tv Early Today NBC September 11, 2017 3:30am-4:01am PDT
morning everybody. we are back with a special edition of "today." the devastation caused this hour by hurricane irma. >> look at pictures of boats on roadways, some close to marinas. as we witnessed with hurricane sandy, sometimes the boats come from a mile or so away and end up in someone's yard. people are trying to find the bits and pieces of their lives. >> this is day one of a very long recovery. >> here is the latest on this storm. it has weakened. it's a category 1 hurricane, 70-mile-per-hour winds. those winds can still do a lot of damage. the center of the storm out of
the northeast of tampa. >> for the record, it made land fall in the florida keys. while many did evacuate, some decided to ride out the storm. officials are launching house-to-house searches looking for people who need help and assess the damage. >> the damage is widespread across the united states. power has been knocked out to 5 million people. it could be out for weeks in neighborhoods that are most difficult to get to. >> most of florida's airports had to be shut down and are today, including the state's largest, miami international. m.i.a. sustained significant water damage. it needs to conduct tests to see if flights can continue tomorrow. we have a lot to cover. with we'll start with dylan in gainesville, florida. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, savannah. yeah, the storm has been
affecting us all night long. it's been amazing. we are in north central part of florida dealing with the effects of the category 1 hurricane. last night, we picked up a foot of rainfall. the rain is coming down right now. we have actually going to see things taper off within the next, i would say half hour to hour. this storm now is racing northward. now that it has weakened and continues to do so, it's moving forward at 18 miles an hour. it is going to push the rain in florida to the carolinas and georgia, too. we have the possibility of flash flooding. to the northeast of here, in jacksonville, florida, they are under a flash flood warning. it's been reported there's a swift water rescue under way. they have been dealing with torrential rain. if you figure how far away jacksonville is from key west, that's the entire state of florida, under the effects of
this hurricane. we have been trying to stay out ahead of this storm since the beginning, starting off in west palm beach to tampa and sarasota, now in gainesville. this is the worst we have seen as the storm is moving through. we have seen flooded roadways, downed trees and the power is out across the area. we are feeling the effects and will continue to do so longer. guys? >> we'll check back in. thank you. >> let us check in with al on the latest from the track of irma. al? >> reporter: hey, guys. we are getting wraparound right now. i just clocked a wind gust of about 45 miles per hour. this is the latest on irma. let's show you right now, still a category 1 storm. the wind gusts, the highest, naples, 142 miles per hour yesterday. marco island, 130. big pine key, 120 miles per hour. pembroke pines, 109 and miami,
getting up to 99 miles per hour. right now, irma is still a category 1 storm, but just barely with 75-mile-per-hour winds. 75 miles east-southeast of cedar key moving north-northwest. tropical winds extend 415 miles from the center of this thing. that's impressive. as you go closer, the hurricane force winds extend about 60 miles. it is packing quite a punch right now as this system makes its way to the north. you can see the winds still going to be very gusty right now. tallahassee, 43-mile-per-hour wind gusts. orlando, which wasn't expecting much got a lot of wind damage and a lot of rain last night. they have windy conditions, may cause problems for the theme parks there. atlanta, today, going to be very windy. i expect a lot of o airport delays with wind and rain.
irma is going to have a big impact on travel today through the southeast. it's going to be a real mess. but, again, it's going to be, now that it's turned into barely a hurricane, into almost a tropical storm, it's going to move quickly, guys. >> it's still hitting you hard, we can see that, al. we'll check back in, thank you. heavy rain flooded naples and debris from damaged buildings and downed trees are lining the streets there. gabe gutierrez is at his post there. gabe, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. you can see this shows the power of the storm. the eye blew through downtown naples at 5:00 yesterday. this is a massive uprooted tree. a pipe is spewing water. the mayor says, though, that they were fortunate because the storm surge expekted of 10-15
feet did not materialize. the water has been receding. the hardest hit area in this part of florida is around marco island, where the storm blew through. we are told there's several feet of water in the marco island area. downtown naples is without power. crews will assess the dam today. roads are impassable. it seems the naples area has been spared. the mayor says there were no injuries. again, local authorities are saying that they are very fortunate that the storm surge did not materialize. savannah? >> gabe gutierrez in naples for us, thank you. >> you mentioned the mayor. the mayor of naples is bill barnett. good morning to you. >> caller: thank you. thank you for having me on the show. >> i have been doing reading on you. you have been in nape ls for years.
