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tv   Smerconish  CNN  September 9, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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storm surge for those low lying areas in the bay all the way up the west coast. so we are watching this storm very closely all over the state of florida. we have some new information on the forecast to track when we can expect landfall and the florida keys here on the peninsula. tom seder. >> we don't know where it will be. the models have been fluctuating. earlier this week to the east and now more of a push to the west. we'll continue to watch that. we are watching the development. the pressure is dropping. most likely, see an increase in the winds because it takes a
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while for the winds to catch up to the pressure drop. 125 miles per hour. i wouldn't be surprised to see up to 130. that will kick it back up to category 4 status. and we could even see it grow a little bit more. we've got a lot of water to work with. not just 90 miles. if you talk about the curvature, over towards ft. myers, 125 miles. so it's got time, it's got fuel. and it still has spin and intensity. we had models to go down a little bit, but for the models to be even in central cuba, or staying off, it's been running pretty much mediocre through the models. a tornado watch for the entire southern half of florida. that will continue to move northward in time and a warning in key west and the bands continue to move in and there
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will be times of complete downpour activity and then a couple of quiet times but we are going to see a gentle increase in the winds and bright red, heavy downpours and the storm surge is going to be significant, mainly in the everglades and miami, we're watching them closely but the real significant increase of the storm surge and the wetlands. they can have that. and as it continues to march northward, we'll see more of a tornado outbreak possibility on the east coast. we have the surge, of course, continuing up the east coast. on the west coast, winds will be out of the north somewhat. northeasterly. they will wrap around. and i think tampa is going to have a problem. not so much, of course, well, yes. when the storm moves through, but don't let your guard down in tampa bay because most likely on the back edge of this, we're going to find winds coming in from the northwest and due west. so that will shove the, of
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course, storm surge and the walls of water back into tampa bay which could be just as bad if not worse. i want to go a little bit further out though and talk about those in georgia, south carolina into alabama and tennessee. as you see the track has been curving and we've been watching this, let me show you what some of the models look like, of course, after we talk about the winds. because i want everybody to know, if you haven't been in the southeast, you see the core of the winds go through florida hugging the west coast, moving northward. what you see in purple here are wind gusts in excess of 60, maybe even 70 miles per hour. this area of the southeastern u.s. is pine country which means hearty pines. weak root systems but very high. i mean, they're massive. they fall in isolated thunderstorms. knock out power, damage trees. we could easily see tens of thousands of trees destroyed through florida and through the southeast but watch what happens to these models. they move up with the force of wind. we carry it into northern, oh,
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we missed it. into northern alabama. i'll show to you later. it starts to become a birds nest like harvey, which means a loss of steering currents from central tennessee to northern alabama. heavy rainfall. we'll break it down for you in the coming hours but again, it's just beginning. we've got a multiday event heading our direction. john? >> tom seder, listening to every word of your forecast. 20 million people in florida alone and then you start to talk about alabama and georgia. millions more will be affected by this storm as the days continue. millions already affected. so much damage in the caribbean. key largo. and what are you seeing? >> reporter: we've moved locations.
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now on the biscayne bay side. higher ground and we have a caution, crocodiles in area sign as another reminder we're in one of the most biodiverse in all the world. the one place to see gators and crocs together. we care about the human life facing this storm. we heard about devil-may-care, old time punk, never levers down here on thursday night who were sort of partying in advance of the storm. that tone definitely changed last night. that's when they evacuated those 500 prisoners, moved the emergency operations center from marathon key about 40 miles north of key west to key largo here to be a little bit more out of harm's way. we get word power outages hit about kudjo key. but the keys' energy service saying we're not going to shut the power proactively.
