situation. if you've been ordered ed ted evacuate, you need to leave now. do not wait. evacuate. not tonight. not in an hour. you need to go right now. if you're in an evacuation zone, leave. >> the time is running out to make that decision to leave. good morning, i'm ali velshi bringing you live coverage of hurricane irma from msnbc headquarters here in new york city. the latest this hour though, hurricane irma is now a category 4 storm, pounding cuba with fierce winds of up to 130 miles an hour. final preparations are under way across virtually the entire state of florida. georgia has ordered mandatory evacuations along its coast. landfall is expected in the florida keys within 24 hours. forecasts this morning have shifted the storm slightly to the west, and that is putting the keys and the state's western coast in irma's crosshairs. joining me now is wnbc
meteorologist raphael miranda who i saw a few minutes ago studying the latest on hurricane irma. >> there have been significant changes through the overnight, even right now, this is turning into an hour by hour now casting situation. irma is looking much less healthy. i'll show you how the storm is looking. you can see on the satellite picture doesn't take a trained meteorologist to understand this. when you see the reds, those are the coldest cloud tops, the more powerful thunderstorms look at them just vanishing over the past 24 hours as cuba really does a number on the strength of irma, messing with the organization. it's hard to find the eye now. we are seeing a weakening storm. this is good news. this is what we wanted, more interaction with cuba. this will be better for florida, of course cuba's expense here but looking at a weaker storm gradually moving toward florida. still a category 4. i wouldn't be surprised if we see an update to that at 11:00. maximum winds 130 miles per hour as of the 8:00 a.m. advisory and moving toward the west-northwest
around 12 miles per hour. let's take a look at the latest track again the keys in the eye of the storm as you head into the overnight into sunday morning, maybe regaining strength here. the waters are still very warm. even though the hurricane is weakening now it may regain some of that intensity and then this is the big change to the track that westward shift potential landfall somewhere from ft. myers, naples up towards tampa, that would be tomorrow afternoon, or sunday night even into monday, and then eventually weakening as it moves to the southeast as a tropical storm, picking up outer bands moving into south florida, torrential downpours, marathon winds gusting over 30 miles per hour and the keys feeling the effects in terms of the winds. this say large hurricane, we've talked about the massive size. the yellow is the tropical storm, the red color here those are your hurricane force winds. i'm stopping this at 7:00 tonight, hurricane force winds already moving into the keys, and then eventually into places
like miami county, dade county, key west, 11:00 tonight you see those hurricane force winds, the storm surge moving onshore there and southwest florida you start to foo el that by tomorrow morning, conditions are going downhill along the southwest coast as that storm surge moves up the coast towards naples. this is by 1:00 tomorrow, could be some of the wort weather in places like ft. myers and naples. the east coast of florida we'll see a storm surge as well as destructive winds coming in off the water there pushing the water onshore and that will continue through sunday evening. we're talking about storm surge warnings, how much could we see? it's still up to 12 feet especially for that southwest coast of florida, 8 to 12-foot storm surge, 5 to 10 for the keys and less as we head up towards the east coast but again the maps are very impressive, all of the storm surge, this is over nine feet when you see this red color here. as we get the next advisory coming in at 11:00 we'll have new information, this is going
to be every few hours this forecast will change bit by bit. >> just because of the size of this storm the size, the speed of the winds and that storm surge, southeastern florida is not out of danger, so for those people who have not evacuated southeastern florida who have said this thing is going to the west it's not going to hit me, it's clearly going to hit them. >> it will. they're not going to see the worst of the catastrophic damage in southeast florida but it will still be life-threatening storm surge, wind damage, power outages, we'll see all that because of the size of the storm. >> raphael we'll catch up with you throughout the course of the morning and afternoon. gadd gadi schwartz, what are you looking at? >> reporter: this is an area ravaged by hurricane andrew 25 years ago. let me switch the camera here. you see the subdivision we're in, the houses are very
protected, they are concrete condominiums and sandbags in front of them. you've got the storm shutters up. it looks like metal storm shutters for most of the houses here. there are a lot of people that are staying here. they're staying put and they've got families coming to this particular subdivision to stay here because the homes they feel are safe enough to withstand this storm. this is a subdivision that was built about 12 years ago, hurricane andrew hit 25 years ago, so after hurricane andrew hit, a lot of the building codes were changed, so they could withstand hurricane force winds and i'm going to show you up the way here, there are homes that are protected obviously, there are also cars that are protected. we've been talking to some of the residents here. they say that they don't anticipate a lot of flooding in this area. this is on the cusp. it's not technically an evacuation zone. we understand right now that could change in the next couple of days. this is interesting as we take
the corner here, look right up ahead this house that's red, you've got the van and then you've got the car right next to it. if we pull in just a little bit closer you can see it's covered in plastic wrap and right there on the windows that's cardboard. this is a house that is preparing and obviously that car is preparing for debris, they're trying to protect the windows from debris, some of the stuff we're seeing. ali? >> gadi we'll stay in touch with you and the sunny skies around miami have turned rainy at least on the southern part of the florida peninsula. thanks to gadi schwartz. we turn to mariana atencio in brickell, a suburb of miami. it has high-rises, construction sites and cranes. there are some particular challenges facing that community. >> reporter: the biggest challenge here, a, i will the
storm surge we were hearing the governor reference i want our cameraman to point over here. we're already seeing this water pick up considerably. one or two feet at least, and if what perexperts say we might ge six to ten feet of storm surge you can imagine if this is what it looks like now what will happen to all of these buildings right here on my right. they are likely to get flooded if we see the storm surge. as you were mentioning this is usually a bustling area of miami. the financial epicenter of this city it looks like a ghost town right now. you can see there's some policemen behind me. they've been patrolling every corner making sure that people are heeding evacuation orders, and that they're staying indoors. they tell me that when sustained winds reach 43 miles per hour, they can't be patrolling the streets anymore, so they just have just a couple of hours to make sure that everyone is safe, and that everyone has what they need so they can just head in. i don't know if you is ayou that water splash over our camera
right there, this is picking up very, very quickly, and we were just in miami beach before coming to brickell, where everyone is under mandatory evacuation orders and we spoke to some folks who say they are not leaving. they're riding the storm on the beach in the barrier island. i with a tonight play some sound from that from earlier this morning. let's listen. sir, you've decided not to evacuate here in miami beach. >> my wife and i marcella decided to stay at the storm in miami beach. >> reporter: the entire city is under mandatory evacuation orders. the mayor said this say nuclear hurricane that we're facing. >> i know. it might not be thee smartest thing but we're doing it. it's quite cool ocean drive is totally empty. we feel 100% comfortable with our decision. we'll find out monday if it's the right one. it's a condo, strong building, i'm not in the slightest bit
worried. >> reporter: still ali for those people who want to leave, there's a small window of opportunity to do it, and again this is not a storm to play around with. ali, back to you. >> mariana, and of course the fact that the storm has tilted a little bit to the left, to the west has probably got guys like the one you spoke to thinking i thought it wasn't going to be dangerous and now i'm pretty sure it's not going to be dangerous. again this is a very, very dangerous storm that's coming to where you are and i know at some point mariana you'll have to take shelter as well. marinaia atencio in miami. philip menna is in hollywood, north of where mariana is there. what is the situation up there? >> reporter: i'm at hallandale beach where the police have started to sweep this area and make sure that people are off of it. we are under a mandatory evacuation here in hollywood, and they for the most part