you went through andrew. compare and contrast for me, if you will. >> caller: i would compare wilma because andrew came across. it's got, it went down homestead and did damage there, not much to us. comparing wilma to irma, it is -- i tell you, i thought wilma was bad, of course any hurricane is bad, but this one really, really made irma look kind of tame. i say that tongue in cheek, of course. i have never seen anything like this. our crews are going out this morning at sunrise. we had a skeleton crew out last night to do a little bit of damage assessment, but as was said earlier, we are going to find us a lot of damage, you know, water mains broken.
nobody has any power, that i know of. 75% of all the county was out of power, so, we need to get them, you know, up and running. there's no food stores open, obviously. we'll have a lot of work to do there. neighborhoods that are flooded, i know that, for a fact. this was a bad one. >> yeah, you talk about that and as you said, you have never seen anything like it before. at the height of the storm, what were conditions like? how did it feel? >> caller: well, we are at the hilton in naples. we really, my wife and my bulldog and two rescue cats are with us in the room. we almost had to close the blinds all the way, it was so bad looking outside. the winds were, i mean, it was hard to describe.
the water was just swirling around. rain was coming in so hard you could barely see out of the window. it was scary, it really was. you had to, you know, take a couple deep breaths and say, okay, we are going to get through this. everybody was -- we had a lot of first responders here that couldn't go out, of course. but, of course we are going to be out there doing a lot of damage assessment today. >> i just heard gabe gutierrez say this, mayor, it's extraordinary, it's lucky, a great testament to wonderful preparation. no major injuries that you know of yet in your city. that's remarkable. >> caller: thank you. if that storm surge had hit as predicted, it would have been catastrophic. it would have been too late for that.
we count our blessings there. we'll get naples back to her real beauty, no doubt. >> naples mayor, bill barnett. thanks so much, our best to you and the folks of naples. >> caller: thanks so much. bye bye. >> we heard about the ferocious winds ripped roofs off homes in me miami. mario was in the middle of it all day long. what's it like now? >> reporter: savannah, here in miami beach, it's a different scene than the streets usually bustling with tourists and residents going to vacation homes. the eerie scene here now, the siren going off in the back grounl ground. a gentle reminder of the chaos at the beach as well as downtown miami. i spoke to the commissioner
michael and he assured me, except for 20 blocks, the entirety of the city, as of last night, had absolutely no power. he's urging people not to come back to the beach until they can assess the downed power lines, that combined with flooded streets can be very, very dangerous. there was heavy police presence guarding the bridges to the beach. the city commissioner telling me looting arrests have been made. in the midst of all this chaos, matt and savannah, a positive story i would like to highlight. police in north miami beach, rescuing a mother and her baby from their home as rise zing waters flooded that house. so, a story of bravery and resilience even in the worst of times in the state of florida. back to you guys. >> not to take you back to yesterday, but any idea -- we were on the air with you yesterday and there was what seemed to be a homeless man
wandering the streets behind you in the height of this at miami beach. did that person get help? did anyone get out to assist that person? >> reporter: it was harrowing to see, matt. you are right. he was holding on to a boarded up tgi friday. we made a call to the commissioner and told him the cross streets where that man was located. he said he would try to send help. the problem was, when we were on air with you, the winds already surpassed 40 miles per hour and was dangerous for police officers to be patrolling the streets. unfortunately, i don't have an update as to the man's condition. i would like to say i saw three other people and two people on bicycles after we went on the air with you with that report. again, authorities expressing, once again, even today in the aftermath, do not come out until authorities tell you to do so.
it is still not safe. it is still pitch black, flooded streets and you don't know what you might bump into with the flooded waters. >> good work there. we have heard that in tampa, they have been trying to evacuate people, including homeless citizens and some didn't want to go. so, it's a dangerous situation. >> irma, by the way, is the third hurricane in four decades to prompt evacuations in the city of tampa. as you saw from al, that region still being battered by the storm. joe friar is there. good morning again. >> reporter: hey, there, guys. good morning. authorities here are echoing and stressing they want people to stay indoors, stay at home. the reason is, in the last hour or two, sheriff's deputies and police officers are getting out to assess the damage here in the dark. what they are finding is downed power lines, downed trees, a lot of debris and street signs in the road that make it not safe to drive.
