tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC September 9, 2017 9:00am-9:30am PDT
>> 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. tens of thousands of people already losing power.
in southwest florida, the time for evacuation has come and gone. florida governor rick scott saying noon eastern, right now, it is the cutoff time for people to get out of irma's path. across the state there are 260 shelters open with people pouring in. of course we have reporters in place all across the state of florida covering all angles of this story from the evacuations and the preparations to the damage already done. let's begin right now with nbc's gadi schwartz in homestead for us. what's the latest from there -- no, we see mariana atencio and there is gadi. i guess we'll go to gadi since i introduced you first. let's talk about what's happening in homestead. lots of wind week see out the window but what about rain and any water? >> we just came down to key largo and we're still 150 miles away from the storm. there's been talk about how the storm, the hurricane has now been downgraded to a category 3, but i want to show you this.
you can see we're going down this street here in key largo and that category 3, even as far away as we are, is knocking things down. we've got branches down in the street, we've got water already coming up. again, this is key largo. as we go down a little bit, you can see this is basically a ghost town. we've seen about three people outside down here in key largo. most everybody else has evacuated. we've also seen maybe four or five cars on the road. so this area is under mandatory evacuation. most people have heeded those warnings. we're going to get out of here once things start kicking up. look at this key down here. if we can just stop right here, we're going to pop out and i'll show you the strength of some of these winds. give me two seconds here. niko, if we can just pop out over there. we're going to switch cameras here. and hopefully you still have audio, it's kind of windy out here. but this is -- this is what it's looking like right now. this is the power of the wind that we've seen. again, the storm is 150 miles
plus out and this is some of what it's already done. this tree has fallen in front of this home. you've got this tree now protecting this home somewhat, but the other concern is storm surge. check this out over here. this over here, that is just the water that's fallen over the last couple of hours. this is going to get much, much worse. again, this is key largo. we're going to continue to see what's going on here in key largo, check out some of these other areas, but key largo is under a mandatory evacuation and of course we'll go back to the mainland. alex, back to you. >> so what kind of tree is that? does it have big, wide branches? is it the kind that you would expect to come down in minor winds or significant? wow, that's a pretty big tree. >> it's definitely a very heavy, very toured sturdy tree. you've got branches that cracked off. so this thing is very, very heavy. now, the ground out here is saturated.
that may have to do with why we're seeing some of these trees fall but it's not just the trees falling. we've already seen one transformer blowing up in homestead and that is just from the outer bands of the storm coming in. you can imagine what's going to happen over the next 24 hours. back to you, alex. >> i can about imagine. thank you so much for that. we appreciate that. let's go to msnbc's marian mariana atencio on miami beach. winds have clearly picked up, as has the surf, which means storm surge would be approaching. before you get reporting, is that somebody kite surfing behind you? oh, come on. >> that's exactly what i wanted to show you, alex. this is not the scene that officials here, first responders want to be looking at. because the storm has shifted slightly west, you're starting to see people here in miami beach, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, doing water sports. there are onlookers taking photos. there are also about a dozen people in front of me. it's a similar scene over on the other side. this is not, again, what the
mayor of miami beach who called this a nuclear hurricane, wants to be seeing right now. storm surge, as you mentioned, is the name of the game. these waves are picking up pretty fast right now. again, this is a storm that is the size of the entire florida peninsula. even if it's going to hit slightly west, you're going to get those damaging winds, that storm surge and that flooding. this is when people start doing these kinds of things like you see behind me and potentially making those mistakes that first responders do not want to be looking at. so still we've been talking to first responders and police officers all morning. they're urging people to not take this storm lightly and not think that really in southeast florida they're out of harm's way and that they should be doing surfing or any kind of water sports or taking photos at the moment. everybody should be taking shelter and getting prepared for this storm, which is going to hit southeast florida. these winds are picking up. it's going to hit in a couple of hours. alex. >> can i just ask, are there
police or security around to tell people to stay out of the waters? because we know that they have said once the winds hit a certain speed, and it would look like they have hit them already, that they're clearing the streets themselves. >> reporter: right now on this stretch of the beach, i'm not seeing any police presence but i have seen them at every corner of miami beach but right now they're not here. this is not what they want to be looking at. >> thank you so much for that. let's go right now to florida governor rick scott with an update. here he is. >> 15 feet of impact above ground level. think about that. 15 feet is devastating and will cover your house. in the tampa bay area, the surge is forecasted to be 5 to 8 feet. think about that. the typical -- the typical first story is 7 to 10 feet. 5 to 8 feet. this is a life-threatening situation.
