tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 10, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden with more of our continuing live coverage as hurricane irma moves up to the center of the florida peninsula. hurricane irma is the seventh strongest storm to make landfall in u.s. history. at this hour, the eye of the storm is approaching tampa, central florida, and orlando. we begin with breaking news tonight. another massive construction crane has fallen. that makes two in miami and now one in ft. lauderdale. coast to coast, florida cities are experiencing hurricane-force winds and flooded streets. more than 3 million customers in florida have no electricity at this hour. >> reporter: we're in an area today where basically a tornado touched down. 19 homes had their roofs torn
off. this is going to be a significant and ongoing threat. >> reporter: we're getting the gusts, you know. i'm at the naples pier. the gusts are starting. i'm going to actually keep my hand on the railing as i come down here because it's just -- you don't know when the gust is coming. >> and a sight in tampa that even long-term residents had never seen. hurricane irma pulled a huge amount of water out of hillsboro bay. meteorologists call this a reverse storm surge. thomas roberts has been reporting on this monster storm all day long, and he joins us now from tampa. thomas, what can you tell us? >> reporter: cynthia, you make a great point about what meteorologists were concerned with when it comes to the fact that there was a pulling of tampa bay into irma for its energy. this is the hillsboro river, and you can see right here how there is beachfront that is shown by these rocks. people that live and work here have been telling us by this seawall, that typically the water is up to the wall itself,
that it's never this low. we've been watching the water kind of flow back in throughout the day. as you can see, the sheets of rain that are pouring down with the wind gusts. now in this area for stampa and saint pete, we found out earlier they've had issues of 1.3 million people reporting problems of losing their electricity. that's just for the folks able to report the incidents of that. it was a couple hours ago that hillsboro officials decided they would not respond to any more emergency calls because it was too dangerous for people who were going to have to be out on the road -- excuse me -- who were going to have to be out on the road. these are some of the stronger winds and strongest winds that we've had over the last several hours. now, it was roughly around 8:00 when we first started to see the rotation of the heaviest parts of irma finally make its way here. we started the other day, early friday morning, in miami, trying
to find the storm and to report its effects. we followed the storm over miami, straight over ft. myers and up the gulf coast here to tampa to position ourselves. you were pointing out this monster storm has taken the swath of the peninsula and really used it as a battlefield for the type of damaging winds and the rains it was going to produce. we know many of our colleagues have spent a lot of time not only in miami but in southwest florida from marco island to naples on up to ft. myers and cape coral, looking at the devastation. the big issue now is going to be storm surge. and i know that there are folks that have heard about the storm surge in naples not being as big as it was suspected that it could be. here for hillsboro and pa nellis counties, they've been worried about the potential of a five to eight foot storm surge. that would be pretty devastating for areas that are typically used to getting some water, some flooding because of the low-lying areas.
but, cynthia, there are suspected neighborhoods that may get some flooding. these are areas that don't get flooding typically that when this water pours back in from irma, that that surge could be a little too forceful and swell up, especially here for hillsboro river, which as you know is kind of surrounding of the tampa bay area been then shooting through this city itself. the winds, again, you can kind of see another band is coming through. another thing that we've been monitoring throughout the night is the fact that we've seen the lights of the night skylight up blue or orange. then we hear a groan, a big pop. we know several transformers have blown behind this building, also in the night sky back here to our left. if we can show just down this way because i know, sin thee yeah, you mentioned the fact there's another report of a crane that has collapsed in ft. lauderdale. so we had the two in miami. now you're reporting about the one in ft. lauderdale. just beyond our position right here on the other side of the
area we're in is a construction zone, an active construction zone where there are two cranes that have been there. so we've been monitoring the cranes to make sure that they're okay. most of the people in this area, in florida itself, because of the fact they didn't have a good forecast -- i mean they knew that there were areas, whether it was going to be the east coast or the west coast who would feel the effects of irma. but they didn't have enough time to actually batten down the hatches of these cranes. it takes several weeks, a couple of weeks to actually take them down properly. so they let the t part at the topspin. we watched the two cranes do a little rotation, but nothing as dramatic as we've seen for miami and now for fot. lauderdale. for now, i'll send it back to you. >> thomas roberts, thank you for that. we will be checking with you throughout the night. we're going to take a listen to the weather channel for a moment and bring ourselves up to date. >> reporter: rattling the
windows, rattling the stucco, the foundation of your house, and then shingles flying off roofs. we've had reports of numerous trees down around the city. i can imagine in the morning it is going to look very different than it did just 24 hours ago. we had a beautiful sunset here last night before the clouds moved in, and, boy, is it quite a different scene today. the winds are continuing to be rel relentless. we're not even near the center, about 35 miles off to our east where the center of irma is. the winds here are still gusting close to 100 miles per hour, and it's causing destruction. several thousand people without power here throughout tampa bay. we're talking nearly 250,000 people out of tampa electric and over 100,000 in pin ellis county where they have duke energy. those power outages are going up by the minute. off to my left here, this is a tennis court here at the hilton that we're seeing. we've got a 12-story building right in front of me. it is providing some protection.
