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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  September 13, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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good morning. our breaking news, hurricane florence closing in on the coast and growing in size. stunning image from space showing just how big and how close the storm now is.
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the outer bands already hitting north carolina. this camera, as you see right there on your screen, that's just 30 miles off the coast. take a look at that flag and also take a listen. tropical force winds could be here son. john berman is with me from oak island, north carolina. we will be joined by a team of reporters as we cover florence. florence is a dangerous, category two storm. while it is weaker, do not be fooled by that. this storm is very strong. it is said to have a devastating impact, packing 110 miles an hour winds and threatening catastrophic flooding and storm surges. ten million people under watches and warnings. the latest on the timing of impacts ahead in a moment. the other breaking news, just moments ago president trump with a false claim noting 3,000
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people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit puerto rico. after the storm hit, they had 6 to 18 deaths. then they started to report really large numbers like 3,000. the president saying this was done by the democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible. that is the president this morning as florence is set to bear down on the coast. let's get out to john berman, who is on the beach in oak island. what are you seeing now? >> i'm in oak island, north carolina. this is a town of 8,000 people. there has been a mandatory evacuation order here. like so many of the barrier islands up and down the north carolina coast, i'll tell you why. i'm standing right now on this man made berm, a sand do you know. this will overlap with water. this will be flooded with a three foot storm surge.
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they're expecting a storm surge here of 6 to 9 feet. the water is going to overflow here and it will inundate these houses around me. it could be days of problems here. this storm has slowed down, but that's a bad thing. it means that people along the north and south coast will be right in the bull's eye for 48 hours, experiencing those winds for a long time and a torrential rain, more than two feet in some places and that storm surge 6 to 9 feet maybe more up and down the coast. we got reporters audiotape and down the coast. first go to wilmington, north carolina. kaylee is there. >> reporter: hey, john. i'm standing in the intercoastal water way. another one of those barrier islands that's under mandatory evacuation. let me be your measuring stick
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here to understand what could happen if this storm surge does roll in here as is expected. this is a 17 foot high piling. this floating dock that i'm on is right about at the average high tide mark. i can tell that because of the water line that's just below the dock where it is now. i'm told when hurricane hazel showed up here, the water, it rose just about to the top of this 17 foot piling. when hurricane fran came here, if you look at the dock to my left, those pilings older, wooden, those are just eight feet tall. yeah, that dock rose up, floated right off of those pilings. locals telling me they won't be surprised to see those docks in the parking lot in front of me tomorrow. an area of mandatory evacuation. more often than not, folks are getting their boats out of the
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water and into storage. >> well, good move. it is also a good move to evacuate if you have been told to do so. we will be up there shortly to ride out the storm with you. want to go down to myrtle beach, south carolina. a lot of people have moved there in the past few years. that, too, an area of extreme risk over the next few days. nick valencia is there. nick? >> this is a risky place to be. the mayor is emphasizing, if you don't get out by 1:00 p.m., it may be too late. they have a curfew, much earlier than last night. that's for the safety of the residents who decided to stick it out. we'll join by a ten-year-old here. how are you nicholas? are you nervous at all? >> no, not really. i have been through two hurricanes, and they weren't
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that scarey. >> what was it like the last time? what do you usually do in a time like this. >> well, we usually just stick around the house and we make a plan and we follow that plan. and then after the hurricane hits, we execute the plan. >> you and your dad come to the beach a lot. almost every day or weekly pretty much. what do you see different now when you look at the waves and the condition. >> the beach there is slanted. it looks like the heavy water has been eroding it eventually over and over again. so the waves are getting heavier. >> it is a lot windier than yesterday as well. you're watching the news and the weather. >> what makes me nervous was that matthew, it didn't make me nervous until the peer came off. >> the peer was damaged during that. that was a category one, right? >> it wasn't damaged. it was off, like destroyed. and so i don't know what this one is going to do. this one is said to be worse, said to be longer.
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>> well, we wish you best of luck. take care of yourself. we know your dad will take care of you. residents, some of them aren't evacuating. only 60% of the residents here on myrtle beach have gotten out of town. it is not too late, but that window is closing. >> it is important to continue getting that message out, nick. thank you. so as nick pointed out, the window is closing. when do these life threatening impacts depend to be felt? >> it depends on where you are. if you are on the outer banks right now, you are probably already feeling it. so we have a new tornado watch north of wilmington. but that's certainly because these bigger storm wills be rotating on the north and east side of the storm as it gets closer. there you see the first real band right now. watch that all day long get closer and closer.
