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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Hurricane Jeanne: 120 MPH Maximum Sustained Wind Speed Upon Landfall

Aired September 26, 2004 - 01:00   ET

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


CATHERINE CALLAWAY, HOST: Torrential rain, relentless wind, Hurricane Jeanne will have its way with Central Florida. This is only the beginning.
Hello, everyone. I'm Catherine Callaway in the CNN Center here in Atlanta. And of course, we will be with you all night long as Hurricane Jeanne roars ashore there in Florida.

And we have Rob Marciano in the Weather Center here in Atlanta. We have a team of correspondents all along Florida's East Coast: we have Anderson Cooper and Chad Myers, who are in Melbourne, of course; we have Gary Tuchman in Fort Pierce; and then later on tonight we'll have John Zarrella in West Palm.

But first, we're going to keep you up to date on what's going on in the news this morning.

In Haiti, Jeanne's impact is still being felt days after it swept across the Caribbean country. The northwest region of Haiti is devastated there. More than 1,300 people are dead, another 300,000 are homeless and the U.N. has sent additional peacekeeping troops. People there are desperate for food and shelter.

And we're also following developments overnight in Iraq. At least 14 people are dead following several U.S. airstrikes in Fallujah. A military spokesman says that the latest airstrike was aimed at the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi terror network there.

And still no word in the last few hours regarding the fate of Ken Bigley. He of course, is the 62-year-old British citizen who's being held hostage in Iraq. His captors have threatened to kill him unless all female prisoners held by Iraq and U.S. forces are released.

Let's find out now exactly where Jeanne is and where Jeanne is headed. Let's go to Rob Marciano in the Weather Center.

Rob, another long night ahead of us.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes indeed, Catherine. But good news is that this thing is moving faster than Frances was. That'll decrease the amount of rainfall that we'll be seeing with this thing. But it's stronger; we've been saying that all along.

Maximum sustained winds at landfall: 120 miles an hour. That is a strong Category 3 storm. It is moving west, northwest at 13 miles an hour. Likely will continue that movement, then maybe jog a little bit farther to the north.

Here's Vero Beach, still in it; as is of course, Melbourne; Titusville, Cape Canaveral. This is the strongest part of the storm right now, but I tell you what, down right here near West Palm Beach, isn't no bargain, either. And in between is the eye; in the center of that is pretty calm.

All right. Tell you what, if you can switch the GR-115 (ph) around -- if you have that capability in the control room, or do I have to do that up here? I have to do it up here. All right.

Tell you what, Craig (ph), let's just zoom in and go to work on the Doppler here and give you some highlighted points as far as where this thing is.

Here's Sewell's Point and that's the center of it right there, about 10 miles west of Sewell. Probably pretty calm in there right now, but the backside of this, which will be coming their way probably in the next hour, and when that happens, you'll be getting hammered with some strong southerly winds, as opposed to the easterly winds and northeasterly winds that you got when this thing made landfall.

West Palm Beach: tell you, the same thing happened with Frances. It made landfall just to your north and the backside of this thing took forever to get through. Although Frances was moving slower, I think you'll see similar situation, in that it's going to be several hours before West Palm is out of the woods, as far as gusty winds and strong and heavy rain. Everything for you is coming off the land.

And by the way, we often talk about the winds being stronger coming off the water because of the lack of friction. That's true, but sometimes what the land can do, too, is it creates this turbulence and it'll allow the stronger winds to come down to the surface. So, that's one of the reasons that you'll see just as strong of winds sometimes in the southern, or weaker part of this storm.

And there's Lake Okeechobee.

Power outages are going to widespread, Catherine, with this storm as 120 mile an hour winds easily take down trees, power lines, transformers, all that kind of stuff. On top of that, you see severe damage, as we saw with Ivan with the wind damage as well.

Storm surge is going to be an issue mostly to the north of this thing. Thank goodness it is making landfall during low tide. We save about two to three feet with that.

Orlando seeing wind gusts over 40 to 50 miles an hour at this hour. You will see your conditions begin to go downhill in the next couple of hours. There's some live numbers for you: 37 mile an hour wind right there. In Melbourne, northeasterly winds at 52.

Melbourne is not going to get out of it. Melbourne's not going to get a piece of this eye. Our crew is going to be in it for the next six hours easily, although their conditions will improve somewhat probably in the next two hours. They're going to be definitely getting battered by wind and rain as we go on through time.

A lot of rain surplus here from Hurricane Frances. They started out this year very dry, Catherine, but now they've picked up a lot of rain since Frances; obviously flood watches are out for the next six to 12 hours, easily, with the anticipation of seeing quite a bit of rainfall.

Here are some radar estimates for you: one inch of rain falling in Melbourne; most of that falling sideways. There's Vero Beach at three inches, getting closer to the northern part of the eye wall. Fort Pierce, three inches as well. And then down towards West Palm Beach, also about three inches of rain.

And this thing hasn't even made its way all the way on land; still have the back half of this to get through. So, figure at least double these numbers and we're talking anywhere from four to eight inches of rainfall in this area. Same numbers expected, Catherine, up across the central part of the state and they have seen significant rains from Frances.

Orlando saw Frances and they saw Charley, and now they're going to see Jeanne. Unbelievable streak of bad weather for these folks. And we mentioned throughout the morning and the afternoon -- I guess now it's morning again -- that 2004 is going to go down in the record books as being an extremely bad, one of the worst we've seen in history.

This is the sixth major hurricane of the season and this is the only major hurricane of the season and this is the only major hurricane to ever -- since we've been keeping records -- make landfall north of West Palm Beach and south of the South Carolina border.

So, a record-breaking event no matter how you slice it. And then it makes landfall in the same spot that a hurricane came onshore three weeks ago. This is all gee-whiz kind of numbers, but certainly nobody in Florida wants to hear it. They wish it never happened.

That's the latest from up here, Catherine. We'll try to get some other information -- I got a couple of graphics to show you as far as where the track of this thing is going to go. It looks like it'll almost get out into the Gulf of Mexico...

CALLAWAY: Yes, that's the big fear that it's going to go straight west and then build up strength again in the warm waters of the Gulf. Looks like it's going to go north, right?

