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Hurricane Arthur Gains Strength; Airport Terror Warning; Immigration Protest; Crisis in Iraq

Aired July 3, 2014 - 05:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. Hurricane Arthur barreling up the East Coast, dangerous -- bringing dangerous wind and waves. Right now, communities evacuating as the storm threatens the holiday weekend for millions. Our Indra Petersons is live in the elements tracking the latest from where the storm is expected to hit today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Terror warning at the airport. Homeland Security stepping up patrols big time to stop terrorists who'd been building a new kind of bomb. We are live with the details.

HARLOW: And terror arrest here at home. Potentially a Colorado teen accused of allegedly trying to help ISIS terrorists.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes exactly past the hour. Glad you're with us and glad you're here this morning because Arthur is a tropical storm no more. Arthur is now a hurricane about 30 minutes ago achieving that status. It has picked up strength off the southeastern coast this morning and it's set to make the turn north. It will slam parts of the East Coast.

HARLOW: Preparations are underway in states expecting the brunt of the storm. Hurricane warnings have been issued for parts of North Carolina where the governor declared states of emergency in 25 counties. Residents are getting set to deal with whatever the storm throws their way.


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


ROMANS: You know, dangerous rip currents could ruin the trip to the beach for people in Georgia. Swimmers and boaters could be at risk for the holiday weekend. Even once the storm heads north. That's important to remember. Once the storm is still moving north, there's a lot happening on the surface and below the surface of the ocean. Indra Petersons is following Arthur's path for us now. She's in Kill

Devil Hills, North Carolina, this morning.

Indra, what can you tell us about the storm?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can tell you right now Hatteras Island is currently under a mandatory evacuation starting just at 5:00 this morning, so just about a half an hour or so ago.

Everyone preparing for what could be a direct impact here. The closest Arthur could be here right by the outer bank. Now this morning, you can actually see just a few clouds are out here. It's actually quite a beautiful day. Very warm, the seas actually generally calm.

Where is Arthur then right now? We know it's already intensified. It's currently now a category 1 hurricane, about 113 miles off the coast of Charleston. We are seeing those steady winds about 75 miles per hour, it's moving to the north at nine miles per hour. But if you take a look at the radar, you can actually see the outer bands already affecting the Charleston area.

So what is expected to happen? Arthur is expected to continue to move to the north. It's also expected to continue to intensify, again making its way up to the Carolinas today bringing them possibly about three to five inches of rain. Then overnight tonight, in through tomorrow morning, if we follow the most western track, it is likely that we could see Arthur make an impact here right into the outer banks overnight this evening.

As a category 1 hurricane, likely about 85-mile-per-hour steady winds. Then it starts to quickly catches up with a jet stream and quickly making its way out to sea. But again, just south of the northeast. But again, if you follow the latest track, it could again make landfall right off of the cape. Still, right around a strong tropical storm or a category 1 hurricane. We'll be monitoring that. And that will be Friday evening by Saturday evening expected to be right out towards Halifax as a remnant low.

So again, rainfall totals three to five inches right around the Carolinas. Two to four inches possible here in the outer banks. But again some very strong winds are likely. You also have to add in the storm surge. Still about two to four feet of storm surge can impact this region. And remember, so many people fresh on their minds, Irene, 2011, the storm surge in this region broke apart Highway 12 in two places.

This is kind of the first test, the first time everyone is going to see whether or not the new engineering will hold and whether or not we'll see that highway hold this morning. That's a big concern here.

Of course everyone here headed for the 4th of July. A lot of questions. Everyone is really preparing for the storm that's expected later this evening, guys.

ROMANS: Irene, that terrible, terrible premonition for Sandy. It's been a really tough few years for people along the coast. No question.

HARLOW: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Thanks so much, Indra.

HARLOW: Well, Arthur is still hundreds of miles away, but Mother Nature put on quite a show here in the northeast last night. The skies over New York City lighting up during a wild storm. Lightning repeatedly hitting the spire at One World Trade Center. There was also severe flooding just north of Albany. Even emergency vehicles could not get through there. The winds also sent a tree toppling straight into a hour. Thousands were left without power.

ROMANS: The storms left a mess behind in Maine. Roads crumbled from rushing water, trees snapped in half, power lines down and heavy rains turning roads into rivers.


