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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Tornado Kills 15 in Indiana
Aired November 6, 2005 - 07:26 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We've been checking state wires out of Indiana, where we understand a tornado has touched down. Several deaths reported.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Right. Several counties involved.
NGUYEN: We're hearing extensive damage. Brad, what do you know about this tornado? How strong of a tornado was it?
BRAD HUFFINES, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That -- really, we're just now finding that out presently. What we're seeing is a line of severe storms, many of which have been producing isolated tornadoes all the way from northern sections of Tennessee, through Kentucky, into southern Indiana, and now moving into western parts of Ohio.
This line of thunderstorms goes now from Nashville, where power is out for hundreds of residents, then through Cincinnati. As this line of thunderstorms continues to push into Ohio today, more severe thunderstorm warnings, more tornado warnings are possible. And a lot of this then turns to a snow system across the U.P. of Michigan.
So some very heavy weather. As we talked about yesterday, severe thunderstorms moving across parts of the Ohio Valley. What's happening right now on radar, looking at live radar presently out of Cincinnati, what we're seeing is heavy thunderstorms, severe thunderstorm warning just issued just east of Cincinnati. Brown County also seeing an active tornado warning for the next few minutes.
And we're also seeing up north across the northern sections of Ohio severe thunderstorm warnings, as well as heavy thunderstorms pushing toward Cleveland and Mansfield. Of course, the heaviest storm that we are now seeing and hearing about with people flowing into Evansville, Indiana Hospitals is that storm that is now breaking news with the possible tornado already sliding across parts of southern Indiana. Watching that as a developing news story.
Today, we're watching this line of thunderstorms coming across Kentucky and Ohio. Expect to see heavy weather, in fact, more severe weather today across portions of Kentucky and the eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. Folks there please be weather aware all day long, because some of these storms could reach heavy or severe limits, as we've been seeing all night long.
Temperatures across the east coast today, mid 60s up toward Boston. Mid 50s, Portland. In New York City today, 70 degrees for the Marathon scattered afternoon and overnight thunderstorms. Could be heavy or severe in the northeast.
73 in Washington. Better chance of severe storms later today. Atlanta, 75. Maybe some overnight storms tonight. And then down south in Florida, temperatures in the mid 80s today, with partly cloudy skies.
Still following up on that tornado, we'll be getting more information for you here on CNN, as we're really calling to see what is now a breaking news story in southern parts of Indiana with possible tornado causing numerous deaths and injuries. We're again efforting to get more information. Have it for you as soon as we can.
HARRIS: And as a matter of fact, Brad, stay with us here. We want you to see this as well. We're getting actually some video from the Web site of WEHT, our affiliate in Evansville, Indiana. We're going to show this to you right now. Streaming video right now on the web of some of the damage. I don't know clearly we can make that out, but there it is.
NGUYEN: You can see a house in the top right corner that's panning over. Oh, look at that, the destruction.
HARRIS: Yes, yes, yes.
NGUYEN: Lots of debris there in the roadway. We understand a mobile home park has been damaged called the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park near Evansville's southeast side. Some 80 people, according to the Associated Press, have been taken from the ruins of that mobile home park to hospitals.
Again, so far, we've learned that authorities are saying at least several deaths. There's no exact number at this time. But as daylight breaks, we're going to see the extent of the damage. And you can already see some of it from the streamlined video.
HARRIS: Oh, that's right. We popped it up full there, so that you can see it.
HUFFINES: And looking at the damage in the swath of that damage...
HUFFINES: ...we're talking what could possibly be an F-3 or F-4 tornado right there...
HUFFINES: ...by looking at just at the strength and the...
NGUYEN: Look at that damage.
HUFFINES: ...width of damage.
HARRIS: And what's the scale that you measure that on?
HUFFINES: There's a Fujita scale.
HUFFINES: Which goes from F-0 to F-5. F-5 being an example. The Oklahoma City tornado of 1999, F-3 to F-4. We start talking winds of likely 200 plus miles per hour. And that looks like about a half mile, maybe three-quarter mile wide tornado right there that you're seeing.
So this is a very substantial storm. And it's not uncommon for November, as we call that, the second severe weather season across much of the East.
HARRIS: Maybe Tanesha (ph) -- maybe we can get a Google map or something, some kind of a map that shows some of these counties that we're talking about here. We're talking...
NGUYEN: Several of them, yes.
HARRIS: ...Henderson -- what is this, Henderson County?
NGUYEN: Henderson County, Vanderburgh.
HARRIS: That's in Kentucky?
NGUYEN: And also we have Warrick. So we're hearing Newburgh, Indiana -- there are many counties. And we're trying to get a handle on exactly how many were affected by this.
HUFFINES: Well, the good news is, guys...
HUFFINES: ...the storms have already passed by that part of Indiana. So we have additional storms coming. But those same storms, now the same line of storms, continues to push now across the eastern sections of Ohio, into the eastern sections of Kentucky, so still some dangerous weather happening. In fact, we have that tornado warning for Brown County, Ohio, right now, just about to expire, but still watching and waiting for more tornado warnings as the morning progresses.
HARRIS: And we're just finding out about this in the last 10 minutes or so, we're just finding out about this tornado. I know that we're making calls to the area. We're trying to get the chief deputy sheriff of Vanderburgh County and Evansville, Indiana, is in that county. We're trying to get that person on the line to talk us through the situation on the ground and we'll continue to do that. I'm sure we'll get to that person shortly.
NGUYEN: Yeah and one quick note, so far we are learning that some 25,000 homes are without power at this hour.
HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) NGUYEN: We can only begin to imagine if that number's going to go up once we really get to see at daylight the extent of the damage out there, but from the streaming video, it looks like it is pretty extensive so far.
HARRIS: What were you about to say there, Brad?
HUFFINES: I want to tell you also this watch box that you see, this area in red, all of eastern portions of Ohio and all the way down to northern sections of Tennessee all in a tornado watch for the rest of today.
NGUYEN: For the rest of today.
HUFFINES: For the rest of the afternoon until about 3:30. That means that these severe thunderstorms can cause tornadoes with little or no warning as is frequently the case in some of these autumn tornadoes. They happen very quickly and sometimes can be, can lift just as soon as they cause the damage.
HARRIS: Brad, I want to ask you that. How unusual to get tornadoes this well into fall?
HUFFINES: It's really not that unusual. We have a second severe weather season that runs usually from November into early December -- anytime you see -- and the spring when you see these temperature changes.
NGUYEN: Usually in the spring, right.
HUFFINES: Right, cold to hot, hot to cold. That's when you see these tornado, these outbreaks of severe storms, in this case tornado outbreaks and that's not an uncommon situation. But what's bad about these is in this instance, they happen early morning hours or late at night when many people are asleep. So many instances tornado warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. There are many, many tornado warnings issued overnight all night long through parts of Ohio, into Indiana and Kentucky. But again, if residents are asleep, the weather service can issue all the warnings they can.
NGUYEN: Yeah, that can be part of the problem, if they're (ph) asleep and if they don't have that weather radio next to them they may not know when to take shelter.
HARRIS: These things can happen suddenly too.
HUFFINES: They can happen very quickly.
HARRIS: Yeah. I mean you do the best you can and we know you were talking about this line of storms moving through yesterday, but there was no way at that point to predict that you might get a tornado that would cause this kind of damage over this wide an area.
HUFFINES: No, the forecast, remember called for severe storms, isolated tornadoes, large hail. We've had numerous reports of 1.5 to 2 inch hail, wind damage, a couple of reports I saw in Kentucky of trucks being blown off the highway overnight and again the weather service can issue these warnings and if people are asleep, then they're not going to hear them unless they have at home a weather radio and that's the best way to follow these things. By the way, that county you see in orange right there just east of Cincinnati, that's a severe thunderstorm warning and it's in the middle of a tornado watch and that includes Columbus, Ohio, into the eastern parts, eastern half of Ohio. Remember now, during these tornado watches, severe thunderstorms can frequently produce isolated tornadoes with little or no warnings so be aware, all afternoon, as we mentioned yesterday, you've got to be weather aware especially in Ohio today as well as eastern parts of Kentucky into western Pennsylvania and West Virginia this afternoon.
HARRIS: OK, so here's what we're doing just to sort of give you a sense of how we're going to try to work this story this morning. We understand there's a tornado that has touched down. It has caused some deaths, a lot of damage as you've seen in the pictures from our affiliate WEHT. That's in Evansville, Indiana. So we're going to try to get you as close as we can to the ground and the scene there on the ground. We're going to try to talk to folks who were in the area, some of the affected areas and we're going to try to talk to some of the city and county officials.
NGUYEN: Right, we have Deputy Sue Buchanan that we're going to try to speak with shortly in Warrick with the sheriff's office there. We've been told there have been a few fatalities. There's no exact number at this point because much of that information is still being sorted out. But with the damage that we're seeing, obviously we're going to stay on top of this and make sure that we get you the latest information. So hopefully, Tanesha (ph), do we have deputy Buchanan on the line?
DEPUTY SUE BUCHANAN, WARRICK COUNTY, INDIANA SHERIFF'S DEPT: Yes, I'm here.
NGUYEN: There you are deputy. Tell us so far what you've been able to gather as far as deaths and injuries. Let's start with that.
BUCHANAN: At this time, we do have several fatalities. At this time I'm not sure how many. We've had considerable damage in the south end of our county along the river and the middle north end of our county has sustained quite a bit of damage.
HARRIS: Deputy, give us a sense of, in your county, tick off some of the names of the cities in your county and the cities that were affected.
BUCHANAN: Mainly would have been the Newburgh area, which is located next to the river and in the north, Bloomville would be the closest town. It's about three miles east of Booneville, where we had the worst damage in that area.
NGUYEN: And as you look at this damage, has this storm just basically popped in on certain neighborhoods or are we looking at extensive damage? BUCHANAN: From my knowledge, I'm at the office. I haven't been out on the road this morning, but we've, from what we've heard and seen, we've got considerable damage, yes.
HARRIS: And deputy, let me back up just a moment here and sort of establish some basics here. When did this tornado touch down?
BUCHANAN: They're telling me about 10 minutes until 2:00.
HARRIS: So the overnight hours, folks are sleeping.
HARRIS: Had warnings been posted in the late evening?
BUCHANAN: Not to my knowledge, they hadn't been, no.
HARRIS: So are you telling me that this storm came as a surprise to many of the people?
BUCHANAN: That's what I'm hearing now, yes, because actually, I work a day shift and actually, I slept through it myself, so I doubt there wasn't too much warning.
HUFFINES: Hey, Tony, let me add real quick the weather service issued a tornado warning at 2:00 in the morning for Warrick County. That's in southwest Indiana, issued the warning at 2:00 in the morning from the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Kentucky. So I don't know what time the tornado touched down, but a warning was issued at 2:00 in the morning.
HARRIS: Got you. Deputy, so give us your local time. What time is it there locally? Deputy?
BUCHANAN: It's 25 until 7:00 right now.
HARRIS: Twenty five to 7:00 locally.
HARRIS: Central time. So you have first light yet?
HARRIS: OK, have you been able or have you been getting any reports from folks in the area? I would manage your 911 dispatcher has been very busy.
HARRIS: And what kind of reports has the dispatcher been receiving of damage, of injuries?
BUCHANAN: Right now, we don't have reports as far as injuries. Most of the people have been able to take their selves to the hospital here in the county, other than the fatalities that we've had. Basically, most of our calls right now are people calling in, wanting to know if they can get to certain areas or get to work and the county commissioners have declared an emergency call on that, that they're not to be out on the road unless necessary.
HARRIS: Even now?
HARRIS: Even now. OK.
BUCHANAN: We have power lines down, trees, all over the place.
NGUYEN: I wanted to ask, you were talking about lines down. We're hearing somewhere to the effect of 25,000 homes without power. Do you know where the power stands in your area right now?
BUCHANAN: My understanding is from what I heard awhile ago that in this area, they've got like 27,000 people without electricity.
NGUYEN: 27,000 and so for these 27,000 in their homes, possibly some of them injured, right now, no help is available to them because emergency crews are not out on the streets?
BUCHANAN: No, we do have people out. We've had people out since early this morning.
HARRIS: Deputy, let me ask you, as we try to pinpoint, get an exact fix on the damage, the fatalities, is there a particular area in your county that has been even more severely hard hit than others? Maybe we can create a map of the area to help our viewers.
BUCHANAN: To my knowledge, the fatalities we had were northeast of Booneville and in the Booneville area.
HARRIS: So in the Booneville area?
BUCHANAN: I'm not aware of any in Newburgh.
NGUYEN: Deputy, let me take you back just a moment now. You said you do have people on the streets but when we asked you a question a little bit earlier about having those crews out and about, you said many of them are not because of downed power lines and debris in the area, so can you clarify for me --
BUCHANAN: No, I said that they were -- we do have lines down and trees down, but we do have people out. We have volunteers in local communities. People in construction and things are out.
NGUYEN: I see, I see, OK. So there is help that is available.
NGUYEN: When we hear about, you know, folks taking themselves to hospitals as you mentioned, are you getting any word from the hospitals that they are becoming overloaded with injuries?
BUCHANAN: At this time, it is my understanding that's secondhand knowledge, St. Mary's in Evansville are taking people, the ones that are most hurt at this time. They're saying at this time that I think they have 110 people.
NGUYEN: One hundred and ten, OK.
HARRIS: Do you have a mutual aid system in place where you can get some help from some surrounding communities?
BUCHANAN: Yeah, usually around here that's a given thing, that you know, the surrounding counties and stuff help each other out, yeah.
HARRIS: Are we talking about rural area? Are we talking about urban big city areas? What are we talking about here?
BUCHANAN: Our county is other than Newburgh is more or less a rural county, but I think at this time we have sufficient help, you know, for what we need.
HARRIS: OK. So give us a sense of what the rest of this morning is like for you and the rest of the personnel in the sheriff's office.
BUCHANAN: Basically (INAUDIBLE) just trying to assess the damage, trying to check and see, you know, if we have anyone that would be trapped. I understand we have some homes that have been taken completely off their foundations and obviously they're still trying to check on that.
NGUYEN: And we were just looking at some video there, some live streaming video on the Internet of people actually outside their homes in the neighborhoods walking around and trying to assess that damage. What kind of caution are you urging, because as you mentioned, there are downed power lines.
BUCHANAN: Well, as always, not to, basically for people not to get out any more than they have to. It's so dangerous out there with lines down and even just east of the jail here, we have roads that are completely covered with telephone poles and other debris and stuff, you know, best to stay off the road.