MARCIANO: At this point, we're anticipating a bit of a northward jog and likely not getting all the way out into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

CALLAWAY: Let's hope not, right.

MARCIANO: Yes. That certainly would be nice.

CALLAWAY: One more question about just this compared to Frances, because could it have hit in the same spot. What are the chances? It's just amazing. But this is that continuing rain that you had and that slow moving storm of Frances, compared to this with the higher winds. Are we going to see the same amount of rainfall as we did in Frances?

MARCIANO: I don't think we'll see quite as much rain, but the problem is we're going to see more wind damage because this is a stronger storm; it's a Category 3 storm. And also, when you get the faster movement, you get the forward speed adding to some of those winds as well.

So, I know just from watching Chad and Anderson get blown around in the wind during Frances and also some of the numbers that this is a stronger storm just from the video that we've seen out of there. So, I think wind damage is going to be the main cause of heartache and headache because power is going to be out for weeks it looks like.

Storm surge north of Vero Beach up to Daytona Beach is going to be an issue, as well. But luckily, it's coming onshore during low tide. Huge waves with this north of Vero Beach, Catherine: 20 to 30 foot swells offshore; you've got that crashing on top of the storm tide. Beach erosion on some of the beaches across northern Florida are just going to be a mess if they haven't been already. And also Georgia beaches, South Carolina, North Carolina beaches as well.

So, another huge storm having huge impact on a large, large number of people.

CALLAWAY: All right, Rob. We'll get back with you in just a few minutes.

We're going to check in with some of our correspondents that are up and down the coast there.

And I think we have Chad Myers now, who's in Melbourne. Chad, are you there?

CHAD MYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Catherine, I wish I could hear you, but unfortunately, there's not a chance of that.

The real issue here is if I'm standing in the wind, it is just howling and literally, I can up here and I can talk to you like I was standing right next to you. It is really amazing.

We can focus on this rain as it goes by. It just seems to not ever be stopping. The way Frances came in and the way the other storms came, I went through Alex and I've been in Bonnie and I was in Charley: at least once in a while, the storm let up. It gave you a chance to kind of catch your breath. This thing has just been a relentless storm.

And now we're really getting the winds here from the, what seems almost like the north, northeast -- and maybe Rob can tell us -- but so far, the winds have not really changed very much. I was expecting that as that eye moved onshore that our winds would actually be coming from due east; well they're not just yet and I can guarantee you with some of the wind meters we've had now, we have had wind gusts over 80 to 81 miles-per-hour here. One of them I had on the second story was in fact, 92 miles-per-hour.

So, the safest place for all of us is behind that wall, where I'm going to get, as soon as I toss it back to you.

Catherine.

CALLAWAY: Chad, can you hear me now?

MYERS: I can. I just turned it up so that -- actually, you should be able to hear it through my ear and back out my mouth because I've turned it up so loud here.

But go ahead.

CALLAWAY: Well, I don't know, can you tell, because for us, the shot that we're seeing of you: the rain just looks like a white sheet across the lens.

MYERS: Right.

CALLAWAY: It is...

MYERS: Well, what we've done we've positioned ourselves in a spot above a ridge and the ridge is almost 20 feet down to the water. So this wind is hitting this ridge and it's getting blown up, and obviously you can see it there.

But where I'm standing, there's very little wind. It's a wind tunneling effect as it blows up over the top of me and then on to the other buildings here. Well, that's why we're standing here, because we've figured that out: as the wind was blowing you can stand right here and barely get a gust.

But if you stand up just by that, where I came down those stairs, there's absolutely no way to hear you whatsoever. It is just absolutely howling. And yes, it looks like just white sheets of fog, but when they hit you, it's not fog; those are real raindrops and they really sting.

CALLAWAY: I just cannot imagine the structures taking this once again, that we are not going to see a lot of buildings that made it through one of the hurricanes going to fall apart now. How much punishment can the structures take there?

What are you seeing? Are you seeing roof tiles fall off yet?

MYERS: Well, we were just touching on this just a few minutes ago that now the homes are being compromised. And many of them, especially south of here, were compromised. And that maybe you got a broken window or maybe a little crack between two of the walls; as that wind gets in that crack, or between that window, that broken window, now your house almost becomes a parachute and you start losing more and more pieces.

And all of those homes that are south of here that were not structurally safe after the storm, after Frances, are now getting battered even worse than if there was no Frances at all.

So yes, the answer to that question is yes. We do now see structural damage here in Melbourne.

CALLAWAY: All right, Chad. We'll be back with you throughout the night.

Are you going to stay with us throughout the evening?

MYERS: I'm going to do my best.

CALLAWAY: All right. Thank you.

MYERS: I've got my Diet Coke and I'm ready to go.

CALLAWAY: All right, Chad. Thank you very much.

Now, let's go now to Gary Tuchman, who is in Fort Pierce in the eye of the storm. What a difference in these live shots!

You're getting a respite there, Gary. The calm before another storm, however.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Catherine.

For about one hour and 10 minutes now, it has been relatively calm here. I say relatively because we're not in the center of the eye and you don't have to look at a map of the radar or anything like that to know that we are in the northern edge of the eye and that's why it hasn't been completely calm, as it would if you were in the center of the storm.

We've had winds for the last hour and five minutes between five miles-per-hour and no more than 15 miles-per-hour. And right now it is only drizzling. It really is amazing. We had gusts, according to the Emergency Operations officer in Saint Lucie County of over 120 miles per hour about an hour and 20 minutes ago.

And then within a 20-minute span, it dipped down to 10 miles-per- hour and it is absolutely a remarkable feature of Mother Nature and we said that last week during Hurricane Ivan in Gulf Shores, Alabama and we say it again. It really is incredible.

I can tell you, that as we speak, Emergency Operations officials in this county are now participating in some rescues. They say they are going to sights where there have been extreme emergencies, mainly, in many cases, people calling up and saying their roofs and their walls have collapsed in their homes and they are sitting in their cars; they're only safe place to be right now and they've been injured. And they are going out to find them.