but we're in an area free from debris, but, boy, the winds are just whipping across the board. and we're not in a surge-prone area, at least at our location. we're near the international airports. but even for not being right on the water, the winds are howling through the buildings. the winds are howling through the trees and even areas off the coast are seeing gusts as high as cat 1, even cat 2 hurricanes. now, i want to bring in dr. knapp. we had that extreme wind warning in polk county, which is our neighbor to the east and urgent conditions there with gusts well over 90 miles per hour, rattling windows, even breaking windows in hardy county. what do you want to urge people there that live in lakeland and along i-4 and even points north? >> yeah, that's the weather channel. we just have -- i've just been handed from the national hurricane center in miami the latest report is that irma is
nearing tampa/lakeland area, which you just heard the weather channel talking about, as still a category 2 hurricane at this point. it has decreased from the category 4 that it hit down in the keys to a category 2. that does not mean that it is not dangerous, and we will go get more information about that in a moment. before we do, we're going to flip to the other side of florida. we're going to go over to nbc's maya rodriguez, who is reporting from the brick nell section of downtown miami. what are you seeing now? it doesn't look like it's raining. >> reporter: nothing you wouldn't expect on a regular sunday night to be honest wu, cynthia. but we do have storm surge. about four feet of storm surge brought in by irma. and this is the brickle section of downtown miami. it's the financial heart of the city of miami. there's also a number of people who live down here. it's a very densely populated neighborhood. lots of high-rise hotels here as well. look at this.
there is water down this road for blocks. in fact, we haven't been able to make our way more than four blocks further down from here because it is so flooded. we've had so many cars come in here. they stop. they take a look at what's happening behind us, and they say, you know what, never mind. we're going to make a u-turn and get out of here. this is all water pushed in from biscayne bay, three blocks to the east of us here. water came up, came down the side streets, flooded this area of downtown. here's the thing we're trying to keep an eye on at this point. high tide here is in about 30 minutes. we have seen the water receding through the hours that we've been here. we've been out here for about five or six hours now. but it's going to be a big question now. what happens when there's high tide? will the water continue rece receding? will some of this water be pushed back into this area? it's something we are keeping an eye on, again, because this area is so flooded right now from that storm surge.
cynthia? >> maya, we're going to be back to you throughout. thank you very much for that report. joining us now is nbc's meteorologist steve sosna, who has been tracking irma's path. steve, what's the latest? >> well, what we have for you is still a category 2 storm, which is nothing to sneeze at here. it is not as strong as it was in the keys, but it's still delivering impacts that are going to be very disruptive and just down right dangerous, especially now that we don't have daylight across central florida. 66 miles per hour at the international airport in orlando. 63 miles per hour in lakeland. the center now is getting close to tampa, so the wind has gone from a westerly direction to more of a north to mostly direction, and eventually it's going to start pivoting down from the north and northwest. so that's going to be signaling that the eye is passing north of you. then that water from the gulf of mexico can start to come on in here. so we've had it easy from tampa
surge. but now it's your turn as the center of the storm passes up to the north. even on the eastern side of this, the winds still gusting, roaring at 70 miles per hour. you saw thomas' live shot out there in the tampa/saint pete area. it's just a roaring, relentless wind. that will continue here for tonight. with that, you get these power outages. you get the tree limbs coming down instantaneously, the transformers blowing on you. again, it's not a friendly night to be out. you want to be hunkered down in your house, away from windows because, remember, some of these objects become projectiles, especially if you get one of these small tornadoes that spin up in these lines of storms. look at this. st. petersburg in the last hour, 61-mile-per-hour wind gusts. this is north of the eye. this is where all your heavy rain and thunderstorms are. notice to the south side of it, now that it's made landfall, there really isn't much in the way of rainfall. there's a gusty wind.
