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tv   Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa  NBC  September 10, 2017 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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sunday morning, 8:30 in the morning on the east coast. 10th of september, 2017. this is a special edition of "today," tracking hurricane irma. the center of this storm making landfall over the florida keys a short time ago. high winds, a lot of rain, hammering parts of the state. >> it has been interesting. we now know the trajectory is for the center of the storm to hit the west coast of florida. yet images we have seen this morning that have been most devastating is southeast florida, miami, miami beach, florida city getting hammered and this isn't the worst of it. >> if you're joining us, that image of the guy standing in the brunt of winds was a storm
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chaser, talked to him a second ago, he was on the causeway in the florida keys, said those were the heaviest winds he's ever dealt with in his line of work. right now, irma is right on top of the florida keys. the eye reaching there in the last hour. sustained max winds remain at 130 miles per hour, making it a major category four storm. >> in addition to wind and rain, storm surge is another major problem with this one. it could be as high as 15 feet in some places. >> the storm has lead to the largest evacuation in florida history, more than 6 million people there. hundreds of,0 hundreds of thousands told to evacuate in georgia. >> in florida city, south of miami, migel almaguer is there. good morning again to you. >> reporter: good morning. it is really coming down. these are conditions that worry first responders. they're not going on the road
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any longer. saw a fire truck coming down the road a short time ago. want to show you what it looks like. all the palm trees are bending sideways. as i send the camera more in the direction of the wind, this is how powerful this becomes. difficult to stand, difficult to move. certainly going to become that kind of situation for the rest of the day here. power is a major concern. we know the mayor told you earlier there was some concern that power would be going out for much of the community. that's happened. we have seen transformers explode. here in our building at city hall, the police department, they're running on generators, no longer connected to the grid. they tell us many officers here are hunkering down in place. they're checking streets when they can. we have seen a few patrol cars, even a fire truck from miami-dade that came to give out a helping hand. for the most part, seem to be passable, but conditions will
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continue to deteriorate. we are not that far from the keys where they've already seen about one to two feet of water from storm surge. we haven't seen storm surge here because we are at higher elevation, we are about 8 miles from the ocean. but there's no question about it, the rain and wind continues to be the problem here. the wind is definitely coming down in waves. the rain hitting us sideways, pounding us. and it is going to become a worse situation in the next several hours. >> thank you very much. >> last time we checked in with gotti schwartz, he was in his car, driving south toward the florida keys. how has that gone? >> reporter: we have been trying to check on the highway, u.s. 1. let me show you where we are on the map. if you can pan here, that blue to the, that's us. that's the eye. these are the florida keys here.
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we can show what's in front of us, over here to the left, that's manatee bay marina. there's a neighborhood back there. that neighborhood is now -- it has water in it. saw flooding yesterday from storm surge coming up. there was three or four feet of water, deepest parts, we see water higher than that, probably four or five feet, six feet. good news, most homes seemed like they were on stilts there. we are going to drive right here down the south 1. if you look over to the left, that's the northbound lanes of the south 1. you're going to see water licking up onto the south 1 on the northbound lanes. just a little further up, that's as far as we're able to go because we know the northbound lanes are impassable. not sure, we are proceeding with caution making sure we have an
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exit strategy. pull up here to the left, that's what has been pushed onto the roadway. a bunch of storm surge, brought tons of debris, looks impassable and gets worse down the way. so that's what we are looking at here on the u.s. 1. this is a critical juncture, basically a choke point down into the keys. we are going to make our way down southbound a little further. but that's about fairly impossible now. matt, savannah. >> you want to be able to get out, gadi, thanks. >> jolene kent is in ft. lauderdale where she's seeing flooding from irma. good morning to you. >> reporter: matt, good morning again. we're seeing flooding. probably standing in six or seven inches of rain in a lower lying area in broward county. the curfew because of these rising waters and because of rain has been extended to 10:00 a.m. streets are completely empty.
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no first responders out there. they're taking a pause. may not necessarily be answering 911 calls and going out because they have a curfew, want people to stay inside, stay safe. thankfully, the wind has died down. what's interesting, we are no longer in the eye of the storm. this is a community that prepared for the eye of the storm. we are seeing waves of high wind and rain and calm. right now, we are in a moment of calm. but you see waters rising, transformers we told you earlier exploded in this particular area, causing power outages. we are going to see property damage in ft. lauderdale, even though we are not in the eye of the storm, you see that damage. strong band that al keeps talking about coming in and out of the area. it is going to be wreaking havoc. seeing downed trees and water coming up. guys, we continue to monitor the situation. over 100,000 in broward county already going powerless. >> lester and al are in tampa where this is headed.
