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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Hurricane Rita Causes Destruction

Aired September 24, 2005 - 01:00   ET

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


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And the wind speeds up there are about 132 miles per hour aloft. So you guys still have a long way to go.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Has the wall at all, Chad? Or is that center still coming across Sabine Pass and up Port Arthur and right across Beaumont at some point?

MYERS: Yes, I think you are right smack dab in the meat, in the heat of the western eye wall, Rob, which means your winds may never really come around all the way. And you'll stay in that wind. You'll stay in a north, north wind. And then eventually, as the eye goes by you, your winds will actually back the other direction. They'll never come out of the east unless the wall goes left. And I don't see any wobble to the left at all right now.

MARCIANO: So the center of this thing's going to go more over say Orange or say Sulphur West Lake, Louisiana?

MYERS: At Bridge City, Orange, West Orange, that entire area. There's the eye itself. It's going to travel itself very close to Port Arthur. There's Beaumont. And you guys are going to be on the north wind side. It's the easy side. But with a major hurricane, there is no easy side.

This side here will be the hard side to be on. And that's Lake Charles. That's Orange. That's Bridge City. That's Cameron, the areas right through here, that obviously, Rob, you know better. You worked in Lake Charles.

MARCIANO: Yes, yes, (INAUDIBLE) Parish.

MYERS: Yes.

MARCIANO: Cameron Parish, right in that as well. I think what -- the thing that you said to me that strikes me right now are the counties in southeastern Texas and the parishes of southwestern Louisiana under a tornado warning because this thing is going to be like a tornado coming through.

MYERS: Correct.

MARCIANO: And that means that my crew and I are wrapping up and going inside. So everybody else be safe. We'll see you in a few hours.

MYERS: All right, stay safe out there. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Chad, let me ask you, at what point -- I mean, who is getting the worst of this storm? What towns, what area and when?

MYERS: You know, probably right now from Port Arthur right over to the Sabine Pass area, right through here. This would be the worst winds. Port Arthur now feeling it. We showed you an animation earlier of what's going to happen to Port Arthur when all of that water pours up the Sabine River through the Sabine Pass. A lot of Port Arthur's actually going to be under water, but they're not having that water yet. They're not getting surge yet. They're getting wind.

Also right about Holly Beach, I bet the winds at Holly Beach are 100 miles per hour right now. I can actually go back to this map just for a second. And I can show you some of the other wind maps here. 20, 30, 40 miles per hour.

But every white dot you see right there, Sabine Pass, right there. That looks like Cameron. A couple more south and -- it's a white dot because they're no longer reporting. Either they've lost power or they've lost their equipment because the winds have been so bad in those spots.

We've actually lost communications with those (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: We are getting an A for wind gusts here. Significantly different. I mean, literally just in the last minute, as you were speaking, the winds seem to be shifting, but that's just probably a temporary shift, I imagine.

But what we're experiencing is basically just a gust at this point, right?

MYERS: Yes. Basically, you're in between the bands. You're in this yellow band right now over Beaumont. In 10 minutes, Anderson, there might be winds only to about 40. But then in 30 minutes, your winds are going to be 80.

COOPER: Oh. It is -- it's just -- it's freaky how, and I hate to use terms like freaky, but how these winds just, you know, in the blink of an eye suddenly change course and pick up like they have been. It's one of those very disconcerting things. Again, I still feel pretty good about this -- the location that we're in. So we're going to stick it out here for a while, Chad.

Let's toss it back to Aaron in New York right now, Aaron.

BROWN: Well, that is -- Chad, that's starting to look pretty nasty there.

MYERS: Yes. Anderson, go get some eye protection on, if you're going to be outside.

COOPER: Yes, I actually have a vehicle right in front of me. So I think we're fine. AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Chad, has anything happened in the last, I don't know, hour and a half, two hours that is unexpected? Or has this thing really, since we started talking at 10:00 Eastern time, three hours ago, basically done what you thought it would do?

MYERS: This has been textbook. Aaron, absolutely textbook. As soon as you get a little closer to land, you start losing a little definition on the eye. By satellite -- there it is -- my satellite picture. You start to lose the eye a little bit there.

There's still a lighter dot in there, but that's so typical of some interaction with land, some gulping in of some dryer air into the eye itself. Look how good that eye look -- well, bad, if you will. Bad that eye looked right here.

Another 150 mile, 200 miles offshore. Now we're losing a little definition. The water here a little bit cooler along the shoreline, simply because this storm has been churning up that water for so long. It's mixed in some of that colder water from down below.

Here's Beaumont. Here's Port Arthur. Here's the eye wall itself. Aaron, this is the worst part. This still has 120 mile per hour winds in it. The hurricane hunter aircraft confirming that in the past 20 minutes. This area here, probably sustained winds of 80 to 90. And then that little gust that Anderson just went through...

BROWN: Yes.

MYERS: ...probably a sustained wind of 70, maybe 65, 75 miles per hour.

And it's odd, because you think oh, a 50 mile per hour wind is half as strong as 100 mile per hour wind. It's not the way it works. Actually, if you have to multiply that by the cube. So it's 50 cubed times the -- getting to the watts or power or 100 cubed. So a 50 mile per hour wind is almost 25 times less powerful than 100 mile per hour wind.

BROWN: Chad, don't go far away, OK? I've got one or two more, but I need to get to John Zarrella here, who's in Lumberton, which is about 20 miles or so from Beaumont -- John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Aaron. Yes, the rain is just really pounding us now. It's coming down in sheets, just coming down in sheets, one after the other, just whipping off the building here. And we continue to get increasingly strong gusts of winds.

We just talked to the police chief here just a minute ago, and asked him any update on any phone calls they're getting, anybody calling in. He said they haven't gotten a single phone call. And he attributes that to the fact that just about everybody left town and went north.

And I'm sure, considering what we're starting to go through here now, Aaron, if they see us wherever they are, they're probably glad they did leave. Again, we did talk to some folks who decided to stick it out and ride it out. Huge (INAUDIBLE), you probably couldn't hear that, but an explosion again now in the distance. Another transformer blowing up here.

Again, we've been hearing those more and more frequently, as the evening has worn on -- Aaron?

BROWN: You're outside the police station, is that where you are in Lumberton?

ZARRELLA: Yes, the police station and the city hall is here. The courthouse here all in one complex.

BROWN: John, thanks. Is Chad still there, Will?

MYERS: It's me, Aaron.

