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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Hurricane Ivan: Storm Strikes Georgia, Florida, Alabama

Aired September 16, 2004 - 03:00   ET

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


CATHERINE CALLAWAY, ANCHOR: The eye of Hurricane Ivan has reached land. Right now it is over Gulf Shores, Alabama. A big band of storms, one of the strongest bands in the system now, reaching Pensacola, Florida, where Chris Lawrence is. And we'll be getting back to him in just a few minutes.
But quickly, we're going to check in with David Mattingly, who's in Panama City. We also, of course, have Anderson and Rob back with us from Mobile.

First, let's get an update with you, David, on what's going on in Panama City.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ivan definitely kicking it up a notch.

We are told the authorities are now closing the three beaches (sic) to Panama City Beach. Those bridges are always set to be closed when you reach a maximum sustained wind of 55 miles per hour. The bridges are very high to allow for seagoing traffic underneath, so when the winds get up to 55 miles per hour, they decided that's the point where it's unsafe for any kind of vehicle to go over them. So they are now in the process of closing those.

The wind has been picking up steadily as this storm has been coming ashore, and we have been getting some gusts well in excess of 60 miles an hour. So some gusts here approaching hurricane strength force.

Now, consider we are over 100 miles away from where the eye of Ivan is making landfall. Look at all this rain. Look at all this wind. And look at this surf that continues to pound in here.

We're watching a beach erosion event going on with this storm. You see how frothy all of this water is being whipped up by this -- by this wind as it comes down the beach here.

And we went through a high tide sequence, and at the time you could not see any of the beach. But now the waves are able to receive some -- you can see some of the beach here.

But as we stand down here, we continue to see debris coming down the beach. We continue to see beach erosion occurring. We see problems in some of the dunes, some of the fencing around the dunes has been ripped away so the waves have been getting up and getting into the dunes where the vegetation has been planted. So that is eating away there. This all started early yesterday afternoon with a squall line coming in, full -- full of tornadoes, two of them touching down, killing two people, doing a wide, wide area of damage. Two hundred homes, we're told, have been -- they've figured that 200 homes have been damaged.

There are hundreds of people in shelters tonight. They originally started with two shelters in Bay County. They are now opening up another to accommodate the people who are coming in.

So again, this turning out to be the tough night that they were expecting. Again, in the morning everyone is going to be looking at this beach to see what's left of it, because this is the economic future of the city right here. And it has been taking a pounding.

And you can just see behind me how the wind is still continuing to whip the water there, just makes it so frothy. Sometimes when the waves hit up here it looks like there's a snowfall going on, Catherine, with all this sea foam that is briefly in the air. But nothing like that to show you this morning. But it is quite a sight to see when it does happen.

CALLAWAY: David, as you know, there's a litany of condominium complexes all the way down the coast there in Panama City. I know that the power's out there, but do you think any of those condominiums and the structures there along the beach have suffered extensive damage?

MATTINGLY: We haven't seen any extensive damage. Most of the condos that are going up around here are very well constructed. There were new building codes enacted after Hurricane Andrew.

So when they lost some of the buildings here back during Hurricane Opal in 1995, they had those new building codes. Any new buildings that went up were set to withstand much bigger winds.

Some of that sea foam flying around again.

They were able to withstand much stronger winds, and they were able to withstand much stronger weather events like we're seeing right now -- Catherine.

CALLAWAY: All right, David. Stay clear of the sea foam.

All right, let's check back in with Anderson and Rob in Mobile. And gentlemen, has the wind picked up, calmed down? I know we've seen the winds have dropped significantly in Gulf Shores, where the eye of the storm is now. How about you?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Yes, it really doesn't feel like the winds have dropped. If anything -- if anything, they seem to be blowing, still, pretty hard. But that's really not a big surprise. I mean, you're not anticipating seeing some big eye coming over here? You're not anticipating things calming down much here? ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. What I'm anticipating is that lamp up there to come flying off at some point, so I'm a little nervous about you being such a cowboy.