people heeded that advice and taken off but in the last hour or so we saw a couple dozen people start to show up and take pictures. it started to look picturesque and they were trying to take advantage of the last few moments they had before it really started to get bad but again we see the winds picking up a little bit, we see the waves a little higher, they're crashing a little further. just in the last hour or so we've seen this tide that has come up, right by my feet here, 20 feet or so just from an hour ago, so we see the beginning of the storm to come and it is going to be very dangerous. we heard the governor talking about earlier that once this thing hits, no one is going to be saved, so that's why they wanted to get everybody off of here and the people here they will have hunkered down and going to hope for the best. >> let me give people an idea of you are. the buildings behind you would be sunny isles, to your left is
the colorful water tower that people will know, the hallandale beach water tower and to your north, you're right on the border between hallandale and hollywood. >> let's look at that. that's it right there. >> hollywood is north of you. >> reporter: yes, exactly. you got that exactly right. so they're trying to evacuate this entire area because i was just talking to one of the officers now and he was saying this surge basically is a wind tunnel. you start to pick up high winds and combine that with the storm surge and have a bad situation you're not outrunning with a vehicle. >> there are buildings as far as the eye can see through hallandale, sunny isles, close to where mariano is. when you have the storm comes in, a different situation than when hurricane andrew was there because many of the buildings around you were not there. there are big condos. i'll ask you to point to the building behind to you show our
viewers what they've done with the new construction is built it up from. the first four, five, six seven stories of the buildings tend to be parking structures and the residences start higher up so they've built these things to expect a good deal of flooding. >> reporter: that's right but at the same time, the winds are going to be a lot more intense the higher up you go so they also face that danger as well. it's best for everyone to have just gotten out. we saw a few of the buildings down there that had been boarded up whether with plywood or metal shutters and people decided to stick it out with neither and they can only mope for the best. >> stay safe, we'll continue to get reporting from you about the people remaining and the safety plans in place in southern florida. let's bring in paul douglas, founder and senior meteorologist of arris weather. paul, you and i have been talking about this. you said this was going to be more serious. the worry here is that, as it
has shifted west, those people in the much bigger population centers on the southeastern side of florida like the one that mariana was just speaking to are saying i can ride this out. is this is a very serious storm. >> it is, and you're absolutely right, ali, we don't want to give the wrong impression. it doesn't look quite as apocalyptic for miami and southeastern florida as it did say 48 hours ago, and the great irony many of the people who escaped, who fled the atlantic coast moved to the gulf coast, and it looks like the gulf coast is going to take more of a direct hit. this could hit tampa as a category 3 or category 4. tampa bay is the most vulnerable metro area in the entire nation when it comes to storm surge flooding more so than miami and even new orleans. 700 miles of beautiful sugar sand beaches, the problem, ali, tampa bay serves as a funnel.
it magnifies the storm surge. it enhances that rise of water and we have a graphic to show you what eight feet of storm surge looks like, what 12 feet of storm surge looks like. it's unimaginable to most people. tampa has not been hit directly by a hurricane since 1921. there's a consulting firm in boston, karen clark and company, they did a big study a couple years ago, a category 4 storm the size of katrina hitting tampa could produce $175 billion in damage. pinellas county second only to new orleans when it comes to low land elevation and flood risk. so with each passing hour, the computer models seem to be unified, converging on a track right up the gulf coast, naples, sarasota, ft. myers, and tampa st. pete, and i'm really worried about what might happen in tampa, especially late tomorrow, and sunday night. >> paul, you showed us that
graphic. let me show it to our viewers on this wall behind me and give you a sense what have that kind of storm surge is. i'm 5'10". that's what we're talking about, a storm surge that pushes in, not just the height of the wa r water, it pushes in with remarkable force and the storm surge goes back out so it's a double whammy for property, for cars, for debris, and for people, so this isn't something to take lightly, paul. we have a combination of things here. people who think about hurricanes think about the wind. if we've learned nothing from harvey and by the way from katrina it's that the wind is one part of the problem, in southeastern florida, in southwestern florida, they have in many cases built things up to tolerate high winds. it's much harder to deal with as you said building things up to tolerate high flooding. >> it's the water that kills people and causes most of the damage, absolutely. >> paul douglas, we'll continue the conversation. thank you for joining us. coming up next we'll talk to
hurricane irma is racing toward florida, where more than a quarter of the state's population has been ordered to evacuate. the national weather service is warning nowhere in the florida keys will be safe telling residents via twitter "this is as real as it gets." joining me is chuck lindsay, city manager of marathon, florida, located in the florida keys. chuck you and i spoke late last night. you were going to meet with other city officials in the keys and make some decisions as to whether you and firefighters and rescue workers and police are
remaining in the keys or you're going out. what's the decision? >> yes, ali, good morning. there's a collaborative effort under the great leadership of our county emergency manager and came up with the determination to shift our emergency services personnel out of the path of the storm, so as far as the middle keys where we were looking at being on the worst side of it, we're shifting our folks a little further north in the florida keys. we'll still be in the florida keys but out of its path. we'll watch it and work closely with noaa and determining if we need to continue shifting. right now we have to stay as close as we can to get back and assist those resident that failed to evacuate. >> your fear is what about staying, that the roads are going to be underwater perhaps or things are going to be down and your people, your rescue workers, your city officials are
not going to be able to move around and get things prepared for either people to return or get people out who have decided to stay. >> that's part of it, but with the information we're getting from you know, noaa and truly the science behind this is, just general safety, you know, or safety in general. having my folks in the path of a potential category 5 hurricane something that we haven't seen down here in, well as far as i know we've ever seen down here is not worth it. the lives of my people, there's not, every single one of them is more important to me than that, and i got to get, we got to get them to a safe location so we can get back and help people. >> you are staying close. you're going as far out to avoid the worst of it but staying close. where do you all stay? >> right now we're transiting northbound, looking at shelter location between islamorada and the keys.
at this point we're still in the keys but the track is looking, we'll be in much reduced wind and reduced storm surge, which puts us in a very good position to protect our people and then get back very, very quickly. i know the county emergency manager is working closely with the state and talking to governor scott. right now hopefully the plan will be to get air assets to get us and clear our runways and get to helping people and rebuilding after this is over. >> what's the infrastructure situation in marathon over the time that since hurricane andrew has hit? we just spoke to our reporters in southeastern florida around miami and hallandale and hollywood and all the new construction there they've taken into account storm surges and high winds. have the keys been able to change any infrastructure to adapt to this type of a hurricane? >> absolutely. the keys, we have the highest building standards some of the highest building standards in
the country. the majority of our homes and our buildings are rated to 1 180-mile-an-hour wind, if they were built after such time. so we have a lot of new construction that should do fairly well pending on the intensity of this storm but again when you start talking about a category 5 hurricane, you start to get gusts up over 185, 200 knots, it's hard for what will happen. to be honest not being able to predict it tells us we need to keep our people safe. you can't be there to rescue folks if something happens to you. >> that's 100% correct and a message that's going out to people through florida that when the winds get to a certain level the rescuers can't be out there risking themselves because every rescuer has to be responsible for a lot of people. chuck it's a wise decision. we'll stay with you and on top of the situation in marathon and the keys and florida.