BROWN: OK, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Sanjay Gupta is outside a hospital in Lake Charles. I'm not sure you can see what the weather's been like in these other places. It's been very nasty in Beaumont. How is it where you are?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is the only second time I've really seen a hurricane. I've been listening to John Zarrella, who's obviously seen a lot of hurricanes. So I don't want to repeat what everyone else has been saying.

But what's so striking to me, a relative novice here, is just how quickly this all changes, Aaron. Just in the time that I was waiting here, I mean, the rain was coming straight down. Then it just started to swirl.

Again, that direction is south over there. Behind me, right behind me is east. It has stopped all of a sudden, then just start to swirl all around us.

I'm not exactly sure what that means, because I'm not seeing the radar images. But we are seeing what we're seeing just on the ground here.

Also, Aaron, you asked me before about Lake Charles itself and what was (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: OK, we lost Sanjay for a minute. We'll get him back. Back to Chad Myers in Atlanta. Just Chad, on this -- everybody's talking now. Rob talked about a sense of swirling winds. Sanjay just mentioned it. Are they imagining something? Or in fact, the wind's swirling around them?

MYERS: Well, what they're doing -- we protect our equipment and our men and women out there by putting them behind buildings. And you've lived in New York City long enough, Aaron. You know all of a sudden, you come down 5th Avenue...

BROWN: Yes. MYERS: ...and those winds are going every different direction. And then you walk outside, you go down to a park, and they're all coming from the same direction.

But for the most part, yes, actually Sanjay's winds are coming in from the east, because he's on the extreme north side of the secondary eye wall. So his winds are coming in this direction. And his winds just picked up. We just lost his signal because he went under this band right here.

And every time these arms come up, every time these little waves come up, your weather goes downhill.

And then you get this little break right through here.

BROWN: Yes.

MYERS: Like our guys in Beaumont are going to get. And that's going to get fine for 20 minutes. And then they get that. And then it goes bad again.

BROWN: And then, just -- this may have more to do with where Zarrella is literally positioned, but it seemed while he's getting a lot of rain in Lumberton...

MYERS: Yes, right about there.

BROWN: ...he didn't -- it didn't seem nearly as windy there. Can 20 miles, 15, 20 miles make that much difference in the amount of wind an area's getting?

MYERS: It can, but the storm is moving 12 miles per hour. And what you see where Anderson is right now, John, will have in about an hour an a half, because that's at 12 miles per hour. That's an hour and a half away.

BROWN: And the thing I was going to ask you earlier, you talked about the most intense part of the storm.

MYERS: Yes.

BROWN: The 100 plus mile an hour winds, that's now how far away from let's -- just because it's a good reference point for our viewers from Beaumont?

MYERS: You know, we can do a distance on this. I would say that's probably 40 miles, maybe 50 miles. If you put a time on it, the -- almost the center of the eye, Aaron. It's about four hours for the center of the eye to get to Beaumont.

From the outside, from the very outside perimeter, where the wind is bad -- remember, the eye is pretty calm.

BROWN: Yes.

MYERS: But it's this part right here that's the worst. I would say that's about two hours and 45 minutes, three hours away. And those guys are going to be seeing winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

BROWN: Chad, I like -- we'll get back to you in a moment. You keep answering questions, which raises more. Sean Callebs is in Galveston. We talked about roofs coming off or roof coming off. Now we talk about buildings coming down?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It just gets worse for the folks, Aaron. Our crew that was over with the firefighters there, and I want to tell you a story about that in just a second, but fire chief said they just had a report of a building collapse about four and a half or five blocks from where this fire was at 19th Street, close to the Bay.

So they are basically snaking their way over there. A lot of power lines are down. A lot of trees are down. Limbs are all over the place. And it is pitch black. So it's very difficult to do anything.

But really, what's emerging at this hour is really a story -- the firefighters getting there in a hurry. And perhaps saving that section from what could be a catastrophic fire. By the time the firefighters got there, and those three buildings were engulfed in flames, apparently embers had blown over and had begun to set other houses on fire.

Well, the firefighters got there in time to put those smaller fires out. So by the time we got there, the only pictures we have were of those three buildings. Two historic homes and one business that went up in flames. But if they'd had been (INAUDIBLE) would have been in flames.

They said when they left the emergency operation center, where we are, the San Louis Hotel, right on Sea Wall Avenue, they had to run two blocks to the convention center, unlock the garage, and then pull the fire trucks out of there.

By the time they got out and looked back over to the area where the fire was, they said they could see the whole area glowing orange. And you have to understand just how bleak it is out here at this hour with the winds whipping, debris flying, and at times rain coming down horizontal fashion.

So they got over there very quickly and controlled that. But now this report of a building collapse, it just seems to get worse and worse.

And this for a little strip of a barrier island, where people were so terrified of a storm surge and the winds when this was a Category 5 hurricane, they were -- it's hard to explain just how concerned they were about that.

And now as this night keeps progressing and progressing, it's just other disasters that are keeping all of these emergency officials working throughout what is clearly going to be a very long night for them, Aaron.

BROWN: Well, they're dealing with lots of -- or enough little problems. What they're not dealing with is the kind of monster problem that for two days, for about a 48 hour period, they really worried about.

I don't know if we have easily can get the pictures in the fire, but when we were looking at them earlier, you could see the hot ash being blown all over the place. And you could see exactly why these firefighters were so concerned, not just for the buildings that by the time they got to them looked like they pretty much lost them, but for any building in the area.

And we mentioned about an hour and a half ago, that we suspected they were more concerned not with saving the buildings that were already enflamed, because that looked pretty much like a lost cause...

CALLEBS: Right.

BROWN: ...but protecting anything around it.

CALLEBS: And which is also the reason that they're still there right now, making sure because the embers are still glowing. I mean, those were big buildings. And they went up quickly.

The firefighters are still there. They're still going to keep an eye on that, because yes, they talked about the swirling winds. And basically, this own weather pattern that is created by these neighborhoods.

And certainly it's a big concern down there. We're told that the firefighters down in that area, which is much more flat than when where we are, and certainly not as protected as well. So the wind was whipping.

That was a huge cause of concern for them. And then, without power. I mean, it is pitch black. Anybody's who's been on this island, the streets are just as wide as any other place, but trees hang down. Once power lines come down, it's just -- it just got to be frightening.

And now trying to get over to that building collapse, or apparent building collapse, we'll try and get you more on that. We've been watching this hotel back behind us, too. It keeps making -- it's like things that go bump in the night. We can't see what's going on, but as I mentioned earlier, it just clearly doesn't sound good.