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


ROMANS: Flash flood watches in effect until tonight. Similar damage being reported throughout New England.

HARLOW: In eastern Pennsylvania also hit very hard by the storm. Cars were left struggling to get through feet of water there after flash flooding. This is about 30 miles from Philadelphia. More rain there expected today in the forecast.

Be sure to stay with us for the very latest on Arthur today, this morning, throughout the day. We're going to have live reports for you.

Also Chad Myers will have more on the rip currents at the beach. He's going to explain why they are so dangerous and how to escape if you get caught in one. That's coming up later in this half hour.

ROMANS: All right. Our other top story this morning. Security being stepped up at airports in Europe and the Middle East to protect flights headed to the U.S. This stems from reports al Qaeda was working on explosives that can get through the screening process at the airport.

So what changes are in store for travelers?

Our Matthew Chance is in London with more on that -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Christine. Well, actually what the transport officials here in Britain are saying is they don't believe these security measures are going to cause the kind of disruption that we've seen in the past when, for instance, restrictions on fluids were introduced on aircraft -- on planes bound for the United States from Europe and the other direction.

Nevertheless a lot of this work is going to be going on behind the scenes. It's a response, according to U.S. security sources, to a real-time and credible threat. British officials, transport officials here saying they're stepping up security at airports because they are concerned that militant groups, al Qaeda affiliates, specifically in Yemen and Syria, are actively developing technologies, explosive devices that would evade current airport screening technologies. And so that's obviously something of a major concern.

The big concern according to security officials is that militant groups, once they have perfected these kinds of devices would hide them on foreign fighters, people who have been off the fight in Syria, for instance, with the rebel groups there and who may carry Western passports on to these aircraft, obviously potentially causing enormous, enormous damage. And so that's what they say the main threat is.

Again, they don't -- they're not specifying, neither the administrations in the United States or in Britain are specifying what measures are actually going to be taken in addition to the security measures in place. But, again, they are saying that they are hoping they can keep disruption to normal passengers an absolutely minimum.

ROMANS: So, Matthew, was this prompted by any particular threat or are these changes just to ensure broader security based on the intelligence they've been gathering over the past months?

CHANCE: Yes, well, apparently, it is to a specific credible threat that's coming to us from U.S. officials. Homeland Security officials and the United States are saying there's a credible threat, not going into any detail about what that threat is. But it does fit into a whole kind of category of increased security restrictions that have been in place in airports since of course the years since 9/11.

We've had a whole host of plots of attempted attacks that have attempted to have been carried out. None of them have been successful, fortunately, but it's a long going process of reevaluating the security needs.

ROMANS: All right, Matthew Chance for us live this morning in London. Thank you, Matthew.

HARLOW: Developing this morning, conspiracy charges have been unsealed against the Colorado woman who allegedly wanted to join ISIS. Shannon Conley was arrested in April at a Denver airport. She first aroused suspicion at a Colorado church last year.


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


HARLOW: Well, court documents show that Conley allegedly told FBI agents she was going to marry a member of ISIS that she met on the Internet. The 19-year-old allegedly planned to be a nurse in an ISIS camp near the Turkish border.

ROMANS: A federal judge says the accused ringleader of the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will have to wait for trial in jail. Ahmed Abu Khattalah has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say he conspired and participated in the attack that killed four Americans. Defense lawyers argue the Justice Department hasn't provided evidence.

HARLOW: Soldiers who served with Bowe Bergdahl say they haven't been contacted by investigators looking into whether the army sergeant deserted his post. Several of his comrades say Bergdahl abandoned his base and have questions about the deal to bring him home last month after five years of captivity by the Taliban.

ROMANS: All right. Despite rampant problems, another big contract has been awarded to U.S. investigation services. USIS has secured a $190 million deal to help operate the nation's immigration system. This despite accusations it defrauded the government. It also vetted Edward Snowden for his NSA job. A government official says it's requited that the government accept the lowest bid unless the company has been suspended or barred and USIS has not.

HARLOW: Happening today, a field hearing in Texas for the Congressional Committee on Homeland Security. The focus is the illegal immigration crisis. Texas Governor Rick Perry will be among those testifying a day after urging President Obama to come to the border to visit to see it for himself.

