let your guard down. this storm is no smaller in size. it just has a smaller tightly packed wind field like that wind field that andrew had. that was only a small wind field. only five miles wide. we can't focus on five miles. we have to focus on the entire peninsula of florida. everyone in florida will feel a hurricane force wind gust over the next two days. everyone. now, whether that brings down power line or trees or branches, whatever, depends on close you are to the center of this. red line, american model. blue line, european model. right over marathon, florida, possibly up to about worldwide sports islamorada. seeing heaviest wind on the dirtiest side. wind sidish push the wind and storm, key largo, up to even about i would say the stretch, probably see significant wind damage there all the way up ocean reef but the wind plowing
onshore this way, wolf. the storm will track up here. flooding here, wind damage here and here and then flooding from this side, too. so because we're going to move it right up and it's as big as the state, if not wider, with hurricane force winds, everyone will see damage. i don't think there will be any true community that doesn't lose shingles maybe a window. be very careful when tried to get in or out of your house if you are staying, because when the wind blows those doors slam shut. and let me tell you, i've seen it. and people's fingers get caught in the doors. wind howling through it. you don't expect it, bam, in trouble. try to go to the hospital and the wind's blowing 100. please, please, be careful here and have some cash. today is the day to get cash. when the wind blows, power lines go down, and also the le electricity down, credit cards don't work. when you need something, you need cash. the storm comes around 2:00
tomorrow afternoon. miami finally see 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts. but look at this white ball. that's 100 miles per hour or greater over the entire keys and then over the everglades and then because the evergrades isn't really land, it's water, it gets bigger. gets bigger again. we have winds 100 miles per hour all the way across the florida peninsula tomorrow afternoon. and into sunday afternoon. so this is going to be sunday afternoon. this is going to be a big event for everyone onshore flow up and down the east coast. onshore flow on the west coast causing flooding there and you know, 16 million people will see hurricane force gusts. how many people are going to lose power? wolf, 2 million, 3 million, 4 million people without power just by power lines and trees and limbs down alone. going to take a long time to put that all back up let alone the possible loss of life if you do the wrong things and stay in the keys or in places where officials told you to leave.
>> that explains, chad, why there are all of these enormous number of evacuations in florida from the west coast, st. petersburg, to the east coast, in west palm beach and south from there. is there any part of florida, really, that's going to escape this? >> no. although i will tell you that where we were yesterday with the storm somewhere in here, which is worst-case scenario for miami, west palm and hollanddale and jupiter and all this. over here a little farther, now the east coast slightly less. probably 20 miles per hour less here, but now 20 miles per hour more here. so we have shifted the wind toward naples, pinellas and fort myers, getting 20 miles per hour grauter than you would have received yesterday with the track that we had yesterday. it will still rain. it won't be a rain or flood
event. this is a wind and also the surge event for you, and i believe the eye is going to be very, very close to the marathon airport, key colony beach. just south of grassy key and duck key, and that's going to push the water north of there to surge, key largo, islamorada and points northward. push all the water eventually over make surprise into key biscayne. that's when you flood downtown miami and looks like six feet of water will do a lot of damage in that town which is at sea level. >> yes. certainly will. chad, stand by. west palm beach, florida, certainly one. areas under mandatory evacuation now. just under 1.5 million people live in the county. and brian todd, cnn, is on the scene. in west palm beach across the water over there from palm beach. how is the evacuation process going? >> reporter: well, wolf, a complicated process, and very anxious process.
we'll show you what it means physically to see all this. trying to get people off the barrier island. that's palm beach right there. low lying. mobile homes there. a lot of vulnerable population trying to get them across the bridges and here to west palm beach, a slightly higher elevation where we are and get inland into general population shelters if they can get them. the mayor of west palm beach says they want to try to get people off the roads by tomorrow. that mandatory evacuation for palm beach started this morning at 10:00 a.m. three hours ago, about. in parts of west palm beach, wolf, they're still adhering to volunteer evacuations but also parts of west palm, they are instituting some mandatory evacuations in some low-lying areas. storm surge will happen here. five to ten feet. i'm only standing five feet above the surface in the
intercoastal waterway. wash up here, inundate. talking five to ten feet above this level you see here, plus wave activity on top of that inundating here. if it indoundates here, certain it will over there. another big complication, wolf, securing and protecting elderly during this evacuation process. trying to get them off palm beach and into a special need shelter here in west palm and then elsewhere in palm beach county. a huge challenge. a lot of ederle people did not want to move. the ones that want to are not easy to move. a short time ago i talked to the co-owner of an alzheimer's care facility run out of a small house. not really any bigger than these houses over here, and he has four alzheimer's patients, probably move them from that facility to another of his own facilities further inland in palm beach not necessarily to a shelter. he thinks he can take care of them better himself.