BROWN: Well, it's one of the things -- we honestly sitting here worry about, with all of you, is that your field of vision is very narrow. We can hear the sirens going there, Sean.

CALLEBS: Yes.

BROWN: Your field of vision is very narrow. Stuff is flying around.

CALLEBS: OK.

BROWN: We talked earlier...

CALLEBS: Aaron, I have a bit of bad news. We're on battery power right now. And we're clearly about ready to lose our battery. We're going to have to shut off for just a minute, because we're not operating on A/C.

BROWN: Oh, got it.

CALLEBS: Change the battery in the camera.

BROWN: Sean, change the battery. We'll get back to you. Sean Callebs...

CALLEBS: OK.

CALLEBS: ...in Galveston. A pretty good picture of that.

Our senior national correspondent John King joins us. John is on the telephone. And John, where are you tonight?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we are right now about a mile north of Sabine Pass on Route 87, Texas state road 87. This is where the forecast has the hurricane supposed to hit land about four, five hours from now. And I can tell you we're now in a position where we're not going to be able to stay very long.

The roads are starting to flood. And the rain is starting to swirl. This is a pretty desolate area. So everything is bending and moving. There's no homes or anything like that that have debris or things flying.

But the winds have picked up substantially as we have started to move further to the south here. And it is a swirling muck right now.

We just came through Port Arthur. There's a big concern there that when the hurricane hits this marshy area, where we are now, and our car is bouncing around pretty damn good at the moment, the concern back in Port Arthur is that the flooding from all the water coming up from the marshes where we are now, will wipe that town out.

And already, on some low lying streets, we saw 2.5 to 3 feet of flooding there. A lot of debris down, trees down. Nobody in Port Arthur. We drove through the entire town for about an hour. Did not see another human being.

BROWN: Do you have a -- John, do you have a plan here?

KING: Do we have a plan?

BROWN: Yes.

KING: We sure do. We have a plan to check this out so we could see it beforehand. And we're going to start to move out of here pretty soon. And hopefully when this thing passes, we'll come back and be able to assess just how much damage it did.

When we get back to Port Arthur, we're going to get at least to the other side of where the roads are starting to flood out, and assess whether it's safe to say or whether we need to pull out a little further.

BROWN: So you all head back toward Port Arthur, that's your plan?

KING: Momentarily. We're going to try and take a bit of a peek around here, Sabine Pass. Again, I'm turning the corner, put the high beams on, to see exactly what's on in different places. And it's mostly marsh land down here.

That's the biggest concern, at least from the mayor of Port Arthur, that when the hurricane hits here, it will carry a lot of this water with it, in addition to the water it has.

We actually went up on the levee in Port Arthur for a few minutes. And obviously, the storm is intensifying now, much more so now than it even was 30 minutes ago.

But the concern is those levees won't hold. Of course, many people worry about that because of what we saw in New Orleans. We were right up on the top of it. Took some pictures. And so far, so good, I guess would be the statement.

But obviously, the worst is still three, four hours away.

BROWN: John, thank you very much. John King here, a long way away from the White House tonight.

Chad Myers in Atlanta, our severe weather expert. Chad, what have you got?

MYERS: Well, I'll tell you, all the voices in the weather office just about went through the roof when we heard John King was near Sabine Pass, because he absolutely needs to get out of there in a hurry.

You start losing trees. You start losing power poles. And then you're stuck in a place that's going to be under 10 feet of water. So John, get on the road. Get going.

MYERS: Here's what I have about Galveston. You know, you heard all about this 17 foot sea wall that they built. Well, they built it on the ocean. They built it right here, so that when the waves were coming in from the ocean, it wouldn't knock down Galveston.

Well, that's not the way the winds are working with this storm, because it's on the west side of the eye. All the waves are coming out of Galveston Bay and crashing right here along the harbor side, all the way back down to some areas here on the south side of town that don't have sea walls at all.

But when you think about what they were trying to do, it just didn't work at all because the waves and the winds are coming from the wrong direction.

There's a buoy, live buoy, 63 miles per hour. There's your live radar back on top of that, with another band of very heavy rain coming in for Sean. This as it comes in from the east. This is one of the outer bands. This is probably another half hour away.

Winds are going to probably pick up by another 20 miles per hour from where he is now.

BROWN: Somebody, by the way, in the control room get a hold of John King and tell him to get out of there.

MYERS: I did.

BROWN: That's -- thank you. That's number one.

MYERS: Yes.

BROWN: Number two, you know, we've talked about Galveston as being in -- as -- not getting hit as badly as we thought it would.

MYERS: Right.

BROWN: But it's certainly not -- it's not escaping unscathed. It still has a long night ahead of it.

MYERS: It does. You know, they talked about the hurricane force winds on the latest go around. They flew around to try to find how far around the hurricane force winds. And you go from the center to 80 miles this way. And from the center, to 80 miles, which is well off the screen. That's where the hurricane force winds are.

Over 75 miles per hour sustained. So this is a 150 mile wide hurricane forced wind rolling onshore. So whether you're east to the center or west to the center, it really doesn't matter which way your winds are coming.

And if you're on the east side, then you also have to watch out for that storm surge, because that's where the water bubbles up.

If the winds have been going this way all day, and they have, this bubble of water comes splashing onshore right here, right around Holly Beach.

BROWN: Chad, stay close to use. We're at that point where we need you often.

Anderson, I'm not sure you could hear John King or not, but he's right at the Pass, where this thing's going to, I guess, sort of the center of it all. You're not far from it.

COOPER: Yes, it was surprising to hear John on the road. That is certainly a concern. The place where we are, again, we just lost some power, but now the lights are kind of flickering back on.

Just saw the entire sky lighting up. There's greenish flare like light, which is these transformers blowing. You don't actually hear them exploding. You just see the light. And it's a very sort of creepy image. It's very strange to see. And you get used to it. It's sort of a constant. Every few minutes, you see these transformers exploding.

The winds seemed to have died down over the last five minutes or so, five or 10 minutes. But I think Chad had said we should anticipate that, and then get a big uptick over the next 20 or so minutes.

So that is certainly something we're going to watch for. John Zarrella is over in Lumberton, Texas, not far from where I am. John, how are things with you?

ZARRELLA: Well, we have the wind really picking up here just a few minutes ago. You couldn't even look into it, Anderson. The rain is just pounding us. It's that stinging rain now that's coming at you sideways. You just -- and it's impossible to look in.

Again, it's coming out of the north, north to south wind direction here. And it just keeps coming and coming now without -- just relentless.

