tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 8, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
florida preparing for a direct hit from hurricane irma. with an unprecedented evacuation taking place. and residents rushing to prepare for one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. >> kind of frazzled right now. i'm very concerned. i'm hoping everybody makes it through safe. >> the beach right now, i went out this morning to look around, it's like post apocalyptic. >> i have a ticket for $700 and i refreshed and it had gone up $100. >> i had already paid $900 for a round trip ticket that they canceled and they're trying to ask me to pay another $900 ticket for one way. >> path of destruction, irma ripping through the caribbean. right now after flattening entire islands. and leaving at least 17 people dead. in the bahamas they're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best as irma approaches. >> very concerned and i prepare
like it's going to be a category 4. five days of food, two weeks' worth of water. my generator is filled up. help is on the way. the house has passed a $15.3 billion disaster aid package for hurricanes harvey and irma. which the president could be signing as early as today. >> in times such as these we see the strength and resolve of the american spirit and see the k d kindness of our people. america stands united and i mean totally united. >> while five former presidents joined forces in an unprecedented message to raise money for harvey victims. >> as former presidents, we wanted to help our fellow americans to recover. >> we've got more love in texas than water. >> we love you, texas.
good day, as we continue our breaking news coverage of hurricane irma, now a category 4 storm with 150 mile per hour winds, hurricane conditions will be felt along the south florida coastline in the next 36 hours, even before irma makes landfall early sunday morning. state and federal officials sending an urgent message, evacuate now before it's too la late. >> each storm is different because of the elements it brings with it. i can grrn you i don't know anybody in florida that's ever experienced what's going to hit south florida. >> they need to get out? >> they need to get out and listen and heed the warnings. >> long gas lines and major gas shortages are a persistent problem throughout the state. millions of residents are seeking shelter. we'll bring you a live update from florida governor rick scott and new information from
briefings. gadi schwartz, rehema ellis in the bahamas. gadi, what are you seeing, you're talking to people about the shortage and how they're trying to prepare? >> right now we are actually at the home depot that is the furthest most home depot that's open right now in the state of florida and the lines have basically dwindled because supplies have run out. those are lines for regular supplies. over here earlier there was a line that wrapped around this door for things like plywood but they have run out of plywood, they were rationing it down to five pieces per family. we've been talking a lot about the families that are evacuating, the families that are waiting for gas to try to get out of here. in this area of florida, homestead, there are a lot of people that have complicated lives. it's not so easy to evacuate. the woman that's talking to that gentleman by the door, that's a
mother, 27-year-old mother. she's got her daughter here, she's got a mother she needs to take care of. she works at burger king and doesn't have a car. a little bit earlier she was talking to us about what her plans are. she says that she's going to have to shelter in place because she has really no other option. so she was waiting for one of the last pieces of plywood. i wanted to ask, do you know what's going on in there? i know someone went in, what's the situation? >> they already sold out, so everybody -- ones that are already inside, they're the only ones that are going to get the wood. it's already sold out. everybody's trying to go to other places to find where they're selling out. here and lowe's is sold out. >> reporter: it seems like everything is closed up at this point. what's your plan? >> if anything we're going to evacuate to a shelter, a high school. if not, we're just coverage up
and we're putting up our shutters, our wood shutters. >> reporter: you were telling me your apartment is concrete, but you're worried about the roof, what are you worried about? >> my apartment is concrete. i'm worried because the roof is always -- i don't know, like two weeks ago there was like a little leak. so i'm just wondering, you know, how is it going to happen for this hurricane? they said they worked on the roof, but i don't know. i don't know what to trust anymore. >> reporter: a little bit earlier you were saying you want to protect your daughter and you want to protect your mother. she's 60. what are you hoping happens? >> we believe in the lord and hopefully, you know, it don't go that bad. but we're praying, we're going to stay calm and be inside the apartment. just try to keep everybody calm. >> reporter: is there anywhere north you can go? do you have -- >> i don't have a car. i don't have no car.