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the eye wall itself 146 miles from wilmington, so getting closer at 12 miles an hour. you can do the math and you can get about 14 hours to land fall. but the storm is slowing down and is forecast to get slower. here we go. officially at 38. wilmington just a wind gust there of 31. i'm going to forward this to about 11:30 tonight when the water is starting to pile up. there is wilmington right there. the eye to your south. the surge to your north, and that's where the water is going to go. that is where the major surge is going to be. we don't have crews up there on purpose. there is the eye right there for tomorrow morning because the surge will be into wilmington. this will surge tomorrow morning and into tomorrow afternoon. some of these areas could pick up 9 to 15 feet of surge. that's a pretty big surge. we're at 110 miles an hour, gusts of 130. i want to take you to a map. i made this map a little bit
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ago. this is a google earth. i laid a poly that's 12 feet high. really, this is carolina beach. the only spot here is up to the north. the only spot that actually will be sticking out of this muddy water is the courtyard which is where our crew is. >> wow. all right, chad, thank you. in terms of the white house now where after days of calling the federal response to hurricane maria an incredible expense, president trump is now denying the official death toll. in fact, he's gone beyond denying it. he claim this is is a ploy by democrats. abbie phillips joins me now. >> reporter: goodmorning. we know for several days now he's been saying that he
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believes that hurricane maria was an unsung success for the federal government, that they did everything that they could. now he's saying that these claims that there might have been more people dying as a result of this storm are all part of what he calls done by democrats in order to make me look bad, look as bad as possible when i was successfully raising billions of dollars to help puerto rico. the president also claims when people died of old age, that was counted in the death toll. but that is not true. this death toll is the result of a study commissioned by the government of puerto rico to find out whether there were people who died unnecessarily as a result of the storm, whether it was because they couldn't be found in time or there was no power in places where they needed them, hospitals, that sort of thing. and the president is not addressing any of that really. he's just focussing on what he says is a conspiracy against him.
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this is coming really at a bad time for the white house. they are trying to refocus attention to hurricane florence and reassure people in the path of this storm that the federal government is working as hard as possible on the issue. but president trump is trying to relitigate hurricane maria, trying to get accolades for it. clearly, there is a lot of disagreement on this issue. and frankly a lot of people on the ground in puerto rico, whether or not they agree with these death toll estimates believe that more should have been done, but you don't hear that at all from president trump. >> and last i saw, there were no public events we knew of for the president toe kay. do we know what he has on his schedule coming up or just how in touch he is with the developments about hurricane florence with his officials today? >> they are being very tight lipped on that. president trump has nothing on his schedule publically at all today.
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yesterday was a day we were expecting to hear a lot more from the white house. we only got an update on what president trump's briefings were later on in the day. he spoke to the governor of georgia. he spoke about it briefly at the top of an event here at the white house. it will be interesting to see whether or not they show more of president trump's even galkmeng this issue. whether or not he does anything to let folks know exactly how responsive he is being. so it's still pretty early here. we'll see whether we get more from them. but so far nothing. >> interesting, too, that officials there and folks in the white house in the west wing trying to do their best to redirect the president. he keeps going back to making this about his performance. are any of those folks talking this morn something. >> well, so, you know, these tweets happened moments ago. often when the president tweets at this hour, this is the time when he's still in the