let's stay in close touch over the next 24 hours, chuck lindh lindsey. miami mayor thomas regalado, you said last night you were satisfied many people had been heeding the warnings about irma. now you have a little bit of good news in the latest forecast that they are not going to hit hopefully miami as seriously as you thought. what's your thinking on it right now, mayor? >> we just got lucky, ali, because we were prepared for the worst. as a matter of fact, we prepared all year round, but we wouldn't be prepared for a direct hit from irma as the conditions it has now, so we just got lucky. however, we are going to get for sure hurricane force winds and storm surge, and i think that we
need forward thinking here. we need to do something not only about shelters and about emergency management, but about things that prepare us in terms of the future. now it's a fact. this isn't fake news, ali. >> yep. >> this is fact that is happening, and you know, i know that miami is just a dot on the map of the united states, but imagine this. imagine downtown miami and brickell and all the buildings in miami beach and key biscayne, billions of billions of dollars, had we had a direct hit, insurance companies, you will be talking about insurance companies next week moving out of florida. so we have to not spend but invest in the future. we have to understand that we need to do things regardless of
the hurricane season. we need to have public parks to drink water. we need to have the state-of-the-art pumps, so this is something that needs to be addressed. if washington doesn't want to do it, we will do it by ourselves. i think it's a national conversation because miami is one of the most exposed assets in the united states because of the coastal area and the investment of developers, so this should be a lesson for everybody in the united states. >> i think you're absolutely right, this is an opportunity to think about how we build, how we mitigate rising sea levels and climate change and it's not fake news but mayor you've got a lot of work to do in your state. lot of people are doing very hard work right now to alleviate the suffering that south florida is going to have, but they don't necessarily share your view that this may be an issue of a
now part of the way that noah or the national oceanic and atmospheric administration prepares for hurricanes like irma is by sending pilots right into these storms and one of those pilots joins me now, lieutenant dave cowan from lakeland, florida. i believe you just landed out of a hurricane run? >> yes, sir. >> what are you flying into those things? >> yes, sir, we just landed about 20 minutes ago. say again, i'm sorry? >> what do you fly into the hurricanes? >> so behind me you see the noaa gulf stream 4 hurricane hunter
and our job is to fly the high altitude research portion of the hurricane mission to better forecast the track of the storm. >> that is very helpful to us in really understanding where these storms are going and how they're built. but how exactly, most people who fly on airplanes would say isn't that remarkably dangerous, aren't your wings going to fall off and plane tossed around? how do you fly through a hurricane? >> there is some level of risk involved but we've got some pretty talented group of individuals here that have been doing this for a long time. we have the appropriate safety measures in place, the appropriate aircraft we're flying to do these things. the way we hand tell with the high altitude aircraft we fly 41,000 to 45,000 feet, several thousand feet over where commercial airline traffic fly. we launched these radiosondes into the places where data is
sparse and this information is fed to the hurricane center in miami, florida, and ultimately ingested into the forecast models in near real time. we a myriad of other research equipment on board the aircraft including a tail doppler radar which you see on the back of the aircraft and other sensors on board which help forecasters ultimately determine and sort of improve the way that we're doing hurricane forecasting. and ultimately that's all provided down to the local emergency managers for you, me and everyone else around here to decide when it's time to leave. >> we're looking on the left of your screen at video of a plane like yours and some of the video imagery that they've got above the storm. can you make determinations by flying above the storm on your own or is that these things that you drop into the storm that collect that data and send them to the places that churn that information out? is there something you see by seeing the storm that you actually report in? >> not so much from a visual
point of view but the bulk of the information is done from the dropsondes itself and the research data we're checking on board the aircraft. earlier this weekance was sprea. once the data was ingested into the models you could see right away the model guidance tightened up and became much clearer where this thing was going to go and every day we operate both of our aircraft, not only just the g4 you see behind me but p3 orion which is fighting the good fight inside the storm it helps where it's going to go. >> for those people who say hey, the media and forecasters have gotten these things wrong in the past, with each passing year between the technology advancements and you guys flying your planes into the storms, we are getting better at this. at this point, the forecast for the next 24 hours is pretty solid. >> i would say it's definitely every day that we fly and every day that we collect information
the forecast gets better and better. you're absolutely correct, 20 years ago the forecast was very different than what it looks like now. i can't speak to specific improvements per se. i'm one of the pilots on board, not an actual scientist but we are moving in the right direction and every year we get better and better forecasting hurricanes. >> i bet that's why you have a lot of the friend, "i'm just one of the pilots." you're one of the pilots that flies into a hurricane. thank you for all do you and for making things safer for all of us. you're certainly not just a pilot. thank you to all of you. how is south florida preparing for hurricane irma? we'll hear from the mayors of key biscayne, homestead and key west. keep it here on msnbc.
you're watching special live coverage of hurricane irma, now barreling toward florida, as a category 4 hurricane. its wind speed had slowed slightly to 130 miles per hour, that's because it made landfall in cuba overnight, and has been spending time over cuba, where it has been weakening a little bit, but it is expected to restrengthen as it goes back over water, before taking a slightly westward path straight through the entire state of florida tomorrow. nearly 19 million people are currently under hurricane watches and warnings in florida, and in neighboring states with evacuation orders extending to nearly 6 million people. this is one of the biggest evacuations in u.s. history. key biscayne, florida, small island near miami is preparing for the worst. joining me is the mayor of key biscayne, maya pena lindsey. you and i have been in touch,
you are a barrier island and recommending people leave because you're not going to be able to help them once these winds pick up. >> that's right, we're in a mandatory evacuation zone and we in fact have evacuated in a high ridge in miami proper pretty close to key biscayne so we can go in for rebuilding and whatever we need to do after the storm, so we are out and our first responders are gone. >> you know the new forecasts are indicating slightly lower winds but your concern has largely been the storm surge. >> exactly. and we are in the month of september, which is traditionally the king tide, so it's the highest tides and full moon cycle right now, so the surge is a real threat. >> what information do you have about people who elected to remain on key biscayne?
