Return to Transcripts main page


Hurricane Matthew Lashing Florida's Coastline. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired October 7, 2016 - 3:00   ET



[03:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, EARLY START SHOW HOST: Welcome to Early Start. I'm Miguel Marquez.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW HOST: Nice to see you this morning.

MARQUEZ: You, too.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, October 7th, 3 a.m. in the east. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

Breaking news at this hour, a deadly category three hurricane now lashing Florida's coastline. Hurricane Matthew may very soon slam ashore somewhere along Florida's Atlantic Coast, or just as bad it may skirt the coastline, feeding off the ocean's energy before maybe making landfall to the north.

MARQUEZ: All right. Now at least 11 million people are under hurricane warnings and more than 210,000 homes and businesses are without power. The storm is blasting the coast with sustained winds of up to 120-miles-per-hour with the pounding surf 10 inches or more of rainfall and a storm surge up to 11 feet.

There's potential for devastating flooding, billions of dollars in damage, and of course loss of life.

CNN reporters are ready to bring you the very latest from conditions up and down the coast. We're going to start in Palm Bay, Florida, with Michael Holmes. Michael, what are the conditions like there now?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you, John, in the last hour or hour and a half I have worsened considerably. Driving rain, torrential rain, wind gusts have been enough to make us move our position. So, we had to shift our position because it's been so windy.

And we're still two, maybe three hours away from the worst of it. We've been watching as transformers have been blowing around us, power going out, and it was a couple of hours ago that Brevard County emergency services said we're not going out any more. It is way too dangerous, if you are in trouble, and you're on your

own, you're going to have to look after yourselves.

Of course one of the big problems here is the barrier islands and with that storm surge that you mentioned coming over those barrier islands, it's going to be hours before we know what damage is been done. But you got to imagine it's going to be severe.

The National Weather Service for this area put out a warning a few hours ago saying that damage could be catastrophic. And even went as far as to say areas could be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps months.

ROMANS: All right. Michael Holmes for us this morning, battling the lashing rain. We will check in with you again. Be safe, please.

And Florida's north central coast, the folks in Daytona Beach are bracing for Hurricane Matthew right now. We have our Sara Sidner there for us. Sara, give us a sense of what's happening where you are.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, we have been seeing the same bands coming through here but not as harsh as what they're seeing just south of us. Michael Holmes is about 64 miles south, and we know the storm is going very slowly about 12 miles an hour or so is what it was tracking.

So, imagine driving that speed, right, it takes a long time to get somewhere. And that's what is happening with the storm. We were getting driving rain, we were getting sideways, the rain going sideways because of course the winds had picked up quite a bit.

We are still getting a lot of wind but we are not seeing those types of rain bands just yet. That have slowed down quite a bit. We do know that in the streets that has been evacuated. Nobody is walking around on the streets anymore. And we have sort of taken cover underneath a little area here, big concrete surrounds us. It's a hotel. We're kind at the bottom of it.

The beach is just behind me. We have noticed that the water has come up and over the beach. So, the storm surge is clearly happening because you had a nice, big wide beach earlier today, a few hours ago. Now the beach is covered with sea water.

And that is one of the warnings that they are saying, look, you know, if these storm surges go up 8 to 10 feet this is going to be flooded where we're standing and we're prepared to get to higher ground.

They are warning of course residents who decided to stay behind. They wanted them all to leave but we know some people did stayed behind. We talked to them ourselves, they are not very far from the beach we're saying watch for potential floodwaters. And that in any storm is often what ends up killing people.

So, very dangerous conditions still possible here. But right now, it has been blowing quite a bit. But we're not seeing that driving rain in the last hour or so. Christine?

[03:05:03] ROMANS: All right, Sara. Thank you so for that.

MARQUEZ: It's incredible how just a few miles makes a huge difference in these hurricanes.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

MARQUEZ: For the latest on Hurricane Matthew and its forecast path, let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam. He is in the CNN weather center. Derek, where is this thing headed and when is this expected to make landfall?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, I will tell you what, Miguel and Christine, the live shots from both Sara and Michael are about to get a lot more interesting going forward. Because as the storm rides parallel to the Atlantic seaboard of the Florida Peninsula that's where we start to see the strongest winds push in from the north and east.

This is the latest from the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, I should say, 120 miles per hour. Right near the center of the circulation. Let's get in to some detail with our radar. And you can see a very well-defined eye that is really just hugging the coastline as we speak.

And you can just imagine the amount of strong winds pushing up on the sea, the surface of the sea. And that is allowing for the storm surge to really start to pick up and intensity, specifically from the Brevard County northward.

But where Michael is currently located, near the Melbourne region, you can see one of the stronger portions of the outer eye wall that's about to rotate in. I would say within the next 45 to one-hour time frame. And that's where we expect the strong, gusty winds perhaps easily in excess 80 to 100 miles an hour.

At the moment we are gusting. This is actually current wind gusts. Seventy miles per hour near the Melbourne region. That's well over 100 kilometers per hour for our international viewers. And we only anticipate that to really pick up from here.

So, let's time this thing out. Going forward what can you expect? Broward County to the north that's where conditions are getting worse and deteriorating as time goes on. The Brevard County that's we're focusing in closely. Hurricane-force winds if you haven't experienced them yet, you certainly will in the coming hours.

Storm surge, a major threat for this region, 7 to 11 feet, and rainfall, and one of those quiet concerns that a lot of people forget to mention that, 5 to 10 inches of rain in a short period of time could lead to flash flooding very easily and then we see that rain threat continue along the entire coastline of Florida, into Georgia and South Carolina going forward.

