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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Hurricane Arthur Close to Landfall; Police: Dad Was Sexting As Son Was Dying; Hurricane Arthur Getting Stronger
Aired July 3, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Approaching land, bracing for impact, Hurricane Arthur pushing up the beaches of North Carolina right now with sheets of rain, surging waves, 90 mile an hour winds possible, twisters even. The storm is only expected to get stronger as we approach the Fourth of July and the storm approaches the continental U.S.
CNN on the ground right now for a special breaking news coverage of the storm.
Welcome to our special coverage here on CNN. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, I'm Brooke Baldwin tonight here at the CNN center in Atlanta. We are here to bring you the very latest on these two big breaking stories today.
TAPPER: First, Hurricane Arthur, of course, whipping the beaches of the Carolinas right now very close to making a direct hit with the eye wall of the storm. New tornado warnings in three eastern North Carolina counties right now.
Our reporters are scattered all along the coast ready to bring you every angle. Alina Machado is in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Rene Marsh is in Atlantic Beach. Joe Johns way out on the outer banks in Kill Devil Hills, that's in the northern part of the coastline. Chad Myers of course standing by in the CNN Severe Weather Center.
We'll get the latest from all of them over the next hour as the storm barrels north but, of course -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: The other big story tonight, Tapper.
BALDWIN: That staggering, staggering story. The details from the courtroom today in Georgia during this hearing. This is a probable cause bond hearing for this father. Here he is, the father of this 22-month-old toddler Cooper, died just a couple of weeks ago in the sweltering hot SUV on a hot Georgia summer day.
The father is Justin Ross Harris. Judge denied him bond today and the judge ruled that he will indeed stand trial on felony murder charges for leaving his 22-month-old in that car, 90 something degree day in Georgia in June.
This lead police detective testified today that Harris, seated here in that orange jumpsuit, was sexting with several women, one of whom was 17 years of age, and not only that, by the way, this father was sending nude photos of himself to these women the day his son died.
Also, we learned today that there is not just one but two life insurance policies that he had taken out on his son. We'll have much more on the case, the new details coming up. Horrendous, horrendous.
Just watching this, Jake Tapper, leaves you speechless.
TAPPER: No, it's crazy and you and I were talking about this a week ago. The sympathies of the country were with this family.
TAPPER: Because 35 to 40 kids in the United States every year die this way. It's obviously a tragedy but now the shocking details from this hearing earlier today. But right now let's turn back to the hurricane if we can.
I want to bring in Chad Myers. He's in the CNN Severe Weather Center in Atlanta and let's also go out to Rene Marsh. She's standing on the shoreline in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.
Rene, tell -- you've been there all day, describe the conditions right now.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Jake, right now at this point we are getting a little bit of rain. The wind is starting to pick up but I can tell you that this certainly goes in rounds here and we're in that round where we are getting some precipitation but take a look.
I want you to see just how rough the surf is out here. The good thing is we're not seeing anyone in -- in the water and that's the good thing because that's the warning that they have been giving all day and even in the days leading up to this.
We can tell you there were ferries that were taking people to those islands, those barrier islands on to higher ground. We know that those ferries are no longer operating. We are, though, expecting to hear from the governor in about another hour or so.
And another thing we want to point out to people is just in about two hours from now, Jake, we expect that those curfews will begin kicking in, but here, what we're noticing is a mild wind and of course, that always comes in rounds here and rough surf but, of course, as the time goes on and as it gets a little bit later, we expect things to deteriorate even more -- Jake.
TAPPER: Chad Myers, let's bring you in if you have any question you want to ask Rene. CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I have a little bit of a -- just
an observation for Rene. Rene, being right here, up in an area right there to where she is. There's an awful lot of weather coming in. In the next 15 to 20 minutes, you're going to see the worst weather you've seen so far, Rene, and then in about an hour, you're getting northern eye wall. That's where the 75-mile-per-hour winds are going to be.
Do the people there that are kind of walking around -- do they know they are going to get in the eye wall pretty soon?
MARSH: You know what? I'm going to bet that they don't know, Chad, because they haven't been paying very close attention. You know, they've been coming to us to get updates on what's happening, what is next, when is it actually going to make its way to the coast. So we've been kind of filling people in.
I mean, we witnessed a short time ago, I'd say maybe 45 minutes, an hour ago, there was a police officer who was pretty much walking up and down this boardwalk. His mission was to make sure that people were not going into the water. We saw him go all the way to the edge there, and we asked him when he got back what was going on. Apparently two surfers were out there. They got themselves kind of caught in a situation where they didn't feel that they would be able to get back to the shore.
