tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC September 11, 2017 3:30pm-3:59pm PDT
good evening from south florida tonight. right here along u.s. 1, the entrance to the florida keys, where they are not allowing any families to return home. state police road blocks just ahead here amid reports of devastation in the keys. two search and rescue mobile units just passed by us, their sirens on. they were headed into the keys. in a moment here, we will head to amy robach who flew into the storm zone. what she witnessed on the ground herself. but the other part of this story unfolding right now, the storm slamming into other american cities tonight. a dangerous storm surge in jacksonville, florida. and it is hammering georgia tonight, on its way to atlanta. reports parts of charleston are under water, too. irma is a powerful tropical storm now, stretching 400 miles across. so, we begin with abc's linsey davis on the urgent water rescues. she's in jacksonville, leading us off tonight. >> reporter: tonight, irma pushing northward. in jacksonville, massive storm
surge and a flash flood emergency. terrifying water rescues along the swollen st. johns river. the city's mayor warning residents who didn't go to shelters to get in and get up. >> and i would remind folks to put a white flag or something that represents a white flag if we need to get you out. >> reporter: this is a good indicator right here. this is normally a plaza, a walkway to the ocean. and now it's filled with ocean more than 36 hours after hitting the florida keys, irma's winds extend out more than 400 miles, from florida to georgia. and now the carolinas. this waterspout and tornado warnings near charleston. city streets engulfed by heavy rain and storm surge outside orlando, first responders and firefighters going home to home in this rv park after a possible tornado touched down overnight. >> they're breaking out the doors and the win doeps and
they're climbing inside. >> reporter: and in georgia, howling winds downed huge trees. at least two deaths have been confirmed. our alex perez is in atlanta. the powerful winds, gusting up to 60 miles per hour, peeling the metal siding right off of this high rise. police shutting down may parts of downtown. >> reporter: a major city bracing for a rough night ahead. >> and linsey is live from a flooded downtown jacksonville. you told us, they say the flood waters there could last for days now? >> reporter: officials are saying, david, it could last for a week. take a look at this. this is actually low tide right now, and, yet, the flooding still persists. you're looking at water that simply has nowhere to go. and in the meantime, you have several cars just like this one, submerged in the water. in fact, just a few moments ago, firefighters came by just to make sure no one was stranded inside. david? >> linsey davis leading us off tonight. thank you. of course, irma first made u.s. landfall just south of where i'm standing in the
florida keys. one way in, one way out. i want to take you to drone footage tonight. this evening, families are lined up, traffic is backed up as far as we can see here. they are desperate to get back home to see if they have a home. but authorities, as i mentioned, are not allowing them, saying it is far too dangerous. tonight, our amy robach, flying over the destruction in a helicopter before witnessing the damage on the ground first-hand. she's in the keys tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the first look at the destruction in the florida keys. in cudjoe key, where irma made land. cars tossed from the roads, bury under sand. homes knocked right off their foundation. we saw the damage from above. we are flying over u.s. 1 right now, that is the road that is shut down to residents who are trying to get back. the only way you can access the keeps now is by air or by sea. bridges now damaged. we see streets completely flooded. we've seen boats thrown upside down, roofs ripped off, and entire trailers or mobile homes demolished.
