tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN September 13, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
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
is coming to a close. i cannot emphasize that enough. >> the warning from fema there in the coming hours, the conditions will deteriorate. it will become extremely life threatening. catastrophic storm surges, flooding is the biggest concern. and we're also hearing now from the governor of north carolina. let's listen in. >> get yourself to a safe place and stay there. if you haven't already. over the next few hours, many roads will become unsafe and impassable from debris and flood waters. don't drive during the peak of the storm and don't attempt to drive through flooded roads. that puts your life in danger. i know many north carolinians see updated storm tracks changing categories of the hurricane, and landfall predictions. i'm concerned because i have even heard some people say that
north carolina is getting a break. please hear my message. we cannot underestimate this storm. wind speeds may have dropped some from yesterday, but we've traded that for a larger wind field that expands 200 miles with tropical storm force winds. and our greatest concern about this storm remains the same. storm surge and massive flooding. both are going to be extreme. catastrophic effects. catastrophic effects will be felt outside the center of the storm due to storm surge as high as 9 to 13 feet. that's the second story of a house. battering winds and relentless rain that will last for days. make no mistake. whether the eye of the storm
makes landfall along our shores or further south, we're on the wrong side of this thing. this storm will bring destruction to north carolina. and remember that hurricane matthew didn't even make landfall in north carolina and look what it did to us. flood plain experts at north carolina management know from storm surge alone, tens of thousands of structures are expected to be flooded. and many more by rising rivers and creeks. if local officials tell you to seek higher ground, please listen. these orders are not given lightly. they are based on experienced emergency response experts who can predict dangerous and life-threatening situations.
as of now, we have about 108 shelters that are open with more than 7,000 people in them. emergency management's goal is to set up even more shelters where people can stay safe throughout the duration of the storm. and even after. we appreciate local communities stepping up to host storm evacuees, and we're grateful to the volunteers for helping us out at these shelters. i have ordered 2800 national guard soldiers to report for duty to help in this time of crisis, and we're truly grateful for their service. we also want to thank their families and the families of all of the first responders who are making sacrifices with their loved ones who are serving with this natural disaster. across our state, we have more than 56 school districts that are now closed, and nearly all of the university of north carolina school system classes
have been canceled. everyone needs to be prepared for power outages that could last for days and maybe even a week or longer. duke energy and our electric co-ops are estimating power losses in the millions. and families need to have their emergency supplies ready. i know i have said this a lot, but it bears repeating. your supplies should include water, food, flashlights, batteries, medicines, important documents that you may need to take with you if you have to evacuate quickly. and you need a plan for your pets. and please remember, if you do lose power, don't operate gas-powered generators inside your home or in a garage, crawl space, or shed. this can be deadly. stay away from loose or dangling power lines that may be knocked
over during the storm. and no matter where you live, don't drive through roads covered by standing or moving water. the road that was there before the floodwaters may no longer be there. if you encounter a flooded road, turn around. most storm related deaths are caused by drowning in fresh water. heavy rains can cause swells in small creeks and can turn streams into raging torrents that will sweep away anything in their path, including cars. only takes a few inches of water to cause devastation in a flood. north carolina needs to stay alert. and continue to take this storm seriously. you can download the ready nc app or follow north carolina emergency management on facebook
and twitter. there you can get updates and learn how you can weather the storm. i want to thank everyone across our state who is working to get us ready for this storm. and i want to introduce to you part of our team that is leading those efforts. we have mike sprayberry, our director of emergency management. dr. mandy cohen, the secretary of health and human services. colonel glen mcneill, who is the commander of the north carolina highway patrol. we have general jim interrogatotrogden, our secretary of the darment of transportation. alby lewis who is with fema. >> we have been listening to the governor ofner north carolina w was very clear. my message today, don't relax, don't get complacent. stay on guard. this is a powerful storm that can kill, and today the threat
