tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 27, 2011 5:00am-6:00am PDT
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irene has come ashore. the powerful hurricane reaches north carolina's coast. you see atlantic beach there to the left of your screen. it's got some strength to it. it remains dangerous, everyone. the national hurricane center has just sent out an update on the storm's path. will it move further east and spare new york city? the ripple effect felt across the country as many flights and trains are canceled. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt.
welcome to msnbc's special live coverage of hurricane irene. forkers say the hurricane has made landfall in north carolina about a half an hour ago with the center coming ashore near cape lookout. it is also weakened a bit. evacuation orders are currently in effect for 2.5 million people along the east coast, and 6 amillion people in the storm's projected path. powerful wind gusts, punishing rain as well just slamming the north carolina coast. storm surges of six to 11 feet are expected there. talk about some flooding potential. we've got 63 shelters now open across 22 counties in that state. then at least 160,000 people have lost power in north carolina. hurricane warnings currently affect north carolina to the north into the islands of nantucket and martha's vineyard off the coast of massachusetts. nbc meteorologist jack jones me now with the potential impact of irene. good morning. i know you just got this hurricane center update. >> yeah. even though it has weakened by
five miles an hour, still a category one. there has been absolutely no change in the watches or the warnings, so if you were under those evacuation orders, you are still under those vakz orders with a hurricane warning basically for the entire mid-atlantic right up into the cape. still at this point. what we're noting here, at least on the satellite loop is this storm's is it center is on the outer bairpgs. it still looks like it's going to hold up here for a category one storm. weighs see this push out near the delmarva peninsula later on tonight. the other thing worth noting, well, the bottom edge is pretty weak at this points as well. we'rement going see too much rainfall on the back side of this now that it has made landfall, but still a very powerful storm as it will be moving up the coast. >> sit tight. we're going to come to you, jefr, in a second. we'll go to mark potter in nags head, north carolina. we have him for a second. how is it looking? it looks worse than it did last hour. >> yeah. it's not getting better. i can tell you that. we have very strong winds, and
rain coming at us pretty much parallel to us. it's been doing this all night, and we're told that it's going to get worse before it gets better. then we're going to have a day of this wind and rain. we're also seeing the surf come up. there was a recorded wave not too far from shore just north of us at 14 feet. the water is coming up over the beaches assisted by a high tide. the good news i can tell you, though, is i'm not seeing any areas out here where the water is cutting through the sand dunes, which protect the populated areas. that's good. more good news from our crews are out on the streets right now to the north and south of us here on the upper outer banks. they say they're not seeing any substantial damage to the roads. no wash-outs. it seems to be okay. a few limbs down. some things tipped over in yards. that's basically -- that's another good thing that's happening here. emergency managers confirmed to
us what our -- but warn that we've got worsening weather to come, and we have a long day ahead of us. what they are worried about and what they were particularly fearing yesterday is what is transpiring today. the center of this storm is coming to the west of us, and that's going to cause a one-two-three hit in terms of the storm surge. the first hit is the eye occurred when the east winds brought water on to the eastern shoreline up into the pimlico sound behind us. that will stack water up under the coastlines there, and then as the eye passes, the counterclockwise winds then coming from the west will push water to the western shoreline here, so, again, a one, two, three punch is going to happen. the only possible good news in that regard is that with the storm -- category one is still a very, very powerful storm. it's not a two or eye three, and
then the hope is that maybe the storm overwash will not be as bad as they originally feared. again, that hasn't yet happened yet, and we have hours to find out whether that actually occurs, alex. >> it's going to be a long day, to be sure. thank you very much, mark potter there in nags head. of course, all of us understand the signal breaking up because we're in the middle of a hurricane trying to broadcast here. >> kristen dahlgren is in kel devil hills, north carolina. good morning. >> hey, good morning, alex. yeah, the wind and the rain continuing to pick up here just a pelting rain right now like what mark is seeing. really coming down parallel. so that's an issue here, but where we are i'm not really seeing a lot of damage yet. that's good news. none of them have come out as far as we can see. that's one of the first things that starts to go. we're not seeing a whole lot of damage there. your power is still on where we are, but we do have reports of over 100,000 customers through
the carolinas, through virginia that have already lost power. that number expected to grow as this moves up through north carolina and then up the east coast, so a lot of people bracing where we are. a lot of evacuations. there's been a mantdtory evacuation in please along the outer banks for the past two days for tourists and for residents, and so a lot of people did choose to pack up and leave the beach here because you have to remember even though this is now a category one storm hurricanes are not just about the wind, but also about the water, and if you can see behind me, the surf really just churning there. the waves continuing to grow. there is probably only about five feet of beach at this point that is isn't covered, and yesterday i would bet probably has been a good 50 or 60 feet. now, we are seeing the tide up higher than it was yesterday, but also all of that water being pushed out ahead of the storm, and so storm surge expected to be an issue here.