on the ground in key west, a glimpse of that powerful storm surge that followed hurricane irma's landfall. the water washing sections of road away. some buildings completely destroyed. tonight, much of the keys are without power or water. and when we reach marathon key, we see irma's wrath. entire neighborhoods completely flattened. looking down on these mobile homes parks in marathon, it looks like a debris field. some of them -- they are just completely destroyed. this piece of paradise, now on a long road to recovery. downed power lines, the beach pilling into the roadway, debris everywhere. it is going to be months and months before the community of marathon gets back up and running. david? >> just awful to see. amy robach, thank you for your reporting. and so many families here on this side of the barricade are worried, just waiting to get home tonight. amy, thank you. that devastation you just saw from amy's reporting, from irma's first u.s. landfall. we know it was just hours later, irma slammed ashore again,
making landfall in marco island and plowing through naples. it hit more than 140 miles per hour. tonight, what we witnessed at daybreak when we could finally see what irma had tone. tonight, the new images from naples, florida. under water. entire neighborhoods swallowed by the storm. this home's roof, gone. the right side collapsed. it was here that hurricane irma hit with the highest wind gust reported in florida. 142 miles per hour as we were on the air. look at this. this is just incredible. over our shoulder here. we are blocked by two sort of concrete barriers, which is the only reason we're able to talk, because if we were another five feet this way, we'd be caught in this. trees snapping. pieces of the roof above us turn into projectiles. debris flying through the air. after sustained wind speeds over 100 miles per hour, suddenly, we were in the middle of the eye, when fore casters tell you,
don't be fooled by the lull in the storm. and this is literally what it looks like the moment after irma passed. the winds have stopped, the rain has stopped, and now we can see the devastation. but within 30 minutes afterward, the wind whipping up again. sheets of rain coming down. this was the backside of the her khan, as it then headed north to ft. myers, and this morning, hitting in jacksonville. just as families were returning home to this. you can see this apartment building. most of these families likely evacuated. they're going to come back to find their cars are completely damaged. the state emergency chief this morning saying, we cannot have the full extent of this damage until think are able to go out, but they warned everyone to stay inside after the storm. all over florida tonight, so many people trying to get home. in miami, the massive traffic jam on the mack about thank you causeway. turns turning around mid highway and traveling west on eastbound lanes. but here in key west, they are not allowed to return home. as you can see, this is the only entrance to the florida key, and
for families who live here, they're not being allowed in. they don't know if their homes are still stand, even as they hear reports of the devastation in the keys. authorities have told them to go back to the shelters and wait for official word before anyone can return. and you can see authorities are standing here, they're holding firm. andrew garcia telling me he's been waiting since early this morning to go home, but they will not let anyone in. frustration and fear mounting for so many families waiting to see if their property, their homes survived. what do you make of the destruction you're hearing about? >> further down is further down. the roads are washed away. you guys aren't going to go pave the roads before letting us in. it's going to be weeks. my house, my parents are there. why not let us go home? >> i'm glad they're okay. >> yes, we're very thank. and very grateful. >> families tonight. i mentioned that second u.s. landfall on marco island. tonight, matt gutman made his way there with so many families worried about what they're coming home to. >> reporter: irma came howling
into marco island at 3:35 eastern. with the force and the sound of a jet engine. 130 miles per hour, tearing through the western coast of florida. the highest gust in naples, 142 miles and hour. we were there. there's a circular swirl forming. flooding in st. petersburg, tampa, and ft. myers. everglade's city swamped. >> significant flooding in the city itself. >> reporter: at daybreak, crews started flowing true the mangled trees. power out for millions here. >> we have no electric, we have no water on the island, so, we're encouraging people, if you don't have to come back right now, don't. >> reporter: officials estimate 5,000 people hunkered down in marco island this afternoon, rescuers making their first post-storm rounds. and it was there that we found mark and kathy. whoa. what is that?
>> that's the ceiling. >> reporter: it seems to have shredded the insulation. >> insulation, yeah. it got wet, i guess, and all came apart. >> reporter: fleeing the florida keys for what they thought was the safety of marco island. did you get out of the way? >> not at all. >> and matt gutman is live from marco island. and matt, i know you have an incredible scene behind you, no power, no water there, and likely for some time to come. >> reporter: yeah, officials are saying it could be weeks. and with this heat, there will be a lot of misery here. but perhaps there is a silver lining amidst all this destruction. this is one of the multiple homes essentially detonated by irma. the roof heaved over on the other side. but i want you to see something that really struck us, david. take a look at every house along this bay. basically unscathed. and that's because they were built with the latest regulations, able to survive a hurricane force one and that may have saved hundreds of thousands of homes here in florida.