We are also being told it's very likely they're going to go out to the Intercoastal Waterway, which is one mile behind us, which separates Fort Pierce from the Barrier Island of Hutchinson Island and the Atlantic Ocean because there have been reports, two reports called into the Emergency Operations Center, of a car busting the barrier over the bridge in the eastbound direction and plummeting off the bridge.

Now, that has not been confirmed, we must emphasize that. However, because it has been called into the Emergency Operations Office, they are working it. We'll let you know as soon as we know something for sure about that.

Either way, they are dealing with that, during this moment of calm. They're telling everybody, citizens: do not go outside, because the storm is coming back and we'll have hours more of the storm. As a matter of fact, it's illegal to go outside; there's a curfew in effect right now, but they are going out and trying to take advantage of this opportunity to help people who are in need.

We can tell you the winds have changed here, unlike the situation Chad's talking about in Melbourne. We had winds coming from a northerly direction in the beginning of the storm; they are now coming from the east. So we know we're coming to the end of our brief respite here. But it has been over an hour now that it's been relatively calm in Fort Pierce, in the northern section of the eye of this hurricane.

Catherine, we go back to you.

CALLAWAY: Gary, when that storm first hit where you were, how would you compare that to what you saw in Gulf Shores when Ivan came ashore?

TUCHMAN: It was very comparable, I think, except for about 30 minutes, where it was more intense than Hurricane Ivan. We had 30 minutes where it was just impossible to stand up and we just made sure we were against the walls of the building that offered us protection.

But I will tell you that the only storm I felt wind that intense was when I covered Hurricane Hugo back in 1989. I covered Hurricane Andrew; I wasn't in the Homestead area, I was about 40 miles north of there, so we didn't feel the wind. But it was quite an intense half hour and I hope we don't experience more of that after the eye passes us and we get back into this storm.

CALLAWAY: Gary, that's a disturbing comparison, certainly after we saw happen in Gulf Shores and then east of there. And Pensacola (sic), what do you think we are going to see in the light of day?

TUCHMAN: Well, I will tell you that we just took a ride out on U.S. 1 here in Fort Pierce and we were able to do it because it's relatively calm. I can tell you there's a lot of damage that we could see, even at night. There was a huge traffic light stanchion: one of those things above your head when you have four different lights hanging and it was just in the street completely.

The same thing we saw here three weeks ago: a railroad crossing, the gates were torn off and were in the middle of the street. Many power lines down, many trees down and this is only what we could see at night. We can tell you that the county administrator here in Saint Lucie County, population of this county: 210,000, said this is a far worse storm than Hurricane Frances three weeks ago. It really it is an amazing fact -- and I know Rob Marciano was talking about this and Dave Penning (ph) was talking about this, our meteorologist -- but it's really incredible to think that this hurricane eye caught the exact same spot, Sewell's Point, Florida in Martin County almost to the exact hour, exactly three weeks ago. It is just an incredible coincidence meteorologically and it's something that the people here don't really enjoy talking about that coincidence, because they've been victimized now twice in three weeks.

And I got to tell you something: that it will only make an awful lot of people -- Floridians have been here a long time and new Floridians think about going somewhere else. It's a wonderful state, the Sunshine State, but it hasn't been so wonderful over the last six weeks, with four hurricanes coming through.

Catherine.

CALLAWAY: Certainly they have to be weary. This is just too much for anyone to have to take.

All right, Gary. We'll come back to you in just a little bit, when we're sure the winds are going to pick up there for you, as that eye moves on through.

Let's go now to John Zarrella, CNN's John Zarrella, who's on the phone with us now. And he is in West Palm Beach, which is just south of Fort Pierce.

John, what's your situation?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, unlike Gary, we were not fortunate to get -- I guess we're fortunate we didn't get the eye, because we'd be in a lot worse shape, but we have been under the gun since about 8:00 this evening. It has not let up a bit here.

It is absolutely blowing, torrential rains have been falling hour after hour. The winds are still howling outside here.

Again, the wind directions have turned and changed, similar to what Gary was experiencing and what they're going to be experiencing there up in Melbourne. They're blowing almost from the due south now, as we are getting on the back side of the eye wall here, because we've been literally right on the southern side of the eye wall here.

And again, just as Gary was saying -- I can tell you because we were in this exact same location three weeks ago for Frances -- and this is considerably worse. Considerably more water in a shorter amount of time, because the storm has moved faster and considerably more wind. We have not seen structural damage, but of course, we can't get out there to see it.

In fact, our satellite truck, we had to bring the dish down, that's why we're on the phone with you. The change in the wind direction lessened the protection we had for the dish and we were very concerned about potentially losing it in these strong, strong gusts we're getting. And as Rob Marciano pointed out, very, very accurately, this is almost a duplicate as far as the track is concerned. The winds have done exactly the same thing: first blowing from the west to the east and now for about the past three hours or so, from the south to the north.

We're still seeing those huge flashes of blue-green light as transformers are blowing everywhere around us, consistently for the past several hours. And we had reports from fire rescue people that although they have not had any reports of many injuries, they had one man who apparently went up in his attic to check on a roof leak and fell through his ceiling. They can't get to him to help him.

They're getting numerous calls from people reporting what they think are fire, but they are in fact, more than likely, these flashes from the transformers. Also, reports from the Emergency Operations Center that they had a surge of water come over Singer Island area. Now, they can't confirm how bad it is or how much water, but they apparently did have that.

So, again, as we have since about 8:00 tonight, they're really, really being hammered consistently here by strong, strong winds right at hurricane force, pretty consistently, maybe a little bit below now. But they're still gusting, Catherine and the wind and the rain blowing in white sheets at times where you literally can't see but about five, 10 feet in front of your face.

Catherine?

CALLAWAY: John, it's very disconcerting to know that not as many people seem to have taken the warnings for Jeanne as seriously as they did Frances and wanted to ride this out in their homes. There were more people mulling around even this evening.

ZARRELLA: Oh, no question about it. We saw cars out on the road; we've seen people walking in the street up until a couple of hours ago. And even at the shelters, they reported at about 6:00 tonight that they had 12,000 people in the Palm Beach shelter.

Another blue-green flash just now.