NGUYEN: What area right now is of most concern to you because we have been -- as we look at wire reports that tell us about the damage in other areas, there is also the Eastbrook mobile home park which is near Evansville.
NGUYEN: That has taken on a lot of damage there. Do you have mobile home parks in Warrick County that you're particularly concerned about?
BUCHANAN: Not to my knowledge. We've had several subdivisions out in Newburgh that have been hit, but not to my knowledge any mobile home parks, no.
HARRIS: All right, deputy, stay with us for just a moment longer as we sort of reset the story. So the tornado struck at about 2:00 a.m. We understand that warnings went out at about 11:00 in the evening, no, shortly before the tornado actually struck so there wasn't a whole lot of advance notice, that a storm could pack a tornado.
NGUYEN: It was in the middle of the night, too, a lot of people were asleep.
HARRIS: And it's in the middle of the night. But you're telling us that the cities of Newburgh and Booneville have been particularly hard hit in Warrick County. Is that correct?
BUCHANAN: Not Booneville itself, but northeast of Booneville.
HARRIS: In Newburgh?
BUCHANAN: Newburgh is in the southern end of our county along the Ohio River.
HARRIS: OK and you're telling us there are some known fatalities.
BUCHANAN: Yes. At this time I'm not sure but I know that there are several.
NGUYEN: But so far, 110 people have made it to the hospital with injuries related to this storm?
BUCHANAN: That's what St Mary's was putting out, St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville, yes.
NGUYEN: But at this point the hospital is not overloaded?
BUCHANAN: I don't believe so, no.
BUCHANAN: I don't have firsthand knowledge of that but I don't believe so.
HARRIS: Betty, anything else you want?
NGUYEN: There's a lot to assess, just looking at the damage here and crews are out and about, able to assist people who may have sustained many injuries from this storm, but as we understand you are urging caution, Deputy Buchanan because of all the debris that's in the roadways and just strewn all around plus the downed power lines.
HARRIS: All right.
BUCHANAN: It's still a bad situation and obviously we just had daylight here and they're still trying to get a lot of that done.
HARRIS: Deputy, thank you for your time.
HARRIS: We really appreciate it. We know you've got a busy day ahead and we wish you the best. And we'll check back in with the deputy hopefully a little later this morning for a new update.
NGUYEN: We're going to continue coverage of this because all this information is still as we mentioned, are coming in to us as we speak. So we're going to get better, a better grip on the numbers, the damage and all that that comes with a tornado and really, we don't know exactly what size of a tornado this has been. Brad was saying somewhere in the F3 range, but we got an official number on that and once we get, of course we'll bring it to you.
HARRIS: And we'll also be working the phones here to try to get you on the ground to people who have been impacted by this tornado. We're going to take a break. We'll come back with more CNN SUNDAY MORNING right after this.
NGUYEN: We want to set the scene here on what has happened in Indiana this morning. Take a look at your screen right now. We're getting some live streaming video off the Internet of the damage in Indiana after a tornado struck around 2:00 in the morning. We understand so far that seven people are dead in an Evansville, Indiana mobile home park and that state officials may be planning to activate the National Guard to help with the cleanup and the recovery efforts there. We want to bring in Brad Huffines right now to talk about exactly the strength of this tornado. And Brad, there's some question here, too, is it just one tornado or a number of tornadoes that struck Indiana?
HUFFINES: What we can tell now and what Doppler radar shows, I have up the radar loop that shows the thunderstorm complex as it was coming through southern sections of Indiana. There is Evansville right about where my hand is. Watch this line of thunderstorms move through in the early morning hours. They were in a severe thunderstorm and then a tornado watch. And I have the time line of warnings in my hands. 1:30 in the morning a tornado warning was issued for Henderson County. I'm going to switch radar views and show you here, here is Evansville. Here's Henderson County right there, Vanderburgh County here, where we're showing you the damage right now was in Warrick County and that is right here to the east or southeast of Evansville, right along the river, in fact. That's where they're seeing the damage.
So these three counties, warnings began being issued at 1:30 in the morning from the National Weather Service. Then they issued another warning. That was for Henderson County. Again a warning was issued at 1:30 for Henderson County, at 1:45 for Vanderburgh County. That, includes Evansville, then about 2:00 in the morning for Warrick County and that's where we're showing you the damage right now. HARRIS: Hey, Brad, let's do this. Can we bring Brad up full so we can actually see that map a little more clearly and direct us through those counties again.
HUFFINES: All right. We're looking at three counties in southern Indiana. What you're seeing is the Ohio River here, northern Kentucky here, southern Indiana here. You're looking at Henderson County, actually at the Henderson County, actually Posey County. You're looking right here at Vanderburgh County and then here is Warrick County. The damage that we're showing you is right here in the southern part of Warrick County, but some warnings began being issued at 1:30, west of Evansville, at 1:45 for Evansville, then at 2:00 in the morning.
So the weather service was watching this thunderstorm track right across the southern counties of Indiana. But again, you've likely heard your local affiliates and heard us talking about the necessity for weather radio and this is a perfect example where if you live in a severe weather prone area, you need a NOAA weather radio because if you're asleep or your television is turned off or you're not being able to see the media reports of warnings, it's that weather radio that will go off when the weather service issues the warning.
HARRIS: Yeah, very good, thank you, Brad.
NGUYEN: Good point too. We do have on the line with us Chad Bennett. He is the assistant fire chief in Newburgh, Indiana, which is about 20 miles east of Evansville. Chief, let me ask you about the damage so far and the number of calls you've been called out to, because I imagine people are just lighting up the phone lines with both injuries and damage to their homes.
CHAD BENNETT, ASST. FIRE CHIEF, NEWBURGH, INDIANA: Well, our problem initially on our emergency communication system was taken out by the storm. Our 911 center had no ability to answer 911 calls or dispatch anything over the radio, so we were initially kind of left on our own in the field to be able to communicate amongst each other. Once we were able to establish where the heaviest areas had been hit, we were able to deploy some resources into the area.
HARRIS: And chief, can you give us a sense of some of those heaviest impacted areas, even within your city?
BENNETT: Well, fortunately, for the actual town of Newburgh, we didn't sustain any heavy damage. All of our damage was just to the north of the corporate limits, dating back a year ago last May, we had an F2 tornado come through our town and this path basically ran the same exact parallel path, but about a mile north of where that one was, so our damage path picks up at the Ohio River, in the southwest and the tornado basically cut a path, moving northeast ward from the Ohio River at the Vanderburgh-Warrick County line and continued on northeast ward across the area known as Newburgh and then south of Boonesville, which is the county seat.
NGUYEN: So you're saying that there is not a lot of extensive damage in Newburgh? BENNETT: Well, the area known as Newburgh, yes there is. In the actual corporate limits of Newburgh, there is not.
NGUYEN: I got you, OK because we're looking at video right now from WEHT, an affiliate in the area which is showing some video on the Internet and it says Newburgh right there and we are seeing damage. So I wanted to clarify that.
BENNETT: The area is known as Newburgh and everybody has that address, so and the damage is very, very extensive.
NGUYEN: Yeah and that's what wanted to talk to you about because that is exactly what we're looking at. What have you been able to see and to help with as your crews are on the scene?
BENNETT: Well, now that daylight has come, it is making it a little more easy to see the scope of the damage and it is very shocking. What I was seeing at night were homes that were just simply gone. People that were just wandering the streets looking for help. We had numerous natural gas leaks. I think the very fortunate thing was that the amount of power lines that were down, all of the utility network was dead as a result of the storm, so we didn't have as great a problem about people looking in areas that might have live power lines.
HARRIS: So chief, it sounds as though, you know, this happens in the overnight hours, folks are resting and this storm rolls in. You get warnings late and it sounds as though this thing has taken this community almost completely by surprise.
BENNETT: Very much by surprise. I heard your conversation earlier about the importance of having a NOAA weather radio. Fortunately for me, my alerting system was the county fire pagers. They were able to get the tornado sirens activated, actually twice. We actually had about a 10-minute warning before the storm actually hit. I was watching it on the TV radar, and got my family into the safest room in our home and then we lost utility power about three minutes before the storm came around just north of our house.
NGUYEN: You talk about getting your family into the safe room as the warnings went off. Were there also shelters made available? Was this area prepared for a storm like this?
BENNETT: Well, post storm we are prepared. The American Red Cross is opening up disaster shelters in the local schools. We are sending people to those shelters. Pre-storm, the only notification we had were the emergency weather sirens in the community. So most people --
NGUYEN: Yeah but it happened in the middle of the night. Most people would be asleep.
BENNETT: Exactly. Most people did not hear those sirens unless they lived relatively close to it, so they had no warning. So for the majority of people, I would venture to say this storm did take them by surprise. HARRIS: So chief, is your emergency system back up?
BENNETT: Yes, we have gotten our emergency radio system, our 911 center is back online. We're actually operating our area of damage out of the emergency management agency mobile command center, which is located at our fire station and we are getting the areas cordoned off, where our heavy damage and injuries are and doing basically a house by house search.
NGUYEN: Let me ask you that, because you say your system is back up. What kind of phone calls are coming in? Tell us what people have experienced.
BENNETT: People are starting to report numerous natural gas leaks. We have a chemical plant in the area that has a natural gas leak that we have the utility company out there trying to get that shut off so that we don't have any problems out there. It's just daylight coming and people starting to realize the amount of actual damage that has occurred is kind of a very shocking thing.
HARRIS: And chief, before we let you go, how many people in your city?
BENNETT: Our general area has a population of about 35,000.
HARRIS: You think most of those folks the 35,000 have been impacted by this?
BENNETT: In some way or another, either directly by the effect of their home being damaged or a friend or a loved one, because of the way that this storm took. There was a whole apartment complex that lost all of the top floors of the units, and then some of the second floors were pretty damaged.
HARRIS: So when we get to actually see, I mean, we're getting these pictures from the web, we appreciate the pictures but when we actually get to see video from the ground of say, your city, we are going to see a scene of devastation. Is that what you're describing for me?
BENNETT: Exactly. I mean, I talked to people who were in the streets crying and basically their house was gone, and to have it happen period is hard enough, but then to have it happen while you're asleep and maybe not even not realizing that it's happening is more traumatic.
NGUYEN: Chief, we're going to want to speak with you throughout the morning of course. If we could ask you just to hold on for a moment. We want to listen to the local news coverage there that's being provided by WEHT. So let's just take listen now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Last night he kept jumping up on the bed and waking me up, and when I did, is when I finally woke up and got out of bed is when the storm hit and the window blew me down before I knew anything. My house is gone. Before I could think about it, before I realized what happened, half of my house had disappeared. I just got to thank God that my sons are OK.
HARRIS: Oh, boy. So now you know I'm thinking, as I -- we could have heard the same man in Louisiana, in Mississippi. We have heard this story of people who have lost --
NGUYEN: Time and time again this year.
HARRIS: People lost everything, time and time again this season. All right, chief, are you still there with us? All right, let's go back and listen to more of the affiliate coverage out of Evansville, Indiana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost in a daze, not meaning that in a bad way, we completely understand. Is that how you feel this morning?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's like someone, slapped me back into Vietnam in country (ph) because it's devastating. You walk up and down here every day and you take it for granted that everything -- but now all of my neighbors, they don't have roofs. They don't have homes. It looks like a bomb exploded here. Thank God, as far as I know, no one has died (INAUDIBLE) but my neighbors next door to me in the house.
HARRIS: From what I've heard described is kind of what it's like. It's like a bomb going off. A tornado comes through, it roars through and it just tears everything apart. We're going to get Brad Huffines up in just a moment here as we continue to look at the situation that's unfolding now through a great portion of the Midwest.
NGUYEN: That guy said something very interesting to me and we should take note of it. He said "thank God no one was killed." That is in that particular area, as the damage is being assessed this morning we're going to learn the exact numbers and so far, we know at least, at least seven people are dead in an Evansville, Indiana, mobile home park.
HARRIS: We're going to listen in a little bit more to the affiliate coverage in Evansville, Indiana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coroner's office is Vanderburgh County and Warrick County have confirmed to us nine fatalities in other locations because of the -- this is terrible. This is terrible. This is really bad (INAUDIBLE) disaster, this is a disaster. And so far, I don't think I've seen any kind of emergency personnel here. The people that were taken out here were taken out here in pickup trucks. It's been difficult to get around. There have been a lot of trees down and power lines down (INAUDIBLE) what that situation was like this morning (INAUDIBLE). But how are you going to -- have you at all thought about what your first step from here will be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven't thought about it. Right now, I'm just (INAUDIBLE).
HARRIS: All right, let's do this: Betty, why don't we talk a little bit more with the assistant fire chief of Newburgh, Indiana, Chad Bennett. Chad, you are still on the line with us?
BENNETT: Yes, I am.
HARRIS: OK. And, Chad, Brad Huffines, our CNN meteorologist and severe weather expert, really, is with us, as well, here, at the CNN Center in Atlanta, and, Brad, you have a question for Chief?
HUFFINES: Yes, Assistant Chief Bennett, this is Brad Huffines again. I would like to ask you, have you seen the damage, or have you heard how wide the damage path is?
BENNETT: I would estimate from the best that I could get around in my vehicle, in the middle of the night, that our damage path was probably three-quarters of a mile wide and pretty much in a straight line from southwest to northeast.
HUFFINES: So in a straight line, that basically assumes it's one tornado from one storm. Do you know about how long the damage path is then -- three-quarters wide -- and about how long the damage path is?
BENNETT: Through Warrick County, which basically it entered right at the Vanderburgh/Warrick County line, where that trailer park is where they all had all the fatalities you reported earlier, it probably went roughly a 20-mile path through our county.
HUFFINES: We're showing -- you can't see this, or you may be able to see it from home -- we are showing the Doppler radar that was up when this tornadoes came through. And what we're seeing, right here, in southern parts of Indiana, right around here, you're seeing the yellow box, that is a severe thunderstorm watch, as soon as the tornado warnings were issued by the local weather service, that turned to a tornado watch, and that then covered the rest of the state -- rest of Indiana, into Ohio. So as that storm came through, you did mention that, at least where you are, in your estimation, there was -- there were warnings issued, of course, in the middle of the night, right?
BENNETT: That's correct. Prior to going to bed, we knew that there were severe thunderstorm watches issued basically at the Illinois/Indiana borders, as far as that went. They anticipated the storms rolling in our area after midnight. And then once, approximately 1:30, two-ish -- kind of foggy on time -- when Warrick County went into a warning, when our fire pagers went off, I turned on the TV and it showed us under a tornado warning.