the storm system is showing signs of weakening, and that's certainly a good thing. but we still have a long time to go before it's out of our hair. meanwhile, impacts up the road will only grow here for tonight. so 66-mile-per-hour wind gusts there in orlando. 55 in daytona beach. here's your heavy rainfall right now, across north central florida. you can see that along the i-4 corridor all the way from the west coast to the east coast. we have seen some tornadoes on occasion revving up with these lines in these feeder bands that are coming in off the ocean. latest stats from the hurricane center, 100-mile-per-hour winds moving off to the north at 14 miles per hour. here's the track for you. 8:00 monday morning, it's up near the big bend of florida right around the gainesville area. >> hold on one second. we're going to go back to the weather channel to just outside orlando for breaking news. >> reporter: for the last hour, hour and a half, we have seen conditions deteriorate a little bit every single time we've come back live here on the weather channel from orlando.
we're not quite sure how bad they're going to get, but we do know there is the potential for those 75-plus mile an hour wind gusts. if we do feel that eye wall component of this, if it really comes close enough to orlando and we get a touch of that, we could have sustained winds 75-plus. so a tough go for people here in orlando. because of that, there is a curfew here in effect. we also know, of course, orlando international airport is closed. walt disney world is closed. universal orlando is closed. schools are going to be closed. everything is closed here. you can see that curfew is working well. chris, if you could, pan over, and you can see that 7-eleven just up the street there completely boarded up. just in case you didn't know they were closed, take a look at the fluorescent orange paint on the doors definitely telling you that that 7-eleven is closed, exactly the way every other business around here, you'll find, restaurants. everything is closed out of an
abundance of caution because of the dangerous situation we're in right now here in orlando, florida, as irma's eye wall is getting very close to orlando. the weather channel will have continuing live coverage, continuously all night long, as irma continues to impact florida. >> and we will have continuing live coverage as well. we're going to take a break. when we come back, we're going to hear more about the direction of the storm and what is happening in tampa at this hour as the eye of the storm approaches. we'll be right back.
and the story at this hour is tampa. joining us now is the mayor of tampa, bob buckhorn. mr. mayor, thank you so much for talking to us. what can you tell us about the situation in your town right now? >> well, the storm has picked up. you can feel it. you can sense it. the rain is increasing. you can feel the bands coming through. apparently we have dodged the proverbial bullet here as this storm moves more into the center. we are concerned about the storm surge, but thankfully we are on the good side of the storm. so, therefore, the surge will be far less than what we had anticipated and what we have trained for. >> but not out of the woods yet? >> not even close. not even close, cynthia. >> for anyone who still has power who is in your area who can hear you now, what would you like to kmup cacommunicate to t? >> first of all, let us do our jobs in the morning. when the suns come up, as soon
as the winds have died down, we will be in the neighborhoods. we will have our push teams there trying to clear the debris. there is a curfew in place. that curfew will remain until we can secure the environment, get rid of the debris in the road, make sure there are no live power lines out there. we probably, to some parts of our community, power will be missing for a while. we recognize that. my most critical concern right now is the storm surge in some of the low-lying areas. you know, we are a city that's low. we tend to hold a lot of water during these types of occurrences. i anticipate we're going to see a lot of that tomorrow morning. you know, that will recede. then we get about the business of fixing what we've lost and rebuilding what's been broken. >> you know, i heard you earlier this morning here say that, you know, part of the attempt to prepare not just for this storm but for any kind of hurricane was really, literally using duct tape. talk a little bit about the
preparations that your city has made, anticipating a possible strike of a hurricane of this ferosity. >> well, just to put it in context, cynthia, it's not unique to tampa. these are cities all over the country. we're basically dealing with a 100-year-old infrastructure system. 100-year-old pipes trying to deal with 2017 growth patterns. pipes that are ageing, that are old. the federal government hasn't been helpful to us for 30 years. i'm hopeful that president trump after these events sees an opportunity to create an infrastructure bill that makes sense for mayors. we've been literally pasting and duct-taping for years to try and hold our system together. the last two years, we have a dedicated revenue source now. we have removed 50 tons of debris from our stormwater system to allow us to clear some of these pipes, to allow that runoff to occur far quicker than it ever has before. it's a drop in the bucket, though. >> so we've been getting reports