remember, the storm surge comes after the wind. do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down. local officials will let you know when it's safe. the storm surge will rush in and could kill you. here in orange county you're under a hurricane warning and we'll see dangerous and life-threatening wind and torrential rainfall of more than a foot. the rainfall is already starting in this area and the wind will begin tonight. we could also see tornados. please take action to keep your family safe and shelter in place or find shelter now. there is a mandatory evacuation order for mobile homes in orange county. if you have been ordered to evacuate anywhere in the state, you need to leave right now. not tonight, not in an hour, now. you are running out of time to make a decision. evacuations are in place across
the state. more than 6.3 million floridians have been ordered to evacuate. you need to listen to local evacuation orders. i'm a dad and i'm a grandfather. i love my family more than anything, and i cannot imagine life without them. do not put your life or your family's life at risk. right now is the right time to do the right thing for your family. school buses are aiding in evacuations. please take advantage of this service. if you need to leave and are unable to do so for any reason at all, call 1-800-342-357 -- i'm sorry, 1-800-342-3557, and we will do everything possible to get you out. protecting life is our absolute top priority. there will be no resource or expense spared to protect lives. i urge everyone to check on your neighbors, family and friends.
if you know someone who is not evacuating and should, please contact them and make sure they have a plan to get to safety. but you can't wait to get out. you can't wait until the storm is here, you've got to do it now. possessions can be replaced, your house can be replaced, you and your family cannot be replaced. shelters. we have been working with counties across the state to ensure there are enough shelters. currently there are more than 320 shelters open across every county in the path of the storm and we're opening more today. more than 350,000 floridians have taken shelter. if you have a building and emergency officials ask you to open a shelter, please comply. you will save somebody's life. this is so important to families seeking safety. everyone in florida needs to find a safe place to go. traffic. evacuation routes are moving and
we have stopped the shoulder driving on i-75 to the georgia line because traffic is moving. if there is a need to reopen this, fdot and highway safety will do so immediately. evacuations are not meant to be convenient, they are meant to keep you safe. check realtime traffic information and evacuation routes at fl 511.com. fuel. we are aggressively working to keep gas stations open and filled. this won't last much longer in south florida because it will be unsafe to be on the roads. while all the fuel ports in florida are now closed for safety as irma impacts our state, following the storm state troopers will escort fuel supply trucks directly to gas stations across the state. i waived florida motor fuel import tax for five days to bring more fuel to our state for storm response and recovery. this will aid our efforts to bring more fuel from other
states after the storm. we know fuel is important, we're doing everything we can to get more fuel in the state. florida's prepared. every single florida guardsman that can be deployed has already been deployed to prepare and respond to this storm across the state. we have so many members of our law enforcement that are putting their lives at risk to help floridians get to a safe place and they will not stop until it is no longer safe. we cannot thank our guardsmen, our law enforcement, we can't thank any of our first responders enough because they are putting themselves at risk to take care of everybody else. utility providers are actively prepositioning resources throughout the state and in neighboring states. we all know the importance of getting power back on. we will work aggressively with our utilities to make sure it gets back on as quickly as we can. i want to be clear. we are under a state of emergency. employees who perform vital services, including health care staff, we need you to be there
to help your community. right now florida needs 1,000 volunteer nurses to help at our special needs shelters. if you are a nurse and you can volunteer, please e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. you can still e-mail to the prior e-mail address we were using, bprchd preparedness at flhealth.gov. again, we need nurses for our special needs shelters. we have already received thousands of replies. this is great news. we're still trying to get these individuals to our shelters. we're also going to need to continue to need volunteers before and after the storm. so many people across the country and across the world have called to offer their prayers and support. i want to thank the governors of
the other states that provided every resource we've asked for. i know the entire country is behind us. i've been talking to the white house pretty much every day. i've been talking to fema all the time. i talked to brock long this morning. the fema administrator. i've talked to almost every cabinet member and they're doing everything they can to provide whatever resource they can. we have our country's best first responders ready to help us and florida will get through this. if you are in an evacuation zone, you've got to go. you've got to get out now. get to a safe place. this is a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen. let's remember, we can rebuild your house and you can get your possessions again. we can't rebuild your life and we can't rebuild your family. florida is tough, florida is resilient, florida is unbreakable. let's stay together and help each other. you can follow my twitter account for life-safety messaging and updates in english and spanish. florida is an amazing melting pot of loving people and i'm
proud to be governor of this state. [ speaking in spanish ] >> okay, everyone. we've been listening to florida governor rick scott. this is a man on a mission. he has basically given the same directive to florida residents all day today. about two and a half hours ago he was in sarasota county. he has made his way north from that state. he's amended some of the details such as the storm surge. sarasota county, he was telling folks there they could expect 6 to 12 feet of a storm surge possible. now he's talking about those folks in orange county and he said tampa, you're looking at 5 to 8 feet. that would correspond with what we believe to be the direction of this hurricane right now, hurricane irma, as it makes its way slowly but surely away from the coast of cuba and through those warm waters. let's go back to the governor. he will probably be taking some questions here in english. let's take a listen. >> there are still construction