all my friends and my family, they're not answering. everybody is separating. i don't know. so if anything, worse comes to worse i'm going to be in my apartment with my daughter and mother. >> reporter: we're going to be close by, so we'll keep checking on you for the next couple of days. >> appreciate it. thank you so much. >> reporter: thank you for sharing your story. that's just one of the many stories here in homestead. a lot of times when you see people who are unable to evacuate, they've got a story behind them. ist it's something to take into consideration. there are shelters being put into place. that one she was talking to, it's filled up right now. it's almost to capacity from what we understand. right after she's done here waiting for supplies to come out, she's going to go check in to see whether or not they can get into that shelter. it's one of the stories we're hearing out here. andrea, back to you. >> thank you so much. that's a classic story in homestead and other communities
where may don't have so many options. three generations who will end up sheltering in place. what we're seeing along the beach where we find thomas roberts. more challenges closer to the water. >> reporter: there are more challenges here closer to the water. we've seen people working all day to remove types of obstacles here on the beach that would be detrimental to people like these different guard towers that have been moved all the back. there are different beach types of shacks that have been removed. we saw them taken out on oversized trucks a little bit earlier. we've seen some people that have come out to get one last look at the beach. you can see a couple right here. we've seen swimmers go in. now, at the lifeguard stands, the lifeguards are here, the beach is officially closed. there is officially no swimming. there are two red flags currently up because of the unprecedented type of event we're about to have here because of irma. we have seen people go into the water and swim. and so the guards i was talking to earlier, said that while they
have said there is no swimming, the beaches are evacuated, there is still going to be swimmers, potentially surfers that are going to come out that they'll have to ask out of the water. that ship, one of the many cruise ships that we've seen leave port today. i have never honestly seen a cruise ship move this fast as we were watching it from down the beach at the southern most point of the barrier islands here as it was taking out to the hiseaso get ahead of irma. this is one of a couple we have seen. i was speaking to another lady who was worried about storm surge. that's one of the biggest issues with this event. not only the winds of this storm, but the water it's going to bring. the suggestion, of seven to ten feet of storm surge. this tower is roughly about ten feet off the ground. imagine a wall of water coming in to miami beach that could go all the way back into and over collins avenue potentially, would be absolutely savaging to
this area of florida. we know, also, that gas has been of a premium, a commodity as we were out overnight in hollywood, florida, where gas stations were running dry. we saw long lines again this morning closer here to miami and almost a ghost town feeling here along the south beach area. where certain people working in different hotels just getting ready. the majority of folks are pretty much gone. and as the governor and also the mayor have warned, if they want to get everybody out and do so, safely. >> and thomas, it looks like a ghost town. i've never seen the beach that empty in florida. obviously, bracing for what is about to come. thank you, thomas roberts. >> reporter: it's amazing, we've never seen it like this. >> and thankfully people are taking the message. speaking of what is about to hit florida, rehema ellis is in the
bahamas. i guess it's a couple hundred miles south of you. >> reporter: thomas was talking about the concern of a storm surge of seven to ten feet. the fear here is of the storm surge from 15 to 20 feet. i'm 5'8", so twice my size, a wall of water rushing over this area. and what's happening in the bahamas right now, let me take you to some video that we got on social media, the home of the largest population of flamingoes, most people will know that about this area. and where they were hoping that people would hunker down. take a look and listen to some video from there where the storm is hitting right now. >> some water. and everything. >> reporter: they have evacuated people from the southern bahamas. they are afraid there will be nothing for them to go back to.
here, the wind is picking up. the surf is also picking up. you can see some whitecaps on the water at this point. i want to take you and look over here what some people are doing on the beach. this is a very popular area for locals and tourists to come in for the best of bahamian food. these cards, they are tied down. they are hoping this will hold when the hurricane hits here with full fury in terms of tropical storm force winds later tonight and certainly tomorrow. but i wouldn't chance it, just expecting that's going to hold up. when that feared storm surge and that wall of some 15 to 20 feet high rushes over this area. andrea? >> rehema ellis, and clearly those kinds of protections are not likely to hold if it's still as expected. 150 miles an hour and up. stay safe. and we are at miami international where people have been thronging, they've been
staying for days trying to get on flights. what are you hearing from the people lined up there, trying to get a path out? >> reporter: first of all, i'm coming to you off my iphone because our crew hasn't been able to get inside the airport. a representative told me the parking garage is overcapacity at this point because so many people have flocked here to try to get out. these seem to be the last folks, at least in this area of the airport that have a boarding pass and have a flight to get out of miami. at 5:00 p.m. today. i want to swing over here to show you you see all these folks here? look at the change in scene over here. it's practically an empty airport because so many airlines have already told passengers that if they don't have a boarding pass they should not show up here at the airport. we're told that almost 600 flights have been canceled already here at this airport because of hurricane irma. that's more than half of the
