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he's already as of this morning raised $450,000. >> and those people certainly. thank you so much. appreciate that. so glad to have you with us as we watch irma come ashore. i'm christie paul in atlanta. the sun looks like it's stoartig to come up and the rain is coming down? >> the rain is close. i saw one of the guys kind of point behind me. they can see it coming. we're about to get slammed and we are, but you said, the sun is m cooing up over miami, west palm beach. sunrise in tampa as well. hurricane irma is closing in on florida right now. a very strong category 4 storm. you can see the wind picking up
here. the area is also expected to get some of that driving rain very soon but as the storm, as the eyewall gets closer, storm surges as high as 12 feet are expected. now, these pictures of irma were taken by hurricane hunters and you can see this is huge. wider than the state of florida. there have been so many comparisons to hurricane andrew back in august of 1992. you can fit a couple of andrews into irma. more than 5.5 million people have been told to get out of those evacuation areas. hundreds headed to shelters. in some areas thousands of people. some spent the night on the road waiting for the shelters to open but for those planning to stay where they are, governor rick scott has these words. >> stay together and help each other. don't get on the road. we have shelters in your community. go to those shelters.
you can go to your family, friends, go to those shelters but we don't want people on the road when the storm starts to hit. >> reporter: we've got a team of reporters across florida and across the caribbean. we're going to start in cuba which is getting the worst of hurricane irma right now. patrick is there live and it's been pretty rough for you for a couple of hours now. how are the conditions now? >> reporter: we've been getting battered all night and now all morning by irma. you think the worst is past and then it picked up. roofs being torn off. you'll get a sense of the force of this incredible storm. this used to be the sea front here. it is now the sea. i'm watching waves go by where there were people walking yesterday. it is completely underwater. we ourselves are only able to continue to reporting here
because we're on a second floor story of a building but the water continues to come up. we've got about 4 more feet to go before we need to get to higher ground so it is a very dangerous situation, particularly for the people, most of this town who only have a one story house. people yesterday who did not want to evacuate. they were going to stay in their homes. i can't imagine how they are doing now. it is a terrifying scene here, victor. >> we've heard from government leaders across the caribbean before irma approached that they were not prepared for the storm. to what degree was cuba prepared for irma? >> reporter: you know, cubans have a lot of experience with hurricanes. they don't have any other option but to prepare and the government was moving resources into this area ahead of the storm to be ready as soon as the storm leaves to try to get immediately and begin to repair some of the awful damage that is
being made right now. i don't know if anybody could have been prepared for this storm. it came in as a category 5. no statistics on fatalities or injuries. i think it will take a long time to figure out exactly how punishing this storm was. >> and the number of people who could evacuate did evacuate and how many of those people stayed and hunkered down in their home or in safe places across the island? >> reporter: so usually out there i could point to islands of the cuban keys. and it's also a very tourist area. we can't see them because they're underwater. the hotels were evacuated. the government said no foreigners could stay in this part of the coast. we're the only ones that are right here in this town that i'm
aware of because we're journalists and we were allowed to but they told all tourists to evacuate. they were begging residents to leave. up and down the streets saying please go out to shelters, to go stay with family. the people we are staying with, hosted us last night and gave us the ability to be here, they sent the wife and children of this family to go stay with relatives. i don't think anybody realized how dangerous it was going to be because this town is underwater. >> all right. a portion of cuba there under water as the sun comes up we'll see more of the damage caused by the wind. they are not out of the woods yesterday. what is in cuba is headed to florida. let's go to chad in the weather center. we eve discussed about all of the preparations on the east coast and now the west coast
looks like they're going to get a lot of the really bad parts of irma. >> the american model did shift a little bit farther to the west. and so did the track, somewhere in the lower keys and then on up toward cape coral. but there is cuba and there is our patrick. i want you to notice the eyewall. i'm going to get rid of this for a minute and bring up my google earth. now i'm going to zoom out and you can see exactly where he is. right there. where is the eye? right there. i'll show you patrick. he is doing a job today. so back to this. zoom in and show you what's going on. the storm as lost strength overnight because it did hit cuba. terrible for cuba and the cokey.
