tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC September 11, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
we have impacts on irma and a call to get out of jacksonville, florida. let's get started. >> you see that? >> whoa. >> did you see that? >> yeah. >> a transformer? >> reporter: it comes and goes in waves. >> the situation over the last couple hours has been insane. we have rain coming in in sheets. the wind has been a feature. widespread power outages. unreal. >> most of downtown st. augustine underwater. >> we are getting our fair share of wind here. unbelievable, what the gusts have been like here in downtown orlando. >> there's only one way in and one way out of the keys. right now, it's totally blocked. >> as we made our way to downtown miami, we also saw heavy flooding in the biscayne bay area, and then two high-rise cranes that collapsed because of violent wind gusts. >> what i thought was going to be a punch in the face was a
glancing blow. we are still fighting. it was a long, scary night. >> the greatest concern is with the flash flood warnings. we had a tremendous amount of rainfall overnight. >> florida's atlantic coast could see another three to five feet as the system pulls away. it is bringing those really strong winds, guys. we're not quite done with it yet. >> all right. let's look at what we're talking about here. this is jacksonville right now. this is the largest city in terms of square footage, in terms of square mileage in the united states. it is flooding right now because the river that is supposed to flow out into the atlantic is stuck because there is a tide coming in. we're keeping a very, very close eye. the police chief in jacksonville is saying, if you're stuck in your house, put a white flag on it and we'll try to find you. they're warning people in the a and b evacuation zones -- won't mean anything if you don't live there -- the st. john's river is
going to cause problems. get out if you still can. we have pictures of rescue boats just posted to the mayor's twitter account. the governor employed three teams of wildlife officers to help rescue people stranded by the flooding. officials say there are historic flood levels in this city. the levels will go even higher by high tide this afternoon. bill is going to tell us in a minute what the high tide numbers are going to look like. irma itself is now a tropical storm. let's take a look at this. it is swirling in the northern part of florida. it's headed -- i'll ask our director to take this shot here -- it is in the northern part of florida, headed through georgia, into alabama and points northwest. it is still more than 500 miles wide. it's still packing winds up to 70 miles per hour. the national weather service says two to six inches of rain could fall today in the north central part of the state of florida.
the power prone probleming ares worse. 6 million power outages reported across the state. some people could be in the dark for weeks. let's go back to the story about jacksonville. the jacksonville sheriff's office, as i mentioned, is tweeting out instructions for people in a half a dozen neighborhoods near the st. john's river, which is the longest river, by the way, in the state of florida. you can see it working its way out and taking the bend to the east into the atlantic ocean. the problem, as bill has been describing to us, is the atlantic ocean is pushing a tide in right now. at 9:30 this morning, the sheriff sent out a warning that said evacuation zones a and b along the river, get out now. san marco, riverside, downtown jax, southampton and landon park. then he tweeted, if you need to get out, put a white flag outside your house, a t-shirt, anything white. search and rescue teams are ready to deploy. get out. they're taking this seriously. bill, everybody in florida has
been doing so, from the governor down to mayors. no mixed messages about this. where they see danger, they're telling people, get to higher ground. not saying leave the state, just get to higher, safer ground. >> that's why so many people evacuated because you saw what happened to thereading a headli the boston globe, saying people are searching for food on the island of st. martin. a lot of people need a lot of help across the islands. the jacksonville area, one area in our country seeing new damage created, it's from jacksonville northward up the coast. i was looking at the brand-new 11:00 a.m. advisory on tropical storm irma, down to 65-mile-per-hour winds, to be expected. we won't see too much more in the way of new tree damage and power outages. the winds are ticking down low enough for that. all the river gauges up here from torrential overnight rains and the storm surge. we've got a storm surge right now between four to six feet. getting many reports from fernando beach northward along
the georgia coastline that the water is very high. we're getting to the new high tide cycle and the water isn't going out. it is going up. that's why they're telling the people here in the st. johns river, the river that goes through downtown jacksonville, it is going to go up possibly another foot, maybe foot and a half. it is one foot higher than anyone alive has seen it. there's the background. skies are clearing and the weather is getting nice, but because we still have the on shore flow, we're worried about the storm surge. they still think through the rest of this afternoon, all the way up through the savannah area, four to six feet of storm surge. in some areas of the country, they're very prone to storm surge floodsing, it is enough to get over the dunes, up the rivers and into neighborhoods. that's what we've been looking at currently here. we're monitor this. in jacksonville, this is the number we're watching. high tide, 12:36 p.m. the water will continue to rise until then. hopefully it'll begin to fall
then. if anyone needs to get out, they have another hour here. that's about it. >> bill was just mentioning, people in st. martin looking for food. >> yup. >> richard branson put out an announcement this morning. remember, richard branson of virgin was in the british virgin islands. he is staying local. he's brought together several local organizations, as well as his foundation to assess the damage, figure out working with local governments, you know, what they can do in the short term and long term. thoe those are entire islands facing massive, massive damage. we cannot forget how important it is to stay on top of that and figure out, people in the areas, what they need to try to help. let's bring in garrett haake, two hours north of tallahassee, florida. in the last hour when we spoke to you, even over the few minutes, we saw the weather worsening. again, it is the winds look worse and it is only getting darker. give us an assessment.
