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Hurricane Arthur Gains Strength; Airport Terror Warning; Immigration Protest

Aired July 3, 2014 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. Arthur becomes a hurricane, gaining strength as it spins up the East Coast. Communities evacuated. Dangerous waves from the storm rolling in right now.

Indra Petersons is live with the storm's latest track and what it means for your holiday weekend.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Terror in the skies. Homeland Security adding extra security at airports overseas, as concerns mount that terrorists may be developing explosives designed to avoid detection.

ROMANS: Fed up and angry. Protesters pushing away buses full of undocumented immigrants, chanting, "Go home". But the answer may not be so simple for the thousands of children who cross into the U.S. illegally.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. Good to be with you, Christine.

It Thursday, July 3rd, almost the Fourth of July. Five a.m. here on the East Coast.

And it is official, Arthur is now a hurricane. Still hovering near Florida and Georgia this morning, but make no mistake, it is picking up speed and strength and has the East Coast right in its sights.

ROMANS: Hurricane warnings issued for parts of North Carolina. The governor already declaring states of emergency for 25 counties along the coast. Residents there are making preparations for the first big hit of hurricane season.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just prepping, we're tying down stuff, things that will fly. There will be some floodings that we are going move down the street to our other house. But other than that, we're just going to stay here and ride it out.


HARLOW: They're going to try. Well, these shores in Georgia will be dealing with dangerous rip currents from the storm. Those could put boaters and swimmers at risk throughout the weekend, even once the storm has passed, they'll move north.

Indra Petersons is following Arthur's path for us this morning. She's in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

How's it looking down there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, this is where we are supposed to see the biggest impact, Poppy, this morning. But right now, the storm is still well south to us. In fact, it's actually clear, you can still see the stars this morning. Not the case further down the south where Arthur has officially strengthened to a category one hurricane.

Let's take a look right now. You can see 75-mile-per-hour winds. Those are the steady winds out there, moving to the north at 9 miles per hour. So much now that we can see the outer bands starting to affect places like Charleston, South Carolina.

Now, where I'm standing, again, is we are expecting to see the biggest impact in through tomorrow, tonight, I'd say, in through tomorrow morning. We actually already have hurricane warnings out there. In fact, mandatory, mandatory evacuations are already in place this morning for the peak. So, what we are looking at, Hatteras Island. So, those people have already get off. Their concerned, their highway 12 is going to be broke up like in Irene, and they wanted to evacuate those people.

So, let's take a look at the maps again. What are we looking at? We're looking at the timing of this to pass, again tonight in through tomorrow morning, right here in this area. Then it will quickly catch up with the jet stream south of New York City. Places like Boston, then quickly exit to the east.

But notice, the latest tracks actually push it a little bit further to the West, so places like the Cape could actually have an impact, farthest western track does take that impact, and right go into Halifax as it makes its way through Saturday. The impacts here, what we're going to be looking at is a lot of rainfall. We are talking potential from two to four inches of rain, even three to five is possible.

Remember, that's just one side of the equation. You still have the storm surge to think about. So, you're going to add that water in, in addition to what's expected to be high tide, right during the time of potential landfall. So, that's also a concern here.

So many residents remember what happened just in 2011 with Irene, it broke up the highway, Highway 12 in two places. They hope the bridge will hold this time. It's fresh on everyone's mind this morning.

I do want to point out, you guys do know in the Northeast yesterday, you had a rough ride, you had a lot of lightning out there. That is the other side of this equation. There's still a severe weather threat my major cities, D.C., New York City, Philly, you still have that threat for severe weather today. And then the same cold front, very slow moving, you're still going to feel the impacts once you start to see Arthur makes it way closer. You'll get that tropical moisture. It's going to enhance the threat for even more rain into the Northeast, even though the actual system will be sliding south of your area.

So, still a lot to get through. We are bracing ourselves with the storm headed here tonight, guys.

HARLOW: Yes. And, you know, I know, Indra, it's so important people stay out of the water, really even after it passes because of the rip currents. That's a really big threat in this storm. It doesn't look as bad as it is until people get in.

So, we appreciate the report and the update. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. As Indra just mentioned, before Arthur gets close, parts of Northeast saw severe weather last night.

Look at those pictures. The lightning, lighting up the skies in New York City, hitting the spire at one World Trade Center.