But I'm anticipating it getting worse before -- I hate that. I hate saying that. It's such a cliche, it's going to get worse before it gets better. But that's the truth here.

The only solid good news that we have is that, you know, we're going to be on the western side of -- of the eye wall. So the storm surge shouldn't be as bad, but we're going to get a piece of that eye wall, no doubt about it. And winds around it, in that corner, easily blowing 80 miles an hour, possibly gusting higher than that, possibly up to 100. And it will get stronger out of the northeast and then eventually north as we go through the next two hours.

CALLAWAY: Rob, Rob?

COOPER: If we could -- Yes, Catherine?

CALLAWAY: I just want to remind everyone that it is now a Category Three hurricane.

COOPER: Yes, although what made it a Category Three was only a drop of five miles per hour, so it's not like we're talking about a huge, you know -- like five miles an hour is nothing.

MARCIANO: Go out and play (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

COOPER: Exactly. Yes, it's -- believe me, it feels just as bad as it did a second ago when it was a Category Four.

I've got to ask you, though, Rob, on the other end of that eye wall, how long are we talking about still having these high winds?

MARCIANO: Well, it obviously depends on where you are, but to Gary Tuchman right now in Gulf Shores, I mean he's in -- he's in the eye itself, which has got to be some cool experience. I hope we'll get a piece of that a little later on today.

As the backside comes through, he'll start to get southerly and westerly winds, too, on the backside of that. So he'll be out of -- he'll be out of the calm here in the next hour. And then it will be back into the stuff for about two or three hours. Then he'll be out of it, I'm thinking, pretty rapidly.

It's moving a lot faster than Frances did. Frances kind of festered over the -- over Florida. So it moved really slowly. On top of that, it kept picking up moisture from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. This one should get in and get out fairly rapidly, and then it will stall over the Appalachians.

This things going to be a pain in the neck for a lot of folks yet, even beyond -- beyond Mobile Bay, up across the mountains of Alabama and Georgia and in through the Carolinas. We're talking about big flooding issues the next couple days. COOPER: I'm also curious to know, Rob, I mean, you've studied these things, been a meteorologist for a long time. Really, this is the first time you've been in one of these storms. How is it different actually being here, actually feeling it yourself, than being in the studio?

MARCIANO: Well, you know, you try not to think about, while you're out here, the damage that it's doing and the property that folks had and being damaged. But you can't help but be excited.

I mean, you study these things. You spend a lot of your career cooped up in a windowless studio, telling people not to go into these things. You have to kind of come through experience. It's a humiliating experience, but it's also fascinating at the same time.

And when we go look at the damage tomorrow, in the next couple days, and you've been through one of these, really visual doesn't really capture it. When you're there in person, you see how homes are destroyed.

COOPER: Yes.

MARCIANO: It really can bring it home.

COOPER: Yes, Catherine, I do think -- it's sort of intellectually, you can know. You can hear 135 mile an hour winds. You know, you can see it on paper; you can see it on TV.

But until you sort of stood in the storm, you know, and felt a wind gust that could pick you up and throw you down, you know, all the numbers in your head, it doesn't mean anything until you're sort of wedged in here. It really brings it home.

CALLAWAY: And you get a feeling for that...

MARCIANO: ... overestimate what the winds are. I mean, just a few hours ago, we're thinking, you know, it's blowing 70, 80 miles an hour. And you know, I checked our little wind gauge. Didn't believe that. Checked the odds (ph) at the airport, and the Mobile Airport wasn't reporting anything higher than 50. So it always feels a lot worse than it actually is.

I'm not going beyond that little mark right there.

CALLAWAY: Nothing like a little sand and salt water in your face to wake you up. All right. Stay with us, guys.

We're going to bring in Collette Boehm. She's with the Baldwin County Emergency Management Office to give us an update on what the situation there is with emergency services.

Can you hear me?

COLLETTE BOEHM, BALDWIN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE: Hi, yes.

CALLAWAY: What -- what is the situation? Have -- have you had any reports of any crisis situation there in your county?

