tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC September 7, 2017 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
tonight, breaking news from miami. hurricane irma now closing in on the american coast. miami and south florida could take a direct hit. irma expected to hit as a massive category 4. tonight, the deadly path of destruction already across several caribbean islands. americans trapped. images from barbuda and st. martin. ginger zee with the track just in, and it's not just florida. georgia ordering evacuations, states of emergency in the carolinas -- while here in florida tonight, a million people now told to get out of irma's path. gas pumps running empty. state police now escorting fuel tankers. the other major news tonight. donald trump jr. answering five hours of questions on capitol hill. the wildfires in the west, new reporting tonight, homes burning to the ground. the video. the famous nfl player claiming excessive force, saying police had no idea who he was.
and breaking now. a massive security breach possibly affecting more than 143 million americans and your social security numbers. good evening tonight from south florida where this evening as we travel through miami, you can see it everywhere. families, store owners, boarding up, getting supplies and in many places, searching for gas. this is a monster storm, and the new track just out shows a category 4 slamming into the city and all of south florida, and then moving right up the state. already a deadly and devastating path across the caribbean. just listen to the winds tonight. that is irma tearing across the island of anguilla, a category 5 storm right now. winds of 175 miles an hour. on the island of barbuda, nearly every building and home damaged or destroyed. and as we come on the air tonight, irma is now plowing
into turks and caicos. the most dangerous side of the hurricane hitting there. this evening, a hurricane watch is now officially in place right here in south florida. are the buildings ready? the windows, the cranes across this city. first, abc's linzie janis leads us off with the devastating images tonight. she is in san juan, puerto rico tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the images now emerging of the utter destruction hurricane irma left behind. buildings and trees ripped apart. this communications tower snapped. hundreds now homeless. >> we were standing out there, and i would not want to see another hurricane like this again. >> reporter: barbuda's prime minister telling abc news it's as if a bomb was dropped on the tiny island, one of the first hit. >> my main concern right now is how we are going to survive after this. >> reporter: st. martin next in irma's crosshairs. shipping containers tossed like toys. boats crashing together. at least 14 now dead in the
storm zone, including 16-year-old zander venezia. drowning in rough surf off the barbados coast. irma's death toll expected to rise and scores more injured. coast guard teams like this one have been flying in and out of the virgin islands rescuing people. our cameraman on one of those choppers, capturing scenes of destruction adds irma moved across the caribbean. we met canadian college student alex demoor, badly hurt in a fall in st. thomas airlifted to puerto rico for treatment. we lent her our phone so she could call her family. she and american student maddie gortat leaving the island with one pair of flip flops between them and little else. the pair describing how they rode out the storm. >> we didn't know if the roof was going to come off at any moment. >> we were praying. >> we were praying the whole time. >> reporter: irma now moving in on the turks and caicos islands. large portions of them it a an elevation of less than 10 feet. the storm surge could be double that.
>> i'm anxious about the storm. i have never been through a hurricane. >> reporter: california firefighter, josh livingston, there celebrating his birthday, now hunkered down and bracing for a category 5 monster. >> we have been watching some of the destruction on the other islands. we're kind of waiting for it to hit this island. >> and linzie janis joins us now from san juan, and linzie, nearly a million people without power. hundreds of thousands without water tonight, and you were saying that authorities told you it could be months before power is restored there? >> reporter: that's right, david. and here's the reason why. there are hundreds and hundreds of trees like this one downed across this island. this one actually has a power line tangled up in it, david. >> linzie janis leading us off tonight. linzie, our thanks to you, and let's get to the storm track. chief meteorologist, ginger zee is back at the weather wall in new york. you have been studying this new shift in the track late today. what does it now mean for the u.s.? >> reporter: it could mean catastrophe, especially for southeast florida. let me take you through this storm. hurricane irma still a category 5 over the turks and caicos it
will go tonight. southern bahamas as we go through friday. then it's friday into saturday where it's just south of florida and it goes into the keys early sunday morning. 5:00 a.m. sunday, places like key largo, homestead and miami, feeling the surge, feeling the ridiculously strong winds. and up west of savannah, between orlando and melbourne. through the day on sunday into monday, it will keep going north as a strong category 1, and then tropical storms and this cone now involves indiana and ohio. the storm surge watch goes from jupiter inlet over to the keys included. you have those hurricane watches are for all of south florida, and we stopped the time here at sunday afternoon at miami beach having a wind gust of 127, david. >> just incredible, and while we have you, ginger, we wanted to show everyone at home the image that really drives home the real danger here in miami and south florida. when it comes to the storm surge you just mentioned. we know that miami floods easily. look at this tonight. if you had a 3-foot storm surge, those areas in yellow would be
underwater. a storm surge higher than 3 feet, and watch this. the areas in red go completely under, and that's why they are so concerned here in miami tonight, ginger. authorities are trying to get the warnings out. >> reporter: water is one of the most powerful things, and this doesn't even take into account high tide. high tide happens just after midnight, and just after noon, that could make the surge from 5 to 10, and make it 8 to 13 easily, david. >> bracing here in south florida tonight. ginger, thank you. the island of barbuda taking a direct hit from hurricane irma. more than 90% of the island homes and buildings destroyed and tonight, listen to this. hurricane jose is now on a path to hit that same island. just moments ago, i spoke with the prime minister, gaston brown, with now an urgent effort under way, trying to get everyone out. prime minister brown, thanks for joining us, and the pictures coming in are just devastating. i know you have had a chance to fly over the island and to visit it in person. describe what you saw for us. >> well, to me, i never contemplated they had such damages.