There's also severe flooding just north of Albany. It stopped cars. Even emergency response vehicles no match for the water. The force of the storm sent a tree toppled straight on a house 20 miles away. Thousands of power outages reported.

HARLOW: And take a look at what the storms left behind in Maine, roads literally crumbling after being washed out. Trees snapped in half, power lines down, water rushing through the streets there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winds came in pretty hard. And, I mean, the rain was going in every direction. Lightning was hitting one right after the other. It was just steady.


HARLOW: Well, flash flood watches are in effect until tonight. Similar damage being reported in New Hampshire and also in Massachusetts.

ROMANS: And more of the same in eastern Pennsylvania. Cars left trying to navigate through water, feet of water, after quick bursts of rain led to flash flooding.

This is about 30 miles from Philadelphia. More rain is in the forecast today.

Be sure to stay with us for the latest on the hurricane. Chad Myers is going to have the latest on the rip currents, why they are dangerous to beachgoers, how to escape one if you are in danger. That's coming up in just about 10 minutes.

HARLOW: Moving on another news now. Expect to see amped up security for U.S. bound flights, particularly coming here from airports in Europe and the Middle East. This comes after reports that terrorist groups have been working to develop explosives that can't be detected by export security screening.

Passengers may see more inspections of shoes and electronics, also maybe more scanners to detect trace amounts of explosives. However, passengers leaving from airports here in the United States, we are told, will not see changes.

ROMANS: Developing this morning, a woman arrested in a Denver airport back in April was trying to join ISIS. Court documents unsealed Wednesday show Shannon Conley charged with conspiracy. She first aroused suspicion at a Colorado church last year.


GEORGE MORRISON, FAITH BIBLE CHURCH PASTOR: She was carrying a backpack. She had a notebook pad out, taking notes at different places. So, that alerts us right away. She became more hostile. Then, eventually, we came and said, listen, it's probably better that you not come back.


ROMANS: Conley is 19 years old, allegedly told the FBI agents she was going to marry a member of ISIS she met on the Internet and be a nurse in an ISIS camp near the Turkish border.

HARLOW: A federal judge rules the accused right leader of the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will await trial from behind bars. Ahmed Abu Khattala has pled not guilty. Prosecutors say he conspired and participated in the attack that killed four Americans. Defense lawyers argue the Justice Department has not provided enough evidence.

ROMANS: They are the ones who accused Bow Bergdahl of deserting his army base, but army soldiers who served with Bergdahl haven't been contacted in the probe. At least two former sergeants, including the platoon's leader, say they have been waiting to speak with investigators. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held for five years until a controversial prison swap last month.

HARLOW: They have been accused of defrauding the government and vetted Edward Snowden for a government job, but U.S. Investigation Services has managed to secure $190 million contract to help operate the nation's immigration system. A government official says it's required that they accept the lowest bid unless the company had been suspended or barred, which never happened to USIS, despite its troubles.

ROMANS: All right. Happening today: the congressional Committee on Homeland Security holding a field hearing in Texas about the illegal immigration crisis. Texas Governor Rick Perry will be among those testifying a day after urging President Obama to visit the border to see this crisis himself. The state has been plagued by a skyrocketing number of children crossing into the U.S. without their parents. Emotions are coming to a head in California where protesters turned away buses of immigrant families who had been flown there for processing. They were taken to a facility 80 miles away.


REPORTER: Do you feel your city then has become a dumping ground?

SHIRLEY WRING, MURRIETA, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: Of course. I think anyone who's been pinpointed for the buses to come to is going to feel like it's a dumping ground. Why us? Why this small little town?


ROMANS: The U.S. government detains and processes Central Americans who cross the border. They are typically released. They are given a month to report to immigration offices. But many never show up and they join the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

HARLOW: Another top official is out at the V.A. Chief medical inspector John Pierce has retired. It comes after an independent report found that his office downplayed complaints about problems at V.A. hospitals and other facilities. Acting V.A. Director Sloan Gibson said he's disappointed by those findings, also vowed to quick response. Pierce has served as a medical inspector since 2004.

ROMANS: General Motors back in the spotlight later this month on Capitol Hill. A Senate subcommittee will hold a second hearing July 17th. That committee will focus on the decades long delay to recall millions of cars with faulty ignition switches. The list of witness has not yet been released, 13 deaths linked to the defect, and many, many suspect that number will rise.