bins full of things that look like they could be projectiles if week hurricane-strength winds. what's being done to clear those out? >> the fdot and everybody that's working there is working to get all that off the roads before the winds start. we're doing that all across the state. anybody else? >> governor, could you give those -- i know you were talking about the thousand nurses that are needed for the special needs shelters. would you mind giving that address one more time. >> email@example.com. yeah, it's dot-gov. no, i'm sorry. firstname.lastname@example.org. >> governor, can you just kind of explain why we need that many nurses? >> we have had an unbelievable
turnout of special needs, individuals coming to our special needs shelters. i mean it started immediately. when i guess it was probably tuesday morning when i started the messaging, and we started talking about where we were going to open up special needs shelters. the amount of individuals that have signed up is a significant number of individuals. we have a lot of volunteers. i asked for 17,000 volunteers. we have 17,000 volunteers. we're going to need more because it's going to be a devastating storm. but we need nurses at these special needs shelters. that's why. >> in looking at the state, i know south florida is expecting to get the brunt of this. when you look at central florida, what are you most worried about? >> we're going to get rain, but it's the wind damage. if you go back and look at the impact of charley, people think if you're not on the coast it doesn't impact you, but it's just the wind damage that can
come across here. let's all remember when i was in the hospital business back when andrew hit 25 years ago. i evacuated hospitals where i thought it was going to hit, it turned south. it turned south into a hospital we had patients at. all the windows blew in. charley was supposed to come further north and changed probably in the last half hour or so. this storm can change. so everybody has got to understand, you've got to constantly watch this. we have constant updates. the national hurricane center gives us really good updates at 11:00 and 5:00 and give updates on top of that. but this is now -- it's here. we're already seeing the winds in the keys. i'm so concerned about what's going to happen in the keys, how many people might not have evacuated. i mean that -- i mean if we have 10 to 15-foot above land, not above high tide. that's devastating. i don't know how you survive
that. that's why i'm telling everybody, if you're in an evacuation zone, there is no reason you should try to ride this out. i mean i love my family. i want to be with my family the rest of my life. >> when and if will you open more shelters? >> we're continuing to open more shelters. we have 320 now and are constantly opening up shelters. we're tracking by county where we need the shelters, but we just had as an example charlotte county as they had -- increased their evacuation zones, we had to shut shelters down there and try to move those and we're moving those individuals north, so -- because we -- until, i guess, last night or this morning, i guess it was this morning, they didn't think it was going to go as far inland there. but charlotte county is very low. charley just creamed it, if you remember. >> governor, what would you say to those folks who have been watching the path and seen it turn and take that sharp
westward movement that are on the east coast that are thinking maybe i don't need to evacuate now. i might be at the beach, but it's hit the other coast? >> why take a chance? you shouldn't take a chance. let's remember, it can turn back just as fast as it turned this way. i mean there's no -- you know, it's what they believe the track is going to be. just remember, yesterday the track was a little further east and the day before it was a little further east and so these things move. and so i don't want anybody to take any risks. we are doing everything we can. we have shelters you can go to. just don't take a risk with your life. i mean there's people that love you, and so just don't take a risk with your life. don't take a chance. look, if this thing turned, if this thing turned east and not that far, it has a much bigger impact on the east coast. we're still getting storm surge on the east coast. just not as bad as it's going to be on the west. the west coast, down where i
live, 10 to 15-foot of storm surge above ground, it's devastating. thanks, everybody. >> okay, everyone. florida governor rick scott. he's saying even if you think you may have been spared, the most disastrous winds and storm surge from hurricane irma, for those folks living on the east coast of miami, it can take a turn. to confirm all that we're joined by wnbc meteorologist raphael miranda. look, it's really a tap dance right now for the folks in florida. some think they're out of the woods, some think they're now smack in the eye of the hurricane's path, but it can change. >> and it will change. we're doing the forecasting minute by minute now monitoring the situation. the headline is the storm surge reality, 10 to 15 feet now. that is more dire than it was yesterday, even last night. i want to look at the monitor behind you. you can see tracking hurricane irma. we've been watching it all through the morning. notice it's becoming to emerge away from the cuban coastline. you can see that jog to the
north. that's when the intensification happens again. it looks like the eye will start to form right there. you can see that little dot of yellow. so we've been watching a weakening storm and that's all changing now as well. let's take a look at the forecast. now a category 3 hurricane, winds down to 125 miles per hour, but we're noticing the eye wants to form again. this is that bath water. this is all the fuel. water temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees. that's what irma needs as it pulls away from cuba to gain that strength. the track does have a category 4 hurricane passing right over the florida keys late tonight through tomorrow morning. this is the updated track now. landfall along southwest florida during the day tomorrow. at 8:00 still landfall as a category 4 monster storm with the potential of catastrophic storm surge there and riding into the rest of the southeast, even georgia feeling the effects of perhaps a tropical storm by then.