>> reporter: the winds got worse and then better for a look at what was going on around town. we didn't go far before we found this. this is going to be the problem here. this is one of these old growth georgia pine trees. this one has to be 50 or 60 feet tall. as you can see, it came down hard across this entire road. fortunately, it didn't take out any of these power lines or anything in the area. look around. there's a half dozen other trees just like this on this intersection. this is sort of the topography, the geology of where we are. it is going to be a problem as the winds increase throughout the day. within the last half an hour, we heard from the emergency operations manager here in this county, saying they're suspending all work now for power crews, line crews. they say the wind is too much. they don't want anybody out in situations, trying to work on the lines or clear these trees. it might be dangerous. for folks who already lost power, they're going to be without power at least until it is dark tonight.
we're not supposed to see what is left of the eye of the storm until 5:00. apparently it's not kept everyone away. young man, talk to me for a second. you are not dressed for this. what are you doing out here right now? >> i just wanted to see it because i'm from north miami beach, florida. i go to albany state university. i graduate in december. i was in hurricane katrina and wilma, and i want to see the storm and everything going on. hopefully one day, i'll have a career in the news. i like being a storm watcher. >> reporter: from miami. you were in the two storms and you want a career in the news. take a moment and tell me how this compares to what you've seen and what you've experienced. >> well, in hurricane wilma, that tree was not on the road. it was actually on my house. so this is the good part. not a lot of true damage to people's houses like it was in january with the tornadoes. but, you know, just god is so good. he's doing a lot of great things to bless us and keep us safe from the storm and what not. we're not going to technically
hear it because it went from a category 3 to a 2. >> reporter: thanks a lot, man. >> sean. >> just give him the mic. he had the details. he has characterization. he had a comparison to prior disaster. i think this guy might actually have a future in the news. >> i'll be the mother here. get that young man a pair of safety goggles like you are wearing and maybe some all weather gear. he is out in a long sleeved t-shirt. >> not dressed for it but he has passion. >> garrett, talk us through the rest of the day. where are you headed? >> one of the things we've been watching here, as i mentioned in some of the earlier live shots, is the river. this is sort of one of these places upstream, if you will, from the gulf coast, that still tends to get flooding because it is right along the river that
runs through the middle of downtown. you have sort of the -- this unfortunate mix of water and these old growth trees here that makes this an area that is particularly prone to storm damage. i think we're going to try and stick it out in this town or in this area. frankly, also because we don't want to be put in a situation where we're trying to drive into the thick of it, putting ourselves or anybody who needs to help us in additional damage. >> if i'm seeing it correctly, that looks like a gas station behind you. is it open? do they have gas? >> reporter: that's a great question. the lights are still on inside. i have not seen any cars coming or going. i actually think it is a dealership. i think they may just be -- i'll take a better look here, steph. i can't tell. the lights are on. we'll try to look at that and get back to you. i can tell you that the city manager here, the city officials, have told all the businesses they want them closed. >> the drive-through is open at
popeyes because i see people lined up. garrett, you should head inside for a few. we'll check back with you in a few minutes. if he gets hungry, he can eat. let's go back to miami beach. an hour south of you is key largo. those are the images we're looking at now. flooded across the board. those houses we're looking at, they look like houseboats. where you are in miami beach, the roads are now dry. not exactly where you're standing. just a few minutes ago when we were talking to you, you were standing on dry roads. >> yeah. >> you've moved. where are you? >> reporter: so i'm in downtown miami. i've crossed the bridge over from miami beach. the first thing i'll tell you is that it was almost a quarter mile of traffic trying to head back into the beach because police are still heavily patrolling that access from downtown to the beach. i've moved here for you guys because this is the financial epicenter of miami. downtown miami.