but he's worried. they get scared, confused. only four of them. you're talking about a county full of elderly people a lot need special needs. if they go to a special needs shelter, there is one probably filled to capacity. they have to bring their caregivers with them, because there is just not the personnel there to take care of the special needs of the elderly. you know, wolf, there are hundreds of thousands of elderly here in palm beach county. >> certainly are and broud county, fort lauderdale, miami-dade, and worried about the elderly. we'll get back to you. with billions and billions expected in damage, fema will have a major role to play in the immediate aftermath of hurricane irma. joining us from gainesville, florida, the former administrator of the federal emergency management agency. thanks for joining us. you have a lot of experience on this issue. what's the number one priority for fema when in a monstrous
storm like this is barreling down on the united states? >> you heard governor scott making sure all resources his team will need focuses on search and recue and middle east stableation as irma moves through the state. from critical supplies. most importantly, additional search and rescue teams from across the nation. >> fema was already stretched thin after hurricane harvey in texas and louisiana. was there a plan in place? is there a plan in place, for a two-storm scenario? >> yes. we've practiced and part of the reason why fema has a ten-region structure to move different regions around and handle the primary -- region four is focused on this. region six, still doing harvey. a lot of search and rescue 250eteams back, retrofitting getting said for this storm. and in puerto rico, getting ready when irma threatened those
places. >> what do authorities do to those folks who ignore the evacuation orders especially along the coast, in the keys, in miami beach, let's say or palm beach and say, we're going to ride it out. what, if anything, can you do about that? there's nothing illegal when it comes to that, right? >> yes. that's a decision. we want to make sure it's a sound decision. i'll be blunt. we talk about storm surge. we're talking about drowning. how you die in this event, if you don't evacuate. you, your family and anybody who didn't evacuate will drown. that's the risk, and they'll tell you at a certain point you're going to dial 911 to get rescued. it's too dangerous for teams to get out there. they'll mark your location and as soon as conditions permit try to get to you. i've been on too many of these, that turns into a rvry operation, not life saving because the lives were lost. this is about drowning. that's how you're going to die in the storm surge is this bad if you don't evacuate. why we ask people to heed
evacuation, move to higher ground. you need to move inland. this is not something you want to risk or second guess, because once you go to the point where it's too late, that may be your last decision. >> when is it too late? based on the forecast we have now, when this hurricane is going to hit florida, when is it going to be too late? >> about the time we start seeing higher tropical force wind gusts start hitting. now you run into problems particularly coming off the barrier islands going across the bridges, getting blown off the bridge. generally when the response teams have to stop and move into their safe locations. so as we start seeing those tropics force winds arriving, your window closeds rapidly to the point it's too dangerous to move and too late to get out. >> you and i discussed these, covered these hurricanes for many, many years. give us perspective on irma right now. how enormous is it compared to some of the others that we've gone through? >> well, for florida, they have
not been through this since the '20s. anybody who's been through andrew, unless you went through the eyewall, hurricane charlie eyewall, very small defined areas. all the hurricanes in '04 will not prepare you for irma. this is a much more dangerous state-wide threat. past experience is not going to prepare you for this. you need to heed evacuation orders. if you've ridden them out before, you were lucky. don't trust your luck this time. you need to move to higher ground. >> good advice. craig, thank you so much for joining us. appreciate it. and i hope all of our viewers in the danger zone right now are paying very close attention to what you are saying. this is a life and death decision that these folks have to make. thank you very much. >> thanks, wolf. let's go to south florida. the very first place on the u.s. mainland that will feel irma's wrath. joining us from miami now, you couldn't see a radar. would you even know now that a
hurricane is coming your way? >> reporter: you absolutely wouldn't but heard the urgency in few fugate's voice. the risk of storm surge and perhaps no place at greater risk when it comes to the storm surge and flooding than miami beach. i want to show you exactly why this could be so costly and deadly, wolf. look over my shoulder. stepping out of the way as you take a look. this is what's the draw about miami beach. beautiful high rises. glitzy and new. this is an area that's been booming with development and this is what potentially could make irma hurt this area so much. that's despite the new building codes in place since hurricane andrew. woma wolf, take a like at this historical picture from 1925. this is the same place. this is miami beach. it is a completely different area. just since hurricane andrew.