BOEHM: Well, we've -- we're experiencing hurricane force winds now for going on three hours or so. We think we're just about at the eye wall. So we're hoping that we're halfway through.

CALLAWAY: Of course, a lot of people want to know about the report that Gary Tuchman gave us just a few moments ago about a woman who -- they decided to wait the storm out in their home -- has gone into labor. Can you tell us what the situation is with her?

BOEHM: The EMS folks got a call here from -- from a lady who thought she was going into labor. It's not quite time for that yet, so obviously that adds to her anxiety. The National Guard folks transported her, went to pick her up with the medics and were en route to North Omaha Hospital (ph), which is Mamaness (ph).

They had some trouble with their vehicle, got stranded. So another guard unit went out to get them out of their trouble. And at that point, the medics determined that they needed to come to our office instead of continuing to the hospital.

CALLAWAY: Is she there now?

BOEHM: She is there now.

In addition, they had another gentleman who was having chest pains. He's been -- I'm actually not sure that they've confirmed that diagnosis. But he is also here.

CALLAWAY: Is she still in labor? Has she had -- what's her situation?

BOEHM: We don't have any reports of a baby yet. They obviously are, you know, taking good care of her. There is an infirmary here. We've got great EMS staff looking after her. So she's -- she's getting the best care she can in these situations.

CALLAWAY: And with the weather situation, you obviously are not responding to any calls unless they are unusual or are a crisis situation, right?

BOEHM: Absolutely. The sheriff's department, as well as most of the municipalities, are not going to, you know, put their folks out in danger. You know, the focus here at the EOC from the beginning of the evacuation has been primarily concerned with the safety of the Baldwin County population.

So that is still the focus now, and that includes our -- our first responders and those folks.

Right now what the majority of the evening has been focused on here is planning. You know, after the next 12 hours, what are the priorities going to be for the areas that are hardest hit? How can the agencies coordinate with each other and -- and help the municipalities and -- and all that sort of working together has got to start now. And they're doing a great job of planning that. CALLAWAY: Do you have any reports, other than the two that you've just given us on the woman who's gone into labor and the man with chest pains? Any other injuries or problems?

BOEHM: The only other one we had was actually another lady who thought she was in labor. They don't have clear details on that. My understanding, that they also transported her and she was fine.

CALLAWAY: What is your biggest concern right now?

BOEHM: Well, obviously, as I've said before, the primary concern is the -- the safety and help of the folks who live in Baldwin County. So you have to be concerned about the folks who decided not to leave, if there's anybody out there in low lying areas or in unsafe buildings.

So at this point, that's the frustrating part, is all these folks who are ready to get out there and help have to wait until it's safe to do that.

CALLAWAY: And we're getting reports from Gary Tuchman who's in Gulf Shores that there have been a number of roofs -- roofs blown off and a lot of structure damage. Are you hearing this, as well?

BOEHM: We heard some of that. Now, I haven't heard specifically about structure damage, but while folks were still out and sort of battening up their own hatches...

CALLAWAY: Right.

BOEHM: ... around at the different cities, we would hear reports of trees down, traffic lights down.

CALLAWAY: Well, stay with us, actually, Collette. Let's bring in Gary Tuchman. He's with us in Gulf Shores.

Gary, are you there?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am here, Catherine. I can talk to Collette. She's about 10 miles inland from us, north of us. And if they haven't gotten it yet, Collette, the eye of this hurricane has hit this area near Gulf Shores. It is completely calm right now. It's just drizzling. So if you haven't gotten it yet, you should be getting it any minute.

CALLAWAY: I'm sure she's looking forward to that. Collette, are you still there?

BOEHM: I am.

CALLAWAY: What is the situation where you are at the center?

BOEHM: It -- it has not calmed -- well, the winds are slightly calmer than they were a few minutes ago, but it is not calm here yet.

CALLAWAY: Who is there were you are? Are you in the emergency management center there?

BOEHM: Yes. I'm in the emergency operations center in St. Robinsville (ph).