a lot of banks here. a lot of business here. they are now breathing a sigh of relief. heavy flooding was expected in this area, and it is actually not so bad. i'll step back for you to see. only a couple of inches here. traffic already moving this way. it has really been drying up much more than they realize. back there, i don't know if you can see some city officials, they're not surveying what's going on on the ground but actually what is going on aboveground. the metro rail. to get the city back up and running again. as you know, financial epicenter, it is important for it to move past this storm. >> all right, thank you. we'll come back to you. let's go to miguel almaguer. he is in the helicopter we've been seeing. getting the damage in the florida keys. it's significant. what are you seeing? >> reporter: i wanted to swing our camera outside right now so you can see the damage in the key largo area. we've seen not only boats
underwater but also homes and vehicles completely submerged. the water clearly rushed right into this neighborhood house after house, all across the keys. it's suffered serious damage. we've seen a family, even a couple people wading through what looks like knee-deep water here. the military is trying to reach folks that may not have been able to evacuate in time. this is a truck pulling through the water here. folks that may not have been able to make it out in time to safe ground. these are the kind of communities that the military is trying to reach today. we know later on this afternoon, they hope to be flying in with the c- 130 military cargo jets that'll bring the basics, food and water to communities hard-hit like this. we've been told tens of thousands of people in the keys did not evacuate. as you know, this is a string of tropical islands, incredibly popular with tourists. a lot of people live here. their full-time homes have been obliterated by irma, as it tore through here with winds topping 130 miles per hour.
this is one of our very first looks at some of the damage. it stretches neighborhood to neighborhood, block after block through here. this is the scene we've been seeing the last 45 minutes while we've been in the air. >> the rescue teams, how do they plan on getting in? is it going to be helicopter rescues? >> reporter: not sure if we dropped you guys. so i will keep talking here for another 30 seconds. communication with you guys may have dropped out. if you're still with us, and i don't know if you are, but you can see here, the floodwaters here have not receded in every neighborhood. some places, it looks to be about four or five feet deep. other neighborhoods, it is ankle deep. it is going to take some time for the water to recede out of this community. this is where the military will be focused oncoming to later on this afternoon. neighborhoods like this one, as they begin the relief mission. if you're with me, i'll toss it back to you. >> good reporting there. he knew he couldn't hear us but we could hear him so he
continued to talk. miguel, i'm taking it you can't hear us. we lost our connection. >> reporter: i can hear you. >> when we show the images, the water hasn't receded in some areas, but in key largo, other areas, those aren't streets, they're canals. if you look at the images, the boats are supposed to be there. >> reporter: water damage and homes obliterated. looks like tornado alley in some places, where they've been shredded to pieces. it is a mix of what we've been seeing the last several blocks. the high water damage, but also homes that have been just torn apart by irma's powerful 130 plus mile an hour winds. as you are well aware of, this is where irma made its first landfall on sunday, as it tore through this area, making its way into florida. you can see some of the low-lying communities here were hit not just with water but also with the heavy wind damage. this is the scene as we fly through key largo. >> where are you going to go from key largo?
key largo is the entry point, the closest point to the northeast of key west and -- >> reporter: not sure if you can hear me or not, but we'll leave the picture out there as we continue to fly along here. >> i'm going to assume he can't hear us. every time i try to talk to him, i'm told he can hear us but he can't. we'll try to establish whether or not he can hear us. the pictures are remarkable. look at the sort of damage that has been done in key largo. again, what we know from places like marathon, we don't know the condition of the roads, particularly the bridges in between the islands that have to be inspected to see what damage they suffered. >> the images are stunning. we can't forget, i think the number was around 20,000 people didn't evacuate from the keys. >> right. >> they chose to stay. these are floridians. these are fishermen who said, we're going to stick it out. look at this. you can see boats pushed up right against people's hopes in
their backyards. the damage is severe. >> yeah. it is a pretty serious look out there. these are the first pictures we're getting from key largo. we'll keep taking a look at what some of the damage is to other parts of florida. remember how big this storm was. our coverage of the storm continues on the other side. you're watching velshi and rhule. we'll be right back.
welcome back. you are watching this special edition of stephanie and rhule. ali, we are focusing on this hurricane, hurricane irma. we were speaking to miguel al almagu almaguer, as they're assessing the damage. in northeast florida, south carolina, georgia, they're still preparing. these images here of the keys, think about this, 20,000 people didn't evacuate. >> look at that. a boat in the middle of the road. that's probably route 1. incredible. >> it's most likely route 1. and there are so many people still in their homes. the rescue teams are figuring out, how are they going to get to them? how are they going to assess who is still there, make sure they're safe? how do they get resources to them? it is not over. earlier in the hour, when we were speaking to brock long of fema, they're still dealing with parts of the country that haven't gotten the worse. wait until high tide hits the st. johns river in the
jacksonville area two hours from now. >> the other thing many people in this country are focused on today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. we'll be remembering that throughout the course of the day. we've just some activities in the new york area, commemorating 9/11 at the pentagon. >> president trump earlier today giving remarks at the pentagon. >> right. >> every year, we see down at the 9/11 memorial, family members who lost people in the attacks, reading the names of all the lives lost. you forget how many people perished that morning. let's bring in tommy, the former mayor of jacksonville, florida. today he's an at-large city councilman. talk us through this. we are looking at the bridge, knowing high tide is on the horizon. what do you think is in store? is the city ready? >> well, you know, certainly, as i'm looking out of my house, the wind still hasn't subsided at all. it's pretty rough.