And that's why he made his way out there. Again, just prime example of why they are telling you, it may look fun, these may look like waves that you want to try out but we just saw a situation that unfortunately it ended well, they were able to get out of the water. They're just fine.
BALDWIN: Thank goodness.
MARSH: But just an example of what we're seeing out here. I think these folks are just very curious and they want to see what Arthur has to offer.
BALDWIN: Rene Marsh, let me take it from you. I know these parts of North Carolina, people love to surf these waves and when you see a storm like this, don't do it. We've heard Chad Myers said don't do it. At least we're not seeing people behind you. The rain is falling but let me tell you, when we go to this live shot from the -- right to a beach area, Alina Machado, she's been out there for hours and hours today, and the pictures have worsen increasingly ominous.
Alina Machado, let me just go to you here, if we can, I mean, I can see the rain really coming down on you now.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, we are just absolutely getting slammed right now by Arthur. You can see the wind gusts really pick up here and the rain is just coming down. It is really, really bad here. We've seen conditions deteriorate here probably rather rapidly. I'd say within the last 10 minutes, this just started happening, and Brooke, it's rough out here.
BALDWIN: I will take your word for it. Be safe to you and your crew.
Chad Myers, I mean, you've covered a number of these different hurricanes and several of them, obviously, have hit the coastal areas of North Carolina but as you're looking at that swirling and swirling, it seems like whatever Alina is experiencing right now, it's almost foreshadowing what Rene is about to see.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Alina, you know, the two separate parts of the storm really intense.
MYERS: Because we have onshore flow here and that's what we expect from Rene but now what we have here for Alina, you are on the backside of the eye wall.
Alina, I am assuming that your wind has shifted direction almost 180 degrees, is that true?
MACHADO: It is. It is, Chad. I don't know if you can see the direction of the wind just by the way the rain is falling, but yes, it's whipping around the other direction and it's coming down pretty hard and the wind gusts are pretty impressive.
MYERS: Yes, your wind gusts are at least 65 miles per hour on the backside of that eye and as we go up towards the northeast, Rene's, as we get into this part right here, you not only have wind gusts near 70 to 90 miles per hour, you have the forward motion and so as our reporters continue to get better and get worse, Alina, you'll get better, Rene you're about to get slammed by the worst of this storm.
The worst obviously you've seen so far but you never can take the backside, Alina, out of the storm. You can never not count that because all of a sudden you boarded up the east side of your house and the winds are blowing through the west side of your house. And I have not seen you have winds like that the entire time we've been there.
MACHADO: No, this is unique. We have seen some strong wind gusts throughout the night and also throughout the -- throughout the afternoon, but nothing like this, Chad, nothing like this.
MYERS: Brooke, Jake?
BALDWIN: All right. Let me jump in, Chad Myers, if you're still with me. We have these different live pictures. But I know we have different live cameras as well.
Chad, you've been watching some of this -- not some of it, you've been watching it all night long with the rest of us. At least we're not seeing as many people walking behind these live shots, thank goodness.
BALDWIN: As we saw people stand up paddle boarding and on an ATV earlier. You know, in some of these parts of North Carolina and here you go, these are live pictures, pretty clear beaches, obviously some traffic there on the left side of your screen. You know, some areas mandatory evacuations, some voluntary.
Is this the worst of it at least for the Wrightsville Beach area right now? Is it really now officially moving northward?
MYERS: Yes, it's officially done for Wrightsville. It's done for North Myrtle. It's done for any place in South Carolina and here you can see the cities, Morehead City, Surf City, Wilmington, Oak Island and what -- take that off, this looks like a giant catcher's mitt right there, Brooke.
All of this water is getting in here and it can't leave. It can't just go down the beach. It's stuck here and so we're really expecting the storm surge to be much worse than what was expected in some spots, at least five to seven feet and that will over wash some of these beaches -- Brooke.
TAPPER: Let me jump in if I could.
MYERS: Go ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: One time after Hurricane Katrina I did an experiment where we went in a wind tunnel every now and then. Correspondents do these things like this to feel what it actually feels like to have a 90- mile-an-hour wind, a 100-mile-an-hour wind. I think we got up to 112. It felt like the skin was about to be ripped off my skull.