Twelve thousand in the shelters, they had 19,000 in the shelters for Hurricane Frances; they have a capacity of 27,000. Clearly they didn't get that and as it deteriorated beyond 6:00 there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity for stragglers. So, yes, the quandary for emergency managers is they're hoping that maybe these people evacuated and went elsewhere, rather than go to the shelters.

But no question about it, a lot more people just hurricane weary or deciding that they were just going to ride this one out because Frances wasn't all that bad down here in West Palm are certainly getting a rude awakening this evening from this, because it is considerably -- and I can emphasize that -- considerably worse. And we're going through another one of these really strong, gusty squalls coming through again as we're on the south side of that eye. Absolutely blowing now: you can't see anything, not even, barely see the palm trees in the distance. But they're still holding up, those palm trees that went through so much just three weeks ago. But I can guarantee you there's going to be some structural here that they did not experience from Frances. They had a lot more rain and a lot more wind than three weeks ago.

Catherine?

CALLAWAY: All right, John. We hope you're able to get that live shot back up soon. We want to see you. Stay safe. We'll see you a little bit later on.

We're going to take a break. We will continue our coverage of Hurricane Jeanne in just a moment. And when we come back, we'll have Anderson Cooper from Melbourne.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CALLAWAY: Welcome back, everyone.

Hurricane Jeanne made landfall just east of Stuart, Florida, just before midnight Eastern time tonight.

Let's go to Anderson Cooper, who's in Melbourne, has been there throughout the evening. An incredible wind where you are, Anderson.

Anderson, can you hear me?

Anderson, hello?

All right; we can understand. Anderson cannot hear me right now, but we'll get back to him in just a minute.

Let's check in with Rob Marciano and he can tell us a little bit about what Anderson is going through right now.

I can't imagine him trying to hear with the roar of the rain and the wind in his ears.

MARCIANO: It's extremely difficult, even where they're protected. And the water gets in your ear and then it messes with your earpiece.

It's amazing and it's amazing that we can actually get these shots up. The guys that run the trucks down there, Mike Phelans is one of them, they're just uncanny how they can situate a truck and protect it and still get a shot in that southern hemisphere. They're good, that's all I can say about that.

Winds are gusting now at near-hurricane strength in Melbourne at the airport. So, it's definitely verifying there and certainly they're getting higher gusts than that.

This box indicates the tornado watch that is out indefinitely until -- it'll be shifted off to the north and east as this thing progresses. But Vero Beach, I'm sorry to say, you probably are not going to get a whole taste of the center of the eye; a full taste of the calm. You'll be in this, if you're even hearing this because you're probably without power, but the folks that are in Vero Beach and up through Melbourne and almost to Titusville, will be in this for several more hours. They're in the worst part of the storm, unfortunately.

Orlando, you're going to get a taste of this as well. But it will begin to decrease in intensity as it makes landfall, as these things always do.

But Florida, especially the southern part of Florida, has a lot of water, there are a lot of swamps, the Everglades, obviously down in the south and it's very flat. So, those two reasons it seems that hurricanes take a little bit longer to weaken across the Florida peninsula than they would say, if they were to just go up the gut like they did across Alabama or the Florida panhandle, across parts of Texas and Louisiana.

And not only that, because it's so narrow. It can almost reach out like arms and grab water on either side: the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic. Both have 80 degree-plus waters, definitely fuel for the fire for these things. It will weaken, yes, over the next several hours, but it will do so slowly and because it's coming on as a Category 3 storm, it'll take some time to get knocked down to a two, to a one.

And I'm guessing that folks in Orlando, you got not only a taste of Charley as a hurricane, but also as Frances, you will get a taste of Jeanne as a hurricane as well. And it's going to be a long, long night and you'll probably be in as daybreak unfolds.

A quick, little piece of information for you -- there's the tornado watch box out once again. I want to track this.

Here's the forecast track out of the National Hurricane Center: there you go, it'll split between Tampa and Orlando; tries to get out there in the Gulf of Mexico, Catherine, but we're hoping it doesn't do that because that would only help it sustain a longer lifetime.

But it looks like it'll eventually head up through Georgia and the Carolinas where they got some serious rainfall and flooding from, not only Frances, but Ivan.

So, same areas are still getting hit.

CALLAWAY: It's amazing that it's taking the same track like this.

Rob, we're going to be some questions -- and we're getting a lot in on our e-mail and we're going to throw some at you in a little bit.

MARCIANO: Great.

CALLAWAY: Just a few minutes.

MARCIANO: OK.

CALLAWAY: But we're going to try to reach Anderson Cooper again. He's there, he's just having a hard time hearing me.

Hello, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I got you, Catherine.

Yes, I was actually distracted before. Just in the last minute or so, we've seen a number of sort of, explosions. You can't hear them, but I can see over the building, the sky just continually lighting up. I can't tell if it's lightning associated with these storms in some way -- it looks like some transformers blowing up -- but it's more of a white light. It's very strange and we haven't really seen this up to now.

But in the last two to three minutes, we've seen almost continual sort of, flare-ups of this.

The winds just continue to be punishing here in Melbourne. The rain, as well, as I'm sure you can tell from the shot. I'm in a little bit of a lower area; I'm protected. The winds right above me are extraordinarily strong. I just want to test it out to show you. This palm frond just came blowing by a few seconds ago. You can see, I can hold it up here, but as soon as I lift it up, it basically just gets whipped right away; just landed in a pool over there. It's amazing the difference a few feet can make.

But this wind is just punishing and this rain is just relentless; it has not stopped and it's not going to stop for several more hours, Catherine.

CALLAWAY: All right, Anderson and I know you'll be there for us. We'll be back in just a moment.

We're going to go back to Rob, who is going to check in with the Hurricane Center.

MARCIANO: Right now?

CALLAWAY: Yes.

MARCIANO: OK.

CALLAWAY: Go ahead.

MARCIANO: Let's go.

Who do I have -- it's not Ed and it's not -- Rick Nab. I'm sorry, Sir, I've never spoken to you, but thanks for joining us tonight.

This thing has officially made landfall. How quickly do you expect it to weaken?