CALLAWAY: And who's there with you, and what kind of structure are you in?

BOEHM: This is a very safe structure. It's obviously built for the emergency management team to ride out storms here and be able to coordinate with each other. We've got generator power and water and that sort of thing.

CALLAWAY: Gary, sounds like that may be where you need to head.

TUCHMAN: I can tell you, and I can tell our viewers and Collette, we're in a pretty safe part of town right here, too, with some big sturdy structures surrounding us. We feel very comfortable, particularly now.

And you always have to be careful when you're in the eye of the hurricane and now think, "OK, it's time to go out and do something." Obviously, right now it's a piece of cake, but we know that in about a half an hour, before New Orleans city (ph) it's going to pick up again.

During the brunt of the storm, before the eye came when the eye wall, which is the most dangerous part of the storm. We're pretty safe here. And I'll tell you, during Hurricane Frances, as we were talking about before, even though it wasn't as strong as a hurricane, it blew us around a little bit more because we didn't have the same kind of protection that we have here right now in Baldwin County, Alabama.

CALLAWAY: All right. Let me thank Collette Boehm for being with us. She's at the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency. Good luck to you, Collette.

BOEHM: Thank you very much.

CALLAWAY: And we have Chad Myers with us this morning. We've given Orelon Sidney a break. Able to go home and get some rest after a terrific job tonight, following that hurricane.

Chad, are you there?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I am. Good morning, Catherine.

CALLAWAY: Well, you're a lot less wet than you were when Frances came ashore.

MYERS: Yes, and my hair is in much better shape, as well. It's all going in the same direction, because I've got it combed. I feel for those guys out there.

I do want to show you -- I'll take you a couple places here. I guess the most important one, we have a tornado warning that we just picked up for Troy, Alabama. The town of Pike County, includes the city of Troy, until 2:30, for another 15 or so minutes. And then that moves into -- from Barber County (ph). That will expire in about five minutes.

The cells here are actually right there on my map. The cells right through here that -- not that far east of Troy. And the cells are moving to the north and northwest, so the cells here probably will have either some rotation, indicated by Doppler radar, or something maybe a little bit more sinister with them soon as the storms are still really developing here.

Taking a couple more places here, because this is really a great machine that I can take you to. We'll go down to where Gary Tuchman was, really basically right through here, right into Gulf Shores. And I'll show you why Gary is seeing the lack of wind, because he was actually in the center of the eye, whereas our reporter -- I think she was the emergency management lady -- actually up here towards Somerdale (ph). And Somerdale not quite as close to the eye.

And so the eye is really only calm, if you will, right very -- in the very, very center of it. We always hear about the eye, the calm. Still, the winds here are going to be 50. Winds here are going to be 50. Then 30, then 20. And as you get closer to the eye, then you get down closer to the zero, but not until then.

Most of the time in the eye, you still will get significant winds. And that's what, probably, she's seeing now. Although significant is kind of a funny word, considering what they're seeing on up here toward Mobile.

CALLAWAY: Well, Chad...

MYERS: Just had those guys up in Mobile, and they are really still getting hammered. And now more -- I heard you breaking in there, Catherine -- more weather is coming in on the western side of Mobile. And then another band coming in on the eastern side will pick the winds up significantly here over the next 15 minutes.

CALLAWAY: I'm a little bit concerned about the band that's hitting Pensacola right now. That looks like a very strong band of storm.

MYERS: Sure. Absolutely. Here's -- here's what we're talking about here. Here's obviously the eye, the center of the eye. The wind speed 51, but don't let that kid you. I just checked. The observation said the gust was 86. So although these are sustained winds -- everything we're showing you will be sustained winds today -- the gusts are certainly, certainly much, much higher than what they are.

And let's get right into Pensacola here, because...

CALLAWAY: Look at that.

MYERS: Here are the heaviest bands, right through here. And also just to the west of Pensacola. We're talking from Pensacola right through Seminole through Alberta (ph) and all the way back down to Orange Beach, just east of Gulf Shores. That entire area right through here very, very strong when it comes to the winds.