We're looking down the street behind me, the main street here in Lumberton. And you can just see the water just racing down the street. There's a lot of pounding beginning out over here, and the swale behind me. And the wind is just whipping that rain, Anderson, right down that -- the main street here.

But like you, we've just now gotten just a little bit of a lull. But while you were talking just a few minutes ago with Aaron, it just was coming down in sheets. And you could barely, barely turn your face to it -- Anderson?

COOPER: And have you heard anything from officials, anything about people or 911 calls?

ZARRELLA: Yes.

COOPER: Well you weren't just talking to the sheriff or actually to the fire chief here, who said they were getting a couple of 911 calls earlier, but it was mostly people reporting, you know, the transformers exploding. Not sort of personal distress calls.

ZARRELLA: Right. Yes, exactly. And what we're hearing now, same exact thing. And the police officials here told us that they haven't gotten a single phone call. And they believe that's because nearly everybody in Lumberton is gone. There's not hardly -- there are very few people left here who stayed to ride it out.

We talked to emergency management Texas officials just a few minutes ago, Department of Emergency Management. And they told us now at this point they -- there's nothing more they can do for people. They had -- they believe they have done everything they can to prepare people. And at this point, people just need to be inside safe shelters, wherever they are until this thing passes over and until they can get out to try and assess what has happened.

Now you can see we're picking up again here more rain, more wind blowing in harder again on us here in Lumberton. But again, it's -- right now, it's just a time for everybody to sit tight where they are, because nobody is going to be able to get out, to come and get you, and to come and rescue you. They just have to sit tight. That's what officials are telling us here.

I'm sure they're telling you the same thing where you are. Anderson?

COOPER: Yes. Yes, absolutely, John. We'll check in again. Stay close because we want to stay in contact...

ZARRELLA: Yes, it's...

COOPER: ..with all the people we have. Go ahead, John.

ZARRELLA: It's really coming down. Really coming down at us now, Anderson. It's really blowing. So we're getting maybe a little bit of what you went through a few minutes ago.

COOPER: When -- what direction is the wind coming from John?

ZARRELLA: From the north. It's still coming out of the north to the south pretty much. It may have turned just a tad, but it's all night it has been from the north to the south.

COOPER: All right, we'll check in -- again, safe, let us -- want to stay safe. Let's check in with Rick Sanchez, who's down in Lake Charles in Louisiana, a town that is expecting to get hit and especially see some storm surge in some bad flooding.

Rick, how's things?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unbelievable, Anderson. The difference is the wind in the last hour or so, since we last talked to you. As a matter of fact, it's just tremendous the way the wind has been picking up here.

It almost looks, at times, and I don't know if you can see it on the screen, it almost looks like someone has a water hose, and that they're sitting on the ground or kneeling on the ground and spraying it up.

The water just seems to be coming through with the wind at the same time, pushing through this building. And you really have a tough time trying to stay (INAUDIBLE) -- someone just tried to walk across over there with their dog. And the dog, I swear I just watched the dog get picked up by the wind and thrown into a puddle. And the fellow had to pick him up and take him back there.

So I mean, it's very different from what it was. And it's obviously increasing as the time goes by.

You mentioned a concern here about the water and the surge. And it's obviously a large concern for some officials here, but it's honestly too late for some of the folks who hunkered down. They're just hoping that they don't have a situation where the water comes up.

I'm going to walk towards you a little bit now because as you can see, the winds whipping around outside of that building. We're using a building as a shelter.

And Rick, let's show if we possibly can, this is a garage that we found in the downtown area here in Lake Charles. And we've been using this garage to try to hunker down, to create a shelter for ourselves, to get out of the wind and out of the rain.

Since we've been here, several other people have come. The gentleman who's in that car over there is -- he's sleeping now. He's from Mobile, Alabama. He drove all the way through here because interestingly enough, his wife and his kids were stuck on I-45, trying to get out of Houston. And they were unable to do so. He was trying to go (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I think we lost Rick Sanchez there, Aaron. Obviously I'm sure everyone will understand communications are tough. We'll try to get back in touch with him.

And we are, you know, again, we're just kind of -- it's a strange limbo time. I mean, all of a sudden, the gusts will come and then they'll sort of -- you don't want to say it's normal here, because it's anything but.

But it's not -- you know, and then suddenly like this...

BROWN: Yes.

COOPER: ...another gust will come. The wind will sort of change direction, Aaron.

BROWN: Let's try and do some math. I need to run this by Chad at some point. But I think we're talking about a 200 mile area that this is all going on in. It's a pretty large chunk of the coastline that's getting whacked right now.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, when you think just of how wide this storm is, it's just -- it's extraordinary. It's hard to imagine obviously some places getting more, you know, badly hit than others.

I'd also be curious to hear from Chad just at what -- at this point, how big is that eye? You know how well formed is it? Is it dissolving? Is it breaking up? And how much longer until we start to see some of that eye or the eye wall making landfall?

BROWN: Chad?

MYERS: I just looked. I just did a distance on it. The eye wall itself about 16 miles now from land. I'm going to focus on Lake Charles a little bit for you here, because that's where we just had Rick Sanchez. One heavy band just went by. Another band is just moving in. In between bands right now. And then this is the heaviest band that I believe will probably brush the right side of Lake Charles. Your answer to the eye wall, Anderson, not very well defined right now. We lost the south half of the eye wall itself.

The southwest half was right here. And now it is gone. All that means that at some point in time, the storm grabbed some dry air from somewhere in San Antonio or the hill country, and it gulped it in. And it lost this part. This is enough dry air to stop the convection, to stop the thunderstorm activity in this little part right here.

But there are clearly more and more areas here from Lake Charles southward. This is Cameron Parish, right here. And then right along the ocean shore, that's that line right there. And then Holly Beach about there. Cameron right there. And that eye wall.

Just about ready to make landfall there. And the winds in that eye wall are 120 miles per hour, confirmed by the hurricane hunter aircraft.

BROWN: And that's -- I'm sorry, Anderson, go ahead.

COOPER: No, no, I'm sorry. My question is just when is the worst of it? I mean, when, not only here in Beaumont, but just for people in all these different areas, in Lake Charles, you know, because that's what people want to know? When should they expect the worst of this storm?

MYERS: Well, it depends on where you are. If you are in Homa (ph) right now, off to the east, way off this way, you're getting about the worst right now because you are equal to where the center of that eye is.

As the eye passes, things get a little bit better. And as soon as that eye makes landfall and loses contact with the water, the eye will slow down. The hurricane will slow down.