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guys, good morning again. >> good morning, savannah. long time since this city was hit by a major hurricane. they're bracing, seeing what's coming. they have a little more time, they're farther north. al, in the forecast, we should put in perspective some of what you've been seeing. you saw video of storm chasers fighting the wind. if there's any benefit of that to the audience, it is to remind people what this is all about, these kinds of winds, what might it do to a home and floods, the surge as well. i want folks to know without getting into big discussion on what we are doing, we are not here to be reckless, we are here to get home at the end of this. >> these guys have been doing this, i have known justin and simon for years, they're professionals, they've been doing this. we have people here, folks that took time to find safe haven. >> we have fall back positions. >> we don't want people going
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out. it is not a case of do as i say, not as i do. >> when you look at that, think about buildings that aren't structurally sound, this is very dangerous stuff. again, that may be the best, most benefit of seeing that. we would not recommend that. >> and they're in the keys now. they were on a causeway. let's look at the latest on irma. category four storm. in fact, going through the keys as we speak. we are watching this start to develop. it is moving north, northwest at 8 miles per hour. 20 miles due southeast of key west. 130 miles per hour winds. again, the big story of course is going to be with this track, it is storm surge. sunday, 2:00 in the afternoon approaching fort myers. overnight, 115 miles per hour winds, and then moves on toward the panhandle as a category three storm into tallahassee
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monday afternoon, tuesday still a category one storm or at least tropical system. by thursday morning, it is still hanging in there as that low pressure area. we have tornado watches, we had tornado warnings, since expired. tornado watches are up for the southern and really almost all of the state. surge warning. this is a big issue besides the wind. we have to worry about flooding due to surges. southwest florida, tampa, down to marco island, you can see we have upwards of nine feet or more. sanibel, this is a storm surge map. first time we have seen the national hurricane center put these out. that's where we could see heavy flooding on the southwestern coast, 9 to 15 feet of storm surge. >> here's the thing to know about storm surge. you can hear the wind pick up,
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storm surge just sneaks up, suddenly the water comes rushing in and you're surrounded. >> and it moves quickly. it is about as fast as the hurricane itself is going. in this case, 8 miles per hour. >> let's go back to savannah and matt in studio. >> thanks so much. quick update on conditions in miami beach. good morning again, mariana. how is it looking? >> reporter: i have come up to the second level of a parking structure to give you a pan a ram a of what miami beach looks like as this category four hurricane pounds us. here behind me, you can see the palm trees are moving. over there to the right of the shot is where the beach is. that's where you're going to get storm surge, that is the biggest concern at the beach. i also want to point to this
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situation that's happening at the tgi friday's. appears to be a homeless man walking the streets, miami beach has a relatively large homeless population. we have already called miami beach commissioner to report on the fact there's a person that needs help. he said he would look into it, try to send someone. as winds start to pick up, as rain starts to get more and more violent, it becomes that much harder for first responders to come out and get people to safety. i want to show you some structures that have already fallen. you see that man, doing an incredible job bringing you these images. the awning of that tgi friday's has fallen. street signs, lamps. power lines fall, trees topple. and again, in miami beach, the barrier island will get the brunt of the storm here when it comes to the southeast part of florida. the west going to get the worst of it.
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here it will be impossible not to feel these hurricane like conditions. matt, savannah? >> the people in miami beach and miami said first responders can't get out. i hope someone watching can try to get a hold of that man, he is clearly in harm's way. we appreciate you calling the county commissioner or town commissioner. check in with senator bill nelson joining us by phone from orlando. senator, as i say good morning, we have to remember, this is a very early stages of this event. i don't know if you're getting to see the images we're seeing, this is only going to get worse as it moves through your state. that's when the relief effort will happen a day, two days, three days from now. in your discussion with federal officials, are they prepared to give your state what it is going to need? >> yes. first of all, i want to give credit to you all. you've got it pretty well analyzed in your coverage.