RICK KNABB, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Well, it's going to take a little while because we've got a Category 3 hurricane making landfall and it's going to take a while for a storm that strong to spin down. And so it's going to be a very long night over the Central Florida peninsula.

In fact, the entire eye is just now coming on shore. So, it's going to be very many hours, especially for areas north of where the eye's making landfall for the winds to come off the ocean, off from the east, and then when the eye passes by, it'll come around from the west and southwest.

MARCIANO: How strong do you expect the winds to be on the back side of this thing as it comes onshore, the southerly winds, so to speak on the right side of this storm?

KNABB: Well, certainly, they're going to be hurricane force. The strongest winds are usually to the northeast, or to the right of the motion of the storm. But as the eye passes by, you're still going to get very strong, hurricane-force winds coming out from the opposite direction.

So, one thing we want to encourage people to do if they're near where the center is traveling, as the winds could die down for a short amount of time and we urge people not to venture out into the open because the winds could very quickly come around from the other direction and that's a very dangerous situation to put yourself in.

MARCIANO: Let's talk storm surge.

Ivan came through on across the Florida panhandle and across Mobile Bay, obviously devastating storm surge there. Do we expect similar sort of results here north of this storm, or does the Atlantic and the Barrier Islands across Daytona and Titusville act a little bit differently?

KNABB: No, unfortunately, storm surge happens right at the coastline, near and to the right of where the center makes landfall as a result of the winds, right there near the coastline, pushing the water on shore. And so, we do expect storm surge values to the north of where it's making landfall in the four to seven-foot range because of the continuous onshore flow, strong Category 3 winds, pushing the water right onto the coastline. And on top of that, you've got very heavy rainfall occurring and so we're going to have a lot of water piling up across the coastline.

This is not going to be just a coastal event, however. With strong winds, with hurricane-force winds penetrating as much as 100 miles inland, with heavy rains and also the risk of tornadoes.

MARCIANO: We have a team of meteorologists here at CNN. We've been scratching our heads. We can't believe this season and now these two storms, being Frances and Jeanne coming onshore at virtually the same spot. Give me a feel for what's going on with your colleagues down there, the experts of at the National Hurricane Center. Is this just unbelievable to you guys?

KNABB: Well, it's been a busy season. In fact, overall in the Atlantic Basin we've had an upturn in activity for about the last 10 years; it's just that this year so many of the systems have been making landfall. And it's actually uncommon for four hurricanes to make landfall in the United States in one hurricane season, much less for that to happen to one state.

MARCIANO: Unbelievable. Well, Rick, hey thanks for you and the rest of your colleagues there. We appreciate your help. It's been a busy season and I know it'll continue to be a busy night, I'm sure, for you.

Thanks again, Rick.

KNABB: Thank you.

MARCIANO: That's Rick Knabb from the National Hurricane Center, Catherine.

I'd love to spend some time with those guys.

CALLAWAY: I was just getting ready to say, "I know you were loving that." You were wishing you were down there watching those storms. Can you imagine the look on their faces when Jeanne started forming? It's just amazing that it took the same track. And I feel so badly for a lot of these people.

We just got an e-mail a moment ago saying a lot of these people did not leave the area, Rob, because they're spent. They've lost so much money and having to pack up the whole family and move on. A lot of prayers out for these people tonight.

On the phone with us now, though, we have Wilt Chamberlain, who is with the Melbourne Emergency Management. He's the director, I believe.

Mr. Chamberlain, are you there?

WILT CHAMBERLAIN, DIRECTOR, MELBOURNE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Yes I am.

CALLAWAY: What is the situation that you know of in Melbourne?

CHAMBERLAIN: Well, just as your meteorologist said, up until about 11:00 this evening we were just getting the tropical force winds, low-hurricane. Now, we're starting to experience the bands of that, the heavy rain bands, wind gusts probably 85 miles-an-hour-plus. It's hard to determine that. So we're starting to feel the effects now.

CALLAWAY: I just spoke to Rob about these poor people in Melbourne and what they've been through. It did seem that many people were going to try to sit this one out.

CHAMBERLAIN: Yes, that was our fear, our Barrier Islands. A lot of people thought with this last storm it wasn't that bad and they thought they would sit it out. They got home and they found they had no damage. Our fear is now that this one's being so intense and such a long duration that may have been foolish for them.

CALLAWAY: Are you getting any emergency calls there?

CHAMBERLAIN: Oddly enough, we're not. We had more calls during Frances than we have had tonight. I think maybe the reason being that they're just locked down in their homes. They know it's intense and they're not looking out or venturing out at all.

CALLAWAY: Did you find that people were preparing for this one as they did for Frances?

CHAMBERLAIN: We didn't notice it at the stores. Whether they had their supplies from the last one, we did see it in the grocery stores and the gas lines, but nothing like we had with Frances.

CALLAWAY: They just did not even have time to recoup from Frances.

CHAMBERLAIN: Really. A lot of people had just come back and started some repairs. And here in Melbourne I know we've had a lot of roofs that were damaged just a week or so ago and had not been fixed.

CALLAWAY: Right. And you know they're not going to make it through these kinds of winds.

CHAMBERLAIN: No.

CALLAWAY: All right. Well, we're going to check back with you, I hope, Mr. Chamberlain. Because unfortunately, as the power comes back, and people are able to come out a little bit, you're probably going to be getting more calls.

CHAMBERLAIN: Yes, we will.

CALLAWAY: All right. Wilt Chamberlain with the Melbourne Emergency Management Agency.

Thank you, Mr. Chamberlain.

CHAMBERLAIN: Thank you.

CALLAWAY: We're going to dip in now to some of our affiliate coverage. As you can imagine, incredible coverage down there in Florida.

WCTV, let's listen in to some of their coverage tonight.

GEORGE ESTEVEZ (ph), WCTV REPORTER: ... out on that street.

So that's the situation here. You can just take a look behind me as the rain continues to come down on Octavio (ph), my photographer, if you can just pan down and just take a look at just the rain hitting the water, just some white caps, nothing really spectacular right now. But it's going to continue to get worse here as the evening goes on. It's going to continue to get stronger and the rain is going to continue to come down. That's what people here in Osceola County are experiencing, which is why they don't want you out on the roads. They want you to stay safe and they want you to stay inside.