but the pressure is still lower than harvey, so even though it doesn't look as impressive, it is an impressive storm and still a major hurricane, not to go back to your house with just yet. it is about 8 miles offshore, maybe less. you are right there. here comes the rain. rain for you and every time a rain band comes in, that mixes down the wind with it and every time it starts to rain, the rain will blow at 50 today. every time the rain blows this afternoon, it's going to blow at 60. tonight, 70. tomorrow it keeps going and the max wind in miami-dade all the way down toward kendall, probably somewhere in the 100 to 105 range. you are not out of anything here in miami. the big story i guess still right this morning is key west because you're going to get slammed and also cape coral, fort myers and the like and naples and venice. this is the area that we're going to take the storm and
drive it into the florida straits where it is very warm. the water is 87 degrees there. the storm will likely get stronger again or at least consolidate the eye wall into a 150 storm. and then it will turn right into this beautiful area of south western florida. you're talking all of the cities from fort myers to cape coral you're right under the gun of a major hurricane and 48 hours ago you were not. people left miami to go to naples because they thought they were going to be in good shape. the storm did not cooperate. the storm doesn't know there's a european model. it has a mind of its own. it's its own thing even though we think we can say where it's going to go. we can't. as good as the models are, they are not perfect.
miami, fort lauderdale. 5 to 10 foot storm surge. naples all the way down to everglade city. if we fill in the everglades with a 12-foot storm surge, the wall or the levee on the backside of miami, that's not 12 feet tall. there's no way the water is not going to come in and flood miami, at least parts of it from the backside. so we have to watch that. fort myers and tampa, you are also in it. that is going to be a hurricane wind. we'll have hurricane winds across obviously the keys, clearly into miami. blowing into fort myers and tampa and some areas could pick up about 115 for wind where yesterday it was 85. that's a difference and we're still bringing in this wind here on this side. we're still pushing water all along the coast making coastal flooding all the way from fort
myers, fort lauderdale all the way around maybe even toward charleston and eventually this gets to atlanta. okay. only 55 to 75-mile-per-hour but that's for everybody where they went. now the storm is chasing them up there. at least it's dying when it gets there. back to you. >> as soon as you said, i mean, down to the second, when you said here comes the rain, we started to feel the first few droplets. we've just spoke with patrick in cuba. i want to take you back to a shot we have in cuba. irma which hit as a category 5 is now beating down on the island nation of cuba. patrick reported just a few moments ago that portions of where he is is under water. the cuba's version of the keys now under water as well.
we're getting the first look at the damage that those category 5 strength sustained winds caused in parts of cuba and as we go through the morning we'll show you more of that but what is hitting cuba now and what hit cuba overnight is on its way to florida. the florida keys, south florida and to an increasing degree, the west side of the peninsula will be hit as well. of course we have our reporters there across florida and across the caribbean. let's go now to derek van dam. he is in miami beach. i wonder if you're getting any of the rain that we're told is just minutes away and the strength of the storm now downgraded to a 4, but still a very strong category 4 storm. >> reporter: without a doubt, victor. first glimmer of light here in south beach, but it is obscured by the monster rain ban that's
about to pelt us right now. i got to take you to the shoreline and then i want to get off this beach as quick as possible. there is a special weather advisory in effect for central and southern miami-dade county as we speak and you can see exactly why because that off in the distance looks very ominous. we've had those feeder bans come in all night long and they bring the wind speeds up from a gentle gust to a full on tropical storm force. i would estimate 35 to 4 miles -- 40 miles an hour. the rain is melting us as well and it's picking up some of the sand here. it is going to be a rough next 45 minutes as this band moves in and we'll see that continue to move inland as well. the official forecast for miami-dade along the coastline,
this storm is so massive they're going to feel the effects of irma all the way inland even though we've seen that track shifted to the west. we're going to be impacted as we head into the overnight hours tonight and into sunday morning. i want to get off this beach because conditions are deteriorating quickly and this storm system is really going to pick up quickly. you can see off in the distance some of the horizon being completely obscured by the rain and the wind and some of the palm trees taking a beating from this as winds gusting over 45 miles an hour. almost tropical storm force and i would imagine this is going to create a little bit of a hazard. maybe some palm branches and trees, perhaps some electrical failures with this as well. we're expecting the worst.