a lot of this area could get covered over by water, and that's really been the big concern with this storm is the flooding, and then if you go up through the northeast, the rain soaked areas, flooding going to be an issue as well, alex. >> okay. cris endahlgren covering things for us in kill devil hills, north carolina. thank you for that. we'll go back now to nbc meteorologist jeff. thank you for staying put. you know how it is. we get these pictures up in the hurricane. we'll take them when we get them. got you now. >> you know, a lot of rain, a lot of wind coming down right where kristen is, and mark is. that's some of the worst weather mou transitioning right at the peak of thou those out you are banks along north carolina. this is still a strong storm. it has increased by five miles an hour, but it's still a strong category one hurricane, and those storm force wind bands still stretching out over 250 miles from the center of the storm, and even though the wind did decrease, the central pressure didn't change all that much, so that's why we think this is very strong at the core
of this hurricane. lack at the rain tiling into virginia. we are talking about already that that has already come down here. of course, we're mentioning irene has landfall here about a half hour ago. cape lookout. that's just more of a technical thing at this point. the storm is much more wide reaching than just that immediate landfall. look at the winds. very close to where kristen dahlgren and mark potter are reporting. we're getting winds that are gusting right now at 74 miles an hour. even higher at times. sustained winds right now into 50s and the 60s. they may actually have to be moving in a little bit here as we head throughout the next, you know, hour or so. rainfall totals right on track. anywhere from five to over seven inches of rainfall, and that's what we're, of course, fearing right through the mid-atlantic where it has been so drenched the past month. all-time record setting rain throughout portions of
philadelphia. you can see this bull's-eye here right across new york city, interior new york that could drop another six to eight inches. i do want to get you the track real quick. the next point that this is going to be moving into will be maryland and delaware tonight. we're looking at those impacts to begin and start to peak as we head around 4:00 p.m. and into 4:00 a.m. on sunday. the storm surge anywhere from three to six feet. rainfall totals, again, could be anywhere from four to eight inches, and still on track at this point with the latest update for new york city on sunday morning with the storm surge that could be upwards of six feet. rainfall still four to eight inches at this point. by all accounts, while it has weakened 5 miles per hour, alex, it has not waivered in its path or the ramifications that we expect from this storm. >> absolutely. i hate it when we even have to use the word weaken by five miles an hour. something to note, but folks don't let down your guard at all. we'll cover this exclusively.
thanks so much. let's head to the weather channel. stephanie abrams is live for us in long beach, new york, and that is one place that has been suggested may get a direct hit. good morning to you. >> it might, alex, and even if it's a little east or west, i don't think it's going to matter all that much. what will matter is if it takes a big jog to the west and we get that complete on shore flow. you have the forward motion of the hurricane. the winds on the east side go from south to north. you get that double forward push. if it goes a little bit off to our east, we're going to be on the west side. the hurricane is going forward. the winds are actually going from north to south. that can help with the surge situation here. let me show you how they have the pair here on long beach. the city of long beach, you see they have built these sand dunes around the lifeguard stand. you can see lifeguards are standing on top of them right now, as well as surfers. a ton of surfers in the water here, but i need to caution everyone because we have already lost some surfers in the south due to them being in the water with hurricane irene. some numbers for you here.