The one thing that was very eerie to me after just living through a tornado coming within 500-feet of my house to the south, a year and a half ago, and now it went about a half-a-mile to the north of my house now, I went outside and it was just very calm.
NGUYEN: Chief, we're looking at some pictures now, live pictures, of the damage in Indiana. Just look at this: a car upside down. This is from WFIE. This house -- what is left of it -- I mean, just completely in shambles. I know that you have an update on fatalities in your area. Talk to us about that. BENNETT: Basically, I have been informed by our sheriff, earlier, that there were four confirmed fatalities in Warrick County. To my knowledge, none of those have happened in the Newburgh area. They were actually northeast of Newburgh in the Degonia Springs area.
HARRIS: Chief, can you see these pictures?
BENNETT: No, we have no television or Internet services in our area. We -- we're running on generator power.
HARRIS: It's exactly what you've been describing to us. We have pictures to your words now, and it is devastating. In just this one shot that we have, we see someone walking around and we're presuming that is someone who either owns some of that property or is just an onlooker, can't believe what they hear or see -- they are seeing right now. We have a building -- some kind of a structure there -- that looks to be virtually destroyed. We have a vehicle overturned, as Betty just mentioned. And trees -- I think that's a couple trees down. It's a real mess.
BENNETT: Yes, it is. And it's going to -- it's going to take a long time for people to recover from this, not only in the immediate needs they have today, but in the future, because of the total amount of devastation. Especially to have this happen before the holidays, it's going to make it a lot harder on people.
HARRIS: How do you mobilize? What do you do here? I know that...
BENNETT: Well, basically, we have resources from just about every county adjacent to us that have come in to assist us. We have dozens of ambulances from other agencies that we basically have a...
HARRIS: You have a mutual aid system?
BENNETT: Yes, we have a mutual aid system. And the problem with getting our mutual aid system started was the fact that midway through the our dispatch center putting out the alarm move up for all the fire departments, they were knocked off the air. So only about a third of the fire departments were actually able to be notified, and then they had no idea what they were being notified for.
BENNETT: So that kind of made it difficult for us, too.
NGUYEN: On top of that, there's some 27,000 households without power. You're running off a generator, as we speak.
We're going to ask you to hold on for just a second for us, if you would please, Chief, because we have on the line Michael Hart, who is a spokesperson with a nearby hospital, to talk about the number of injuries coming in to that hospital.
Mr. Hart, are you with us?
MICHAEL HART, DEACONESS HOSPITAL, EVANSVILLE, INDIANA: Yes, I am.
NGUYEN: Talk to me about the kind of injuries you've treated?
HART: Well, I am actually not aware of what the injuries are. I can tell you the number of patients we've had.
HART: We've had about 50 patients come in; about 15 of those have been in critical condition.
HARRIS: When did they start coming in?
HART: They started coming in probably right around 2:30.
NGUYEN: So shortly after the tornado hit. Do you know anything about fatalities?
HART: All now is what I've heard on the news. We did hear that there were five fatalities in Vanderburgh County; four in Warrick County.
HARRIS: Was your hospital...
HART: To my knowledge, none of those have been at Deaconess.
HARRIS: OK. Was your hospital at all impacted by the tornado?
HART: Not directly, no.
HARRIS: Not directly.
HART: No. Just from patients and families coming in. But no damage done, to my knowledge, to the actual facility.
HARRIS: So people in an emergency situation, who have been impacted by this tornado, how wide of an area do you service?
HART: We service a 26-county area, so I don't know what the per mileage is. But it's a pretty large area.
NGUYEN: And were people able to come in on their own? Were they able to get in their vehicles and get there, or were emergency crews out and about and sending them to the hospital?
HART: Most of what I saw were emergency crews bringing them in, the EMTs. I know, we did have some family members come in on their own, but most of the patients that I saw were brought in by ambulance or helicopter.
NGUYEN: So, despite the debris, the downed power lines, and lack of power in many areas, apparently, the emergency crews are out and about and doing what they need to do to get people to the hospital and treatment that they need?
HART: Absolutely. We have drills on a regular basis for these kinds of incidents, so everybody knows what to do, and they've been out there doing it.
HARRIS: And, Michael, one other quick question before we join coverage again locally in the area: Did you get a sense, at some point during the night here, that you had an emergency on your hands, and were you staffed adequately, or did you have to call additional folks in?
HART: We did have to call additional personnel. We have a call list that we go down, list of names and numbers of who needs to be here when there is a disaster, and we called those people in. We are fully staffed and ready to take more patients, if necessary.
NGUYEN: Your hospital didn't sustain any damage. So for the other areas that are getting just a flood of patients in there -- for example, St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville, we understand, has treated some 110 people -- are you able to assist other hospitals in your area?
HART: I can't answer that specifically. I'm not sure exactly what the capacity is. The last I heard, we could take more patients if necessary. I have not heard that we have turned any away.
NGUYEN: OK, but have you been asked to by other hospitals?
HART: I'm not sure.
NGUYEN: Not sure. OK.
HART: Sorry about that. No.
NGUYEN: That's all right.
HARRIS: Michael Hart, Deaconess Hospital in Evansville -- Michael, thanks for your time.
HART: No problem.
HARRIS: Right now, Betty, we have got Shelley Kirk with us, and she is an anchor with WEHT, and WEHT has been providing some wonderful pictures -- the first pictures, actually, of the scene in Newburgh and some of the other areas.
Shelley, are you there?
SHELLEY KIRK, ANCHOR, WEHT, EVANSVILLE, INDIANA: Yes, I am here.
HARRIS: Well, Shelley, first of all, give us your location, and then we'll talk.
KIRK: I am at the mobile home park in Evansville, Indiana, where the tornado first touched down. It's kind of on the Warrick/Vanderburgh County line. This is where you've got about 200 mobile homes sitting here. I'm looking right now at several that have been flipped on to their sides. I'm told that the damage is much more extensive from what we can see from our vantage point here. HARRIS: Well, give us a sense of when you became aware -- we're all in this business. I mean, you get a phone call in the middle of the night, and you run.
KIRK: Well, actually, I was actually playing cards at a friend's house, and we heard the sirens go off.
HARRIS: At 2:00 in the morning?
KIRK: Yes, at 2:00 in the morning -- well, yes. At 2:00 in the morning, heard the sirens go off. We, of course, turned on our station, WEHT News 25, and heard our meteorologist tell us that we were under a tornado warning, continued watching, and saw, of course, the rotation on the Doppler. And I called the station, and they said, Yes, come on in.
And I got into the station, and scanners, of course, were very busy. We got a lot of calls from folks talking about damage that they've seen, during the weather that they've seen; telling us that roofs were off; that some of the homes. People were concerned about other people in homes that they saw. They couldn't get through 911 at the time because it was so busy -- a lot of calls like that. I was dispatched here, to this scene, at about 3:00 in the morning. We already -- go ahead.
HARRIS: No, well, Shelley, I was going to ask you, you started to describe that scene there in the mobile home park where you are now. Have been able to talk to people, people who own those homes?
KIRK: Absolutely. In fact, we have reports of a family that was in one of these homes when the tornado came through. They were awakened. It was a woman, her two children, and they felt the mobile home come up off the ground...
KIRK: ... inside, while they were inside. It carried them, and it landed on top of their minivan nearby. They are all OK. They do have some serious cuts, but not life threatening. They were taken to the hospital.
NGUYEN: Now, Shelley, you say they were awakened. Were they awakened by the sound of the tornado itself, or were there sirens that were able to wake them up?
KIRK: Now, sirens were going off at the time. However, from their story, it sounds as if it was the wind itself. And some other people have told me that, as well.
Another woman said she was asleep in her mobile home, and she actually heard the storm and turned on the TV, as I did as well, and heard our meteorologist, Wayne Hart, tell us that we are under a tornado warning. She got out; she got out in time. She came up...
NGUYEN: So as you speak with these folks on the ground who have experienced this and gone through this, are you getting the feeling that most people were really unaware that this was coming through when it did?
KIRK: Absolutely. We have had very mild weather here, the last few days -- very unusual, though, in November. But November is not severe weather season here at all. You do not expect this to happen. The only indication was that it was warmer than usual, a little more sultry, humid yesterday. So I heard a few folks say, What's going to hit us? Usually, we would think it would be, at this time of year, much colder weather or snow or something like that. So I do think that this took some people by surprise, yes.
HARRIS: Shelley, you still in that mobile home park there?
HARRIS: Any there any people around you, anyone that you can hand the phone, pass the phone to?
KIRK: Unfortunately, no. We are up on a high ridge right next to a very busy highway, in order to get a good vantage point of the emergency workers working inside the mobile home. We did have people up here earlier today. At this time, though, they are down at the command, at the entryway where the emergency workers have set up the periphery. So no one is right around here, right now.
NGUYEN: All right, let me ask you this: As we look at the debris and all these homes that have crumbled on themselves or have been just thrown all across the area, is there any concern that people may still be trapped inside their homes?
KIRK: Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, about an hour ago, more search dogs, search and rescue teams and their dogs went in. We talked to our Vanderburgh County chief deputy, Eric Williams, who told us, in fact, that there were people trapped, that they were working at that time to get people out of that trapped situation in these mobile homes. In fact, what's unusual is this is a seasoned veteran sheriff's deputy, as well as a seasoned firefighter, during the first news conference telling us that this is the biggest, most extensive disaster they had seen in Vanderburgh and Warrick County, ever.
NGUYEN: Are there enough crewmembers able to get to the many calls of people needing help?
KIRK: In this site, there is plenty. They have people that have responded from some two counties away, neighboring states, Kentucky. They have very, very much help from many different counties, many different agencies. A very organized efforts, it's going very smoothly. They should be commended for what's going on here, as far as the emergency effort is going.
NGUYEN: What kind of number do you have on injuries and, unfortunately, we have to report, fatalities?
NGUYEN: There have been fatalities in this. KIRK: I have heard, basically, what you've just reported: nine confirmed dead, four in Warrick County, five in Vanderburgh County. At the same site I'm at now, the mobile home park, they are not confirming a specific number here, but they are telling us that there are fatalities here on this scene. They're not identify yet; they're not talking about that yet. They do say...
NGUYEN: Is that mobile home park a big area of concern, simply because of the structures there? Are you expecting the most number of injured coming from that area?
KIRK: It sounds like they're -- earlier this morning, they tell us that there is 80 people taken from here, and this was about 5:45, eight people were taken from here. So that's quite a bit, and yet, there's still more people trapped at that time, as well. They still have many more people to get to.
HARRIS: OK. And Shelley, before we let you go -- I know you've got some reporting to do for your station.
HARRIS: Give us sort of the big picture view of what you're seeing, what this scene is like, the people you've talked to, give us kind of a wrap of what this morning has held so far?
KIRK: A lot of emotion. Folks who have gotten out are coming back now to try to see if their mobile homes are still standing, worried about pets, worried about loved ones that are still there. We saw several people who were family of loved ones who were still in there. Of course, police sealed off the area -- wouldn't let people in or out. They were concerned about people still there. A lot of emotion with folks there. A lot of emotions, very sobering expressions and emotion from the emergency workers and police here on the scene.
I've had, as I've said, several say this is the worst disaster they've ever worked. I even had another police officer ask me how it was in another part of Newburgh; asked me if I heard anything, because his family was there, and he hadn't spoken to his family yet. So there are people working the scene hare that are worried about their own family.
HARRIS: Shelley Kirk, you have painted a really vivid picture for us. We appreciate what you've done for us this morning -- thank you.
NGUYEN: I do want to update you on the number of deaths, so far, that have been counted in this tornado that has hit so many counties and caused so much destruction, as you can see on the screen. We've been telling you there are nine. Well, that has been upped to 11 now.
So far, 11 people have been killed in this tornado and, of course, we're going to keep tabs on that, because, as Shelley mentioned, there were some 80 people in one mobile home park alone that were taken to hospitals with injuries there. So we're keeping a very close eye on the injured and, unfortunately, the deaths as a result of this storm.
HARRIS: And how about that first person account -- as we get ready to go to break here -- of the mobile home being lifted up.
NGUYEN: As they were in it, asleep.
HARRIS: And dropped on their vehicle.
All right, we'll take a break.
More CNN SUNDAY MORNING right after this.
HARRIS: Eleven now -- 11 confirmed deaths -- from the Indiana tornado that just swept through a number of counties. And look at this picture. Pictures...
NGUYEN: Sheer devastation.
HARRIS: ... pictures just a short time ago -- amazing stories of the damage of this storm has done. This tornado has just -- a moment ago, we learned from an eyewitness account of the storm just lifting the family's mobile home up and dropping it on a vehicle. No doubt, more stories like that coming in. We are working the story from a number of different angles. We are dropping in and listening to coverage from our local affiliates in the area. We are also talking to reporters who are working the scene. You just heard from a local anchor in the area.
NGUYEN: Officials on the ground, assistant fire chief...
HARRIS: Is with us, sure.
NGUYEN: ... a deputy there with the Warrick Sheriff's Office.
Just to give you another glimpse of exactly the power of this storm, we heard from the assistant fire chief that an apartment complex, the entire top floor gone.
Brad Huffines, you are joining us now. Talk to us about the power of this storm. Do we know yet how powerful it was?
HUFFINES: No, we won't likely know that until sometime either later today or even, possibly, even tomorrow morning, when the National Weather Service from Paducah, Kentucky, goes out and looks at the damage, does the survey, and tells what they estimate the storm strength to be.
What we can show you, though, right now looking at radar, looking at Doppler radar across, especially Ohio, that thunderstorm that caused that tornado has already pushed as far north as Akron, Ohio. So let me set the stage here: southern Indiana right here. Those are the three counties that were involved -- right here at the bottom of the screen. That same thunderstorm, now six hours later or so, is now pushing toward Akron, Ohio, as a non-severe thunderstorm. So that storm has already moved across much of Ohio, and is now about to exit the state from the north and northeast, as that tornado continues to move on by.
As that storm continued to develop along the broad line of thunderstorms, we're still seeing a line of storms across parts of northern Tennessee, up through Ohio, into Indiana, actually exiting Indiana up into Michigan. That line of thunderstorms has caused numerous reports of damage, from power out in Nashville to trucks blown off the road across parts of Kentucky. And now that storm continues to wrap up across the Great Lakes, causing some heavy snows across much of the Great Lakes states.
I want to show you, briefly, when the warnings were issued for the counties that were involved. It's hard to tell exactly when the damage occurred because frequently warnings, although we try to issue them or the Weather Service tries to issue them before the damage happens, sometimes it's the tornado sightings that cause some of the warnings.