>> all right. do what you need to do to stay safe. christie, we oorting to feel what you see hitting derek there in south beach. we'll end e se-- send it back t you. >> that looks like some darkness coming in even as the sun coming up. i want you to be careful too. we don't want anything to happen to you. >> reporter: we're ready. >> i know you are. listen, it almost looks like our meteorologists make their living tracking dangerous storms out there while other people are getting out. we saw that with derek just a moment ago but there are others, the storm chasers who do the same thing. we'll talk to one in miami beach as irma making its way to south florida. irma, the size of texas heading
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18 minutes past the hour and look what is hitting cuba right now. these are the latest pictures we're getting in. patrick says it feels like the wind feels like a jet engine hitting him. he is on the second story of a building. he says everything else is under water. he he is standing on that second level hearing roofs being torn off of building. the cuba keys which are ekwi lent to the florida keys are under water and this is a punishing storm as he has defined it here, but 160-mile-per-hour winds and a possible 23 foot storm surge -- or waves i should say that have
already been recorded there in cuba. and we know back in florida some 10,000 power outages ahead of the arrival. airports in jacksonville, tampa, say they will end commercial flights at 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. tonight in preparation for what we just saw in cuba that is now coming to florida. this is a category 4 storm. 155-mile-per-hour winds that is heading to us from cuba and victor is there in miami and starting to feel it. >> we are starting to feel it. it came in pretty quickly. i want to bring in former -- first authorities are saying that the resources around this city are difficult to get to people. fema administrator spoke to cnn last night. we'll hear that in a moment but first let's get to david, the
director of emergency management here. how long will we feel this before we get to the worst of it. >> this is going to be increasing throughout the day. probably by early afternoon you'll feel those stronger winds come on board. as you look around you see there's no cars on the roadways. there's no boats in the bays. that's well for miami-dade that they've taken the heed and the warning for evacuation very strongly. >> now a category 4, but still a very strong 4 and it's been around that range for several days now. >> well, if we go back to a couple historic storms, hurricane andrew was a tropical storm out no more than two days off the coast. came in as a 4 and later was upgraded to a 5. ivan started out as a 2, 3 and the next thing you know it was a
4 as it struck the coast. so storms do that at the last moment. they can strengthen and as florida's found out typically they strengthen. >> we've heard from the governor that this is not the time to get on to the highways and head north to potentially georgia or other states but should they be on the roads at all now? >> anyone south of orlando, florida, should not be on the roadways. it's time to get to a safe place, get with your family, make sure that you've got food and water provisions for three days and be prepared to ride out the storm. >> what's your message to those people down in the keys who are part of as they call themselves the republic and say they are hardy people and say they will stay? >> it's hard for me to criticize them too much. however, the eye of the storm doms over and it has this storm
surge that many of us fear, there could be catastrophic deaths. but it's too late for them to leave now. get to a second floor if possible of a building that has been hardened for storms and we'll wish them good luck and see them on the other side. >> as we see this slight shift to the west over the last couple of days, what's your greatest concern? >> as you know the everglades are built here in the southern part of the state but they lean a little more toward the west coast and as you go up to collier and lee counties, those are low areas and they need quickly. i think flooding is going to be a concern and our ability to respond in as a state based on the track of the storm it's going to be difficult for people to get in there and help because
the storm is coming at the dead part of the state. >> as we continue to prepare for what we're seeing across the caribbean, hit cuba overnight and preparing to hit florida. >> the keys, south florida and on up the peninsula. officials are warning people to take the evacuation request seriously. the storm surge, we'll break down why irma is so dangerous. ♪ hey grandpa. hey, kid. really good to see you. you too. you tell grandma you were going fishing again? maybe. (vo) the best things in life keep going. that's why i got a subaru, too. introducing the all-new crosstrek. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek.