david? >> yeah, stark contrast. so important, those regulations that changed after andrew. matt, thank you. irma is not done yet. it's going to be another dangerous night of ones and blinding rain. chief meteorologist ginger zee with the new track tonight. >> reporter: hey, david. you can see the center in south georgia. moving north-northwest at 17 miles an hour. it is trying to get out of here. with it will come a lot of heavy rain, especially west of atlanta and eastern alabama. can you see the tornado play that includes hilton head, charleston, savannah, all the way through 11:00 p.m. tonight. the wind advisories, gusts up to 45 miles an hour. nashville makes its way in there. eastern mississippi. don't forget, more than eight inches of ran still possible with this storm. david? >> ginger zee, who was tracking this all weekend long. ginger, thank you. the number of people without power tonight is simply stagg staggering here. more than half the state. what a clear night looks like over south florida. that's miami, all it will up.
overnight, a much different view. abc's chief national correspondent tom llamas on the effort to get the power back on and in many places, get the water back running again. he is in ft. myers. >> reporter: tonight, an army of utility crews on a mission to restore power to more than 6.5 million florida customers. >> it absolutely could be weeks, if we have to rebuild parts of the system. >> reporter: those sparks, with irma hitting, a sign of the crisis to come. trees collapsing. power lines snapping like twigs. look at that power pole. it's split into two pieces. there are power lines all across the road. now, we're not sure they're live wires, but we do know this, police aren't taking any chances. they've set up a roadblock to make sure no one drives over those lines. >> last night was horrible. >> reporter: the fulbright family lost power just before irma hit ft. myers. they spoked us the small gas generator keeping their refrigerator running. but the gas, like their patience, is running out. >> i don't see the power coming on any time soon with all the
flooding. >> reporter: the power outages also affecting the water system, many floridians told to boil their water tonight. and authorities warning of other dangers. that dead traffic light could lead to car crashes at intersections. >> tom llamas is in ft. myers tonight. tom, you spoked us that family and their generator. authorities want us to warn to many at home if you do have a generator, make sure you don't keep it inside the house. >> reporter: that's right, david. needs to stay outside, because of the changer of carbon m monoxide poisoning. just behind me, that massive tree taking down power lines. but look at this, david. the power crews up there, working late into the night, making sure they can restore power at least to this neighborhood. david? >> a herculean effort tonight. tom, thank you. this storm causing a travel nightmare, affecting flights coast to coast. take a look at the flight radar from last monday, the air traffic over florida. and then today. the skies over florida virtually empty. abc's gio benitez at miami
airport, still shut down tonight. >> reporter: tonight, irma's wrath damaging south florida airports. debris littering terminals, windows breaking. of those 4,000 flights canceled today, more than 1,000 in atlanta because of strong winds. miami international airport, reopening tomorrow. >> it's going to be an incremental, gradual ramp up to 100% flights. >> reporter: we met juan solveyra, stranded at mia since friday. you must have never expected to sleep in an airport? >> no, i never. never. never in my life. >> reporter: really? >> yeah. >> reporter: and chaos on the roads, as some of the millions of floridians ordered to evacuate started going back home. near miami beach, drivers forced to turn around. and many families tonight separated. dr. louis freeman staying behind to work, his family evacuated to charlotte. when you see this, what do you think? >> oh, thank god that i'm alive. i -- it's hard. you come home after 48 hours straight of working and then you
find everything that you worked hard for, you know, literally destroyed, but thank god that everybody's safe. >> and gio benitez is live from miami airport tonight. we heard you report there, they plan to reopen the airport tomorrow. but one of the concerns, the jet fuel and if it was affected by the storm? >> reporter: that's right, david. they wanted to test it, to make sure that the fuel wasn't contaminated by the rain. it wasn't. so, it's good to go. david? >> that is good news tonts. gio benitez, thank you. there is still much more ahead onto "world news tonight" this monday. the race to get americans out of the caribbean. more than 1,000 tour itselves already evacuated by the u.s. military as desperation now sets in on those hard-hit islands. so many americans want out. also, the other news tonighthe deadly mass shooting. several gathered to watch a football game in texas when a gunman opens fire. and the massive home explosion, residence completely destroyed. what authorities are now saying tonight. a lot more ahead. stay tuned.
