tv Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien NBC September 10, 2017 5:00am-5:31am PDT
i. good morning. breaking news, irma arrives. the most powerful atlantic hurricane ever, lashing southern florida right now. the storm strengthening overnight, back to a dangerous category four. >> this is clearly a life-threatening situation. >> 130 miles per hour winds and heavy rain, hundreds of thousands already without power. a potentially catastrophic storm surge expected up and down the coast. more than 6 million people, a third of the state's population, evacuated. >> property is replaceable, lives are not. >> we have correspondents around the region as this historic storm bears down.
it is sunday, september 10th, 2017. and we want to welcome you back to this special edition of "today" on sunday morning. i am matt lauer with savannah guthrie, as you just heard, lester and al are in tampa, florida, going to check with them in a moment. let's get the latest on the storm. >> here's where things stand. it is a powerful category four hurricane and it is slamming southern florida at this hour, with in some cases 130 miles per hour winds. >> as you might expect, power outages are really widespread, hundreds of thousands of people are without power and we are hearing about more of those with each passing hour. >> that's right.
in all, more than 7 million people have been evacuated in florida and also in georgia. more than 400 shelters are now open. >> talking to dave price and the latest forecast or update on the storm, hurricane force winds up to 80 miles. tropical storm force winds up to 220 miles outside the eye of that storm. that's a big area. >> it is a big piece of business that's going to touch every single piece of florida before it is done. let's start with philip mena in ft. lauderdale this morning, reporting there all night. philip, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. we are in ft. lauderdale, about 7 miles west of the coast. 200 miles north of key west. and just overnight this parking lot has now turned into a pool, you can see how deep that water
has accumulated. it has gotten so dicey out here, it would start every couple minutes and pick up, then blinding winds and rain, dumping rain, it was cause ago problem. good news, they were under evacuation orders and curfew, no reports of anybody out there, and that's one good thing. in broward county, they started pulling deputies for their own safety once wind gusts started to hit 45 miles per hour. >> philip, thank you very much. >> let's go over to national correspondent migel almaguer in florida city. this is a town south of miami, boy, has he been feeling it. feel like every time we see him, it is getting worse there. good morning. >> reporter: hey, savannah, good morning. rain and wind has become blinding in the last hour, we have been in these conditions about 13 hours now, they continue to deteriorate. it is not just the pounding, steady rain flopping us in the
face all night and all morning, it is also powerful winds overnight. we could hear debris flying through the air and some of the buildings. want to show you how deserted it is. pan the camera here. this is downtown florida city. you can see it's a ghost town. a short time ago thought we saw first responders coming down, it was a fire truck, spin the camera here to get a better picture so the rain is not hitting the lens, this is what we are dealing with. very high winds pulling down palm trees and froms flying across the street. power lines are beginning to sag, seen transformers explode in the last several hours. first responders are out here. we have seen a few members of the public driving cars out here. this city has not for the most part evacuated. most are hunkering down. we are only a few miles from the florida keys which is getting pounded by the storm right now, and we are feeling those bands,
those effects from the storm. first responders telling us for now, the city seems to be fairly manageable, although conditions will deteriorate in the hours ahead. >> all right. keep us posted, stay safe. >> talked to the mayor of florida city, he wanted to get out to assess damage, but with migel saying it is deteriorating, mr. mayor, you should wait awhile. jolene kent is at a small airport there. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, matt, savannah. winds have significantly picked up since last time we talked. we can tell you that major transformer right here on this building exploded. sparks are flying, the wind continues to ramp up. we are here at a private airport. and the fence behind me has taken a hit. you can see that water flying. the intensity here is remarkable. i would like to remind you, we are not in the path of the eye
of the storm, we are barely standing here, able to stay up. you should know 100,000 or more in ft. lauderdale area do not have power because some of the transformers continue to go down. the wind continues to pick up. miami dade, 200 some thousand don't have power. folks are in shelters, left homes along the beaches in ft. lauderdale. this area was shut down yesterday and the day before, no more flights going in and out. what we see here, matt, savannah, is continued ramp up are bands that are very, very strong. ft. lauderdale residents say they've seen hurricanes before, but they're still treating outer bands as if they're in the eye of the storm as precaution. >> be careful there. obviously a lot of things are starting to fly around, don't want to get hit. lester and al are watching irma and waiting, they know it is headed their direction. they're up in tampa area. good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning.