i heard jeff giving you numbers. i want to talk about the latest numbers i just got in on my e-mail from the weather channel. cedar island, north carolina, a wind gust to 115 miles an hour at the cedar island ferry office. alex, even though this is a category one, we are still gusting higher than that into that category two range, and also the rain report i have seen here, 7.42 inches and sustained winds of 90 miles per hour at cedar island, also in north carolina. everyone is kind of, like, oh, it's weakening. we'll be okay. absolutely not the case. katrina making landfall. its first landfall in florida was a category one. did sh some serious damage. it's still very serious. >> my point exactly. i'm glad you hit those points, and when you just said 115 miles an hour in one spot. dwlau, that's not just category one. thanks very much. let's stay on this. stephanie, thank you. we'll see you again. later this hour, we're going to hear from the governor of north carolina, bev perdue. that live interview coming up in ten minutes or so on msnbc. we'll be right back. stay with us. you name it.
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>> you are looking live right now. hurricane irene has brought winds and rains ashore in moorehead city, north carolina as well. they will be shut down. all the trains in new york, philadelphia, and new jersey closed because of this storm. flights around the five main new york city area airports. let's go right to nbc kerry sanders, who is in atlantic weech, mcincome, with a good morning to you. last hour we spoke to you,
kerry. we had part of a pier that had been shorn off. >> month more of the pier is gone, but if you are looking at me right now, you are saying what's going on? well, it's really calm here because we're in the n what is the eye. it's really ill defined. what's interesting is i'm going to take you up in the camera here, and as can you see some n certain areas it looks almost like blue sky there, and then as you look way out there you can see those really dark clouds. well, they're heading towards us. that's the eye wall that is heading this direction. of course, as you know, the eye wall is where the most powerful winds with the hurricane are. they'll be getting here. we imagine within about the next hour or so at the speed this hurricane is moving. the really good news, though, on the front end of this hurricane, we have the back end still to come through, but the really good news is the lack of damage. there's a little street flooding. there have been some fences
knocked down, but no real extensive damage. the power lines and the power poles still standing, even though the power is out. the cell phone system is still working. we've checked homes that do and do not have shutters. those that have no shutters appear to be just fine. again, this is just a front end of irene. we still got the back end to come through here, and then there's the coastal erosion. really it looks like thus far the most damage is from the waves, the actual surf action. i've seen waves out here that have been averaging around eight to ten feet. we saw a few come in. road waves up to about 17 feet. clearly it was in the dark, but overnight some very powerful pounding winds came in, and as you noted, took out the last section of the pier here. the u.s. geological survey put equipment out there that was going monitor the wave action and the power of the waves. i'm afraid that that washed away along with the end of the pier, alex. >> yeah. you know, kerry, i have to say
your description of being able to see perhaps a small patch of blue sky and then look out and see what's coming, that elicit az creepy feeling in me. it's very frightening to look what may be coming ashore because as we have noted before, the back end of an eye as it passes over can bring with it some lashing winds and rains even more severe than that which you have already had. >> and that's why we have positioned ourselves where we can get in with the police officers here in atlantic city and a concrete structure. i mean, the camera is quite a distance from me right now in a protected area, and certainly if it gets to a point where i feel unsafe, i'll retreat there as well. for the moment, you know, this is a rare opportunity. i've been covering hurricanes for a long time. i not very often you get a chance to be where the eye is passing over. this is a beg eye. it's ill defined, butt i a big eye. 40 miles across. you know, the other eyes that i have been in, i have actually seen sea gulls fleeing around.
i don't see that here, but it's really quite an experience. again, we see that eye wall, and it's moving our direction, and we will take appropriate safety measures when and if -- when it arrives. i can't say if because we know it's coming. >> i love the fact that the camera man just before we end this live shot, thank you for panning off again and just looking at that darkness. very threatening there out in the ocean. okay. kerry sanders, do stay safe, and we'll check in with you and your crew again. thank you. we'll be right back msnbc. and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most.