In fact, I can even get a little bit stronger for you.

CALLAWAY: And which way is that turning, Chad? Is that going to go counter clockwise and go...

MYERS: Of course.

CALLAWAY: You know, I mean, how...

MYERS: Of course, that is moving straight north. These cells, these bands right here moving straight north. And then it will eventually make the turn. Then they will be on the north side of the eye.

If they continue to move, they will eventually get on the other side of the eye and then they will begin to move south, come all the way around here, come all the way around and back down and connect the dots, all the way to the other side of this. Back offshore and kind of what's called an open eye wall, back around back here and then into the closed eye wall here, back on the other side.

So folks here, yes, the east of Gulf Shores finally getting it the worst. Pensacola Bay now filling up with water. They are now getting the storm surge. Significant storm surge in this area, probably in the way of 10 to 15 feet. This is coming in as a really bad angle, as the water comes up through here, fills into the bay and then on up into downtown Pensacola.

CALLAWAY: Yes. Exactly what they did...

MYERS: Pensacola is high land, though. It's higher land than Mobile, for sure. Not putting anything on anybody else, but Pensacola much more reader for a storm surge than, let's say, Mobile would have been.

CALLAWAY: And as this eye moves ashore, and that band of storms moves north, will it weaken?

MYERS: Yes, but very slowly. We still have fairly warm air through here and still a part of the eye over water. Now you have to -- as I zoom out one more time, you have to understand that still almost half of this hurricane is still in the warm water.

So it's still picking up some moisture here, still trying to gain strength on this side and yet then losing its strength on this side. So what's going to happen is that the winds fields are not going to be 130, 140, 120 anymore. But the wind fields will get larger and will spread out. And the numbers will go all the way from east to west.

The numbers may get back up into the 50 to 60 range and the storm almost kind of sits down on itself and because it has a large bottom, the whole bottom starts to get wider. And then that bottom actually, the winds go up to a moderate wind field, rather than this excessive wind field that we have right through here, right through this area, just to the west of Pensacola.

CALLAWAY: Chad, stay right there, because I have on the phone with me Mayor John Fogg, the mayor of Pensacola, who's getting slammed right now, your city is.

Mayor, are you there?

MAYOR JOHN FOGG, MAYOR, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: Yes, I'm here.

CALLAWAY: Can you tell me your situation where you are?

FOGG: Well, it's actually pretty dramatic. Our hospitals here, one hospital was hit directly by a hurricane -- I mean, a tornado.

Personally here, we've got rough damage and all kinds of leakage throughout my home. I'm sure that's the case almost everywhere else in our community.

The civic center has been damaged, and that was the place, you know, that we were sending people that we thought was a safe place to be.

We've got huge impacts in terms of wind and -- and tidal surge. So I -- I think the effects of this are going to be just pretty horrendous.

CALLAWAY: Mayor, that's frightening, that you have damage to the building where people had gone for safety. Have you had any reports of injuries from this?

FOGG: No. As a matter of fact, I mean, we -- we don't. We don't have any numbers for you on that. And...

CALLAWAY: Well, we know you've taken some precautions there when the storm starting hitting that facility, the civic center. I know you moved people up into the center of that building.

FOGG: That's correct. And -- and you know, we haven't been able to have our first responders out on the street during this storm at all. So you know, we've really got 911 calls backing up.

So, you know, we can't really do much until this thing passes. Unfortunately, the forecast now calls for about another three or four hours of hurricane force winds. And that's going to be just catastrophic.

CALLAWAY: Chad, do you have anything you want to tell the mayor about the situation in Pensacola?

MYERS: Actually, Mayor, I do. I'm going to zoom in to Pensacola here for you. And you see wind gusts in downtown Pensacola to 46. But if I click on the Naval Air Station, it is gusting to 98 miles per hour right there. That's very much closer to the shore...

FOGG: Right. MYERS: ... to the Gulf than you would be downtown.