Lake Charles, you're still going to go downhill. Still going to get worst from here for the next four hours. Beaumont, three hours. Port Arthur, two hours. Right along the ocean shore, right along the lake the shore here, probably one hour, hour and 30 minutes. There's our timer right there.

As soon as this area goes by, as soon as the heaviest convection of the eye wall goes by, then it gets better because you're going to be in the eye itself.

And there isn't much of another side to the eye right now. Not that it couldn't come back. If the -- if you're in Holly Beach, and I hope you're not, but if the wind dies off in two hours because you're in the eye, don't go outside. Look up, because this eye, this south side of the eye could still come back -- Aaron?

BROWN: Chad, thank you very much. It's the kind of thing that you only say when you're in the comfort of a studio. It is a fascinating science that you're reporting on. Thank you. Sean Callebs in Galveston, Texas tonight. A little bit more on the building that went down, Sean?

CALLEBS: Exactly. It was a restaurant called Yaga on 23rd Street and the Strand. So basically, it was only four blocks away from where that fire was. Apparently, one wall simply saturated from all this rain and simply crumbled. That's the bottom line.

Bricks strewn out in the middle of the street. No one in the building. Not a serious building collapse in the sense of something coming down and just flattened.

It was one wall that came out. We've seen it before on hurricanes. We're going to see it again. No injuries. Authorities went over there and checked it out.

You know, certainly it's going to be something that's going to be devastating for that restaurant owner. It's going to take a bite out of the local flavor of the Strand, but it's not something that is going to cause any casualties. And it's not something that can't be fixed with brick and mortar, which is certainly the good news.

I want to talk just a bit about the winds, too, because we heard Chad talk about the bay, the concern over in that area, how the wind is actually now -- it's coming from the north.

If you see where we are, you may see some of these palm trees. And it looks like they're blowing from the south over. Well, that's because we are in front of this large EOC building. And it's simply blocking that wind coming in from the north.

If you go down, you can't see because the lights are off, but we walked down the end of this driveway, and the palm trees there are blowing dead from the northeast right across.

So really, the big concern, we talked to a number of people who are staying. I would say at least 10 different families that weren't really far from that bay, as this wind continues to blow up, pushing that bay water in, that was always a big concern. That was one of the problems that was actually talked about in the 1900 hurricane that caused just the horrific damage, killing at least 6,000 people, Aaron.

BROWN: Quickly as you can, still believe no casualties or fatalities in the fire?

CALLEBS: No casualties, no fatalities. Well, one thing we do know, one firefighter apparently got some embers or some kind of matter in his eyes. And he was taken to have his eyes cleaned out, but nothing serious.

BROWN: Sean, thank you. Sean Callebs in Galveston.

Sanjay Gupta's in Lake Charles, Louisiana really at the other end of this storm that we're now tracking. And what have you come across here? GUPTA: You know, we got our contacts over here, Aaron, at the police department. Talked to Sergeant Mark Krauss a little bit ago. This is an amazing story, actually. On the I-10 bridge, just about an hour ago, an 18 wheeler truck was passing. Lots of warnings not to do that, especially not over a bridge. And maybe not entirely surprising, the 18 wheeler truck did flip. It was a collision and flipped.

Subsequently, the police department had to mobilize two police cruisers. Very difficult driving conditions to go get this gentleman. They were able to get him. No injuries. No hazardous materials on the trucks. So it looks like all is safe at this point.

But this is an example of exactly what not to do. An 18 wheeler truck on a bridge in a middle of a hurricane could have had disastrous consequences. Just talked to the police department about this. But luckily in this case, no injuries and no hazardous materials on that truck, Aaron.

BROWN: Wouldn't think you'd have to explain that to someone not to go out on a night like this. It appears it is not raining where you are.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's so interesting to me, Aaron, exactly that. You know, since we last spoke, I actually went out and tried to get as far away from the buildings as possible, just to get a sense. And it does seem that most of the wind is coming in from the east, but it just starts and stops, starts and stops.

And when it starts, it can start with a great deal of ferociousness. It just comes in with a great deal of power, lots of wind can move you.

But then it just stops for a couple of minutes as well. So really, maybe you can see behind me over here, it is raining to some extent still. That's where the light is at least. But it's not raining nearly as bad as it was even 10, 15 minutes ago, Aaron.

BROWN: We'll see what it's like 10, 15 minutes from now. Sanjay, thank you. Sanjay's outside a hospital in Lake Charles. They've actually done some surgery there on this stormy, stormy night.

Anderson is there. A sense of anxiety building in literally where -- I think the difference between where Anderson, you can't see this, but honestly, where Sanjay is in Lake Charles at this moment, it looks fine. I mean, it doesn't appear to be raining...

COOPER: Or really?

BROWN: ..or blowing much at all. And I'm looking at you like I'm going to lose you tonight.

COOPER: Well, I've lost a lot of weight over the last month. So I don't know. I may blow away.

You know, it's interesting. I mean, yes, there's juxtapositions. I mean, you could look at a picture here from an hour ago and it probably looks much better than it does now. After a while, it's sort of hard to remember.

But you know, Lake Charles could all of a sudden be much worse than it is here 10 minutes from now. It all just depends on where these outer bands, you know, where they're striking and where the lulls come.

We're not feeling too many lulls at this point, Aaron, as you can probably tell. I mean, it's just steadily unpleasant. We are all pretty much just sopping wet, incredibly wrinkled. I'm actually standing in a puddle which probably about six inches deep. And I kind of have no reason not to stand in this puddle. I mean, there's no difference between standing on the dry land or standing in the puddle. Everything is sopping wet anyway. It doesn't make much difference whether you're in a body of water or not.

But you know, it's definitely getting worse here. And as Chad Myers was saying over the next two or three hours, it is just going to go steadily downhill. And so, we're anticipating -- I mean, we're not -- you know, you're talking about a growing sense of dread. We're sort of resigned to the fact that for the next three hours, it is going to be steadily worse from us. And maybe once that first part of the eye passes us, the less defined part of the eye will mean that we're looking at gradually better after that three hour time.

Gary Tuchman's also in Beaumont driving around. Gary, what are you seeing where you are?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, one thing I noticed, you know, when you're in a hurricane, no matter what the winds are, when the hurricane, the brunt of it, hits at night, it just seems so much scarier because you don't know where things are that are flying around.