what you referred to a while ago with 9/11, certainly somering, what -- sobering, the new ground zero, but we can't forget what happened in new york on 9/11. high tide is expected around noon to 2:00. another five feet of water. downtown is flooded. certain areas of jacksonville have become flooded. the power is still out at about 270,000 residents. because of harvey and our people are still down state helping a lot of those devastated by irma this past few hours, quite frankly, the last 15 hours or so, you know, we had some torrential rains her. the winds, i watched trees still bending. north florida, we don't have the palm trees they have orlando on down. we have plenty but they stand up
pretty well. the oaks are just waiting to fall. people are walking the neighborhoods. it is strange. that's the way it is. it's a lot different from matthew, from last year. i think much worse. we don't usually get those hurricanes but this year, florida, nobody was left behind, unfortunately. >> no kidding. really, this is unusual in its scope. however, in jacksonville, you're going to get a slow rise of the st. johns river. the good news -- it's not slow, it is faster than normal, but it is still fresh water. that's going to meet up against the tide, which is going to be saltwater. we don't know who is going to win that battle, except that jacksonville, the low-lying areas, the a and b areas of jacksonville are likely to get flooded. what infrastructure damage is that expecting to do to a place like jacksonville? is it short-term damage in which the water recedes and everything is fine, or is it real infrastructure damage that could
occur? >> obviously, some of the buildings around have already gotten hit. i've seen pictures come across the phones that show a lot of major damage to some of the outlying businesses, gas stations, et cetera. but long term, i think it is not going to be as terrible as other areas of the state. but, you know, we have some creeks here that will begin rising, not for another day or two. that flooding will last for several weeks, if not longer. but nothing like we witnessed in houston and texas. but the flooding is pretty bad. we don't know who is out there yet that has had any serious injuries. we've had some. no deaths so far. hopefully we won't have any. but it's rough. the downtown area is the roughest right now because of the st. johns. and we have two major creeks here and a lot of the
tributaries that will get flooded. i don't think it'll take us forever to get these things subsided. but our public works department, our mayor, all the utilities, jacksonville electric authority are 24/7. the jea has not had a chance to really get out and get power on to the residents. only place they're going first are, of course, the hospitals, schools and the shelters and the navy base. we have two major navy bases here. we want to take care of the emergencies first. but they're out and about. they said they weren't going to be in harm's way until after these winds subside and they can get out and get the power back on. i look at the other pictures y'all had. did a remarkable job in showing what florida look like. you think it's stopped but it hasn't. i thought the winds would be subsided by now but they haven't. >> can the city handle something like this? what is the infrastructure like?
>> like every major city's infrastructure, it's not the greatest. we have 50% underground, but that doesn't stop, you know, the damage that any hurricane can levy on somebody. but i think, yeah, we can handle it. much better prepared this year than last year. electric authority in maintaining the water quality. the generators last year, several failed where the power plants were and the substations were. they're prepared this year. i think much, much better. and i think the people were prepared because of what happened in houston, in texas. they weren't going to sit back and let the same thing happen to them. no matter how prepared you are, you're never that prepared. >> yeah. >> and the governor, i give credit, republicans and democrats alike, they were all one team and continue to be. that is what is making this
thing, if there is anything that can be desirable, to try to rectify all the things that are happening and are continuing to happen. this ain't over till it's over, and that probably won't happen, from what we see with the damage and flooding and all until after tomorrow. >> all right. tommy, thanks for joining us. former mayor of jacksonville, now at at-large city councilman. we'll monitor the situations in jacksonville, in northern florida into georgia. the storm is not over yet. we'll follow it all the way through. meanwhile, i mentioned sir richard branson earlier, trying to work with local organizations and governments in the caribbean. parts of the caribbean are in absolute misery this morning. places that you would think are heaven on earth, paradise, they are experiencing their own hell. officials are struggling to get aid to islands that were devastated by this hurricane irma, which struck there as a category 5. at least 34 people were reported killed across the region,
including ten in cuba after its northern coast was hit hard. to the east, in the leeward islands, irma flattened many towns completely. there are shortages of food, water and medicine. bill mentioned people in st. martin, simply searching for food. >> barbuda, by the way, which we're looking at, they're saying 90% to 100% destroying. >> stunning. britain sent a navy ship and almost 500 troops to help people on the british virgin islands and turks and caicos. the united states is sending a flight today to evacuate its citizens from st. martin. a royal caribbean cruise line ship is expected to dock there to help in the aftermath. that's something we like to hear. corporate america working with non-government agencies and the government to simply help. french president macron is scheduled to arrive in st. martin tomorrow, bringing aid with him. for more, let's bring in our colleague who has been following