in tonight, one from miami-dade police who said they've had numerous arrests for looting. one in orlando, warning people in their community not to open the door to people claiming to be from the electric company because they're not. have you been having those kinds of problems this evening in tampa? >> not yet. we imposed that curfew quickly today. there are some that chose not to do it in surrounding counties. my yob job is to keep my city s. we're going to be aggressive about pursuing this. but the best thing people can do when they wake up tomorrow is if they see somebody if their neighborhood that they don't know, that looks suspicious, that is trying to case the neighborhood, call the tampa police department. we will be there. we are going to be aggressive about potential looters or somebody that would burglarize somebody's house. in this time of need, no, not on our watch. >> so in sum, you are feeling better than you thought you were going to be feeling at midnight 12 hours ago? >> six hours ago i was staring
into the abyss, cynthia. i thought that this was our day of reckoning. we had trained for it. i was confident that we would survive. clearly the track has moved to our favor. we are thankful for that. now we stand ready to help my friend buddy dye in orlando, who just came out of a horrible year as a result of the pulse catastrophe. they're a tough city. they're going to be fine. but we stand ready to help whoever needs us. >> bob buckhorn, we thank you for your service and for staying up with us tonight. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> joining me now, jeremy chambers, who lives north of tampa and captured video of what he described to be a transformer exploding. thank you so much for joining us. what can you tell us? >> everything is going great here. i mean it's a little windy, but definitely i was looking outside, and next thing you know, i saw a blue light, and i have a camera that's upstairs, and i was able to capture it
looks like a couple transformers blowing. >> we're looking at it now. so how far -- do you have any sense of how far away that explosion took place? >> i'd probably say probably half mile to a mile at most. >> do you still have power at your house? >> i fortunately still do. >> and have you been able to reach out to friends and relatives in the area? what's happening with them? >> unfortunately some of my other family, they've actually lost power in clearwater, but i do have family in land of lakes that still do have power. so it's a mixed bag. >> the yoermayor of tampa said breathing somewhat of a sigh of relief. there's a lot going to be neds -- necessary to put things back together again, but he feels the city caught a break. how do you feel in. >> i feel the same way, but i'm going to have the same sentiment with him. definitely worry about the storm surge definitely in downtown tampa and hyde park and the bay sho shore. >> but no flooding at your house, and you have power, and
you're out there taking pictures. >> yep. it's doing pretty good. i was definitely worried like he was, you know, last night. but with a new roof and relatively new neighborhood, that we would definitely be okay. >> well, thank you very much for letting us see these really extraordinary video that you sent in and for joining us tonight. stay safe. >> thank you. have a good one. >> our coverage is going to continue right after a break. we will get the latest on the path of the storm, where it's going next.
temperatures to make its way up the west coast of florida, but what we're seeing here is from the middle of the state. ki kissimmee, latest video sent in to us. the eye is expected with devastating wind. irma is still at category 2 status with sustained winds of 100 miles an hour and gusts of up to 120 miles an hour as a curfew has been issued for the city of tampa as we just heard from the mayor of that city. winds moving faster than 140 miles an hour were recorded at naples local airport with hurricane-force winds now moving into the middle of the state. this is tropical force winds are now approaching the border between florida and georgia, and
flooding has already begun in miami with white caps reportedly developing on floodwaters in that city's main streets. although the expectations for a storm surge size in some areas across florida have been reduced, more than 3.3 million homes have reportedly been left without power already in the state, and irma remains the biggest evacuation effort in american history. with me now, wtvj reporter jamie guirola in tampa. what can you tell us, jamie? >> reporter: hi. well, we're in one of those calmer periods. i mean earlier when i spoke with you guys, it was very windy. the rain was coming down. but i want to show you this. in the middle of a hurricane, we've got two guys playing soccer in the middle of the street. guys, can we talk to you really quick? we're live on tv, so please just watch your language. i know we were talking earlier, and you were saying, come on and get over here. you guys are actually from the
keys? >> yeah, we came from key west a couple days ago. >> have you been seeing what has happened to the keys on the news? >> some of our friends sent videos and pictures. they called us and were saying what the situation in key west, but we were really not aware of what's going on in real life until one of my friends called me a couple minutes ago, and he said that everything is fine. there's no water. there's no structural damage. there's a couple of trees fallen down, but everything is okay. >> i got to ask the obvious question. i want to know more about what happened to your situation in the keys, but why are you out here in the middle of a hurricane? >> we've been sitting in the hotel two hours ago, and we were like, dude, it's getting boring in here. >> all day long. we were bored. >> you guys know this is dangerous. there is a curfew in place. this is not where you should be. >> yeah. i mean we're right now, me, you, all of you guys. we're all safe, right? >> well, we're working.