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but let nature take its course. there are those who won't leave. there's a dive captain who's been sailing most of his life. his name is tim jones. i had to ask him the obvious question. >> let me channel everyone from the governor to my mom. why are you still here? what is wrong with you? >> our friend was here the other night. they ran and ran right into the storm. the question is, where is safe? the storm up until the last update, we had no idea where it was going to go. the whole state of florida going to get hit and there's no fuel. once you get out, you can't get back. so we have 400 gallons of fuel
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that we could put in the car if we need to, a little scooter and gas for that from here. why go anywhere else? >> reporter: that's the logic of a long time in the keys. only can cross our fingers that all are spared by irma. >> we hope it goes well for him, but what the authorities say consistently is just get inland. you don't have to go all the way north. just get to higher ground if you can because the storm surge is the major concern. bill weir for us. stay safe. i'm in miami. this is a florida-wide event. the storm taken a turn to the north and millions of people feeling the impact from hurricane irma. east coast where i am around to the west coast. chris cuomo now i believe in naples. >> reporter: how are you? we left miami a few hours ago,
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made it about 125-mile-an-hour trip here and the expectation it would be quiet and yet, belted with the same kind of bands. they're going to noaa and looking at the weather. you see these hotly colored reds, greens, purples of the bands and we've been getting pelted with them here. to the meteorologist, it means this storm is starting to take shape. hurricane irma is starting to manifest. we're getting hit with it right now and still, very manageable. here we are on the west coast, 125 plus miles away. this has about 19,000 people in the city proper here. ed lavandera just spoke with the mayor. they got lucky here and here's why. people got out early, even before the storm track shifted,
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ed lavandera reports. so they made the move. they got out of here. the mayor believes there's only several thousand people still here. that's still a lot, that's still a lot that decided to stay behind with just one place to eat, ed lavandera said he saw in the whole area driving around for hours. the gulf on one side and more water on the other. we were watching the storm track move above our heads but just like that, it's totally closed out. the rain coming horizontal and vertical if you can tell and another unique part of naples. when the dollar amount goes up of what this costs, the houses here, the waterfront houses, there are many that are $10 million and above. that's the least of our concerns. we're worried about people, not property, but the dollar amount is going to be high. this is one of the reasons why is a place like this. so from the pelting rain here, still over half a day away from
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when it's supposed to hit. it's supposed to hit tomorrow afternoon and already, we're seeing rain that's way out of the ordinary. let's get to kyung lah at miami beach. what's the latest there? >> reporter: we're having an extremely calm lull. if you would have seen me 15 minutes before, the bands hammering this part of miami beach. the concern this is going to continue. we're just beginning to see this. what we hear from city officials is that two hours from now, the city has put in place a mandatory curfew, a curfew from 8:00 p.m. local time to 7:00 a.m. the miami beach police saying that if you are walking, you are
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subject to arrest. why laying down the hammer? in part of where you are. all the news is everything going to the western side of the state that people may be overconfident. they think now is the time to come back to miami beach or safe to be here. but the city is saying it is absolutely not safe to be here. there are many sections of miami beach where it is a complete ghost town. they want it to stay that way. the fire department, in fact, took three of the stations and moved all the emergency vehicles off of miami beach. so even though this forecast is showing it's pushing further west, they are on high alert on the east and they want to send that message out to everybody who lives here. do not come back. chris? >> reporter: good. even though the path of the storm has shifted, that doesn't mean that going back is safe. i hope that message is resonating here in naples. this is a place that's now of increased concern. that's why we moved here from
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miami to see the situation. the good news? the mandatory evacuation heeded and heeded early. the mayor told our ed lavandera he believes most of the people are out, probably several thousand remain. this is a mandatory evacuation place and it is a ghost town. that is good news. the bad news is the bands are already coming. the rain is heavier than expected. that's where miguel marquez is. do you have any of these squalls coming through? >> reporter: winds new york city ra , no rain yet. the storm is to the left. port charlotte on the right of the storm, really the worst
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place. punta gorda, just south of us. that's a place that got levelled by charlie 13 years ago. so people here are very, very well aware of what's going on. this is king's way elementary. this has become a makeshift shelter, essentially. all of the shelters in charlotte county are full at this point. they have 5 other shelters in sarasota county that they're moving people to. i want to give you a sense of the parking lot. people parked up on the grass here and moved everybody in. as many people as they could. they cleared up the cafeteria, got everybody in. cleared it out again. made more room. moved people upstairs. they have brought in hundreds and hundreds of people into this shelter alone. 900 now in this one shelter. i want to introduce you to some of my friends out here. where's the family? ten kids here. this is the mom right over here. hello, hello. ten kids she is managing here. let me just ask you. how are you guys doing?
