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tv   Meet the Press  NBC  September 10, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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we're back, sunday morning, 1:00 a.m. eastern, 8:00 a.m. on the west coast. hurricane irma's fury is being felt all across the state of florida. >> the whether channel's mike seidel is in miami being battered by this storm. >> just about the entire boardwalk on the other side of the sea wall. can you imagine being in the upper floors of these condos right now and these hotels? the sound of the wind down here at this level, and the roar higher up. as you go up to 25 stories, the wind increases about 17%. that's another category up. so you figure the winds up there
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are sustained probably just below hurricane force when you get to the top of the building, because they don't have anything to stop it. the other angle is the wind and the rain, just horizontal sheets of rain battering here in the brickell section of miami. we'll have to take a look when we go over the bridge to see what kind of impact the water is having downtown. the water is coming right off the river into downtown miami. look at this wave action here, this is like a nor'easter off the coast of new england. i've seen waves like that, but not an inland water way. this is not the open waters of the atlantic. gosh knows what the waves look like out there on miami beach. this is quite the visual that we've had all morning here. and for safety reasons, we're going to be packing up here and heading to higher ground so we
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can get out of harms way. the surge is starting to come up, we're expecting about a five foot surge. we've seen the water ramp up, we want to be safe. later this afternoon the winds will shift direction. they'll still be strong and they'll still cause damage and knock out power. there's still that severe threat. all of this is really going to head up the east-west coast of florida from this point on. jim cantore is in ft. myers on i-75. >> again, that is mike seidel from the weather channel, broadcasting from the brickell key area in miami, along the miami river. as he said, that's not the ocean, that's inland a little bit, a block or two from the ocean. >> and that's not the eye of the storm. this is southeastern florida getting buffeted by winds and rain. miguel almaguer is in southeastern florida, florida city. miguel, good morning. >> reporter: savannah, good morning.
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believe it or not, we're actually 8 to 10 miles away from the coastline. the big concern is not the storm surge, it's not even the hammering rain that's blinding at times. it's that powerful wind that you can see is pushing me around a little bit here. it's knocked out power to so many people in this entire city. but not just this city. across the entire region here. first responders say it's too dangerous to actually go out and conduct any rescues. the mayor says most of the city is at home, did not evacuate, is hunkering down at home. but we don't know the state of the city right now, because it's too dangerous to venture much further down the road here. we're protected, our crew is und under an overhang. we're in a safe place. these roads here back here can be incredibly dangerous. they're wind tunnels, because the wind is coming right in this direction, blowing everything from trash cans to trees.
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even a newsstand we saw blow down from wind here. the conditions are expected to deteriorate over the next several hours here. first responders say the weather could become catastrophic. that's why they're not ignore respond to any calls for hope. phone lines are down across much of the area. many people may not be able to reach them. we're transmitting to you via a live network of satellites. it will be a dicey situation over the next couple of hours. >> miguel, you and your crew have done an outstanding job of reporting this morning, stay safe, that's the number one thing. nbc's mariana atencio is in miami beach. mariana, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning. i'm on ocean drive. the wind tunnels that miguel was
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talking about, if i stand back, the beach is to my right over here, you can see how incredibly -- [ inaudible ] -- it becomes very hard to move. debris is flying around. the trees behind me like this one, this is not going to last for very much longer. we're trying to stay safe, i'll ask the producer to start driving forward so you can see some of the destruction here. we're hearing the same thing from miami beach police, telling people their officers can no longer take emergency calls. we've been going up to some of the apartments here to talk to residents. i already saw at least a foot of flooding in the gym of one of these buildings here. the situation is deteriorating incredibly, incredibly fast. if you look at ocean drive where i'm standing now, this is a street that is usually filled with people on bikes, with tourists, so you're heading to the beach. yesterday we saw people walking
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around, families taking pictures. we even saw a kite surfer yesterday. that's not what authorities want to be looking at. we actually saw two people on bikes about half an hour ago. this is the time when people should be hunkered down. the very dangerous debris, the speed at which the winds are coming at you, they can potentially are deadly. police are telling people to hunker down. don't think for a minute that because miami beach isn't getting a direct hit, they're not in very much danger because of the storm. just because of the size of the storm, matt, everybody is going to be affected. a big issue here, because of the storm surge, when you're talking about 6 to 10 feet of storm surge, you're also talking about flooding. heavy rainfall in miami beach. i used to live here for a couple of years.