A little bit of friction in the buildings around downtown may slow your numbers just a little bit. But Mayor, you are in to get -- you are going to get probably some numbers up there well in the hundred mile per hour range. Right now at the airport, you're gusting to 77, with a sustained wind of 46.

FOGG: Well, that doesn't surprise me at all. And you're right about the friction. A more important concern really has to do with the tidal surge that's associated with this thing.

We had some swells offshore that were 40 to 60 feet, and waves, like 20 to 25 feet. We think there's been just catastrophic damage on Pensacola Beach and Perdio Key (ph). And you know, we just -- we won't know until we know, obviously. But we're going to have to wait several more hours until these winds subside before we're able to do anything.

CALLAWAY: A lot of concerned people listening to your report there about the tornado hitting the hospital in Pensacola. What are you hearing about the situation at the hospital?

FOGG: Well, I haven't heard anything. I just got that report from the city manager and the EOC, and the -- I don't know what the extent of damage is to one of the hospitals that, you know, that lost a roof.

So, you know, we'll just -- we're just going to have to sit this one out until -- until all of this, you know, finally slows down a little bit.

But I don't think we've ever seen anything like this. We've been through Aaron (ph) and Opal and Frederick. And you know, I don't recall anything like this.

CALLAWAY: Do you feel that the city was prepared for it, Mayor?

FOGG: Oh, we were as well prepared as anybody could have been. I mean, everybody saw this storm coming, and -- and we knew that it was a Category Five. And you do everything you can to prepare for something like that.

CALLAWAY: Right.

FOGG: But once you've done everything you can do, then you just have to sit back and wait to see what happens. And that's what we're doing right now. That's the mode we're in.

CALLAWAY: Well, Mayor, we're going to check back with you in just a little bit. Perhaps you can get some more information from your people there in Pensacola on what's going on at the hospital and some of the other dramas that you said are unfolding right now in Pensacola. And we'll get back with you. Thanks for -- for joining us on phone.

That is Mayor John Fogg of Pensacola.

Checking back in now with Anderson and Rob. Winds have picked up a bit?

COOPER: You might say that, Catherine. Winds have really picked up significantly just in the last five minutes while you were talking with the mayor of Pensacola.

Rob, what is going on? I mean, this wind, I've never seen anything like this. It is like a wall of white here.

MARCIANO: We're getting -- we're getting the northwestern eye wall right now.

COOPER: No doubt about it?

MARCIANO: No, there's no doubt in my mind. Chad might want to kind of come in and confirm this. But if the eye is in Gulf Shores, which is less than 30 miles, about 30 miles away, and the eye itself is 50, we're getting the northwestern eye wall right now.

So this is -- this is what -- when it's getting bad, and it will be bad for the next half hour, maybe in 45 minutes.

COOPER: It is just amazing, though. I mean, literally in the space of 30 seconds, I mean, this wind -- you know, we thought it was bad before. But it's -- you can almost -- it's like a solid sheet of white.

MARCIANO: Yes, and that plus -- Chad just mentioned that Pensacola had near 100 mile an hour in gusts. They have the advantage in that they have the wind coming over the water, less friction there.

Even with the friction we're having, mostly now north wind, I think. It's still easily blowing 80, 90 miles an hour right now, probably gusting over 100.

CALLAWAY: It is amazing how quickly that changes, too.

COOPER: I don't know if you can see it -- what was that?

CALLAWAY: I said, it's amazing how quickly that changed. I just looked at your live shot on the monitor a minute ago, and it didn't look anything like this.

Let's bring in Chad, and he can tell us what's going on there -- Chad.

MYERS: Well, we talked about that eye wall coming in on the backside. And here's where we were talking with the mayor, right through here in Pensacola. But now we'll focus our eye a little bit farther to the west and literally not that far.

But the eye wall now still right over -- the eye itself, the center of the eye still over Gulf Shores. But now they're getting this backlash here. This backside, this northern eye wall here, and now we're almost at the northwestern eye wall. And then all the way down to the western eye wall itself.