the population of miami beach has gone up 35%. overall in central and southern florida, the population boom has meant millions more into this area since 1990. with all of these building, infrastructure change what that means, a huge wind event, more debris. toss in that irma is going to have a huge storm surge. we've seen all across miami beach people boarding up. they are protecting themselves, because they absolutely anticipate that there will be a massive storm surge. despite that some people are going to say that they're going to stay in their upper high-level high rises. wolf, we cannot stress more than enough. spoken to the city today. they are urging everyone to get out of miami beach. wolf? >> certainly are. and many other places in florida as well. in miami for us, thank you. standing by to join us, the governor of florida, rick scott. he's telling we'll who refuse to
leave. my interview with the governor coming up. plus cnn is live right in the middle of the traffic gridlock that's developed as lots of folks in florida are racing to escape. and a stunning picture showing how much bigger irma is compared to the devastating andrew 25 years ago. you're going to hear from the first responders who are staying behind as their families leave. >> when you have to leave them -- what do you say to them? >> obviously, the most difficult part. hmm. you tell them you love them and hope you make a back. patrick woke up with back pain.
storm. florida governor rick scott joins us oun the phone. governor thanks, as usual, for joining us. looking at pictures of long lines of homestead, florida, just outside miami. these lines are people trying to get into a shelter ahead of the storm where do the evacuations stand right now? >> still evacuating this part of the south and we know the storm is coming up. and evacuating other parts of the state. just receiving tampa to go down to fort myers. an area of tampa is leaving now. we have shelters. i shut down all the schools in the entire state to add more shelters. i've asked for volunteers. needing more volunteers, getting more every day. opening many shelters as is necessary and i tell everybody, you cannot wait. you've got to -- if you're in an evacuation zone, get out now.
if you're going to leave your home, you need to get going now, because as this gets closer it's going to get harder to get where you want to go. and i care about the whole state. i love them, but we can't put first responders' in harm's way to save you. so take care of your family. we all love our families and don't want to lose one family member, so do it now. take your action now. don't wait. >> we just spoke to fred fugate, former fema administrate here was rather blunt. if people ignore these evacuation orders from you and from other authorities, they potentially could die as a result of the storm surge. is that the biggest fear you have? >> i'm worried that people won't all evacuate. feel this is the same as before. let's put it in perspective. this is much bigger than andrew and we have storm risk we didn't have with andrew. surge between three and ten
feet. we've got a lot of rain potentially. we could have bands of rain, but this, water accumulates and the storm surges, when they come in, they come in powerful and they will just, they can cover your entire house. it's very difficult to survive that. so you've got to take this very seriously. when there's an evacuation order they're taking into consideration when and the storm surge and especially this one the storm surge. and as was said, wolf, this can affect the entire state. it's going coast to coast. this is a big, big, big storm. >> i just want toing precise, governor. the emergency services, like fire, paramedics, they will be cut off during the worst of it, the emergency personnel won't be able to reach people if they get through to 911. right? >> they won't be ale to get ot t to you.
in the middle of a storm surge, they can't get to you. we have great first responders and will do everything in their power to keep you safe, but in the middle of the storm, they can't get to you. between the wind, the rain and storm surge, it will be impossible for them to get to you. so you've got to take care of your now and don't wait. get on the road to go somewhere, you have to get there now. if you have friends, family or shelter, don't wait. do it now. we opened up shelters around the state. do it now. don't wait. just think about your entire family. i love my kids. i don't want to lose them or my wife. i love them. take care of your own family. >> so bottom line, governor, for people who decide despite all warnings, despite all the pleas, to stay in their homes and to supposedly ride out this monstrous storm, what it's your bottom line message to these people? >> you know, i love you. i want you to be safe.