now here is the latest storm surge update. we are talking about a storm surge warning for most of the coast of florida. because of the track changes, the storm surge looks to be a little bit less for the east coast, so some numbers have dropped there. in fact for miami now we're looking at a 4 to 6-foot storm surge there and less, around 2 to 4 feet as you head north of miami beach up the coast. those numbers are nothing in comparison to what we have here now. for the keys, cape sable to card sound bridge, this is where we see the potential for a 10 to 15 foot above ground level storm surge. it doesn't get much better, these numbers may be upped as well as the storm progresses. right now tampa bay 5 to 8 feet. this is the rain concern and the headline with the storm and likely prove to be the most devastating part of the storm as tomorrow and monday moves on. now, current wind gusts, we're seeing tropical storm conditions
already pushing into south florida. it's only going to get worse hour by hour. the keys seeing the winds howling over 40 miles per hour. hard to believe this is just the very beginning and we're very worried about how this will play out. every update from the national hurricane center helps put things in perspective. >> you just mentioned 40 miles an hour in the keys. that was the point at which the chp, the highway patrol there -- i said chp, typical of being a california girl, but the highway patrol were going to get off the roads at that point so they're not going to be able to patrol those areas this the keys any longer once it hits 40 miles an hour and you said we're there. >> and over the next few hours, that's going to be the situation in miami and points north. it's going to keep devolving that way. not looking good. >> all right, raphael miranda, thank you for that. rescue and recovery. it's not too soon yet to think about how first responders are going to get to residents after the storm. a former fema administrator will give us the details on emergency action, next.
we are back with our special hurricane coverage of hurricane irma. another evacuation warning just moments ago from florida governor rick scott. >> if you're in an evacuation zone, you've got to go. you've got to get out now. get to a safe place. this is a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen. >> and as we take a look at the florida keys, that is key west right there and the national weather service has projected that areas in the florida keys may be uninhabitable for an extended period with catastrophic life-threatening winds and storm surge. irma is now a category 3 but is expected to strengthen as it turns northward towards the keys. joining me now, major kendall dunn, an air force reserve hurricane hunters pilot. the major is about to fly over hurricane irma, so, major, thanks very much for being with us under these circumstances. you're going to do what? you're going to go fly over irma
again? what kind of information are you looking for? >> good morning, how are you doing. yes, with the hurricane hunters, we're going to fly into storms. we go in at 10,000 feet looking for current data to send back to the national hurricane center to improve that forecast. that's what we're doing is looking for the center of the eye wall, in the eye, and pass it along so people can evacuate as they need to. >> we are certainly grateful for all of your efforts. you said 10,000 feet you flew with houston. what do you think you're going to be doing with irma? how does this storm compare to what we saw with harvey? >> yes, ma'am. i flew harvey when it was a strengthening storm from a cat 1 to a very strong cat 2 by the fifth hour when we left. it was pretty intense. but i'm going to be honest with you, when i hit irma and went through that eye wall, air speeds all over the place, airplane struggling, adding
power, taking out power. a lot of people fly small aircraft. we're flying a tank with a lot of power and it was struggling, so it makes you definitely tense up and question what you're doing for a living. >> i can about imagine. when you say you are struggling, you're dealing with a very large plane, if i'm not mistaken, correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> and it is reacting quite profoundly to the strength of the hurricane. and you're about to go and do this again. given what you know, do you expect to have the same sort of tumultuous trip this time? >> yes, ma'am. pretty much every trip going through an eye wall is going to be different. when you talk about the winds, it's in that circular pattern. it's going to be different every time. it's never the same. this storm, to be honest, it's a brick wall on every side so we just continue and go through.
we're pushing planes to the limit, we're pushing crews to the limit, but we're trained and training takes over when you get to those situations where you're not quite understanding what's going on exactly at that moment. >> your training is extraordinary, major. let me just ask you, given what you've experienced with harvey and previously as you have been one of these hurricane hunter pilots, when you think about irma and its strength and its potential for devastation, where do you place it? >> ma'am, cat 5 hurricanes are very rare. a guy has been in this unit 20 years and he's only been in one. it's the toughest i've been through. it is not a joke. i tell people listen to your local civic leaders, listen and get out. we're out there risking ourselves to get that data and people need to understand and use that data and don't mess around with it, because we don't. >> all right, major kendall dunn, needl