These are the warning time -- I'm going to leave the screen here: Posey County, which is west of Evansville, under a tornado warning at 1:30; Vanderburgh County, that does include Evansville, was under tornado warning at 1:45; and Warrick County, just to the east, was at a tornado warning issued 2:00 in the morning.
Again, it is hard tell right now -- and I don't know the times of the actual tornadoes -- but this is when the warnings were issued. So residents of southern Indiana were under a severe thunderstorm watch, then a tornado watch. But, again, it happened in the middle of the night when many people are asleep or simply unaware of what's happening weather wise, even though warnings may or may not have been issued at this specific time that tornadoes hit through specific counties.
HARRIS: And, Brad, let's be clear about this: The technology is so good that you all have at your disposal now, that as these warnings roll in and as the storms roll in, you can almost pinpoint the neighborhoods that will be impacted and the times that they're going to be impacted.
NGUYEN: Times, exactly.
HUFFINES: And I do also know that Evansville, Indiana, television -- local television stations where most get their warnings from -- the technology at most of the TV stations in Evansville is very far advanced. In fact, it's one of the communities that saw some, a very rapid development of television weather technology, a good 10, 15 years ago. So the TV stations there are very well aware and are capable of issuing these warnings that are issued by the National Weather Service.
As far as that goes, again, I don't know the specific coverage, but you have heard people talking about, they saw the radar on television. So there may or may not have been warning from the specific storms that hit at specific times, but we do know that this was part of the broader system that was being very carefully watched by the Weather Service and, I'm sure, by the local affiliates, as well.
NGUYEN: We did just listen to Shelley Kirk, an anchor with WEHT Television there, saying that she was playing cards overnight when she actually heard the warning sirens go off, about 10 minutes before the tornado hit. So, in some areas, they were able to hear those sirens.
Speaking of the power of television, let's take a listen to the local affiliate there, WEHT, as they are reporting on the damage, because they are there on the ground, and they can give us a better look at what has happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... And there on the southeast side of Evansville. Again, I know many people are just joining us. Let's bring everyone up to speed now on exactly what we know, as we approach 7:30 here in the Tri-State: Killer tornado that passed through Henderson County, the southeast side of Evansville, and into Newburgh, into Warrick County, has killed at least nine people -- nine confirmed deaths -- five in Vanderburgh County; four in Warrick County. Ellis Park has sustained millions of dollars of damage, not only to the Grandstand Building, but also to the racetrack itself.
We have at least seven people in critical condition at Deaconess Hospital. We have an unknown number of people in critical condition at St. Mary's Hospital. At least, if our numbers are correct here, based on what the hospitals have told us, about 150 people treated for injuries tonight at Deaconess, St. Mary's, and Methodist hospitals, here in the Tri-State.
The Bell Road Avenue area in Newburgh, heavily damaged. Millions of dollars in damage that we can estimate here, in the Newburgh area. And you can see some of that devastation right there. This is a subdivision, south of the Lincoln Avenue, south of State Road 66 along Bell Road, that main artery. And this is a tape that we got earlier as first light came about in Newburgh. No deaths reported in this particular subdivision. If you look at some of the damage here, that is remarkable in itself. But many of these families here, in this subdivision in Newburgh, will not be able to stay in their homes tonight. We have shelters set up at the UCC Church in Newburgh on First.
HARRIS: And there you go, this -- a moment there to dip into some of the local coverage on the ground there. And I know that the assistant fire chief of Newburgh, Indiana, is with us Chad Bennett.
Chad, you still with us? We'll pull up for just a second.
NGUYEN: All right, and while we get Chad on the line, I do want to clarify something. I know that we just heard from the anchor there with WEHT that there were nine fatalities reported. CNN has confirmed, so far, that there are 11 fatalities. And he mentioned a number of hospitals in the area that have taken patients, St. Mary's medical center in Evansville one of them. That facility, so far we have learned, has taken 110 people, treated them for injuries related to this tornado. As far as Deaconess Hospital, we were just on the phone with their spokesman, Michael Hart, who said that 50 patients have been treated in that area.
So, obviously, there has been widespread damage, as you can see in the video, and there have been a number -- a number -- of injuries caused by this tornado, a tornado that quite large in scope. We learned from Bennett -- who we're trying to get on the phone right now, the assistant fire chief of Newburgh, Indiana -- that it was about three-quarters of a mile wide, but 20 miles long.
So that gives you an idea of just how big of a tornado this was that struck overnight, 2:00 in the morning local time for them, and that means many folks were asleep. If they weren't watching TV and if they did not have a weather radio, this caught a lot of them by surprise, which is evidenced by the many reporters that we've spoken out on the scene.
HARRIS: And you mentioned that weather radio, you would need that because, in many cases, the power knocked out...
NGUYEN: It goes out.
HARRIS: And a number of barriers.
NGUYEN: Twenty-seven-thousand people are without power right now.
HARRIS: As a matter of fact, to that point, Mike Roeder is on the line with us right now.
Are, Mike, are you there? Mike Roeder?
MIKE ROEDER, SPOKESMAN, VECTREN: Mike Roeder, yes.
HARRIS: Mike, what is your last name again?
ROEDER: It is Mike Roeder.
HARRIS: Roeder. OK, Mike, good to talk to you. Which of the utilities are you with?
ROEDER: I represent Vectren Energy Delivery, which services the southwestern Indiana.
HARRIS: Good to talk to you, Mike. What kind of a situation do you have on your hands in terms of power outages?
ROEDER: Well, obviously, we've got a very serious situation from a safety standpoint, but we had maximum of about 27,000 customers out. We're down to about 21,000 still out. Multiple downed lines, snapped poles, transmission lines down. So, we've got, you know, a very serious situation. We've got multiple crews working on that. But it's going to take us some time to get everybody back on.
HARRIS: You can't really prepare for something like this. I mean, you know that a storm is coming through. You can anticipate some power outages, but nothing on this scale, can you? ROEDER: That's right. I mean, every weather event is different, and, obviously, when you a tornado blow through, you don't know what lines are that are going to be affected, and, obviously, the biggest thing right now, with so many lines down, is safety. We want to, obviously, encourage people who might be watching in the Evansville area or in the Warrick County area to stay away from downed power lines.
HARRIS: Do you have a real good sense of your impacted area? And I'll tell you why I ask that: I mean, there are people who need power for so many things, people with health conditions that might need, you know, the use of their electricity to power equipment that they need for their general health. So do you have a sense of how wide an area is impacted?
ROEDER: Well, we know that it was southeastern Vanderburgh County, which would be part of the Evansville area, and the largest piece of this is Warrick County. So we're still assessing a restoration estimate.
But it's clearly going to take several hours today to get that power back on. There are a number of shelters being set up in the area. And so, hopefully, working in conjunction with local law enforcement, we'll able to make sure that everybody is as comfortable as possible until we get the situation completed.
NGUYEN: Let's walk through for a moment, if you would, Mr. Roeder, about what you've been able to do so far, the progress that you have made. We had heard that there were 27,000 people without power. You just mentioned, it's now down to 21,000, correct?
ROEDER: That's correct.
NGUYEN: So your crews have been able to restore some of the electricity?
ROEDER: That's right. Often times after these types of events, through a number of switching mechanisms, we're able to get some people some people -- oftentimes, a lot of the customers -- back on. But in this situation, again, because of the number of lines down, what is sometimes a quicker fix is not going to work for the majority this time.
So it's going to it take our crews time to actually get all the surveying done, to know where they've got to replace lines and where they're going to be able to put up some temporary polls to get everybody back on and then, obviously, the permanent fix will certainly take a lot longer.
NGUYEN: As you talk about that and as your crews go out and assess the damage and try to begin the repairs, I know it's early on, but any indication as to how long that may take to fully restore power to the people who need it?
ROEDER: It's still just a little early for me to put any real time line on that, but clearly there will be a lot of those people without power through the majority of today.
HARRIS: Mike Roeder, we appreciate you taking time to talk to us. We know you've got a lot of work ahead, but thanks for your time this morning.
ROEDER: You're welcome.
HARRIS: If you're tuning in, we're waiting to see "House Call" we're going to stay with continuing coverage of this Indiana tornado that has swept through the area, a pretty wide path of destruction. We have 11 confirmed deaths at this time. We have been receiving reports that people are trapped in a mobile home park in Vanderburgh County. We're continuing to monitor the situation. We'll take a break and bring you the latest on this story when we come right back.
NGUYEN: Want to give you an update now on the tornado that has made its way through Indiana, also Kentucky as well. So far we have learned that there are 11 deaths and we've been talking a lot about Indiana, because there have been just a large spread of devastation and debris in the wake of this tornado, but I want to talk just for a moment about Kentucky because Kentucky has also experienced damage. We're learning that thousands of people have lost power in Kentucky and at a racetrack there, a number of horses were killed as a result of this tornado.
But right now the main concern, obviously, is on the injuries of people in homes like this. Take a look at these pictures. This is just an indication of some of the damage that as we mentioned is quite extensive and widespread. The assistant fire chief of Newburgh, Indiana, told us that the path of this storm was about three quarters of a mile wide and 20 miles long, so that gives you the scope. Emergency crews are on the scene but many trees down, a lot of destruction to homes. The biggest concern is that there are still people as we learned from an earlier report just minutes ago, people still trapped inside some of these homes and that is the biggest concern, getting them out and getting them to safety.
HARRIS: And Brad Huffines, the storm has moved on. We're seeing, obviously, a great sunny day there in Newburgh right now. The storm has obviously moved on, but the devastation is left behind. If you would, sort of walk us through your maps and point out these counties again so that everyone has a better fix on the location of this damage.
HUFFINES: Here's one of the things I want to point out, too, Tony, as we're looking at Doppler radar presently if Ohio, we're looking right here at Indiana, southern parts of Indiana right there, just underneath the banner down across the southern part of the screen. As that storm continued to move across parts of Ohio, now that same complex of thunderstorms has already pushed past and toward Akron, is now moving almost out of the state of Ohio.
But I also want to show you that there's nothing coming your way if you're living in or around this damaged path. There is nothing else coming your way. In fact, that line of thunderstorms that has continued to move across parts of Ohio and now pushing into the western sections of Pennsylvania, that line itself is continuing to diminish in strength and what's happening now across the eastern part of the country as that line is pushing, look at this area, look at the way the satellite picture, the enhanced cloud cover that as the day has moved along, notice the color is getting less and less orange. This entire line of thunderstorms is weakening as it's moving across the rest of Ohio towards Pennsylvania, towards western sections of West Virginia. So that line is getting weaker and weaker.
However as the storm continues to push into parts of Pennsylvania and western New York today with the heating, with the sunshine now heating the surface of the earth from Pennsylvania up through portions of western New York, this line could also redevelop into some very heavy thunderstorms. We're watching that as well for the possibility of continued thunderstorm development today across portions of western New York into sections of Pennsylvania.
We're watching this storm now moving across sections of Ohio. Right now you see this box in red, that is a tornado watch. That means that if you're in this red box, tornado watches simply mean that these thunderstorms can cause tornadoes with little or no warning. The yellow boxes on the map show severe thunderstorm watches and that is less dangerous than a tornado watch and that's what we're expecting across the northeast parts of Ohio into western Pennsylvania. Severe thunderstorms today and again with the history of these storms, the good news is they're moving out from underneath the jet stream flow which caused these tornadoes to develop, so the likelihood of tornadoes is becoming less and less as the storm is pushing on.
HARRIS: Well, Brad, I have to ask you a quick question about that because I was wondering, we go from a line of thunderstorms and then what are the factors that come together to take us from what is a general line of thunderstorms and then we get somewhere in that storm a tornado? What happens?
HUFFINES: It's a very complex system, Tony, and usually -- tornadoes have to occur usually when all the parameters come together at once. Even though the parameters might exist, I when I say the parameters, we're talking about southerly winds or southwesterly winds with lots of moisture at the surface. In this instance, we're talking about a cold front moving through, so a cold front acts like a ramp, imagine the warm hitting a ramp and climbing up. You need that warm air to be rising. Then, once that air is rising, we talk about upper level storm systems in meteorology. That simply means a pool of cool air is moving above. As you remember from science class from as far back as third or fourth grade, warm air rises through cool air.
So you may have that warm air coming up along. You may have that warm air hitting the ramp and rising up. Then whenever that pocket of cool air comes above, if that rising warm air hits that cool air, then it rises explosively and that's when a line of gentle thunderstorms can then explode into some tornado-making thunderstorms and then just as soon as that cold air cool moves off and those thunderstorms weaken and that's what's happening now, the cold air pool is moving on and now the thunderstorms don't have all the ingredients to cause the tornado.
NGUYEN: Brad, that is a good explanation of exactly how it happened. We're going to ask you to stand by just for a moment, because we want to go back on the phone now to assistant fire Chief Chad Bennett who is with the Newburgh, Indiana, fire department there. Chief, let me ask you, we've touched base with you for the past hour or so now. You have got any updated information as to damage and injuries?
BENNETT: We -- we're trying to get that information compiled now. What we are doing is deploying our emergency resources in a grid by grid search. We're basically taking the area of the tornado path, breaking it up into sections and police, fire, medical emergency personnel are going house to house, tagging houses if a house has been searched, confirm there's nobody in it. We do have some structures that we've had some people trapped in. We're trying to confirm that everybody --
NGUYEN: I wanted to ask you about that. Yes, because we spoke with an anchor earlier with WEHT, the affiliate there, who mentioned that especially in a mobile home park that was hit, that there were people trapped. Are you hearing a large number of people trapped in different areas?
BENNETT: No. It just seems like the neighborhood that was affected primarily that I heard your TV coverage report off of Bell Road. That is where the heaviest damage has occurred. Those homes are totally destroyed and those are the ones that we are trying to concentrate our extensive search in.
HARRIS: Chief, have you talked to any of your people who have been out looking at this damage?
BENNETT: Yes, I have. I've been -- I've actually been out myself and have seen it and then getting reports, minute by minute, on our radio.
HARRIS: Chief, you know what I'm asking to ask you. What have you heard, what have you seen?
BENNETT: Basically just total devastation. You can pretty much follow the path from southwest to northeast. Everything in that path has severe devastation. We have numerous roads that are totally closed. Basically there are about a dozen arteries or paths in and out of the Newburgh area and all but one is blocked. So we're kind of isolated in an area in the southern part of our county and then people in the northern part are having trouble getting down. They're kind of working towards each other to meet in the middle.