TAPPER: Alina Machado, just where you are right now, obviously you're in a lot of discomfort. Obviously the winds are really picking up. Tell us what you're feeling right now.
MACHADO: Well, it's interesting because it's been pretty warm all day but right now it's actually pretty cold. I have felt the -- it seems like the temperature at least for me has gone down quite a bit. And also it -- it's actually dying just a little bit. It comes and it goes. It's very difficult to predict. It's very uncomfortable but you really got a sense of just how strong this storm is.
I do want to point something out. It's bad right now. And it hasn't been this bad all day and we have seen people out. But I want to point out that right now you can see behind me there are very few cars out on the roads. We're not really seeing a whole lot of people walking around so that's obviously good news because people here seemed to be listening to the warnings, paying attention to what authorities have told them -- Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, Alina, we keep seeing these cars driving by you and obviously in the outer banks we keep seeing images of individuals walking around on the beach. And I have to say Lt. Gen. Honore was on the show earlier and felt as though -- he seemed to be suggesting that he didn't think people had been sufficiently told to leave the area.
And I wonder if that's true seeing the traffic when you are maybe 10, 15 minutes away, maybe from an hour away, Chad says, from the -- well, 10 or 15 minutes away for you and an hour for Rene for the eye of the storm coming in.
MACHADO: Yes, it's hard to say, you know, who these people are and where they are going. It is a big holiday week here. There are many people who are from other towns who are pretty much stuck in this area. They -- they don't really have anywhere to go. But I think for the most part, people -- the people who are from here are used to hurricanes. Especially when you hear category one, category two, there was some anxiety but most of that anxiety that we've seen all day has been coming from people who aren't from here. People who are vacationing, people who are unfamiliar with hurricanes.
So my hope is that people are actually going to be staying home and that what we're seeing is the exception rather than the rule.
TAPPER: Brooke, did you want to pick up?
BALDWIN: Yes, let me jump in. Alina Machado, thank you. We'll hop back to you and other correspondents but, Chad, as we focus so much on North Carolina.
BROWN: And rightfully so as we're watching this thing swirling up the coastline, severe thunderstorm warning tonight for people in New York City.
MYERS: Right. You know, hurricane winds in North Carolina and tropical storm force winds in New York City not even related at all to Arthur. A cold front coming through New York City right now. We tried to get that live shot from LaGuardia. It went dead because of this. We have all of these thunderstorms moving right through New York City proper and this is not at all attached to tropical moisture.
Lightning and thunder just like last night.
BALDWIN: Look at the sky.
MYERS: Yes. Just like last night in New York City where lightning danced across the city. The same thing happening right now coming over Hoboken, coming over all of New Jersey, (INAUDIBLE) by the Amboys, all the way up to the Palisades, and right even into Connecticut tonight. More severe weather, severe thunderstorm warnings all across the northeast right now -- Brooke.
TAPPER: All right. We're going to take a quick break right now.
And coming up, we're going to go back to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, to see how the residents there are holding up.
BALDWIN: We'll stay on that story, we'll talk to our reporters, who we're grateful for standing out in these conditions for us. Also tonight we're following this horrendous story, this father in Georgia accused of murdering his toddler by leaving him in his hot car. In the morning, multiple hours, what the baby's mother that actually said that surprised police. That's ahead.
BALDWIN: All right. Welcome back to our special breaking news coverage.
Hurricane Arthur. Picture of Topsail Island, North Carolina, just absolutely ominous skies. The rain really beginning to come down. And keep in mind this storm here, 90 miles an hour winds, pounding these beaches that would have been jam-packed full of people and some of them were this afternoon as it was beautiful blue skies this afternoon but think about tonight and think about tomorrow for the festivities for the 4th of July and then on top of this, let me tell you also, that tornado warnings are in effect for parts of eastern North Carolina.
So let's bring back Alina Machado, our correspondent in Wrightsville Beach, and also, we have Andrew Ruiz, an affiliate reporter with WNCT.
Andrew, why don't we begin with you? Tell me where you are and what people are telling you there.
ANDREW RUIZ, WNCT REPORTER: We're here in Atlantic Beach and the conditions are worsening. We're pretty close to where Rene is and in reality the people have been vacating the beach just because it's almost gotten unbearable. Just take a look at the waves and the wind that is coming. I mean, I can feel it on my face. You've got the raindrops pelting your face then you've also got the sand that continues to pick up and come on over here, but Atlantic Beach is really happening right now.