let's talk about the fact that you escaped the keys, and you came here, and irma is kind of hitting here. >> well, a lot of our friends actually went to georgia. they went to south carolina. they went to tennessee. most of our friends went up there, but we decided to just stay here in key west -- i'm sorry -- in tampa. this hotel luckily let us stay for a couple of days. >> how did they let you out because i know they had stopped people from coming in and out. >> they actually closed the doordoo doors, but we had to escape from the garage where we have our car parked, which one of my friends let me drive all the way up here so we can save the car. >> are you worried about when you get home, what you're going to find? >> kind of, you know. i'm worried about my apartment, my car, his car. so we're going to figure it out. >> guys t was nice meeting you. please stay safe. you should probably get inside,
okay? thanks, guys. so, i mean, they're pretty lighthearted about it, especially for the fact that, i mean, they could be going back home and not have a moment to go back to all the way in the keys. interesting enough, the people who are not taking this as seriously as they probably should are quite casual about it. now, we are in one of those situations where the rain is not as bad as we were earlier. we are keeping an eye on that. also we're paying attention to the storm surge because fortunately the reason why we're showing you over there, it's because the river is on the other side of that, the hillsborough river is on the other side of those buildings. thundershowers a conce there's a concern about the storm surge and how bad of a problem it will be. because hurricane irma has weakened, because it's going more of an inland course, there's less of a concern, but obviously it's not something they're going to take lightly. so flooding is still a real issue here.
also power outages is a huge deal all over florida including here in the tampa area. but you wouldn't be able to tell because these buildings still have power. so that's the very latest here from downtown tampa. i'm going to send it back to you guys in the studio. >> jamie, thank you for that. there was concern earlier this morning about the hospital there, which is essentially on an island itself. everything is okay there as well as far as you know at this point? >> reporter: i haven't heard otherwise. i'm going to be honest with you, i've been out here on the streets for a while, so i haven't heard there's been an issue. so i can't really give you a firm answer on that. >> but it certainly does seem as if tampa may have caught a break here. i mean there are problems, but it certainly is not as bad as we had anticipated earlier today. >> reporter: oh, yeah, absolutely. and i mean i just -- i don't think i'd be out here right now if it wasn't safe obviously. but it's calmed down a bit, and it doesn't seem as aggressive as it might have been. and there's certainly relief in
the hotel that we're staying at from people just kind of like, yes, it's going inland. but, geez, how crazy is it that this storm just -- we can't keep track of it, you know what i mean? we just don't know which way it's going to go. first we thought it was going to go along the east coast of florida. then we thought it was going to go right up the center. then it ended going up the west coast through the center. irma certainly playing games with us. but certainly here in tampa, there is a little bit of relief especially because we're not getting that direct hit anymore. >> thanks to you for that report. i want to bring in rachel kes ling. she's the mayor of punta gorda, florida. it's about 100 miles south of tampa. the hurricane has passed through already. you're no stranger to monster storms. in 2004, hurricane charlie devastated punta gorda. 13 years later, irma is closing in. tell me what you can. how do the two compare? >> hello, cynthia. yes. so these two storms were totally different. charlie was much smaller and
tighter and came up through the gulf and into the harbor. so with irma, we've had days and days and days where we were in the cone of uncertainty. so we were preparing and doing as much as we could in all of that time to get ourselves prepared for whatever path she may take. >> so how much damage is there? how many have you been able to assess at this point about what happened in your community? >> with charlie, i can tell you total houses were lost. roofs were blown off. pool cages were gone. boats were thrown off of their lifts. and from my vantage point at my house, i don't see any of that. there are downed trees. i do know that. and the power has been out at my house for about five hours. so i know some of charlotte county, inland charlotte county, still has power. we're communicating with people that live in like the deep creek neighborhood and other neighborhoods. so not all of charlotte county, i believe, is down.