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>> good. >> what do you expect? >> i don't know. i really don't. >> are you nervous? >> nope. >> why not? >> because i love rain. it is the best time to sleep. >> this is something people don't have a very good sense of. they don't get that this weather, it starts to rain, it's not what they're going to get when this hurricane hits. you have a very interesting story. her family left homestead, which got hit by hurricane andrew in 2004. you came here because you thought it would be safe, but now you've had, what's happened? >> we came from homestead here because they told us to evacuate and then we actually ended up evacuating again to come here. andrew came to homestead a few years ago and we kind of took that seriously, but we're trying to make the best out of it and not just say negative things. >> you've gone from the frying pan into the fire. it's too late for people to move now across the state. i have met a lot of people from miami in this area or that area of the state that came up this
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way to escape the storm there and now they're regretting it, but it's really too late to go back. gas in this area? non-existe non-existent. station after station, can't find it. others think there may be gas, but if there's a swarm of people that go to the gas station and everybody discovers there's none there. it's kind of a surreal bizarre situation. very calm right now. things get more hairy as the night goes on and into tomorrow. we will not certainly be able to stand out here in about 24 hours. chris? >> reporter: miguel, i'll tell you, what a difference. we are getting pummelled here. the one benefit, i'm using an umbrella right now and i will not be able to do that when these winds pick up. but dave, our photographer, take a look over my right shoulder. you see that crane? even though it's not windy here yet, it's spun that baby sideways. the latest band turned the crane. they're supposed to turn, that's how they offset the energy that's being set against them by
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the wind. they distribute the force and rotate around. it's a safety mechanism. so it's a good thing if you see them move in a bad situation. but this is just the beginning. and we are getting pummelled. and another thing you notice quickly is that this ground is spongy. it cannot take water. it starts to pool and puddle minutes into any type of heavy downpour and that is part of the ingredient structure that goes into a bad flooding situation. you don't have absorption to start with. all right, so that's where we are in naples. we were just with miguel marquez a little bit north in port charlotte, still okay. both places share a common fate. we're in the line of the storm for now. what are the preparations? what are the expectations? we have people everywhere. we have renee marsh. she is in washington, dc at the fema headquarters. you just talked to the acting head of homeland security, elaine duke who took over for general john kelly the
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president's chief of staff. what's the word on the homeland front? >> reporter: i can tell you, this operation is getting busier as the storm gets closer to the united states and joined live now with acting dhs secretary lane duke. come on in. i know you just met with the head of fema. kind of give me an update on what came out of that briefing. >> we are poised. we have the u.s. virgin islands that we are going to start z search and rescue as soon as the weather permits and then florida, keys expected through the early morning hours and florida the rest of the day. it's going to be a catastrophic storm and we're poised and ready. >> reporter: when we talk about this specific hurricane irma that's coming towards the united states, what is your greatest concern? >> our greatest concern is that it is going to likely become a category 4 again. the winds are going to be
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powerful and sustained. electrical outages will be extremely, extremely broad and probably long-lived. it will take a long time to put the electrical grid back together and that's going to be a hard recovery for those survivors in florida. >> we were talking about millions of people, upwards of 5 million people without power. no power also means no clean water and no waste management. how will the federal government respond to help millions of people who may not have power or even clean water in some areas? >> we are prepositioned to help governor scott in the state of florida in the surrounding areas. so things like generators, fuel. as governor scott sees the need for these, we are ready to come forward. i saw the president this morning. he is motivated to help the states as we go through these hurricanes, including the continued recovery in texas.
