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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Hurricane Hits Bermuda

Aired September 5, 2003 - 19:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Turning to Fabian's fury. The hurricane took direct aim at Bermuda, turning the picturesque island into a wind-lashed, boarded up, deserted landscape.
The category three storm is the most powerful to hit the British territory in more than 70 years.

Our own Gary Tuchman is in the middle of it. He joins us now by phone.

Gary, how bad has it been?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it is now nightfall here in Bermuda, 8:05 p.m. right now. And these hurricane force winds, which have been with us since the middle of this afternoon, are continuing.

I've been covering hurricanes for two decades now. I've never seen these type of winds continue for so long. We're talking about four hours. We're anticipating at least another couple of hours.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the winds have been as strong as 125 miles per hour, but sustained at 115 miles per hour. This is the first time since 1926, 77 years, that this little speck in the Atlantic Ocean, little 20-square-mile Bermuda, has been directly hit by a hurricane.

We've stood next to the Atlantic Ocean, next to a sturdy hotel, watching wood planks from a restaurant, from a huge deck where a couple were supposed to get married tomorrow, just dissolve and disappear into the ocean.

We've driven about 15 minutes away from here but couldn't get any farther because so many trees and power lines were in the road. We drove back to this hotel and a huge branch from one of the trees fell on top of our car. That's what people are contending with.

It's estimated that up to 50 percent of the tourists who were here the last few days decided to stick it out and stay. In addition to that, there's 62,000 residents. Authorities implored them, please stay in your homes. This will be very dangerous. Many of them didn't listen initially as the tropical storm force winds came, but then when it picked up, then when it got over 100 miles per hour, many of them, quite scared, went into the hotels, went into their homes. And now the streets and beaches are vacant as hurricane winds continue.

Right now it's impossible to ascertain if there are any casualties and how much destruction there is in on this chain of islands 600 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, stay indoors and stay safe.

Fabian has banged into Bermuda. The question now: where is it going to head next? For that, we turn to meteorologist Rob Marciano in the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Rob, where is it going to go?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson over the past couple of hours the actual eye of this thing has moved directly over Bermuda. It is now past the island of Bermuda, right about there.

You can kind of see it started to make a right hand turn. That's good news. That takes it way from the U.S., and we don't expect it to come anywhere near the U.S. But with the big winds, it's generated big waves. and those waves are going to come on shore this weekend. So there's a big concern about rough surf and dangerous riptides. Keep that in mind if you're heading to the area beaches.

Moving north at 20 miles per hour our last check, winds of 120. But we have unofficial observations of 132 mile an hour gusts. Luckily, that's moving off the shore of Bermuda, and it will be weakening.

Other order of business tonight, more directly associated with the lower 48, Tropical Storm Henri. Nowhere near as big as Fabian but with winds of 50 miles per hour. But it's going to have a lot of rainfall with it, and the bigger issue with this guy is going to be flooding.

We have tropical storm warnings up, and we're going to have a mild storm surge of two to four feet with this thing. The thing with Florida, you know it's flat. It's already had tremendous amounts of rain, could get up to a foot more of rainfall. The ground is saturated, and the rivers are filled to the gills, Anderson. So we're going to see big time flooding in Florida.

Good news with Fabian. Conditions in Bermuda will be getting a little bit better over the next couple of hours.

COOPER: All right. A little bit of good news there. Rob Marciano, thanks very much.

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