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Arthur is Now A Hurricane; More Security for U.S.-Bound Flights; Escalating Violence in Middle East; Town Becomes Flashpoint in Border Crisis

Aired July 3, 2014 - 08:00   ET


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We didn't see any winds at all. Now, we're seeing a good 20-mile-per-hour winds out there, gusts even a little higher, starting to really feel the difference out here. As we know Hurricane Arthur is about 115 miles offshore of Charleston, South Carolina, continuing to strengthen. That is the concern, already starting to see some of those outer bands bringing the rain onshore there.

Now, it's all about the waiting game as the most impacts will be felt right here on the outer banks here in North Carolina. So, we're going to be watching this. Likely, the impact will be overnight tonight, in through the early morning hours, and tomorrow morning, on the Fourth of July, those early morning dawn hours. That's we're going to see the biggest impact here.

Then, it's going to quickly catch up with the jet stream ahead, towards the northeast, staying south of the Northeast. But if you look at the most western models, you do have the intersection potentially out towards Cape Cod. We're going to be watching that closely, that will be Friday evening and Halifax on Saturday.

Like I said, things are changing quickly. We know we're in store for a lot as we head through this evening.


PETERSONS (voice-over): In North Carolina's outer banks cars lined up to top off at the pump.

WOODY EDWARDS, NC RESIDENT: This storm is taking a trajectory we're just kind of worried about.

PETERSONS: Mandatory evacuations begin early this morning as Arthur strengthens, becoming a hurricane, threatening the holiday weekend for parts of the East Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move, get out, but even if you don't move, then stay away from the water as much as possible.

PETERSONS: Twenty-five counties now under a state of emergency.

Massive wind gusts turning water so dangerous, two ship captains were ordered to dock and abandon their charter boats along the shore.

JASON, CHARTER BOAT CAPTAIN: You get a big storm surge that it can easily bust through any part of the outer banks without much of a problem.

PETERSONS: And Arthur won't stop there, heading up the East Coast, the storms looming over some of the biggest Independence Day fireworks displays.

Ocean City, Maryland, postponing their Fourth of July fireworks, while Bostonians will enjoy their festivities a day early.

COLONEL TIMOTHY ALBEN, MASS. STATE POLICE: It's not optimal. We wish it were but we've got to deal with this.

PETERSONS: And in D.C., the electric company is closely monitoring Arthur, which could produce strong, damaging wind gusts, large hail and frequent lightning, possibly delaying the iconic National Mall fireworks until Saturday.

But on Wednesday, the sun was still shining in North Carolina and the beaches were full of vacationers who say their patriotic partying on the shore will go on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll just ride it out and see what happens.


PETERSONS: As things continue to change pretty quickly out here, fresh on everyone's minds, at least on the outer banks is Irene. Back in 2011, those storm surge was so high it cut into Highway 12 and broke it and intersected it in two places.

This is going to be the first test since then with the new engineering to see whether or not that will hold and again those evacuations are in place. We're expecting 15 to 20-foot waves. Hopefully, everything can withstand as, again, the conditions only continue to deteriorate right here.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Indra, yes, folks won't soon forget Irene at all. She's been pointing out to us much of North Carolina's coast up to the Virginia border are under this hurricane warning.

Want to head further south, about 230 miles south of where Indra is to Wrightsville Beach, where we find our Alina Machado.

And I know that we've been watching your shot all morning and I have noticed the winds are picking up and you're bracing yourself. You've got some weather there.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Michaela, it's amazing what a difference about half an hour makes. I mean, we had the sun out, everything was gorgeous and all of a sudden, (AUDIO GAP) there is a lot of wind, we're starting to see rain. The surf has really picked up. There were a bunch of people out here on the beach earlier today.

They were enjoying the beautiful (AUDIO GAP) and as you can see, this beach is pretty much clear now. This is what we are expecting here throughout the morning, throughout the day. This is just the beginning.