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>> reporter: what about the evacuation plans? florida has tons of hospitals, elderly people. are you confident in the evacuation plans pulled together by the federal government to make sure the most vulnerable are able to get out? we don't see people flooded out in nursing homes or hospitals because they just weren't able to get out. >> i think the early evacuation orders will really help with that, so it's not a last minute surge. we will have priority for hospitals, elderly facilities, those types after the storm. but orderly evacuation is very important. >> reporter: on the topic of evacuation, we've heard the heard of fema saying, get out. you have to go if you're in a low lying area, get out. some people may be concerned they don't want to go because they are worried dhs may enforce immigration laws or things of that sort or enforce immigration issues if they're not legal
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here. what do you have to say to the folks who are concerned because they're afraid? >> thank you for that question. we're doing no routine immigration enforcement. we are not doing immigration enforcement at the shelters. everyone should be safe to go to a shell eshelter and seek the f safety, water they need. >> reporter: chris, we'll throw it back to you. >> reporter: good to know that government is helping. preparation is a key part of that evacuatinevacuating. and hopefully people that needed to heed them did so. they have the shelters as best as they can. what's the biggest variable? the opportunity. what is this storm going to bring? in naples, this was not the expectation a couple of days ago
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to see these heavy bands this quickly. governor scott giving us the latest update right now. >> tropical force winds and dangerous seas. dangerous winds and continues to remain a catastrophic and life-threatening major category 3 storm with winds of 125 miles per hour. the center is getting better organized and will intensify as it approaches florida. will move across the keys and go across or stay on sunday. northwest florida on monday. the keys to see the direct impact in the eye of the storm. there will be 18 to 15 inches of rain across the state and up to 25 inches in the keys. tornadoes are possible in south florida this evening and central florida tomorrow. hurricane conditions felt across the west coast including sunday
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morning. tropical storm conditions will be felt across the warning area. millions of floridians will begin to see impacts with life-threatening winds tonight. this is a serious threat of significant storm surge in the west coast of florida and increased to 15 feet of impact aboveground level in southwest florida. tampa will see a surge of 5 to 8 feet. the big will see 6 to 7 feet and flooding and rivers throughout the peninsula. this is clearly a life-threatening situation. remember, in southwest florida, the storm surge is after the strongest winds. do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down. local officials will let you know when it is safe. the storm surge will rush in and it could kill you. when it happens, the storm water
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just rushes in and rushes out. in the panhandle, be on high alert for tropical storm and hurricane force winds. here in tallahassee, it's likely we'll experience hurricane force winds and families must start preparing now. we saw what hurricane irma did last year and see more severe wind threats from irma. if you have been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. this is your last chance to make a good decision. evacuations are in areas across the state. more than 6.5 million floridians have been ordered to evacuate. do not put yourself or your family's life at risk. now is the time to do the right thing for your family. school buses are heeding evacuations. if you're unable to leave for any reason, call 1-800-342-3557
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and we'll do everything we can to get you out. protecting life is our absolute top priority. no resource or expense will be spared to protect families. i urge everyone to check on their neighbors, family, and friends. if you know someone who is not evacuating and should, please contact them and make sure they have a plan to get out now. we have been very aggressive in preparation for this storm and now it's upon us. every floridian should take this seriously and be aggressive to protect their family. possessions can be replaced. your life and family cannot be replaced. shelters. we have been working around the clock with counties to ensure there's enough shelters. currently, there are more than 385 shelters open across every county in the path of the storm. and more opening tonight.
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more than 70,000 floridians have taken shelter and there's still room for more. if you have a building and emergency officials ask you to open a shelter, please comply. this is so important to families seeking safety. everyone in florida needs to find a safe place to go. traffic. evacuation routes are moving and we have implemented emergency use on i-4 from 50th street in state road 24 in orlando. our 1700 state troopers remain on the road to assist evacuations in traffic. they will remain on the roads until it's unsafe. check realtime evacuations route at we are still aggressively working to keep gas stations open along active evacuation routes and i waived motor fuel impact for 5 days to bring more fuel and storm response and
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recovery. this will make our efforts to bring in fuel from neighboring states after the storm easier. we absolutely know fuel is important. we're devoting every state resource to address this problem to ensure we have fuel immediately for first responders and rescue efforts. every florida guardsman has been called to prepare for this storm. so many members of the law enforcement community putting their lives at risk to help floridians get to a safe place and they'll not stop until it's no longer safe. we cannot thank them enough. utilities. right now, more than 76,000 people are without power. it's going to get worse. utility providers have actively prepositioned resources throughout the state and neighboring states. we know how important power is.