i wish you would not try to ride this out. please, go to a shelter. please go to a friend's house. get out of harm's way. wherever you can, we'll help you but you're putting people's lives at risk when you do that. i'll do what i can to take care of people and hope every would "vuk wait right now if in an evacuation zone. local officials, we see more evacuations that have come up and we learn more about what the storm surge will be. >> showing viewers, governor, live pictures from marion county in florida. you see the traffic heading north. huge, huge numbers of cars. very few cars heading in the other direction on the other part of this interstate. at what point do you decide, you know what? everybody's going to go one way? >> what we're doing right now is, we all do -- emergency
vehicles to go south. still trying to get more fuel here. we have tankers coming from the panhandle to bring fuel to central florida. one of my biggest, my biggest focus this week, how to get more fuel in the state, because we've got to continue to get more fuel here. so what we've done is from wildwood to -- we've done, a lot of people allowed to be on the shoulder, making for an additional lane, and highway patrol out there are directing traffic. trying to keep everybody moving. we have road rangers 24/7 helping people. so we're doing everything we can to keep the traffic moving and try to get people fuel. so -- look, if you can shelter in your own county and not -- you don't have to go out some place far away, that's a positive. you know there will be a greater chance that you can get where
you want to go. but we want to get everybody where they want to go, and, oh, by the way, go to sl 511.com to see what the traffic is where year trying to go. there's an app called gas buddy, shows you where the gas is in the state. gives an idea how to do it. by the way, we will make sure, if you want to get out, if you want to get out we'll do whatever we can to get you out. call our 1-800 number. we will do whatever we can to get you out. looking for a shelter, go to disaster.org/shelter. we will do everything to get you to safety. my most -- i will spare no vent to keep people safe. >> our meteorologist chad mire has a question for you governor. >> hi, governor. about the gasoline. we see these people, i've been watching tweets. people saying i'm running out of
gas. we don't have gas on i-75 or the turnpike. is gas on the way? are those regulations that you changed yesterday, are those regulations working, and the people that are almost out of gas, are they -- listening on cnn xm.com, can they be sure there will be gasoline when they get to places? >> i'm doing everything i can. everybody is. i've got the reg layiulations w. more tankers are coming in. fuel from the panhandle is coming down. the purchase is astronomical and we're doing everything we can to get as much fuel as e cwe can. and i will do my best to get everybody what they need and you need to look at 511.com, see what the roads are like, see how much gas you have. if you can shelter at places that take less gas, there's less
risk. so you can -- we will do everything we can to make sure there's shelter for you, and don it during the storm. meantime, you don't have enough gas to get someplace, call our hot line. we will do everything we can to get you to a shelter. >> governor, thank you so much for joining us. we will clearly stay in very close touch with you. grateful for what you and all the federal, state and local authorities are doing right now to prevent what clearly is a disaster that is about to unfold. thank you, governor. we'll get back in touch with you. good luck. i want to quickly go to brian todd in west palm beach for us. brian, you're getting new information. police are telling families right now they must leave? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. take a listen here. >> you are in a mandatory evacuation zone. please, evacuate. >> reporter: captures the
emergency, wolf, of the situation. police squad kohrs now going door to door telling people to evacuate. now a mandatory evacuation zone in west palm beach on south slagla drive. a lot of people telling us they're going to ride it out. this is the final plea to try to get them to not do that. >> please, evacuate. >> reporter: a lot of these houses, wolf, have solid structures and people think they can ride it out, but these guys are telling them, don't take that chance. going door to doing here, they want people off the roads by tomorrow. trying to get them on the roads now, and just doing it on a loud speaker. i'll let you listen again going door to door and sometimes stop and talk to people who happen to be out and who might stop and ask questions. >> attention!
attention! attention! you are under mandatory evacuation. >> reporter: wolf, against, urgency here, people said for days, this is the point they have to physically go to people's houses, along the streets and tell them, get out now. we're on the actual safe side of the intercoastal waterway. relatively safe. palm beach over there, a barrier island. trying to get everyone. but this part, west palm beach, a higher elevation but feel this has to be evacuated, too. one thing about mandatory evacuations. they can't force people from their homes. it is mandatory, that's to express the urgency and need to get out but they cannot physically go in and force people from homes. this is about as close as they can come to doing that. >> all right, brian. bramatic development unfolding in west palm beach where police are driving through the streets there telling folks to get out while they still can. i want to go to john berman in miami beach for us now.