>> they can still get out. it is still okay to leave, and if not, please register with our police departments so they at least know where they are as soon as we get in, we will be checking on the few residents that stay to make sure that they are alive and well. >> that part is really, really important, that if you're staying, let someone know particularly authorities, let them know you're staying. key biscayne is roughly on average five feet above sea level. you're looking at storm surges of up to ten feet at the moment, and that could change. what happens from an infrastructure perspective if you get a ten-foot storm surge in let's assume that the wind damage is minimal. does the access to key biscayne get affected? are you worried about the bridges and the infrastructure? >> well, absolutely. we are connected to the mainland by a series of bridge. one of the brings in particular, bearcut bridge is structurally obsolete. eight a very low profile, so a storm surge can actually lift
the bridge bed from the piles and displace it. so we may not have a way to get home even if it's not a wind event, the surge could really cause, could destroy the access to key biscayne. >> what plans have you made for that? how long are your city officials expecting at this point based on current information to not be in key biscayne? >> we will try to inspect the bridges monday or tuesday to make sure that they are safe to access, and we will take it you know, from there. we don't know what to expect, but actually the bridge is owned by miami-dade county, so it is multiple jurisdictions, and it could get quite complicated. >> the' important for people either thinking of leaving key biscayne after the storm or going back into key biscayne after the storm or anywhere that is an island that is connected
by bridges, make sure authorities check those bridges are safe to use. mayor mayra pena lindsay, we will continue to stay in touch. >> thank you very much. homestead, florida, you know the name on florida's southeastern tip it was wrecked by hurricane andrew 25 years ago, it got a direct hit when andrew came ashore. joining me is mayor jeff porter. mayor, you are bracing for another big one, albeit hopefully not as big as it might have been 24 hours ago but still going to be big. set the scene. what is it like in homestead right now. >> well earlier today we've already had a pretty heavy feeder band come through that's knocked some tree limbs and some trees and bushes over already so we've seen a little bit of impact, some of the heavier rains like i said before the sun came up this morning but i think we're, we've done this before. not everybody that's been here has been through andrew but
there's still a lot of people that still live here that remember what it was like to go through a major storm, so i think we're much better prepared than we were 25 years ago. let's just put it that way. >> certainly any new construction is going to be better. the codes are stronger, but did you, do you have people like we just spoke to the mayor of key biscayne, people who have not left? >> yes, we do. there are some people that have stayed either by choice or because they just really didn't have anyplace else to go. some people have left and gone to shelters. they've also been watching the motion of this storm tracking a little more westerly. as far as the eye wall is concerned that is the worst portion of the storm but we're also in i guess it's the northwest, i mean northeast quadrant which is the right-hand side of the storm, is usually the more intense side of the storm. >> right. that's right >> so that realistically is
going to pass over us. >> that is important for people to remember that as the body of the storm does shift a little bit west, this is one big storm. it is double the size at least of andrew and it's still packing quite a punch. you're not out of danger. you're just maybe not going to get the worst of it like did you with andrew. >> that's right. we're not backing down through any of our exercises that we planned for as if the storm would have passed directly over us. we're continuing on protecting the community, protecting the citizens. we've in the last few years been able to build a category 5 shelter for our police department and our city hall is a new category 5 structure so we brought our essential employees in and their families are taken care of so that during and post whatever happens through this storm we can hit the ground running and our employees will
be satisfied and comfortable that their families are safe and taken care of, so we're planning for the worst, but certainly hoping and praying for the best. >> mayor jeff porter of homestead, florida, we are praying and hoping with you and we'll stay in close touch with you throughout the storm here on msnbc. thank you for joining us, mayor. much more coverage of hurricane irma right after the break. you're watching msnbc.
welcome back. you are watching special coverage of hurricane irma as irma barrels across the caribbean toward florida. local officials are bracing themselves or life-threatening storm surges, punishing winds, heavy rain. hurricane irma is now one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the atlantic basin, and our coverage continues. keep it right here at msnbc.
this is a deadly storm. and our state has never seen anything like it. >> all right. that warning was issued this morning from governor rick scott of florida as hurricane irma barrels toward south florida where it is expected to make landfall in less than 24 hours. the storm is now pummelling the north coast of cuba, after arriving overnight with winds up to 155 miles an hour and ten-foot high storm surges. irma's already cut a path of destruction through the caribbean where so far it's claimed the lives of 23 people. we're expecting a new update on the hurricane very shortly. i want to bring in wnbc meteorologist rafael miranda. >> yeah, we're awaiting that in minutes. i want to take you to the weather wall and what we're looking at. as of 8:00 a.m. it was a category 4 storm, but we've seen a lot of weakening going on this
morning. a lot of interaction with cuba. it's not looking like the same healthy storm we were tracking. the core of the storm flirting with the coastline there. that's hard for the storm to deal with and it cuts off from its energy source which of course is the warm water. again, the track takes a category 4 storm through the straits of florida here making landfall some time tomorrow. southwest florida, potentially up towards the tampa area. and this is our main storm surge concern. we're talking about the storm surge that could be devastating for the gulf coast of florida, but still tracking the storm surge threat for the east coast even though it looks like the worst will remain over the gulf coast. here's the satellite radar, satellite picture, you can see the eye becoming harder and harder to find. if the water emerges into the warm waters, these waters are around 90 degrees, we could see that eye reform and regenerate and then again we have a category 4 storm moving up the coast. even though the storm has weakened for now, that may change later on tonight. now, we're talking about a storm
surge of 8 to 12 feet, that's for the southwest coast of florida, and rainfall up to 20 inches. and those category 4 winds, that's tomorrow morning. for the southeast florida, places like west palm beach and miami, a storm surge of 5 to 10 feet possible, same story for the keys where a direct impact is expected later on tonight. west central florida storm surge of 3 to 8 feet towards the tampa area. this wouldn't happen until late sunday, maybe even in the overnight into monday. we're dealing with this storm for days. and this is even working its way into the georgia area. torrential rainfall possible 5 to 10 inches there. we've been watching the winds ramping up throughout the morning, still flirting with tropical storm speeds in many spots, miami, we have a wind gust of 28 miles per hour. watching these outer feeder bands coming on in bringing that very heavy rain. now, these are the latest hurricane models and you can see this is overnight into tomorrow morning. the center of the storm passing right by the florida keys. and i'll set this into motion. this is tomorrow afternoon. so this is a slow mover tomorrow during the day, potentially making landfall somewhere around
the naples, ft. myers area, tomorrow afternoon, pushing that water onshore. and it just rides up the coast. you can see very good agreement with the hurricane models on where this storm is headed. i think one of the questions is how strong will it be versus the path. and this is 9:00 a.m. monday dealing with the storm in the panhandle of florida. this is going to be one that we're going to be following for quite some time, ali. >> you were showing the winds right now around 28-mile-per-hour gusts in miami. the authorities all through south florida have said once those winds get to 35, 40, 45, nobody's going out to help anybody. >> that should happen later on today, ali. >> all right. wnbc's rafael miranda staying with us this morning. we're expecting a brand new storm track to come out any moment now with new information. we have seen this storm tilting a little bit to the west over the western peninsula of florida. we got much more coverage of hurricane irma up next.