Now the state has seen a huge jump in the number of children crossing into the U.S. without their parents. Now the conflict is playing out in California where protesters force buses of immigrant families to turn around. They were being taken to a facility then about 80 miles away.


KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel that your city then has become almost like a dumping ground?

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


HARLOW: Well, more families are scheduled to be flown to California in the coming weeks. The U.S. government detains and processes Central Americans who cross the border illegally. They're usually released and then given a month to report back but many never show up and remain undocumented.

ROMANS: Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning.

Stocks in record territory. Futures pointing higher again this morning. The Dow so, so close to 17000. It closed yesterday just 24 points away. And a record high for the second day in a row, by the way. The Dow closed above 16000 for the first just seven months ago. It's quite a run. But you can't win if you don't play.

Dow records are meaningless to the -- 45 percent, rather, of Americans who say they don't own stocks. If you're in, you've been riding a wave that's pretty impressive. According to analysis by "USA Today," the market has now run 1,000 days without a correction. That's the longest pain-free run since 1984 to 1987. There has not been a 10 percent correction -- look at that -- for 1,000 days.

HARLOW: Wow. Wow. Maybe it'll happen today.


HARLOW: Maybe. Happening now violence escalating in Iraq. Terrorists gaining ground on their deadly march towards Baghdad as the country's leader is hit with another challenge. We'll take you live there next to discuss.


HARLOW: New troubles this morning for Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki as he tries to retain his already tenuous grip on power. Fighting erupted between factions of Maliki Shiite party when security forces tried to seize the offices of Shiite cleric.

The infighting is breathing new life into the resistance as Sunni spread the insurgency and Kurds get ready to vote for their independence.

Arwa Damon has the latest from Baghdad.

Arwa, tell me about what's happening on the ground there now but also about U.S. intel concerns about this northwest push of ISIS and how far they're actually getting.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this preliminary assessment by the U.S. indicate that they do believe that Iraqi security forces will stand and fight for Baghdad, unlike what we saw them doing when ISIS first emerged during this massive operation where the vast majority of Iraqi security forces abandoned their position in the north. That being said, the U.S. is also very concerned about advanced ISIS is making towards the Baghdad airport from the northwest.

Now we traveled out to that front line that was about 15 miles away from the airport itself. Interestingly, Poppy, it is not being secured. That front line is not under the control of the Iraqi security forces but rather a Shia militia. Why? Because this militia has plenty of battle experience, especially when it comes to guerilla warfare. The vast majority of its members, Poppy, were fighting U.S. troops

during America's occupation of Iraq. The vast majority of them were also just fighting ISIS in Syria, protecting the holy Shia shrine there and they are the troops that the Iraqi government is deploying to one of these vital front lines with the Iraqi army providing them artillery support, but again relying on this unconventional force to protect and defend the perimeter of the capital -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. And you know, Maliki seems to be making this effort to try, try to calm the sectarian divisions, promising amnesty for some Sunni tribesman who have fought the government unless they have killed Iraqi forces. Is that making a difference on the ground there or is that seen as rhetoric that won't be followed through on?

DAMON: It's not making a difference that we've seen just yet. One also needs to remember that this is a prime minister who historically has made the Sunni population a lot of promises and effectively failed to uphold a single one. But at the same time, we are seeing some of the Sunni tribes already ever so slightly beginning to turn against ISIS because of the way that the terrorist organization is carrying out these mass executions, trying to implement this strict interpretation of the Sharia law.

But some of the tribal leaders that we've been speaking to continue to believe at this stage that the Maliki government is a bigger threat to the country than ISIS is. They say they are willing to turn on ISIS, they expect they will have to turn on ISIS at some point, but they do want to see that government of national unity formed. Then that is a process that is currently under way.

The prime minister himself is under a lot of pressure not to nominate himself for a third term. But we're going to have to wait and see how Iraqi politics play out.


DAMON: They are historically very messy.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Appreciate the update. Live from Baghdad for us.

Arwa Damon, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Kate Bolduan joining us this morning.

Hi, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Hey there, guys. Thanks so much. Of course we're going to be watching Hurricane Arthur as you are. The first hurricane of the season and it is early. The East Coast is bracing for strong winds even -- and heavy rains that will make for unfortunately could be a dangerous 4th of July.

We're live on the ground in North Carolina where mandatory evacuations are already underway in parts of the barrier islands. And we have everything you need to know on that front.