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rainfall floods all these streets already. when you're talking about a hurricane as powerful as this one, that's going to create a lot of issues here on the beach. they've set up pumps, but these pumps have never faced a hurricane like irma. back to a guys. >> mariana atencio getting her steps in, and doing great coverage. >> lester and al have been in tampa, the storm path seems to be projected right towards where you're standing, guys. >> good morning, savannah. i feel like a car on the track where a freight train is coming. you've got new guidance on exactly where this will hit. >> that's right, the latest advisory from the national hurricane center is in. and instead of going west-northwest, now irma is going north at nine miles per hour. it's picked up forward speed,
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130-mile-per-hour winds. currently it is just about 80 miles southeast of naples, florida. 115 miles south of ft. myers. and so with that track, we figure sometime around 5:00, it's going to hit between naples and ft. myers, make landfall there, and then continue forward. and sometime overnight tonight, probably around midnight to 1:00 a.m., depending on the forward speed, whether it gets a little faster, it's going to make a direct hit here on tampa bay. we were speaking with mayor bob buckhorn, it hasn't been since 1921 that there's been a direct hurricane in tampa. >> they did a simulation with fema back in 2010. they came up with a name. >> phoenix, i think it was. >> a cat 5 storm called hurricane phoenix.
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the results were 2,000 people had died, a half million homes had been destroyed. again, this is all in a simulation. but the conclusion was, and a lot of other scientists think a direct hit could be worse than what we saw in katrina. 700 miles of shoreline, they've been victims of rising sea levels here. nature is getting away from them. and now nature is coming out. >> when we talked to mayor buckhorn, we asked him what was his major fear, his one fear, he said it's the storm surge. as this system rides up, they're going to get buffeted by these hurricane-force winds. there's going to be the heavy rain. then as it extorts to pull north, that's when we'll start to see the storm surge. >> and high tide. >> exactly, it's going to hit high tide around 1:00 a.m. this morning. that could be just about the worst case scenario. >> we don't want to paint the darkest picture. obviously they're looking at the worst possibilities here. but it creates more urgency for people to find shelter, if
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they're in those evacuation zones. not the entire city, certainly. but there's this area "a" that they can be most vulnerable. people need to get to a higher place, a safer place, because a direct hit here would not be pretty. >> this is what we call the slosh graphic. this was just started this year from the national hurricane center. and it looks at the most likely storage surge, nine feet plus. and it is right along that whole region that's going to be really affected most by this. >> we'll send it back to you, savannah and matt, in the studio. >> thank you guys, so much. florida governor rick scott sounded the alarm all week long. he told people to get out of the path of the storm. he's with us. governor, we got word from your office telling us that you have declared a major disaster declaration for all counties in the state of florida. why, and technically what does that allow you to do? >> so i just requested from the
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president a major disaster declaration which basically will open up even more resources from fema that will help not only with the recovery efforts but with the restoration efforts. you're following this storm. this is clearly going to be a disaster for many parts of our state. and so i talked to the president earlier today, and he said that he would provide all the resources the federal government can provide. i talked to administrator brock long and homeland security secretary duke. i sent it in to the president. and i'm hopeful we'll get all the resources, which i believe we will, from the president to make sure we help everybody, make sure we save every life but then we restore it as fast as we can. >> these are critical hours. we're starting to get a clear focus of where the storm could be headed. senator rubio, your colleague said the tampa situation was potentially the worst case scenario because of tampa's
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unique layout. 700 miles of shoreline. how worried are you about that? >> i think the entire west coast. my hometown is naples, florida. we're going to get 10 to 15 feet of storm surge above ground level. so that's going to go up the coast. we've never seen anything like this. we're having a call in just about five minutes with all the county administrators. and so we'll see if they had any unmet needs. from the standpoint of the -- my concern is, it's the entire west coast with this storm surge. the entire state is going to get impacted by the rain and winds. we'll find out now, hopefully find out quickly how the keys have done. i hope to be able to see that as soon as i can so we can make sure we get all the resources in there. i want every person in the state to be safe. i want to make sure we -- everybody survives. as soon as the first responders can go out, we'll go out and make sure everybody is safe.
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>> a little earlier you were on with us, governor. you made a plea asking for volunteers to help staff the shelters in the northern part of the state. have you been getting good response to that? >> absolutely. you know, i've asked for everybody's prayer, most important. i've asked for volunteers. we still need some volunteers for shelters up north. but then after the fact, we'll need some volunteers to help us get the food and the water out, clean up the debris. i know people want to donate. you can go to texandisaster@20222. i know people want to come from all over the world to help us recover. >> and the national guard is ready to go, as soon as they're able safely to do so, they'll bring their resources and efforts to this recovery as well. >> yes, i called up 7,000 national guard members. we have 67 armories around the
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state. they're hunkering down in their armories, they have a lot of high water vehicles and a lot of equipment. they'll help with restoration. i've got teams from a variety of agencies, fish and wildlife, that do recovery efforts along with the national guard. we're ready. i hope and pray that everybody that should have evacuated, evacuated. >> we're right there with you. governor rick scott, as always we appreciate your time on this critical morning. thank you. >> thank you. >> from tallahassee, let's go to naples, florida, where gabe gutierrez is. gabe, what are you seeing? >> reporter: hi there, matt, good morning. we've seen the wind and rain really start to pick up in the last hour or so. local authorities say that they really -- that the eyewall of this storm is expected later this afternoon near naples. and they're expecting actually the most dangerous storm surge now on the back side of the storm. they're advising people to get off the road. first responders in this area have already pulled back as the winds have gotten higher.