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next tonight here, as the recovery simply begins here in florida, the destruction despair becoming clear in the caribbean. these nasa satellite images show the caribbean islands from the sky before hurricane irma struck, and then those islands seen again in the storm's aftermath, turned brown by the power of hurricane irma. and in some of those islands, u.s. forces are now racing to evacuate so many americans who are still stranded. here's abc's linzie janis tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the u.s. military scrambling to get stranded american tourists out of storm-ravaged st. martin, as teams move into the u.s. irvin islands to help keep law and order. >> get back to your rooms. >> reporter: one tourist who was evacuated from st. martin showing us this moment. dutch soldiers hunt down robbers at her hotel. another, maureen puckerin, says men with long swords raided her hotel. >> they started stealing food from our fridge and then beat up one tourist. hit a lady in the eye.
>> reporter: on these devastated islands, no power. few supplies. and many growing increasingly desperate. this u.s. coast guard team is doing an a-drop here in st. thomas, bringing everything from generators to food, water, clothing and law enforcement personnel, to help with the security situation here. and roil caribbean sending ships loaded with supplies to evacuate more people over the next week. linzie janis, abc news, st. thomas, in the u.s. virgin islands. when we come back tonight, more on that home explosion. also, the mass shooting. several dead when a gunman opens fire at a cookout. a family had gathered for football. we'll be right back. can i get some help. watch his head. ♪ i'm so happy. ♪
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if you have diabetes and burning, shooting pain in your feet or hands... step on up and talk to your doctor today. finally tonight here, america strong. amid so many scenes of destruction here in florida, so many of the people of florida helping their neighbors in need. as hurricane irma arrived in coral springs, baby april arrived at home. delivered by dad with a 911 dispatcher on the line. police and fire escorting the new family safely to the hospital. in st. petersburg, these firefighters carrying 83-year-old dolores to shelter before the storm. it wasn't the wedding they planned. >> in sickness and her khans. >> reporter: but lauren and
michael, members of the air national guard, called up to help in the rescue efforts here, exchanges their vows in uniform in orange county. and back in coral springs, on this september 11th, a police officer taking a moment to recover an american flag swept away in irma's fury. saving the american flag. thank you for watching. i'm david muir. i hope to see you tomorrow. good night. now from abc7, live breaking news. >> and that breaking news, sky 7 is live amove mussel rock beach where rescued a couple trapped in a cave. >> and captured this exclusive
video showing is the dramatic rescue, swimmer rappelled into the mouth and huge waves slamming around him as he touched down. >> and buckled in young woman and pulled her back to safety. landed back on the ground, happy to be there. and rescuer went back to bring the young man to safe ground. >> appear to be okay. remarkable outcome. not clear how they ended up in cave in first place but out safely. good afternoon, dan ashley. >> and i'm christa zee. hrm. >> downed power lines across the state, roads impassable and debris all over the state. >> despite tropical storm irma moving on, florida governor warning people not to come home yet, still dangerous. >> death toll at eight in florida and georgia, and one
person killed in south carolina. >> 6.7 million customers without power. 2/3 of the state of florida. record flooding and charleston, south carolina, declared a flash flood emergency. >> marci gonzalez in tampa, florida, with a look at damage. >> reporter: flooding in charleston, savannah and what was hurricane irma moving north. floridians start to assess the destruction left by the storm. >> lot of damage and cleanup. >> reporter: neighborhoods like this in naples under water. front of this senior living center torn apart. >>