And I want to show you something, there's barely anyone here, right? I want to pan over here. There's a guy out there, windsurfing, taking advantage of the rough surf. Not necessarily the best idea, though, because there is the danger for rip currents and other, there are other concerns here.

So, honestly, people here are being told to stay home, stay out of the water and just prepare and wait for Arthur to pass -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Alina Machado, thanks for that.

That kite surfer wants to get out of that water as soon as he can. Obviously, conditions there are only going to go from bad to worse.

We want to bring in Rick Knabb. He is director of the National Hurricane Center. He's the guy that knows it all and probably keeping the keenest eye on Arthur.

Thanks so much for joining us.

What are you seeing right now? What can you tell us? Give you an update about Arthur?

RICK KNABB, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Well, Arthur is strengthening hurricane. It's not rapidly strengthening but it is on the upswing in intensity, we just issued a new intermediate advisory, maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. The main thing that people need to be doing in North Carolina is whatever their local officials tell them to do because the conditions will be deteriorating as the day goes on from south to north over the outer banks of North Carolina.

PEREIRA: Expecting this to make landfall and if so, where are you looking at that to be?

KNABB: OK. It's not really critical whether or not the center actually crosses land with regards to whether or not impacts occur. We're going to get impacts with wind and water. It's not completely certain if the center will actually pass over land or not, but it's going to be near or over the other banks of North Carolina. And either way, the hurricane conditions are expected somewhere in the hurricane warning area, that will be mostly overnight tonight, and we still have also the risk of some storm surge flooding of two to four feet.

And whatever the local officials told folks to do in terms of evacuations or other preparedness instructions, you need to do it and not be focusing on whether or not the center is going to go right over you or not, because Hurricanes are not just a point on the map. PEREIRA: Your point of clarification, I appreciate that. We know

that Arthur has been categorized as a cat 1 hurricane. We've talked with our reporters about the concern local authorities have for rip currents, for flash flooding.

What other things are you concerned about and want to alert people to?

KNABB: Well, I'm glad you mentioned water because we know that in the past several decades, water has taken more lives than wind has in land following United States tropical cyclones. So, the inland flooding due to heavy rain, the rip currents and waves and we have a lot of people die in the ocean. And then there's also the storm surge flooding. We could see two to four feet of water above normally dry ground.

And our graphic that we have on our Web site at, this new potential storm surge flooding graphic that I'm showing here, shows a number of spots that could get higher than three feet over normally dry ground. So, this is one of the hazards, not just the wind that people need to be contending with and it's one of the reasons why emergency managers should be telling folks to evacuate from places like Hatteras Island.

PEREIRA: We know that you are the hurricane folks. You know these things inside and out, and study their behavior. Is it concerning to you that we're seeing a hurricane forming this early in the season. Is it telling about what we should expect?

KNABB: History teaches us that early season activity is not a really good predictor of peak of season activity and it's not at all unusual for a tropical storm or hurricane to form close to the southeastern United States in June or July. That's happened many times before, and this is another example of that.

So, whether or not this is going to be the last storm or hurricane to affect the United States this year, we don't know, but the season is very young. It's not unusual to have a June or July landfall and certainly not unusual to later have threatening storms or hurricanes in the peak of the season no matter what has happened in June or July.

PEREIRA: So, what things do you look for then? You say that the timing isn't necessarily the case. It's where it started to form more of an indicator?

KNABB: Well, the early season activity in June and July, as in the case of Arthur, is not the kind of development process that we'll see in the deep tropics most likely during the peak of the hurricane season. This did not originate from a tropical wave that left Africa, and that's where we're going to start to look farther south and east, way to the south and east of where Arthur formed is where the peak of season activity tends to form, where most of the major hurricanes have their origination, and what happens in the deep tropics and in the Caribbean in the peak months of the hurricane season is what we're really going to be looking for to understand how the overall season evolves.

But early season systems can form close to home, and Arthur is another example of that.