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we'll aggressively work with utilities to get back on. regarding recovery. we have search and rescue stage ready once the storm passes and safe for first responders. i met with a coast guard admiral today and they're here and asked to help this process. the storm continues to change rapidly but food and water to impacted areas. we'll do all we can to get this out quickly. the department of transportation and fish and wildlife working as fast as they can to clear roads to get food and water to shelters and impacted areas. also, guardsmen. but it takes time. we'll go fast as we can once the weather is safe and working with fema on temporary housing solution for displaced residents. i've been talking to president trump pretty much every day and other members of the white house and other members of the cabinet. they're absolutely committed to provide whatever resource they
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can to help us live through the storm in our recovery efforts. we're under a state of emergency. those who perform vital services including health care staff, we need you there to help your community. you're answering the call now we need nurses and we have nearly more than 2500 who have already responded. those who respond to this need are heroes with the special needs and so grateful to them. but we can still use more. florida needs volunteer nurses with the special needs shelters. if you're a nurse, please e-mail and e-mail so many called for prayers and support. i want to thank governors of the states who provided every
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resource asked for. i know the entire country is with us. we have our country's best first responders ready to help us and florida, we will get through this. this week, floridians demonstrated we know what it means to get prepared. neighbors are helping neighbors and strangers unite as floridians have helped us to get through the storm. let's get together and pull through this. we will come back at even stronger. you can follow my twitter account at flgovscott for the life saving message in english and spanish. hurricane irma. [ speaking spanish ]
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>> all right, we're listening to governor scott right now. he's speaking in spanish. he's been giving his messages throughout the day in english and spanish. on his twitter feed in english and spanish. and that is obviously a matter of practicality. there's so many different people. you have to make sure you're getting as much coverage in every way including language. some headlines from the prez, this is an obvious state of emergency. you must heed the evacuation orders. the governor is asking questions. let's hear what they are. >> we want everybody to survive the hurricane. we want everybody out of the evacuation zones and get them into safe shelters. after it happens, be patient. wait until local officials and tell if you go back. we'll have down power lines and a lot of trees down.
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we'll have roads impassable and flooding and all of these issues. everybody will have to be patient and it's going to be hard to be patient. go back to your home and see what happened, but we've got at the state, local, and federal level, we'll have everybody in here trying to get us back. we'll try to get the fuel back and power back on and try to get the roads cleared. try to do everything. and recovery efforts. be patient, wait and listen. the officials will tell you when it's safe to go back to your neighborhood and at the state level, let you know if the evacuation routes are clear to come back but everybody has to be patient. this is just a massive storm and the recovery efforts and the restoration efforts are going to be taking time and i wish it was going to happen overnight. it's not. this is going to be massive.
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i'm still praying we don't lose lives, but we have the risk now and afterwards. steve? >> the extent of what we saw after katrina which is ocean water, salt water. especially in southwest florida mixing with fresh water that's used for agriculture, for drinking and causing massive salt water intrusion that takes years to repair. tell us about that. >> i know that's going to be a clear issue that we're going to deal with, but right now, my focus is going to be how do we survive this hurricane, how do we get people back to their lives? we'll have significant issues. we're going to have issues with regard to our beaches. all sorts of issues we'll have to deal with. >> ohio sending down 3,000 national guard. i know earlier in the week, you
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said you had access to as many as 30,000. are you basically telling to send everybody because it's going to be that bad? >> what we'll be doing, so right now, we're going to go through and see what happens. we'll be assessing the damage as quickly as possible and finding out exactly what we need. i met with admiral for the coast guard today and try to get down to the keys as quickly as we can because that's the first place to have significant damage and we'll have to assess. did we lose bridges? recovery efforts? can we even fly in with the airports down there? we'll figure out what we need, but i can tell you that every time i talk to president trump or the fema director, the federal government, they'll provide federal resources but do it in a coordinated manner, so we'll be doing, we have a whole plan to deal with this. everything, as you know, in a
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disaster, it all changes once you find out exactly what happened. >> seriousness of what you communicated last week, you made a decision to close schools and universities and state offices. and some institutions are going beyond next monday. are you giving any thought to extending that order beyond monday to keep all schools closed throughout the state? >> we'll see, as we see what happened and then we'll see what the damage is and then make a decision. >> can you give us an update on where things are with gas stations? any places where people are stalled because they don't have gas? any problems to that degree? >> we have worked to try to get fuel around the state, especially work to get fuel in the evacuation routes. i'm sure people have run out of
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gas around the state. go to and look at evacuation routes. road rangers out there. i don't know if you want to add anything. >> i have not seen anywhere out in the state that's completely out. i haven't looked at the statistic in a couple of hours. i know you've seen many areas have significant shortages but nowhere that's completely out and working with the retailers here to make sure those parts of the state that are still moving that they are trying to get as much fuel as possible to those areas as well. >> governor? >> an update on what's happening with the area given the new forecast. >> sure. we are waiting for an update from the corps but if you go back, i mean, the positive is we did everything to keep them safe and we hopefully, we'll have less winds there to reduce the chance that we'll have the water spill over but all along they've
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told us they don't believe it will be impacted. >> i know you can maybe give us some words in spanish, but spanish are really concerned about safety. what will happen? [ speaking spanish ] >> >> talk a little bit about the efforts by law enforcement to evacuate the homeless in some of these heavily impacted or expected heavily impacted areas?