average daily traffic here at this airport. so it's a lot and it's caused a lot of disruption from what i've been able to talk to with the people here, they're trying to leave on a flight to madrid today at 5:00 p.m. they're telling me they think it's one of the last flights that will make it out. i was talking to this girl over here, she's been here since yesterday trying to get out of miami. a lot of these folks, they're not used to facing a storm like this. they're folks from abroad and they have no idea where they will go or where they will evacuate to if they can't get out of miami international. i'm going to swing around to show you, again, people just hunkered down with their families, with their pets. they've been stranded here, spent the night here, many of them trying to get as far away from the deadly storm as possible. one additional thing, personnel saying they should not consider the airport a shelter. if people are here and thinking they can ride the storm out here at this airport, they will be
evacuated. so, again, it's either get out now or find an alternative plan. andrea back to you. >> does that mean they're going to evict people in the middle of a storm from that airport where they are at least protected from the elements? if they have not found a path out. >> an airport representative told me today that this airport is not a shelter. that they are just -- they don't have the capacity to keep people safely here. that they can only sort of worry about airport personnel. and if the control tower here -- if it monitors sustained winds of 55 miles per hour, this airport will shut down and people cannot stay here. they cannot leave their cars here because, again, they cannot vouch for the security of all these passengers during this massive life-threatening storm that potentially be a direct hit on south florida. >> thanks so much for the hustle
getting in there on your iphone. msnbc weather contributor sam champion is in miami beach with a look at the latest hurricane warnings, possible paths through florida. good to see you. >> reporter: there's really not much options now, the models have been in agreement for a while now that this is a florida storm. an all florida storm as a eighty-four f category 4 storm. we're going to talk about a lot of things. the there's the eye you can see it passing between cuba and the bahamas. look at the models. we're showing your anywhere from a category 4, staying at a 4. it has 150 miles per hour winds as a category 4. don't be relaxed that you don't see a 5 there. a category 5 is 156. this is 150. there's not much difference. so as a strong category 4 making its way off the coast of cuba makes a right-hand turn towards the tip of florida.
we look at a landfall sunday at 8:00 p.m., 145 miles per hour. stronger than andrew. hitter the central keys and then moving up the center of florida. hitting all of south florida. remember, this storm is about 340 miles wide. the eye wall is 70 miles wide. long-term, this is heads up for north florida and georgia. alabama. south carolina. tennessee. kentucky. because what's left of this circulation with driving rain and wind, wind in excess of 35 miles per hour, will be in tennessee by the time we get into tuesday. so as we know, these storms are not just coastal storms, they have a lot of impact. let's talk about the impact on south florida. we'll time it out for you. saturday evening, we're looking at winds at 64 miles per hour, to 52 miles per hour from key west to miami. as you just said, if when miami airport gets a 50 miles per hour wind they shut down the airport. that happens by saturday night. the governor needs to have a
plan of what to do those people. they don't have enough shelters. that's a huge issue. by the time we get to sunday night. we've got 70 miles per hour in key west. 127 winds sunday night in miami. as the center of this storm, the eyewall of this storm moves up into land in florida. sunday evening, now, the worst conditions are from ft. myers into port st. lucie. think of the eyewall as like a curve, moving through the entire state. and here's the problem with all of this, as we watch this storm move north, there are only two ways out of the state of florida. one is the turnpike and one is 95. this storm is driving as if it were going on that path. straight up the turnpike, straight up 95. if anyone is on those roads or out in this storm at 111, 127 mile per hour winds, they're not going to make it through that storm. they need to be sheltered in that storm. telling people to leave the coast and telling people to
evacuate, that's putting a lot of people on the road and a lot of people have questioned about where do i go. you can survive the storm, you've got to get out of the way of storm surge. here on miami beach, the area behind me, the storm surge will be from 5 to 10 feet. i'm 6 feet tall, so we're talking about higher i can reach of water moving in the low lying areas. not just the east coast, also the west coast of florida will have that water. the west coast of florida needs to brace for impact like the east coast. as the storm continues to drive up the state, the water will come in behind it and the winds will be strong with that eye and just behind that eye as it moved up the west coast. all florida, all impacts. this is a storm that florida has never seen before. >> sam champion, graphically describing exactly what is about to hit the state. thank you so much. and gabe gutierrez has made his way into miami international.