as you watch that fence there. >> i was very concerned for jolene. >> reporter: when those get going, we have seen a lot of things, things become missiles. they cleared out, that's good. guys, camera guys, everybody, clear away from that. that is not good right there. try to seek shelter. we just got new video in from key west, florida to give you a sense of what's been going on. the eye hasn't touched down. so we are looking now at dangerous conditions in key west. they've had wind gusts over 95 miles per hour. you can see they're getting hammered as the eyewall gets closer and closer. >> look at that. >> that's simon brewer and justin, two storm chasers we
know. justin drake, trying to measure those. >> is this a live image? >> this is not live. they just sent this in. wow. you can barely stand up. that's unbelievable. we're starting to see as we mentioned earlier, lester, we're in a tornado watch. dave price mentioned there was a tornado warning in southern florida. we have a tornado warning right now just to our east in polk county. that's in effect until 8:30. that's the danger as the bands start to fire up, we're going to start to see tornadoes as well starting to spin up. we're going to be watching this situation closely. right now, here's the latest on what we've got on irma. still a category four storm, east southeast of key west. 130 miles per hour winds, moving north, northwest at 8 miles per hour. here's the track. here's what we are looking at, what you can expect. key west now, 100 to 125 miles
per hour winds. storm surge five to ten feet, high tide at 2:15. on the east and southeastern side of the state, winds up to 75 miles per hour. storm surge, we upped it to three to five feet. as we make our way toward ft. myers and naples midday today, upwards of 125 miles per hour winds. the big storm surge, 10 to 15 feet. then tampa bay area, looking at 75 to 100 miles per hour winds. 5 to 8 foot surge. we continue to watch this system make its way, jacksonville, 50 to 75 miles per hour winds on the eastern side of the state, storm surge 4 to 6 feet. it will continue to make its way up into georgia and eventually into kentucky and tennessee. the winds gusting, big pine key, 86 miles per hour wind gusts, everglades, 78 miles per hour
gusts. as this pushes north, we will see the winds start to fire up. it is going to continue to build as the afternoon wears on and into the evening. this is going to be a 24 hour event that effects this state. >> and there are not a lot of places on the coast to get high ground. we were in ft. myers yesterday, i met a member of the urban search and rescue team volunteer who was preparing to go to miami, now sticking here, but they had their equipment staged in kind of an arena now, an exhibit hall, he acknowledged we may get flooded out. the risk if you put the vehicles out, they get flipped. hard choices, naples are relocating some city employees, spreading people out. there are not a lot of safe places along the water, certainly in st. petersburg, tampa area, the bay, expecting a significant storm surge. probably 8 or 10 feet above water now. >> that's right. and the other thing, we are approaching the point now in
southern florida where winds are at the point first responders won't be going out. if you have any kind of an issue that you are hunkered down in place, they can't come out now. >> easy to shrug it off now, harder when you find yourself in water rising in your home. take the warning. going to sent it back to matt and savannah, we continue to watch, we get the northern edge, we are above the bad stuff now, but it is coming this way. >> as al mentioned, put out a tweet, city of meech saying due to extreme winds, rescue teams are no longer able to respond. stay inside and stay safe until the storm passed. we are joined by the mayor of miami itself. good morning. >> good morning, savannah, good morning matt. since midnight, we have been on tropical storm winds, now we have a tornado watch as you have reported. what is happening here in miami
is that the first responders are not being able to go out. as a matter of fact, out of 41 rescue calls, we can only do three calls. we missed one, it was the birth of a baby girl. the mother was rescued with the baby girl, now they transported her and the baby to jackson memorial hospital, so she's doing fine. i don't think she's going to be named irma, but the fact of the matter is we have had 82 calls for fire, could only respond to two because of wires. we have hundreds of trees down in the streets of miami.
i think the worst is to come. we are told by national weather service that we will be getting squalls more than cat one in city of miami, so everything here is ready. there's a sense of relief, we were told we were going to hit a direct hit, but now we're getting a lot of wind, a lot of rain. we're concerned about storm surge. miami, city of miami has about 12 miles of coastal area with 100,000 residents. most of them did not go to shelters. and we have a lot of customers in city of miami without power. county wise, 343,000 customers without power.