i mean, the landscape was just totally decimated. 90% or more of the buildings were damaged. it literally destroyed a country. >> mr. prime minister, i know you described it as though a bomb went off on that island, and we are all watching the track now of hurricane jose, which could get to that island as well. just incredible that you could be facing two hurricanes now. you're trying to get everybody off the island? >> well, we are. we are being proactive, and evacuations have taken place this morning. we will have the island completely evacuated. >> mr. prime minister, thank you for your time. i know you're very busy, and please make sure the people of your island know they are in our thoughts and prayers. >> many thanks. preparing for their second hurricane there now. here in florida tonight, more than a million people have been ordered to evacuate. we have seen the traffic jams going in one direction out of the storm zone all day here. and many gas stations have now run dry. there are now state patrols
escorting the fuel trucks. abc's gio benitez is right here in south florida tonight. >> we started crawling. we're stopped right now. >> reporter: tonight, heavy traffic clogging major florida highways. >> we're trying to get out of harm's way, get out of the storm. >> reporter: as more than a million floridians are asked to evacuate -- >> i know many of you are stuck in traffic. i know it's frustrating, but please be patient. evacuations are not meant to be convenient. they are meant to keep you safe. >> reporter: officials in key west telling residents that staying behind is irresponsible and dangerous. >> we are running out of time. the opportunity to leave is now. >> reporter: some in the keys fleeing by free shuttle bus to a miami shelter. >> i'm scared to death. i've been here 18 years and i've never ever dealt with anything like this. >> reporter: on the only road out of the keys, people abandoning their cars near elevated bridges, hoping to avoid flooding. many on the road facing fuel shortages. nearly 39% of gas stations in miami and ft. lauderdale are out of gas.
44% out up in gainesville, too. officials urging gas stations here as long as possible to help people get out. using police escorts to get fuel in faster, several hospitals evacuating too. one air lifting patients in a c-130 to a hospital in alabama. >> those gas stations running empty, alarming here tonight. gio benitez joins us from key west, along the long road in and out, and are people heeding the warning to get out? >> reporter: they are, david. take a look at the road behind me. it is mostly empty. that's because so many people have already left. i can tell you this. we're getting out of here first thing in the morning, david. >> all right. good news. stay safe to the team right there. gio, thank you. a million people may be trying to get away, but that still means that millions more will be staying right here in the storm zone, and as you look across miami here behind me, you can see home high-rises and the question tonight, can the construction, can the windows withstand a category 4 hurricane? we asked abc's chief national
correspondent, tom llamas, to take us up into one of those buildings. how much faster and more powerful will the winds be, the higher you go? >> reporter: tonight miami's glass towers and the cranes that build them causing concern hurricane irma could shatter it all. those are big targets out there. >> again, we're going to lose buildings that are going to have to be repaired, but i don't think buildings are going to completely collapse. >> reporter: 25 cranes are being secured and those that live near them, told to evacuate. developers and builders abc news spoke with tell us buildings in downtown miami will hold up, but that high-rises could sway, some up to 12 inches. >> i expect to feel some here. we did feel it here during matthew, and matthew was basically a tropical storm. >> reporter: being in a high-rise, you're less likely to get hit by debris on the ground, but high up, 50 floors like we are right now, there's another danger. the wind up here is much more powerful. hurricane researchers tell us on the fiftieth floor a category 4 hurricane winds at 140 miles per hour would be 220 miles per hour
on the 50th floor. south beach resident andres asion will ride out the storm in his 21st floor condo. >> my plan if it gets too crazy i'll go into the elevator shaft and it's like a fortress. >> reporter: and as irma approaches, other miami residents lined up outside of this packed costco, trying to prep by getting supplies that are now scarce. in some stores, even water is getting tough to find. >> and tom llamas joins us live from miami beach, and people won't forget what you just reported. how much stronger those winds will get. stay away from the windows here in miami. you're looking at something else here tonight as well. reports of price gouging. are people being ripped off as they try to prepare? >> reporter: in some cases they are. i just got off the phone with the office of the attorney general here in florida. since monday, david, get this. they have received 4,000 complaints of price gouging. >> tom llamas with us here in south florida. tom, thank you. hurricane irma is causing major disruptions in air travel across the country. some 4,000 flights have already been canceled, and look at this image tonight. a lot of air traffic to and from florida. you can see it right there. so many trying to get out of the
storm zone, planes flying around irma. and those other hurricanes, and tonight, there is a new and urgent plea just in from the miami airport for passengers still showing up hoping to find a flight. abc's amy robach is there. >> reporter: the rush to get out of the storm zone resulting in big lines in south florida airports. >> i have to spend the night in the airport because all the hotels are filled. >> reporter: a row of passengers in wheelchairs able to board in west palm beach, but at miami international airport -- >> no one is manning the desks. pretty chaotic. >> reporter: hundreds showing up without tickets and finding none. the major airlines suspending operations at all south florida airports by friday evening. already more than 4,000 flights in irma's path canceled. 12 cruise ships canceling tips with at least 23 cruises diverting away from the storm. the norwegian escape cruise ship coming back to miami early to let people off. >> it's a lot of stress. it's very stressful.