the issue is what to do with all those people, gabe? >> reporter: hey there, andrea. we just got here to baggage claim at american airlines terminal 1. this is just some of the bags. the sea of bags. fill woued with belongings of pe who have been here waiting for several hours. if we can walk over here, this area was much more chaotic a few minutes ago. it was hard to get in here. there's been an announcement over the loud speaker that all stranded passengers should head to another terminal to be bussed to shelters. this was the international area. and there have been several passengers that were trying to get here, leave miami, just ahead of this storm and make it to santo demiomingo. they were told by airport employees their bags had to be locked away. they could not have access to those bags and those bags had to be stored until after the hurricane possibly on monday. some of these people were very upset that they would not be
able to access those bags. we spoke with at least two women who had medicines inside, were not allow to access them. they were very frustrated. there's a lot of confusion here, the people who had been standing here, they don't know where they'll ride out the storm. some were able to have hotels, some were not. if we walk back over here, this is a customer service desk for american airlines maybe about 10, 15 minutes ago this was full. that announcement came over the loud speaker that they now plan to bus passengers that were here to another terminal in order to bussed to shelter. there's a lot of confusion about what happens next. tens of thousands of cruse ship passengers as well. they were dumped here in south florida and now trying to figure out where to go. a lot of travel chaos at the moment as passengers try to beat this storm. what they have been finding is that they're at the airport and
they have to wait several hours while a crew gets into place. they've had around 500 flights cancel so far today. the airport says that this mia will not close unless there are safety concerns. and, really, what they're trying to get across is that this airport is not a shelter. so that -- the problem is, what happens to these stranded passengers, many of them might be tourists that were coming from across the country, hoping to get to another country. some people that maybe never had to deal with a hurricane, never expect today deal with a hurricane, they need to find out how they'll ride out the storm. i'll send it back to you and we'll try to catch up with some of those folks they're trying to bus over to the shelters. >> just get back to us if you have more information where people can't get to their bags. it just seems to me unnecessary confusion adding to the misery of everyone down there. thank you, gabe gutierrez.
craig fugate is with me now. he -- clearly the governor and everyone else is fema are doing everything they can. it seems like there are gaps at the airport where people are dumped from cruise ships and people are changing planes. don't have a plane to get out and need to get their bags. >> you know, the airport's got some time now to sort this out. i think what you'll find in a disaster. we'll run into these type of issues. we have time to sort them out and get people to safety. that's what everybody's focused on. you'll find this time and time again in big disasters where thinks happen and you'll have to deal with them as they occur. >> what about supplies? we were talking earlier to a woman in the homestead part of miami who was outside of home depot and unable to get any
plywood. are those supplies now just gone? were more able to get in? >> i doubt more supplies will get to south florida. sam highlighted something i think people need to focus on. florida is a peninsula. on the west coast we have i-75. east coast, 95, 27 the turnpike up the center. this storm will march from south florida up these highways as it moves north. even supplies that fema and the state are getting ready are not going to be able to travel south until this hurricane is out of the way. a lot of the initial response will be local responders that are in those areas and neighbors helping neighbors. as we found in previous hurricanes you cannot get on those highways until the winds get low enough so you don't blow off the trucks. >> what are you -- what is florida prepared to do? what is fema prepared to do for the elderly residents, many who do not want to leave? >> governor scott has been putting out 800 numbers for
people who need travel assistance. there are special needs shelters and medically dependent shelters. but people need to heed evacuations. again, you don't need to drive hundreds of miles. the big thing is to get out of the storm surge areas and go tens of miles as shelters are being opened up across the evacuated communities. >> and when we think of people going to these shelters, is there any way to predict how many days people will be in these shelters? we don't know if it will stall, of course. but given the current path, when it might be possible if the landfall is sunday morning around 8:00 a.m. for people to resume their lives or try to assess the damage? monday, tuesday? >> no. people need to plan for days to a week or more. this storm, if it makes landfall as forecasted, will do so much damage that many people are not going to be able to get back home for days. if they do, they're probably not going to have power. and what's going to happen is people are going to stay where
supplies can get to them. where they can stay in relative safety. you've got to get somewhere now to be safe to survive the storm. this is not going to be everything gets back to normal quickly. and that's going to vary depending upon impact. we have seen in florida, as many people lose their lives after the storm because of the extreme dangers in that environment. so get to safety, stay there, don't rush to get back home. it's going to take time. you need to mentally prepare yourself for this. get somewhere safe. right now we're focused on life safety. >> craig fugate. again, thanks to you and everything you did to reshape fema and bring it up to speed and we're seeing the results of that now, even these years later. thank you very much for your past service as head of fema. former florida governor charlie crist represents the 13th district.
