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Hermine Makes Landfall; Kaepernick Continues National Anthem Protest. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 2, 2016 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Africa at the moment he wrote in a post, quote, "I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite. We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided", end quote.

Two of the most famous names in tech, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, both involved in that story.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing to see that industry going private and the very difficult time in doing this.

ROMANS: That's right.

MARQUEZ: EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: Breaking overnight: Hurricane Hermine barrels into Florida. Residents stay shelter from the damaging storm. It is causing flooding and power problems in the panhandle.

Now, storm now a tropical storm is set to make its way up the East Coast, 25 million people in Hermine's path.

CNN's team coverage of the storm begins right now.

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

MARQUEZ: I'm Miguel Marquez. It is September 2nd. Happy Friday to you. Five a.m. here on the East Coast.

Breaking news this morning: Hermine now a tropical storm with winds of 70 miles an hour. When the storm made landfall in the panhandle this morning, it was a category one hurricane with winds of 80 miles an hour. Heavy rain and high storm surge and flooding along the Florida gulf coast. Now tropical storm Hermine powering across southern Georgia where the governor has declared a state of emergency.

Millions of residents all along the storm's path up to the Carolinas under watches and warnings. Preparing for the worst.

Earlier, Florida Governor Rick Scott making clear Hermine is dangerous.


GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: It's life threatening. We're going to see big storm surge. We're going to see a lot of rain. We're going to see flooding. We're going to see downed power lines. We're going to see -- there's going to be a lot of risk if we don't do our job. Everybody needs to be prepared.

We have the best emergency management teams in the country at the state and at a local level. But you have got to take this seriously.


ROMANS: So, just how big is Hermine? This NASA image shows it obscuring almost all of Florida.

We are covering the story only CNN can, beginning with Polo Sandoval live in St. Marks, Florida.

Polo, what are you seeing now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, there are two ways to get to St. Marks. One way is completely flooded and the other way is impassible. You see the tree blocking the road here only about a mile north of the city of St. Marks, the small city here in Florida.

Not only it's keeping us from reaching that area, but most importantly, it's also keeping the authorities from reaching the area. I spoke to a county sheriff deputy a few moments ago who only as well. He had to call for help to remove the tree.

He said they are not able to make it to the city to see how wide spread and significant the damage is. Most importantly, to check in on some of the people who decided to stay behind and ride out the storm.

I spoke to one woman who owns one of the few grocery stores in town who rode out the storm 11 years ago and decided to ride out this one as well. That is the main concern for people who decided to stay behind. But also to keep people off the roadways. I can tell you schools and government offices are closed in and around the area. This is a way to keep people at home according to officials.

When it comes to rescues, we have not heard of any significant rescues taking place. We do understand based on our conversation with authorities that there was one woman and her children had to be removed from her home after the tree actually fell on top of it. It is my understanding they made it out of the home unharmed.

That is the concern when the storm blew through the region with those extremely heavy winds was for the toppled trees and for the flooding concern. We know there is a high tide danger as well. So, combine that with the storm surge and you are, at least we expect 3 to 4 feet of water to cover roadways, and make its way to the homes down the street from where we are standing. As soon as we get there, we will get a better idea of what the damage is like in St. Marks. I should point, that is one of the cities that is closest to where the eye of Hermine made landfall about three hours ago.

MARQUEZ: So, a small place, St. Marks, but a swath of damage and how wide of flooding occur?

SANDOVAL: It is interesting. Tallahassee is a drive north here. The impact is the power outages. When it comes to the southern region of the county that we're out here, it is roughly two to three miles a closer look at to see how widespread that devastation is. I understand after speaking to a deputy, there are about 600 people who call this area home.

[05:05:01] A majority of them had evacuated and most importantly, we're told that the electrical company shutdown this portion of the power grid. So, essentially, some of the people who lived here were in the dark before the storm made its way on to land. That, according to authorities, helped a tremendous amount.

But until we are able to make our way into the city, we won't be able to say how high the flood waters are and maybe if there are any potential individuals that have to be rescued.

ROMANS: So interesting. The fickle nature of the storms where you can be 100 miles away and have power outages and move bit with flooding and storm surge. It will be different depending on the thumb print of the storm.

We know Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, I almost said Atlanta. There is a state of emergency there. People watching, Polo, and see downed trees and hear crickets and frogs, and see a downed tree might that, oh, it's not so bad. A tropical storm packing 70-mile-an-hour winds is not devastating.

You know, Rick Scott, the Florida governor, said we will not be able to get out yet to help people. What do you -- what is your message for people who have not had the storm yet, Polo?