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and they're saying no one should be out on the roads right now. the shelters in this area are at capacity at this point. tens of thousands of people are already without power. we actually just lost power at our hotel. the conditions are expected to deteriorate quite a bit in the next few hours here in naples. and again, that dangerous storm surge, you just heard the governor refer to it, 10 to 15 feet of storm surge in this area, could be unprecedented. they expect quite a lot of damage here, matt and savannah. >> gabe, thanks so much. the mayor, bill barnett, is request uwith us. how are you doing? >> i'm the eternal optimist. i think we're going to get through this. the storm surge is a major, major, major concern for us. the last time naples experienced anything like this was 1960 with donna.
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>> i was just going to say, doing some math here, we were just told by the folks in our control room that at the moment, irma is 80 miles to the southeast of your city, moving at 10 miles an hour. you can do the math, you know just about when this thing is going to hit. >> yes, we -- you know, we've been preparing for this for well over a week, on everything that we did. the employees, our staff, our first responders. we've gotten a really, really good planning job. that's all we can say, because we planned for the beginning, we planned for the interim during the hurricane. and we have a plan for after it's passed, when we can assess damage. we're without power, i'm sure most of the city is. and, you know, i've never seen anything like this, and i've lived here for 44 years.
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so we are prepared, and i know that it was a great wake-up -- well, i shouldn't use that word. i should say that harvey unfortunately was a wake-up call for naples, because a lot of our residents evacuated early in the week. and i haven't had any calls or any e-mails at all from anybody that still needs help. it seems like they're all in the shelters and hopefully hunkered down, deciding to stay in rooms with little or no windows. >> and you're at a point where rescue personnel and first responders are hunkered down themselves and not able to respond to calls. >> correct, that was 45 minutes ago when the calls came in. we're hoping when they get out there, at the first sign of the storm dissipating, that
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everything will be okay. >> naples mayor, our hearts are with you, thank you so much, bill barnett, we appreciate your work. we'll keep in touch with you throughout this day. >> thank you, savannah. >> mayor barnett just say most of the people in his city are without power already. as we came on the air, there were 200,000 people throughout the state of florida without power. we're just getting word that number is 1.4 million people now and expected to get much higher than that. >> the storm is just getting started. jo lynn kent, we've been talking to you all morning from ft. lauderdale, how is it looking? >> reporter: it looks good, we've seen major tree branches come down here along a major thoroughfare in ft. lauderdale. there's more than a million people without power, several hundred thousand of them are right here in background county and ft. lauderdale. we've seen these outer bands
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increase in their wind speed. the wind is picking up. then you've got rain coming in. so you've got no power. but folks are hunkered down. the people we've been with all morning are in pretty good spirits, they're just glad not to be in the eye of the storm. ft. lauderdale still expected to maintain its occcurfew just a f miles down that way. there are a few bridges that go out to the waterfront area. those are completely shut down. the winds in that part of the ocean are whipping and the palm trees are moving, like we're seeing now. the broward county sheriff's office, we're glad to report, is able to get out now. they're patrolling, going back and forth, checking on some of those 911 calls they may be getting. for now, ft. lauderdale is having a moment of calm in the midst of a lot of wind and rain this morning, guys. >> all right, jo, be careful. thank you very much. willie is now over in our orange room. >> a lot of people are wondering how they can help. as of this morning, 6.3 million people in florida, almost a
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third of the state's population, have been ordered to evacuate where they live. many of those folks hunkering down in shelters, wondering when they'll return and what they'll return to when it's over. millions of you watching at home are wondering what you can do. we want to give you some ideas. they say it's monetary donation than are the best, a trusted relief or charitable organization. why cash and not stuff? the needs of those impacted by the storm do vary. unlike anything material you might want to donate, there are no transportation costs or fees when you're talking about money. cash also allows organizations to spend time providing aid instead of managing goods. while people do donate with the best of intentions, things like clothing, food, and other household items not only clog up the supply line, but they often go to waste. case in point, this was the scene at a donation center after the massive 2004 indian ocean