thanks for being with me. you just had a briefing, tell us the latest you're hearing from emergency responders? >> much of what we've been hearing. everybody's concerned, everybody is focused and truly focused on safety. that's the most important thing. and craig fugate did a great job. he was our emergency director when i was governor as well. you know, his words of wisdom are not lost on any of us. you need to heed these warnings about evacuations. if they get a mandatory evacuation, we have one here in pinellas county, st. pete, clearwater area. for those in the low-lying areas that is. you need to listen to those and do the right thing and get out when it's safe. he's right. if you have to go to i-75 or the interstate on the other side of the state if that applies to you, if these winds are still so high, that's going to create a dangerous situation. you don't want to be involved in something like that. so listen to your local officials. make sure that you heed the warnings that are given. and just do the right thing and be prepared and be smart and
stay calm. as the storm comes to us. >> we know the president is getting a briefing as well. but what we've seen is an extraordinary response now in the capital here in d.c. where you've had bipartisan support, the house has now voted that legislation is completed the fema money is going to the president for his signature. so this is bringing people together as the president has said. >> there's no question about it in a time of need that's what we need to be doing. i hear all the time, you know, when you're in washington you guys got to work together. it makes me proud to see that happening. that's what the people want. frankly, it's what they deserve. after what we saw last week in texas with harvey, i mean, talk about a warning signal to what is approaching, apparently, florida now with irma. being prepared, appropriating
the funds necessarily so we're able to deal with this incredible storm. historic, perhaps. we need to do that and work together and it is just simply the right thing to do. and so i'm glad this is happening now. >> congressman and former governor, charlie crist. thanks so much for your help today. the current governor, rick scott is about to brief us on hurricane irma. stay with us for more about hurricane irma and the political fallout as well. dad: molly, can you please take out the trash? (sigh) ( ♪ )
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we're back with continuing breaking news coverage of hurricane irma. flofr florida is bracing for impact as forecasters are forecasting a dangerous storm despite it being do downgraded to a category 4. this after leaving a path of destruction across the caribbean. at least 17 people have died. joining me now is the acting deputy director at the national hurricane center in miami. thanks very much for your latest update. tell us about the storm.
>> the latest on hurricane irma is it remains a large and powerful category 4 hurricane. it's continuing on a west northwest path. we expect a turn to the north early tomorrow and coming up into south florida area. because of the size of irma, the hurricane winds extend out about 70 miles on either side. the hurricane winds are about as wide as the state of florida. so we're going to expect significant wind impacts along the east coast and west coast and central florida. spreading up the coast later in the day. and so we also expect a significant storm surge from hurricane irma. we have a storm surge warning from the west coach of florida up to jupiter inlet. five to ten feet of storm surge on the east coast. with a westward shift in the track, the threat to the west coast is greater now with values of six to 12 feet above ground
level. >> six to 12 feet above ground level in a state that is essentially flat. it's at sea level pretty much. what are you anticipating there in terms of potential flooding? >> yeah, there is life threatening flooding possibly along both coasts. southwest florida is especially vulnerable because there's almost no elevation rise. that's why the storm surge warnings extends well away from the coast, so that people need to know if they're in an evacuation zone. people need to know that information. >> thank you so much for the hurricane center. from noaa in miami. president trump is still getting briefed by the hurricane. $15 billion plus in aid has been
proposed. it easily passed the senate. it also raises the debt ceiling. we know the president is getting a briefing, later he goes to camp david. is there a chance he might sign the bill before he leave? i don't know the timing of when it gets delivered. >> there's a chance, the machinery of getting it delivered from the house has to go into effect. they were under pressure to get this bill done by today because fema was essentially going to be out of cash to help the folks in texas by as early as this weekend. that's very much something the president wants to get signed as soon as they can get their act together to do it. >> the president seems to be trying to build on what he's already done, cutting a deal with the democrats, of course, 48 hours ago, surprising shocking blind siding the republicans. today tweeting let's do this, essentially, by changing the filibuster rules. and doing it on tax reform. kasie hunt, that cannot be a
welcome message for mitch mcconnell and the speaker? >> reporter: i don't think at all. mitch mcconnell and speaker ryan have been put back on their heels multiple times in the last 48 hours or so by the president. and even just this morning, the house members were down behind closed doors in their conference. a lot of them were really angry. you had the treasury secretary steve mnuchin who one republican pointed out he was a democratic donor more recently than he was a republican. and you had mick mulvaney, who was elected in that 2010 tea party wave has never voted for a clean debt ceiling increase in his wilife. you had one person getting up and saying do you have more jobs if you're going to ask us to vote the debt ceiling and the context of this.