HARRIS: Chief, here's what I'm trying to get at here. I mean, this is your community. When -- don't talk about it in sort of general terms. I mean we're talking about businesses. We're talking about -- are we talking about the place you used to go to eat lunch or breakfast. Are we talking about the local church, break this down in terms of the neighborhood in which you live. BENNETT: We are talking about all of that. I have gotten reports of a church that was south of Boonesville that has been destroyed. I did witness a new church that is under construction in the Newburgh area in the path of a tornado. It's got heavy damage to it. I mean every place around here, fortunately for the business district, it cut kind of a path just to the south of it. But there were spotted businesses along its path that are affected, but primarily this was a residential area and so it's -- it's impacted everybody greatly. I mean the sense of people just kind of walking around in shock and awe is just hard to comprehend.
NGUYEN: We're seeing a little bit of that right now. Let me ask you this. Sometimes there's really no rhyme or reason when a tornado hits and I've lived in Texas a lot of my life. When you see it hit in a neighborhood, it won't hit all of the houses. It's almost amazing how some of them are spared when a large number of them are just destroyed. You can't even recognize what used to stand there. Is that what you're seeing, that certain homes for some reason were salvaged?
BENNETT: Well and yes, you can see a home across the street that is severely damaged, but nothing in comparison to the one across the street from it. And I think that just probably plays into the -- where the actual storm was, was it on the ground or how high it was up off the ground.
NGUYEN: We're seeing, though, is definitely whether it was hit or miss, there is a lot of hits, some widespread damage in the area. We've learned of some 11 deaths. Chief, we're going to let you do your good work there and do what you need to do to assist the people in your area and provide that support. But of course we are going to be checking back in with you. As we continue our coverage on this tornado that has hit in Indiana, also caused --
HARRIS: Look at this picture.
NGUYEN: A lot of damage in Kentucky as well.
HARRIS: We'll take a break and we'll come back. But as we leave you, take a look at this new pictures. We haven't seen these pictures before. What looked to be a residence -- folks just sort of in the neighborhood, on a street, residential street, surveying all of the damage. Look at the debris. Look at the trees down. Don't know if that's a power line or a power pole there, but folks just sort of picking through the debris. Tornado just a powerful tornado through Indiana. We will come back and we will continue our live coverage on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
NGUYEN: Want to give you an update on the devastation from that tornado that ripped through Indiana and parts of Kentucky. So far 11 people are confirmed dead. We have with us Shannon Samson with the Evansville affiliate WFIE joining us to talk about just the sheer devastation. Shannon, you're on the ground, give us a glimpse of what you're seeing. SHANNON SAMSON, WFIE, EVANSVILLE, IND: Betty, so many people are waking up to so much devastation and yet the folks in the hardest hit areas have been up for hours. The tornado happened around 2:10. It came up over the Ohio River, destroyed a mobile home park in southern Vanderburgh County, moved northeast here into Warrick County and just destroyed patches of area like here as you see. This is Meadowbrook Lane right behind me and you can see that trees are uprooted, cars overturned rather, roofs off homes. It's quite a sight to see and obviously the daylight just makes it look so much worse and so many people had no idea what they were going to find because it was so dark for so long and it's such chaos. And now in the morning light, a lot of them, I'm sure are seeing that it's much worse than they could have imagined.
Here's the human toll. One hospital in town is reporting that they've treated 105 people with injuries. The other big hospital in town has reported they've treated 25. And as I've said, you're actually getting better information than I am because I'm out here kind of in a remote area, 11 confirmed dead. And that's very serious considering the fact that we had a tornado come through here last year, Memorial Day 2004 and it was an F-2, very serious, but there were no fatalities, let alone any injuries.
This little town of Newburgh, it's a very picturesque historic town along the Ohio River suffered no injuries and we got off so easily. It was just a lot of limbs down and some property damage. And then here a year later, we wake up to something like this, completely unexpected. So many people I've talked to, including myself, I just live a few blocks away, we didn't hear anything. We thought -- we knew it was going to rain this weekend and we heard the rain coming down and we thought nothing of it. I mean the whole thing must have lasted 10, 15 seconds at most and then it wasn't until you heard the sirens go by, as they're going by right now, that you realized it was really something serious. So this is really unexpected and horrible for a town still in some respects recovering from last year's tornado. This one's so much more serious. Betty?
HARRIS: Well, Shannon, this is Tony Harris with Betty this morning and I have to ask you, let me pick up on that point you were just making. You mentioned you live just a few blocks away from that area where you are reporting from right now.
HARRIS: It absolutely had to be devastating in the wee small hours of the morning and I imagine folks are complaining about that, not complaining that they should have had warning or someone should have done something, but complaining that this thing happened in the small hours of the morning when there was little or no opportunity to get a warning?
SAMSON: Absolutely, Tony. You know, for the folks that were sleeping, they just -- it wasn't unless they were in really the hard- hit areas, some report that their roofs started leaking or the windows started making noises until some of them shattered and it's at that point obviously they knew something was going on. You always hear tornadoes sound like a freight train and it's that vortex of wind that they hear and that absolutely terrifies them. But I'm saying, it happened so quickly that I don't know that half of them -- I would be surprised if anyone was able to get to a basement, if anyone was able to get to an interior room or a closet. It just -- it was so surprising. You know, here we are in southern Indiana. As I said, we had a tornado last year. I've been through several around here and this one was just completely unexpected, happened so quickly.
SAMSON: We just didn't know what to expect.
HARRIS: Shannon, let me stop you. You got a couple of guys behind you. Grab them.
HARRIS: Grab them and -- let's talk to them. Folks, can I ask you a few questions. Do you live down here? Do you live in the area? So, tell me, this is one of the more harder hit areas. Tell me what you heard about -- a little after 2:00 this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just dead asleep. I didn't hear anything. He came and woke me up about 2:00 because our friend called us, told us to get in a shelter because a bad storm is coming.
SAMSON: Didn't it happen really quickly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Once we got under the pool table downstairs, it was like, it was over after that.
SAMSON: How long would you say it lasted, 10 seconds, 15?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About -- if that.
SAMSON: Let's hear what you have to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was asleep and my best friend, he's -- he was staying the night with me, he went home and he called me about 1:30 or so and he's like you need to wake up and go downstairs. So I was like, what are you being serious? He was like yeah. So I turned on the news and a meteorologist said there's a tornado and it's heading your way. You need to take cover. So I woke him up and we ran under the pool table and called my dad because my dad lives in Evansville. We knew it wasn't as bad in Evansville, had a radio with us and my dad said that it was pretty much over by the time I called him.
SAMSON: Describe what it sounded like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the basement. It was quiet down there. We never hear anything and you could just hear wind. There was this howling and it was just crazy.
SAMSON: Did you go outside immediately and survey the damage? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I woke my mom up and we have a property up here that we're going to check out and a business we had to check out. So we got out and looked at it and it was just -- it was like -- looks like a war zone. I mean --
SAMSON: Compare from darkness to daylight when, you know, the sun finally started shining, I know it was a shock for me, wow, this was a really huge storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. It was just -- I got up. I mean it didn't look that bad at night. I got up over here and looked at this, it's just terrible. I feel sorry for them.
SAMSON: Now you're out walking, surveying damage. What are some of the sights you've seen down around here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just houses leveled. They're gone, just gone.
SAMSON: And the human toll's what strikes me. I think so many people walking around just in tears. It's really hard to see, isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's very hard to see.
SAMSON: Where are you guys headed now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to see if we can help anybody in any way, if they need some help picking up some stuff. So other than that, we can just try to do all we can for everybody else. We're lucky we're OK and hopefully we can help everybody else.
SAMSON: Wonderful. All right. Thanks, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
NGUYEN: Shannon, if you would -- keep those two gentlemen...
HARRIS: Just keep them handy for us, yeah.
NGUYEN: We're going to try to contact them throughout the day and get updates from them as well on what they've been able to see. You obviously have taken a bit of an emotional toll from this because you experienced it firsthand. You're comparing it and I've heard several times, to the Memorial Day of 2004 tornado that hit then. Do you have any indication that how much more powerful this storm may have been compared to that one?
SAMSON: Well, just the -- the homes, you know, it was a year ago and I remember just being struck by how many limbs were down last time, just major trees, big trees in the middle of the road. In fact I remember there were -- there was this large tree, a lot of old hundred year old trees fell down and I remember they finally had gotten the chainsaws out, pulled off the limbs, and there was a BMW underneath one. That can show you how massive the tree was that it could hide car underneath it. And that's what really struck me, and as I was saying I don't know to you or another network, they -- last Memorial Day, folks can I get one you have to come over here for me, please. I just want to hear -- you guys are boxed in (ph), which is I know is a county away. What's going on? What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just working. We don't know. We just got here. We're checking different neighborhoods, seeing if everybody is OK, if they need anything.
SAMSON: When you were dispatched, you were told to do what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go to the command post in Booneville and they would dispatch us out and they told us to come here.
SAMSON: What's your initial reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seen it on TV, but never seen it live.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up close and personal, it's not good.
SAMSON: No. It's definitely devastation. All right (INAUDIBLE) Get back to work. Don't want to keep you. Anyway, just to quickly finish what I was saying, last year there's so many limbs down and I know that they were blocking the Newburgh garage where all the trees -- I'm sorry, the trucks are to -- and all the equipment needed to cut down the trees and clear the roads. So first they had to get themselves out of the garage and get all the limbs off that just to get the trucks out so that they could clear the roads and that was a big hold up last year. This year, luckily, the garage was spared and they were able to dispatch those trucks immediately.
NGUYEN: In your opinion, are you seeing much more damage this time around than what you saw last year with that storm?
SAMSON: I think so, definitely. That's the thing that struck me the most, much more property damage and much more widespread. In fact, I still can't figure out the path of the tornado. Like I said, a mobile home park in Vanderburgh County that it skipped a few miles I guess and came over here, hit this neighborhood. But not the one next to it, as you know, that is the -- the nature of tornadoes. They just are completely unpredictable and it was in this case.
HARRIS: Shannon, that is a fabulous work. I mean under duress, stressful conditions, thank you so much for grabbing the folks on the scene and giving us that real bird's eye view from the ground. I can't tell you what that has added to our coverage of the story. We really appreciate it.
SAMSON: Absolutely. It's an honor, thanks.
NGUYEN: Sure. She also mentioned the fact that it's hard to get a grasp on exactly the path of this storm. We want to bring in Brad Huffines because he can give us a better look at exactly where this storm started and where it went to because as in the nature of many tornadoes, it does hop and skip around whereas it will cause just total destruction in certain areas. Other areas are just not even touched. So Brad, if you would, give us a recap of exactly where this tornado started and where it went to.
HUFFINES: I'm showing you on radar image up of the thunderstorm when it was entering especially into Vanderburgh County. Right there, there is Evansville. This is 1:45 this morning. That's where the thunderstorm was. That's when the National Weather Service issued the tornado warning for Vanderburgh County and that storm continued and look how quickly it moved. It was going at 60 miles an hour. By 4:30 in the morning the storm had already pushed about four or five counties away even past Owensboro, Kentucky. So that's when the storm warning was issued, right before the storm moved across Vanderburgh County and this is where we're showing you the most damage right down here across southern sections of Vanderburgh County, southeast of Evansville, so it looks like the warning was issued in time. But again, with people there asleep or not necessarily watching local news, they may not have gotten the warning.
HARRIS: OK, Brad. More in the next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING. A quick break and we're right back
NGUYEN: Want to give you an update now on the tornado that struck in Indiana. As we've been covering all morning long, here's some live pictures from affiliate WEHT. This is off their Internet site, because much of the power is down in the area.
So far, though -- let's just break it down for you -- 11 people are dead in this storm. And just to give you the scope of the damage, the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville, Indiana, an eyewitness said some mobile homes were actually picked up and thrown into a lake due to this storm.
Lots of vehicles have been thrown here and there, many of them are overturned. Buses, though, have arrived for evacuees, but here's the problem with that. There's lots of hazards in the way.
Along with the debris that you can see in these live pictures, there's also gas leaks that are causing a lot of problems, downed power lines. Power is out to some 21,000 people in that area. So a number of difficulties on their hand this morning as many step outside in the day's light to see the extent of the damage.
HARRIS: And Betty, as we keep an eye on the situation in Indiana and Kentucky and Ohio, we want to get you caught up now for just a moment with some other headlines "Now in the News."
And we want to start with the situation in Indiana, caught dangerously off guard. A tornado, as Betty mentioned, ripped through southern Indiana in the middle of the night. There are reports of at least 11 people dead and at least 160 injured. A local state of emergency has been declared. In the Evansville area, this line of storms is still moving. We'll check in with meteorologist Brad Huffines in just a minute for an update.
The violent rampage in France intensifies after 10 nights of arson attacks in poor suburbs outside of Paris. The violence has spread to the capital and beyond. Police say nationwide more than 900 cars were torched overnight. Some 190 people were arrested.
Oil company execs will have some explaining to do on Capitol Hill this week. A Senate committee wants to know why their profits were so high on the heels of skyrocketing gas prices. Senators also want to know whether the oil companies plan to expand production.
NGUYEN: Well, good morning. It is Sunday, November 6. A very busy morning, a very desperate morning for a lot of folks who dealt with the tornadoes in Indiana -- or the tornado, a widespread tornado. We're still trying to get a handle on how big this tornado was and how powerful it was.
We do want to welcome you to our continuing coverage here at CNN Center in Atlanta.
Good morning. I'm Betty Nguyen.
HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.
Let's continue to recap this story. Severe weather hits the Midwest hard this morning, and we're following the storm front.
An overnight tornado touched down in Henderson County, Kentucky, and then tore through parts of southern Indiana. Eleven people are now confirmed dead, initial reports are putting most of those deaths in an Indiana -- Evansville, Indiana, trailer park where it is believed people are still trapped. Rescuers are on the scene.
And here is what the weather picture looks like right now at the moment. Let's see if we can pull up that radar loop.
There it is. And it's -- you know, I guess it is -- it's a little premature to say the stormy weather is over, but we want to check in now with our meteorologist, Brad Huffines -- oh, he's not ready yet. OK. We'll get back to Brad in just a couple of moments.
NGUYEN: But just looking at that radar, you can see that -- and as we've been speaking with Brad all morning long, the storm has moved out of the area, which is really the only sign of good news that we've been able to see so far, because looking at these live pictures, the damage is definitely widespread. This was a large and powerful tornado.