Time for EARLY START on your money this morning. Futures are pointing higher. Maybe the Dow will finally reach the 17,000 psychological milestone today. The Dow closed at a record high yesterday, the second day in a row it's done that. It's about 24 points shy of 17,000.

Today could be the day, depending on the jobs report later out this morning. CNN Money predicts the job market added jobs in June. The unemployment rate is steady at 6.3 percent.

ADP employment report sometimes considered a precursor, a little clue to what the government might show. It was very strong, very strong. That number showing 281,000 private sector jobs added. That would be the best month since November 2012. There's a lot of optimism around today's report.

It's just a terrible, terrible GDP number in the first quarter.

HARLOW: Horrible.

ROMANS: I mean, the economy really just stalled. Not even stalled, contracted in the first quarter. A lot of hopes that the jobs market is going to show that things were getting better in the spring.

HARLOW: And so many people see this market and these records and half of Americans aren't in it at all.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: Well, breaking news this morning. It is now a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur gaining strength as it turns up the East Coast. We are tracking the latest conditions and showing why this monster storm's rip currents are so dangerous.

ROMANS: Plus, war. War being waged on the Gaza Strip. Israel with a string of targeted strikes as the mystery of another murdered teenager unravels. We are live there after the break.


ROMANS: There you go. This is a live look back at North Carolina where coastal towns are bracing for Arthur. Arthur is now a hurricane. Just minutes ago, officially gaining hurricane status.

This is forcing residents along the coast to change their Fourth of July plans. Many celebrations are being moved up or postponed.

Before and after the storm, be sure to look out for riptides. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't dangerous, and they really are.

Chad Myers has more on what to look for and how to stay safe.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: What looks like a lovely beach day to most people has unseen dangers when you have on shore wind becoming from a tropical storm or hurricane. That wind blows the water over the tops of sandbars that are unseen just offshore. The water piles up here along the shore and it has to find a way out. That way out is a rip current, and that rip current can happen anywhere along an East Coast or West Coast beach for that matter, even across the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are the sandbars. The water comes across the sandbars and feeds into the area where you are swimming, right through here. As the sandbar breaks, you are getting erosion here. The water wants to go out all of a sudden. And that water goes out all at the same time called a rip current.

Because the water has piled up here, it has to go out. You don't want to be in this area when the rip current happens. You don't want to be anywhere here for that matter. And with this storm, you shouldn't be in the water anyway.

If you do get caught in this, they say swim parallel to the coast. That's easy to say when they are not caught in a rip current, because I have been caught in one and it feels like you are going to die. It feels like you are going to be hauled across the ocean. That's how quickly you are torn across the beach.

So, what they want you to do is swim this way to get away from the currents going out and get caught by the feeder currents coming in. That will bring you on shore. All your body wants to do is torn around and swim this way against this. You literally have to tell yourself, stop swimming. Don't do it. You are going to wear yourself out.

Start to swim away from the current and get around current this way over the sandbar and back to the beach. It's a dangerous situation setting up from North Carolina down to Florida today. It will be setting up north of that later tonight from New Jersey to Massachusetts for Friday as the storm moves further to the north.

Guys, back to you.


HARLOW: Yes, good warnings from Chad Myers there. Thank you.

Meantime, the violence raging in the Middle East shows no signs of letting up. Israel launching air strikes against Hamas overnight, targeting rocket launchers and weapons storage facilities. Israeli officials say a response to 20 rockets fired into Israel on Wednesday. All of this comes as the divide between Israelis and Palestinians deepens over a revenge killing of an Israeli teen after three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered.

Our Atika Shubert back live four us in Jerusalem this morning.

Atika, good morning to you. Tell us about the situation on the ground there right now.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, it seems that some of the clashes have petered out, but they were going well into the early morning hours. And they expanded beyond the neighborhood where the Palestinian teenager was abducted. That's where it started yesterday morning and it spread to a few other neighborhoods here in Jerusalem.

Fortunately, this morning, it seems quieter. But, as you pointed out, there was also air strikes in Gaza overnight, at least 15 and also rockets coming from Gaza hitting southern Israel, one hitting a child care facility. They were in a safe room and nobody was injured. But scary, nonetheless.

And so, it doesn't look like this cycle of violence is abating at this point. But we still have today to see whether or not it settles, whether things calm down. There's a lot of anger tension on the streets.

HARLOW: And, Atika, I know the father of that Palestinian teenager who was killed, recently spoke out on local television there. What did he say?