irma's aftermath in the caribbean today. walk us through this. so many people are concerned, saying do not forget the u.s. virgin islands, the british virgin islands, cuba. they were devastated. again, these are places we visit on vacation, we say they're paradise. those little slices of heaven, what are they going through? >> especially barbuda. that tiny island that ali was talking about. 95% completely devastated according to the prime minister. he called it, quote, literally rubble. there was no contact with this island for an entire day. it is 2017 and nobody could get a signal out of that island. this was something that was just absolutely devastating. all the public utilities were destroyed. the one hospital on the island had the roof ripped off. they're trying to get that island evacuated still. as we move sort of west to east, st. martin, you mentioned that, it is a half dutch territory, half french territory. there are significant problems
on the island, and many are related to looting. i hate to use the term looting because we think of people going into stores and robbing. it's not what's happening. people are going for food and water. it is a lawless situation, according to the dutch government. they've put troops in the city to try to restore what they can. this was the first category 5 storm to hit cuba since 1932. they evacuated a million people off of the key islands of north earn cuba. this is what, in many ways, slowed irma down. we are expecting a cat 4 or cat 5 landfall from irma. cuba slowed it down. the pictures are from havana. the flooding came in six blocks into the city of havana, surrounded the u.s. embassy up to waist-high water. a difficult scene. as we've heard, at least ten people killed in cuba. it was interesting to listen to the interview you all did with
the fema director, brock long, talking about we need a better culture of disasters in this country. cuba does it well. they move ed a million people, moved a lot upside down ground, and that seems to have made the difference. >> people say we owe a vote of thanks to cuba. nobody wants to see destruction in someone else's cuba, but how st. petersburg thanked naples, thanked marco island. landing in cuba, it sucked a little storm out. >> served as a buffer. >> so we should be very grateful and mindful of the people in cuba who are facing the devastation because some people in america didn't have to. >> absolutely right. >> thanks very much for that. by the way, i will be speaking with the member of congress from the u.s. injure v -- virgin islands. she's back and evaluating the damage for us.
to get out now. we hope there's gas that people can get for their cars. jacksonville was hit by record storm surge this morning and officials say flood levels will go higher at high tide this afternoon. >> irma is a tropical storm. it is not near jacksonville. this is sort of an added effect of it. the storm is swirling in the northern part of florida. really the northwestern part of florida. it is headed straight for georgia. the storm is massive. it is more than 500 miles wide. it's packing winds of up to 70 miles per hour. two to six inches of rain could
fall today in the north central part of florida. the power problems are getting worse. that is to be expected, by the way. it happens afterwards. trees continue to fall. more than 6 million outages are now being reported across the state. officials say some could be in the dark for weeks now that the winds are lower. where the winds are below 40 to 45 miles per hour, you crews ca out and put up the wires. a lot of places we haven't reached that point. these are jacksonville pictures right now. >> let's bring in -- hold on. you go to look at this video. >> that's a cat. >> a woman in jacksonville, her cat on the windowsill jumps into the bump. if the woman is 5'5", she looks like she's standing in, i don't know, three feet of water and the cat -- >> jumped into the tree. look at the panic, where she tried to grab it from the window shill. the cat has gone into the tree and she can't find the cat.
she's looking around to see where the cat. >> it is a bush, not a tree, so you can't climb it. the branchs can't withstand your weight and you can't see the cat. looking at the cat, i think about the water. there's a woman trying to stand there. it is not like it is still water. i mean, the water is rushing, rushing through jacksonville. this is an area that simply wasn't expecting to get hit this hard. >> sam champion and i were discussing, in rushing water, this is not rising water like a puddle, in rushing water, six inches can knock you off -- sam is listening to this conversation in miami. let's bring him in. rushing water can knock you off your feet, six inches of it. sam, people don't understand the weight of water at this speed. >> reporter: yeah. we're still in miami. ali, talking about the power
of water. we're trying to move from place to place to get a good survey of the damage here. now, the first thing you'll notice is there's a lot of boats in this area. looking back there, a little cluster of islands where the houses are. this is where people have their boats outside of the marina. if we pan over more, you'll be able to see, these boats have been tossed along the shoreline. boats that were on their moring here. this is the power of water. to give you the idea, we can keep going around and i want to show you where the water line was. it is easy to find. you'll see the debris line. you'll see a catamaran sailboat up in the parking lot with a debris line all around it. all day long today, you know, we've talked to a number of people, really lovely couple who came out here, who were trying to find their boat. looking at it from where it was and couldn't find it. so this is one of those things
where you're going to have to get in a dinghy and check your spot to find out if your boat made it. you'll look out there and everything looks great until you notice, nope, that one sunk. that one sunk. some of them held out okay. there's a pretty big sailboat over there at the very end that is half underwater. so just to show you the power of the wind and the water out here. the other thing i want to tell people, and this is something we found after just about every storm, particularly with marina damage, there's fuel oil in the water here. be very, very careful. the smell is kind of overwhelming and a powerful smell. you know it is here. cowboy, i'm not sure if you can see the sheen. >> we can. >> the current is taking that fuel oil all the way in and around there. there's usually a subtle color to the water. when you're looking for fuel oil, it looks like a rain bobor. like a slick rainbow thing to it. that's something i hate to see.