We have with us here at CNN Center a lot of information that's coming in. A lot of it that we're trying to get to you just as soon as possible. And so far, there are 11 deaths that have been officially reported due to this storm. HARRIS: And right now, wow, we're just trying to pull all of our resources together. You've seen us covering this story on the ground in Indiana, and we've -- we are actually very fortunate to have our severe weather expert with us right now, Chad Myers.
And Chad, good morning to you. Good to see you. Glad to get you in here on your Sunday to talk about this storm and what we've been seeing this morning.
CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: A very fast-moving storm. A very fast-moving storm. People didn't have a chance to get out of the way of this one.
Even if you saw or heard the sirens, I mean, you have 60 miles per hour. If this thing is 10 miles away form you, you literally have less than five minutes to do anything...
MYERS: ... to wake up, to get your bearings and say, what is that siren, what is going on?
HARRIS: Right. Right.
MYERS: What am I hearing? And eventually, a lot of people did. But I'm looking at the damage from the mobile home park, and that very well -- that could have been some wind damage mixed in with some tornado damage as well.
We think about mobile homes as possibly the weakest link when it comes to shelter.
HARRIS: That's right.
MYERS: You need to be out of those mobile homes. And this is a clear example. A 70 or 80-mile-per-hour wind can tumble, can turn over a mobile home. But when it tumbles, it actually comes apart. It can come apart looking like it was hit by a tornado, even though it was only a straight line wind doing 70 or 80 miles per hour.
MYERS: And that's what the people were talking about, the mobile homes being picked up.
HARRIS: Yes. You heard that? Yes.
MYERS: Picked up and then thrown back down on the ground.
HARRIS: Yes. MYERS: That's probably something more to do with the tornado.
NGUYEN: That's true.
MYERS: There probably was certainly some type of a suction spot there, as we call them. But a lot of this damage that we're seeing on the ground now, when you -- when you lose limbs and the trees are just sticks, there's just nothing left.
NGUYEN: Exactly. And we've seen a lot of that.
MYERS: It's exactly what tornado damage looks like.
NGUYEN: OK, but...
MYERS: When you lose the bark, you're looking at like an F4 or F5. When you lose limbs and trees, you know, big limbs, F2, F3 possibly.
NGUYEN: That's where I was getting to, because people talked about just the sheer strength of this storm and how it happened so fast. And we looked at the path that we can see on this radar, as well. So you're thinking it's around an F2, an F3?
MYERS: Certainly damage is not so much wind speed. When you talk about a Category 4 hurricane, that is exactly wind speed and wind speed only. A hurricane itself is different from damage of a tropical storm or from a tornado.
MYERS: A tornado damage is function of how much damage occurred. An F2 damage knocks down a roof, but leaves the walls. F3 means there are few walls left. F4 means essentially there's nothing at all there except the foundation and the interior room. An F5, the whole house is gone.
MYERS: Now, that's different. That's different than how we categorize categories in hurricanes.
NGUYEN: All right. We're watching local coverage of the local affiliate, WFIE, right now as they're speaking with people who experienced this first hand. Let's take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, it was literally 10 seconds and it was done.
SAMSON: So when you walked outside and surveyed the damage, what was your initial reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shock. I guess what really -- really surprised me is when I got up from off the floor, looked up, and realized I could see outside through the ceiling. At that point, it was just making sure Shannon was OK, and then start getting anything of value, photographs, antique furniture that we have downstairs, so that they were protected from the elements.
SAMSON: A quick question. Where are you folks headed now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know.
SAMSON: A shelter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't know.
SAMSON: When I'm done with this, I'll talk to you. There are shelters available. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're trying to get a hold of some friends to come pick us up. So hopefully they'll get our messages and come get us to take us to their House, because we talked to them about 3:00 this morning, and their house wasn't damaged. So...
SAMSON: Well, good luck to you. And there are plenty of firefighters and rescue crews over there to help you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
SAMSON: Thank you so much for taking with us, taking the time. And it's such a difficult hour.
So, that's the absolute latest here in southern Indiana in the town of Newburgh in Warrick County. Again, there's damage in Vanderburgh County, but mostly Warrick County. And it is some serious damage.
Last year, Memorial Day 2004, we had an F2 tornado come through...
HARRIS: All right. Shannon Samson, who did such a great job for us last hour. And now we've got a reporter from WEHT. We want to listen in on her report.
AMANDA HARA, REPORTER, NEWS 25: This is -- this is obviously the worst that we've seen out here in Degonia Springs, yes. But another bad situation right here behind me, you can see -- I mean, it doesn't look like a house, it looks like a landfill is out here. And people are kind of sifting through it.
And, believe it or not, someone survived this mess. And he's joining me right now.
Casey Lockhart (ph), why don't you come on over here.
Tell me what happened this morning. You're living in this house and all of a sudden...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, when I was in the house, I don't know what time it was, but the back window blew out. And then all the debris and stuff from the back room come in on top of me. And then I was swirling around inside the house on my bed, where I had just went to bed.
It quit just about as soon as it started. And I was trapped under the roof and all the debris in there.
HARA: I mean, you're alive. Do you think you should be? I mean...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way I should have lived through that. Absolutely no way. I can show you the spot where I was out. And if you believe a man would live through that, there's just no way he could do it.
HARA: How do you feel about this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lucky. Very lucky. How would you feel going through something like that? You know, it's amazing, actually.
HARA: OK. Casey Lockhart (ph), a very lucky man today, surviving this -- what looks to be a landfill behind us, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does look like that.
Also, I want to let everyone know they are setting up a temporary morgue at the Warrick Hospital. That's in Booneville. Any new information we can get regarding the situation here in Degonia Springs we will bring to you.
Also, the coroner's office said there is an unconfirmed death in Yankee Town. We will also check that out and bring as much information to you as possible.
Reporting live in Degonia Springs, Amanda Hara, News 25.
HARRIS: OK. What we're trying to do is just pull all of our resources to get you as close to the ground as we can as we report on this tornado that just swept through the area here in the Midwest and did so much damage.
Brad Huffines is upstairs in the CNN weather center. Chad Myers is here with us on the set.
And Chad, I want to ask you, you get weather forecasts and they say, hey, look, you can anticipate a line of thunderstorms moving through.
HARRIS: OK? And then we hear you guys often say, some of those storms could be severe. So, what happens in a storm that takes it from being a line of thunderstorms to possibly severe thunderstorms, and then the possibility of a tornado? What happens atmospherically so that we get a storm like this that seems to pop up out of nowhere with little or no advancement?
NGUYEN: And how quickly it happens.
MYERS: We talk about squall lines.
MYERS: You've had that word.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
MYERS: That is a line of storm, and they all kind of charge together. You can get a small tornado in a squall line, but when we get one that's out all by itself, we call that the big dog.
When you have a line of storms, all these little dogs are eating off the same plate. They can't get to be the big dog. When there is just one thunderstorm all by itself, it gets to eat all the food.
MYERS: It gets to get all of the humidity and all the moisture, all of the vorticity.
NGUYEN: Store the power, yes.
MYERS: It becomes the big dog, and it's the one that actually gets the tornado or tornadoes. I believe -- I've been looking at the maps here.
NGUYEN: Yes. Is it just one?
MYERS: I think there's more.
MYERS: There must be more than one path, because I can't draw a line from Henderson County and over to the race track, and then up here to -- I can't get that line to work.
NGUYEN: Well, that's what the reporter was saying. She can't grasp exactly what the path was because there's too many area of debris that are here, there and everywhere.
MYERS: Absolutely multiple tornadoes.
HARRIS: And Brad, are you with us? Brad Huffines, are you upstairs with us?
HUFFINES: Yes, I'm right here.
HARRIS: OK, Brad. And as we try to sort of chart the path, I know you've been following this as best you can, and you've been great for us this morning in doing this. Why don't we go through the series of the maps that you have, and then we'll bring you a full proportion of this, and then, of course, squeeze you back down and show you some of these pictures.
Show us on your maps the path, as you've been able to discern it for us expertly throughout the morning.
HUFFINES: Well, as Chad was mentioning, the squall line, which is different than an individual super cell tornado or, as Chad mentioned, the big dog, notice that what we're seeing across parts of southern Indiana this morning, this broken line of thunderstorms. That's the squall line that Chad was talking about.
And notice also, as the squall line creeped along, the boxes that you're seeing popping up on the screen, the red boxes, are when tornado watches were issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. The yellow boxes are now severe thunderstorm watches. And what we have presently right now, you're looking at a severe thunderstorm watch still in effect for the northeastern corner of Ohio, into northwestern sections of Pennsylvania.
That means that storms in here can still cause severe thunderstorms. And as Chad mentioned, that means wind damage, that means the possibility, even damaging winds of 55-plus miles an hour. And right now there is a squall line, as Chad was mentioning, a squall line approaching Cleveland and Akron from the southwest.
We're also seeing in this area down south, we are still seeing the remnants of a tornado watch presently. And a tornado watch box, again, we paint them red here at CNN. And what you're seeing approaching especially Maysville or Chillicothe and just passing now Columbus, what you're seeing is a line of thunderstorms.
Again, a squall line. No real individual storms. And that's in a tornado watch. And that means that severe thunderstorms in these squall lines can produce tornadoes with little or no warning, although the storm that moved through portions of southern Indiana today along that squall line looked like we did see some substantial warning with this storm.
And in the world of weather, substantial warning may mean five or 10 minutes. We're not talking about days like we've been talking about for hurricane season.
1:45, the storm moves into portions of southern Vanderburgh County, past Evansville, into Warrick County. By 4:45, that storm is already passing well to the east. And this is the timing of the severe thunderstorm, actually the tornado warnings themselves.
Again, 1:30 for Posey County. That's west of Evansville -- 1:45 for Vanderburgh County. And, of course, 2:00 for Warrick County. And that kind of sets the stage as of where we are right now and helps to show you the pictures of squall lines versus the individual storms.
MYERS: Hey, Brad. It's Chad down here at the desk.
I'm wondering, you're watching these models all day long, you're watching where this vorticity max, as we call it, where this squall line, where the cold front is going. It does look to me like this could actually continue off toward the northeast later on today.
It was a very warm day in Evansville yesterday. It was very spring-like. And this is a spring-like storm. And the difference between spring and fall is that in spring, the warm water and the warm air is trying to push the cold air away.
MYERS: Right and this time, this fall, the winter is trying to push the warm air away. It's the same process.
MYERS: Just two different...
NGUYEN: Just flipped, yes.
MYERS: Just flipped. But that's why you get a -- kind of a severe weather max, a severe weather peak in the fall.
Are you seeing enough to worry about Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and maybe even upstate New York?
HUFFINES: I think today, Chad, much like yesterday, what we saw is these thunderstorms as the morning hours progressed, we didn't see much activity. Then, as the heating of the day, as the earth heated up and the atmosphere began to warm, then you started seeing these thunderstorms fire back up.
What we do have today, Chad, is the area that you mentioned, vorticity, the area of spin or the area of uplift in the atmosphere, that continues to push on now into and across northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. And it's all pulling up to the northeast very quickly now.
So, it's not necessarily a straight line moving west to east, it's in a line moving up toward the northeast. So, there is a threat as the -- as the surface of the earth heats up today across northwestern Pennsylvania and into western New York. But Chad, it looks more like a -- at least the Storm Prediction Center thinks more of a severe thunderstorm event instead of a tornadic event. But again, some of these severe thunderstorms, as you know, can cause these tornadoes.
MYERS: When you get a storm moving 60 miles an hour, it doesn't take much to get a 60-mile-an-hour wind now, does it?
NGUYEN: No. No.
MYERS: Yes, exactly. NGUYEN: Not at all.
Well, we're going to ask you both to stand by as we do pull all of our resources together this morning to understand the not only the path of the storm, but the kind of destruction that it's left in its wake.
And Chad, as you mentioned, we've been talking about one tornado that hit Indiana and Kentucky. There could may be more than one.
NGUYEN: And we're going to get to the bottom of that as people go out and assess the damage and determine how strong of a storm or storms this may have been.
HARRIS: And everyone, we're also standing by -- we're expecting to hear from President Bush as he continues his trip in Latin America. He is in Brazil, and we're expecting to hear from the president and the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva. That is expected at about 9:30. When that happens, we will bring it to you live.
A break now. We'll be back with more of CNN SUNDAY MORNING right after this.
HARRIS: Once again, we are standing by waiting for a joint statement from President Bush and his Brazilian counterpart. We are expecting that at about 9:30 Eastern, about 10 minutes from now.
The president continuing his tour of Latin America in Brazil for about less than 24 hours, actually. And the president arriving in Brazil after wrapping up his trip yesterday into Argentina for the Summit of the Americas. Thirty-four nations in all taking part, talking about creating a free trade zone.
As you know, that summit was visited by a lot of hostility, some violent protests. Some protests, we understand, in Brazil today, as well.
Once again, the president and his counterpart from Brazil in bilateral talks. We're expecting a statement from the two men in about 10 minutes. When that happens, we will bring it to you live.
NGUYEN: We do want to get you caught up on the latest on that deadly tornado or possibly more than one tornado that caught so many people by surprise in Indiana and Kentucky. Here's a recap.
The storm hit in the middle of the night, killing at least 11 people. That's the number that we have so far. Most of them at a trailer park in Evansville, Indiana.
At least 160 others were injured. And plans are in the works to activate the National Guard to assist with this disaster. There's a lot of widespread damage, as we've been showing you all morning long. Now, local authorities say the tornado left a path of destruction about three-fourths of a mile wide and, listen, 20 miles long. So, we're talking about a lot of destruction. That path stretches from northern Kentucky into southern Indiana.
HARRIS: And right now we want to bring back in -- we're double- teaming this to try to bring you as much information as we can on what exactly happened here. We're glad to have our severe weather expert, Chad Myers, here with us on the set. And Brad Huffines has been following this thing all morning long for us.
And let me ask you, Chad, this storm comes in, in the small hours. We know that you have a technology now, and a lot of cities have it, but we know you have it here that, in many cases, you can pinpoint the storm by the minute and follow its track...
HARRIS: ... and its path. And you can even figure out what neighborhoods it is going to hit and when.
HARRIS: And even with all of that, there was -- there was little opportunity to get a warning to folks because it hit when it hit in the darkness, which has to be terrifying.
MYERS: And then we had EOC get hit. You know, we had power lines go down.
MYERS: We had 911 service go out for a little while.
MYERS: So I just want to put this all into perspective, because Evansville is a very large town.
MYERS: A lot of people have loved ones there. This really was a three-quarter-mile-wide path. So we are -- we're showing a lot of destruction here, but the entire town of Evansville is not destroyed.