SANDOVAL: I think the pictures really speak for themselves, Christine, especially when you look at this, you are able to see the potential for extreme damage and injury if -- had there been a vehicle on the roadway. So, I think that this really does speak to what authorities want the rest of the public to be aware of in the Carolinas and in Georgia. The storm does begin to weaken after making landfall, but it does pack the punch.

What will help, however, is that calm after the storm. You mentioned the frogs. You can stay quiet for a second. You are able to really take in the calm environment now. The wind does tend to kick up once and a while, but this is allowing authorities to get on the road and begin the removal process of the debris, guys.

MARQUEZ: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you. Keep yourself safe out there.

ROMANS: The calm after the storm. It is not calm further up the coast by any stretch of the imagination.

MARQUEZ: No, it's going to be a long time to get it all together.

Joining us now is Trey Morrison, from Wakulla County Sheriff's office, that's south of Tallahassee, Florida, and the panhandle.

Thank you for joining us, Mr. Morrison. What are you dealing with today?

TREY MORRISON, WAKULLA COUNTY, FL, SHERRIFF'S OFFICE (via telephone): Well, it is a big day for recovery for us. We literally have hundreds of trees down. Dozens. More than we have been able to keep up with. Lines down. Probably a good 50 to 60 percent of the county will be without power for the next day or so.

Winds last night got so bad that the power companies and fire rescue probably all pulled out. Public works pulled out between 10:00 and 11:00. By midnight, we had to start pulling deputies out for their safety. So, as we are getting back into the neighborhoods, trying to assess and figure out, you know, how we're going to safely do this.

The biggest part will be the biggest work will be up to the power company because as these lines are down in neighborhoods, they can't just turn the power on because they have your home hooked up. Or two of intense work for the power companies and public works. We're still right now with a lot of power out. Businesses will not be up and running.

We're asking the public to please if you can stay home. If its not an emergency, this is not the time to be outside to see the damage did. I know people really interested in that staff, but it really hampers us and it is an unsafe environment.

MARQUEZ: That is a really good warning for people. Who want to see the damage to the neighborhood or to their town. You are saying just sit tight. You need a day or two of work to get this safely done. A lot of work the power crews have to do and public works.

So, the bottom line here, is stay home, folks.

MORRISON: Yes, ma'am. We need at least a good day before people want to get out and travel. I would say after this first 24 hours after the storm, most roadways will be up and safe. Now we have a few hours here of high tide which was 3:40 for us.

With the tidal surge, we are thankful we did not get what we thought which was 9 feet or greater.

[05:10:03] I think we got closer to 5 or 6 foot. So, in the next few hours, hopefully, water will start as high tide gets out of here and storm surge gets out of here, some of the areas, St. Marks and Panacea and hopefully the water out. We can check these places and make sure they're safe.

And then as the power lines get off the road. We have a lot of roads impassible with the trees and power lines down. So, so much so that we don't have enough deputies to put out. We have a lot with barricades.

Another thing I would ask, if somebody has to travel and they come up on the barricades, please don't try to go around them. They are there for a reason. We are trying to protect you.

There's something bad there that we're trying to say not to go around or get involved with. It's going to be stressful to continue on. I know it has been stressful as the storm came onshore and such. We have been here through it. For us, it continues for the next d or so.

MARQUEZ: I find it hard to believe it has been so long since Florida was directly hit by a hurricane. Were you ready? Are you short of anything?

MORRISON: Yes. Looking back, I'm sure I can find something to complain about. To be honest, this is -- we started gearing up a few days before this. We started getting our plan together. Public works started getting their plan together with fire and rescue.

Because we have over the years gone through the storms -- hey, we live on the coast. We know it's going to come eventually. We've got good plans in place. Takes a little bit of the thinking out of it for us and makes it more resources we have and plug them in. It has definitely been a team effort between everybody from the power company and fire rescue and public works and the sheriff's office and state agencies and Florida highway patrol and wildlife commissions.

I'm sure when we look back at this at the end of this and do a self assessment with the people that are involved, we will find things that we could have done better. So far, to our knowledge, we have not had any injuries. To be quite honest, that is the biggest thing to us. Nobody got hurt.

ROMANS: Absolutely you have a couple of days of cleaning to do. So, you hope people will not be too complacent. It is a big deal and there can be dangers lurking below those waters and corners and with those trees.

Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it. Let you get back to work. All the best this morning.

MARQUEZ: All the best.

ROMANS: Thank you, sir.

MARQUEZ: Thank you.

We are monitoring Hermine all morning. Where the storm is headed and who could get hit hardest over the holiday weekend. That's coming up.