about 1 million people in the tampa bay area are without power. that means the traffic lights are out. it's not safe to be out there driving around. you can see the wind and rain are blowing hard behind me, even though the worst of the storm has gone through. what you are hearing is a sigh of relief because everyone here in tampa, about 24 hours ago was fearing a much worse situation. this is an area that had not seen a major hurricane since 1921. it's grown quite a bit. there is a lot of property on the hundreds of miles of shoreline here. it is an area that is right for disaster. if the hurricane had moved up the shore, it would have created a giant storm surge, a lot of flooding in areas that are built up along the coast. we spent time with a family in st. pete. they were putting occupy sandbags, packing up to get ready to go. they were confident their house was not going to make it. we don't know the status of the
house, but the area is good. in the meantime, they evacuated east to relatives in the jacksonville area. odds are they are seeing a lot of rain in that area because the storm has been so unpredictable. >> we are joined by the mayor of gainesville, florida. good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, matt how are you? >> i apologize. we have dylan dreyer up there. what are you telling people of your city right now? >> caller: we are pleading with citizens to stay home and in their houses. we are at the last part of the worst of it, we think. we need to get out and do damage assessment. our residents have been tremendous overnight. they have done everything we asked of them. we've had, as a result, very few calls for emergency service. >> there was so much focus on south beach, the storm took the
jog to the west, then the west coast of florida. have you been preparing and expecting to see a big punch from this storm? >> caller: yeah. we knew no matter where it went, gainesville was going to take a huge hit being in the middle of the city. we knew we were going to be an evacuation, the stopping point for a lot of people in south florida. we have been preparing for the past week. the efforts have shown off. >> how do you handle that situation, mayor? as you just said, you knew people from southern florida were going to head your direction but you said you knew you were going to take a major hit. you can't turn people away. how did you deal with that? >> caller: we dealt with it with an abundance of caution. two counties to the west had a total county evacuation so we were sure we would be receiving those folks, but we opened up 18 shelters. we had a couple special needs shelters, a couple pet friendly
she woulders. airbnb was tremendous setting up their service where they hooked up people to host families for those who needed places to stay. the gainesville community really responded to that. >> have you received a lot of calls from folks needing help? do you have a sense of the toll the storm has taken? >> caller: we have been fortunate. we'll get a better sense soon. first responders got the call to get back. we have 40 calls that have been cued up, it's been unsafe for them to go out. we answered another 40 where the winds got too high to get out there. we just responded to one house fire, but, so far, we have not heard of any reports of injury or death. we are thankful for that. >> you want people to be supercautious. they get anxious and eager to get back to their homes and belongings to see what is going on. i know you don't want them on the roads until it is completely safe.
>> caller: that's rilgt. we expect to get the all clear and tell people they are safe to go home hopefully later this afternoon and evening. the shelter and their home is the safest place for them right now. we ask them to stay off that 911 number unless it is a true emergency. we have a local number, 955-1818 that they can dial for anything nonemergency and we'll get to them as quickly as we can. >> thank you. we appreciate it. >> if you are working in a hospital, you face the unique set of challenges. medical correspondent is in miami with the stories. good morning. i know you were embedded in one of miami's biggest hospitals. how was that? how was the day and night handling that situation? >> very interesting. the hospital of miami has baptist children's hospital in it. when you walk in, it's a surreal
sight where people are lining the hallways. for one, the people they had in the hospital that couldn't leave, they have generators and back-up generators to make sure they have power to sustain the equipment they have there. they brought in 100 plus pregnant women those who were 36 weeks or more are high-risk pregnancies to ride out the storm to get medical care, if they need it. the staff, all the staff stayed as well, even though their own homes were under siege. they stayed willingly to make sure the patients were taken care of. >> i imagine a lot of people knocked on the door of that hospital. did a lot of people come in or were they turned away to shelters? >> that's a great question, one we asked directly. ambulances stopped running when winds get to a certain level. ambulances were not bringing people but e.r. was functioning.