MYERS: OK? Obviously, we're not showing you the places that didn't get hit.
HARRIS: Yes, right.
MYERS: We're only showing the places that did.
MYERS: So, if you can't get a hold of your loved ones, you know, just keep trying. The cell phone service is a little tough right now. Everybody's on there. And some of the power lines and the phone lines are down.
But Brad, I want to ask you, because you were watching this thing all night, too. As the storm came through, it was doing 60 miles an hour.
MYERS: I mean, you know, you start to get a spin even if you have 20 minutes' notice, and then you start putting out warnings at 2:00 in the morning. You talked about it earlier how important it is to buy one of those weather radios.
HUFFINES: That's what is so frustrating about situations like these, Chad, is that the warnings seem to have been issued at least in a timely manner. Again, we don't necessarily know if each warning was issued before each tornado touched down, but a lot of people would have had the warnings had they had access to the warnings. And that's in the emergency management community, in the broadcast -- the local broadcast community.
As you know, I'm also the chief meteorologist of WAAY TV in Huntsville, Alabama. And it is frustrating to know the warnings are there, to issue the warnings as a local meteorologist or as the National Weather Service, and then have people not necessarily -- got to sleep some time in situations like this. The warnings may have been issued before the storms hit, but again, it is the frustration, Chad, of situations like this.
And you know from working in Oklahoma City, of doing all you can to get the warnings out. But if people aren't hearing them, there's not much that you can do.
NGUYEN: They're asleep, yes.
MYERS: The problem with the old system -- and you've got to agree with me on this one -- the warning would go off for 18 counties around you.
MYERS: And your thing's going off all night long. All you care about really is the county to your west, maybe to your south...
NGUYEN: Right. Right near you.
MYERS: ... and then in yours. But the new radios, describe them now. How are they different? They don't go off for the entire neighborhood now.
HUFFINES: No. You can program specific counties...
HUFFINES: ... on your -- on your weather radio. I've had numerous people tell me, Chad, as you have for your years in your career as well, "I don't have a weather radio because it wears me out. I get tired of having every warning issued for the entire, you know, southeast part of the state, or whatever."
But now you can program your county into a weather radio so that when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued, tornado warnings are issued, those go off for only those weather radios in those counties.
HUFFINES: And in this situation, it looks like it was the weather radio that probably could have made a lot of difference in this situation, even though the TV stations were on.
MYERS: We've got a reporter. We've got to get to it before we lose our satellite window -- go ahead.
NGUYEN: Yes, we have Amanda Hara, with WEHT, who is joining us. She is on the ground.
Amanda, lots of destruction behind you.
HARA: Well, Tony and Betty, you know, I came out here, we were driving out here. I did not realize how bad everything was going to be.
I'm going to get to what's behind me here in just a second, but I want to show you, or not show you, I guess, something behind us.
Mike, if you can swing around.
Up there you see the frame of what was once maybe a trailer, a mobile home. We have just had confirmed by the Warrick County Coroner's Office that three people have died, unfortunately, a mother, a father and a 4-year-old son. We are told by neighbors that the mother was also expecting another child within 30 days. A very tragic situation.
You can see people gathering up there, kind of dealing with the situation, looking at the area. And we've seen a lot of family members out here pretty upset, of course. So, very tragic situation for a lot of people out here right now.
But Mike, if we can turn back around, I want to show some of this damage behind me.
Believe it or not, this was once a house. I know it looks like a landfill right now. But just a bunch of stuff out there. And believe it or not, one man survived this. And he is with us right now.
Casey Lockhart (ph), tell me how you got through this and why you think you did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just Stroke of luck, I guess. I was in -- I was in bed, and the wind hit and blew the window out. And I woke up.
The next thing I knew, the whole house come down on top of me. And I was pinned, and I had to -- I couldn't breathe. And I had to get over on my side so I could get my air.
And then I had to pull a piece of steel through my leg to get out. And finally got out of it. And then some friends of mine, neighbors, took me to the hospital. So, very fortunate to be alive.
HARA: And, I mean, especially with what happened across the street with your neighbors, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were good friends. And it was a very sad situation.
HARA: Casey Lockhart (ph), thank you so much for talking to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.
HARA: Again, definitely a mess out here. And we're just waiting to see how this unfolds.
Guys, back to you.
NGUYEN: Amanda Hara with WEHT. Thank you for that report. Really putting the human toll in scope here as we look at all the devastation caused by the tornado.
HARRIS: We obviously are going to be covering this story for the rest of the morning, afternoon, days to come. We just want to make you aware of a pending event we're expecting at any moment now.
The president in Brazil to meet with his Brazilian counterpart there. And we're expecting a joint statement in just a couple minutes. When it happens, we will bring that to you live.
More of CNN SUNDAY MORNING and our coverage of the Indiana tornado right after this.
NGUYEN: It is 8:30 in the morning in Evansville, Indiana and this is what many people are waking up to this morning. Look at the destruction caused by a storm that created a very powerful tornado, possibly even more than one tornado that ripped through the area destroying homes and taking lives. At this point, we know, so far, 11 people are dead. There are many, over 100, we're hearing at least 160 who were injured in this tornado. Destruction has really wiped out a mobile home park in Evansville. It's called the East Brook mobile home park. And just to give you an idea of the power of this storm, eyewitnesses -- some of the mobile homes were actually picked up and thrown in a lake. But what we've been seeing this morning not only are pictures of destruction but of people coming out of their homes and seeing the damage that is left behind.
HARRIS: And Betty, let's get you caught up with some other headlines in the news.
Exclusive CNN video, now, of a day-long firefight in Iraq. The U.S. military's "Operation Steel Curtain" moved into a second day in the Iraqi city Husayba on the Syrian border. The military reports dozens of insurgents killed and about 50 suspected insurgents detained.
President Bush is scheduled to be meeting with his Brazilian counterpart at this hour -- a live picture there. And they're talking about trade, no surprise. This has been a trade trip through Latin America for the president. It is the president's second stop on a three-nation tour of Latin America.
Meantime, thousands of Brazilians are protesting Bush's visit calling him a fascist. The president's earlier stop in Argentina sparked protest over his free trade plan and the war in Iraq.
The rampant violence in France intensifies after 10 nights of arson attacks in four suburbs outside of Paris, the violence has spread to the capital and beyond. Police say hundreds of cars were torched, some 190 people were arrested.
The search is still on this morning for this man: Charles victor Thompson. Authorities say the 35-year-old death row inmate hasn't been seen since he walked out of the Harris County jail. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information to leads to his capture.
NGUYEN: Now, we want to get back to that tornado that just really ripped through parts of Indiana. We have Shannon Sampson, a reporter who will be WFIE who will be joining us to talk about the sheer devastation in the wake of this storm.
And Shannon, the first thing I want to talk to you about -- is...
HARRIS: We don't have her yet?
NGUYEN: We don't have her live just yet. OK, has she filed a report? OK, let's take a listen to what she filed just moments ago.
SAMSON: Do you live down here? Do you live in the area? So, tell me, this is one of the harder hit areas. Tell me what you heard a little after 2:00 this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just dead asleep, I didn't hear anything. He came and woke us up at 2:00 because our friend called us, told us to get in shelter because a bad storm is coming. SAMSON: Did it happen really quickly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Once we got under the pool table downstairs it was over after that.
SAMSON: How long would you say it lasted 10 seconds? Fifteen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About -- if that.
SAMSON: Let's hear what you have to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was asleep and my best friend, he was going to stay the night with me, he went home, and he called me about 1:30 or so and he's like, you need to wake up and go downstairs. So, I was like, are you being serious? He's said, yeah. So I turned on the news and the meteorologist said, "There's a tornado and is heading your way, you know, you need to take cover." So, I woke him up and ran underneath the pool table and we called our dad, because my dad lives in Evansville, we knew it wasn't as bad in Evansville. Had a radio with us and my dad said it was pretty much over by the time I called him, so...
SAMSON: Describe what it sounded like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just -- I was in the basement, it's quiet down there, we never hear anything and you can just hear wind. There was just howling and it was just crazy.
SAMSON: Did you go outside immediately and survey the damage?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I woke my mom up and we have a property up here that we are going to check out and a business we had to check out. So, we got out and looked at it and it was just -- it looks like a war zone. I mean...
SAMSON: Compare from darkness to daylight when, you know, the sun started shining, I mean, I know it was a shock for me. Wow, this was a really huge storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it was just -- I got up -- I mean, it didn't look that bad at night, but I got up over here and looked at this, it was just terrible. I felt sorry for them.
SAMSON: Now you're out walking, surveying the damage, what are some of the sights you've seen down around here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just houses leveled, they're gone, just gone.
SAMSON: And the human toll is what strikes me. I see so many people walking around just in tears, it's really hard to see isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes it's very hard to see.
SAMSON: Where are you guys headed now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to see if we can help anybody in anyway. If they need some help picking up some stuff. So, other than that, we can just try to do all we can for everybody else, we're lucky we're OK and hopefully we can help everybody else.
SAMSON: You guys are (INAUDIBLE) which is, I know, is a county away, what's going on? What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know, we just got here. We're checking different neighborhood and seeing if anybody's OK, if they need anything.
SAMSON: When you were dispatched what were you told to do what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go to command post in Booneville and they will dispatch us out. And they told us to come here.
SAMSON: What's your initial reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seen it on TV, but they have never seen it in life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up close and personal, it's not good.
NGUYEN: No, it is not. And you can even hear in Shannon Sampson's voice, she is the reporter who filed that. Just the sheer shock as she talked about, because she experienced it herself, Chad. She was at home at the time and she said it happened within a matter of 10 seconds. It just roared through the area.
So for those of you who are just tuning in let's give you a recap on this deadly tornado that did catch so many people by surprise in Indiana and Kentucky. The storm hit in the middle of the night killing at least 11 people, most of them at a trailer park in Evansville, Indiana, that's where a lot of the damage is. At least 160 others are injured and plans are in the works. This gives you an idea of how massive the damage is to activate the National Guard to assist with disaster. Local authorities say the tornado left a path of destruction about three-fourths of a mile wide and 20 miles long. That path stretches from northern Kentucky to southern Indiana.
HARRIS: And let's bring in our severe weather expert Chad Myers, he's on the set with us and Brad Huffines is upstairs in the CNN Weather Center. And, Chad, let me ask you, it's -- we tend to think of these tornadoes as being southern state events, but it's beginning to become clear that we can get a tornado maybe just about anywhere when these weather systems collide.
MYERS: Right. It's all about adding all the things together and making the right recipe. The recipe yesterday was warm air at the ground. Everybody was out in shirt sleeves and shorts yesterday, right? The humidity was high and then cold air came in aloft. If you put cold air on top of very warm air, that warm air wants to rise just like a hot air balloon and it was rising right up into the cold air and it was explosive about midnight last night. It really got all the recipes, all the ingredients together at about midnight and then this thing went crazy. It was going 60-miles-per-hour. There was no way to get out of the way.
HARRIS: And are you concerned that as we see the radar loop here that there's still a lot of line of storms here. Is there any chance that that line of storms might intensify?
MYERS: Absolutely. I'm really a little bit concerned about the Pocono's, the Catskills, the Adirondacks right up around New York City for later on this afternoon. You guys are going to have a very warm day today, temperatures 75, 78 maybe 80 degrees at Delaware Water Gap, lots of humidity and same cold air aloft, coming through. Obviously, there's still a red box there. That's a tornado watch box, so -- a tornado watch box at 9:00 in the morning? Wait until things heat up by 5:00 in the afternoon, right?
HARRIS: OK, we will, obviously, continue to follow this and we want to throw up a picture from Brazil, now. We're waiting for the president of the United States, George Bush. He's going to be meeting and has been meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, "Lula" da Silva. And we're expecting a joint statement from the two men in just a couple minutes. And of course, when that happens, we will bring that to you live. The president continuing on his trip through Latin America and just wrapping up yesterday's trip to Argentina for the Summit of the Americas and now in Brazil for less than 24 hours. Protest yesterday and the day before and Argentina and protests again today, and Brazil...
NGUYEN: There's some protests here...
HARRIS: Protests have dogged the president on this trip, but when the two presidents come to those podiums we'll bring that statement to you live. We'll take a quick break and come back with more of CNN SUNDAY MORNING right after this.
HARRIS: Standing by now for a joint news conference, joint statement from President Bush and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva in Brazil. We're expecting it any moment now. When it happens, we will take you to Brazil live and bring you that joint statement.
NGUYEN: In the meantime, we're talking about is severe weather here in the United States, especially in the Indiana and Kentucky areas.
HARRIS: And we've been following this all morning long and the storm rolled through at about 2:00 a.m., an overnight tornado that touched down in Henderson County, Kentucky, and then tore through parts of southern Indiana. Eleven 11 people, Betty, confirmed dead at this time -- initial reports are putting most of those deaths in an Evansville, Indiana, trailer park where it is believed that people may still be trapped and rescuers are on the scene. NGUYEN: And speaking about trailer parks, we learned that some 80 people have already been taken to a hospital out of that one trailer park alone. So, that just gives you an idea of the damage there.
OK, here's what the weather picture looks like right now. This is our live radar loop. There it is on the screen. And it's premature to say the stormy weather is over. Here's why? We're going to check in with Brad Huffines to understand exactly where the storms are headed and if they're going to cause some similar damage in other areas. We hope not -- Brad.
HUFFINES: Yeah, the stormy weather is over for where we have already seen this damage. But, as Chad was mentioning earlier, the severe weather is likely, just going to be getting started in the next four or five hours across the next four to five hours across Pennsylvania and into western portions of New York.
What I'm showing you right now, Doppler Radar showing that last base or the last line of thunderstorms now just about to exit Ohio and this is still in an area where we have a tornado watch in effect, but as of right now this line of storms that is across the southern part of Ohio weakening. But you're seeing two severe thunderstorm watch, actually warnings, still in effect just to the west of now Cleveland.
You're seeing Huron County and Lorraine County severe thunderstorm warnings still in effect. That yellow box means that severe thunderstorm watches are still in effect as well for portions of northeast Ohio, and into the western sections of Pennsylvania. That's that severe thunderstorm watch, right there, and these thunderstorms are moving up into western New York and to the western portions of Pennsylvania and two special weather statements. One from the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, New York and one out of Mount Holly, New Jersey. Both weather services are concerned that later today as this part of the thunderstorm, right down here, that's past Columbus, Cincinnati and developing just to the west and southwest of Charleston, as that part of the thunderstorm line itself and, as Chad mentioned, the cool air aloft, as that continues to swing up across Pennsylvania into New York and into portions of New Jersey, as well, we're expecting to see more severe thunderstorms developing and, as Chad mentioned earlier, these squall lines.