good morning. i'm ali velshi. we're closely monitoring hurricane irma as it surges towards southwest florida with wind speeds up to 130 miles per hour. right now the category 4 storm is pummelling cuba devastating the island's northern province with waves up to 23 feet high. as irma creeps close tore mainland united states, the national hurricane center warns that restrengthening is anticipated. the storm center is right now 225 miles from miami. it's expected to reach southern florida by early tomorrow morning, possibly bringing life-threatening storm surges that could top 12 feet in some places. but the florida keys are already feeling the power of the storm's
outer bands. see these pictures bringing wind gusts of 60 miles per hour. about 5.6 million floridians have been ordered to evacuate, making it the largest evacuation in the state's history. and you can see those outer bands of the storm now hitting southern florida. irma has already proven fatal in the caribbean where it left at least 23 people dead and destroyed several islands in its wake. and they are not in the clear yet as category 4 storm hurricane jose barrels toward the northern leeward islands, including the u.s. virgin islands. we've just got news in on the latest report that this is now being called a category 3 hurricane that has weakened while it has spent time above cuba. that typically happens over land. noaa does suggest it could restrengthen as it goes out over the straits of florida. but at the moment it is now been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane. again, don't let that fool you because it could restrengthen
and is anticipated to restrengthen as it heads north away from cuba to florida. joining me now is nbc's gotti schwartz, i think it was your pictures we were looking at when we were speaking to the mayor of homestead as you had been driving through there. irma is expected to be worse than andrew in certain ways. what lessons has homestead learned and that we can all learn from homestead? rrtd it's all about building codes here. i'm going to show you a mobile home park that was completely destroyed during andrew 25 years ago. but you were just talking about how this is now a category 3 hurricane. and it is still over 100 miles away from our location, but we're seeing these bands come through. i don't know if you can see this here, but that right there, that blue dot is where we're at right now. and you see those reds come over. again, we are over 100 miles away from this hurricane. these are the outer bands, and
we're already seeing these winds that are extremely strong. we just saw a transformer blow a little while ago, took out some power down the street. and that's -- that kind of shows just how powerful this can be and we're not even close to the hurricane right now. i'm going to show this front camera here. we're turning into what used to be a mobile home park. 25 years ago this was filled with mobile homes. and you can see it was completely flattened. all that's left are these concrete slabs, these concrete slabs are basically all that remains of these homes that were completely obliterated by andrew. so this is a community that really understands and really knows the power of these hurricanes. the mayor earlier was talking about how they have rebuilt since. the new city hall can withstand category 5 hurricanes. and so that's something that they have taken into consideration when rebuilding. we've been to some areas of town where all that they are building now is concrete homes and homes
that have reinforced shutters made out of metal. so that's something we've seen, but then you've got this place here that is kind of a testament to the power of a hurricane. it's something that people in homestead drive by regularly. so the power of andrew and the power that irma could bring is still fresh in people's minds. >> all right. and this is important because when people talk about even the economic damage of hurricane andrew, it is so much different these days. if hurricane andrew had landed today, two things would happen is, one, that amount of damage would be greater because there are more people and more buildings, but to your point a lot of the weak structures are gone. and a lot of the new structures that have been built can actually withstand the wind power of hurricanes. but, gotti, the storm surge and flooding is still the thing that takes lives. >> reporter: absolutely. and one of the other things is we do see a lot of buildings
that are reinforced, but i've got to tell you there are some places, we've passed a few mobile home parks right now and it's the same situation as it used to be. so there are places that are very prepared and there are also places that aren't as well prepare, ali. >> gotti schwartz, i want to ask you where you're going. because people always wonder about what we reporters think when we're out in these kinds of things. at some point these things are hitting you. these outer bands. it's getting windier. sea levels are coming up. where are you going to go to seek shelter when the worst of this comes in so i can talk to you on the other end of it? >> so when the worst of this comes in we're actually planning on being in florida city. and we're going to be kind of at the eoc, the emergency operations center. it's at their city hall, it's where the police station is, it is also a public building that is built to withstand these hurricane force winds. so that's where we're going to be hunkering down with the police and with the mayor when the worst of it hits. >> all right, gotti, stay safe. thanks for your great reporting
on this. nbc's gotti schwartz joining us in homestead. joining me now al roker is in ft. myers, florida, which is where this thing for the moment is headed. al, tell us what the latest says. >> reporter: i'll tell you what's interesting, ali, right now, i mean, this is a beautiful day. we were in miami are lester holt and last night when we got the 11:00 briefing that it was going to look like it was really going to stay west we decided to get in our cars and drive out here. and that's where we are now. and i think lester's on his way as well. but as you mentioned, we do have a big change coming in the forecast. the 11:00 national hurricane center briefing just in and it's now a category 3 storm, 125-mile-per-hour winds. it's 175 miles south of key west. but here's the deal, do not things are getting better, it's weakening. it's been over cuba, over land
now, for the last 12 hours. so it's been cut off from its energy source. it hit cuba as a category 5 storm. we had video just in that showed all these roofs off in cuba. and now it's going to go back out onto open waters. here's the other thing, it's moving west at 9 miles per hour. so it's slowed down. it is now between cuba and going into the straits of florida and waiting to get to the mainland, florida. there is about 89 to 90 degree water in between those two places. so that gives it energy. it now has an energy source. so the national weather service, national hurricane center is predicting that it's going to re-energize to at least a 4. and it looks like it will make landfall, hit the keys probably some time sunday morning and then come around here right around naples, ft. myers, santa bella island, some time around sunday afternoon.
the good news is it slowed down enough that it will probably miss high tide. so the storm surge that will probably be anywhere from this side of florida will be anywhere from 8 to 12 feet won't have the high tide to be on top of it. but we do expect winds to come in at about between 150 and 175 miles per hour coming in here. folks have made lots of preparations, boarded up windows as we drove in last night we saw boarded up windows. interestingly enough we were able to stop at a 7-eleven and get gas. it was kind of interesting. you didn't see as many boarded up windows and store fronts here as you -- as we did in miami and leaving miami. but people are prepared. the streets are very quiet. but we, make no mistake -- and that's why i want to stress to people, when you look at the path, you see the line and you see the little hurricane symbols with the numbers on them. don't focus on that. look at what we call the cone of
uncertainty. >> uh-huh. >> everybody within that cone is prone to some sort of damage, of some sort of problem. and we could still get a wobble in this left or right that will affect that track. so don't think that, oh, okay, if i live on the eastern side of florida i'm home free. >> yep. >> you're not. and we're not trying to scare people. >> no, trying to get them prepared. >> we want people to be prepared. you've heard it from the governor. you've heard it from the head of fema. i mean, this is a big deal. and we're not hyping this and we're not putting ourselves in the line of fire just to hype something up. >> al, talk to me about a storm surge. is that one big wave? is that an extended set of waves and it goes in and comes out again? >> okay. well, for example, here we've got relatively protected bay, but if you would imagine it doesn't come in all at once, but
it can come in very quickly. and with a matter of minutes you could have 9 feet of water. i'm 5'7", i'm not a big guy. you get a 12-foot surge, that's 7 feet above where my head is. and it will come in fairly quickly. it won't be like a sue ntsunami there's also the danger of everything in the water, there's debris, all sorts of stuff in the water moving at a fairly quick clip that does a lot of damage. people don't realize the destructive power of water. water moving at 2 miles per hour at about 6 inches can knock you off your feet. >> huh. >> it is a powerful force. so that's why most 90% of the deaths within a hurricane happen with the storm surge. and one other thing, ali, i have to add. >> yeah. >> all along that stretch where irma's coming, the difference between andrew back in 1992 and
irma, andrew came across east-to-west and it was about four, four and a half hours it was out of here. this thing is going to traverse the length of florida. >> right. >> and that's going to take about 24 hours. and all along that there is going to be a pretty good risk for tornadoes as well. so you don't even have to necessarily get the storm surge. you don't necessarily have to get the torrential rains or the strong winds. you can have a tornado as well. so we just want to make sure people are aware and they hunker down and don't think, oh, the worst is over. it's only a 3 and it's only along the west coast. i'm good. >> right. and there are parts of the keys now that are already seeing potential for tornadoes. tornadoes are pretty serious. so, al, these reminders, and i know you've been doing this for days, you're reminding people that it just doesn't hurt to be over prepared. it can hurt to be under prepared. thank you for that, al. al roker from the "today" show joining us from ft. myers.