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tsunami. donations sat and rotted and eventually had to be destroyed. cash is king in these cases. you can check guidestar and charitynavigator.org have compiled lists of trusted groups for hurricane irma relief. don't forget local organizations, they usually understand their communities' needs the best. give cash where you can. we want to start thinking about how to help when the dust clears, guys. let's go over to tom costello in washington, at fema headquarters for us this morning. what are you hearing there? >> reporter: this is the command center that's really running 24/7 and has been for two weeks. keep in mind it had harvey on its hands, and now it has irma. and it's not just florida. it's puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. it has needed to surge assets into puerto rico, into the virgin islands, and now standing by for the recovery effort in florida. as you would expect, for the
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most part all of their assets on the ground are frozen. they can't move personnel. they can't move rescue teams right now because we're in the middle of an emergency and in the middle of a storm. they have them on the border with florida, up in gaga and alabama, in north carolina and south carolina as well, preparing to move in. at the same time, they're on the ground in the virgin islands involved in rescue operations, and in puerto rico. this is very much a full-time and ongoing effort. we often thing harvey was a week ago, it's over. they're still on the ground in texas dealing with harvey. let me give you a sense of some of the assets they prepositioned now. 2.4 million meals are already prepositioned for florida. they are expecting with more than a million people out of power now and more people likely to be out of power, they need to be able to respond quickly and feed people. 1.4 million liters of water on standby right now prepared to move in as well. earlier yesterday, i'll tell you that i saw a line of power trucks, guys, here in the
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mid-atlantic, in maryland, on its way down towards florida. and we see this time and time again, when you have an emergency like this, the power companies preposition their troops as well. so a line of utility trucks from the northeast, from new york, we've even seen it from canada in the past, coming down, streaming down into the potential zones so that they can respond quickly to restore power. this is all right now about prepositioning and staging, because they know that at the moment they can't do anything in the zone. it's just simply too dangerous. by the way, elaine chao, the acting -- pardon me, elaine duke, acting secretary of homeland security is getting an update with all the people on the ground to determine if they have all the assets necessary to continue to move into position. this is very much a state-led operation with fema in kind of a backup and support mode. guys, back to you. >> tom, thank you very much. let's go back to lester and al
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in tampa. how much longer can you guys stay in that location? or lester, i don't see al. >> al just stepped away for a moment. i think we'll be fine here for several hours, based on the latest guidance we saw. it is looking more and more like the tampa bay area will take a direct hit. that's not good in terms of the storm surge. we've looked at it, the high tide will certainly affect the situation. we would expect there would be water where we are. this is kind of a river walk area here, the tampa river walk along the hillsboro river here. we've had people biking and jogging by. if you didn't know there was a hurricane coming, you would think this was showers on a regular florida day. but we do know there's a hurricane coming, so we'll be moving to high ground sometime probably early this evening. it's expected the storm itself would get here around the 1:00 a.m. period of time. and so we'll be obviously in a much higher, more secure location, a bunker location, if
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you will, when that happens. but this has always been the worst fear, a city that's highly vulnerable, maybe the most vulnerable in the country according to some experts, because so much low-lying area, so much coastline. as i noted in one of my earlier reports, they've done simulations in the past that haven't had good outcomes. that's why they've trying to get so many people in shelters here. there wasn't a rush to shelters on the west coast of florida, because as you recall, last week everything seemed like it would be affecting the east. now it's shifted to the west, that's changed things. at the appropriate time, we'll make sure we're out of here. back to you guys. >> it's an incredible to see the vastness of this storm. as we go to dave price, it's not one part of florida that's affected, it's the whole thing. >> these maps are much less important. we know there's a huge storm working its way up florida.
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we see the effects on the east. we know the worst is yet to come for the west. it's going to be more severe. and now it's being pulled to the north. we see it happening. and so ove hey! are you taking the tissue test? yep, and my teeth are yellow. time for whitestrips. crest whitestrips whiten... ...25x better than a leading whitening toothpaste. nice smile! thanks! i crushed the tissue test. crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life.
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this morning. here )s some local perspective.. wipe vo there are crews from the bay area in florida... poised to help with rescue and relief efforts. the california air national guard )s rescue wing is there. they specialize in chopper search and rescues. wipe vo-same banner california task force three - based in menlo park - also is there to help. wipe vo-same banner and pg&e is sending staff to help with power outages from the storm. kira meteorologist rob mayeda with a quick look at the micro climate forecast. wx kira/cu i )ll have another local news update for you in half an hour.