no one knew what was going on. >> reporter: airport officials are asking passengers who don't already have reservations to stay away from the airport. as you can see, these airports are extremely busy, and they say if you are here when they halt operations tomorrow, you will be bused to a shelter. their advice? book online or over the phone, david. >> amy robach in a packed miami airport tonight. amy, thank you. hurricane irma has already made history tonight. even before it hits the u.s. maintaining winds of 185 miles an hour for a record 36 hours straight, and we wanted to show you something. since 1970, just four category 4 or 5 hurricanes have made u.s. landfall on the mainland. among then, hugo in 199, that at 140 mile-an-hour winds. in 1992, andrew, in homestead florida with 165 miles per hour winds, and irma is stronger than all of them. senior meteorologist, rob marciano, in key largo tonight on what is making irma so dangerous. >> reporter: irma's first strike giving us a glimpse of its sheer power.
the hurricane morphing into a monster with a rare combination of conditions. moist air over deep, warm water with temperatures over a degree above average feed the storm. there's also a lack of upper level winds that would choke the storm, and irma has avoided large land masses that would break apart the hurricane. >> it is like going over a giant all you can eat buffet for a hurricane right now. >> reporter: tonight, the eye 30 miles wide with the clouds whirling around it, 600 miles across. with the inner core equivalent to an ef-3 tornado. most striking, the longevity of irma's power, that record breaking stretch of 185-mile-per-hour sustained wind for over 36 hours. >> and rob marciano reporting in from key largo, and we're dealing with a very rare situation here. irma is just one of three active hurricanes churning tonight? >> reporter: it's remarkable, isn't it? we have katia in the gulf of mexico, and now jose
which is another major hurricane. a category 3 strength likely to impact some of the islands that were devastated by irma. the last time this situation happened was back in 2010, and we're clearly getting into the height of hurricane season, which is clearly a very active season at that. david? >> all right, rob marciano tonight. rob, amy, tom, gio, linzie, all of our teams out in the storm zone already. we thank you all, and we will have much more first thing in the morning on "good morning america". a reminder to download the abc news app and sign up for breaking news alerts on hurricane irma throughout the storm. in the meantime, there is much more ahead on "world news tonight" this thursday. the other major news tonight. donald trump jr. answering five hours of questions on capitol hill today. what he is now saying about that meeting with the russian lawyer. also breaking now, the massive security breach across this country. the new warning possibly affecting 143 million americans and your social security numbers. the new video tonight, and the police takedown of an nfl star. he claims he was targeted because of his race, and officers did not know who he was. police now responding tonight. and we do have news this evening about the wildfires in the west we have been tracking.
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the weather center, we're tracking deadly and dangerous hurricane irma. different type of storm. but tle were feeling the same thing that we were feeling. >> last year she needed help after the death of her husband. now she's able to pay it forward to the victims of hurricane harvey. >> announcer: live, where you live, this is abc 7 news. evacuation is like none i've ever seen. everyone's leaving. >> by plane, by car, however they can. the mandate is to get out now, before hurricane irma hits florida. good evening. i'm dan ashley. >> i'm ama daetz. irma is expected to make landfall within days, after it finishes churning through the caribbean where it's leaving a trail of death and destruction. >> at this hour florida is bracing for a direct hit from the extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane that is irma. the governor of the state, along with his counterparts in georgia and south carolina, are pleading
with residents in irma's path to evacuate and seek shelter immediately. >> the storm's 185-mile-per-hour sustained winds make it one of the most powerful ever seen in the atlantic. >> this is what we now know. florida will have major hurricane impacts with deadly storm surge and life-threatening winds. we expect this along the entire east coast. >> at least 13 deaths are blamed on the hurricane. all of them happening in the caribbean islands. 59% of the buildings in barbuda have been damaged. >> of course, abc 7 news weather meteorologist spencer christian is following irma's path. >> here's a look at it, hurricane irma, category 5 storm continuing to plow through the caribbean, passing directly over tonight as we speak the turks and caicos islands with maximum sustained 175 miles per hour and gusts well over 200 miles per hour. now, tomorrow afternoon, i