[05:17:19] ROMANS: Our breaking news this morning: Hermine which smashed into the Florida panhandle as a category one hurricane has weakened a bit and now a tropical storm. Where is the storm now? Where is it headed and what damage could it do? Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is in the weather center.

And the tropical storm still is very dangerous with 70-mile-an-hour winds.


For it to be a tropical storm, it has to have sustained winds of 39 miles an hour up to 73 miles an hour. When it crosses the 74 miles threshold, it becomes a hurricane. It made landfall east of the St. Marks region along the Big Bend of Florida.

One thing to note, the pressure was dropping as it made landfall. That is a telltale signs that the hurricane was strengthening. So, thank goodness it made its way inland because it cut off its moisture source, which is good news. You can see the center circulation.

Now, it is entering into southern Georgia. We no longer have the warm Gulf Waters feeding it. It should weaken going forward, but we have serious weather to talk about.

I want you to take note of the feeder bands coming into central Florida, specifically the Tampa Bay region. That area has been pounded by heavy rainfall. We will show you how much rain later on in the show. Some reports have been over 20 inches, to give you an idea of the breadth of the storm. How large it is.

From one edge of the feeder line, all the way to the northern periphery of tropical storm Hermine, that stretches over 1,100 miles. This storm is huge. So, anyone along the Atlantic seaboard this holiday weekend, needs to pay attention to the forecast.

Check this out, we have flood watching in effect from northern Florida to the Carolinas to West Virginia, it doesn't stop there. Here is the latest from the National Weather Service, 70-mile-an-hour sustained winds. It is a tropical storm, but here are the threats for today, tornadoes and heavy rain and potential of lightning where you see the shading of yellow.

And going forward, Christine, all the way to the Delmarva Peninsula, needs to monitor this very closely because it could potentially reform as it heads out into the Atlantic.

ROMANS: I told Miguel, he had to get his waders out of storage.

MARQUEZ: I love a storm. I'll see you out there.

[05:20:00] VAN DAM: You will do the next live shots.

ROMANS: I will pumping water out of my basement by Tuesday.

MARQUEZ: I'll be helping.

ROMANS: Thanks, Derek.

VAN DAM: You're welcome. ROMANS: We're going to keep monitoring the storm and update you in a few minutes.

Plus, all eyes on Colin Kaepernick's final preseason game. Did he stand? Did he sit? Did he take a knee? What did the crowd say?

We have Coy Wire with the "Bleacher Report" next.


MARQUEZ: Maybe, just maybe the most significant moment of the NFL preseason week took place during the national anthem during the 49ers and chargers game in San Diego. All eyes on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to see if he would stand, sit or what he would do while the national anthem played.

[05:25:05] ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Coy, the crowd was not shy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDEN: That is right, Christine. Good morning to you, Miguel, as well.

Colin Kaepernick continuing to protest what he called racial injustice in the U.S. by continuing to sit during the national anthem. He said it was never his intention to disrespect the military. But that did not matter to many when he ran on the field last night.




WIRE: Mostly boos from the San Diego crowd on the night when they were honoring military members. Once the anthem played, instead of sitting on the water cooler away from the team the way he had the past three games, Kaepernick knelt on one knee surrounded by teammates. One player, Eric Reid joined him. A former NFL player and Army veteran Nate Boyar stood next to Kaepernick to show his support.

Kaepernick invited Boyar to the game after reading an open letter he wrote. They had an hour conversation before the game. They bonded. After the game, Kaepernick stood by his reason for protest.


COLIN KAEPERNICK, 49ERS QUARTERBACK: The media painted this as I'm anti-American and anti-men and women of the military. That is not the case at all. This is really something about human rights. It is about the people. It is not about anything other than that. Some people aren't given the same rights or same opportunities as others.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: Kaepernick's words are spreading. Right up the California coast in Oakland. Seahawks Jeremy Lane showing his support to Kaepernick, sitting during the national anthem before the Seahawks played the Raiders in their final preseason game. Lane saying that he liked what Kaepernick was doing and wanted to stand behind him.

And, Miguel, Christine, afterwards, Lane's head coach Pete Carroll said he is proud and looks forward to continuing that conversation with his team.

ROMANS: Interesting.

MARQUEZ: It is not going away. A full season of this, coy.

WIRE: Yes, I think so. I think so. As a former player, I like seeing someone take a stand and standing up for something in which they believe.

ROMANS: Coy, nice to see you. Thanks for bringing it us.

MARQUEZ: Hermine weakening, but still a threat after making landfall in Florida overnight. The storm bringing flooding as it moves up the coast. We have the latest live from the Gulf coming right up.