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good morning. breaking news. irma strikes. south florida being hammered right now. that hurricane a devastating category 4, making landfall in the keys this morning. washing out roads across the region, damaging homes, knocking out power to more than a million people. the worst of the fierce storm still to come today, sunday, september 10th, 2017. >> announcer: from nbc news, this is a special edition of "today." hurricane irma. with matt lauer and savannah
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guthrie live from new york, and lester holt, live from florida. welcome back to this special edition of "today," sunday morning, the 10th day of september, 2017, 11:30 on the east coast, 8:30 out west. >> we came on the air 6:00 a.m. eastern time. we've been watching the conditions deteriorate. yet it's still early in this whole process. we've got places like tampa, major population centers, potentially bracing for a direct hilt. let's get the latest on what it's shaping up to be, an historic storm. the southern tip of florida began to feel irma's impact on saturday. it didn't officially make landfall in the keys until just after 9:00 a.m. eastern today. >> as expected, irma actually gained strength overnight to a category 4, with 130-mile-per-hour winds. utility officials in florida say
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more than a million customers, i think it's 1.4 by now, are without power. that's a number that's been climbing and is expected to climb throughout the day. >> here's going to put that in perspective. irma is so massive a storm, as to storm warning is now in effect for the first time ever in atlanta, georgia. we've got complete coverage for you this morning. we're going to start with miguel almaguer in florida city, south of miami. boy, miguel is getting battered at the moment. hi there. >> reporter: hey, savannah, yep, it's coming down on us again. the wind and the rain blowing sideways. it comes down in sheets and in bands. we had a bit of a break in the weather over the last 30 minutes, but it's picking right back up again. we know the wind is the major concern here in florida city. we're about 10 miles from the coast, on the doorstep to the keys. they're not as concerned about the storm surge here. but it's the wind that's doing all of the damage here today. we have seen debris blowing down the street behind me here. trees, trash cans, and other
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items like that that have blown loose from homes, flying down the street. for the most part most homes are fairly buttoned up, they have shutters on their doors, wood planks over their windows, fairly well-protected. we're with the city police department here, we've been embedded with them overnight as we rode out the storm. it was a ferocious evening. from midnight to 4:00 a.m., we heard what sounded like the roof peeling off our building. our building was completely destroyed in hurricane andrew. it was rebuilt with reinforced windows and doors, it made it throughout the night without serious damage. we know power is out all around the city. in these conditions, first responders say it still remains too dangerous to go door to door. if people are even calling for hip, it's unclear if they would even be able to get through, because so many cellphone towers and phone lines are down across
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this region. some still do remain up. the mayor says about 80% of this city did not evacuate, and they are hunkered down in their homes. they are certainly riding out a very nasty storm at this hour. savannah? >> all right, miguel, thank you very much. we've got sam champion for us standing by in miami as he has been all morning long. sam, what can you tell us? >> reporter: hey, matt, savannah. we've actually had a pretty good last hour. we've been in a lull from a lot of the winds and rains. we've been watching these bands. we've got radar in lofront of m we're watching the band. we've got a significant amount of wind and rain coming up to us from the south. we had that crane topple, we had power outages here. the power outages went up with that big band of 90-mile-per-hour wind gusts.
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first responders told you you would be on your own. this is the time that you're on your own. as the eye continues to progress, it will become parallel with us later this afternoon. we stay in that hurricane-force wind gust field, tropical storm-force winds, for modified day. this is the time not to venture out. if you get into trouble right now, no one can come and get you. that's from here all the way up to the tip of southern florida. so you just have to stay in position where you are right now, because what we've seen here, matt and savannah, the biggest tree limb i've seen go was about eight inches. i've seen the tops come off of some of these palm trees. palm trees usually absorb the wind. this is one of those nice breaks when i can have a real conversation. when the top of a palm tree comes off, that's a pretty big gust of wind. when a crane comes off the top of a building, that's a significant problem. we've seen both those things happen in the miami-dade metro area right now. we're still not even through.