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he was talking about. these pictures, thanks to his crew. of course, hurricane irene is now pounding the north carolina coast. two major highways there have been shut down. more than 100,000 customers are already without power. joining me now, north carolina governor bev perdue. with a good morning to you, madam governor, we have been all over your state here at nbc. we've had lee looks at atlantic beach, nags head, kill devil hills. you have the dubious honor of having taken aboard the landfall nearly an hour ago. how are things going right now in your estimation? >>. >> well, we're in the full onslaught of the storm, as you know, and our state is known as hurricane alley, so we are very respectful of irene. she's hitting us with 70, 90 miles an hour wind, and we are most concerned after the eye moved on out. the eye is still over cape lookout. we have a couple hundred plus folks without electricity right
now. north carolina has had hurricanes so consistently that we have stood up a terrifically robust system that starts with locally elected officials and moves to fema in washington and the state is the coordinator. our system is fairly seamless. we've had no problems. the planning and execution has been terrific. we are right now in the throws of the storm, and sometime in the late afternoon we'll begin our asessionment, recovery, and response. that's how it works. we feel very hopeful that we have avoid aid huge slap. >> i know as we give people live looks again, the video that just came into us, new stuff coming in from atlantic beach there. there's a lot of flooding on the roadways. that was certainly to be anticipated. i know that we have a history, a terrible one, through hurricane fran back in 1996 that caused 21 deaths in your state. do you have any concerns that this may have the same
disastrous effect, or do you think you'll escape this somewhat unscathed? >> well, nothing is going to be unscathed. we're going to have millions of dollars of property damage and, again, the flooding and the surge that's happening all over the coast. the damage from that right now. you can't estimate. at this point i only know of one death. again, we've been very aggressive this week in warnings and asking people -- the tourists have left the beaches. we've done a great job with that. the folks who stayed in their own homes understand the dangers of the storm and i haven't heard any reports all night or this morning of any of our citizens being out and about. i'm very grateful for. >> absolutely. >> again, because we have this so often and because fran and floyd were so bad, our people understand what to do. we're still trying to get an agricultural assessment. the east is full of farmland and tobacco land and animals, pork and poultry. we don't have that assessment yet. we'll have it later in the day. we can take a major hit there. >> governor, again, with one
death you're saying is reported. do you know what the cause of that death was? >> i was told it was a heart attack associated with some kind of preparation for the storm. you know, who knows what's happening now? we've got trees down. we've got power lines down. again, the only good advice for people who are enduring the storm is to stay inside and wait for the recovery and reporting assessments this afternoon when the storm goes on out and moves into the virginia coast. >> okay. well, north carolina governor bev perdue, all this planning and preparation, let's hope things come off as well as possible there. the state of north carolina. thank you so much. we'll have a lot more in the path of hurricane irene. is it still on a collision course directly with new york city? we'll check in again with nbc meteorologist jeff right after this break. we're also monday storing twitter all throughout the storm. send us your tweets to@msnbctv and including the hash tag irene. gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria
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hurricane irene has made landfall. this storm is currently slamming the north carolina coast after weakening very slightly, but the forecasters say the storm remains dangerous. at least 160,000 people are without power in the state as the storm barrels through it. the weather channel says wind gusts as high as 115 miles per hour have been recorded on the shoreline, and that would put it beverage a cat one storm. meanwhile, storm surges of six to is 1 feet are expected in north carolina, and while the surges of four to eight feet are expected all wait from virginia to cape cod. evacuation orders are currently in effect for it 2.5 million people. that covers 550,000 in new york, a million in new jersey, 100,000 in delaware, 315,000 in maryland, 200,000 in virginia, another 300,000 out there in north carolina. we hope they are long gone from there. again, irene hitting north carolina right now. nbc meteorologist jeff is joining me now with the path and potential impact of irene. another good morning to you. where is it sitting? >> well, right now it is still on the outer banks of north