there's just so much of the usual calculus up here. at the end of the day, i think leadership has picked themselves up, dusted themselves off a little bit. there's some recognition, especially with hurricane irma bearing down, that really what americans want to see right now is a government that's functioning, that's not governing by crisis. they've avoided, of course, a potential shutdown by passing a continuing resolution as part of this. they've avoided default by passing a three month debt ceiling. essentially what they've done is shove it off until december. the president handed chuck schumer leverage in that fight. they, of course, arguing that clears the deck for tax reform. i have to tell you, it's hard to overstate the degree to which everything feels completely scrambled on capitol hill. >> one little footnote to both of you, according to the daily beast, i haven't had a chance to get on the phone and try to confirm this, but that the koch brothers are planning to go big in supporting some kind of fix for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, for daca.
this is another shifting alliance, as you were just pointing to. if the koch brothers are doing that, that's some kind of signaling to republicans on the hill that maybe there is a fix afoot for the d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> reporter: i think that's possible. industry as a whole has been in favor of trying to find a fix to help people, you know -- look, they rely on certainty, a lot of these people have been inside their companies for a long time. and mitch mcconnell is not somebody who has championed the dream act but hasn't fought it. >> thanks. we'll await word on whether the president signs it or when he signs it. he will, of course, sign this. as we await florida governor rick scott's news conference momentarily, miami is preparing for what could be a direct hit, most likely from hurricane irma, including the city zoo where staff have begun to move their residents to safer ground.
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is reporting that hurricane irma remains a dangerous and life threatening category 4 storm with winds of 150 miles per hour. a storm surge warning is in effect for sebastian inlet to venice and the florida keys. a watch is in effect from north of sebastian inlet to ponce inlet. a hurricane warning is in effect for jupiter inlet around to bonita beach. florida keys, lake okeechobee. north of bonita beach, to the river. rainfall is forecasted to be 8-12 inches with isolated areas receiving up to 20 inches of rain. based on what we know now, the majority of florida will have major hurricane impacts, with deadly storm surge and life threatening winds. we expect this along the entire
east coast and west coast. the florida keys should be pr prepared to start feeling the effects tomorrow morning. in the panhandle you will expect extreme weather. evacuations. i have ordered school buses to aid in evacuations state-wide. multiple counties have accepted the buses and i encourage any counties to evacuate residents right now. our traffic and roadways experts report the keys are heavily evacuated, all gas stations in the keys are currently closed. if you're still in the keys, get out now. we will quickly run out of good weather to evacuate. if you need any help in the state to evacuate, 800-342-3557. if you're in the keys, leave now. anywhere in the state if you're told to evacuate, leave. get out quickly.
i'm dad and a grandfather. i love my family, i can't imagine life without them. do not put yourself or your family at risk. if you've been ordered to evacuate and are still home, please go to a shelter. i encourage everyone to check on your neighbors. if someone in your neighborhood is not evacuating and should, please contact them. take care of each other. please check on your neighbors with special needs or the elderly. if you can take people in, please do it. today is the day to do the right thing for your family and get to safety. today is the day to do the right thing for your family and every family in the state to make sure that you have a plan and get to safety. this storm is wider than our entire state. expect it to cause major and life threatening impacts from coast to coast. remember hurricane andrew is one of the worst storms in the history of this state. irma is more devastating on its current path. irma has already caused multiple
fatalities in the caribbean. the storm is powerful and deadly. we are being very aggressive in our preparation for the storm and every floridian should take it seriously and be aggressive to protect their family. possessions can be replaced, your family cannot. i know it's hard to evacuate and it's very uncomfortable. i think about my mom and how hard it would have been for her to be completely broke with kids and have to evacuate. but you have to do it. you can't afford not to do it. think about your family. you have to keep your family safe. to private business owners, please be compassionate with your employees as they prepare for this storm and evacuate. i was a business owner when hurricane andrew devastated the state 25 years ago. the single most important thing right now is the safety of your employees and their families. for the remainder of the state waiting on evacuation orders, listen to your local officials. they will tell you if and when your area needs to be evacuated.