if people knocked on the door, they didn't turn anybody away. a 91-year-old woman came and the ambulance brought her because there was nowhere else to take her. they took her in. air mattresses everywhere. families everywhere. they came along with the moms-to-be as well. it was a situation where they did what they could and did a fantastic job. >> the plus side of that is some hospitals had to evacuate and i can't begin to fathom how difficult a process that is. >> an evacuation of a hospital is a nail biting situation. hospitals practice it time and time again. what they do is the patients that can walk on their own, they get out with minimal assistance. the ones in intensive care or just out of surgery, they have to move delicately and they take them one by one to get to a facility to get equal care.
that's the trick there. they will do it carefully. when they do it quickly, they are thankful they practiced in the past. it can become chaotic extremely fast. >> we talk about police officers and fire officials and rescuers and don't spend enough time talking ant the nurses and the doctors who staff hospitals in times like this. hats off to them. >> thank you. >> you bet. now, a phenomenon that al was showing on sunday when a powerful hurricane like irma approaches, it sucks water away from the shore before it forces it back in during some kind of a storm surge. there were fears of a potentially catastrophic surge in tampa. nbc's jeff rossen is there. good morning to you. >> reporter: morning, guys. yeah, we saw that water pulled into tampa bay from irma. everyone was worried from
emergency officials down that it would come crashing back. it's not happened. i want to show you the water. here is the water. it is crashing against the seawall, but a lot of officials thought it would be over the seawall. where i'm standing, at this moment, could be under water. in fact, yesterday, here on the show, we showed you tampa general hospital. it's the biggest hospital in the city, one of the biggest hospitals in the entire state of florida. for some reason, they built it on an island, davis island. they were afraid this bridge here, that goes into it, would be cut off by the storm surge. you can see that has not happened. luckily, in fact, if you come over here, right with me, you can see the water is crashing up. it's high tide time right about now, but it has not come over the seawall. overall, i know you spoke with the mayor in the last half hour, tampa was spared sporadic outages and damage. overall, the great news here is the water has not breached and
we can stand here. >> that is good news. thanks very much, appreciate it. >> the tampa bay emptied out. irma forced orlando's theme parks to close as well. the city is being battered by high winds and rain from the storm, it's a big one. katie beck is in orlando for us this morning. hi, katie. good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, savannah. the eye went over us overnight. the winds are sound. we are getting hit with 60 and 70-mile-an-hour gusts. there is a howling noise, like a whistling sound, like a tea kettle we have been hearing constantly since 9:00 p.m. last night when we were at the height of this storm. as far as the theme parks are concerned, they were closed yesterday, they are going to be closed today. it is an eerie sight to be in orlando and it's a ghosttown. not a single guest in the
amusement parks. international drive looks like there are lots of people visiting, but they are not leaving, they are hunkered down. as the storm moves north, they will get out, especially those with young children that came for vacation. >> wnbc's dave price is here. you have been keeping us company. actually, some of the injuries are coming after the storm because people are heading back too early, that kind of thing? >> people take precaution as so many people did. they evacuate, they get out, they hunker down, they shelter in place, but then there's this urge, this need, to get back to the house, to see what's going on, to get life back to normal. as a result of that, we see significant injuries coming post
hurricane. >> we have seen this historically with other storms. >> absolutely. the florida sun sental did an analysis post hurricane injury and mortality. they found a remarkable number of people go back in, wind up getting injured, getting on roofs trying to repair them, use zing power equipment they are not familiar with. so many incidents take place when hospitals and other support systems aren't back to full strength. as people feel the urge to get home and resume life and normalcy, we need to make sure we do everything in the proper steps so we make sure we don't complicate the situation after we dodge the bullet, if you will. >> in a lot of communities, there are downed power lines. some of the power lines are live and they present an enormous hazard. be careful of that. >> there is a reason the trip back to communities has to be as organized as the evacuation from them.
>> we heard a couple mayors echo that. special coverage of hurricane irma rolls on. first, on a monday morning, le whoooo. looking for a hotel that fits... ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest price. grazi, gino! find a price that fits. tripadvisor.
good morning. breaking news. irma marching north after hammering southern florida. fierce winds ripping roofs off homes. causing cranes to collapse. major damage and flooding across the state. millions without power. >> we don't know what, you know, the next few days is going to bring. >> president trump trying to reassure anyone in its path. >> this is some big monster, but i think we're very well coordinated. >> a historic storm, its wrath still being felt today monday, september 11th, 2017. >> annnc