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and there's a little one. we're still not through the kind of winds we will have all afternoon long. >> all right, sam. >> by the way, the branches on those palm trees look pretty when you see them on vacation, but when they're driven by 80-mile-an-hour wind gusts, they pack a huge punch if they were to hit you. >> and we just showed an image of a crane in miami dangling. gadi schwartz has been driving around south florida this morning. he made his way down to key largo, i think he's on the road again headed north. gadi, what's going on? >> reporter: that's right, we were down in key largo. we knew the opportunity to get out of here was basically going to close. we were talking to some people who said the tides were coming close. sure enough, coming to south dixie highway. it's basically u.s. 1. one of those lanes is impassible
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right now. if we can turn the camera forward, you can see this is a little bit of a break in the weather. a little bit earlier it was zero visibility. but right now, it's the lane on the right side of the screen that is impassible. this lane is still open, which is good, because it means that emergency crews are still going to be able to access the keys. this is the major choke point. we know there are a lot of people in the keys. we've been speaking with people in key largo, they are saying there are some families down there and there are a lot of first responders, emergency crews that have hunkered down as well. they believe that over the next three or four hours, the worst of the storm is going to pass over them. they are very thankful at least in the northern part of the keys that the hurricane was tracking west and it did not come and have a direct hit. but when it comes to key west, that was one of the places where it looks like the eye passed over them. a lot of thoughts and prayers are going down to key west right now, but not very many reports
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on the extent of the damage so far. back to you guys. >> okay, gadi, thank you very much. let's go to tampa, al and lester are there. lester, you're just in that stage where you know what's coming. there's no way to get out of the way of it. it's just a question of waiting for it to arrive. >> reporter: yeah, we're feeling the breaths of wind now for the first time. the rain is increasing as we get northern bands of the storm. >> reporter: we're in kind of a protected area. i went just across the street, and we're getting sustained winds of 25 miles per hour. >> reporter: i can see trees bending over there. but we're behind a six-story building with a parking garage. >> reporter: now as we take a look at the latest on irma, and again, category 4 storm, 130 miles per hour. and it is moving now north at nine. and it just continues that motion. and so if we follow that out and extrapolate as far as the path of this, it's going to come
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onshore right over ft. myers, naples area, at about 8:00 tonight with 125-mile-per-hour winds. you take that further, and right where we are in tampa, sometime around midnight, we're going to see a direct strike. it's going to come right over us, and then continue on its way along the coast into tallahassee on monday into tuesday, and then it moves on into georgia and beyond that. but we are looking at perhaps the first direct strike of a major hurricane in tampa in almost a hundred years. >> reporter: how far do the hurricane-force winds extend? >> reporter: the hurricane-force winds are 80 miles out. tropical force winds extend out almost 200 miles. and then, when we talked to the mayor, the storm surge is the big concern. >> reporter: will that precede? >> reporter: it will come after the eye. because it's a counterclockwise
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direction of the winds. so those winds will come in offshore, come in offland, i should say, as the system approaches. but as it starts to parallel and then move north, we'll get that return flow. and that's when you'll get the real push of winds, those hurricane-force winds, into the bay, into the rivers, into the whole area. >> reporter: meantime, you have pretty interesting video to get insight into the science at work here. >> reporter: low pressure basically draws water in, it draws it in. i've heard about this, i've never seen it. this is from long island in the bahamas. it literally, between the winds coming off the land and the sucking nature, literally, of this low pressure, this is how intense it is. it emptied out the ocean. people were able to actually jump down, walk around, they found conch shells, things like that. guess what, it happened in the keys. this is video of key largo.
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and you'll see the same effect. look at that boat just sitting there. and you look around, and now you can see there's nothing but basically dry land. >> reporter: it sucks the moisture up. >> reporter: it sucks the moisture, and eventually it will come back. it won't come back in a whoosh, it will gradual come back. we are also at low tide here, but we've had reports that we may be seeing the same effect in tampa bay itself. we haven't verified that. we're going to go check it out after we get off the air. but it would not surprise me to see that happen. this is such an intense pressure system. >> reporter: this is a fascinating phenomenon. >> reporter: it is, but we have to also remember these are people's lives and livelihoods. it's affecting people, it's going to affect people long after we're gone. so we have to remember that while it is from a
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meteorological standpoint something to behold, it's a life altering event for the coast. >> reporter: we're not seeing the houston harvey effect of a steady rain for days and days. >> reporter: no, although we'll get a decent amount. some areas will pick up about 20 inches of rain. >> reporter: that's a lot of rain. >> reporter: but the surge is really what we're concerned about. and of course those winds will do a lot of damage. >> reporter: all right, al. we'll continue to keep watch here in tampa. for now, back to you guys. >> thanks, guys. as al just showed us, parts of bonita springs could see a storm surge of nine feet or higher. its mayor, pete simmons, is with us now. mayor, good morning. you're between naples and ft. myers. tell us a little bit about your community. >> good morning. we are certainly on high alert here. we have 30,000 people in our local shelters. we have a storm surge projection
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of somewhere between 10 and 15 feet. we have suspended operations as of 9:15 because we have sustained winds of over 40 miles per hour. and we're gearing up somewhere in the 2:00 range this afternoon, give or take a few hours, of 100-mile-an-hour winds, sustained, somewhere around 8 to 10 hours. >> this is savannah guthrie. did most of the folks evacuate or are they hunkering down and sheltering in place? >> like i said, we have 30,000 people in our local shelters. a lot of people absolutely evacuated. and we have a lot of people hunkered down and hunkered in, like myself. my family did evacuate, they're in georgia, which as you know is not out of the woods yet. and people are hunkered in. and we're gearing up. >> mayor simmons, have you had people call in reporting