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i read something that law enforcement is using baker acts to get some of the people off the streets in some cases? >> our law enforcement has gone above and beyond all around the state to do everything they can to keep people safe. you'd have to reach out to them at the local community to see what each local community has done but i can tell you i've traveled the state for the last five days and i've met with law enforcement and they're very committed. every life is important to them. and i think they're going to continue as long as they can to get people to safety. >> in these critical hours, loss of life. >> i think one of the biggest things is if you're in an evacuation zone, you've got to get to the shelter. or some place that's higher ground. not many hours left and not going to be a lot of time now to be able to drive far, so get to the shelter.
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you can go to the find out where they are or call your local emergency management team. and the other thing is if you are to call your family and friends and make sure they're getting out and tell them how important it is to go to safety, it's disappointing sometimes when you watch on tv that you see somebody that's going to write it out and based on what you hear from what the national hurricane center, you think, how can you ride that out? you go down to the keys, 15 feet of storm surge in these keys that are not very high. you're going to have 15 plus inches of rain. you're going to have 125 to 150-mile-per-hour winds. how is anybody going to survive this? so if anywhere where you think somebody might ought to evacuate, try to talk them into
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tell them how important they are to you. >> what you've seen, and no one has traveled the state as much as you have the last five or six days, so what have you seen and experienced out there that's caused you to have special concern? >> the thing that caused me the biggest concern is, i don't think anybody has realized the extent this storm surge. if you stop and think about it, my hometown in naples, i mean, 15 feet aboveground level. i mean, how do you survive that? i mean, and, you know, last, i don't know if i can remember the story last year but this lady just south of here, i think there was about 6 foot of storm surge and she stayed, of course, because of her pets which you could imagine you want to, and it got to 3 feet and she realized, i mean, it was an older house. probably 7 foot ceilings and realized she was not going to survive. she was so lucky because she got out of her house and she walked out and there was a high water
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vehicle and the last vehicle leaving. if it hadn't, she would have passed away. that was 6 foot of storm surge and talked about how fast the water moved in and how fast the water moved out. there would have been no way for her to survive. and so you just think about how can anybody survive this stuff? so i care about everybody in my state and i just want everybody to live. >> from your past role in the business, and that's evacuations from hospitals and nursing homes, i know earlier in the week you talked about the need to, you did an evacuation of one hospital. do you have any indication and from what i understand, a lot of facilities had to be evacuated and any issues, any concerns and problems in that arena? >> there's hospitals that have
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evacuated and also, nursing homes, skilled nursing, a variety of facilities. i did a call with a lot of them last night and some, there's still issues. they're trying to find the right shelters. we've given them our telephone numbers. we said to call. last year in matthew, we had nursing homes with a difficult time getting the ambulances to evacuate, so yeah. some people, they're still struggling to get everything done. but i can tell you, everybody's working to get it done. >> the situation where you had some hospitals. >> i mean, we're talking to
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everybody. you hope you don't. the, i mean, we've put a lot of effort, seniors call around. dr. phillips is calling. we're talking to everybody and we're making ourselves accessible and we're telling them how to get a hold of us. i hope that doesn't happen. so, if you think about what concerns you a lot is that the storm moved west and i think that for some people, that surprised them. and so that's why we've worked really hard. you see how many more shelters have gotten put up in the last 24 hours as this thing moved west. and two things, moved west and the storm surge numbers. it's just, i mean, that's totally different than what everybody has ever seen. i don't think anybody alive today has seen in this state anything like this. i mean, 15 feet of storm surge
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above the ground level. i mean, i don't know how you survive that. >> a lot of the folks that came up here basically from south florida are now more in the path. should they stay here or go somewhere else? >> i think you should follow the weather and see what's going to happen. look, if you are not going to drive back to storm surge, you shouldn't drive back to 120 or 150-mile-an-hour winds. keep following this. we'll do everything we can to keep people safe. we're going to keep doing everything we can to inform people of how to make the right decision for safety. we're going to continue to do everything we can to keep evacuation routes open, whatever changes. i can tell you that the state, federal, and local level, people working together, they're trying to get the information out to keep everybody safe and everybody is, you know, i've
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been, i mean, i've been in so many cities this week. i tell you, they're working hard. all the counties are working hard. you can see how hard people are working here. i tell you, from the white house to fema, every federal agency i know is here trying to be helpful. >> are you going to remain here for the storm coming through or move on through the state for the storm? >> i'll decide. i'm going to be here tonight and then my goal would probably be if i can get to the keys to assess the damage, i'll try to get there when i can. i'm really concerned about how many people are going to be in the keys and what's going to happen to them. so. thanks everybody. >> all right.