listen to them. follow the news. we can expect additional evacuations if this storm continues to come up through the state. i cannot stress this enough. do not ignore any evacuation orders. all floridians should be prepared to evacuate. lake okeechobee. based on recent forecasts, the u.s. army corp has been reviewing how the levels will be impacted. they believe there will be additional impacts from excessive wind pushing water over the dike. they have assured me that the structural integrity of the dike will not be compromised but they're worried about water flowing over the top. i ordered evacuated in the cities surrounding the southern of lake okeechobee. the decision was made because of
our sole focus on life safety. i know many of you are stuck in traffic. i ask you to be patient. evacuations are not convenient. but the goal is for them to be safe. i'm glad so many people are driving to safe places. we have intreatscreased the num troopers on highways and keep things moving down the road. we have 1,700 troopers working 12 hour shifts. these dedicated officers are 100% focused on safety and aren't taking a day off. also, all administrative duties have been suspended at fhp. this means all sworn fhp officers are on roads helping families evacuate and bringing supplies to areas of need. we have increased the number of road rangers who are patrolling roadways 24/7 to assist motorists. around the state, we have hundreds of d.o.t. workers monitoring traffic cameras at24 to insure evacuations proceed
without interruptions. all of this helps everyone that's going to evacuate. get safely where they need to go. contraflow. we still need southbound lanes to get needed gas and supplies to families that need it in the southern part of the state. contraflow inhibits our ability to gets supplies south. please drive very safely and listen to law enforcement. they're working to keep you and your family safe. realtime traffic information and evacuation routes are available at fl511.com. we're seeing bottlenecks, which brings up an important point. if you do not need to evacuate out of the state or hundreof mi away. you don't have to do that. there will be shelters all around the state. if you don't need to be on the road, get off and go to a
shelter. we are coordinating with google emergency response team prepared to close roads in google maps in the event hurricane irma forces the closure of any roads. all tolls and all the roads any. all tolls and all roads in the state have been waived. welcome centers have been transitioned to help vaccees with the most up-to-date information. visit florida's welcome center staff and they are all red cross certified and stand ready to assist as needed. if you are concerned you don't have a way to evacuate due to traffic, please call the emergency hotline. 1 hlg we will do everything possible to get you out. fuel. one of our top priorities has been fuel availability. i was alerted yesterday by vice president pence that the federal government has waved additional rules and regulations to allow more fuel to get to florida fast. i want to thank the epa, the president, the vice president,
for all their efforts to get fuel into this the state. we know there are problems with fuel at gas stations. there are escort services to get through traffic so they can get to stations faster. these law enforcement escorts have continued throughout the night and they'll go as long as possible. you have probably seen some around the state. for gas stations in evacuation zones, we need you to stay open as long as possible. so people can get fuel and get out. we will arrange police escorts for your employees so they can get out safely. so please stay open -- if you're an evacuation zone and you're a gas station, please stay open as long as you can. we all know how important fuel is. and we're devoting every state resource and the federal government is working to try to make sure we have all of the fuel we can get here. three tanker trucks delivering fuel to tampa bay yesterday -- we got three fuel tanker trucks in. each delivering 1.2 million gallons of fuel.
there are fuel supply tracks from tampa bay, everglades, directed to gas stations. as of 6:00 p.m. last night, 8.4 million gallons of fuel was shipped into port everglades, and 5 million gallons of fuel shipped into port tampa bay. we are aggressively working to move excess fuel stations in nashville to communities throughout north central florida. while we're making progress, unfortunately you're still going to see lines and unfortunately you're going to still see outages. i can't imagine how frustrating this has to be. i can just tell you, none of us are going to stop working on it. however, if you're an evacuation zone in south florida, just remember, you need to leave now. everglades will be closing tonight for safety. and gas will no longer be resupplied into south florida until after the storm. if you are concerned you do not have enough fuel to evacuate, please call the state emergency hotline. 1 hlg 800-342-3557. but you have to call now.
you cannot call in the middle of the storm. you have to call now so we can get you out. if you know you're going to a shelter in your county, you don't have to fill up your tank all of the way. so be considerate of others, because others might have to be going further away. there's a gas buddy app, it's a great resource to find stations open with fuel. all ports remain open and are operating to bring supplies in. shelters. last night i directed the closure of all schools in the state. k-12, state colleges and universities. and all state offices. from their normal activities. and it's today through monday. the goal is to ensure we have all the space available for sheltering and staging. floridans have to have access to as many shelters as possible. we're still going to see more evacuations in the northern part of the state. fortunately, over 17,000 people have signed up to volunteer. we need more volunteers. you can go to the volunteer florida website.