We're definitely getting some of those bands that I've heard you guys talk about and to be very honest with you, I think people are just going back into their houses because it's completely unbearable out here.
BALDWIN: At least as we're watching you, Andrew -- let me just stay with you for a minute. At least it's clear behind you. No one, no one there, no one gawking, no one with phones, but I want to ask, because there are different types of evacuations. What were people told in that community?
RUIZ: Well, here in Atlantic Beach, it was not a mandatory evacuation. People were being asked to stay at home if they choose to do so but what they have done instead here is they put curfews in place. Right here at 11:00 people are being asked to be inside their homes and just further down in Emerald Aisle, they have to be inside their homes at 10:00. So no mandatory evacuation but when I was at the EOC this morning, they were telling people please stay inside your homes because you don't want to be in the way of either law enforcement or EMS.
BALDWIN: Andrew Ruiz for us live in Atlantic Beach, thank you, with our affiliate WNCT.
Alina Machado, let's head back to you at Wrightsville Beach. This is the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. The rain is absolutely pouring down where you are. You're describing the wind. Andrew mentioned a curfew where he is, 11:00 tonight.
What's the situation at Wrightsville Beach?
MACHADO: You know, obviously, the conditions here are much worse and we've been playing with Arthur so to speak all day. We've been getting a taste of him all day little by little. Nothing like this, though, in terms of the combination of the really strong wind gusts and the heavy downpours that we're experiencing right now, but in terms of people here, again, they were not told to evacuate. They were not, as far as I know, and we've been in close contact with officials here, there is no curfew here in Wrightsville Beach.
What they have told people is to use common sense to stay home while the storm is going on and also to stay out of the water. Earlier today, we did see many surfers, several surfers out in the water trying to catch some waves but they did get out as the conditions worsened throughout the afternoon. We are seeing some cars out on the road but again it's not as much traffic as you would expect on a holiday week -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: But still, just like Andrew saying, people are heeding the warnings, not necessarily mandatory evacuation, it's like queue the cars coming behind you. Clearly -- Alina Machado, thank you.
Jake Tapper, I mean, clearly people are out and about. People have taken off from work, and not everyone is staying inside.
TAPPER: That's right. It's disturbing to see for a lot of us.
Joining me on the phone, we have two guests, a man who is literally in the center of the storm, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners Warren Judge. Also joining us is Lt. Gen. Russell Honore. He commanded military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Let's start with you, Mr. Judge, Dare County, which is on the coast, it encompasses Hatteras. It's expected to take the heavy damage. Emergency Management just warned residents to be prepared for significant over wash and sound side flooding. What are you telling citizens who are still there?
WARREN JUDGE, DARE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: Well, hopefully, Hatteras Island, visitors have heeded the warning for evacuations and residents have heeded the warning for evacuation. Those are still there. They know that they have got to be inside. They have got to protect themselves, that it won't be long before all emergency services can't respond such as EMS and fire and sheriff. So it's a night of waiting things out when you're at home on the Hatteras Island.
TAPPER: Mr. Judge, we've been seeing people on the beach all day in your county and other counties. Are there any places people can go if they haven't gotten out when this inevitably gets worse? JUDGE: Well, there are no -- there are no Red Cross type shelters in
the county. The beach towns have just recently sent their fire departments out because of the shift in the storm and the track at 5:00 began to -- you know, created a new impact for us north of -- on the northern beaches.
The fire departments have gone around with their trucks, the sirens, their men, their women, their loud speakers urging everybody to vacate the ocean front. If they didn't want to get in their cars and check out and head home or head inland that the county had opened shelters and schools that they could go over and seek shelter.
TAPPER: Let me bring in General Honore.
General, what should the biggest concern be with the storm? Is it flooding? Is it wind damage? Is there lethal potential here that people should be guarding against right now?
Yes, flooding is going to be the biggest event that we can face. You know, flooding kill more people than any other event that we basically manually. And in this case we got flooding and more rain. That could happen in low-lying areas. But the biggest impact would be the surge hitting low-lying areas and pushing that water into through the coastal, North Carolina. You know, I make (INAUDIBLE) North Carolina great National Guard. They have to respond quickly.
The problem is, people start making their own estimates based on the category of storm. What is not taken into consideration is the amount of surge water that can come in and over match your house that you're in as we saw in Sandy. It wasn't even a category one but it's the surge water that can destroy the home and get people trapped in low- lying areas. So again, I think the message should have been louder and clearer all day, move away from the coastline and definitively tell the people to move away as opposed to trying to shelter in place or wait until the storm passed so we can get on with the 4th of July weekend. More people should have canceled their trips.