this water is so beautiful. >> the fuel oil is a danger if you think about all the marine life. our own kerry sanders earlier was involved in not one but two dolphin rescues. >> yeah. >> i just saw on nbc.com, a manatee rescue of a manatee that had gotten trapped under muck and sand. can you speak to the dangers, what else people could face? while maybe not directly in miami but the everglades areas. if you think about the alligators, the snakes that naturally inhabit florida, what a storm like this could do, what it could bring out. >> reporter: really truly, when you choose to live here, you live with the wildlife. this is a manatee area right here. as a matter of fact, you can see there is a sign out in the water that says, slow speed, manatee zone, minimum wake. we have wildlife in every part of florida and lives along with us. you're absolutely right. with the power of the storm on the west coast, you were going to have a lot more wildlife in trouble than you would have had
here on the east coast. you've got those alligators and you've got the manatees and you've got the dolphins. a lot of those animals that like to stay close to the coast, in shallow water, likely were caught up in the storm. i did see the kerry sanders, the images of kerry there, and i've seen some other images of manatee rescues, as well, of manatees in trouble. manatees notoriously like this very warm, shallow water. they're kind and gentle and lovely. they might not be the most attractive. you have to love them to love them. >> i disagree. >> elephants with very short trunks. >> i love manatee. i think they are beautiful. >> you tell people i'm handsome, so i'm not sure where your scale is. we won't pay attention to what stephanie thinks about how things look. back to -- this is remarkable. when we saw the boats, your photographer was shows us the boats, how they were displaced in places, how does somebody who
is in florida at this moment distinguish between flooding, which is just flooding and it is okay, you might have stuff in it but it is okay, versus the high-speed water that was either storm surge or tide or the stuff they're going to have in jacksonville? >> reporter: well, the thing going on in jacksonville, again, with those rivers carrying so much water from all that rain, it is going to be raining inland, and those rivers run pretty close high to banks. some of the rivers are closest to the top of the bank anyway. when you're carrying all the water out, it's going to be -- it is similar to inland flooding you'd see anywhere. the water rises quickly in those areas and spreads across the communities. this is the kind of forceful water we were talking about at the first part of the shot here. this is that wall of water that came in, being pushed by the wind. it just takes everything where it. it takes the debris. it takes the garbage that people leave behind. it takes the boats. it takes the trees. it takes everything.
it stays in place for a little while. then it rushes back out. so a lot of this storm surge flooding or the flooding that was driven by the wind is already gone today. we've seen that a lot in miami and seep n it in the costal are. it'll come in waves and push things strongly. these are working boats. miami is pull of pleasure boats, but a lot of these boats are work boats. this is somebody's livelihood. they've got fishing nets attached right here. this is how these people make their living. so these boats being in this bad shape, hulls opened and sitting down in the water, that's somebody who can't go to work. you're seeing some sailboats that are in the background there. >> we know from hurricane sandy, even if those fishermen and women are insured, it takes a long time before you can get your insurance claims all sorted out. it is not like people just have the money up front to buy a new -- i mean, boats cost tens of thousands of dollars. sam, stay with us. i want to bring in vaughn
hilliard. >> i'll update you on news from charleston, south carolina. >> two hours north. >> an hour from high tide. we're getting reports the harbor is overflowing at the battery in downtown charleston. these effects are going to tonight. charleston is not in the direction the storm ask going. vaughn is in a neighborhood in miami that has been damaged by irma. what is the situation? what is the situation? what are you seeing? >> reporter: we're talking about the likes of south carolina suddenly being concerned about this storm. miami, remember several days ago, it was supposed to be the eye of the hurricane. over the last couple days, the attention turned to the west coast of florida. what we've seen over the last 24 hours, 100-mile-per-hour winds still hit the city, right now, we're riding along with miami-dade fire department over the last couple hours, since the sun has been up. we've been going to multiple
situations where, in this case, we came up to where there is active power lines. when we drove up with the fire department, they saw them, saw the camera crew and it turned into a hectic scene. you can see inside of this neighborhood, there are people all around. trees just inside. we don't want to end up back into this particular home because the only thing holding up this tree at this point is this one single power line. another, what we believe to be active -- there are active power lines around here already down on the ground -- but we have kids. a young man who lives in this house, 6 years old. the tree has gone inside of the roof. really, the only thing holding it up is this power line. we haven't made our way down. we just got to the scene. there are people running down to us. someone thinking the cameras along with the fire department can help them in this active situation. there are poles on top of their house. it is hard to understand the entire situation going on. again, it was 100-mile-per-hour winds. a lot of the individuals stayed here.