volunteerflorida.org to sign up. we can't thank those who have signed up enough. but we're going to need more. there's absolutely no reason for anyone not to evacuate. if you're ordered to do so. shelters are available around the state. and you should follow the directions of the local officials to go to the shelter that fits your needs. you can go to florida disaster.org/shelter to find a shelter in your county or neighboring county. if you need a hotel, you can go to expedia.com/florida. expedia is trying to help us real-time on hotel occupancy. airbnb has activated a disaster response program. if you're an evacuee in need of a place to stay or you're an air hub, airbnb host looking to open a house for an evacuee, go to airbnb.com/disaster. the florida restaurant lodge association has encouraged all hotels to waive pet policies, offer shelter and be
compassionate with cancellations. national guard. every available member of the national guard we have has been activated. law enforcement. fish and wildlife conversation has prepared search and rescue teams for search and diplomat and has 200 officers standing by based on potential storm impacts. we have been reaching out to law enforcement across the state to make sure they have resource to say keep people safe. utility providers. they are active throughout the state and neighboring states. we all know how important both fuel is and how important power is going to be. we will aggressively work with utilities to make sure if you lose power to get your power back on as quickly as possible. i want to thank the governors of other states that have provided -- every time i have asked for something, they have provided it. i know the entire country is behind us. i know the president is behind us. and we have the best first responders in the country spread throughout the state and neighboring states ready to help. but we are running out of time.
this storm is almost here. if you're in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. this is a catastrophic storm that this state has never seen before. we can rebuild your house. you can get your possessions again. we cannot rebuild your life, and we cannot rebuild your family. protecting life is our absolute top priority. there will be no resource or expense spared to protect a family. florida is tough. florida is resilient. florida is unbreakable. we all have to stay together and help each other. florida is an amazing melting pot of loving people and i'm proud to be governor of this great state. [ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ]
and joining me now by phone is the former commandant of the u.s. coast guard, who directed the federal response to hurricanes katrina and rita. tell me whether you believe that they are on track in terms of the emergency response and fema and what they have done so far, from what you can tell. >> andrea, there is extraordinary efforts going on with the governor in the state of florida. you heard craig fugate earlier. this is a very, very tough situation. people really need to pay attention to the governor. i think the real issue here is increasing complexity of these events and the additional coordination it takes to be responsive to the amount of people, the amount of infrastructure and the breadth of the environment when these things occur. >> and at this stage, what message can you deliver? you've been there.
you've done this so many times. how do you get people to take this as seriously as they need to, if they have the means to get out? >> i don't think you can be more direct than the governor has just been. the storm doesn't create preconditions. once the storm hits, you've pretty much got to stand pat with the hand you've got. and if it's a poor hand, you're going to lose. and these people really need to pay attention to their leaders. they're doing the best they can. this is the best prelandfall leadership in the state of florida than i've seen in my career and people need to listen. >> and at this stage, what more can be done? i mean, they've been warned to not hit the highways if we are now at the point of landfall, because it's going to hit. both of those northbound main roads, both east and west side of the state. so at that stage, everyone should just shelter in place? >> you need to get away from the
storm surge, reduce your exposure to high winds, and get in a structure that is as fortified as you can. >> and i guess the final warning is those people who are right along the coast, where we're hearing of 6 to 12 feet, especially on the west side of the state. of the flood zone. is there anything more that they can do to protect their homes? >> well, at this stage of the event and life cycle, if you hadn't got some things done well ahead of time, this includes preparations that really take thoughtful planning, you're going to have to deal with the situation you're in. as difficult as that may be. >> all right. thank you so much. the former commandant of the coast guard, thad allen, thank you for your expertise. we are thinking about all those in the storm zone, throughout the caribbean. that does it.
we'll continue throughout this weekend on msnbc. that does it for our edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us on twitter,@mitchellreports and follow us online as well on facebook. craig melvin is up next right here on msnbc. craig? >> hey there, andrea. we'll pick things up now. good afternoon to you. craig melvin here, msnbc headquarters. florida bracing for impact. here's the warning from the national weather service. their language, not ours. quote, storm surge of 5 to 10 feet possible for all of south florida. some buildings will collapse into the sea. the advisory goes on to warn, some areas near landfall will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. time running out for folks trying to evacuate by land and air. traffic, as you can see here, getting heavier and heavier. gas is now in short supply along the evacuation routes. the storm unlike any we have ever seen before.