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residence. he hasn't gotten to the west wing yet. many of these tweets will come as a surprise to people working for the president, but i have to tell you over the last several days there is not a desire in this white house to talk about hurricane maria, to relitigate this issue of whether how many people died exactly. the issue of whether there were casualties in that storm is -- it is beyond question. everybody knows there were. the job for the president, i think his aids believe is just to express sympathy in these cases and express a willingness to make sure the federal government is engaged in future hurricanes. but president trump is taking this on head on. yesterday he was tweeting new attacks at the mayor of san juan, who he has been engaged with for months since the hurricane. again, it is a distraction. what we're hearing from white house aids is they want to talk about how well the florence
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response is going, which, by all accounts, the folks on the ground are saying they're working pretty well with the federal government. that's what the white house wants to talk about today. they're not having that opportunity right at this moment because the president is just dictating the agenda via twitter. >> via twitter, which is as we know a daily occurrence. it is fascinating to point out because there is a lot in place. we have seen mobilization. obviously, we're hearing from the federal government but from states as well. we will continue to keep an eye on that. i want to bring in now leyla who was on the ground from the beginning. your reporting has been a stand out from the beginning. and i would imagine that her folks are waking up and seeing these tweets from the president of the united states. there is perhaps a bit of a reaction this morning. >> right. this just happened. i can tell you this will likely have a big response, just like
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it did when the harvard study came in that actually put this number at much higher, around 4,600, the death toll. let me paint the picture of what i have seen in the last few days that will likely give a better idea of what puerto ricans will have to say and how they will feel about this. as we had traveled around puerto rico a year later in the last few days, people are still traumatized by this hurricane. one of the things that i have heard over and over is i lost someone. i lost more than a home. i lost more than family and friends who lost this island. i lost a loved one, someone who died as a result of this storm. and one of the things that president trump may not be looking at here is that, yes, when he came the death toll was at 16 certified deaths. hours after he left, it jumped up to the 30s. those are all what we call direct deaths. those are the deaths that come
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because a direct result of the hurricane. this number that spikes up to 3,000 includes the indirect deaths, those deaths that have been a result of the conditions of living here, of being 11 months without power. that's how long it took to restore it for some people. the case i always talk about that we have featured is the case of a man who died january 6th in the southeastern part of the island because he had no power and when the generator ran out of the diesel in the middle of the night, the breathing machine that he uses to breath at night stopped working. and as a result, he died. that is an indirect death. that is a death that is included in this number of 3,000, which came from researchers at george washington university after the government of puerto rico commissioned a study to look into the deaths. so when president trump talks
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about that small number, that 16 that he quoted as a way to show what a great job the recovery was when he came after the hurricane, he's really only talking about direct deaths. he's not taking into account the people who got into an accident because they didn't see that the bridge was out. the people who didn't have access to hospitals because the roads were closed, the people who didn't have power and needed that breathing machine, the people who couldn't get dialysis because the dialysis center didn't have power to operate and care for these medical patients. that's what the number 3,000 takes into account. that's what the people of puerto rico are thinking about. they are thinking that that number was the devastation that came after hurricane maria, after president trump left. >> and that is what we call a complete picture, of course. and full reporting as to what
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happened. not cherry picking numbers that may or may not convene for people and the message they want to send out. thank you, as always. i know you will continue to stay on the response from puerto rico as well. we are just hearing from the mayor of san juan. this is a tweet from the mayor. this is what denial following neglect looks like. mr. president, in the real world people died on your watch. your lack of respect is appalling. we are waiting on a briefing from fema moments from now. an update on preparations as this massive storm barrels towards the east coast. stay with us. ♪ take us downtown, waze. waze integration- seamlessly connecting the world inside...