becomes a reality. saying make no mistake. we are on the wrong side of this. john berman is in oak island, north carolina. those words there from the government. and he's not mincing them. we hope that people are taking them to heart. >> the word that jumped out to me that governor cooper used is catastrophic. the effects of this storm will be catastrophic. they are traded some wind speed, down to a category-2, for size. it's a huge storm, an immense storm, which means the storm surge could be even greater. what that means where i am on oak island, i'm standing on a sand dune on a walkway. i'm in the walkway, but this dune can withstand a three-foot storm surge. higher than three feet, the water will wash over the dune. now let me show you the houses. the houses are built on stilts, yes, waving right there is my producer, ally. ally is about 5'3". so she raised her hand, maybe seven feet tall there. if we get a nine-foot storm
surge, which we're expecting, that means the water is going to wash right over those stilts, right into the living room and kitchen at that house, and the stilts won't make any difference. that is what's coming to the coast of north carolina, and it isn't just coming for an hour or two hours. 24, 48 hours, several high tides. that's the concern here. let's go down to conway, south carolina. that's where we find scott mclean. what are you seeing there? >> hey, john. look, there are still 375 people who are staying in shelters, and we're still quite a ways away from this storm making landfall, but these people are hunkering down. they're not taking any chances at all. it's not the most comfortable place for people to stay, but the red cross running the shelter. they're trying their best. they have tables set up for people. some folks like the guy over there, they brought an air mattress, a tv, lawn chairs. a lot of food, trying to make things as homee as they can. over here, entertainment for the
kids. this is not supposed to be a shelter. the red cross has made this abundantly clear. this is an evacuation center. that means there are only cots set up for the sick or elderly. some people brought their own air mattresses but a lot of people are sleeping on the floor. it's far from an ideal situation, but better than the alternative for a lot of people. a lot of people here are living in mobile homes or prefabricated homes, not where you want to be considering the weather that could come to this part of myrtle beach. 20 inches of rain, 60-mile-per-hour winds. i spoke to one woman. she said she rode out the storm in a trailer, a double-wide trailer, hurricane matthew, back in 2016. she says that is simply not something that she is willing to do again. they were without power for a week back then in 2016. this time, it could be even longer than that. after this storm actually passes, john, this will turn into a shelter. they'll have cots for everybody,
but only obviously for those people who cannot go home because their home is destroyed or flooded out. >> scott mclean for us in conway, south carolina. thanks so much. again, the shelters need to be open now. hopefully, people got to where they need to go already because it's really almost no time left. let's go up to wilmington, north carolina, and might be very near where the eye of the storm makes landfall ultimately, not for a while, still some maybe 24 hours away. kaylee hartung is there. >> yeah, that's right, john. a gust of wind is picking up through here for the first time we have really seen today. otherwise, the waters of the intercoastal waterway between wilmington and wrightsville beach is pretty calm. you describe the impact the storm surge could have on oak island. let me wrap people's minds about what that storm surge could do in the wilmington area. people tell me these boats, these floating docks could be in the parking lot on the other side of the dock that i'm
standing on. use me as your measuring stick. i'm 5'2". this piling, 17 feet high from the average high tide mark. high tide is not expected for about another hour, but we have already risen above that average high tide marker here. there is something to be said for when the storm surge hits. and where we are in the tide, but these waters already higher than they should be. i'm told when hurricane hazel came rolling through here in 1954, water rose as high as nearly the top of this pylon. hurricane fran in 1996, if you look to the left of me, these older wooden pylons, those eight feet tall, that fleeting dock rose up and like i mentioned we're expecting here today or tomorrow, i should say, rather, that dock over the pylons and into the parking lot ahead of me. you heard scott talking about the shelters that folks in south carolina wheare headed to. we hope the vast majority of people have gotten off the
island. it's one of those barrier islands with a mandatory evacuation order. officials telling me they believe only a handful of people are left. this morning, they had four cars of people get off the island and make the decision at the last minute to get out because we know anybody who stays in one of these areas of mandatory evacuation, it will be at their own risk. first responders will not be there to help them if they need them. john. >> that's exactly right. once the wind speed hits 45 miles per hour, the first responders and rescue crews will not go out and wind speeds could be higher than that for two days. kaylee hartung in wilmington, north carolina. i want to go to chad myers. i'm seeing the sun right now. i get the sense i shouldn't get used to it. >> not at all. the storm is not that far from you. the outer bands are on the way. those are the bands, and i'll show you here in a second, those are the bands that will bring in the first real batch of tropical storm force winds. they are already getting now to cape hatteras and all the way up there along the outer banks. everywhere from hatteras back