carolina, and it still looks like it's going to maintain its category one strength even though it has officially made landfall. let's go ahead and get a look at the latest. if you are just waking up and joining us, right now winds at 85 miles an hour. it did weaken slightly. again, very, very slightly. look at the central pressure, though. 9 a5 2 millibars. it's still strong by all accounts in the center of the storm. we do know once again those hurricane force winds do stretch out. still some 90 miles for the center. with that said, none of these hurricane warnings have been changed. all the way up into long island. also for the cape of massachusetts. you are still under a hurricane warning at this point. the timing and the track is mraet much the same as it was about 12 hours ago. everything is lining up with this really monster sized storm that continues to push in anywhere from three to six inches of rainfall, and the other thing we're noting here is this southerno watch box through
11:00 this morning. we have had a couple of reports of tornadoes. no reports of any major damage. that is one of the threats, of course, with a hurricane this size is that tornado threat. we're going to be dealing with it not only tonight, but throughout the next several hours. next 24, 48, 72 hours. let's take a look. hurricane force wind gusts still in cape hatteras. that's 74 miles per hour. we've seen this now for three hours in a row. we've already heard there is power outages. we have also got reports here in carterette, north carolina, of an 80-mile-per-hour wind gust. at cedar ferry terminal in nblg income, 90-mile-per-hour sustained winds. this morning. gusts as high as 110 miles per hour. take a look at this. the outer rain bands now starting to move into delaware. also into maryland. the waves are gradually ramping up here. nothing at, you know, tropical storm force strength. about 15 to 25 miles per hour. here's a look at the path. you can see we are still expecting this to move right adjacent to the delmarva
peninsula early, early tomorrow morning. still expecting this to go over long island as we head into sunday morning. still a very widespread storm that will also be causing us flooding concerns here. >> okay, jeff. thank you for that. we'll keep you biz where i. new this morning, the president has declared an emergency in new jersey. it's in advance of irene's arrival there. let's go to nbc's michelle franzen who is live for us in jersey shore in asbury park. it started raining since we saw you last hour. >> it has the last half hour hour. we're told by our colleagues at the weather channel that this first outer bantd has, indeed, reached this area. they say it will take that long for the center of the storm to reach us. it gives you a sense of the enormity of the storm and also the gravity of the situation. certainly governor chris christie urging people to stay away. we still are seeing some people out here jogging.
a few people closer to the edge of the water. they are shutting down everything at the boardwalk later on today. there's already evacuation centers set up here in asbury park. people who live by the shore have already taken sheter there, and shelters in all 21 counties are also open. there are people that have gone out to surf today. they want people out of the water and they want people away from the shore. the casinos will be shutting down at noon. as for people that have no other place to go, they can stay? in the hotels there. everybody starting to hunker done hur as irene begins her approach into new jersey. >> the casinos shutting down. a rare occurrence. okay. thank you very much, michelle franzen from asbury park.
right now in delaware people are under evacuation orders. i'm joined from john -- he is live for us from wilmington. representative, good morning to you. how are things there. you know you are inside a studio now, but what was weather like as you were coming in? >> as i was coming in, actually the weather was pretty calm. the first people of delaware and certainly the state of delaware is prepared over the last 24 hours. people have been evacuating the beach areas, the coastal areas. the governor has issued a declaration of emergency with those evacuations type ofated. first responder community into the national guard, and people are leaving the beach areas and coastal areas in droves. >> i have to ask you what are you most concerned? is it the storm surge, the flooding, or the high winds? given that hurricane irene is a very wide in scope. some 450 miles. this thing is a monster in size. >> it's a monster storm, and there's a lot of rain that's
going to accompany this storm with high winds. i think the biggest concerns are the winds and flooding in the coastal areas. in particular flood-prone areas so people have been asked to evacuate those areas. people seem to be taking heed. then after that downed pourlines due to the high winds. le electric company asked people to be aware -- >> are you getting any estimates as to the potential cost of damage that can be incurred there in delaware? >> no estimates yet as to the potential cost. most of the focus has been on getting people out of the areas that are most at risk, and making sure that people take heed, and they seem to have been doing that. >> you know, you have a lot of those hardy types, as we call them. either on the cape or certainly down in the outer banks of north carolina who refuse to leave. do you have any reports of that along those shorelines there in delaware? >> don't really have many reports of that yet. i'm sure there are folks that are staying behind.