as a matter of fact, georgia power and light has the largest prestorm restoration team in u.s. history. 16,000 workers down here in south florida. they're doing what they can. unfortunately we have many trees in south florida, many wires down, many trees down. the streets are closed here in miami. we do not have flooding as we speak but we do expect storm surge and of course more water and we are afraid of flooding in downtown miami. >> thank you for keeping us up to date on what's happening in miami. we will check back in with you. miami mayor, tom regalado. thank you very much. >> we showed video of a storm chaser testing extreme winds of irma. his name is justin drake. he joins us now by phone.
justin, even as we say good morning, this is what you do, this is your personal choice, but as we look at this video, we want to make sure nobody at home in the florida area takes this upon themselves to go out and do what you're doing. how are you? >> i'm good, yes. that's correct. my buddy, our meteorologists, we know where we can get chasing hurricanes. we can chase it safely while also getting measurements. i was out getting wind measurements as well. >> we are looking at this video of you bracing yourself into the teeth of the wind. where exactly were you at that moment? >> we were up on the causeway, higher area in the region where we can avoid storm surge. we took the spot where there was nothing downwind of us, if any debris started to blow around, it wouldn't be able to hit us.
>> you broke up for a quick second. say the exact location. the causeway in what area? >> saddle budge key. >> and justin, we see pictures. the picture tells the story quite well. what did it feel like to be facing down that wind? >> it was by far the strongest winds i ever experienced. we actually got a wind measurement of 117 miles per hour. but i have no doubt there are wind gusts stronger than that that we weren't able to measure. it was so strong and powerful, it made it almost impossible to stand up as you can see from the video, i fell down. >> did you see much damage to local structures? >> we saw quite a bit of damage when we were in key west earlier today. there was a lot of trees that got damaged.
one of the outer feeder bands, because we wanted to get in the eye, we decided to head east this morning to get right into the eye of the hurricane as it made landfall on one of the keys. >> everybody is worried about storm surge. have you seen any flooding, seen any of that or heard about it? >> we experienced two foot storm surge exiting out of key west. it was a point where we were on the causeway, trying to get to the other keys where we ended up crossing water over the road, got out to see how deep the water was before we tried to drive over it, it was knee deep. it was about two to two and a half feet high. >> a second ago you said those were the strongest winds you had ever personally felt. you do this as your hobby or living. compare it to something else you experienced. what's the next most severe winds you felt? >> probably compare these winds
to what i experienced in hurricane harvey. we were actually facing that hurricane in the rockport area when it made landfall a couple weeks ago, and up to this point that was the strongest hurricane i personally had ever experienced. this one is even stronger, puts everything in perspective, just how powerful this hurricane is. >> justin, please be safe even as you do what you do. >> thank you. i appreciate it. >> thank you very much. let's go over to miami beach. we've seen a lot of bad weather, good morning. >> reporter: there's flying debris there. that's precisely what makes this situation so dangerous, for residents. this has been boarded up, part of that awning was ripped apart from the wall.
you also see a lamppost behind me, that also came down moments ago. the situation is worsening by the minute. you still have tropical storm force winds, hurricane strength winds powering into this barrier island. even though it is not a direct hit, it is incredibly dangerous and violent. i want to pan left. i don't know if you can make out how bad the street looks here on collins avenue. right now, looks like something out of a horror movie. i don't know if you can make out palm trees over here behind me. it is really picking up, very strong, storm surge, powerful winds. that is the biggest concern for residents of miami beach. the mayor of miami beach calling this a nuclear hurricane. again, if it is not a direct hit, people shouldn't take it
lightly, shouldn't be walking around. the next couple hours are incredibly delicate for miami beach. i am at the southernmost part of miami beach. as this hurricane hits the keys, when you talk about a hurricane that's the size of the florida peninsula, you're going to feel it here. it could potentially be very dangerous. >> matt, savannah. >> all right. thank you very much. dave price picked up a quick piece of information. >> yeah. the eye of this storm now is just beginning to trend slightly east of the forecast path. too early to tell, but we have to watch that, that could have implications for landfall as we take a look over the next several hours, we will watch and see if that's a trend or wobble or slight adjustment and where the eye winds up continuing to go. >> very volatile. >> without a doubt. go to sam champion in florida, he is in miami. sam, good morning. how is it looking? >> reporter: good morning, matt, savannah. we are good in miami.