PEREIRA: Finally, Rick, since we have you and know it's Fourth of July, I'm sure you and your team have plans for this weekend and probably involves watching Arthur. I'm curious what you would say to people about their plans for this holiday weekend. Obviously, local authorities are telling people to stay away from the shores.

What other things would you advise people that maybe are looking at having to alter their plans for the holiday weekend?

KNABB: Well, first thing is to not tune out. Don't presume that based on what you've seen with what the track shows or any information you've heard kind of in passing that that means that the location you're going to is not going to be affected, because even far away from where the track of the hurricane is going to be, you can have dangerous waves and rip currents and what you want to do is call ahead to the place that you're thinking of going to make sure that it's going to be safe to do the things that you're planning to do.

And depending on where you're going, the answer could be different, so there's no one answer for everyone. Certainly, the affects in North Carolina are going to be different than the effects on the Jersey Shore or up in Maine.

So, you want to call ahead to the place you're going and follow what the local officials or the people running the hotels down there have to offer for you in terms of what they're expecting in that particular location, but plan safety into your holiday weekend no matter where it is you're going.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. We can replace things, we can't replace people. Safe advice from NOAA's National Hurricane Center and Rick Knabb.

Thanks so much for joining us. Have a safe and happy Fourth. I'm sure it will be a busy one for you

KNABB: Thank you very much.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You can expect to see some increased security for U.S.-bound flights particularly at airports in Europe and the Middle East. It's in response to reports of terror groups working to develop explosives that can't be detected by current airport screening methods.

Pamela Brown is live in Washington with more of the details.

So, what are the changes people should be expecting?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, first, I want to make it clear this has nothing to do with domestic flights over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This applies only to direct flights coming to the U.S. overseas.

So, what DHS is doing is responding to new intelligence about terror groups like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who have long tried to build new types of bombs to evade detection, bombs with less explosive residue and metallic components. So, DHS is now working with airlines, especially the three main U.S. carriers and specific airports overseas to put these new security measures in place, additional inspection of shoes and electronics, additional explosive traces in detection of machines, more pat-downs of passengers and in some cases, another set of screenings and more random checks, and more random checks among other measures.

DHS official I spoke to this morning telling me that screeners will be looking for something specific and passengers overseas at these specific airports may notice these changes over the next few days -- Kate and Michaela.

BOLDUAN: The panel as you well know, TSA doesn't have jurisdiction at airports overseas. How are they working with international airport officials to make sure that these measures are put into place and up to the standard that U.S. officials want?

BROWN: Well, according to the DHS official I spoke with, there's TSA personnel overseas already and they're going to ensure by working with the airports and with these airlines that these new measures are put into place and if they're not up to the standard that DHS is asking for, then TSA can say, look, you can't fly to the U.S. until you put these measures into place. So, it is able to do that, and it is currently working with these foreign governments, airports and airlines, to make this happen.

BOLDUAN: Pamela Brown in Washington, thanks so much. We'll talk to you soon.

We're also following breaking news on this front, the U.S. embassy in Uganda is warning there is a specific threat to attack, threatening an attack on the airport in Kampala today. Intelligence sources say an unknown terrorist group planned the attack on Entebbe International Airport between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. tonight, if you can believe on the specificity.

Officials are warning travelers to review flight plans in light of this new information. Ugandan police have drastically increased surveillance in the country in the wake of recent attacks by Islamic insurgents.

PEREIRA: Meanwhile, the violence raging in the Middle East showing no signs of letting up. Israel launching airstrikes at Gaza overnight in response to rockets being fired into Israel, all of this comes as the divide between Israelis and Palestinians deepens over a possible revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager after the deadly abduction and killing of three Israeli teens.

CNN's Atika Shubert back live for us in Jerusalem today.

Tense moments there yesterday. Good to see you back on air with us. What's the latest, Atika?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we seem to have entered a sort of lull at the moment in Jerusalem. We saw some of those protests, those angry flashes spreading from the Suafat (ph) neighborhood where we were yesterday into other parts of East Jerusalem. Fortunately, it seems to have died down for now.