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we've been listening to the governor's press conference there. he was taking questions from people. his message is fairly simple and straightforward. this is a state of emergency. he was answering questions and giving in english and spanish, trying to get as much coverage of the situation as possible. in a place he was talking about very specifically, naples. this is where he has a home and describing the impact of storm surge. you may have heard this several times if you've been watching the coverage. storm surge is not about how much farther on to shore the water comes. as a simple matter. it's about the volume of water. storm surge is about, let's say it's 10 feet, 10 feet more off the surface of the water and up. an entire area could be inundated because of storm surge and that's a concern in a place like naples. it's a mandatory evacuation zone. the mayor told ed lavandera he's optimistic and people were ahead of the curve even before the
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path shifted to the west where naples is along the western coast of florida and people got out. of the 19,000 people in the city proper, they believe several thousand are left. that's better than most areas in terms of the percentage of evacuees. it's spongy. we've been watching the bands of rain, significant but nothing like hurricane force. the water pools up very quickly. the streets flood very quickly which means it just doesn't have the tolerance for rain over time which is exactly what the hurricane will bring. so if you are here, you need to get out if you can and if you cannot get out, you need to seek shelter. simple message. other high points from the governor. 25 inches of rain expected in the keys. 10 to 15, maybe closer to 20. many different areas of florida. the whole state, head to toe. he expects serious impact.
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power loss. as many as a million customers they're anticipating. right now, over 35,000 without power in the miami-dade area. we haven't even had the hurricane hit here inn earnest yet and you heard from senator rubio and others, you must have a plan. you must be able to hold yourself self-sustained for 72 hours. that's a long time and even though they have great first responders here, that's how long that can be before someone gets to you. these are the types of things the governor was trying to give attention to and make sure people hear and respect. another big point. the track is still what they expected it to be earlier this morning which is that trending towards the west, making the west coast more vulnerable here from here all the way up to tampa bay. tornado watches are in effect. if you go to any of the sites giving information about the weather, you'll see all the different delineations of risk
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from the cells of rain, heavy rain, tornadoes. there are certain cells like that in this area moving this way now directly across the state from where we are in ft. lauderdale, they have tornado warnings right now and miami, tornado warnings and a lot of lightning in the area. all of these account for risk. let's get the perspective of another leader right now who knows what it's like to be through a storm in this state. congressman charlie crist, the former governor of florida as well. congressman, can you hear us? >> i can hear you fine, thank you. >> reporter: okay, no, thank you, thank you for the time and your perspective on this. irma is getting a lot of attention. i think that's an unqualified positive. this is one of the situations where all of us are really hoping to be wrong about the path, the impact, the duration, the severity. however, in what you're seeing in these storm tracks and your experience in this state, where are you in terms of your level
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of urgency? well, it's pretty urgent. it's hard to overstate the potential impact this storm is going to have on the sunshine state, chris. i'm up in st. petersburg and you're down on the west coast too. and obviously, the shift in the tracking that we've been witnessing over the last 24 hours or so moving it toward the west and therefore, the west coast is a serious concern to those of us on this side of the state. but the magnitude of the storm, the fact it's as big as it is, it's covering entire state. it's just where it's going to have more severe impact based upon the actual tracking that we see over the next 24, 36 hours. >> there's one reality that i think deserves a little bit of attention to manage expectations after the storm comes and hopefully goes in short order. no matter how much preparation there is and there does seem to be unusually excellent
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coordination to this point with the federal to the state to the local, you're going to be behind the ball with the need if any expectations are even close to manifesting themselves in reality. people have to be ready for that, don't they, congressman? >> well, i think so. i think you make a very good point. but the point you made at the outset of your question about how the coordination is it's been pretty extraordinary, i've got to say. and, you know, i was very proud of the fact that congress stepped up the funding for not only harvey but then doubled it to more than $15 billion to help out with irma as well. in a very bipartisan fashion. it's not often we see that over the last several years, but we are seeing it now in a time of need when it is most important,
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obviously. they have doing a great job. they have managed the evacuations very well. i think they have just the right tone when it comes to communicating with people, not being overexcited, delivering a message in a common sense fashion. that's all very important so that, you know, people treat it seriously but they also maintain a good level of thoughtfulness about what we're doing here. >> there is something else that the governor spoke to that i heard you speak about in the past and other heads of states when they are dealing with catastrophe. i know it can sound this way to the audience, but people say, oh, that's just sweet talk and it is just full optimism. what we've seen with cooperation and collaboration among the citizens, among regular people, this is over and above what we've seen with the government. we've seen here people going and helping one another, combining in homes when someone has a safer home, they're going to it.