I hope I'm a mission of call in the dark here to people who have not arrived there yet to go away from the storm and wait that 24 hours. That 100 mile an hour wind, Jake, will take the distribution lines down. The distribution lines bring electricity to the area, let alone the service lines that are to come down as a result of trees. And that's going to make for miserable conditions. So if you haven't arrived, go away from the storm, wait out 24 hours and see if the area can still be occupied.
TAPPER: Lt. General Russell Honore, thank you so much for that sound advice.
Warren Judge, stay safe out there. We will be thinking and praying for the people of Dare County.
Coming up, more on Hurricane Arthur just how many cities and towns along the Eastern Seaboard will the storm smash? We're going to take a closer look at the most vulnerable areas. That's coming up. BALDWIN: Also ahead tonight, new details, heart-wrenching details out
of this Cobb County, Georgia, courthouse today. This is the father facing felony murder for killing his little toddler, alleging sexting with different women as his son was trapped slowly dying in a scorching hot car.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN special live coverage of Hurricane Arthur as it slams the east coast. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. You're looking at pictures from New York City, this is not even related to the much more severe weather hitting North Carolina. There you see shots from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I believe the eye wall of Hurricane Arthur is about 20 minutes away, 20 to 30 minutes away from hitting there.
There are some shots from northern North Carolina on the outer banks. We're following a huge development in a case that has gripped the nation. Allegations out of the case in Cobb County, Georgia. Brooke Baldwin, of course, is in Atlanta.
BALDWIN: When you look at the images of the family, couple, little boy, looks picture perfect. The prosecution, look at this, made the father, Justin Ross Harris to be nothing short of a monster. This father is charged with felony murder in the 22-month-old death of his son, Cooper, there. Police say the boy had been in Harris' SUV for about seven hours. This was June 18th.
Think about it, scorching hot Georgia sun in June. Temperatures were above 90 degrees that day. We're also learning from his testimony from this hearing today that the family was having financial troubles, financial difficulties and had taken not just one, two life insurance policies out on their young toddler. Listen to the detective here, his testimony today.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Now in speaking with him and from looking through the text messages and chats with his wife and things like that, were they having any type of financial difficulties?
DET. PHIL STODDARD, COBB COUNTY POLICE: They were.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: What type?
STODDARD: She was complaining about purchasing, purchasing.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Who was in control of the finances at that time?
STODDARD: He was.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Did he tell you anything about his finances?
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: What did he tell you?
STODDARD: The finances were fine. They recently charged up $4,000 on a credit card and he had done that for the airline miles.
BALDWIN: So there are two sides to the story, defense saying this was a horrible accident, this father merely forgot, that this boy was in the car, forgot to take this boy to daycare, but police say in the weeks before little Cooper's death, Harris did an internet search for a couple things including he served how to survive in prison, how to live a child free life, and even searched for an line videos of animals and people dying.
Victor Blackwell was inside that courtroom today when these new details came to light. He joins me from outside this evening. Let's begin with the emotion or perhaps lack thereof when you are looking at this man sitting there hearing these horrendous descriptions of his 22 month old, the scratches on his face and the back of his head sitting in the SUV. Tough to listen to.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really graphic descriptions in this three-hour hearing today but we only saw, at least I saw an emotional reaction, tears from Ross Harris three times, once when a witness there on the day that this boy was pulled from the vehicle described Ross -- Harris' screams, what have I done, what have I done, and twice witnesses called by his attorney described how much he loved his son.
Now there was not a lot of response from Harris, Ross Harris and Lee Anna Harris, however, when the detective started to go into the line of questioning about the sexting, especially with a 16-year-old girl then allegedly, there was an audible response from this gallery filled with in many ways Ross Harris supporters. Why? Let me show you.
Right here, we've got the courthouse in which today's proceedings happened. I want to show you the church he's a member of is on the corner, Stone Bridge Church. We saw about 40 or 50 of them kind of walk in at the same time and they surrounded the wife here, Lee Anna Harris who only really started to show some emotion after, again, the descriptions of how much this man loved his son.
There was also a moment of punctuation when the defense attorney asked the lead detective, would it surprise you to know that Ross Harris is deaf in his right ear? We hadn't heard anything about that. If you think he's in the driver's seat here and the car seat is in the center, is it possible he did not hear the boy right next to him?