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frightened, but this the frightening. >> people are scared rieltd now after they've seen what happened in texas. >> i can't describe the feelings that i'm going through. >> we are watching this monster storm as it makes its way toward the florida keys this morning. victor is down in miami. we're having a problem with his shot because the wind and the rain has have started to hit him as well as derek van dam who is in miami beach and the sand is picking up and that's hitting him as well, so they're starting to feel the first bands of this. we know that it's hit cuba. there are people though, chad, that are up in florida, they weren't expecting it to be as bad on the west coast as it is. how long as they start to feel
these first ecffects and they thinking how long is this going to last? can you give them any indication of that. >> >> well, from eye wall to eye wall, i would say that's two tours. when you get the 130 going to the east comparing to the eye and it gets calm and you get to the backside of the eye, it would be a two-hour period. you cannot go outside because the wind will pick up and blow everything that is displaced and blow it back on you. from where we are now to when miami finally feels less than 50, might be 36 hours. >> i mean it's going to blow a long time. this thing is only doing 12 miles an hour. >> that's why it's hitting on sunday. it's not getting outs of the state of florida until tuesday or late monday? >> that's how long it would take you to drive out of the state
because i have a friend that lives in grassy key and his regular home is in michigan. it took him 20 hours to evacuate from the middle keys to georgia because of the traffic jams and the lack of gas he had. he had to wait for tarngers to come in and fill up and keep going. that's what it was like to evacuate. >> let's talk about the shift you've seen in the last several hours. more to the west than what was expected initially. because of that, any more shifting do you suspect or once it turns, you feel pretty solid about where it's going. >> once it turns. it hasn't turned yet. this was going to be the storm that we wait for the taurn and wait for the turn. when does it go? is it a wobble or a turn? this could plecompletely miss k west altogether or charlie, you
know, 13 years ago, the place was destroyed. it is forecast right now to still go through the lower keys, not quite to key west and then on up to naples, on up into cape coral with a category 4 wind of 140-mile-per-hour. they're wooden structures that are not going to hold up in 130-mile-per-hour wind. they were not built after 1992 when florida had a new code. you need to get a new shelter here because this is the most dangerous place in florida right now. this is the most dangerous place to be other than key west. that entire island may get overwashed with water. >> the people were expecting an east coast storm. i know some people went to the west coast thinking they were
going to be safe and now are making their way back to the east coast before this thing hits. but you brought up a good point that i think needs to be mentioned again. and that is the every blades. >> the everglades are not land. the everglades are water and warm water, warmer than the florida keys water and if you push 12 feet of water into the everglades the backside of miami isn't 12 feet high. the levees and the ditches that are on the west side of miami proper, miami-dade proper, that is what i believe will flood the wrong direction. it will flood from west to east until you get to 12 feet high which obviously there are many areas that are greater than 12 feet above sea level. flooding salt water the wrong direction. in katrina we expected it to
flood new orleans there the mississippi river. >> so when you are looking at what's going on in cuba right now, does that give you any indication of what's happening in florida? >> take a look. patrick right, there he is right in the eye of the storm. buzz the eye is just beginning to lose contact with cuba. when that happens the storm will restrengthen. the storm died overnight or a little bit because he did hit the keys and there's a mountain dh chain that brought in some dry air and i still think a high cat 4, into the lower keys. maybe the dry corps tu gas if key west gets cleared altogether. >> all right. making sure we understand where this thing is going and i know that we have an update coming i
think from the hurricane center. >> yeah, in 24 minutes. >> we'll bring you that as well. we'll hopefully get victor back up in miami to see what they are dealing with there. you know, you missed a bunch of great guys today? everywhere you went. where? i don't know, who? but you could know with new missed connections from match. check it out... oh, crossed paths with john. you had no idea. check out new missed connections on match. start for free today!