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we are monitoring the latest on hurricane florence as we wait
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for the hurricane to make land fall. we will have an update from fema on this massive hurricane. >> good morning. we know that they started off the morning here at fema with their operational meeting, so that is likely still ongoing. but we do expect them to come out here and give us the very latest as far as where their assets are deployed and their final warnings, essentially for people who are in that target area. we do know that, you know, aside from warnings people that they need to get out, fema as well as the army core of engineers are paying closer to five federally operated dams in the target area. army core of engineers saying they will be paying close attention to those dams because obviously the bottom line is they don't want this issue of a breach, so they will be
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monitoring and managing those five dams throughout the storm. as for fema, we haven't heard from them yet this morning. we will in a few minutes. we do expect them to continue on with a message they have had all along, which is you only have a few hours left to safely evacuate. we suspect they will continue that. fema saying they are ready and confident going into this storm they will have the resources and they will have the funds to adequately respond. >> all right. the latest there from fema headquarters. we'll get you that briefing as it as it begins. want to turn back to john berman who is there in north carolina. john? >> i'm here on oak island in north carolina. the sun just peeked through the sky right now. this may be the last i see it for a long, long time. i want to bring in the director
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of the national hurricane center to get a sense of the latest storm track and where it is at this moment. ken, what are you seeing? >> john, yeah, we're getting frequent updates from the radar. we are maintaining that 110 miles an hour. this system seems to be slowing down a little bit as advertised. but one thing we keep talking about and that's really important, these hurricane winds expend 70 miles from the center. 170 miles from the center is the winds. you are seeing these rain bands already reaching the north carolina coast with some of those high winds and the heavy rains. i am couraging everybody not necessarily to concentrate on that center. with that kind of size, those impacts could be well away from the center. >> that's a super important point. but just so people understand, the eye of the storm, when and where do you expect it to make land fall? >> well, looking at the latest forecast, we are really
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advertising this slow down. it looks like impacts right now, tropical storm force winds reaching the shore right now. close to the shore overnight tonight. look at this. with time, you look at 2:00 a.m. friday at this location. this is 2:00 a.m. saturday. that's 24 hours of this battering hurricane force winds we're looking at. that's compounding the issues. that's more rain and storm surge. it is going to impact areas into the weekend easily. >> that's a really long time to be suffering the battering blow of hurricane force winds, not to mention what could be two high tide cycles. i know that's two things, but if you get both at the same time, it could be particularly bad. >> and even to compound those issues, we're also putting all that rain on top of it. so those areas looking at 20 to 30 inches of rain. so think about the storm surge coming in and then you pile on top of the rain.
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a lot of these rivers won't be able to drain. the longer you have these winds, the further inland you push that storm surge several miles in some areas could see storm surge. think about it, the water is high. a lot of rain fall. that can't drain and it just compounds the issue. it is a dangerous situation when it comes to the water. >> i know it is a long time coming from now. but when do you think it will finally stop raining along the carolina coast? >> it's going to day catake som. we will have a depression over south carolina. we still have some uncertainty with exactly where that center is going to be. it looks like it will go through the weekend. think about it. even if the rain ends, you are still talking a long time for those rivers to drain, especially in these areas that get the heavy rain. dangerous flash flooding situation in addition to the coastal issues. >> all right. the director of the national
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hurricane center. thanks so much for being with us. i hope people get the message, which is this is a huge storm in terms of its size, which means that people will be suffering hurricane force winds for a very long time. the pounding rain of the storm surge will last until sunday. that is a serious problem. we know the government has been getting ready. they have been staging over the last several days. in a moment we are expecting a life briefing from fema. live coverage begins right after this. ♪ introducing e*trade personalized investments professionally managed portfolios customized to help meet your financial goals. you'll know what you're invested in and how it's performing. so you can spend more time floating about on your inflatable swan. [ding]
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improvements and make sure we're running programs and policies according to regulation and bottom line is we'll continue to fully cooperate with any investigation that goes on and on updating mistakes and push forward and keep going, keep moving on. here is the thing. regardless of an article, right now i am 100% focussed on florence. that's where our attention needs to be. with that we will invite in our federal partners. florence, excuse me. >> would you say, though, you feel confident that you are follows the statutes and laws. >> yes. we will get to florence and we're going to push forward and concentrate on the life safety issues. thank you. >> right. thanks, guys.