SHUBERT: Yes, he spoke mostly about the fact he wants to bury his son. The son has been identified. Mohammad Abu Kder he's 17 years old. But the circumstances of what happened, the police are still

investigating. They have not identified any suspects even though there's video of him being forced into a car. Now, what his father said is he's waiting for his son's body, an autopsy is currently under way. As soon as that's finished, the body will be delivered to the family and they are hoping to have a funeral straight away possibly later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

HARLOW: And, of course, you have Israeli officials including Benjamin Netanyahu vocally condemning that killing there. Appreciate the report. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Gun control advocates are vowing to fight on after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed it. Christie argues the measure would have done nothing to limit gun violence, calling it reform, quote, "in name only." A petition of 55,000 signatures from across the country urging him to sign a bill that's dropped off at Christie's office an hour before his veto.

HARLOW: Meantime, Target is taking a stance on guns in their stores, requesting customers not bring firearms into any Target stores. Target CEO saying the guns are at odds with their, quote, "family friendly shopping and work experience. This move is not a first. It follows a similar request from other major companies, including Starbucks and Chipotle.

ROMANS: The boy who shot two classmates earlier this year in Roswell, New Mexico, will be in state custody until he's 21. Defense attorneys wanted him in treatment two years, then released. But a judge gave him maximum sentence for a juvenile under state law. The boy said he shot a boy and girl because he's been bullied. A teacher convinced him to drop his gun.

HARLOW: In California, parents are facing charges for keeping their 11-year-old autistic son in a big cage inside their home. Police in Anaheim arrested Loy Bo (ph) and also Tracy Lee (ph). Authorities believe the parents were afraid the boy would hurt them or the other children since the boy's outbursts had gotten more violent. But investigators say the boy seemed to be healthy with no sign of abuse.

ROMANS: The Georgia man whose sun died in a hot SUV, he is due in court. Prosecutors will make their case that Justin Harris committed a crime. He maintains the death was an accident. He pleaded not guilty to murder and child cruelty charges. But he's faced scrutiny over Internet searches about deaths in hot cars.

HARLOW: And was Alex Rodriguez juicing up with the consent of Major League Baseball? It's a question in "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and The Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era." Now, it claims he was granted an exception to use testosterone before the 2007 season. He was allegedly one of two players granted what is called a therapeutic exemption to treat a testosterone deficiency. Rodriguez went on to win the MVP award that season.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right. Coming up, President Obama extending his thanks to the men's soccer team. What did he tell the two of the team's top players? Andy Scholes knows and has the details in our "Bleacher Report". That's next.


ROMANS: All right. About 21.6 million people to be precise watched the USA lose to Belgium on Tuesday, including the commander-in-chief. President Obama, like Americans everywhere, very proud of this team. He called them to congratulate them on their efforts.

HARLOW: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, Team USA may not have made it as far as they hoped in the World Cup, but they did accomplish a lot by just getting out of the group of death.

And we all know President Obama is a huge sports fan and he called Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey on their showing in Brazil. He told them that they did a great job and captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country. President Obama also joked with them about the attention they will receive when they return home.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Clint, you were fantastic and, Tim, I think, you know, I don't know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home, man. You are like -- you are going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are.


SCHOLES: (INAUDIBLE) section of this morning, Houston Rockets pulling out all the stops as they make their pitch to Carmelo Anthony yesterday in Houston. They put up a pictures of Melo in a Rockets uniform all around the Toyota Center. The problem with that was, Anthony he wears number seven, which is currently occupied on the Rockets roster by Jeremy Lin.

After seeing the pictures of Anthony wearing his number, Lin tweeted a Bible verse, "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other to them also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them."

The Rockets have made it know that they do plan to trade Lin.

A's/Tigers yesterday in Detroit. (INAUDIBLE) a foul ball in the stand. And one of the vendors makes a great grab with his tub. Check it out again. He reaches over and the ball lands in his icy cold water. He took a bow and gave the ball to a young fan. He probably worked 1,000 games, the ball has never come near him.

HARLOW: Waiting for that.

SCHOLES: Probably another 1,000 and that will never happen.

Pretty cool deal.

ROMANS: Awesome.

HARLOW: Good that he gave it away. Appreciate the update this morning. Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Hurricane Arthur packing a punch as it rolls up the East Coast. Winds and waves are rolling in. We are live with what you need to know, next.