We did see the air strikes overnight in Gaza as well, hitting a number of Hamas targets, and rockets launched from Gaza into southern Israel. One of them hitting a child care center. Fortunately, everybody was in a safe room there so nobody was hurt, but it's still scary nonetheless.

Despite all this, Israeli authorities say they are trying to deescalate the situation, saying they're trying to lessen the points of friction, both in the West Bank and just be in Gaza only defensively. We'll see whether or not that works, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Apparently, the de-escalation requires a certain amount of diplomacy as well.

Atika Shubert, thank you so much for that.

I want to turn to Christine Romans. She is keeping an eye on top stories of the day.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again both of you.

The Georgia man whose son died after hours in a hot SUV, he is due in court today. Prosecutors will make their case that Justin Harris committed a crime. He has maintained his little boy's death was an accident. Harris pleaded not guilty to murder and child cruelty charges but he's faced scrutiny over Internet searches about deaths in hot cars.

Breaking news overnight from New Orleans, police found and questioned a person of interest in the weekend shooting on Bourbon Street. The 20-year-old man has been arrested on unrelated charges. Authorities are looking for another person in that case. Ten people were shot in a busy part of the French Quarter early Sunday morning. One of those people died Wednesday.

Firefighters battling wildfires scattered across northern and central California. No injuries have been reported but two homes have burned. Hundreds more evacuated in Napa, lake counties. Fire crews from as far as Los Angeles have been called to fight this blaze. The fire intensified in the afternoon. Temperatures rose into the 90s, very low humidity. More of the same hot, dry weather is expected today.

Team USA may have been knocked out in the World Cup but they received big praise from the fan-in-chief, President Obama. The president called Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey to congratulate them and joked about their newly minted star status.


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


ROMANS: He also told them that they did great. They captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country here.

PEREIRA: They really did.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

PEREIRA: That is spot on.

BOLDUAN: And I don't think it often happens that the president calls any kind of athlete, if they haven't won the actual event.

PEREIRA: That's true. Very good point. All eyes on still on Brazil. Don't I go up on World Cup fever.

ROMANS: We're already looking at 2018.

BOLDUAN: With the U.S. out, you're supporting brazil.

PEREIRA: I am, too. Pick one, you have time to marinate on it.

BOLDUAN: I will marinate. I have no idea.

All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a town outraged by the growing immigration crisis hosts a fiery meeting after flag-waving protesters forced busloads of undocumented immigrants to be rerouted. We'll have the latest on this very tense standoff coming up.

PEREIRA: And how is the U.S. doing when it comes to creating jobs? New unemployment or employment numbers set to be released this morning. An interesting gaffe I made there. We'll dive into what it all means, ahead.


BOLDUAN: More undocumented immigrants could arrive in the southern California town of Murrieta tomorrow and some fear it could get uglier than what they saw earlier this week.

Dozens of angry protesters met three buses of undocumented immigrants from central America, they were transferred from overwhelmed border facilities in Texas. The buses ended up having to be rerouted and go to another town because they just could not get through.

Last night, the protests and the anger continued at a heated town hall.

Kyung Lah has much more on that.


CROWD: Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before the Murrieta town hall began, debate began exploding in the crowd.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your kids are going to get sick, don't you guys understand that?


LAH: Inside the packed auditorium, cheers drowned out any opposition to the city's stand against the federal government's bussing in of undocumented immigrants. On Tuesday, a wall of protesters blocked the entrance to the Murrieta border patrol station. Three buses carried 140 undocumented immigrants from Central America, many of them women and children. They're part of an influx of migrants cramming facilities in Texas. Many of them unaccompanied children.

A total of 60,000 to 80,000 children without parents are expected to cross illegally this year. The federal government coping by shipping them to smaller towns like Murrieta, but Murrieta's protesters --


LAH: -- forced these buses to turn around.