down to morehead city, back out here, even toward the almost north top sail beach, that's where the first round of weather is happening now. we're still 150 miles, 129 now, from landfall. not that far from wilmington. these are live updates as the storm rolls this way. so what has happened overnight? well, the storm kind of got a stuffy nose. that's in a good way. it's not breathing as well as it was. so the pressures are coming up, which means the wind speeds are coming down. so now we're at a category-2, and it wouldn't surprise me if we were a category-one, but that category-one, those winds are only in the small section. the wind here is the same as a cat-2 or 3. the same wind here as a cat-2 or cat-3, and the wind here is the same as it was, even though the wind around the eye is not where it was two days ago. the water under this storm is exactly where it was. that surge water that was being
pulled in by a cat-4 for a while is still there. and when the storm comes onshore very close to wilmington, this is 12:30 tonight, a little after midnight, that's when the water is going to start splashing over the dunes and some spots 13 feet over the dunes. and washing away houses. that's just the fact. some houses, they will not be here when we wake up tomorrow or get there through the day tomorrow afternoon, because some of them aren't on stilts or the stilts just aren't tall enough to compete. you have 13 feet of surge on top of the water, and then all of a sudden, another 15-foot wave on top of that. it's going to knock it down. a wooden structure has no chance with that. and that's why we put our crews where we do, in big concrete structures that we can get away from things. 110 miles per hour right now. wouldn't be surprised if that goes to 105. there's a plane going back and forth. we'll get a new update in about 45 minutes and all of a sudden, the storm gets to wilmington tonight and tomorrow night and then turns left toward myrtle.
that's why we have so many crews down there. john. >> all right, chad myers with the forecast. chad, thanks very much. again, the duration here, it is coming. it is staying for a long, long time. much more of cnn's special live coverage after this quick break. keep those shrimp comin'! endless shrimp is back at red lobster. with all the shrimp you want, any way you want them. try delicious creations like new crunchy fiesta shrimp
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meteorologist, chad myers, do not fool that this storm may have been downgraded to a category 2 at one point. the winds, the water, the immense stretch of the storm still there. the governor of north carolina saying moments ago, this storm is catastrophic. and we're on the wrong side of it. it's time to listen to each and every warning because your time is running out. all of this happening, of course, while at the white house, the president is already claiming accolades for the federal response to this storm. all while attempting still to rewrite the story of maria in puerto rico one year ago. in a pair of frankly breathtaking tweets this morning, the president not only denying the officially accepted death toll of nearly 3,000 lives but claiming, and i quote, this was done by the democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible. let's bring in cnn's abby phillip at the white house with more. lei leyla santiago is also in san
juan. has anybody tried to explain, confirm, any word on the president's tweets out of the white house this morning? >> no word, erica, this morning from the white house about what the president meant by these tweets, why -- what reasons he has to doubt that that death toll is higher than what was originally reported in the immediate aftermath of the storm. but under normal circumstances, a white house facing a storm like this coming at the united states wants to be of one mind about the message heading out to people, that they need to be safe, that they need to heed warnings. but president trump is having an entirely different conversation on twitter. he's tweeting about something that frankly the white house would like to put to the side for the next coming days. aides have been trying to tell us this morning even that the president is engaged on this, that he has meeting on his schedule today, that there's cooperation happening between federal officials and local officials, all morning on the
pending storm, but president trump is instead debating whether or not democrats are trying to undermine him by artificially elevating the death toll associated with hurricane maria. this comes after days of president trump saying that the federal government's response to that storm was an unsung success. he says they're getting accolades for it. clearly, a lot of folks on the ground there disagree, and white house aides this morning would love to be talking about anything else but this, erica. >> and that is going to be tough to do. abby phillip at the white house with the latest, thank you. it did not take long for the mayor of san juan, who the president yesterday called totally incompetent, to respond to this morning's tweets. she writes 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. leyla santiago joins us from puerto rico. what are you hearing there? >> well, listen, it's not just