And I will zoom right into downtown Mobile, right here along the water, here along the waterfront. Here is this very large squall right through here. This yellow zone is moving to the west. And that westward movement of that northern portion of the eye wall is the wind blast that those guys are getting.

CALLAWAY: Rob, is there anything you want to ask Chad?

MARCIANO: Yes. I didn't catch all that, Chad, so you -- are we in the northwestern quadrant of that eye wall right now? Is that what you're telling me?

MYERS: You are in it, sir.

MARCIANO: OK. So what's the latest odds at Mobile? I know you said Pensacola had 98 mile an hour wind gusts. What's going on in Mobile?

MYERS: Well, I get one up here a little bit farther toward the northwest of you, kind of a little bit farther outside of downtown. And I've got winds 49, gusting to 75. That's at Mobile Base.

And then if I get downtown, I get down right along the water, this is an older observation. This is still about 45 minutes old. No special (ph) coming out of here. Northeast at 28, gusting to 44.

But I expect that that will certainly be coming up. That report was from Forest Park, a little bit farther down in the Mobile and Brookley (ph) area. And that number will come up as soon as this yellow area moves over them, as well. That observation station doesn't quite have the wind that you have yet.

COOPER: Well, there's no wind -- the winds here have got to be more than that. These winds, these are blowing incredibly hard.

MARCIANO: Easily. We've got a pretty good gauge, Chad, and I estimated the wind. We were overestimating them before. Then as the day went along, we got a pretty good -- we got better at estimating it.

These -- these are easily 80, 90 gusting over that, Chad. And you know, we're on the fourth floor of a building, so that -- that brings it up right there. And on top of that, there are other buildings around. So you know how that works in a city.

MYERS: Absolutely.

MARCIANO: It actually will accelerate the wind around those buildings. So...

COOPER: And Chad, at this point, what kind of a storm surge are you thinking for this area?

MYERS: Well, the lucky news is that the Mobile Bay area actually got only half of a storm surge. Your eye wall has actually moved over the -- the eastern-most side. Let's say over Fair Hope (ph), over the eastern side of Mobile Bay, right through here. This is all in the Fair Hope (ph) area.

So the storm surge per se will be over in the Pensacola area, as all the winds are blowing on shore here.

You'll notice, guys, and obviously, Rob, you've picked up on it, the winds where you are are actually from the north. That actually blows some of the water out of the bay. And so you don't get quite a storm surge there.

But certainly, Mobile Bay could pick up four to six feet without even trying.

CALLAWAY: Chad, is that going to get worse for them, as the system that's sitting over Pensacola right now whips around?

MYERS: Does it get worse? Actually, this is probably the worst that they're going to see. It gets better from here, except maybe in some intermediate squalls. There's still one more squall about 20 miles east of them that will rotate around the eye right here. It will rotate around the eye and then back into downtown Mobile. And their winds will again look like a wall of water running right at them.

Anderson, you were out there with me.

COOPER: That...

MYERS: You were out there with me.

COOPER: I know.

MYERS: It's wall of water after wall of water, and it comes and it goes, and it comes and it goes.

COOPER: It sure does. And we -- and I miss you, Chad, here. We all wish you were here.

That squall you're talking about, though. At one point you -- I mean, how soon should we expect that?

MYERS: Well, I gave you 10 minutes on the last one. I'm going to give you a matter of about 13 or 15 minutes on this one. It's right along the I-10, pointing it out here. It is rotating to the -- from east to west. Specifically, all the weather goes the other way in North America. This storm is actually going around the eye wall this way on the north side of the major lull now here. This moving to the south of Fair Hope (ph). So in another 15 minutes or less...

COOPER: Oh, wow!

MYERS: ... you're going to get it. And that's not even it.

MARCIANO: All right. Well, we're definitely getting it, Chad. Let me ask you this: are we going to get a piece of the eye itself at all, or are we just going to be on that western wall and just be having northwest winds. Are we going to maybe see any calm weather here...

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