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your coverage is good. what has happened, this has shifted from an east coast of florida hurricane to a west coast, and where lester is in tampa and those bays coming in like tampa bay, like just north of fort myers, charlotte harbor, with the eye just off the coast in the gulf of mexico, counterclockwise winds bring that water into the bays. that's going to be the real damage. it is going to be that wall of water coming up into the bays, no place to escape. and therefore you wall up the water, you're going to get a lot of water damage on the west coast of florida. >> and we look at these images, we know and worry about what's to come. to matt's question, is fema, do
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federal officials feel confident they have what they need to weather the storm and respond to the aftermath? >> indeed. fema is stretched, no doubt about it. people that they were going to send to texas they held back, some of them are already in florida. i will be there today in the emergency operations center, they're prepositioned, supplies are prepositioned, but this is a massive storm, there's going to be a lot of damage, going to be a long time coming in the aftermath of the storm. but fema is positioned. levels of government, state, federal, local all working together. >> you must be pleased, senator, by the fact that so many people in your state heeded warnings and evacuation of some 6 million
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people in florida. the message got out, people listened to it. >> especially in the keys. now i think there are only 10,000 people left in the keys out of a population of 150,000. that's substantial. interestingly, the reverse of that, people were evacuating from the southeastern coast, miami, et cetera, thinking they could go to the west coast. the reversal started yesterday when people realize it's going to come up the west coast, now they were suddenly clogging the roads going the opposite way, going west to east. >> i know you lived through quite a few of these. how does this compare in terms of what to expect in size and scope? >> well, the monster was andrew,
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25 years ago. the difference now is that in andrew, it was utter chaos. nobody was prepared. fema wasn't prepared. local governments weren't. we had no building codes. i'll never forget, and a helicopter over ground zero the day after the hurricane, homestead, florida, there were only two buildings left standing. an old florida cracker house from the 1920s, built to withstand the wind, everything else was flattened. now we have building codes. i think you'll see the intensity of this wind is also less than andrew. the damage on this one up the west coast is going to be the water. >> senator, i know you're working the phones when this storm passes through to make sure resources people of florida desperately need are delivered. we appreciate you taking time
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with us this morning. >> thank you, sir. >> thanks. >> let's go over to willie standing by in the orange room. >> guys, good morning, good to see you. this is a totally different world than during andrew obviously. but even 12 years ago with katrina in terms of how we get and share information. getting video from sources, sometimes even our crews can't reach. this is a look from key west, provided by a user on snap maps. they had a first test in hurricane harvey, it was helpful for people trying to locate a friend or stay up to date on local conditions. you can zoom in on a particular area where a family member or friend lives and see the snap messages and videos that come out of there. guys, another resource that spiked in popularity during harvey and irma, free app called zello. you use cellular data or wi-fi.
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gas buddy, another one, godsend for floridians trying to escape irma's wrath. keeps you updated which stations still have gas and power as more and more run out of fuel. all of this in addition to twitter and facebook, keeping people connected. like you said earlier in the show, matt, we can't get crews safely in and out of places, now in the social media world, we are able to see in real time what's happening on the ground. >> not only there are times we get crews there, quickly move them out when weather conditions start to threaten them. we did that with several. we will continue to monitor it. willie, thank you very much. >> sam champion is with us in miami. we have seen the storm dikick u there. how is it looking? >> reporter: we have been clocking wind gusts we are a part of.
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we have been part of 60 miles per hour wind gusts, haven't gotten to hurricane strength. to the south, a few miles, everglades national park. 77 miles per hour wind gusts in a van. we know it is very close to us. this is going to be a long day of ratcheting up winds as the eye moves up. savannah, if you can, i want to show you something i have been noticing about the eye of the storm. if you can see it, we have been looking at the intensity of wind and rain around northern eyewall that's kind of pounding the lower keys. from big pine key for hours now, four, five hours. strongest 130 miles per hour winds are, where the surge has been. but it is hitting it, right on top of it. if you look out, that 130, up to key largo, they're getting heavy bands for several hours now. one steady stream of bands of
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winds 90 miles per hour and sideways blowing winds. if you go south of that, one of the things i notice is the southern eyewall, little dry air trying to get in and wrap underneath that eyewall. in some ways, it has been horrible news for the worst part of this, sitting over the lower keys for several hours. but in other ways when you get out of that, eyewall replacement that it seems to be going through now, it won't be as bad on the back side of it, once they get through this. this is one of the things we have been noticing about the storm. all storms are different. every storm is different. heard a couple of people say this storm doesn't have the winds that andrew had. i have to tell you, andrew breezed across the tip of south florida with 145 miles per hour winds. you can't compare that to what's going to happen with irma. when you hear people say that, point out that we're going to be