words like appalling. it's words like shame. people sort of in disbelief that anyone would believe that the number 3,000 is not real. given the devastation that came after hurricane maria. i think it's really important here to talk about these deaths. i mean, we have been here on and off for a year after hurricane maria. and yes, there were deaths immediately. people who had a stroke or a heart attack and 911 couldn't get to them with 150-mile-per-hour winds slamming the island. people who a tree fell on them. people who drowned in floodwater. and now, the number 3,000 is looking at the bigger picture, at the indirect deaths. people who died because they didn't have power. people who died because they couldn't get medical attention. people who died because of the conditions that lingered for so long after hurricane maria. i mean, it took 11 months for the power authority to feel like
their mission was complete in restoring power. it took five months to get water. there are still people here today that have 30-day tarps as a roof. i mean, these conditions led to deaths. they're called indirect deaths. and that's what's included in the number 3,000 that, by the way, came out of george washington university researchers. so this was an independent study. yes, commissioned by the government of puerto rico, but that's what this number 3,000, that's why people are appalled. i want you to hear what chef jose andres had to say. he was here immediately, delivering food, going to the most hard-hit areas after hurricane maria. here's his take on it. >> he should be ashamed. probably was more than 3,000 people. but actually, history only shows you his lack of empathy.
week after week, people kept dying because injuries, because lack of food, lack of water. you name it. actually, that proves how little support the federal government gave puerto rico. >> and listen, chef andres brings up a good point in that we may never really know the exact number. but where there is agreement here is that it's not 16, which was what president trump pointed to in boasting about the recovery. that it's not 64, which is what the government of puerto rico had it at. so yeah, maybe it's not necessarily exactly 3,000. but to believe that it's anything less is something that people here find shocking. >> leyla santiago, appreciate it, as always. as you pointed out, you have been on the story from the very beginning and we know you'll continue to stay on it as well. thank you. stay with us. cnn's breaking coverage of
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tropical force winds will be arriving in near hours and millions are in this storm's path. officials noting if you have not evacuated from the coast by this point, your time is nearly up. cnn's nick valencia joins us from myrtle beach. the beach there shut down. some folks electing to stay behind. why? what are they telling you? >> the beach is shut down here. and well, for about an hour or so, that was a good thing, but people have slowly started to come out and check out the conditions here. and we're going to talk to one person right now that is riding the storm out. why are you doing it, jennifer? what's the reason? >> oh, i feel safe. i'm prepared. i have been through them before. and i have made it. i went through hugo, and i made it. and i just feel good. >> who are you going to be with when you ride the storm out? >> my husband eddy and my daughter cathy. >> i'm sure you have watched the warnings. i'm sure you watched people like me on tv tell you to get out or
you have watched the mayor say you need to get out now. now is the time to evacuate. and you're still here. >> i'm still here. you know, i felt like it was okay to stay. i'm prepared. i have been through them before. getting in is harder, you know, than getting out. i didn't want to leave my home. i have fur babies. but i really feel confident in myrtle beach and everybody that's in charge. and i feel like i'm going to be taken care of. >> i only have a few seconds left. you said that you were confident and really like the community around here. you feel supported by the community because why? >> absolutely, because after hugo, when you needed something and a neighbor had it, the neighbor would give it to you. and if they needed, you would give it to them. so i think my greatest memory of
a major hurricane is not so much the power of the winds and the waves and the water but the power of the community. >> that's beautiful. we hope you stay safe during this time around and you have the fortune you had during hugo. jennifer was telling me off camera, they waited two weeks before they had power restoerped, they were without food, but she's hopeful the community will help support people like her. she is one of the 40% or so of the community that's going to continue to ride this out, john. >> all right, nick valencia, thanks so much. i'm here in oak island, north carolina. we have seen people, even though there's a mandatory evacuation here, who have decided to ride out this storm. joining me now is someone who may be charged with taking care of these people over the next few days. art, with the emergency management services. we just heard from someone in a different area, but we see the people here walking on this beach right over there. what's your message to people who have chosen to stay?