We're at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, George Estevez (ph), Channel 9, Eyewitness News.

UNIDENTIFIED WCTV CORRESPONDENT: All right. Thank you, George.

Well, Brevard County obviously taking a pounding right now; going to be one of the hardest hit areas in Central Florida by Jeanne.

Let's go to Joan Heller, who's with Brevard County's EOC. And she joins us live on the phone.

Hi, Joan.

JOAN HELLER, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, BREVARD COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER: Hi there, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED WCTV CORRESPONDENT: Good. Can you just tell us what you know? What's the situation?

HELLER: Well, we know we have spreading power outages in the south end of the county and as a matter of fact...

CALLAWAY: All right. You've been listening to WCTV, they're out of Orlando, actually.

We're going to take a break and we will continue with our coverage of Hurricane Jeanne in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CALLAWAY: Hurricane Jeanne roared ashore a little bit before midnight on the east coast of Florida, that being midnight Eastern time and we have Chad Myers with us and Anderson Cooper are there in Melbourne.

And gentlemen we have numbers of more than 800,000 people without power already, that's just with Florida Power and Light, which is the largest power company there. Of course there's other companies.

I know you've been saying all evening that you've been seeing transformers blow left and right.

COOPER: Yes, it would surprise me frankly, if anybody had power at this point. Everywhere we can see, and admittedly, our visibility is very limited, but everywhere that we can see in Melbourne has no power. Although these transformers, we were seeing the sky light up.

I don't know if you saw that, it was like a white light. Is that lightning or some sort of...

MYERS: Well, there could be lightning, but there's very little lightning in a hurricane though, because there's no real sheer in the upper atmosphere that's causing hail up there. That sheer, when a water molecule breaks apart into light ice crystals up there, as well, that's what actually causes the static charge and there's just not enough static charge to make a lot of lightning in a hurricane.

But certainly, there are lightning...

COOPER: You've been taking wind readings. What was the biggest gust you've gotten recently?

MYERS: In the last 10 minutes, I was standing there on the little gallery there and it was 89 miles an hour was the best gust that we had.

And it's funny where we're standing here, the winds are blowing about 20 because we've positioned ourselves in a little ramp area where all the wind is going up and over and all the way around...

COOPER: It's actually going, sort of, right over our heads, just like five or six feet above our heads.

MYERS: Right. Now if we could get on a ladder, we'd really be blowing up there. But that's very typical in a hurricane: the higher you get in a building, the more the wind speeds will be. It increases almost 10 percent.

COOPER: I don't know if it's just because we've been standing out in this for several hours now and become accustomed to it, but it feels a little better than it was.

MYERS: I think you're right.

I think when you were out here just a few minutes ago, I think that might have been its worst. Now, that's not saying there's not another squall out there that may come around in it, but I think we've probably dropped down maybe five miles per hour on average.

People think this is kind of a tropical hurricane thing, I'm freezing. You're wet, you're cold and it's windy. And then you've got this wind chill factor going on. When you got this Gortex on, I can't tell whether I'm wetter on the outside or on the inside.

COOPER: I know.

There's actually an enormous pool here and I was seriously considering just going in, because frankly, what would be the difference?

MYERS: Yes, I can actually feel water between my toes in my shoe. And I'm thinking, "Why am I wearing these shoes in the first place?" There's just water sitting in there.

COOPER: Actually our cameraman from the last hurricane, Rick Blackbird, gave me some galoshes that I stole from him. So I'm still wearing them.

But, again, we're getting an enormous amount of rain here and have been for several hours. There have got to be -- there's no way of telling at this point -- but flooding is definitely probably going to be a problem here in Melbourne.

MYERS: Well, and that's part of the problem as well. Even with the hurricane winds coming through, they're going sideways so much, that the recording stations in Melbourne, or in Fort Pierce maybe not pickup this wind, because you've got your rain gauge here and the wind just blows right across.

You want the rain in the top and fill up the bottom. Well, if the rain's just blowing across, you have no idea what those numbers are. But I would say we've had two or three inches of rainfall here. And that means probably some inland flooding when this thing slows down.

CALLAWAY: Anderson, Chad?

COOPER: You're anticipating... Yes, Catherine?

CALLAWAY: I just want to tell you, we're getting a lot of email from people asking questions and I know Chad -- and we'll bring Rob Marciano in on this too -- first, what you just mentioned about the temperature. We never really talk about what the temperature is during these kinds of storms, if they drop when the hurricane rolls in.

Also, we've got one from Mike in Missouri who says, "Why do some hurricanes have more rain, while other hurricanes seem to be more of a wind event?"

COOPER: That's a good question.

CALLAWAY: You guys are the perfect ones to answer this because you've been so many hurricanes the last...

COOPER: They're getting an e-mail: a guy named Mike has e- mailed in saying, "Why do some hurricanes have more rain, some the emphasis seems more on the wind?"

MYERS: Well, we gulped in some dry air with this one before it made landfall in the Bahamas and it was a fairly dry storm in the Bahamas. You probably didn't realize it, because you were in New York and the weather was great there all the time now at this time of year, but in Atlanta, this week, it has been very dry.

The relative humidity has been about 20 percent. We had a cold front come by. This dry air got all the way into Florida and was obviously over the Atlantic Ocean. When Jeanne rolled out of its loop that it did, it rolled into some of this dry air and it started to be a drier storm; still a windy storm, but not as much moisture-laden thunderstorms heading into it.

Then, as it left the dry air that it had over on Tuesday and Wednesday, it actually began to move into the Gulf Stream and that's when it picked more of the moisture and that's the Gulf Stream moisture that we're seeing now. This thing became a very large storm in the past 48 hours. If you look at it 48 hours ago, it's a puny little thing. If you look at it on the satellite now, it's orange and red and it's a mean thing.

And there's where it got all its moisture from; that's why it's raining so much here.

COOPER: And Catherine, you will be tested on that later tonight.

CALLAWAY: OK.