joining me is dylan dryer, nbc's dylan dryer driving across west palm beach to the west gulf coast. dylan, what's the situation? >> well, hey, ali. you know, we are leaving west palm beach, which is where we were kind of hunkered down when the storm track was a little farther to the east, but we're not leaving because nothing's going to happen here. we're just heading to the west side of the state because we certainly do think there's going to be a major story in the tampa area if this storm maintains the track that it is. but as al just pointed out, it's all within that cone of uncertainty and the track of this storm is still not yet set in stone. but we are heading north on 95 right now. if you take a look out the front of the car you can see there are really not a whole lot of cars on the road. i think everybody has gotten to where they're going to be to ride out this storm. one interesting thing, you can't see and hear, but we've passed several billboards that actually had holes punched out in them because they can act like a kite or a sail in the wind.
they definitely take in precautions as far as those billboards are concerned because you can imagine the force of those coming down in 100-mile-per-hour winds. so we are right now just kind of heading west. we don't really know what we'll run into. we're not sure if we're going to run into any traffic because other people evacuating, kind of waiting to the last minute to evacuate. west palm beach -- or palm beach county in general had a curfew at 3:00 this afternoon where they said everybody who is staying needs to now stay put. it was illegal after 3:00 to be out and about unless there was a major reason that you needed to be. so, again, we're just kind of getting on the road now. it's about three and a half hours to get to tampa. and tampa's not really going to see most of the effects of this storm from overnight sunday into monday morning, so we'll get a lay of the land there, find a safe place to hunker down and make sure we're safe and closer to the potential center of the storm. >> interesting to see if you end up seeing people going the other way because you had people from eastern florida thinking they might seek safety on the gulf coast.
we saw some of that. now your part of florida is a little less -- it's still dangerous but a little less dangerous and we're wondering if we're seeing people as you're making that drive north and west. dylan, we'll stay in close touch with you. nbc's dylan dryer on her way from the atlantic coast of florida to the gulf coast. i want to bring in u.s. senator from florida bill nelson. senator, thank you for being with us. this is a confusing storm for floridians. it was going to be one side, now it looks like it's going to be the other side. it's a lot of movement of people, more than we've ever seen. and it's bigger than the entire peninsula. what more can people do now? >> well, ali, the west coast is getting surprised because two days ago we thought it was going to be east coast storm. if you'll notice in the last six hours from the 5:00 a.m. center line track projected by the hurricane center, it was over the middle keys at 5:00 a.m.
it is now shifted more to the west toward key west. it will as al roker said get fuel from that hot gulf stream water. and it looks like it's going to come up the west coast of florida f. it florida. if it's out in the gulf, that's the worst scenario because it gets the hot water that fuels it. and those counterclockwise winds will drive the water up into the bays, and of course that's what's greatly concerning for charlotte bay and then tampa bay further to the north. >> senator, i was speaking to miami's mayor a little earlier who is sort of bucking a bit of the trend and saying it is important today, tomorrow and in the days following this hurricane for people like the
mayor, like you, who do believe in climate change, to make this an important discussion. florida remains ground zero for rising sea levels. >> absolutely. and the measurements, not forecasts, show that up to 8 inches in south florida over the last four decades. but as the earth heats up because of trapping the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, the earth will continue to heat up. and that heat is absorbed by the oceans. and when water is heated, what happens, it expands. and that's the phenomenon of sea level rise. and that's particularly happening in south florida. >> senator nelson, always a pleasure to talk to you. i'm sorry it's under these circumstances, but we're going to work together to keep floridians as safe as we can. thank you for joining us, sir. >> thanks, ali. >> florida senator bill nelson. coming up next, a closer look at
see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit or go to xfinitymobile.com. as the strongest hurricane in a generation bears down on the residents of south florida, memories of hurricane andrew still haunt the area. just over 25 years ago hurricane andrew slammed into the southern united states as a category 5 storm that destroyed or damaged more than 125,000 homes and killed 61 people. here's a look at how nbc and wtvj covered that deadly storm. >> good evening. it is being called an extremely
dangerous hurricane, possibly the third worst in u.s. history. it's name is andrew, and with winds of 150 miles an hour it is moving west tonight. >> on the east coast tropical paradise, it is a morning from hell. >> 1 million people were asked to evacuate along florida's heavily populated gold coast. this is how hurricane andrew looked as the winds roared ashore. this morning in south florida power is out over a widespread area. trees are down, buildings have been damaged. >> we can, i think, certainly say without question this is going to be the most expensive natural disaster ever to hit the united states. >> apparently a lot of people are calling just panicking and saying how are they going to get through the storm. >> this is a strange position to find myself in, but i'm laying on the floor of the car. my head's right up here on the seat. the winds are gusting outside our car up to 165 miles per hour. the car is shaking as if there
were ten people on either fender bouncing it up and down. >> it is as you said earlier by most estimates this is the worst natural disaster in american history, but here in florida the real tragedy is the personal one. >> all right. you saw jose diaz balart in there. you saw kerry sanders in florida right now for us. covering that storm 25 years ago, veteran nbc news producer dan noa who was a producer on that day in that storm. he ended up as the director for our news for nbc, and his son is today one of my producers. dan, good to see you. thank you for being with us. danny, tell me what you're thinking right now. >> well, with regards to this storm, we're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. you can't help but compare what we're preparing for to andrew. i look at all the coverage and see what i saw from andrew, ali,
i think you have a hard time convincing me what i'm going to see up here by the time it gets to me is going to be any worse than what we experienced with andrew. i know it's a bigger storm, but, boy, after seeing what we went through, it's tough to convince people that it's going to be worse. >> andrew felt like in a lot of ways like a powerful tornado. it was like a lawn mower, the destruction that it wrought. it was fast and it moved across. the danger, danny, is that even if this is bigger but not as strong, it can still be damaging. >> oh, absolutely. absolutely. and there's an old saying down here. you run from the water and you hide from the wind. and so as a result of that a lot of my friends that live on the coastline are moving to where i am, which is they're staying here with me, which is on higher ground. >> right. >> there's no question. look, any hurricane no matter what you hear is unpredictable. and you have to prepare for the worst. the big issue for us down here is do we evacuate or not.