they have until 9:00 this morning in the coastal areas to evacuate those areas, and my hope and request for all of them is to take heed and go to family or friends at higher ground. >> we thank you very much, democratic congressman from delaware. john carney, best of luck for you riding this out for you and your constituents. thank you. >> thank you. >> irene certainly barrelling up the east coast after making landfall. it happened about an hour and ten minutes ago. i'm joined now live from washington by homeland security secretary janet napolitano. good morning. >> good morning. >> i know that you have many of your i-mat teams located all up and down the eastern seaboard. what is your first line of attack there from that perspective? >> well, we've got teams deployed already. our -- we still think of this storm in three phases. obviously now with landfall in
north carolina we are watching the storm from a response perspective. people who are further north up the eastern seaboard, you can still prepare. we ask that you abide by the evacuation orders. those orders are not issued lightly, and we're really working to make sure there is no loss of life. >> now about local governments? what are they saying they need from the federal government? sfoo well, right now they want our overall support and coordination, and then as we go through the storm, there will be individual requests depending on what happens in different areas. this storm is covering such a broad swath of territory and there's no doubt that there will be different kinds of needs in different parts of the storm area. >> you know, our director is throwing up some pictures of surfers in bellmawr, new jersey, trying to ride in the big waves. of course, the rain has started in that area. what's your reaction to that?
>> well, i would -- i have no reaction to that. if they want to go surfing. what we're working on make suring the population is safe, that reasonable orders have been issued based on the weather forecasts that we have, and that we are prepared to response and recovery. recognizing and telling people, look, recovery -- if we have a lot of power outage, we have a lot of flood and surge, which i expect we're already beginning to see, it doesn't recover overnight, so making sure you have batteries and other things in case your power is out for several days. >> secretary, we hear that this storm has weakened slightly, but there should be no level of complace ensy here, right? what do you have to say to people who just want to ride the storm out at home and defy any evacuation orders? >> well, look, first of all, we want to make sure that people abide by evacuation orders in part so that we and the first
responder community can focus on those who need special help. the elderly who may need help getting removed from the nursing home. those who aren't able to get out by themtsz and who need assistance. we want to be able to fix on those populations. for the able-bodied populations, if you are in an evacuation area, please abide by those orders. >> do we have any idea what the cost may be? >> it's too early to tell. one thing i would say is, look, we are not going to view cost as a limitation on our ability to respond. we are working with the president and with the offense of management and development that on the federal level we have the things we need to respond. >> thank you.
the next target in irene's crosshairs is southeast virginia. we have virginia governor bob mcdonald joining us on the phone, and with a good morning to you, governor. i just want to let you than to the right of our screen, we are showing the weather tracker, and it would seem like virginia is already being hit with some pretty heavy rains. the outer bands of irene as it makes its way north. can you confirm that. is there rain in your area? >> well, i'm in the capital in central virginia, and it is already raining here. very light winds. southeast virginia, virginia beach area, and all of hampton roads is experiencing up to now tropical storm force winds. heavy rain bands. we've already got some reports of power outages. we've closed one major tunnel,
and other tunnels and bridges will close because of high winds. we're feeling the impact now, but the worst is honestly still to come. it is the water and flooding on the coastline orrin land. it looks like this band is going to go right over even the central part, and you are there in the central part, and you say you can see already flooding on the roads or the coast, or the sustained winds. >> well, alex, with all storms, it's all of the above. >> all of them, yeah. >> in the low lying areas along the coast is what we're really concerned about flooding. norfolk, portsmouth, other places. i was down there yesterday to talk to the mayors and the emergency operations there, and they've done a great job giving mandatory evacuation orders for all the low-lying areas. they've had pretty good compliance, farce we can tell. 150 to 200,000 people were subject to mandatory evacuation orders, so we have done i think
well preparing and the local and federal partners are doing a great job with us. winds look like they might be a little lower. might be a weak category one now because the storm is tracking a little farther to the east on landfall and is a little weaker, but it's still a very, very dangerous situation for eastern virginia. we ask people to keep they are eye on the storm. >> okay. i know you mentioned there were some power outages. do you have numbers there because we do get at least from north carolina 200,000 are without power in that state right now. >> the initial reports not confirmed yet. in hampton, many 10,000 people, but we expect that to be far worse. they need to prepare. i know we have additional crews, as we have additional space and the national guard is being called up.