That was another moment of explanation from the crowd, but the largest right at the end when the judge said he did find probable cause and he was not going to give him bond. Ross Harris sunk down into his seat and then let out. It was all over.
BALDWIN: You were there. You saw it all. Victor Blackwell, thank you so much. Interesting as you point out the proximity from the church to the courthouse. Let's behind everyone as we bring in our legal panel, Sunny Hostin, Paul Callan and Holy Hughes. Jake Tapper, I want you to join in the conversation as well.
Over the weekend, this little boy, they had the funeral for this little boy in Alabama and from what I understand, they actually allowed this father to call in. Again, he faces felony murder charges, call in from behind bars. Much of what he said was audible and received with standing ovation.
Lots of support for this man within this community that said, Sunny Hostin, my first case to you. The gasp in the courtroom with regard to the wife, number one she goes to the daycare the day her son dies and has no idea, goes to the daycare, finds out the child isn't there.
The first thing she says is that her husband must have left him in the car and the second issue, which is that something you would think of? I don't know. Second issue being the interaction in the police interrogation room describing the father said I dreaded how Cooper would look, past tense dreaded, your take?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I've been on Twitter, of course, all day and this is just the top pick of discussion and the whole way here at CNN and just everywhere.
HOSTIN: End everyone is questioning the mother and her reactions and at this point, I'm not, I don't have enough to, I think, say definitively there was some sort of conspiracy between them to kill their child, but her reactions are just so very, very odd and I often say and I said it when I was prosecuting cases, you really don't know how people are going to react.
There is no rule book. There is no uniform way that people react, but observing her today, Brooke, in the courtroom, not in tears, we're talking about her boy hasn't been dead a month, not even -- bare by been two weeks. It's just her reaction to me is very, very suspicious, it's very odd. I don't quite know what to make of it. I also think the fact that he said dreaded. He dreaded the way his boy's face would look in the past tense is also very suspicious.
But again, you really don't know how people will react to tragedy, what is more informative for me are the actions that he took before, before this deadly incident. The searches on the internet, that sort of thing. I think that that is more informative.
BALDWIN: Jake Tapper, jump in.
TAPPER: I wanted to ask Paul Callan, a question to play devil's advocate. Obviously, I didn't like a lot of what I heard in the courtroom in terms of the character of Ross Harris. An average of 38 children a year die in hot cars in the U.S., 14 percent of parents according to some polling have accidently left their children in a parked car and nearly one in four parents of a child younger than three has forgotten the child in a car.
This is according to safe kids.org. Usually the husband, father, not a mother. So Paul, what did you hear in his hearing today that you think is not surmountable for a defense attorney? I heard a lot of things about this guy's character that maybe I wouldn't want him to live next to me. What did you hear that made you think he probably can't beat this?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this case was totally transformed today, Jake, and sually, you know, in preliminary hearings, these probable cause hearings, you get a brief outline, a bare bones case presented by the prosecution and you don't get a sense of where they are going. This case transformed from a case where a lot of people were saying, well, it could have been an accident, are they doing the right thing in prosecuting him to a case where at the very end the judge said, I'm not going to grant bond in this case because it might be a death penalty case.
Now, that, what the judge was saying basically he's heard enough that the prosector could charge this as a premeditated murder which would be punishable by death. Talk about a transform mansion from a case based on an accident to something different on that subject you just touched on that I think a lot of people thought about and Sonny mentioned, 38 death as year children left in cars.
We have to start out by saying most of the time parent whose have a momentarily lapse and leave a child in a car or look around a supermarket and can't find their kid, we've had that fear. Thought about and Sunny mentioned, 38 death as year children left in cars. We have to start out by saying most of the time parent whose have a momentarily lapse and leave a child in a car or look around a supermarket and can't find their kid, we've had that fear.
Because our antennas are focused on where the kids are. That's not criminal and that's redeemable and that doesn't get prosecuted. Where children die, I was doing research on this, 60 percent of those cases are prosecuted as homicide cases in the United States.
Forty percent are not. It's a subjective decision made by a prosecutor as to whether it was gross negligence or reckless conduct that the parent engaged in. In this case, I think that standard is met very easily if any of this evidence is believed at trial. Remember, he's presumed innocent like every defendant at this stage.
CALLAN: It's almost like we've had a trial already.