my attitude is i want my wife out of here, but i want to stay here with the house. but, yeah, good luck convincing her to leave. having said that, you know, i also -- we wouldn't be staying here if we didn't think we were going to survive it. but sometimes these evacuations can be as dangerous as hunkering down. and it's a judgment you make, you know? >> danny, what have we learned in 25 years about hurricanes and hurricane preparation? you've obviously yourself lived it. so what do you know today that you didn't know 25 years ago? >> you know, i think the forecasting has gotten better. but i can tell you that i still don't trust it. what we've learned is that, you know, the construction is better. we've learned how to prepare for them better. but at the end of the day there is an unpredictability to these storms that kind of make everything that we've learned moot. so at the end of the day you put
it all in a blender and you hope you make the best decision for you and your family. >> danny, one quick question because al roker and i were talking about this, there are still those who think the media hype these things unnecessarily. and there's always this danger of warning people too much and something doesn't happen. so they don't take you seriously next time. and then there's the other danger where these things wobble the wrong way and create much more destruction than people were prepared for at the time. given everything you've seen, in all of these years of storm coverage, what should the media be doing? >> look, i think if i was the king of the world, i would say the media should report the worst case scenario, but then also give people some context of what may be likely to happen. that's where it gets difficult because then as people that are informing the public, you need to think, well, gee, am i making them too complacent. but i really think that people generally are intelligent. and i think they need to be told, look, this is the worst thing that can happen to you.
but this is what will probably happen to you. and for me as somebody that's retired now and trying to live through these storms, that's what i would ask for. but that's just one man's opinion, ali. >> danny, there are a lot of people at nbc who think you should be king of the world. great to talk to you. thanks for being with us. thanks for your service to nbc and thanks for your son. >> all right, ali, nice to meet you. >> all right. let's bring in paul douglas, founder and senior meteorologist of aris weather. i think danny's point was interesting and al's point is interesting, i think we do have to give people their worst case scenarios and context. and that's what you are perfect for. >> trying to put this into perspective, ali, it's all cheap media hype until it happens. and then it's where was the warning, why weren't you protecting me, where's the government, who's going to save me. so, you know, what danny said i think makes a lot of sense. it really does come down to
personal responsibility. and, you know, the forecasts are good enough that you can't ignore them. but they're still bad enough that you can't totally rely on them. if you're not perpetually paranoid, you're probably not paying attention. my fear, ali, is that, oh, hey, couple days ago category 5, now category 3, i'm on the florida keys, maybe i can stay put and ride this thing out. but as all your reporters have been very accurately commenting on, this thing is going to pass over bath water, 88 degree water, it's some of the warmest water on earth. it will restrengthen into a category 4, possibly a category 5. it's going to scrape the entire gulf coast of florida. and the storm surge is going to be serious. i worry about people who are complacent, naples, benita, coral beach all the way up to tampa, pinellas county, one of the most flood prone counties in
america and are we doing everything we can to get the most vulnerable people to safety? >> right. winds are very visual. flooding takes a while. and you can see it certainly as we saw with harvey and as we saw over beaumont, texas, and port arthur. obviously you can see when the place is all flooded, but as the water creeps up it doesn't seem as dangerous and awful as these crazy winds that are going to rip your roof off and send your car flying. and that's part of the problem. the danger here remains the flooding and the storm surges. >> yeah. the storm surge it's a perilous thing. and people really underestimate the power of moving water. and that water can rise literal literally 4, 6, 10 feet in the span of a couple of minutes. and this is where people drown. if you're in your car, all it takes is two feet of moving water to float your suv or your pickup truck. and, again, i want to stress that this storm, ali, irma, is
much, much bigger than andrew. andrew, the worst of the storm passed 25 miles south of miami. it was terrible for homestead. but, again, downtown miami, miami beach was spared the worst of andrew. this thing could still plow right into tampa bay some time late tomorrow, sunday night. and by some measures this is the third most intense storm in atlantic history. there's something called a.c.e., accumulated cyclone energy, it's the size of the storm, intensity and integrated over time this is the third biggest since the satellite record began. it's way too early to let your guard down, east coast and especially on the gulf coast. >> that's why we're covering this fully. that's why we've got our reporters down there. and that's why we're relying on the really good information we get. you're right it's not perfect, but it's certainly better than it was 25 years ago. paul, thank you for your
welcome back. i'm ali velshi at msnbc head qua quarters in new york. we are closely monitoring hurricane irma with winds up to 125 miles an hour. it was just downgraded to a category 3 storm based on those wind speeds, but it is expected to restrengthen as it moves closer to florida. during his latest press conference, florida governor rick scott warned that the storm surge could reach 12 feet. we're expecting another update from the governor at noon eastern, in half an hour's time. right now on irma's tail is hurricane jose, a dangerous category 4 storm and all this
two weeks after hurricane harvey wreaked havoc on texas. coming up at the top of the hour, governor florida rick scott scheduled to give another update on hurricane irma now that the path has changed. we're going to bring that to you live. governor scott has said irma could be worse than hurricane andrew. so will the governor change his mind on climate change? we're going to ask that question next.
the fury of hurricane irma comes close on the heels of the powerful hurricane harvey and right behind that is a category 4 hurricane jose. is this climate change at work? for more on how climate change may be playing into this, i'm joined by former epa environmental leader, mustafa ali, nasa research meteorologist scott brawn, thanks to all of you for being here. scott, let me start with you. donald trump's epa chief, the
administrator, scott pruitt, said in an interview amid hurricanes now is not the time to talk about climate change. there are a lot of people who disagree with that including the mayor of miami, a republican by the way, who says now's exactly the time to talk about climate change because on a sunny day miami has water coming up from its drains because of rising sea level. and if we don't take this seriously when things like this happen, we don't tend to take it seriously when nobody can feel climate change. >> that's right. and you got to separate the problems, for example, with rising sea levels which can exacerbate the problems with major storms like this versus what the impact of climate change may be on the hurricanes themselves. while there's a broad consensus among scientists that global warming is occurring and largely manmade, within the hurricane science community there's actually relatively little consensus still in terms of how climate change affects
hurricanes. a lot of the studies use global climate models capable of resolving hurricanes within those simulations. and what they suggest is that over the course of this century we would expect more likely than not fewer storms but more intense and wetter storms. now, detecting that trend and the observations is a bit challenging because the historical track record has a number of issues that make detecting trends difficult. and there's substantial variability on time scales for hurricane activity. and it may be to get a definitive detection of a trend may require another one to three decades of good high quality satellite observation. >> because we are changing as we go along. we're getting better and better at the detection. so we don't have the same quality of information going back 25 years ago. mustafa, that's why rising sea levels are actually helpful because that's a constant. we can actually see that happening. you can measure your measurement of sea level 50 years ago and 100 years ago is actually as
accurate as it is now and those sea levels are getting higher. so what do you say, mustafa, to people who say this isn't the time for the conversation? or people like rush limbaugh who said this is media hype to advance a climate change agenda. >> well, i tell them that they're being disingenuous. there's no better time than this moment now. actually, the conversation should have been started as soon as the new administration came in so they could begin to think critically about the gaps that maybe exist inside of some of the policies that they were trying to move forward on and also to help them that they're making better decisions about the budgets and the impacts that happen especially in our most vulnerable communities when we're not being inclusive. and then also thinking about making sure that we have the right science in place. so if we have a couple of decades still of information that's needed to be garnered, let's make sure that we're supporting science so we can make sure we're doing the proper analysis in that space. so, you know, to them i'd say at best you're being disingenuous and putting people's lives at