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>> all right. so in regards to florence, just because the wind speeds came down, the intensity of this storm came down to a cat two, please do not let your guard down. the storm surge associated with storm has not changed. it has remained the same. here's why. as the system is encroaching on the coast, the wind field expanded. what you will see is these wind bands that far proceed the center of circulation will start pushing water up against the coast, but more importantly up the back bay and inland areas. storm surge is not a problem, just along the coastline. it will be a major problem way up into the streams and tributaries that push up into the sounds like the west side. this is a very dangerous storm. storm surge is why you have been
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placed under -- many of you have been placed under evacuation. we're asking citizens to heed a warning. your time is running out. the motion is going to start rising along the coast and in the back bay and inland areas and the sound within hours. your time to get out is coming to a close. i cannot emphasize that enough. with that, the other thing that's going to happen is not only are we going to see high winds, 110 miles an hour sustained winds coming upon the coast, the wind field is large. there are hurricane force winds that extend far out from the center of circulation that you will see high inland winds as this storm starts to come in and push into the coast. coupled with that is copious amounts of rain fall taz system is pulling a lot of moisture out of the ocean. you are already seeing rain band come along the carolina shoreline and unfortunately
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these rain bands will be with us for several days. we're going to -- the forecasters are basically indicating feet of rain, not inches in portions of the carolinas and into virginia. this is a very dangerous storm. inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately. please keep that in mind. the other thing is that i want -- i want everybody to know that fema and our federal partners have fully positioned with our state and federal partners. emergency management is a team sport, a whole community effort. as this system pushes through right now, we're focussed largely on life safety, supporting evacuation movement, supporting mass care. as this system pushes through, starts to exit the carolinas and virginias and the threat ceases, we're going to be focussed on stabilizing what we call
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community lifelines. for example, we got to quickly understand the damage that's been done to the transportation systems, the communication systems, the power systems and we are positioning and have been positioned for multiple days now to be ready to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can. but let me set the expectations, this is a very dangerous storm. we call them disastrous because they break things. the power will go out. it is hard to say at this point. so not only that, but many of you who have evacuated from the carolina coastlines are going to be displaced for a while, particularly where the area receive the highest amounts of storm surge. so we need people to get their mindsets right that disasters are frustrating and it takes time to get the infrastructure back and running. but we will work quickly to get
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things back up and running. so with that, i want to quickly turn it over to our partners over at noah. take it away. >> okay. good morning. florence is a category two hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles an hour. it is moving northwest and is presently centered 170 miles east/southeast of wilmington north carolina and 220 miles east of myrtle beach, south carolina. florence is a very large hurricane. hurricane force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend nearly 200 miles out from the center. florence is forecast to slow down as it approaches the coast. today as we see outer rain bands move, land fall is not expected
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for another 36 hours. some time friday afternoon, friday evening or even early saturday morning. this slow moving very large hurricane will bring a long-term extreme rainstorm surge and hurricane force wind threat to eastern north carolina and south carolina into the weekend. we are particularly concerned about the rivers where 9 to 12 feet of storm surge are forecast. and the beaches from the outer banks to the wilmington area, 6 to 9 feet of storm surge are forecast over several astro nominal high tide cycles. as far as rain fall, we're still forecasting 20 to 30 inches, possibly 40 inches or more. in addition to all of that, there is also a tornado watch in effect for eastern north carolina today and tomorrow. the next advisory from the
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national hurricane center will be issued at 11:00 eastern time. thank you. >> i just like to take an opportunity to emphasize that the expanse of this storm. so the tropical storm force winds extend out 200 miles and the hurricane force winds extend out 80. when it slows down, what you will see is this expansive wind field will pile up along the coast. in addition to that, there is going to be a tremendous amount of rain. and as this storm slows down, there will be lots of coastal flooding. with that combined with the on shore flow, it will be hard for this water to evacuate. you will see a tremendous amount of flooding. i also like to thank the noah core officers for flying into the storm data to improve the forecast models. i'd also like to thank the air force for providing reconnaissance flights as well. >> thanks. >> next we have our partners
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with the american red cross, charlie english, to give us updates on the efforts underway. >> thank you. we certainly appreciate your leadership and your inclusive ps of our faith based and private partners on the team. thank you very much for that. the red cross and other private nonprofits continue to stage resources in the atlantic area. just like to settle a little expectations that the public has not experienced staying in a shelter in the past. you will be safe, but conditions are spartan. we ask you to bring your toothbrush, your pillow, other comfort items with you, and we'll keep you safe until the storm passes. and then post land fall and post impact, it will be a more comfortable situation for you. we would also like to take the opportunity to say that this
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storm is a significant event. our resources will be stretched. if you are fortunate enough not to be impacted, we would like to have you consider being a volunteer. you can do that at redcross.org or any of the other fine agencies that you choose to volunteer with. thank you. >> and folks, one of the most powerful arms of the whole community is the nongovernmental organizations like the red cross and here again when this storm passes, this is about neighbor helping neighbor all the way up to the fed rl governmeeral gove. if you are looking to get involved and you are looking to get involved to help out the situation once this thing is passed, go to redcross.org. next up we have our partners with the army core of engineers, mr. alexander. >> thank you, administrator long. good morning.