you saw that shot, information that dave told you as well, combined with the eye making that cross between big pine key and big key. we are getting gusts from miami beach. it is a direct shot across to miami where we are. we are protected by a building for the crew, we have wind gust, debris, tree limbs flying, power outages all over the place in this area to the tune of about over a half million. 600,000 power outages at this point from what we have been able to find out in the south florida area. the other thing, we had tornado warnings in the last 30, 40 minutes. we had them come and go and expire. one of them spotted on doppler indicated radar in north miami beach moving away. we had power lines down in north miami beach as well. one thing i want to say to people watching in south florida area, even with the bands, every now and then the wind like now will relax.
when it relaxes, you think you can go out, we have downed power lines, crews and police and first responder says once they're up to this point, they're not going out. they're not going out now. downed power lines are live in north miami beach. don't go out of your homes. until the crews leave and until winds go down. even if they're downright in your area, there's another band to the north, another to the south, we will have heavy winds for several hours. as we get closer and close toer t to the eye of the storm. don't leave your home as the storm continues to move north. information that's coming out of the keys so far has been that main eyewall, hurricane center as we looked at radar before we came outside for this shot, that main eyewall was just making connection and making connection a little east of key west.
with the eye making it through the center keys. as it moves to the north, this weather will pick up. we get stronger winds as we get closer to the eye. everything you see here, matt, savannah, we'll have the rest of the day as the storm slowly passes west. >> sam champion joining us this morning. thanks so much. let's go to dylan dreyer in sarasota. good morning again. >> reporter: hey, good morning, guys. i am joined by mayor of sarasota, and thank you so much. i know you're very busy now. >> yes. >> reporter: so sarasota has never been hit by a storm of this size. are you guys prepared? >> we are absolutely prepared. we have been in constant contact with the emergency operations center, they advised as the storm was beginning to hit landfall south of miami-dade, you can expect storm surge to begin from around 11:00 a.m. this morning until 1:00 or 2:00, then the first hurricane force
winds around 3:00 this afternoon. expected to carry over until around monday afternoon. in terms of preparedness, we have taken everything to keep residents safe. we are praying for the best, prepared for the worst. we have been in contact with the responders. people seem to be heeding warnings. we're at about 15,000 currently in shelter within the sarasota county limits, and everyone has a place to go. we are hunkered down, hoping the storm won't get worse. >> reporter: 6 to 10 foot storm surge predicted for the area, what will it look like at its worst and how do you prepare? >> what we have been told, higher surges are expected to happen in tampa bay, hillsborough county. we hope we are at the lower end. three to five. in terms of preparedness, we are moving people down.
we made sure property is secured, we removed physically we can that can be threat to life and property. what we will do in the morning early, assess property, remove limbs and downed power lines, continue to be in touch with first responders and utilities to hopefully have light, power, water. >> i wish you guys the best. we'll be in touch. going to be a rough night here, guys, they're certainly prepared. >> dylan, they are. thank you very much. we appreciate it. we have much more ahead of coverage of hurricane irma as the storm lashes the southern part of florida and then up the southwestern coast. we have noted the eye is moving a little bit away from its projected path. we will find out what impact that will have when we come back after these messages.
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which is battering florida as we speak. wipe vo there are crews from the bay area in florida... poised to help out. the california air national guard )s rescue wing is there. the 100-member team is highly trained in chopper search and rescue. wipe vo-same banner california task force three - based in menlo park - also will help in the gulf coast. wipe vo-same banner and pg&e also is sending staff to help with power outages. kira let )s check in with meteorologist rob mayeda with a quick look at the forecast. wx kira/cu i )ll have another local news update for you in half an hour.
sunday morning, 8:30 in the morning on the east coast. 10th of september, 2017. this is a special edition of "today," tracking hurricane irma. the center of this storm making landfall over the florida keys a short time ago. high winds, a lot of rain, hammering parts of the state. >> it has been interesting. we now know the trajectory is for the center of the storm to hit the west coast of florida. yet images we have seen this morning that have been most devastating is southeast florida, miami, miami beach, florida city getting hammered and this isn't the worst of it. >> if you're joining us, that image of the guy standing in the brunt of winds