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emergencies, and your emergency service personnel simply had to tell them that they couldn't go out and help, and how frustrating that must be for people like police and first responders? >> we responded to some this morning. but we were able to get out of the 9:15 suspension. we are just hunkered down, and we were able to deal with the calls in bonita springs that we needed to. we're just asking people to stay safe, and as soon as it is safe, to get back out, we will be back out in the community helping people. >> all right, the mayor of bonita springs, peter simmons, mayor simmons, thank you for your time this morning, good luck to you and your town. >> thank you very much, matt, god bless. thank you, savannah. >> cities like that on the west coast of florida await this storm. cities on the east coast are already experiencing it. ft. lauderdale is one of them,
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jo ling kent is there right now. >> reporter: savannah, the wind and rain are back with extra ferociousness. we heard a sign rip off of a wendy's we're in front of. we drove by this yesterday, now you can see this tree is completely down and uprooted. it came down in the storm here. there was a pretty brave squirrel earlier, kind of confused, climbing around here, wondering what happened to my tree. this is an example of the winds in the hurricane irma band that we are seeing in ft. lauderdale. this is a community, as we said before, that was very well-prepared. broward county evacuated, they are hunkered down here. yet they're still seeing this kind of excessive damage here along major streets. we do believe there will be significant damage. we've seen overall estimates for hurricane irma damage throughout florida to possibly be $120
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billion, maybe $200 billion. so as these communities start to assess the damage on the eastern coast of florida, we do expect those totals to rise here. again, the winds and rain continue to pick up as outer bands show us strength, guys. >> thank you, jo. tornado warnings over broward count county, cocoa beach, that should add another layer of fear. >> al was talking about that strange situation where the storm actually sucks the water out of bodies of water. al is going to talk more about that in tampa. al? >> yeah, guys, this is a salt water river, the hillsboro river. if you look over by that drainpipe, 007, we've had long time residents come by and say they've never seen that decline pipe, even at low tide. you see all that land, they've never seen that either.
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we've been watching over the last half hour this river actually lowering. this feeds into the tampa bay. and that would correspond with the reports we've been getting that the bay itself is emptying out, due to this lowering of pressure, this -- in fact if you look down beyond that bridge, dwayne, if you can see beyond that white bridge, there's land underneath that. that was not visible when we started this morning. it really is a testament to the intensity of this pressure, this low pressure of irma. that's why this is such a powerful storm, and goes out so wide. tropical force winds out 200 miles from the center. that's pretty amazing. >> the bay is in that direction. >> right. >> so any surge would be coming at us. >> yes. but we're not going to get that yet. this is all draining out to the bay and beyond, and corresponds with the report that the bay
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itself is actually emptying out. i don't know if that's happened before, but i doubt it. they've never had any kind of system come that close. >> if you weren't in awe of the storm before, this certainly gives you pause. >> we're getting pictures of the actual bay where the water level is extremely low, we'll get that on the air hopefully in a minute or so. >> it speaks to the power and the force of the storm that we are about to see hit this area. >> while we're working to get that picture, let's go to gadi schwartz as he drives through key largo, gadi, good morning again. >> reporter: yeah, good morning, we're coming back from key largo. if you take a look at what's in front of us, you're seeing the visibility start to go down. we're in the southern glades. in the southern glades, water is actually a little bit higher than it was coming out of the keys. so we were over by manatee bay marina. manatee bay marina, there's a neighborhood behind there that
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looks like it's under three or four feet of water. there are some homes. most of those homes appear to be up on estimates. there were some boats that looked like they had broken free of their moorings and they had blown into different fences around there. the good news is out here there's still one lane of the south dixie highway that is open. it is still passable. the bad news is the other side of the south dixie highway that you're looking at on the right side of the screen, that one has water in it, it has debris in it. this barrier is keeping pretty steady. it looks like there's another two or three feet of this barrier that's still to go before the water crests over. as long as this storm continues to move over the next two or three hours, things might be okay in terms of getting emergency crews back and forth between the keys. but right now, what we are seeing is just some of those
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bands, some of the torrential rainfall coming through. it lets up, hits us again, lets up, then hits us again. fortunately the wind is at our back so we're not feeling it quite so much as we would if we were driving into the wind or if the wind was hitting us from the side. back to you guys. >> thanks, gadi. incredibly important for one of those lanes to stay open to emergency responders can get in. let's go to mariana atencio at miami beach where we've seen incredible gusts of wind this morning. >> reporter: guys, this is an area of miami beach where it always gets flooded. you can imagine what hurricane irma is doing to this area right now. what i'm standing on here is the pier that is at least a couple of feet tall. you can see that the water has already entirely covered this pier. and the wind is just pounding very strongly right now. you can also see that there are sailboats behind me. they have been tied down. but irma might be too much for
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them. i'm going to move over here to show you those temporary pumps we've been talking about throughout the morning that the city installed. these are the pumps. this is connected to a generator. and this goes under to the sewer. they're hoping that these pumps can suck up water and bring it back out to the ocean. again, this is the first time they're trying them out. we don't know how they're going to fare. this is an upscale area of the beach. you have islands even smaller than miami beach to the back of me. this storm is pounding so hard right now, it's hard to imagine what residents of those islands are going through right now, matt and savannah. >> mariana, who has been in the thick of it all morning long, thank you very much, we appreciate it. let's get another check in with gabe gutierrez who is in naples where the storm is arriving later today. >> reporter: hi, matt, good morning.