TAPPER: I know. You bring up the point about the kids dying in cars. I talked to a woman on my show not too long ago when this story was percolating. She accidently, the charges were totally dropped, you know, left her child in the car and sadly, this child died and sometimes it is simply the perfect storm. Sometimes as a parent your mind is simply elsewhere.
But my question, this is something that the lead detective was driving home when he was being questioned and Holly Hughes, I want you to jump in on this. It was 40 seconds between this Chick-Al-la in which this father and son, we both know they both got out of the car, were inside this Chick-Fil-La. Not like a drive through situation, 40 seconds from Chick-Fil-La to the red light, two more minutes before he got to work, instead of taking a different turn to go to the daycare, in 3 minutes, the district attorney will hammer home how do you forget about your child in 3 minutes?
BALDWIN: Right, even in the 40 seconds because remember, they said do you have to stop at a stoplight? Yes. How soon after you leave Chick-Fil-La? The district attorney did today was brilliant. When you have a case like this, you are going to timeline it out. So if this case proceeds to trial, Brooke, we're going to see a huge timeline, power point, leaving the chick-Fil-la, 40 seconds later stop at a light and you have to look left and right.
The implication is even if you're deaf in your right ear, if you don't hear the child chattering, when you're watching traffic, turning to see if it's safe for you to drive that vehicle or not, you are going to see that little boy there and you're not going to forget him that that little short time period.
CALLAN: Didn't he even have to back the car into the parking spot? There was testimony there was no rear camera so he would have had to look backwards to back the car into the parking space.
HOSTIN: It was a rear-facing seat, but can I say something? The timeline doesn't bother me as much as it bothers other people because we know that diversified parents, the timeline doesn't matter as much. This is a top pick I'm glad we're talking about because we need to do something more about these cases. We hear about them often and have public service announcements about see something, say something.
There needs to be a movement about this. One suggest I would like to make, which is what I implemented in my life, I started driving without my shoes. I would place my shoes in back near my children's car seats because no one is ever going to park their car and then drive to work or go walk to work or rather walk into a mall without shoes.
So it ensured for me that I would never ever do that again and so I just put that out there for the parents that are watching because if that, my story saves one life, it's important but I'm happy we're talking about this because something needs to be done.
BALDWIN: Absolutely. There is an entire organization. Kids in cars.org raises awareness, whether taking your shoes off or whatever you need to do it happens too often and the bottom line is now a 22- month-old is gone because he was left in a car. Sunny Hostin, Paul Colin, this could be one of the biggest stories of the year. We'll stay on it.
Also ahead tonight, Ahead, Hurricane Arthur slamming Atlantic Beach, North Carolina right now. Our crews are standing by. Ear popping wind, intense rainfall. We're there in the thick of it for you tonight. Special live coverage here on CNN, stay with me. The Cadillac summer collection is here. During the Cadillac summer's best event, lease this all new 2014 for around $459 a month or purchase. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of Hurricane Arthur. You're looking at live images of the outer banks of North Carolina where things are getting worse than they were at the top of the hour. Let's go to Rene Marsh and we have meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers with us. Chad, what does Rene have -- go ahead, Rene, tell us what you're going through right now. It sounds grizzly.
MARSH: Sorry about that, Jake. You know, we're having delays here. I'll tell you Chad was right on the money because we are experiencing a lot of wind. The worst wind we've experienced today. The wind is producing the sand, if I stand this way it's to avoid sand in my eyes. You feel it in your skin. When you talk about what it felt like earlier today, the sun was shining, it was a bit over cast but boy was it hot.
The heat was just hot and now it's actually chilly here so with this rain as well as heavy wind, heaviest we've see, strongest I should say that we've seen all evening is just making for a very uncomfortable situation and that would explain why the crowds that we saw out here earlier, they have all went -- they have all taken cover and gone inside at this point. Back to you, Jake.
TAPPER: Chad, what does Rene have ahead of her? Where is she in the storm right now?
MYERS: The winds that Rene will feel if she's standing outside will double from where they are now. That's about 45 or 50 miles per hour.
TAPPER: Chad, what does Rene have ahead of her? Where is she in the storm right now?
MYERS: The winds that Rene will feel if she's standing outside will double from where they are now. That's about 45 or 50 miles per hour. They are going to 90 miles per hour. There is the eye wall right there. That's the part that's going to affect Rene in the next 45 minutes. So what you think is bad right now is going to get twice as bad, if not worse, because we haven't seen the worst of this storm make landfall yet, but it's about to make landfall where Rene is.