john, speaking to some people who simply won't leave. even though there is an evacuation order where you are in miami beach? >> reporter: listening to the warnings before brian todd is up north of me in palm beach. interesting to hear. palm beach, where miami beach was maybe a day, a day and a half ago, people told to get out. you're right, wolf. i talked to a man this morning, father of two kids. one 4-year-old, one 1-year-old, will ride it out inside his high rise on the 11th floor and thinks he'll be safe. a lot of problem with that. one, the wind at the 11th floor to blow in windows. two, miami beach could be cut off for days. they're very concerned about the storm surge. i'm standing three feet over sea level, maybe. a storm surge of ten feet they're expecting which will cover this area and go rigfooft that road into the stores and
storefronts behind me. what the mayor of miami beach told me. expecting, even the best-case scenario. if you're staying in miami beach you are in for days and days of agony. jot not just the immediate moment of danger during the storm. most evacuated as far as we can tell. an island, a city of 100,000 people. i hope more than half got out but definitely still some are here. including in this area, parks that have a homeless population. there are still homeless people here. police have been out on atvs trying to get people to safety. there is shelter, no matter their economic condition. no matter how much money. we'll get you on a bus, they're told, and get you to safety. safety might be a couple miles inland. doesn't have to be that far. the biggest concern here, wolf, as we've been noting, the storm
surge. what can be deadly. you can't hunker down from storing surge. >> viewers around the world have been to miami beach, south beach, go up a bit along the coast towards the big hotels, the fontainebleau, belle harbor. is it pretty much evacuated? are you seeing cars still staying put? >> reporter: look, it's nothing like it is, if you come down here for a weekend in miami beach and you're used to the scene down here. it's nothing like that. but it's not empty. i mean, you see people jogging by. you drive down the streets and will see -- there's a guy on the bike, just rode by right there. you see people pushing a stroller from time to time. nothing's open. in miami beach, nothing's open at all. none of these hotels are open. none of the restaurants are open. couldn't find a single store open on miami beach. all closed, but there are still remnants of people here, and it could be a very difficult few days for them, wolf.
>> john berman. we'll stay in very close touch with you as well. stick around. don't go far away. a quick break. up next a brand new forecast coming in from the national hurricane center. so where is the storm heading right now precisely? plus, thousands of thousands of people trying to desperately to evacuate florida right now at this hurricane, hurricane irma closes in. what many are facing, jammed highways, massive backups. a live report when we come back.
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that advice. the rush to escape hurricane irma triggered a mass exodus that could turn into one mpt largest in u.s. history. counties, home to more than 6 million people alone. our correspondent ed lavandera is on the road in south florida. ed, update us on where you are, and what the conditions are like. >> reporter: hi, wolf. we wanted to check out the evacuation routes through various parts of southern florida. just to kind of see and get a better sense how many people were hitting the road and listening to these warnings, and quite frankly, what we've seen at least down here from dade county where we are now on the southern edge of dade county, looking out on to the roads here this afternoon, from here through broward county and into palm beach county, the areas we've focused on, and the roads, at least the major thoroughfares looked like this. these are the evac routes essentially. the highways you take to go from
the very southern points of south florida all the way north to get away from the impact zone and the worst of hurricane irma. that is the area that we've seen traffic running rather smoothly. we are approaching those final hours where people are urged if you're going to move, now is the time to move. i don't want to make it sound like this is the way, how clear, this is the plastic all the way to north florida. once you get closer to orlando, tampa, those areas, there is a fair amount of congestion and it gets much slower, but at least down here in the southern part of florida, in dade county, broward county, palm beach county, this is very close to what we've seen throughout the day here today. wolf? >> looks like still enormous, enormous traffic going in one direction and very little in the other direction. ed lavandera, we'll get back to you. all viewers now know, mandatory evacuations in place for various places in florida. monroe, home to the florida keys, parts of miami-dade,