a number of other key people have been put in place for the response and roer effort, but the key thing right now we ask people to stay off the road. there's going to be a lot of additional road and bridge and tunnel closures. be safe and just tsh and keep their eyes out for what's going on. >> yeah. i'm curious, if you can sort of categorize the tenor of virginians there and how they're approaching this, because you think about the way the hurricane isabelle which hit your state, particularly hard back in 2003, and all of the warnings of, you know, dire consequences with hurricane irene. you get the sense that virginians are taking this real seriously? >> i do. this has been quite a national disaster. we have major fire in the great dismal -- we had an kwaek on tuesday. now this. i think people might be especially tuned into this, and we had folks that are reasonably certain for quite some time, and that's why the mandatory
evacuation orders are revealing, and the hampton, virginia beach, norfolk yesterday, and a number of states and local officials of people were really taking this seriously. i flew down over i-64, and we could tell it was very veshgs heavy traffic. in the middle of the day yesterday. we knew people were leaving their southeastern virginia parts. i am very pleased with that, and the cooperation of the federal government and the local governments is really outstanding in preparation. >> yeah. we've just had janet napalitano saying cost is not an issue. it about safety and protecting property. >> best of luck, sir. thank you for joining us here on msnbc. >> glad to be on. thank you. predicting the damage from hurricane irene. how large the insurance losses could be from the storm. it's coming up next.
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we can report that 200,000 are without power across the state of north carolina. take a look at that picture. that's where kerry sanders is positioned. he said just a short while ago it looked like there was some blue skies overhead as they believe they were in a very ill-defined eye of the storm. not so much now. we look at the back side of that eye. it seems to be coming ashore. well, hurricane irene may cause extensive damage along the east coast this weekend, and joining me from dallas, texas, is the property and casualty insurers association of america. good morning to you. how large might insurance losses be from this storm? snoo we know that the insured losses will be large because of the density of the population building along the eastern seaboard of the hurricane is going to track. put the perspective -- this has already been a very difficult natural catastrophe here in the u.s. the first half of the year there were more than 100 catastrophe events with insured losses at
moerch $27 billion. we know there are going to be a lot of property damage claims that are going to be filed and are going to be paid, but what we want to make sure is that there are no life insurance claims that need to be paid and property damage is inevitable, but human life loss is avoidable. >> yeah. absolutely. very good point there. how about the numbers of states that you expect to be affected by the insurance losses. does it really rival hurricane irene? >> if you think back to 2003 this storm is tracking up. it may even track further north into new york and new england, and that is the worst case scenario. we know that the storm surge could be a significant problem. most of the damage of hurricanes are caused by wind losses compromising roofs where water penetrates homes and so this is
going to be a very substantial storm. insurers have prepositioned plains officials. they're going to surge into the affected areas just as soon as it's safe to get in, and they'll have field operations up and running very shortly after the storm passes. >> david, can you tell me how many people get hurricane insurance and how many who don't have it probably should? i know this is a biggest i want, but can you put that in perspective? >> there is not such a thing as hurricane insurance per se. most of the claims are going to be filed under people's regular homeowners insurance. it's very important and we continually make the case and help people understand that surging water and flood is not covered under typical homeowners policies, and so we really encourage folks to buy national flood insurance through the national flood insurance program. that is a program that is
largely under subscribed. there is a lot of exposure that people have because they live in areas that could experience flood surges, and they're not covered for that under their regular homeowners policies. >> well, dade sampson, thank you for joining us from dallas, texas, where ewe had your own mother nature issues with the heat and drought this summer. thank you so much. >> yeah. thank you. irene is barrelling up the east coast after making landfall in north carolina about an hour and a half ago. we have live coverage at the top of the hour. stay with us here on msnbc.
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