That's the center of the storm. The eye is getting smaller. When an eye gets smaller, Jake, you see more wind. You get more angular momentum into the middle like a tornado compared to a big rotating thunderstorm. Obviously, the tornado was always faster and that's what we're getting when we get a smaller and smaller eye, you get faster and faster winds, Jake.
TAPPER: Chad Myers and Rene, thank you so much. Let's go to Jeff Pistrowski, a storm chaser, he's currently in North Carolina right now heading right into this storm. He joins me on the phone. Jeff, tell us what you're seeing, tell us about the conditions where you are.
JEFF PISTROWSKI, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Right now, the conditions the last hour are dramatically increasing on the wind. The rain and I'm actually on the southeast side. The live shot as you can see the waves are tripled in size. There were two to four feet and up in the four to ten feet range and waves are getting quite large.
On the road, I've got sand dune containers blown over the road about a foot deep. Like Irene, we think it will compromise on the south side and if the eye goes north which is the latest forecast, the eye wall, the backside of the eye coming through, when we go to west wind from 70 to 90, maybe gusts at 100, we expect a major surge of water north of Cape Harris, similar to the rain and flooding. That's what everybody on the island is worried about tonight.
TAPPER: Jeff, how many people are still on the island based on traffic and lights?
PISTROWSKI: Well, compared to Irene, the evacuations have gone smoother. They had a mass evacuation, 90 percent of the locals left as well as businesses closed as well as probably 99 percent of people on vacation out here. They did on outstanding job of getting people off the island. They got it locked down and an excellent job out here. Everybody is going to be glad they are off and it will be bad here tonight.
TAPPER: For people not familiar with where you are exactly, explain where you are on the map.
PISTROWSKI: The south eastern edge of North Carolina to the south about 50 miles from the point right where the ben is where it goes back southwest, right now the outer bands are about 40 miles southwest and eye is probably 140 miles southwest and tracking towards us and closing in and getting stronger. We could have a strong category two storm, hurricane which is going to be stronger when it asses. So we expect worse conditions from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and a lot of problems.
TAPPER: All right, storm chaser, Jeff Pistrowski, be safe. Thank you so much.
Coming up, Arthur aiming for a direct hit on North Carolina revving up to be a stronger hurricane. Millions in the path. We'll look at who is most at risk coming up.
BALDWIN: You know, sometimes pictures tell the story and often times if you listen, listen to the pounding rain here along the coastline of North Carolina. We're talking about a hurricane, category one. This is Arthur, you're looking at live pictures from North Carolina here. This hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles an hour. It's strong and getting stronger, could be a category two hurricane actually be time it makes landfall tonight or early on the 4th of July. Tom Foreman joins me now from the magic wall. Tom Foreman, tell me about the numbers. Who is at risk?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The people at risk out here, the whole coast is not equal. For example, if we take a look at the general layout of the coast here, it is changed very dramatically over the past 20 years or so and some areas have really filled in, but if you look, you can see what happened here, 299 percent growth to 125,000 people down in this county.
You move up the way, every single place what you see is what is a national trend in the country, more and more people moving to coastal areas, everyone moving up, moving up, moving up over that period of time. So much so that when you talk about this storm in just eight counties here in North Carolina and a tiny bit of Virginia in just those eight counties, you get well over a million people under immediate risk from this storm in those counties.
And that complicates everything about dealing with the risk to them. For example, if we look at this map and talk about the storm surge related to this, even if you get five feet or so, that will go all the way up here making some flooding threat to all of these areas, all of this, up here and out here. That's a tremendous number of people. Something like this, Highway 12, if you talk about that, then you start talking about real impacts like this where the whole road can be wiped out.
That affects everybody getting in, everyone getting out, and it gets really complicated even though at some moments you may say it's not a big storm, the fact so much is concentrated and become more that way every decade recently than you see why this becomes a problem, even on relatively simple things like evacuation routes that weren't necessary set to handle the flow of people coming out from the storms nor the flow of help that might have to come in after word if there is heavy flooding that comes from this.
BALDWIN: OK. Tom Foreman, thank you so, so much. And Jake Tapper.
TAPPER: Good luck to everyone as the eye wall hits North Carolina this evening. That's it for us this hour. We hope the people up and down the east coast are safe tonight. I'm Jake Tapper. Brooke, thanks for joining me and of course, "THE SIXTIES" documentary starts now.