broward, palm beach, brevard and sarasota counties. and representing the 22nd congressional district including areas of broward and palm beach counties, joining us from boca raton, florida. thanks for joining us. i know you're incredibly busy. what is your biggest fear now? we're only hours away from this hurricane hitting florida. >> well, my biggest fear is over the things we do have control of. which is people's decision to follow or not to follow the mandatory evacuation that's in place for large parts of south florida. people who live in areas that are subject to mandatory evacuation have to leave and can't leave until tomorrow, it might be too late and can't think they'll simply ride it out and if there's a problem emergency responders will come to them, because they won't. so that's my big concern, and
beyond that, those working hard to take care of neighbors, everyone's chipping in. i just want them to do what they need to do to be safe. >> it's not against the law for feel ride it out and ignore the advice, and the great advice to get out, but to ignore the evacuation orders, right? >> but they're doing so at their own peril. the fact is, if they choose to stay, they're putting their, first of all, most importantly, their putting their lives at risk, but also have to understand that if there's a problem and they live in an mandatory evacuation zone, they can't expect people will come help them. that's why they need to come inland, come to a shelter. the shelters are filling up. in broward county, for example, there are 23 available shelters, not all open yet, but there's
troop accommodate people and their needs. that has to be the top priority now. >> have all the seniors, the elderly folks, retirees, some of whom can't move all that easily, have they all been evacuated as far as you know, at least in your district? >> well, they haven't -- i can't say that they've all been evacuated but i do know that there is an effort both at the government level and the nonprofit level for people to get access to -- to helpers. to people who can help them pack up and take them to a shelter. so there's been a, all-in effort to focus on es special lit most vulnerable and seen a lot of elderly leave south florida. and also people that would have a really hard time getting throughs this are getting help.
>> good luck to you, congressman. your family, all the folks down there. we will still want to stay in touch with you in the hours ahead. appreciate it very much. >> thank you, wolf. i appreciate it. still ahead, florida's governor's warning that hurricane irma has the potential to bring catastrophic devastation to the state. some residents, though, insist they will stay. we'll hear from one of them when we come back. we want falcons in new york. jets in la. bears in new orleans. or buccaneers in a quaint, little new england bed and breakfast. can you please pass the marmalade, charlie? i sure can, crazy pirate. switch to directv and get every game, every sunday with nfl sunday ticket. call 1-800-directv. but can also loweresterol, your body's natural coq10. qunol helps restore this heart-healthy nutrient with 3x better absorption.
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because the time to think about tomorrow is today. despite official warning, mandatory evacuation orders and the fact hurricane irma is the strongest atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded, some residents are determined to ride out the storm. our cnn correspondent rosa flores joins us from miami beach. tell us about the resident you spoke to who's insisting that, you know what? we can ignore these evacuation orders? >> reporter: you know, wolf, he says that he has ridden through other storms before and he plans to ride irma in his boat. take a look around me. we've talked to at least two people. they live on this bay. and they say that they will be riding the storm here. and as you said, we've been hearing from every public
official in every level of florida, and everybody is saying, evacuate, because this is such dangerous storm. so what do you do to prepare if you're planning to ride the storm in a boat? take a listen. >> i grew up at the sea and been through a lot of storms. this i think will be the worst, but i think i'll survive but i need to save my boat and home and will do the best i can. >> reporter: as we take another live look here. hearon the kicker, now. this man says that he actually took in a homeless person in his boat to ride the storm with him. he said it's a lot safer if there was surge, he says, the boat will float. so, wolf, it's still very dangerous, as you know. hurricanes don't just come with surge. hurricane-speed winds as well, flying debris. you never know what a hurricane is going to do. wolf? >> yep. these people should listen to advice and get out while they
can and potentially save their lives. rosa, thank you very much. we'll stay in close touch with you as well. fema officials reiterate it's no longer a question of "if" hurricane irma will impact florida but a question of how badly. with us to auk about preparations, federal government response, virtual response by local and state authorities as well, senator bill nelson of florida, joining us on the phone from rockledge, about 200 miles north of miami. senator, and i have known each other a long time. you grew up a little florida's east coast. are you concerned about irma, more so than other storms. hold on a second. >> -- asking that everyone in the storm's path remain vigilant and heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement. our message to the american people, with gratitude for first responders and prayers for those in the storm's path we are behind you 100%.