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it speaks to what we saw and are seeing after harvey, of being getting out there in boats and saving one another. that interconnectedness is not just a beautiful statement of humanity along with a ugly statement of mother nature, but a necessary component of recovery. in your experience, the volunteers of regular citizens to help their own, whether they know them or not, how important is that? >> it is extremely important. you're absolutely right. i've seen enough here, you know, from st. peters berg to clear water to the va that i toured today, people that are volunteering. i met with volunteer nurses at a special needs center yesterday here in the west coast. it is heart warming to see human kind be so kind. that's exactly what we need and what we're seeing and what makes our country so great. we are here for each other.
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we are in this together. we need that kind of unity and that kind of strength in situations like these bring that to the fore. and we're seeing it yet again here in florida in our time of need. >> congressman, i'll make sure that the producers give you our contact information so you can tell us what you are hearing up there for the duration and let us know what information needs to get out. thank you so much for lending your perspective to this. former governor of florida. he knows what it takes to make it through a storm and recover. thank you, sir. be safe. it is not just nice that people are willing to help now and hopefully will be there after. it is necessary. it is fundamental to what will go into getting better quickly after happens here. and hurricane irma, no matter where it is, no matter how bad it is, it's going to be significant. you are going to feel it. it will last for some time after. every model suggests it.
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every expert predicts it. it seems as though those in power are doing exactly that. let's take a quick break. when we come back, there is no question we will see the worst of mother nature. hopefully we will see the best of human nature. we will see how people are helping one anotherment please be safe and stay with cnn. wise man, i'm nervous about things i can't control... affecting my good credit score. i see you've planted an uncertainty tree. chop that thing down. the clarity you seek... lies within the creditwise app from capital one. creditwise helps you protect your credit. and it's completely free for everyone. it's free for everyone? do hawks use the stars to navigate? i don't know. aw, i thought you did. i don't know either.
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priority: you ♪ all right. john we are m john berman here in miami. now the wind is blowing as hard as we have seen yet. one of the biggest concerning, though, here in miami and all the way out into the west coast will be the storm surge. i want to go to a storm chaser
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we have been talking to who is right on the water there. and, ben, it is starting to kick up where you are. >> yeah, john. this is not even the ocean behind me. this is the river. we are several miles inland. you can see how violent this area has already begun. we are more than 12 hours away from where the eye is supposed to impact this area. so conditions are going to continue to deteriorate. we've seen winds gusts around 55 miles an hour. so we haven't seen the worst of it yet. but as you can see several things are going downhill here in terms of the weather. >> so, ben, give our audience some kind of perspective here from where the water is now, where they can see it behind you to how much more it will rise to where you are. >> well, there is only about three feet here, john, of protection from the river up here into the city, a city of about 20,000. we're expecting surges of about 10 to 15 feet. that will rapidly overcome these
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barriers and the water will potentially end this city if that hurricane stays on track. >> and again you have watched a lot of storms in your career. what is unique about irma? >> the biggest thing is how long it is going to stay paralleling the coast over water. water is what these hurricanes thrive on, what gives them their energy and with that track keeping it off the florida cost from napeles to fort myers and up towards tampa, they could be experiencing very violent weather up until tomorrow. >> ben for us again. the storm surge there could be 10 to 15 feet. thank you so much. cnn special live coverage continues right now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> where i'm going first. >> before coming in to