we're four miles from miami beach. they said they are without food, without water. we've only seen one restaurant on our drive that is open at this point. there is a situation now where people have been holed up since friday in most situations and there's a lot of concern. 660,000 were under mandatory evacuation for miami. for people here, they endured the storm but others are arriving to the scene. also trying to make their way through the trees. we actually while driving along, we got another report about a couple mile acewas we got another report about a couple mile acew away, a gentle was using a chain saw, trying to move a tree. the tree fell on him. it's sunny. not a lot of water in the streets. but there is concern as people try to return to life. >> the 6-year-old boy, the family, have they been in the house the last few days? >> reporter: they were staying in it during it. we got video we'll get into the system. unfortunately, we were encouraged by the fire
department not to go back in, but that's the young 6-year-old. they were actually inside. there were four of them that live in there. they were showing up the tree. you can see the tree, the roof fell in on them. it didn't obviously crush them or harm them in this situation, but they are concerned. for the last 24 hours they haven't had help. remember, it wasn't until late last night the fire department really started to respond to these 911 calls. for a lot of these people, despite the rain, despite the wind, they've been sitting there waiting for this moment. now it's noon before that response is finally coming. the guys we're going with usually have three trucks at the station. they brought three others in to help with the situation. >> fortunately, the rescue team is there now. we have to stay on this conversation though. now these concerns, charleston. charleston, south carolina, that they thought at most -- >> water is over the bay. >> -- would be watching this on television. the rain isn't falling but water is rising. >> when the storm was actually going to, at one point, three,
maybe four days ago, when we thought the storm would go smack into miami, we thought it'd go to south carolina and georgia. they were scared up there, buying supplies, getting ready. then the storm was shifting west. looks better for them. then the storm goes, last then the storm goes over the center of the state and now all the winds are coming in off the coast. they're seeing significant storm surge flooding, around four to six feet. a friend told us she's down to the battery and the water is coming over the battery. if you know charleston, it's beautiful right there on the river. the battery is only a couple feet away from the water. it happens a couple times a year. but there's still an hour away from high tide. we have these flood warnings now that extend from charleston in red here. this is all because of the storm surge of four to six feet right now back down the coastal areas. and you can see in here the -- i put the winds on here so you could see the direction of the winds. these little green arrows is the
flow around the tropical storm. it's piling the water into areas savannah and the water is not allowed to escape. high tide two hours from now is causing all the problems, same thing happening in the jacksonville area. jacksonville's wind direction is no longer on shore. now the water is rubbing out of the st. john's river. it has to go through downtown jacksonville which is already at record flooding. that's why they had the new evacuations because that water is now being pushed in the direction that the river flows to the ocean. that's going to happen at high tide in the next hour. so that's the concern. huge concerns there around the jacksonville area. a foot of rain. storm surge four to five feet. high tide at 12:36 p.m. after the tide passes, the water should we begin to recede. i showed this map of the jacksonville area before.
this is downtown jacksonville. the blue is obviously, that's the st. john's river. everyone in red and in the orange, the sheriff said get out now. evacuate while you can. so some of those people had been evacuated. if you hadn't done it, now with the situation, they opened the bridges again so people have a way to get out of town because of that. you know, there's a lot of people that are up along the coast from ferdinand beach and heading right through brunswick, georgia, abour friends in savannah and the charleston area. if there's anything that's going to be dramatic with the afternoon high tide, that's new, because it's already really bad in jacksonville, it's going to be the savannah area. they have a chance of being two hour -- two feet higher than last year during matthew. there's pictures of houses with water with two feet of water in them. that means those houses if the prediction is accurate, this afternoon, will have four feet of water in them. >> bill, thanks. as the intensity of the storm
goes on, i want to say thank you to you and your team or the incredible 24/work. they're all fantastic. it has helped us and such an embrace of modern technology and science. >> it's a changing story. >> but people get to hear what the truth is and get to make decisions that can save their lives. >> we're lucky to have that kind of technology. bill is giving us information we wouldn't have had just a few years ago. take a look at this dramatic video. this storm chaser we saw yesterday.