LAH: This town hall underscored Murrieta still does not want them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an invasion. Why is the National Guard not out there stopping them from coming in?


MAYOR ALAN LONG, MURRIETA, CALIFORNIA: This is admittedly a nationwide problem, and little old Murrieta has taken the lead in getting change.

LAH: In a week that has shown the uglier side of the immigration debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I being detained? Am I being detained?

LAH: The small town embraces for the next wave of buses, the next which could happen as soon as the Fourth of July.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Murrieta, California.


BOLDUAN: It does not look like it's going to get any better any time soon.

PEREIRA: Heated, heated passion at the border.

All right. We'll take a short break here on NEW DAY. Up ahead, a key indicator of how the economy is doing, its health. The jobs report, the latest numbers coming up in a matter of minutes.

BOLDUAN: And we're following Arthur's every move. How bad are things going to get? And what does it mean for your Fourth of July? We're tracking it for you.


BOLDUAN: You see it right there, welcome back to NEW DAY.

We continue to follow the breaking news this morning, Arthur has now become a hurricane, packing dangerous 75-mile-an-hour winds, 80-mile- an-hour sustained winds in some places, heading straight for North Carolina's outer banks. That's where we have our Indra Petersons.

Indra, what are you seeing right now? How has it changed this morning and how is it going to change pretty quickly today?

PETERSONS: Yes, we continue to watch Arthur strengthen right now on the outer banks. It still seems like a beautiful day but we're right on the threshold where we know things are deteriorating quickly. We're seeing winds continuing to pick up, almost each every half and half or so, seeing winds coming out of the southwest, about 20 miles per hour.

We know it's only going to get worse from here. Arthur is continuing to strengthen, seeing those steady winds at 80 miles per hour, making its track to the north-northeast about nine miles per hour. Those outer bands already producing some rain right off of Charleston, South Carolina.

So, about a good 1,500 miles or so offshore there.

So, what is expected from there? That's the big question. Well, it's going to continue to track to the north-northeasterly direction overnight tonight in through tomorrow morning in the outer banks. That is the closest Arthur is expected to get to the mainland. In fact, likely a direct impact there. So again that's those overnight hours expected about 85-mile-per-hour steady winds making it a category 1 hurricane.

Then, it's going to quickly exit off to the northeast. It will move faster to catch up with the jet stream but staying south of the Northeast.

But keep in mind -- if you look at the farthest western portion of that track, that cone, there is a chance you could feel impacts in Cape Cod, the evening of the Fourth of July. Then, by Saturday, it will become a remnant low towards Halifax.

So, that's the concern. We know things will be changing quickly here. Heavy rainstorm surge and maybe 15, 20-foot waves are expected in this region, guys.

PEREIRA: And, look, Indra, as we said, you can move your plans maybe to Saturday instead of grilling on Friday, maybe move it to Saturday, because Saturday is shaping up to be a nice looking day. You stay safe out there, darling, OK?

PETERSONS: Thank you. I'll park myself here.

PEREIRA: Park yourself right there.

Hurricane Arthur may be the main weather event but parts of the Northeast had to deal with a night of violent storms. Check this out, quite a light show. Nighttime lightning strikes in New York City hitting some of the high-rises. The rough weather is expected to cause flight delays, all sorts of cancellations across the country. You couple that with another powerful storm system coming in from the West. Well, folks, you have a recipe for travel nightmares.

Jason Carroll is looking all the nightmares for us. He's live in New York's LaGuardia Airport.

How are delays looking right now?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just say, it looks like so far New Yorkers are weathering the storms pretty well.

Take a look at airport security, Michaela. I know you're like me. You're in and out of the airports, a lot of you, ever seen security looking that clear, but that's the story here today. Last night, though, it was a much different story.


CARROLL (voice-over): A spectacular show from Mother Nature, lightning hitting the Empire State Building and New York City high- rises.