>> we really recommend you leave. we don't want to be in this area. it looks real nice and the surf is great for the surfers, but the rip tide is extremely dangerous out there. so we don't recommend being on the beach at this time. we recommend the window of opportunity to leave is closing rapidly. so we recommend that you leave the area. and if you can't, there are still some rooms at shelters. we do have a number of them opened up. and we will do everything we can to help you get where you need to be. but it needs to happen soon. >> the outer bands of hurricane florence have already started to hit the outer banks a couple hundred miles north of where we are. wilmington. starting to get close to the coast here. once the winds pick up, we had gusts, but once we get sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, what will you be able to do? >> not a whole lot we'll be able to do. our services will be suspended pretty much at that particular point. so until the winds come back down and we can evaluate the situation, people are going to be pretty much on their own.
the 911 center will still accept calls, but there's more difficult than to accept a call and not be able to come and help you out. so it's difficult. we don't want to see that happen. >> it's going to be a long time. look, the winds will get higher than 45 miles per hour and they're going to stay there, maybe for two full days. that's a long time that people will be on their own, correct? >> that's correct. and sustained winds for two to three hours is one thing, but sustained winds of over 50, 60 miles per hour for an entire day, 24 hours, that's devastating. so we really, you know, need to take it seriously. >> you're a swiftboat guy, a swiftboat rescue guy. the real threats from the storm may not just be the wind. the storm surge, which could rai flood, and then the rain. that may very well be your big problem in the next few days. >> that's exactly correct. when you have -- hurricane matthew had a three-foot surge. this could be up to 13 feet. so that would be crashing into the buildings behind you.
and then with another 24 inches of rain possibly on top of that, that is very dangerous. and you know, our swift water team is a bunch of professional people in brunswick county, but i don't want anybody to find out how professional and good they are because the big thing is you need to leave. but if for some reason you need us, we have a federal task force, missouri task force one, splitting into two components. one will be in the fire department in leyland. one will be at our emergency operations center at bolivia and brunswick county type two swift water team will be 12 miles from the border of south carolina. >> you have only been at this for a little while. you're a career navy guy, but in the time you have been doing this, you see anything like what people are predicting the storm will be? >> the only thing that comes close is hurricane floyd. that dumped 24 inches of rain in brunswick county, and we dealt with that storm for a long time after the storm left. >> art, thanks for being with us all morning long.
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founder of the louisiana cajun navy. a well known group of volunteers who help in storms just like florence. clyde, good to have you with us. you're in gaston, south carolina. how many cajun navy members are there with you and why did you choose gaston? >> well, i came in and started scouting on saturday. and between myself and the leader of the united cajun navy, we had contacts, so i went boots on the ground, found us a great staging area. we have all amenities and plenty of room to park from flatbed semis to our air boats to teams, medic teams, people coming from all over. groups, we're able to put them in the same security compound out there, and deploy from there and we're in touch with local and state to deploy us as well as a ticketing system we have. >> the fact that this storm could sit for not hours, right, but days, how does that change
things for you? >> well, we planned ahead of time for that because we have been watching it and knew it would probably stall and sit there for a second or just move in slow. so we have 18-wheelers that are coming in. and everyone brought enough supplies as they came in their groups to cover themselves, but of course, we have a lot of food there. and accommodations. for everything. and we were also given some rooms by hilton. we have everybody kind of staged up and ready to go. accommodations are there for now, and 18-wheelers rolling in to our compound with trucks with ice and all that stuff for us to go out and deploy and take on any situation that might occur. >> we know how instrumental, how helpful, integral you have been, especially, we don't need to look further than harvey. how many people do you have with you there on the ground? >> right now, as far as our core groups, i know there's todd, and
he has his four. and i have my five. core guys, and then we have our cfo came down to handle logistics as well as our media guy. they're sitting in the command center handling calls. we have four admins admining the page as well as multiple dispatchers dispatching over our lcn emergency response 2018 channel, so everyone can chime in there. and offer their volunteer services as well as we have people e-mailing us through our louisianacn.com where you can go on and fill out a volunteer sheet, which gives us your information. we call you back and utilize you where best we can, and we're offering anyone who wants to join up, come out here. we plot out a piece of land, if they have rvs, we're setting them up. >> taking care of your neighbors once again. many you have never met yet. we appreciate it and we'll continue to check in over the next couple days.