>> i watched that video over and over yesterday. it's justin drake braving 117-mile-per-hour winds, nearly getting blown away. this was not a prank. he's gathering data on the storm. >> that's and mom ter what he's holding in his hand. it's a hand wind thing. >> perfectly positioned himself into the eye to see what the highest wind recording he could get. >> justin joins us along with simon brewer who shot the video. guys, that was kind of incredible. justin, you were trying to get an accurate wind measurement and you have a device that can can measure 117 miles an hour? >> that's correct. what i was holding in my hand was a handheld anemometer and a barometer, as well. we make sure we take it on all of our hurricane chases to gather data while we're having the hurricane come towards us. >> where are you now? >> right now, we're actually in
the miami area. we were able to explore each one of the keys after the hurricane had hit so we could document what type of damage was done by the hurricane itself. and then we were able to get off of those islands and now we're back on the islands. >> what did you learn? >> learned that irma was a very powerful hurricane. just two weeks ago, simon and i were chasing harvey over there in the corpus christi, houston area. at the time, that was the strongest hurricane i had ever chased and irma even topped that one. >> simon, at some point, did you feel like getting in the car and driving off? that's kind of a crazy picture. i don't know if justin's been recruited about a fitness magazine to show us how you work out so you can withstand that kind of hurricane. >> i definitely could not have done that. the upper body weight on me would have toppled me over. >> i would have liked to have
seen it. >> rhule without velshi. simon, you were gathering and photographing this but you're also a meteorologist. >> yes, we're both meteorologists. and we're both documenting the storm. this is what we do. we're extreme weather journalists and both meteorologists so that helps us to do our job much better. and justin and i at the time were taking turns going outside and getting wind measurements. we were getting incredible wind gusts. even if we wanted to, it would be almost impossible to drive away. just being parked in the position we were parked, the car was shaking. if we would have tried to move the car in a different way, have the wind catch the car in a bad direction could end up rolling the car. when you get in that type of position, with those types of winds, you don't want to move. >> then what happened after that video? how did you get back in the car? how did you open the door and if you did, how did it not crush
you? >> it took a lot of effort to get that door open. it took as much if not more to close it as it took to get open. it was a very difficult to say the least. only thing i can say is, just a lesson to be learned, one, don't skip -- really hard to stay out there. i mean, he basically just used every ounce of strength i had to get that door back open and get it shut this is bill karins. compare the eye of harvey and the eye of irma for us. >> significantly different. harvey had some pretty strong sustained winds, it was a category 4 and strong wind gusts. but even though harvey was moving is slowly so we were in the eye wall for a long period of time, just with the fast motion of irma, we were getting hammered by much stronger winds, the winds were gusting for much
longer periods of time. so the sustained winds seemed to be much more powerful than harvey. it was a different scale. it was a completely different scale. irma was probably i would say like a 9 and harvey was a 7. >> and also, you guys saw firsthand and you gave us those poohs of the storm surge that hit the keys. and a lot of people in fort myers and sarasota and naples were fortunate because they had that -- try to tell people how lucky they were not to have the surge that you saw. >> correct. when it comes to the surge, it's all about where you are with respect 0 where the eye is. just a little shift in the wins can drastically change how the water piles up on shore and, of course, gives you that monstrous storm surge. where we were shooting the video at the time, there wasn't that much of a surge right there at our location because the winds were more parallel to the shore. as soon as you head further to the east and start getting closer to sugarloaf and also
marathon, that's when had you that really strong direct on-shore flowen an that's where they got the monstrous storm surge. >> this is what you do, chase storms. two weeks ago, you were chasing harvey. you are covering irma now. jose is on the horizon in the caribbean. what is happening? >> what's happening with the atmosphere or what's happening with us? >> with the atmosphere. >> we don't want you guys making plans for the outer banks or anywhere on the east coast. >> well, the atmosphere of this is peak of hurricane season. regardless of what's going on climatologywise, in any given year, let's rephrase that. climatology says this is the time when there should be strong hurricanes out in the atlantic. unfortunately, this year, they're hitting the united states. in the past nine years, a lot of
strong hurricanes didn't touch the united states. the united states has only gotten category 1s and tropical storms. >> guys, thanks very much for all you've done. and we appreciate it. simon and justin. that's it for this hour, two hours of "velshi and ruhle." we should do more tv together. >> it's pretty good. >> i'm stephanie rhule. >> "andrea mitchell reports" is up now. >> right now, irma's impact. more than 6 million in florida without power and flash flood warnings are in place and the worst could still come to jacksonville where they're experiencing record flooding. as the storm heads north to georgia, many are getting a first look at the damage. >> the angle of approach can make all the difference and a storm that's more parallel -- oh. >> this is the rain that's hitting me. wow. >> the beach got hit pretty hard. >> there's still a flooding risk