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the wind is starting to pick up here. you see the trees starting to feel it right now. we're at the beach in naples. we're seeing the water pushed away from short. county authorities now say they now expect the worst of this storm surge to happen after the eye passes naples in the next few hours. the concern is, as the governor has said, the naples area expects from 2 to 15 feet of storm surge. they're very concerned about what this could mean. right now, naples is a virtual ghost town. buildings are boarded up. it's really -- authorities have pulled first responders as these winds have picked up. again, as the eyewall makes its way near naples sometime this afternoon, the biggest concern right now is for all that storm surge, all this water that's being pushed out to sea right now is expected to come crashing into naples. the question is exactly how much of it and how much of this downtown floods, matt and savannah. >> that's gabe gutierrez in
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naples. the storm is creeping closer and closer to that area. what's the latest, dave, what can you tell us, where this is going, how long? >> the tracking doesn't so much matter at this point. we know this huge storm is overtaking the entire state of florida. what we are going to see over the next several hours is first on the southwest side of florida, from naples and ft. myers and tampa, winds will increase rapidly, very heavy bands of rain. on the back end of that, that's when the surge happens. that is the biggest concern at this point. it's remarkable considering in some cases we're going to have wind gusts up to 125 miles per hour. a storm surge in some locations, 5 up to 15 feet, that's what we're facing. that's as we head through the afternoon hours into tonight. other complicating factors are high tide. and again, as we fall into darkness, that is another issue. it is near impossible at this point for first responders to
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get out and help people. now is the time to make whatever your last ditch plan for safety is. and in most cases, that is going to be shelter in place. again, naples area, around three or four. ft. myers, six to seven. sarasota, ten to 11. >> a scary night too, when you think about the storm surge creeping up. >> listen to public officials, you have miami officials saying we are sheltered in place, we can no longer help you now. the mayor of tampa saying, we're about to get punched in the face, we've avoided a storm for 90 years. >> i think a lot of times people get accused of hyping things like this. but this is one of those circumstances where officials all throughout the state of florida, and i think the media has also done the job of getting the word out there and telling people it's not to be messed
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around with, and luckily, as away just said, people seem to have listened. lots of places on social media where people can stay in touch and connect with loved ones. >> you look at something new like snapmap from snapchat, people can zoom in and find people, look at video. there are places we just can't get with our cameras, it's not safe anymore. the world of social media has made those images available now. >> the map behind you, dave, this is a storm that's so large, it's double, triple the size of the peninsula. >> the state of florida. the effects will be felt throughout the southeast, and eventually as it creeps up, into the northeast as well. >> we'll continue to watch. we've got lester down in tampa, they'll be moving their location because unfortunately they're right where we think the water will rise. we'll continue to cover it with all of our correspondence. >> dave and willie, thanks very much. much more on this story all day long right here on nbc.
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i )m kira klapper. this special edition of )today) retu good morning. it is 8:59. i'm kira klapper. this special edition of "today" returns in just a moment. first, we want to tell you about people who escaped florida and moved to the bay area. you can hear their stories right now on our website. also on nbcbayarea.com we speak with a former bay area couple riding out the hurricane in florida. and our own vianey arana is in south florida covering irma. follow her on facebook and twitter. she's constantly posting new pictures, videos, and stories. let's check in with meteorologist rob mayeda who has a local look at the forecast. >> the weekend ending on a hot note. oakland about the low to mid-90s around san jose and close to 100 in the tri-valley. tomorrow through wednesday a chance of showers. cooler temperatures around san
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francisco. muggy conditions tuesday. a big cooldown by thursday. rob, looks good. i'll be back in a half hour with another local news update for you. >> announcer: this is an nbc news special report. hurricane irma, here's kate snow. hello, everyone. glad you can join us. we're continuing our special coverage now of hurricane irma as it comes ashore in florida. this historic category 4 monster storm which began almost two weeks ago now. thousands of miles away in the eastern atlantic. well, now, it is upon us. every bit as powerful and dangerous as predicted. the latest as rains and high winds lash much of southern florida. irma's eye has torn across the florida keys with winds as high there as 130 miles an hour. the storm is bearing down on florida's west coast. threatening a devastating storm sturge event,

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