And all throughout this part of downtown Beaumont, but in a different part of the city that you are, we hear things flying. We can't see them necessarily, but many windows have broken in this area. Metal awnings have fallen. Doors have ripped off of buildings. And downtown Beaumont looks a lot different in daylight than it did earlier in the day today.

We can tell that there is flooding in some of the areas here, but this is not the storm surge yet. That is still to come. And there's a lot of concern about that here in Beaumont in Port Arthur, which is 15 miles to the east of here.

Port Arthur is Sabine Lake -- there's very much concern that that lake can overflow into the city. There's concern there could be up to 20 feet of water in Port Arthur, which is 15 miles east of here as we said. But here too, lots of concern that there could be big problems with the storm surge.

We haven't seen anyone walking around. A short time ago, we saw some guy in a bicycle behind me here in the downtown section. Quite incredible. I asked him what he was doing riding his bicycle. He said I just wanted to see what the storm is like.

We actually see a lot of that during hurricanes. We haven't seen any of that during this one, until just now. But obviously, the worst still to come here in downtown Beaumont, where there has been a lot of damage. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: I don't know if it's the same person on the bicycle. There was a young man here on a bicycle earlier this evening. He left probably about two hours ago. And I would have assumed he went home. I hope he did. Maybe that was just a different person.

Let's talk -- let's check in with John Zarrella, who's over in Lumberton, Texas, not too far from here. John, the rain seems to be increasing over here. I don't know about where you are?

ZARRELLA: It hasn't let up here one bit. It's as hard as it has ever been here. It's for the past hour. And the wind is still picking up. Very, very gusty. You can hear it howling through the buildings and through the eaves and through the power lines, just whistling through the power lines.

We had a few pieces of debris flying by here a few minutes ago. Small pieces. But again, you know, it's an eerie feeling when you're standing out here, and again your vision is so limited, to what you can see around you. To my left, it's pitch black. Wind coming at us. To my right, it's pitch black. And you just can't see much of anything.

Again, I can't even look now into this wind that's driving at us. You can see now we are -- it's really hammering us right now. But again, it's a gust. It'll come for a few seconds with this driving rain that feels like sand hitting you in the side of the face. And then it'll start to let up a little bit.

But not the rain. The rain is just constant. And you know, that's really, Anderson -- it's going to be a double edged sword this storm, because once it moves inland, and they're predicting 15, 20, 25 inches of rain as it sort of meanders and sits over northeastern Texas, the flooding potential is -- could be extraordinarily serious here.

That's one of the major concerns that emergency management officials in Texas told us earlier today, that they would likely have to use some very heavy equipment to get into some of the areas that are heavily forested, a lot of trees, a lot of pine trees. And in those low lying areas, where they may have to use that heavy equipment to get back in there.

I'm going to toss it back to you, Aaron, in the studio. A lot drier up there than where we are out here -- Aaron?

BROWN: Yes, it is. See, you know, based in Miami, you covered dozens of these. Hang in there. A few more hours to go here. Down there, hang in.

Chad Myers in Atlanta. Our severe weather expert has been guiding us through the science of this. Our senior national correspondent John King is -- last time we talked to him, was on the road.

MYERS: Right there.

BROWN: At perhaps the worst possible spot. And I say this with great affection to John. John's not the person you want to tell to leave.

MYERS: Right.

BROWN: He's strong willed, Chad.

MYERS: Yes. So John, so where are you?

KING: He's strong willed, but he's not stupid. We are now back in Port Arthur.

MYERS: Good.

KING: And I can tell you just -- based on what John Zarrella was just saying, we're back in Port Arthur, which is a little bit to the north of Sabine Pass, about 18 miles.

And there is -- it's very moderate so far. But there's moderate flooding here. There's a lot of low roads that go -- low running roads underneath railroad tracks and underpasses. We've just seen several of those that are too deep for us to go through them.

We're going around and then up over railroad tracks. So you're starting to see the beginning of what we all assume. And I know Chad can give you much more details, they'll be pretty significant flooding around here.

MYERS: There really will be, John. I mean, you literally for a while, when you were on the road here just north of Sabine Pass, you were only about 20 miles from the eye. You were 20, 25 miles from the winds that are 125 miles per hour, 120 miles per hour. So I'm very glad that you're back up here to Port Arthur.

Now Port Arthur, I will be very honest, is a very low city. It's much lower than Beaumont. But at some point in time, you got to find the highest spot, and kind of get behind some buildings.

It does look, Aaron and John, like the storm may have turned a touch to the right, which may be keep all of Port Arthur, all of Sabine Pass on the left side of the eye. And it takes the right side of the eye right onshore into Lake Charles.

Whereas the big push will be right up into Cameron Parish and right up possibly to the west of Lake Charles. You got Orange over here. You have Lake Charles over here. And this water as it comes up, it's painted in as land, but a lot of it is really marsh. A lot of that water's going to come up into the marsh, come up into Lake Charles itself, and then kind of run up possibly all the way to I-10.

BROWN: It's the right side of the storm that is the more ferocious side?

MYERS: Yes. More ferocious, Aaron, because as the storm -- picture the storm -- let's just for -- just for instance, let's say the storm is moving -- spinning at 100. And it's moving at 20. You have to add 20 plus 100 on this side, because you're moving together.

BROWN: Yes.

MYERS: On this side of the eye, you take that 100 and you subtract the 20.

BROWN: Got it.

MYERS: Because the storm is going the other way. But the other part of the east side of the eye is that the winds have been blowing this way for so long, now you're piling the water up onshore, and you're getting that storm surge.

Whereas on this side, the winds have been blowing offshore all day. And actually blowing the water away from land, so you get much less of a surge on the left side than on the right side.

BROWN: This tremendous sense, Z., John Zarrella, of sort of everything now focusing a little bit more and a little bit more. You're in Lumberton, Texas.

ZARRELLA: Right, that's right, Aaron. And we keep getting those increasing gusts of wind. I was going to say, and ask Chad about this, but I know that, you know, to get it -- we were trying to take some wind readings out here. And quite frankly, on the ground level, you know, we're only getting tropical storm force winds, even though it looks a heck of a lot worse than that.

But I know to get a true wind reading, you got to be up 30, 40, 50 feet, right, Chad?

BROWN: I think we lost Chad for a bit.

And I'll tell you, I don't want you going up 40, 50 feet.

ZARRELLA: No. It's -- you know, you just -- it's just howling through the trees above us. And now you could see it's just -- and it's not as you were talking to some of the other correspondents, whipping around here. There's a building where our camera is under. Police station city hall area.