Plus, officials are also beefing up security on flights headed into the United States. Screening changes should be going into -- going into effect in coming days at select airports in Europe and the Mideast. Officials point to new concerns that terrorists are building bombs that can get past airport security measures. Should we be worried? What do you need to know? And what's it going to look like when you go to the airport now.


BOLDUAN: We'll talk about it.

ROMANS: This is certainly a troubling headline. Thanks for that, Kate. We'll be watching.

Hurricane Arthur, it is now a hurricane, gaining strength, spinning up the coast, packing dangerous winds and waves. What should you do if you are caught in the storm? We're going to tell you right after the break.


HARLOW: All right. We're now back at North Carolina where coastal towns are bracing for Hurricane Arthur. Residents all along the coast being forced to reconsider those plans for the 4th of July. Many celebrations either being moved up or postponed.

Before and after the storm, be sure to look out for riptides. Just because you can't see them does not mean they're not there and they're not dangerous.

Here's Chad Myers with more on what to look out 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 onshore 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 that 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 a West Coast beach for that matter, even across parts of 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 a sandbar breaks, you're getting a little erosion right through 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 in 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 for them 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 I'm going to go all the way across the ocean. That's how quickly you're being torn away from 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 back in. That will bring you onshore. All your body wants to do is turn around and swim this way against this. You got to literally have to tell yourself, stop swimming. Don't do it. You are going to wear yourself out.

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

Guys, back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Chad, thanks for that.

And honestly, you cannot -- even strong swimmers sometimes think they can do it.


ROMANS: And you get tired out so quickly. Be very, very careful. Watch what the lifeguards say. Watch the -- the flags on the beach and be very careful.

HARLOW: Pay attention. Absolutely.

ROMANS: Coming up, as if the hurricanes weren't enough of a problem, gas prices spiking just in time for your holiday getaway. How much will you expect to pay at the pump? An early check on your money. That's next.


ROMANS: All right. Let's get an EARLY START on your money this morning. We're looking at futures this morning. Futures are, you know, slightly higher. The Dow futures up about 16 points right now. And that could be enough to put us into a new record. It could happen.

Stocks are in record territory. Futures heading higher, maybe 17000 milestone could happen today. The Dow just shy -- it's 24 points shy of that marker yesterday. And at record high for the second day in a row. Today could be a big day for stocks depending on the jobs report. It comes out very soon. It's an early birthday present for the United States, I guess.

CNN Money predicts the job market added 200,000 jobs in June. Unemployment held steady at 6.3 percent. Yesterday we had this private sector employment report that showed very strong jobs growth month private companies in June. There's a lot of optimism around today's news as well.

Now if you are driving anywhere for the holiday weekend, the most important economic indicator for you is what you're going to pay at the pump, right? The national average, $3.57 a gallon. Almost 20 cents higher than last year's price. That is the highest price of any Independence Day weekend since 2008. Some states like California have prices above four bucks a gallon.

Driving the rise -- hike in oil prices escalating violence in Iraq causing fears the oil supply around the world could be disrupted. And now those fears are reflected at the pump.

Now sadly, the World Cup is over for Team USA, but the team did help shatter some viewing record. More than 20 million viewers watched the USA/Belgium game at home on Tuesday. That's the second most watched men's soccer match in the United States ever behind USA/Portugal on June 22nd. And 20 million doesn't measure the countless more who watched at parties and bars. Clearly a sign of soccer's growing popularity with Americans.

HARLOW: And it is about time.

ROMANS: It is about time.

HARLOW: Go Team USA. It's been a fun run.


ROMANS: 2018.

HARLOW: Four more years.

That's it for us. Good to be with you. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: If it's mandatory evacuation move, get out.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, Arthur now a hurricane. The first of the season moving quickly toward the Carolinas. Thousands evacuating as another storm wallops the northeast with more on the way. We are tracking it all.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Holiday nightmare. That double whammy of storms set to silence fireworks shows, snarl traffic and ground flights. This as new rules are announced for aviation security on flights coming into the U.S. What you need to know to get where you're going.

BOLDUAN: Boiling over. Angry residents last out at officials over immigration. The California town that forced buses of undocumented immigrants to reroute. Now a flash point in the national debate. We'll take you there.

Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.