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and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program call or visit all right, john berman here in oak island, north carolina. starting to get darker here. the winds started to pick up and the surf which had been calm is starting to kick a whole lot more. some of the outer bands of florence have begun to hit the outer banks. well north of where i am right now. we want to check in up there in
buckston, north carolina. i think we have pictures where it looks dark and the storm looks like it will be bearing down soon. joining me now is mare eella with radio hatteras, a community radio station which i imagine provides information to the community there. i think everyone there pretty much has evacuated except for you, mary helen. tell me why you stayed. >> because radio hatteras is part of the emergency communications network for dare county. if the tv goes out, unfortunately, we're an internet broadcast radio that's still on air, and we have a responsibility to keep us on the air during that time or during any kind of emergency. and i have an update for your listeners. we have had two nc-12 overwashes up here already. high tide is supposed to be at 10:45, just a few minutes ago, and we have already had ocean overwash at two vulnerable
areas. ocean view drive has water came over ocean view drive on nc-12, which is our only main highway here. and then it's also crossing at the old frisco pier. >> already. you have had two overwashes already and this storm is just beginning to hit. what else are you seeing? >> that our wind is picking up. there's a gust in rodanthe up to 40, which is just a notch above tropical storm force. >> so glad we have you on with us so people can understand what this all means. yes, the wind speed of this storm is a little less than it was, but the size means the storm surge is the real problem. there is great concern over that, and that surge coupled with the high tide or higher tide, what you're seeing has already caused two overwashes and the storm has really just begun to hit the coast of north carolina. what are your plans? how do you plan to get through what will be a very long two
days? >> it will be a very long two days. that's the reason i came early, is because early forecast was that the winds, the tropical storm force winds would come in some time wednesday, late wednesday night, and where i live in the north end of hatteras island, i can't get through buxton with the nc-12 might have been flooded so i came early yesterday afternoon. >> all right, mary ellen, reporting that two areas, two roadways already overwashed by the water from this storm. hurricane florence, which is only just begun to affect the carolina coastline. please stay safe. thank you so much for being with us. again, hurricane florence, the skies have darkened here where i am in oak island, north carolina beginning to feel the brunt of
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we the people, defined by the moments we share with our families and our friends. doing the things we love. we the people are always stronger when we're together. the 2018 ford expedition the j.d. power highest ranked large suv in initial quality. colleges are rushing to get football games in ahead of hurricane florence. some schools canceling them altogether. we have more in the bleacher report. >> i just got off the phone with someone at clemson. they made adjustments, but that
was before florence took this downward turn. so they recognize they could get more than they initially thought. this bleacher report brought to you by ford, going further so you can. so erica, among the biggest moves we have seen has been clemson. second ranked. they moved up their home game saturday against georgia southern, but moved it from 3:30 to noon. they're hoping that will be enough. the university of south carolina canceled its game against marshall. that was scheduled for saturday night. still, south carolina coach will muschamp saying they're going to do whatever they can to help their players' families. >> no different than i believe it was last year, the hurricane hit south florida. we offered all of our players' families opportunities within the entire athletic department for their families to evacuate and come to columbia. so we're in the process of doing that right now. >> and clemson coach dabo swinney saying their policy is the same to help however they can. we talked about that
conversation with the university. erica, they're doing something really interesting. they have buses that they usually use to travel the team, they're using the buses to help evacuees. so what they're doing is they're going to other coastal colleges, they're also working with retirement homes and getting whoever they can to help them get to a safe place. >> that is good news indeed. appreciate the update. thank you. thanks to everyone for joining us. i'm erica hill, in for poppy harlow. our breaking coverage of hurricane florence continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning. welcome to our coverage of hurricane florence. that massive storm bearing down on the carolinas. i'm kate bolduan in new york. >> and i'm john berman live in oak island, north carolina. where the skies are just darkened and the winds, kate, have just begun to pick up. >> and john, thankfully, we'll ha