risk. >> tom, i'm a money guy, and we are constantly talking about moneyed interests that are working for their profitability at stifling discussions on climate change because it's going to cause them to do things that are going to cost money. you're on the other side of that. you were probably the biggest money guy who is trying to get people to talk about these issues whach issues. what are you up against? and are you succeeding in your efforts? >> look, the fossil fuel interests are intent on keeping the energy system that we have now, which is creating climate change. and the politicians who take the money from the fossil fueled interests and then lie about what's happening are now watching what's happened as a result. so really the way i think about this is of course they don't want to talk about climate change right now because they're the people who have enabled the additional problems to happen. we're not just looking at hurricane harvey, hurricane irma, hurricane jose, we're also looking at record wildfires
across the west. so to me this is like a drunk driver after an accident telling me, let's not talk about drinking and driving. well, as a matter of fact, of course we have to deal with the accident, of course we are worried about the people. this is all about human tragedy. but don't come to me and say i don't want to take responsibility for what i did. now's the time to start taking responsibility to prevent problems, not just to deal with problems. >> scott, we have lots of evidence that the energy industry in america has lobbied actively. they've not been entirely forthcoming with the information they've had for decades about climate change. bottom line though this is america. we're smart. this is 2017. we can probably square the circle of creating energy and not contributing to the warming of the earth if we just committed to it and were honest about it, as tom says. >> yeah, probably true. that's not really my area of expertise to address though, sorry. >> what do you think, mustafa? >> oh, without a doubt we can definitely make the changes that are necessary. and folks just have to begin to
prioritize it. it just makes sense for us, one, to understand that the impacts from climate change are real and that there are solutions that can help us to lessen the intensity of the storms. we can make sure we're moving toward renewables. we can make sure we are lowering greenhouse gas emissions. we can make sure that resiliency and sustainability is a part of the planning process so we are better protecting lives. >> tom, one of the issues this administration came in is they took away an obama-era regulation that said that when building public infrastructure with federal funds, you've got to take something as basic as rising sea levels into account. and the trump administration got rid of that about two weeks before hurricane harvey hit. now, not that that rule would have affected hurricane harvey, but we're not even talking -- we're just talking about information gathering. we're just talking about information into account that scott says we can measure, rising sea levels, what's the purpose of that? who wins from removal of that
sort of legislation? >> frankly, that's so dumb i don't even know how to think about it. because we know that you're not supposed to build things in floodplains because floods happen. and that's really in effect what this administration is doing is saying let's pretend bad things don't happen. and let's actually make the bad things worse because in the short run that will make us more money. that's absolutely crazy. the united states of america is full of smart scientists, smart business people, we can solve this problem and make ourselves richer and healthier doing it. so the reason not to do it is just dumb. >> i think this is a perfect time for this conversation. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. mustafa ali, tom, scott brawn, thanks so much. we'll have the very latest on hurricane irma after this break. stay with us.
i'm ali velshi. this is msnbc continuing coverage of hurricane irma, which is now a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles an hour, but it's forecast to strengthen as it makes a turn to the north toward florida. to give you a sense of the impact of this powerful hurricane is already having on americans, over 18 million people are under some form of severe weather watch or alert, 14 million of them are under a hurricane warning. 5.6 million people in florida, a
quarter of the state's population, have been ordered to evacuate. right now at least 30,000 people are without power. a number that one florida utility estimates could climb to 10 million people possibly without power. time is running out for people to evacuate or prepare. hurricane conditions are expected in the florida keys starting tonight. i want to turn to raphael miranda, wnbc meteorologist who has looked at this latest storm forecast. what's it telling us? >> it's telling us, unfortunately, that the storm surge forecast is becoming more dire now. that's the update. that's what i took away at 11:00 a.m. it's the most deadly potential part of the storm. that forecast has become more dire. the numbers are higher. we're talking about 10 to 15 foot storm surge now, so that's a significant change over the past advisory. i want to show you how it looks on the maps. we're also tracking the wind fluctuations. the storm has been weakening throughout the day and now we're down to a category 3 storm with
sustained winds of 125 miles per hour and the movement is slower around 9 miles per hour. let's look at the updated forecast track. the timing has changed a little bit. this is overnight into tomorrow morning. notice it's a 3 now. it has it as a 4. so the national hurricane center expecting reintensification over these very warm waters, back up to 140 miles an hour right over key west and the florida keys. that's late tonight into tomorrow morning. tomorrow evening at 8:00 a.m. still a cat 4. that's when we're expecting the potential for landfall. meanwhile all of the storm surge happening along the southwest coast, potentially catastrophic. and then you head north into tampa by monday 8:00 a.m. we're talking about a 10 to 15-foot storm surge across southwest florida. ali. >> thanks very much. wnbc's raphael miranda helping us out with our coverage on this. the forecast for irma may have shifted west. it doesn't mean that the all clear is out for florida's east coast. jo ling kent joins me from ft.
lauderdale. what's the situation there, jo? >> reporter: hey, ali, it is blowing and the rain has started to fall. we've got the ocean coming in pretty significantly. i want to show you some folks who have decided to take one last look at the hurricane before it makes landfall in a few hours. as you said, we are no longer in the eye of the storm here in ft. lauderdale. however, we still feel these hurricane outer band winds coming in. the sky is super cloudy and the rain has been hitting in and out. what you should see is down this beach this is usually a very crowded beach. it's a weekend and completely isolated except for the folks blaif enough to come out here and take some last selfies. all the businesses have been boarded up and have evacuated. they're going to be missing out on millions of dollars of tourism revenue in these next few days, probably the next few weeks. a lot of them are expecting major, major flooding so they put in sandbags, they boarded up their businesses and they are planning to get the heck out of
here. but as you can hear, the wind is really picking up here in ft. lauderdale. the shelters are full. we just came from two red cross locations, an elementary school and junior college. folks there are hunkered down and getting ready to ride out the storm. even though the eye of the storm is not necessarily hitting the east coast as originally projected, residents and tourists here are still trying to be optimistic because they do believe there will be quite a bit of damage to their property. so take one last look out here at these big waves that are coming in, ali. this is what we are seeing here in ft. lauderdale as we send it back to you in new york city. >> jo, you haven't heard anybody change their mind now, those who have left or were leaving because the east coast -- the atlantic coast isn't going to get it as hard as the gulf coast, have you? >> reporter: you know what, folks who are -- some people here have said, oh, i'm so glad i didn't evacuate, but there are still some people who say, yeah, maybe it's not going to be as bad but now i'm officially
i'm alex witt here in new york at msnbc world headquarters. we are approaching high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west and you're watching our special coverage of hurricane irma. the storm weakening again but expected to strengthen in the next few hours, setting the stage for a devastating blow to florida. >> you will not survive all this storm surge. this is a life-threatening situation. if you've been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now.
>> why? >> because i probably won't have a home come, you know, sunday night, monday morning. i have a good feeling. it's going to get tore up. went through it 12 years ago and said never again. here i am. >> well, from the preparations in florida to the islands flattened in the caribbean, we have the very latest on the rush to escape the wrath of this storm. we have just got an updated advisory. hurricane irma remains right now a very powerful category 3 storm. it is about 175 miles southeast of key west in florida, maximum sustained winds about 125 miles an hour, forecasters expect this storm, though, to regain some strength before landfall. irma's first target, the florida keys. here right now a live look at key west. that is the southernmost tip of those islands and already you can see wind and rain. they have shown up big-time.