with that i'd like to bring up tom bossert is discuss pacif specifics, and after i'll be up to take care of the questions. thanks. >> thanks, sarah. thanks to each of you for being here. i can't add too much more to that. let me see if i can jump in a little bit to my thinking here as you've heard me say before, i like to norm my thoughts informs, inspiring as i can. informing, the process under president trump's leadership and the leadership of the cabinet are fully engaged in support of the governors. those governors at this point are engaged in various differ forms and fadeses of what we consider incident management. as i walk through irma, i'd be remiss to not talk about harvey and texas. the people in texas and the people of louisiana under
governor edwards are involved in the early stages of what will be a long recovery effort. the people in the u.s. virgin islands, puerto rico and the other caribbean islands affected by harvey already are in the middle of acute life-sta sta ds operations and stages of preparation for the beginning of a response operation. so, we're seeing all three play out for us at the same time. it requires us to juggle some of our thinking, but it doesn't require us to juggle our resources, so to be clear, the response operations have ceased, life-saving and life-sustaining in harvey and we had an opportunity to rest and refit our forces, move them out and reposition them for harvey. we're right now employing them in the islands to save lives and we will maintain a good footprint and posture to do the same in florida, south carolina, and georgia as the storm progresses. i'll come back to some of the track and forecast in a moment. i'd like to see if i could
reinforce that by suggesting we take this very seriously. it's not only a dangerous storm. we've already seen loss of life. this storm has taken lives already. it's going to take more, unfortunately, if we're not prepared, so please take it seriously. i'd also suggest now in terms of influencing that people stop watching so carefully this track and start thinking a little bit more seriously about getting themselves into a safe place and out of danger. now, i don't want them to take that as a call for shadow evacuations. please listen to your local authorities on evacuation orders. this is a peninsula so people need to evacuate from south to north and that is a staggered and carefully thought-through process but what i am suggesting is at this point, this is a large storm and whether it wobbled left or right, you need to, at this point, start thinking through your own personal accountability so please make sure it's kind of an oxygen mask theory. take care of yourself first so
you can take care of others and if you're able, please take care of strangers and others in need. i think that's something we've seen in texas and i have every reason to believe that the people of florida and south carolina will show that same american spirit and value. lastly, if i can, there's been a lot of coverage of florida but not necessarily media coverage of the u.s. virgin islands, and if i can, i'll give you a brief update on where we stand. i just talked to the department of state and department of defense officials engaging in this life-saving, life-sustaining operation until the following way. governor mapp is experiencing loss of power, loss of water as a result, loss of communications and some other sheltering needs. and so what we're doing is sending in air operations and surface operations to evacuate citizens. we're also doing that in st. martin and the dutch, french island that's been reported. there are some american citizens there. we are currently in the final stages of operations planning to evacuate those citizens. there are numbers ranging from
350 to 6,000. that was our planning assumption parameter. those american citizens will be removed via surface and air means. we've had to do some kind of planni planning adjustment for surf conditions and wind and hurricane jose as we look forward to that, hopefully missing the united states. it's unfortunately still causing some havoc in the islands and our response operations are evacuation operations. so that's where we stand on that. they will begin executing those plans, if not already, at some point soon today and we'll see some of those american citizens and others evacuated as necessary to include anyone with critical or acute medical needs. so, that's where i would stop on the update and then i'll take your questions. >> one of the big problems with the florida evacuation is that so many gas stations are running out of gasoline. what, if anything, account federal government do in the next 24 hours to assist in getting more fuel to people in florida. >> there's a number of things we've done. i should stop and mention, by name, governor scott.
tremendous leadership, tremendous confidence. he and the president and spoken. he and i have spoken. i've got every confidence in the governor and his emergency manager. they're demonstrating the same leadership resolve and skill and quality of effort that we saw in texas a week ago. what we're seeing in florida, though, are fuel shortages. we saw those same fuel shortages in texas because people appropriately gas up their generators, their cars, their boats and so forth. so, what we'll see here now is a need to pull in additional fuel and that need will run up against the onset of tropical storm force winds. so, what are we doing? we're bringing in as much supply of refined fuel as possible and we've waived a particular statute that allows for foreign flag vessels to help in that effort so it's a little technical but it's called the jones act. some of you have reported on it. the secretary of homeland security can waive that act. until that's waived, only u.s.