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the army core of engineers is prepared and ready to respond to hurricane florence. to date we have over 200 personnel engaged with over six million in mission assignment dollars from fema and over $13 million in federal coastal emergency dollars. in the pacific ocean division continues to assess and respond to the effects from the typhoon and the hurricane out in the pacific. while here in the atlantic under the stafford act authorities are postured to provide temporary power support, temporary roofing, housing and inf infrastructure assessments in the carolinas, virginia and elsewhere where needed. as far as dams, they're fine in virginia and north carolina. all have sufficient flood control capability to accept the
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effects of precipitation from florence. we're working with the army's installation management man to make sure that dams on fort greg north carolina, fort jackson south carolina, any effects of damage are mitigated. in terms of navigation, we are working with our partners and prepared to rapidly open federal channels and other navigation. and finally, flood response, we are integrated with state and local county governments to provide technical assistance and flood finding before the storm and after. thank you. >> thank you. >> next up, our partners with the coast guard, admiral austin. >> thank you, mr. long. the safety of the people in hurricane florence's path are a top priority. and we are working in close concert with fema and other federal, state and local partners in preparing for the
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storm. in preparation for the storm, the coast guard has taken the following actions. the ports of wilmington have been closed and in preparation also for the storm, we have pre-staged shallow water response boats, as bring in search and rescue aircraft, and we have moved the aircraft out of the station to be ready to come in behind the storm as soon as it is safe to fly those missions. the coast guard is prestaging forces with additional law enforcements, security and oil and hazardous materials response resources to be ready and all coast guard, small boat and cutter crews are going to be outside the storm and ready to move in as soon as it's safe to do so. for those in the path of the storm, please stay off the water. coast guard resource wills be degraded or unavailable immad y after the storm.
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please don't use social media in order to call for help. call 911 or channel 16 to reach out and get help. the areas will still be hazardous. so please stay in a safe location while coast guard and other partners assess the damage and we'll let you know when it is safe to do so. thank you. >> next up we have the office of disability integration coordination at fema and it's incredibly important for fema to help our partners do everything that we can to render the highest level of functional access of needs that we can. not only during the response phase but also after the recovery phase. so linda, please, would you say a few words. >> thank you. excuse me. good morning. so as the disability coordinator and the deck tor of the office of disability and coordination, our responsibility is to ensure that fem a's programs and services are available to and accessible to people with disabilities before, during and
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after disasters. and in terms of florence in particular, we are working very closely with our partners at the state and local level, at the territorial and travel levels with federal partners to ensure that people with disabilities have what they need during evacuation, during sheltering, pre and post land fall. part of our coordination efforts are to ensure we are in close communication with our state and local partners, so ensure that any unmet needs that people have and in terms of response and recovery are met and we'll continue to closely coordinate with our state and local and federal partners to ensure that people with disabilities who are impacted by the storms have what they need to safely evacuate, that they have what they need in the shelters and that they can effectively respond to the effects of the disaster. >> and then next up,
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environmental protection agency. >> thank you administrator long. good morning. i'm the director of emergency management. in addition to requests for assistance from our states, tribes and local government, partners, some of the things that epa is currently going prior to hurricane florence is to determine the status of preparation at chemical, oil and production facilities that may be in the path of the storm and to identity any releases and discharges of hazardous substances or oil caused by the storm. the agency has identified sites under super fund, risk management program and the response program for oil that may be in the current projected path of the hurricane and we're trying to assess any preland fall concerns.
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in addition, we're working with the state -- >> all right. you have been listening to this news conference, along with officials from other responders who are waiting for hurricane florence, waiting for this storm to pass through. they have talked about how they prestaged so much support and so much relief for when the storm is over. they talk about how they will respond when they are behind the storm. the problem, of course, is this storm will be very, very long in duration. hurricane florence the outer band starting to hit now the north carolina coast, the outer banks. once it hits, it's going to stick around for 72 hours. fema director said people need to be prepared to be frustrated. this will be a very long haul. the important thing now is to stay safe. live coverage of hurricane florence continues after this quick break. migraine with botox®.