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all day with this storm. some of the worst damage i've ever seen was a category one hurricane that sat on the coast of texas for 18 hours. now, that constant blender effect, that wind of 75, 80 miles per hour, but whirling over one area, pounding it, pounding it, pounding it, destroyed buildings, just blew them out. buildings that we were in. so when i look at categories, i don't actually try to compare storms. you can compare winds in storms, but the fact is this storm with 130 miles per hour winds may sit over some places for five or six hours. that's going to be intense damage. >> good point. >> relative perspective. sam is in miami. >> we have been watching the correspondents, mike seidel, and mariana and sam, and you were talking a second ago when you get into a place like miami beach or miami, you get into
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high-rise situations. >> look how many areas developed. many rebuilt since andrew 25 years ago. as you get to the top of some of the high-rise buildings, you're going up in altitude. wind strength will increase. some of these tall buildings will be hit by winds upwards of 100 miles per hour. couple things to keep in mind in the last 25 years, since andrew, we have had florida completely readdress its building standards, but in a lot of locations around south florida, southeast to southwest, plenty of structures have been there long before andrew rolled through. once again, you talk about wind speeds, 100 miles per hour plus, they're in danger. >> you were saying to us, you could even go up a category, a storm if looking at the top of a building. >> absolutely, go up 25, 30 stories, all of a sudden talking wind speeds that are 25, 35
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miles per hour faster than what we are seeing on the ground. and it is scary to look at some of the live shots we are presenting now, imagine being all the way up there. >> again, we are hoping nobody in those areas is hunkered down in high-rise buildings. dave, thank you very much. >> stick close. lester and al are in tampa. al, i was thinking about the storm surge, i had a question. i wondered when does the storm surge come? is it more or less in conjunction when the hurricane rolls in and hits wherever it hits, storm surge comes with it or is it one of the delayed effects? >> depends where you are along the storm route. so ahead of the storm, for example, now, we saw it in miami during mike seidel's shot, you saw flooding in the streets at miami beach. as the storm comes up, counterclockwise flow pushed water into miami. you can see the water. if you look at the palm froms, you see the direction the wind
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has blown, look at the water. you can see the waves almost pushing along. that's the storm surge coming in. and then as the system moves away, you will get return flow and water will push back the other way. so along the west coast as the system is making its way up the coast, we're not going to see storm surge at the beginning because winds will be coming in from the land. but as the storm moves up and past the southwestern part of florida, that return flow, counterclockwise flow will bring storm surge into the southwest. for the eastern part of the state, as the storm makes its way up. you can see follow the radar, follow the loop. you can see that rain coming in. that's the storm surge. that's the way the storm surge will come in. as that system lifts up to the north on the back side of that, it will be the western coast that gets the storm surge. as it moves up, that's where you see it.
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ahead of the storm on the east coast, you'll see storm surge. on the west coast, we'll see more storm surge as the system starts to make its way parallel and goes to the north, savannah. >> second ago, you said water comes in about the same speed that the hurricane is moving, you said 8 miles per hour. a day or so ago, that was moving at 13, 14 miles per hour. do you expect it to continue to slow down or pick up speed? >> generally speaking, it starts to speed up once it gets on land but right now we don't see much of a pick up in speed. i think it will remain between 8 to 9, maybe 10 miles per hour at most. >> lester and al there in tampa. at the moment, fairly peaceful there, but not for long. that's where it is headed. >> guys, thank you. >> thank you so much. our coverage of hurricane irma as it is making landfall in florida and the keys, you see it battering southeastern florida, see signs of it in western florida. we'll stay on it. our correspondents are all over
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good morning. it is 5:59. the special edition of "today" returns in just a moment. there are people who flew to the bay area to take refuge from hurricane irma. be sure to hear their stories now on our website. also on we spoke with a former san jose couple riding out the storm. and our own vianey arana is in south florida, too, covering irma. follow her on facebook and twitter. she is constantly updating her feeds with new pictures and stories. meteorologist rob has a look at the forecast. a warm-up to wrap up the week. 80s from san francisco to oakland. 90s in san jose and inland climbing close to 100 for today. cooler temperatures as we get back to the workweek. we will see an increasing chance of humidity and showers.
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tuesday cooler by midweek. >> i'll have another local news update in half an hour. good morning. irma strikes. south florida being hammered right now. the hurricane a devastating category 4 once again, after gaining strength overnight. wind already damaging homes and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands. the region bracing for a potentially life-threatening storm surge. we have correspondents across florida and the region to cover it all today, sunday, september 10th, 2017. >> announcer: from nbc news, this is a special edition of "today," hurricane irma,


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