything like this. and when i asked them, what do you tell someone right now in irma's path, everyone immediately said, get out. get out now. >> yeah. jose is the other hurricane that's moving apparently right towards barbuda right now. the last thing they need is another hurricane as they try to do some leyla, good work. thanks for reporting that. a clear warning to all the folks in florida as well. if you haven't evacuated, you still have a little time. do it now. what will irm a's winds do to miami? let's go back to john berman who
is on the scene for us. john, there are a lot of construction cranes dotting the city skyline. what happens to them because potentially if they collapse that could be a huge danger? >> it's a big fear here, wolf. there are more than 20 of these cranes up around the city. it is a sign of the progress in miami and a booming economy here. there is a lot of construction going on. these cranes are designed to withstand 145 miles an hour winds. the problem is irma is going to hit as a category five storm somewhere in south florida with winds of 155 miles an hour or higher. so that is above is threshold where these cranes really are safe. and one of the building officials here said i would not advise staying in a building next to a crane. they are telling people if you do live next to one of these cranes, get out. evacuate. they couldn't take them down. it take five to six days to
dismantle them, so that is why they are still standing. one particular note, the booms, you can see the arms up top. they can't tie them down. why not? if they tied them down, it would serve like a sail and offer too much resistance and pull everything down. so they are designed to swing like weather veins, which can be disconcerting. you can see one of these cranes swinging in the wind. that is the way it is supposed to react. again, if it gets higher than 145 miles an hour, it could be a real problem. and sometimes things don't work out even when the wind speelds a are lower than that. remember, there was a crane that did partially come down. there were evacuations necessary, 900 people had to leave a building near by in new york city. so you can see why people are watching these cranes so carefully, wolf. >> the higher you go, the more intense the wind. john berman in miami for us.
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you're going to be hanging out in here. so if you need anything, text me. do you play? use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap to friends at more banks than ever before. you got next? chase. make more of what's yours. . breaking news, the latest forecast shows hurricane irma slamming into south florida as a category five storm. let's bring back the national service director. you have to give us some perspective on this. folks are watching right now,
and this is a historic moment. >> you know, we have been here comparing this storm to andrew. andrew is 25 years ago. it was a smaller storm than we have here in terms of the size. we have a new generation of flori floridans that haven't experienced anything like that. it is a powerful, dangerous storm. this will be their big one. >> i want to show our viewers that drone video which basically the whole island was destroyed. is this what the people of parts of florida should anticipate in the coming days? >> this island got hit by the eye of the storm. maximum winds, maximum power of that hurricane. where this eye hits, as it is approaching southern florida and it does have the potential to reintensi reintensify, you will see winds that can do this damage to buildings that might not be as
structurally sound as other buildings. what we're seeing is the capacity of this storm to do this kind of damage. so people should take heed of the local officials and follow their instructions. >> so the eye, the most dangerous part, where do you anticipate it will hit? >> right now we're predicting it to make land fall in the northern keys. when that happens, it will create a destructive path. we have strong winds, potential tor nay donadoe tornadoes, heavy rains. you have all of these catastrophic effects maximized at land fall. >> you are working together with other federal, state and local authorities right now. >> yes. and you are seeing the results of this consistency and message from all of these emergency managers working together. you are seeing the high technology that's come in from the newer satellite services.
we've got people flying planes into the hurricane tonight and people standing by to check the ports and the ocean service. this has been a team effort and i'm really part of it and really proud of the national weather service. >> we're grateful to you and the entire team. thank you very much. cnn special breaking news coverage of hurricane irma continues right now with erin burnett "outfront". >> next breaking news, get out, it's happening. hurricane irma heading for florida. the latest forecast, irma getting stronger. it will be a category five as it crosses the florida keys. let's go outfront. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. impact, this is as real as it gets. those are the exact words from the national weather service, warning people to get out of the way of hurricane irma now. the full mes