But I'm out in it. So it's really coming just straight at me, out of the north. And there's a line of trees off to my left, and a line of trees off to my right. And periodically, you can hear a few branches snapping -- Aaron?

BROWN: Chad, I'm not sure if you're able to hear some of all of that, but he was talking about trying to get a sense of the wind. Can you give him a sense of the wind? Do you have that wind map around?

MYERS: You know, not every city obviously has a wind gauge. BROWN: Yes.

ZARRELLA: And those wind gauges are about 10 feet, six to 10 feet in the sky. Not 30 feet.

But if you do get 30 feet, the higher you go, the higher the wind is. So even in a tornado or hurricane, you never want to go to the highest level of a building.

A lot of times, I go to these hurricanes. And I see people in condos going to the 25th floor. And I'm -- what are you doing up there? The winds are going to be double there maybe what they are down here. But Beaumont now has sustained wind of 49. A peak wind gust of 79 knots. That was 81 miles per hour just a little bit ago.

There you go, 80 miles per hour right there in Beaumont. That was literally only a half an hour ago. So I'm sure John is, although he's a little bit farther to the north and not quite in that same cell, Lumberton will get winds in excess of 80 miles per hour here in gusts in just a little bit.

BROWN: Chad, thank you. Z, you're incredibly sturdy tonight. Thank you.

Sean Callebs in Galveston. We've been talking in Galveston about fire and building collapse. You've got more on the building, correct?

CALLEBS: Yes, we have some pictures that are -- we were just able to feed in. Again, this is a restaurant called Yaga. It's in the strand area. Kind of the trendy area here. It's on 23rd Street . It's about four blocks from where the fire broke out about the same time this building went down.

If you look at the pictures, you can see that basically just one wall of this restaurant gave way. There's some bricks in the street. Nothing -- there you can see the pictures. It's certainly not as bad as it could have been. And certainly not as bad when one hears we've had a building collapse. And this is from firefighters who spent the last hour and half trying to keep three buildings from basically taking out an entire block.

So they went racing over there as best they could in an area without electricity, where power lines are down. Trees are strewn all over the road. They were able to weave their way over there. And now, basically just trying to clean up, get that stuff out of the road, and wait until the sun comes out, when it ever does after this rain tapers off.

And then begin to put that back. But without question, this has been some evening here in Galveston. We have that fire. And we can still hear noises coming from that hotel over there, where sections of the roof continue to peel off. And every now and then, we see pieces of insulation fly around us.

So certainly some damage here. This area's going to look a lot different in the morning. It was interesting. We've been here for several days. We've had a chance to drive all around this island. And just looking, you wonder what area's going to be under water? What area's going to be completely swamped? What area's going to be devastated? What landmarks are gone?

And certainly, we're going to see that tomorrow. Gary talked about how hurricanes just seem a lot worse at night. And there are just some sounds out there. You have no idea. You're driving up and down on Seawall Avenue with no guard rail, nothing to keep you from going of the edge and plunging 17 feet down.

Some spooky moments out there for firefighters and from crews. The guys say Mike Collins, our producer, and Ken Tillis, the ones who have been bringing us these pictures, Aaron, throughout the night. They've been doing great work.

BROWN: They have been doing fabulous work. And thank them.

It's a weird thing. The last hurricane I chased came in around Myrtle Beach at night. And you just -- it's scary because of all that you can't see. Sean, take care. We'll be back to you momentarily.

Back to Chad Myers in Atlanta, our severe weather expert. Chad, I just -- I suspect you -- this has occurred to you too tonight. You've got crews in very difficult situations around the Gulf tonight. And both on the tactical side and the reporting side have just done some terrific work bringing the science of this. And you focus on the science of this, bringing the science of this to life.

MYERS: I thought you were going to go some place completely different with that. And you're -- I thought your question was going to be do you ever get concerned for the crews? And sometimes I'm inconsolable when I'm sending crews to a Cat 5 hurricane. I really thought that something was going to happen bad in Katrina. And I'm glad it didn't.

This one, I feel a little bit better because our crews are away from the shore. They're away from the ocean itself. And you just have to realize, Aaron, there's so much out there that can go wrong when you have 100 people on the ground covering a storm.

And especially at night, when you can't see things coming. I've been to enough of them, that if you just know that boy, at some point in time, you might have to just pack it in and not -- and just go inside.

BROWN: Yes.

MYERS: And not be out there anymore. But the science of the storm, the north, the east, the west, the south, the entire rotation of the storm is so -- it's awe inspiring to know that this is really what brings summer to an end so to speak.

A hurricane itself transports heat from the equator, and tries to get it to the north. That's all -- that's its soul purpose. But yet, when land gets in the way, clearly there's a problem. BROWN: I had -- that's just something I'd never known. And to be perfectly honest, had never thought about the sort of why of it, but there you go.

Anderson, I just -- this sort of building sense I think from where we are here that you are literally now sort of minutes from a marker, where they lose contact with you, where it's going to get a whole lot worse.

COOPER: Yes, I don't think we're going to lose contact. I think we planned this thing pretty good.

But you know, it was interesting, Chad was talking about or maybe it was John was talking about how difficult, you know, seeing things are. And these things come out of the dark. This is something that came out of the dark just a short time ago. It's actually sort of gypsum board. It's actually light weight.

But you know, I can tell you when it suddenly appears out of the dark, flying in your general direction, it certainly gets your attention and can certainly cause damage, even though it's basically, you know, made out of corrugated cardboard or gypsum.

But I've been surprised at how little debris we've seen. And I can't tell how much of that is just the particular position that we spent hours trying to find for that very reason. There wasn't much debris that could be thrown around.

And I'm trying to look down the streets a little bit. And I'm not seeing much debris flying around. And the trees which are here are certainly waving around a lot, but they are remaining intact.

And then, you know, I even look at -- I don't know if you can pan up and show this -- these lights, which normally would be a huge concern for me in a storm. And we're certainly watching them. But they're not even jingling around.

So I think this part of Beaumont is the civil center area. It's very solidly built. And so there really hasn't been, you know that -- there's a huge library over there with, you know, 30 foot panes of glass. Those have not shattered. So all of that is certainly good news, more lights, more street lights, the one I just showed you, in fact, just went out.

But they have been coming back on. A lot of these buildings do have generators. So I've been sort of surprised at the level of storm that we have seen thus far. But you know, judging from what Chad is saying, there may be some sort of uptick for us, where we are in the next, you know, hour or so. Is that right, Chad?

MYERS: Hey, if you take the right angle, Anderson, literally you are almost still probably two hours, two and a half hours away from being at the right angle where the eye makes its closest approach.