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john berman here in oak island, north carolina. winds picking up a little bit here, and this is nothing. tropical storm force winds have begun hitting the outer banks about 200 miles north of naurk. they will batter the rest of the coastline shortly and stick around for days, dutching rain. lots of rain. feet of rain, and a storm surge that could top 6, 9, 12 feet in some places. that's an area of enormous concern. want to head to myrtle beach, south carolina, a place very much on high alert for the storm as well. polo sandoval is there. polo. >> hey, john. want to give you a view of what's happening a little further south in charleston, right now. if you have been here, you know this area is obviously always extremely bustling with activity. a very vibrant part of charleston, not today. you can see business after business has been boarded up. the sandbags are certainly in
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place. people here are afraid of a repeat of what happened during tropical stormirma when the high tide and storm surge combined to flood parts of the city. that's what people here are worried about. they have been describing it as florence part two, the scenario where the storm would potentially sag south, dumping incredible amounts of rain in the region here. not necessarily because they may be on the southern end of the storm. the concern here is over the flooding. finally, i should mention, both the port of charleston and the airport itself have been shut down until at least saturday, so you can't fly or sail into charleston, at least not for the next few days. >> appreciate it. as we're looking at preparations up and down the coast, the message is clear. stay off the beach, stay out of the ocean. or risk getting arrested. a strong warning to residents and tourist alike as myrtle beach closed ahead of florence.
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the outer bands of the hurricane hitting the coast this morning, as we have seen. joining me now, brenda bethune, the mayor of myrtle beach. this is your home town, where you grew up. you have dealt with hurricanes before, but this is a little something different. are people heeding these evacuations? are they listening? >> i think people have listened this time. i really believe that this storm has gotten everyone's attention. because of the sheer mass of it. and i truly hope that people have obeyed the mandatory evacuation warnings because now really is the last chance to get out of town. >> once this track shifted, and was showing more of myrtle beach in its sight, what changed for you in terms of preparations? >> well, immediately, i felt like i had been sucker punched. but we just went into high gear. our city crews, our emergency
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planning team, public safety, we've all been working 24/7 to prepare for this. and we were prepared even before we knew that it was coming right towards us. but now we are on even higher alert. and ready for whatever comes our way. >> you know, part of what we talk about with every storm, but especially with this one, is how important it is to listen to these evacuation orders because help can't come to you and people who want to call for help, especially if the storm is there, are putting other people, first responders' lives, at risk. this is going to stay for days, we're talking about. not just hours. how has that impacted where your folks are riding out the storms so they're ready when it is over? >> we have actually called all of our tier-one employees and brought them into a shelter at our local convention center, myrtle beach convention center, so we could have them close enough into the city so that immediately after the storm, we
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can get out, do our damage assessments, patrol the streets, and just insure that the city is safe and work in a very proactive and hopefully a very swift manner to get things back in order. >> we know the gondolas from that iconic sky wheel are down. so much preparation has been done there. what's your biggest concern this morning? >> i think my biggest concern right now is the people who have chosen to stay. a lot of times, people think that just because the storm has been downgraded, that it is not going to be as impactful, and that is not the case with florence. it is such a massive storm. and we need to pay attention to that and not get lulled into that false sense of security. i also just encourage people, if you are home, you need to stay in your homes. this is not the time to be outside taking pictures or to see what's going on and making facebook videos.
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this is very serious. a very serious situation we're in. >> we absolutely need to treat it that way. mayor brenda bethune, thank you. you may have seen nick valencia talking about a person there who said he couldn't get out of myrtle beach, no car, no license, and we had a dog. there have been a lot of offers to help him out. right now, he decided to stay. stay with us, the latest on this breaking news. hurricane florence making its way to the carolina coast, continues after this. -computer, order pizza. -of course, daniel. -fridge, weather. -clear skies and 75. -trash can, turn on the tv. -my pleasure. -ice dispenser, find me a dog sitter. -okay. -and make ice. -pizza delivered. -what's happened to my son? -i think that's just what people are like now. i mean, with progressive, you can quote your insurance on just about any device. even on social media. he'll be fine.
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i'm erica hill in atlanta. the beginning impacts of florence are here. the outer bands of this powerful category-2 hurricane and it is massive, being felt already along the carolina coast. take a look at that flag on the left-hand side of your screen. and look at those ominous skies as well. fema officials offering this warning moments ago. >> your time is running out. your time to get out of those areas and storm surge inundation

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