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eastern coast and this is just again a taste. a small teaspoon of what is coming with this flood of wind and rain and damage with this monster category 4 storm. our shot was down for a moment when we got the edge of an outer band. we have been able to re-establish here in a small moment of calm. we know more is coming as the eye wall approaches that will reach florida early sunday morning. mayors across this state are pleading with people who are still in evacuation zones to leave and leave now. don't get on the road, don't try to head to georgia or head further inland but get to the closest shelter. hurricane irma with sustained winds at 155-mile-per-hour, threatening storm surge, heavy rains, let's go back to the north coast of cuba where
patrick has been seeing the brunt of this storm. how is it now? >> reporter: you know, victor, irma may be heading towards you in florida, but she's not done with cuba yet. we continue to feel these very powerful gusts here taking off roofs, knocking down trees and we continue to feel that the storm is wrecking terrible damage. look over here. this was until yesterday, last night the waterfront of the city. now the ocean has completely taken over the city and flooded about every house in this town. that was the sea wall. people there walking yesterday. there were cars driving by. it is under -- i think some of those waves might be 20 feet high. it's an incredible change in just a day to see what this storm is capable of doing. we are only able to be brad
casting where we are because we are on a second story of a well built house, one of the highest buildings in this small town but it's under threat. the water is about 6 feet high. another 4 or 5 feet to go before the water gets up here. we're using a generator. we have limited gasoline. our car is parked miles away so we will continue to bring you reports as long as we can, because as you can see, the situation here in this part of cuba is absolutely catastrophic. >> all right. thank you so much and stay safe. i'm going to send it back to you. we have just a moment of calm here, but we know that more of those outer bans as irma approaches will be hitting us in the next few hours. >> and we are wishing you and the crew there for safety.
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welcome back to continuing live coverage of hurricane irma, now a category 4 storm. it is expected to hit the keys in south florida early sunday morning. as we've said this morning there are millions of people who have been ordered to evacuate. almost 5.6 million could be the largest in history and more than 7,000 people have seen power outages in south florida. officials say that outages could last several days, several weeks in some areas.
take that into consideration. you may be without power for weeks. another element we need to consider here, blood supply. people rushed to hospitals once first responders can get to them. the supplier for the southeast is called one blood. it's urging people to donate. they urged before the storm because right now their donation centers are closed. susan, good to see you. we saw each other last in orlando after the terrible shooting at the pulse nightclub and what you told me then was the importance of having a ready blood supply before an emergency. first talk to me about if the centers across florida, the 200 hospitals that are serviced have what they need at the start. >> i can assure you that our hospital partners have the necessary blood on hand and it's the need of a steady blood
supply in advance of a storm. the blood has to be there. so the blood center has been very, very busy at one blood behind the scenes for the last week preparing for this storm. as soon as we had an inkling of an idea this could be headed our way, we began to prepare. we get extra blood to them because we're not able to deliver blood to them when the hurricane is hitting. >> so let me ask you this. as people are sent to hospitals and the unfortunate reality is that there will be people because of this storm who are rushed in and will need transfusions, how will one blood be able to get the blood to them in the storm or is that something that has not >> well, we made sure that our hospital partners have the necessary blood on hand. we have been shipping blood and
delivering blood to them, the past several days so they have extra on hand. more than they normally would have to ride out the weekend. we feel very confident they have what they need on hand. as soon as the storm starts to lift in certain areas and we're able to go back out, we will begin to deliver additional supplies to them as they need it. but, you know, this really shows the importance of a ready blood supply in advance of a storm. it's important to have a ready blood supply every day of the year but it's heightened when you see a category 5 headed towards your state. so, this is why we encourage donations beforehand so we have what's needed in the hospitals in advance. and it's in their hospitals right now. >> susan forbes with oneblood. the folks over there, you guys do an amazing job. thank you for spending some sometime with us. i'll check you in after the storm passes. again, thanks so much. now, in about an hour, more