I do want to bring in Rob, though. He may be able to show a little bit of what Chad was just talking about.

Rob, are you there?

MARCIANO: Hey. Hey guys.

He's right about that. One of the other things, and I didn't quite hear everything he said that makes the difference between a wet storm and a dry storm is how fast it moves. All tropical storms have a tremendous amount of moisture. Tropical weather -- warm air -- just has the ability to hold more water. That's just a basic fact. Colder air cannot hold as much water.

So that's why you see snow storms. If you were to take all the snow and melt it, you'd only come up with a little bit of rainfall out of that. That's why places like Miami get twice as much rain as places like Seattle that gets rainfall all the time, because Miami's an area that has tropical moisture and it can hold more water.

So, all tropical systems can hold a ton of water. This system happens not only to be taking in a little bit of that dry air that Chad mentioned, but also the dry air to the north of the system, but it's also moving more quickly than Frances and I think we'll see probably, on the order of 30 percent, maybe as much as 40 percent less rainfall out of this storm than Frances.

CALLAWAY: Hey Rob, do you want to ask Anderson anything? Chad can't hear you, but...

MARCIANO: Hey Anderson, are you...

COOPER: I can just feel it hitting the back of my head.

MARCIANO: Don't let anything hit the back of Chad's head.

Hey how does this feel temperature -- I was surprised when I covered Ivan with you as to how cold I got. Temperatures in the mid- 70s, but once you're that wet and it's that windy, I was freezing! Is it the same in this storm as it was in Ivan when we were down there in Mobile?

COOPER: It is. It's getting to be that point. Rob was talking about how during Hurricane Ivan, we were both getting very cold. And it really is the same kind of thing.

I think it's just because you're wet and obviously as these winds are picking up, the temperature's dropping.

MYERS: Officially, there is no wind chill factor at 80 degrees, or 75 degrees, but when you have winds like we have here, that is taking body heat away from your body. And the wetness is actually allowing that body heat to escape faster. It's almost like we're in the pool: you can be in an 80 degree pool and it's nice when you get in, but if you're in there for two hours, you're going to get cold at some point.

That's what we're having happen now.

COOPER: This whole experience is a little bit surreal because we're standing here, just like kind of chatting, but the winds are just kind of whipping hugely around us. And it is so surreal, we're in this sort of little air pocket, basically, that's protected from these winds. But all around us, these are massively strong winds.

MYERS: Well, we did the same thing -- we were doing the same thing in Frances. We were out there; it was windy; and then it got really windy and then the shingles started flying off. It's like, "All right. Time to find a safe place." And we found a little pocket where the winds really didn't blow and that's where we are now.

So, I know the people at home are seeing these winds blow by, these raindrops blow by at 90 miles an hour and they're going, "His hair's not even messed up."

COOPER: Yes, it's a toupee, but...

MYERS: Bad hair day all around.

COOPER: Catherine.

CALLAWAY: Anderson, we're going to talk to a guy riding this storm out. He rode Frances out and we'll get back with you in just a moment.

COOPER: OK.

CALLAWAY: But let's check in now with Paul Jutras. He apparently lives just a block from the ocean in Cocoa Beach. Says he learned some lessons from Hurricane Frances.

Are you there, Paul?

PAUL JUTRAS, COCOA BEACH RESIDENT: Yes, I am.

CALLAWAY: Tell me what you're experiencing now.

JUTRAS: Right now, I was just looking out the front door, because I'm fully set up with hurricane shutters and so forth. In the last 15 minutes -- I'm going to go out my front porch here for a minute, -- I'm outside right now. We moved from winds of about 75, right now it's over 90 miles-an-hour. Rain is tremendous! Just sheets of rain everywhere. Trees are bent completely over.

We're in the heart of it right now. They said within the next 45 minutes we're going to move up to about 100 miles-an-hour.

CALLAWAY: Paul?

JUTRAS: The construction I had made my house was to protect against these types of storms and I did survey the property twice. I do not have any damage at this time. You can actually hear the pounding tremendously against the hurricane shutters.

CALLAWAY: Did you have any damage from Frances?

JUTRAS: No, I didn't. I really didn't have any. I learned a couple of lessons. I have my own generators, as back up. We still have power here.

CALLAWAY: Wow! You're kidding me.

JUTRAS: No. We have not lost power. We flickered for maybe 10 seconds and it came right back on. So, we're very fortunate. That's the biggest drawback. And the only thing I did not have before, I went out and got some of those Coleman battery lanterns, so that if you do have no power, you don't have to worry about flashlights. Just flip these on and it'll light the whole room up for you.

CALLAWAY: What about gasoline? Big shortage after Frances.

JUTRAS: Well, what I did -- I had about 15 gallons spare. Now I keep 35 gallons back up for my generator.

CALLAWAY: All right.

So you've built this home, you say...

JUTRAS: Yes.

CALLAWAY: ... can stand these hurricane winds. What about your neighbors? How are they doing? How did they fare in Frances and how are they fairing now as Jeanne blows through?

JUTRAS: Well, most of them had roof damage and so forth during Frances. My neighbor next door, he had his entire screen room, his whole back, the entire screen room lifted off the foundation.

CALLAWAY: Oh wow!

JUTRAS: And exploded in the air. That was completely destroyed.

I put a new swimming pool in last year. And I have a screened in enclosure and I had it built to withstand 140 miles an hour. During Frances, we had up to 124 miles an hour here at one time and my screen room was never damaged. There's like five houses near me that also have screen rooms; they got all torn completely apart.

CALLAWAY: Did your neighbors take heed and leave this time?

JUTRAS: No. The funny part of it, I would say because of a lot of the situation, the biggest problem with the Barrier Islands is once you leave, you never know when you can get back. Sometimes they hold you out for like a couple of days after the storm has gone to survey the damage. And we were really shocked today because I would say 80 or 90 percent of the people are here.

CALLAWAY: Wow. Well, that's disturbing knowing that everyone doesn't live in a home built like yours is. Paul, how are you feeling? How are your family and friends feeling? How much can you take?

This is...