but the coastal areas are down. >> had you advised residents to evacuate in advance of this storm, or were people sheltering in place? >> some -- it was a mandatory evacuation because of the red zone. so we don't forcibly remove people in charlotte county, but we have a two-story house. it's ten years old, and it has a concrete roof, and it has impact glass windows. we even boarded up some of our windows as well. so we thought we could shelter pretty well here. >> so no damage at your house? >> not that i -- i see some trees down in my yard. one of the frangipani, i see that's down in the backyard. but the vehicles, there's some vehicles out front, and they look okay. there's no real ponding on the roads that i can see right now. the canals, interesting. today all of the water was almost sucked out of our canal system. so the fear was that it was
going to come back, you know, in a major surge, over the seawalls. and right now the canal level is about normal, i would say. >> so the report from punta gorda is essentially pretty good. >> yes. yes. we fared very well. you know, we got lucky in this that it did not come through here in a category 4. i believe it was probably about a 2. it's been windy all day. you know, let me tell you, it's still windy here. it's not safe to be outside. i can tell you that. but it did come through. the winds were strong and significant and consistent, and they did get -- you know, you could feel when the bands could come through, and we've had the tv on for most of the day. so pretty much what they were, you know, on air saying was happening. so we're lucky that it did come inland and downgrade and not as much damage here as when charlie came through. >> thank you so much for calling in tonight and giving us that
largely positive report from punta gorda. the mayor of that town joining us. thank you very much. stay safe. joining us now by phone is storm chaser, meteorologist justin drake, who earlier today we saw him brave the elements to get wind measurements in the keys. what can you tell me tonight? >> reporter: well, currently where we're at, the conditions are a lot calmer than they were today now that the hurricane has moved well off to our north. conditions here calmed down, so now it's just been trying to assess how much damage has occurred in the area. now we can start the recovery process. >> so where are you right now? >> right now we are in homestead, florida. so we are just south of the city of miami. >> so the winds were pretty violent earlier in the day. they seemed to be slowing to some extent although there were still gusts topping over 100, we understand. but the storm seems to be
lessening. is that your impression? >> that's 100% contract. n -- correct. now that the hurricane is over land, its main source of energy is now cut off. it's now over land, so it's going to steadily weaken until it's completely dissipated. so those very strong winds we were getting at the location where i was at earlier on the keys, those winds have weaken the substantially since then and will continue to do so until it dissipates. >> we're walking these incredible pictures of you and your colleagues getting these wind measurements. what was the reading when you were standing out there in the middle of the gale? >> let me tell you, it was hard just to start off with trying to get the door open. at that time we were getting hit by the eye wall of the hurricane, which is where you would expect to have the strongest winds that the hurricane had to offer. and because we have an instrument that let us be able to measure such things as wind
and pressure, we wanted to go out and measure just how strong the winds were at that point in time. we ended up measuring a 117-mile-per-hour wind gust with irma, but i can tell you right now that there were definitely winds much stronger than that right over us as well. >> justin, what does your family say about your chosen line of work? >> well, it's actually interesting you ask that because my mother, she was actually in the f-5 that hit topeka. so my family is no stranger to severe weather. they just know i have a passion for weather. i love chasing severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and it's kind of gotten to that time where they're comfortable with it. they know i know how to stay safe. i know i will take the necessary -- they know i'll take the necessary precautions to make sure i make it home safely, so it kind of all works out. >> i sure hope so because these pictures do not inspire my confidence that you are, in fact, going to stay safe.
we are back with more of hurricane irma, which has hit hard in southern florida. we're going to start right now in miami. we're going to go to the east coast. we've got maya rodriguez up and phillip mena. maya, a half an hour ago you said high tide was coming. what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, high tide is here, cynthia. frankly, it does not seem to be affecting the drainage of the storm surge we saw from hurricane irma. let me give you one example of
that as i step over one of these downed palm fronds. there's many of those here by the way. when we first came out here about 30 minutes ago, water was covering the entire street. now it's dry right here in the middle. and when we came here a few hours ago, take a look at this. the water wasn't just up over the curb. it was up to about the second step there of this particular building entrance. so it has receded dramatically in that time. yes, you did mention high tide was happening now. it was starting at 12:39 this morning, and it does not appear to be affecting, again, the drainage of the storm surge. that is good news because frankly on a good day here in miami when we have higher than normal tides or even rain, we can have serious drainage problems in parts of downtown miami, parts of coconut grove, which is another section here in miami. the fact that we have high tide now, we have all this storm surge water all over the place here in the brickell area, and it does still appear to be receding, that is welcome news here, cynthia.