And as these squall lines move and blow, gusty wind, damaging winds of 60-miles-per-hour plus over areas that, remember the flooding we had, some substantial flooding. The ground is still wet, the root systems of many trees are still inundate with water and there's a chance then of some these thunderstorms moving through some very wet areas of New York, New jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, that could cause entire trees to fall without even having tornadoes present. So, that's a concern later today and this evening across eastern portions of Pennsylvania into southern New York and New Jersey.
NGUYEN: Well, we're going stay on top of that. Thank you for the watch, there. And we'll be checking in soon. We also have Chad Myers, or severe weather expert on hand to talk about the situation on the ground and what is to come. But, first, we do want to speak with the sheriff of Warrick County.
HARRIS: Yeah, his name is Marvin Heilman and he's with us.
Mr. Sheriff, good morning to you.
SHERIFF MARVIN HEILMAN, WARRICK COUNTY, INDIANA: Good morning, thank you.
HARRIS: Just remind us again, reorient us here, we're in Atlanta. Give us a sense -- and everyone around the country, of some of the cities within your county.
HEILMAN: OK. The largest metropolitan area is Evansville, which is actually an adjoining county of Vanderburgh, Newburgh is our primary residential area at Warrick County and that's located in the southern part of the county and that's basically all adjoined with the city of Evansville.
HARRIS: OK, that gives us a sense of -- and we've been talking about these areas all morning long.
HEILMAN: Right, we're about in the southwest corner of Indiana.
HARRIS: Yeah, particularly, Evansville and Newburgh, which, it seems to us, has received just the brunt, if we can say that at this point, I mean, I'm sure we'll learn more throughout the day, but give us a sense of the kind of damage, devastation you've seen in Newburgh.
HEILMAN: Well, the tornado came through about five hours ago now, excuse me, about 2:00 a.m., so a little more than that, about seven hours ago. And Newburgh, again, is a primarily residential areas and I don't know how many homes have been damaged, I'm estimating a couple hundred with extensive damage to the homes. We have confirmed four fatality fatalities in Warrick County and at least one other gentleman that has life-threatening injuries suffered in the direct path of this the storm. The storm itself made a path through Warrick County, which is about 30 miles diagonally from the Newburgh area, northwest throughout the county, so quite a bit of a devastation and very extensive damage as far as homes in the residential areas as well as the rural areas of the county.
MYERS: Sheriff, it's Chad Myers up in the weather office, I'm wondering -- just a question for you, you said you kind of -- you could draw a straight line, maybe 30-mile line of where this tornado was. There seems to be other damage in other areas left and right of maybe the cell itself, of where the tornado was. Could there have been a multiple tornado complex for you guys?
HEILMAN: Well, you know, and I have not heard that for sure, that has been questioned whether it is the same storm or not, but geographically looking at our map it's pretty much a straight line, again, from the Evansville, there's a trailer court area in the Evansville area that was devastated and that line would pretty much go straight through northwest or excuse me, northeast through Warrick County. So, whether the same storm or not, I don't really know or not, but it appears to be. NGUYEN: Sheriff, this is Betty Nguyen, up here. I want to ask you about that trailer park that you mentioned in Evansville. That is where we, so far, have seen the most amount of injuries. Talk to me about the damage there and we're hearing some 80 people were taken to the hospital. What do you know?
HEILMAN: I would suspect that is about right. I don't have any exact numbers of those transported for medical care. We've had medical -- temporary medical shelters set up in the Newburgh area for treatment, as well. And I personally took one individual down to Evansville, Saint Mary's Hospital and know from going there that there were multiple people basically waiting outside and in the emergency area for treatment. So I don't know the numbers, but I suspect there's a couple hundred plus with significant injury. And, again, four fatalities in Warrick County. I've heard as many as seven in Vanderburgh and...
NGUYEN: Yeah, we're hearing a total of 11, so far. But I want to get back to that mobile home park, has it been wiped out? I mean, what ask you been told? What have you seen? What do you know?
HEILMAN: Well, I have not been there. That, again, is outside of Warrick County, it's basically right at the county line, Vanderburgh and Warrick, but it's inside the county of Vanderburgh. I've seen some local news coverage of damage. I believe there's like 150 mobile homes in that park and that's my estimate from looking at it. I'm personally familiar with it from seeing it in the past, but I don't know the total devastation. I understand it is significant damage to most all the homes in that park.
HARRIS: And, Sheriff Heilman, thanks for your time. I want to ask you this, this is your community. This is where you live, this is where you work?
HEILMAN: Yes, yes, I live a mile and a half, basically, from the path of the storm this morning.
HARRIS: Here's what I want to know. These are people that you know well.
HARRIS: These are friends, these are colleagues, in many cases, I would imagine. You all live in that community. Give us a sense of the human toll on this community.
HEILMAN: Well, again, we're not used to this type of devastation. We were, unfortunately, hear about the worldwide problems almost on a weekly basis, but this is obviously at our back door. And one of my officers, one of my county deputies, his home was had significant damage and his police car was basically destroyed in his driveway. Again, we're a fairly close-knit family, here at the communities, and 57,000 people live in Warrick County, so we're certainly not a large area by any means. So, this is something we have neighbors and friends are out helping cut trees or helping search homes or they're coming up and volunteer mode, basically to assist the law enforcement, fire rescue people and we're getting the job done.
The biggest obstacle right now is the power outages. I've heard of 27,000 people out of power in Warrick County alone. So, that's the biggest obstacle we have right now and, certainly, our local power company is doing an excellent job of being out there on the scene right now. But, again, we are a small, rural area, basically. And people are certainly coming out to help their neighbors.
NGUYEN: Yeah, Sheriff, we've spoken with a gentleman from that local power company and it is down to 21,000 still without power at this hour. So, some progress is being made, but I want to get back to the time of the storm. Kind of take us through what you experienced and a lot of people that we've spoken with, with us today, and maybe you can confirm it, feel as if it just kind of struck in the middle of the night. A lot of them weren't awake and they were asleep and almost came without warning for those who were asleep and didn't have weather radio.
HEILMAN: Well, and I can basically tell you the same. Again, my home is approximately a mile, mile and a half from the path of the storm and I didn't know any more than some thunder and a severe sounding storm coming through. We do have audible warning sirens throughout the county that were activated, but, again, at 2:00 a.m., most people were home asleep and didn't have any prior notice. Amazingly some of the people that I spoke to that had significant damage family, friends, co-workers had called them and through different media and weather stations had alerted those people to take cover and possibly to save lives because of that. So -- but again, the multitude is the highest number of people who probably did sleep through this and had no warning at all.
HARRIS: Sheriff, difficult day, difficult couple weeks ahead of you and longer. Thank you for your time and we can hear it in your voice, this is a close-knit community and it sounds like it's been devastated and it also sounds like there was a spirit in that community of cooperation that people will work together to help other neighbors and we hope that comes to pass and we certainly hope you can get your community back on its feet as soon as possible.
HEILMAN: We will. Yeah, we will. And again, this is a close- knit area so we're certainly working together and now there has been an emergency -- a state of emergency declared for the county, which enables us to, of course, get help from the state, as well and we'll be dealing with this in due fashion and hopefully get it behind as soon as possible.
HARRIS: Sheriff, thank you. Thanks for your time.
HEILMAN: OK, thank you for calling.
HARRIS: We'll take a break. Before we do, just want to remind you, we're waiting for a joint statement from the president and the president of Brazil. When that happens we will take you to Brazil, live. We'll take a quick break and come back with more of CNN SUNDAY MORNING, right after this.
HARRIS: And we know many of you are very interested in the developments of the president's trip through Latin America. We're standing by for a joint statement from the president and the president from Brazil. We're expecting that any moment now, when that happens, we will take you to Brazil, live for that joint statement.
NGUYEN: And there are been developments in that tornado that struck Indiana. We understand a damage assessment has been issued by the National Weather Service. Let's check in now with Brad Huffines to determine exactly what kind of damage was -- occurred because of this really powerful tornado that swept through the area.
HUFFINES: Yeah, after these storms hit the National Weather Center begins dispatching people out to the areas of damage to determine exactly what happened. Now they said that the final damage posting is going to be some time tomorrow morning because right now National Weather Service personnel are on the ground looking that damage trying to estimate the storm size, the path length of the tornado and the storm strength, of course.
And they mentioned that, of course, the severe damage in southern Vanderburgh County, which is the southern limits of -- state limits of Evansville, numerous injuries reported and one local hospital, it says, reporting over 100 patients. A mobile home near Interstate 64 was the site of many injuries and preliminary reports say that, of course, many fatalities. We've been reporting 11, here on CNN.
And of course, the severe damage continued east, northeast across Warrick County, which is east of Evansville, Indiana. From Newburgh to south of Booneville, then a second area of damage, and many time we show pictures and aren't able to show you other pictures because news resources go to one certain area. A second area of intense damage and at least two injuries in western Kentucky community of Natoon (ph), located in northern Crittenden County, two homes destroyed there and of course the site will be investigated by the National Weather Service. Again, their final estimate will be issued tomorrow morning after they have time to go out, look at it, come back, crunch the numbers and put out the final assessment.
NGUYEN: All right, unfortunately, yeah, those numbers are not going to going to be something that we want to hear, but we do need to hear what kind of damage was caused by this storm.
MYERS: This was a big storm.
NGUYEN: Yes it was.
HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah.
MYERS: A really large storm. Well we have done damage reports from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan. Not all from one tornado, of course, but from the same big swirl and it's still going on now. Obviously, you can see orange counties behind Brad, those are all severe thunderstorm warnings. So, it continues today and it's going to continue into the east this afternoon. HARRIS: All right now, before we turn things over to Howard Kurtz and "Reliable Sources," let's take one more quick break and we'll be right back.
NGUYEN: Good morning, I'm Betty Nguyen at the CNN Center, along with Tony Harris. "RELIABLE SOURCES" begins in just a moment. But first, here are some stories "Now in the News."
HARRIS: Let's begin with the story of a violent tornado ripping through Evansville, Indiana, overnight, killing at least 11 people and injuring as many as 160 others.
A dispatcher for the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office says officials are planning to activate the National Guard, that's how bad this has been. The Tornado was part of line of severe thunderstorms that also killed an unknown number of horses at a Kentucky race track.
NGUYEN: Now people are believed to be trapped at one mobile home park. Witnesses say several trailers were actually picked up by the winds and tossed into a nearby lake. And some people say they had very little warning. Actually many people say they had very little warning, a disaster that moved in overnight.
We have this account from affiliate station WEHT.
HARA: This is obviously the worst that we've seen out here in Degonia Springs yet. But another bad situation right here behind me. You can see, I mean, it doesn't look like a house, it looks like a landfill is out here, and people are kind of sifting through it. And believe it or not, someone survived this mess, and he's joining me right now.
Casey Lockhart (ph), why don't you come on over here, tell me what happened this morning. You're living in this house and all of a sudden?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and when I was in the house, I don't know what time it was but the back window blew out and then all the debris and stuff from the back room come in there on top of me. And then I was swirling around inside the house on my bed, where I just went to bed. It just quit just about as soon as it started. And I was trapped under the roof and all the debris in there.
HARA: I mean, you are alive, do think you should be? I mean, that's...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way I should have lived through that, absolutely no way. I can show you the spot where I was at, and if you believe a man would live through that, just no way you could do it.
HARA: How do you feel about this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lucky, very lucky. How would you feel going through something like that? You know, it's amazing, actually.
HARA: OK. Casey Lockhart, a very lucky man today, surviving this -- what looks to be landfill behind us, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does look like that.
HARRIS: Let's get the latest on the storm that moved through Indiana. And we understand it still has some potential to do some damage as it moves east. Let's check in now with CNN meteorologist Brad Huffines -- Brad.
HUFFINES: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) this storm, about 1:45, you are looking at a radar image when it was just to the southwest of Evansville, Indiana, the storm moved by very quickly, as we mentioned, about 60 miles an hour, and now that storm moving on out.
In fact, the line of showers and storms is now moving across northeast and north central Ohio, approaching Cleveland now. All the counties you see lit up in orange, those are all severe thunderstorm warnings. And this is in a several thunderstorm watch. But later today as we move through the day, we will likely see more watches and warnings being issued across portions of western Pennsylvania up into western New York.
And later tonight this could be also a threat of isolated severe thunderstorms from Philadelphia up through New York. Residents there are being careful as well throughout the day and evening. Please stay whether-aware as this line of thunderstorms approaches your way.
Meanwhile, what's happening across the western portions of Pennsylvania right now Pittsburgh, heavy thunderstorms are developing, and this is the line developing lines that we will see begin to gain strength as it moves across Pennsylvania later today, up across portions of eastern Pennsylvania and into western and central New York later today.
As that thunderstorm line has moved on by, we are now seeing the threat of thunderstorms pushing again up toward the Northeast. So the heavy thunderstorms will once again be moving across the southern New England states and the Northeast later tonight and through the overnight hours -- Tony and Betty.
NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Brad.
Well, rioters in France carried their arson rampage into central Paris, Cannes, and Nice in a 10th night. Ten nights of violence there. And the interior ministry predicts that it's going to get worse. A police spokesman said several officers and firefighters were injured overnight and so far police have detained 193 people. The unrest is blamed on young immigrants and Muslims frustrated by poverty and unemployment.
HARRIS: U.S. and Iraqi forces are engaged in a renewed offensive to flush out insurgents in western Iraq. About 3,500 American and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Steel Curtain. The fight is centered around Husayba, which the military believes has been taken over by insurgents and foreign fighters. A Marine company commander described the action to CNN as one long firefight with sniper machine gun fire heard throughout the day.
NGUYEN: President Bush is scheduled to join the president of Brazil for a Brazilian barbecue this hour. More than 100 protesters were on hand as he made his way to that meeting. Now the president is hoping to get support from Brazil in his push for the free trade agreement. Later today the president will depart for Panama before returning to Washington tomorrow.
And as you look at that live picture there, we are waiting for both presidents to announce a joint statement. When that happens, of course, we will try to bring that to you live.
Here's another update for you dealing with the tornado that ripped through Indiana, the Associated Press is now reporting 15 are dead so far in that storm as people come out of their homes and assess the damage.
HARRIS: What a morning. What a morning. More news coming up in 30 minutes. I'm Tony Harris in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. It's time now for CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."
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