flagged vesz vessels can move move fuel from point to point domestically. we've freed up that prohibition so now foreign flag vessels, as many ships, tanker ships as possible are now being brought to bear on the effort to bring as much fuel as possible to hep floridians regardless of their flagged vessel status and that's the best we can do. in addition, they're planning all the intermodal points to get trucks from the most traanker sp port locations into the gas station. >> the window is rapidly closing. how much more can you get in there. >> conditions will dictate that. i don't think it will be too much more that we can get in. at some point here, they'll have to stop those operations and that's one of my messages here. it's not a tough love message. it's just a message of clarity and honesty. at some point, people are going to be on their own, so to speak, for a period of time during which the flooding, the raining and the wind bear down on them and they need to be prepared if they are in that path and haven't taken some action to get themselves in a less dangerous position to be ready for at least a 72-hour period, that would be my advice, to have
enough food, water, and shelter before the government can get back in. we have predeployed and prestaged but we can't get to that final point of care until conditions permit. >> one housekeeping question. for fema to have resources and no broken chain there, the president needs to sign legislation now that's just passed this morning. any indication of when that's going to happen. >> i'd like to start by thanking congress. they came in a fast way to give us emergency supplemental funding. first, fema still has the money they need so there's no break in operations. let me make sure the clarify on your question there, but there will be are a break in operation fz they run out of money. thank you to the house and senate leadership for bringing everyone back in and passing that so quickly and responsibly. we anticipate, honestly, this is a realtime event. the bill may be on its way. it requires signature by the speaker, the vice president, and then signature by the president
of the united states so i think that will happen today, but as soon as we get it, the president will take that seriously. >> talk to us about the complication of the storm track and we don't know the wobbling nature but it looks like it's going to cover the entire peninsula. how does that complicate emergency management response as it moves up the state and two floridians who are veterans of hurricanes, there is sometimes a tendency to say, i can ride this one out, i've seen bad storms before. could you address those folks. >> of course. some people call it hurricane amnesia. let's hope there's no hurricane amnesia but i would start by saying there are some people, probably some 20% of the population that might not remember or might not have gone through the last big hurricane in florida. it was probably 2004 or '5. there were four major hurricanes in 2004. wilma in 2005, which was forgotten because of katrina. if you haven't experienced it, take it seriously and ask those who have. if you have experienced it, please recall that what i just described took place.
you were without power. you were without coms and water in some cases or sewer treatment for a period of time afterwards. so, plan for that. in terms of the track, there's three considerations. the upper right kind of, you know, northeast quadrant of the storm packs the most punch. the second consideration is if the eye wall gets over land, it tends to lose steam a little faster so if it stays over water, it tends to keep its strength a little longer so as this thing moves left and right, it can affect our operations because it can affect a different part of the state in a different way, wind or flood. what we see here over the next 24 hours is going to tell us which one we're going to face. we're planning for all those eventualities. if it dips down and curls around to the other side of the state, right now, it's my belief that people haven't been planning for that. i'm not suggesting that's going to happen. but it seems to be within the cone of uncertainty and so this storm at this point could do everything from tampa to jacksonville and a direct hit on miami so please plan for those
things accordingly. don't necessarily evacuate based on those eventualities, listen to your local officials as they're tracking it most closely but do prepare to be in the storm's path just in case. so that's how we're going it and then lastly, to answer your question, major, what we're doing is instead of prepositioning all the commodities in places that might be affected by the storm, to continue support operations to the islands, the fema logistics team have thought through placing those supplies elsewhere. up to delaware and new york and elsewhere so they continue barge operations in to support the islands and that the next storm doesn't affect the storm before. if that answers your question. >> the big question is, after the chemical fire that occurred in texas, and the fact that you all are being taxed with a second storm, is there any extra precautions being taken this time to ensure that type of thing doesn't happen here and how taxed is the system for this and for jose coming in. >> well, the system can be taxed in different ways. i addressed already the life-saving, life-sustaining
operational capabilities that we have, all the teams that are marshalled by the federal government but provide bd by th states. they're all rested and ready to come back into the fight, united states military, national guard and title x forces. we're preparing for environmental losses as we should. i can't speak to each and every company's preparation efforts. we can continue to monitor that and follow up with you. there will be steps that are taken from setting down the nuclear facility, the nuclear power facility to a position of safety. i think they take some kind of warm shutdown posture at some point depending on the track. so we monitor those things. i was comfortable with the position of most of them. we also look at lake okeechobee because that's going to be a big flooding risk. >> is there anything you're not comfortable with that is an overriding concern. >> we're worried about the fuel shortages. we're worried about whatever worries the governor at this point. but no, to be honest with you, i am setting expectations appropriately here because