>> so a happy surprise in a tough day. a happy surprise. let's flip over to phillip. phillip, we understand that dade county police have said that they have been making arrests for looting. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: well, looting has become an issue. now, it usually is after disasters like that unfortunately. we were speaking to some officials at aventura. they told us there was an incident of some people shooting at the glass in the mall, trying to get in. so they are using a lot of their efforts to try to make sure and prevent anything like that from happening, from people trying to take advantage of the situation. you see some miami-dade police officers out here right now. they are enforcing a strict curfew until 7:00 a.m. broward county has a similar one until 10:00 a.m. to prevent things like i just mentioned. you can see the rain started coming down pretty hard again in the last few minutes. you see the effects of what the wind was able to do to this area right here. but, again, the concern right
now is that they want to assess the damage after the worst of this storm passes. right now, all they're trying to do is protect the property of those who have evacuated and take heed of those evacuation orders. >> the miami-dade police have tweeted out just within the last few minutes that they have made 28 arrests so far for burglary or looting this evening. let me just ask you where you are in relationship to where maya is, who is in the brickell section. how far away are you? >> reporter: well, i am about three miles away from the beach. we are at the intersection, it is 24th avenue and aventura on the way to biscayne boulevard. so we are about two miles off of the coast. >> and it looks -- >> i'm not quite sure where brickell is in relation to this. >> looks like you don't have any power out there, though. it looks like the power is off by and large. >> reporter: the power is out absolutely. there's still about 1.5 million
here we are with more on our continuing coverage of hurricane irma as it has slashed and flooded its way through florida, knocking down trees, knocking down power wires, houses, boats. there have been problems all through the southern part of the state. joining us now by phone is the mayor of clearwater, florida, george credicos, who is about 20 miles west of tampa, right on the gulf of mexico. mr. mayor, can you tell us how clearwater is doing? >> well, we're feeling relieved
and blessed. when we got up yesterday morning, sunday morning, we thought this storm was -- you know, we were right on target for getting the eye and a category 3 or category 4 storm. it has moved significantly to the east. it has weakened. we are gretting wind. we're getting rain. but we're not getting as strong of a wind, as much of a rain as we had anticipated. a storm surge was to coincide with the high tide. that was going to be in another couple of hours. but, again, because the path has changed of the storm, even the storm surge is not to be as significant as we had first thought. so we're just very much relieved right now. >> can you tell us what kind of damage was done as the storm
passed through? >> well, it hasn't passed through just yet. but we're getting really just, you know, trees knocked down, power outages in certain areas. then it gets restored and goes back down again. our beach communities, we're on the beach on the gulf. we have restricted access to the beach since friday, and i can't give you an assessment of how much erosion our beach has sustained, but they'll have to wait until morning. >> clearwater mayor george cretekos, we thank you for staying up with us and giving us that report. we wish you all the best and your community as well. >> thank you. the main thing we need to keep in mind now is even though the storm isn't as severe as we had first thought, it is still not safe for our residents to go
out. to wait until the storm has passed, to wait until our public safety officials have been able to assess the damage and give it an all-clear sign so that you can start returning back to home and recovery. right now, be safe. stay indoors until the storm has passed. >> absolutely. that is exactly the message that communities across the state of florida are putting out to their citizens as well. thank you for that. let's go to marcia catrone, the former press secretary for the department of homeland security. thank you for joining us tonight. you heard what the mayor just said from clearwater. his concern that because it didn't hit as hard or it doesn't appear to be hitting as hard as they had anticipated, he's afraid of people coming out prematurely. talk a little bit about that. >> yeah. well, your number one priority right now is to listen to your
local state officials, your local radio stations, and whatever they're telling you to do, please do it. you know, make sure that your cell phones are charged, you've got radio that's battery-powered handy. let your friends and family know where you are, and stay safe. >> so what would you say is the best advice at this point for the local community leaders. how does the federal government relate? you played a key role at the department of homeland security. how does the federal government and these localities relate in the midst of one of these epic storms? >> they're all interconnected. you know, the thing about storms is it's bipartisan. there's no politics here. so federal, state, tribal, local, they're all working together. fema has been there. they're pre-positioned. they've pre-positioned supplies. they are ready. they will be there throughout the storm, and they will be there after the cameras leave.