JUTRAS: Well, it's very stressful. In other words, you are always thinking the worst, but I feel comfortable, as far as the construction that we did here. And we took every safeguard there is. I have two roofs on my house. If I lost my first roof, which is a truss roof, which is double reinforced, which Florida requires, I still have another roof underneath that besides.

The only thing I'm going to do different that I haven't done yet, is sometime next spring, I'm going to put a steel roof on top of this roof.

CALLAWAY: Wow. You're just prepared for war.

JUTRAS: Oh yeah. Well, I have 26 windows in the house -- I have a pretty good sized house -- and I have electric hurricane shutters on every window and even on my 12-foot sliding doors.

CALLAWAY: Well, I'm surprised some of your neighbors who didn't leave, that are not in homes like yours, are not banging on your door to get in right now.

JUTRAS: Well, last storm, it was really funny because I had one of the few generators in the area. We had a big cookout for them; we had all the neighbors come over during the storm.

CALLAWAY: Well, our thoughts are with you and your neighbors, Paul. We'll check back with you. I know we spoke with you during Frances. Hopefully we'll be able to speak with you again a little bit later on tonight.

Good luck to you.

JUTRAS: Oh yeah, we'll be up during the night. Our height of it is between 2:00 and 4:00, we're going to get the heaviest. They said up to 100 miles-an-hour, with gusts up to 110.

CALLAWAY: We'll check back with you then.

JUTRAS: OK. Thank you very much.

CALLAWAY: Paul Jutras, lives in Cocoa Beach. Let's go back to Anderson and Chad. I don't know if you were able to hear that, Anderson, but Paul, a gentleman in Cocoa Beach is riding it out in his home and he says many of his neighbors, most of them in fact, did not leave this time.

COOPER: Yes, there are a lot of people really trying to ride out this storm. Some more seriously than others. About an hour ago, we saw a guy out here firing off a gun into the wind. I think he'd been maybe drinking a couple Hurricanes...

MYERS: He was the same guy that was having that cigarette or whatever he was smoking.

COOPER: Eccentric, we'll say. Maybe he was a little eccentric.

But again, the winds just continue to be really punishing and they're brutal. It's just a brutal time to be out.

MYERS: Well, literally we were 20 feet over there, maybe 15 feet and that's the eddy that we were in. We were in a very protected area, so we moved over just to show you that the winds are still really howling and those winds that you see going by the screen and with those raindrops, are true. It's not just some fan blowing some Hollywood set.

The winds now -- I just clocked it -- at 72. So that means maybe we're going down a little bit. We don't have those 95, those 92 mile- an-hour gusts anymore.

COOPER: I'm having a hard time figuring out, though, because I haven't seen the radar perhaps, but where are we in relation to the eye, the eye wall?

MYERS: Well, I'm looking at this wall here, which I think faces due east, or pretty close to due east. And most of the rain now is pounding it flat. And this flat wind means that the rain is coming from the east, which means finally, finally the center of the eye is south of us.

When you are on the top of that can that we talked about earlier, so the winds are blowing right from the east, and as that storm, the eye of the storm, the center, continues to move inland, we will actually begin to pick up winds from behind us here and coming around.

And that's what we're concerned about actually losing our satellite signal because our truck is protected from this wind only in one direction. We may have to move it around.

COOPER: I don't know if Rob Marciano is anywhere nearby, but it'd be great to get some sort of sense of where we are in relation to where the overall storm is. Because one of the hard things when you're in a hurricane like this, is really getting information.

Even for us, we're pretty plugged in: we're constantly calling the police, constantly calling emergency services just to check in. But it's a very disorienting feeling when you're in a storm like this. You really don't know what's going on.

MARCIANO: Well, Chad hit it right on the head. You guys are -- I haven't quite got the 2:00 obs out yet, so I can't confirm an easterly wind, but it definitely has been more east to northeast. So you guys are just north of the eye, which as Chad knows and he'll tell you in a second, Anderson, it means that you're not going to see any part of that eye, where the calm weather is. You're going to be in the northern front until those southerly winds kick in and that's no bargain, either.

So, until daybreak, for the rest of darkness, you're going to be in squally weather with winds easily gusting to hurricane strength. So, I don't have much in the way of good news for you and the crew down there. The truck may have some problems later on.

COOPER: Yes, I was going to say I'm sorry I asked, Rob.

MYERS: Well, you know what, and we can listen to Rob and he can tell us stuff, but the people that are here that don't have power, they have no idea what's really going on. And hopefully, they're listening to radio and that's why you buy those radios and that's why you buy the batteries and all those things we tell you to do. We tell you for a reason, not because we want you to buy batteries.

COOPER: I know Catherine, you've been getting a lot of e-mails, a lot of people probably from around the country, who are worried about their relatives who are here.

CALLAWAY: Right. We certainly are. And we're getting some angry e-mail from some people who say, "Hey, the story's not in Melbourne, it's in Stuart," where the eye came ashore. At least just a little east of Stuart.

Chad, talk to us a little bit about what Stuart saw and is feeling right now.

MYERS: Yes, Anderson, that's a tough one, really, because we can only describe what we see here and realize that the winds may be 20 or 30 miles per hour stronger down there. Every time you double the wind speed, with the power of the wind increases exponentially, because it's to the square power. So, an 80 mile-per-hour wind is not the same, is not just a little bit less than a 100 mile-per-hour wind, it's a lot less. And the more you go up, the more damage there is.

COOPER: We just lost our gate. We've been kind of worried -- that gate has been sort of teetering all night. I guess we probably just lost it. We'll try to keep an eye on it, make sure it doesn't go flying off.

But, yes, the storm is definitely worse. We are nowhere near -- we're not that far away -- but we're certainly not seeing the worst of the storm and you got to feel for the people, as bad as it here, you got to feel for the people further south from us.

CALLAWAY: Right. And we do have John Zarrella in West Palm. Of course, we have no idea when we send people out, exactly where the storm is going to hit; it has a mind of its own. But, of course we have our eye on Stuart and we'll get as much information out there as we can about that.

Stay with us, gentlemen, we'll be back with you in just a moment.

We're going to take a break and full coverage of Hurricane Jeanne continues at the top of the hour. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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