You are still well to the northwest of the center of the eye. Picture this as a straight line across the center of the eye. You have to transport that, completely to the north. And that's when it gets to the closest approach to Beaumont.

I'm saying that's 3.5, maybe four hours away before it really gets to be the worst you're going to see. And now it appears like our crews in Lake Charles, Sanjay, Rick Sanchez, they will probably see weather even worse than what you're going to see.

COOPER: Well, that's, you know, certainly not good news that anyone's going to get worse weather. So you think -- you're thinking four hours?

MYERS: Before you get the peak of your wind, yes. Because it has to be closest approach.

Now Cameron right now, right, is getting its closest approach to the eye wall. And that is getting the worst weather right now. Lake Charles, that's probably two and a half hours away to you, when the eye wall hits you. You're probably never going to get eye wall. And there, Dave's making a projection for me. Three hours and 25 minutes from the worst part of the eye wall that you're going to see, even though it's western part, your winds will be 100. You're going to get that in three hours and 25 minutes, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, it's good to know. It certainly helps just for planning purposes. And for anyone who's listening, who's in this area, you know, that's what they want to know. They want to know when the peak of this thing is. You know, the hump that they have to get over. And then, you know, still not leave their homes, certainly, but at least get a sense that the worst has passed and that they have made it through. It provides comfort, I think, as anyone will attest who's been through one of these things, Aaron.

BROWN: Yes, just Chad, how long will that peak period last?

MYERS: You may not ever be able to tell that you're in the peak, but I would say the worst weather, which will be 100 miles per hour for you Beaumont, maybe a little bit more for you Port Arthur, because it's a little bit closer to the eye wall itself, a good 45 minutes to an hour. You're going to be in that western eye wall.

BROWN: That's just...

COOPER: Are you talking 100 mile an hour sustained or gusts?

MYERS: I would say by the time it gets there, you are still going to have 80 sustained, 100 gusts.

COOPER: Wow. 80 miles an hour sustained wind. That's makes sense.

MYERS: And right now, you only have 49. Right now, your winds are 49. So you have another 30 miles per hour to go and 50 miles per hour to go on top of that for gusts.

COOPER: Wow.

BROWN: Chad, you game to hang in for a little while longer here? MYERS: Oh, sure.

BROWN: OK. Anderson, if someone were to have asked you what you thought the wind was blowing at in Beaumont, would you have said 40, 50? Or would you have guessed more right now?

COOPER: You know, it's interesting you ask that. I think before when I first started doing hurricane reporting, I used to sort of thing in my mind it's much higher than it really was. It sound -- it feels about right. I've actually been thinking myself, you know, it doesn't seem so bad. And I don't want to say it out loud, because you know, terrible things happen with 40 mile an hour winds.

But given to what I was expecting, it doesn't surprise me that these aren't -- that these are just sort of in the 40 mile an hour. It does feels about right. The 80 mile an hour, you know, wind, sustained wind, that is certainly of great concern. And 100 mile an hour wind gust is -- you know, that's among the strongest I've probably ever experienced.

So you know, that's something we'll have to be prepared for and take it case by case.

I think we want to check in with Sean Callebs, who's down in Galveston, Aaron. Let's just check in with him. Sean, what are you finding out where you are?

CALLEBS: I'm sorry, what was that last bit?

COOPER: Just wondering if you have any new information about any of the stories we've been following?

CALLEBS: Yes, well, basically the building collapse, they just kind of moved on from that. This isn't the kind of evening that they want to stand out and try and clean up the streets. The fire's pretty much under control. We saw a number of fire engines within the last 20 minutes pull back into the emergency operation center here. It is just pitch black.

The rain has picked up significantly. The wind that was blowing in very steadily from the northeast is now coming in a little bit more from the -- I would say the east or almost even the south right now. It has picked up somewhat, but still, it's nothing -- and again, I don't try to -- it's not as intense as so many other people have experienced this evening.

We're on the weak side of the hurricane. And in a world of expectations, certainly people here on Galveston Island for the last 48 hours really, fear for the worst. Those vivid images of what happened in Louisiana area fresh on everybody's mind. That's the reason so many people evacuated this area.

I think a big concern is now as they move away from these disasters that they've had to deal with this evening, the fire that could have brought the whole block down, the flooding that certainly is going to come large parts of this area. You can see this intense rain is just coming down. The bay is on one side. The Gulf of Mexico is on the other. We haven't gotten any kind of storm surge to speak of. The sea wall certainly doing its job. Nothing's splashing up on Seawall Avenue.

But a big concern was the bay in the back. Basically, there's nothing to stop that from pouring over. Go ahead.

COOPER: Sean, if I could, just interrupt. Chad Myers has a tornado warning. I just want people to hear about it as soon as possible. Chad, what is it?

MYERS: You know, so many times we focus on the eye wall. And there are other storms that are spinning on the outside. And here's the eye coming on shore. Cameron, you're getting winds to 100, 105 miles per hour. But farther up toward Baton Rouge, there's now a tornado warning for you.

Many times in the outer bands, these storms actually begin to spin. And it makes small tornados. I'm not talking F-4s and F-5s like you get in Kansas and Texas and Nebraska. But certainly F-1s and 0s and 2s, which still could have wind gusts to 140 to 150. But that's for east Baton Rouge and west Baton Rouge parishes there, including the towns of Port Allen.

The tornado is indicated by Doppler radar, but it's expected to be near Baker by 1:05 Central Time. That's five minutes from now. If you're in that area, be taking cover at this time -- Anderson?

COOPER: Chad, earlier when I was talking to Sean about the sea wall in Galveston, because last time when I was on that sea wall with the mayor, I mean, we were getting wet. And there were waves coming up over it, splashing all over the sea wall. He's saying the water seems to have gone out. Why would that be?

MYERS: Because the winds have been blowing out all day. As the storm got closer, your waves are still coming in. They're still trying to be a storm surge, but as the waves blow offshore, as the winds blow that water offshore, in fact, the water will recede.

Now as the storm goes by and those waves shift around, that water will certainly come back into the bay as well. And sometimes you can have a slosh back into the bay, as all that water tries to return all at one time.

COOPER: Sean, I don't know, were you able to hear that -- Chad's explanation of that?

CALLEBS: Yes, he actually brought that up a bit earlier in the evening. And it certainly makes sense. What I'm wondering here, if Chad is still around, is as this storm continues to turn at any point, it -- I think it's going to be high tide very early in the morning.

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