shelters will open in fort myers, we're talking west coast now, florida, to escape the path that we've seen that general and gradual shift of the center of this cone moving to the west. and it's not just the cone now as it gets so close to florida. some of the people who live there in fort myers slept on the streets overnight hoping to guarantee a spot. cars parked outside of the shelters. cnn's drew griffin is in fort myers. drew, good morning to you. what are you seeing and how many people are you talking about waiting to get into these shelters? >> reporter: well, i don't have an exact number, victor, but many of the shelters filled up quickly both here and lee county, fort myers, where we're i'm standing right now and naples collier county. for a long time, the folks on the west side thought this was more of a miami event maybe going up the east coast, when irma made that jog and was potentially going to make that
jog towards the west, it got real serious. the counties distributed their level "a" mandatory evacuation. those evacuations are all based on potential storm surge. so you have all of the barrier islands. marco island, pine island. sanibel, captiva, all of those under mandatory evacuation. parts of cities like cape coral across the callariver where i'm standing right now. the shelters added up quickly. they're adding more shelter as you said. some have opened within the hour. three more will open at 10:00 a.m. today. continually, we're seeing people taking the threat seriously. evacuations. there's a lot of preparation going on. and it looks like everybody who wants shelter will be able to get into a shelter, even though they will have to wait in line this morning, victor.
>> drew griffin for us there in fort myers. drew, thank you so much. the wind is picking up here again. again, hurricane irma is going to be here landfall, when that eye is over land here. expected to hit the keys very early sunday. but you're going to see the gusts of stronger winds as we get closer to that hour. our special live coverage of hurricane irma continues. stay with us.
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life-threatening impacts from coast to coast. >> i'm not a woman that is frightened. but this is frightening. >> people are scared right now. after they seen what happened in texas. >> i can't even begin to describe the feelings that i'm going through. ♪ welcome back to our live coverage of hurricane irma. this hurricane, the storm, is the size of texas. if that gives you any indication of what we're dealing with. and victor blackwell is in miami, as the first bands of this storm are coming your way. and, victor, we've been watching you. and the evolution of this storm. it started, you had -- you know, your hat was off. looked like things were clear. help us understand what it's been like for you, the last three hours? >> yeah, when we started at 5:00 a.m. eastern, the jacket was too much, it was just windy.
but the first edges of those outer bands have now started to come on and those gusts that we felt in the 5:00 hour became sustained in the 6:00 hour. and the gusts we felt at 6:00 are now sustained in the 7:00 hour. and it will continue to deteriorate, until we start to see some of those heavier rains. the heavier bands come. and then landfall in the keys and south florida at some point in the early hours on sunday. you know, i lived here, christi, you know this, for seven years before i moved to atlanta. and joined cnn. and this is -- this is more than people who have lived here their entire lives have ever seen. if you think back to the storms of 2004 and charlie and francis and ivan and jeanne, that's nothing compared to this. andrew two of those from 1992 can fit into the storm. craig fugate who used to run emergency management here said florida hasn't seen a storm like
this since the 1960s. people who say i lived through andrew, you haven't lived through anything compared to what irma is bringing for the next few hours, christi. >> victor, stay with us, bringing it to us as the next hour of "new day" starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. and if you are just joining us, thank you so much for being with us, i'm christi paul here in atlanta. we appreciate your company. victor blackwell is in the thick of it in miami this morning. hurricanes now taking its first slice at florida. victor, good morning to you. how are you doing? >> we're good. we're good. a little wind, a little rainy, but what's coming to florida this is crystal clear it's going to happen quickly. the breaking news this morning, very powerful category 4 hurricane on a new track this morning and it's headed this way, of course, we're talking irma. this