As we go into late Friday evening, timing this out for you, still hurricane-force winds expected at Daytona Beach, Palm Coast, St. Augustine, and into Jacksonville. Storm surge around this bend area, near Florida, Georgia and south Carolina that's where we see the greatest storm surge potential.

Seven to nine feet, even 11 feet locally that could be catastrophic for some of those barrier islands and the inlets, as well. So something we will obviously be monitoring very closely.

Where will it go from here? You can see that the storm is expected to maintain its category three status through at least Friday evening. Then we start to see that northeasterly turn, and eventually then a dive southward into the Atlantic.

There are a lot of strange weather dynamics taking place across the Atlantic Ocean. We'll get into details later in the show. But the main impacts going forward in the near term, heavy rains, damaging winds, maybe a tornado, storm surge and flash flooding. Miguel and Christine.

MARQUEZ: Boy, so many things to worry about. And just a few miles which makes a huge difference as that hurricane moves along. It seems to be moving very slowly. So, Derek Van Dam, thank you very much. We will keep you busy today.

Now the fury of Hurricane Matthew is being seen right now. This is West Palm Beach, Florida just north of Miami where you can see that the brunt of the hurricane there is starting to hit that town. We will be back in just a few with much more breaking news from CNN.


MARQUEZ: The latest now on this morning's breaking news. Hurricane Matthew drawing closer and closer to Florida's East Coast. Matthew now a category three hurricane with winds up to 120 miles per hour. That could bring up to 15 inches of rain, a storm surge up to 11 feet and devastating flooding.

The National Weather Service warning the deadly storm could make homes and buildings in central Florida, quote, "uninhabitable for weeks or months."

ROMANS: It's remarkable. when you look at that video, you look at that satellite picture and you can see the upper left quadrant of the eye wall.


ROMANS: Dangerous energy in that particular part of the storm. And it just hugs the coast there with all of that energy.

For the latest from the hurricane's path let's go to Jacksonville, all the way up to Florida's East Coast. Joining us there is CNN's Rosa Flores. Rosa, we are looking at the pictures. The satellite imagery is just frightening for how powerful the storm is. It's a 120 mile per hour winds here right now. You got 213,000 people in Florida without power. What are you seeing where you are?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, and you mentioned that this hurricane is now a category three, but the latest that we got from the city here is that they are expecting it to hit as a category four here in Jacksonville.

And in fact, they have actually practically closed down the airport. All of the departures and arrivals have been canceled. But I want to show you around a bit. Because here's one of the things that makes Jacksonville stand out. There's a river that divides this city. It's a bridge city for you to cross from one end to the next so you got to cross through bridges.

Now one of the fears is that the storm surge is going to have a huge impact and that the storm surge is going to be between six and nine feet tall.

Now I just want to give you a perspective. Because I stand probably about 6 feet tall, now, this storm surge could be another three feet taller than me, guys. So, this just kind of gives you an idea of how much water they are expecting here. Now they are expecting conditions to deteriorate throughout the day and through Saturday at about noon.

Now, when it comes to wind and wind conditions -- like I mentioned, this is a bridge city. Across from one end to the next you got to use these bridges. Now this bridge here looks beautiful, beautiful. Now it has sensors on it. Once the sustained winds reach 40 to 45 miles an hour, these bridges will be closed.

[03:14:58] It is not safe, first responders tell us, for anyone to be on the roadways and highways, but especially these bridges. So, they are expecting those bridges to be closed down at that point in time.

Now as I mentioned, this city bracing for a category four hurricane to arrive here between now and the end of the day and for those conditions to persist through Saturday.

Now, Christine, one of the worries, of course, here is a lot of people not heeding the warning. And at this point officials say it's too late. You can't try to evacuate right now. The best thing that you can do is hunker down.

MARQUEZ: And it looks so calm there.

ROMANS: The calm before the storm really.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you. Thank you so much, Rosa.


MARQUEZ: Rosa Flores, keep yourself safe. And Brevard County home to Cape Canaveral, fire rescue officials say they are no longer responding to 911 calls. It is just too dangerous for emergency crews to be out there right now.

Joining us on the phone from Brevard County, Office of Emergency Management is Don Walker. Good morning to you. What is the situation there and why have you ceased responding to 911 calls? DON WALKER, OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SPOKESMAN: There are couple of reasons. Because the winds topped 70 miles per hour. The peak gust has been 74 miles per hour. But also that we have live power lines that are down. So, you know, there's kind of a good side to this, if you want to call it that.

But because the storm is really hitting us in the late hours of the night, early hours of the morning there's not much traffic on the road any way. So, that, you know, that's kind of the good news in all the bad that's going on.

MARQUEZ: And I take it winds of 74 miles an hour and expected to probably pick up. But what sort of damage could you see from that, what kind of life-threatening conditions?

WALKER: Well, I mean, the outer eye wall of the -- of the hurricane is approaching Brevard County at this time. So we are looking for peak wind gusts of 90 to 100 miles per hour. So, you know, I would anticipate that, you know, a lot of tree damage and some manufactured homes and mobile homes that are, you know, in harm's way and, you know, roof -- roof structures and things like that.

I mean, you know, unfortunately when the morning light hits if it does it's really going to be when the peak part of the storm is going to be right over Brevard, central part of Brevard County.

And we know the storm is moving at 14 miles per hour but our county is 72 miles long. So, that -- it's going to take a while to wait this thing out.

ROMANS: Yes. It's going to be churning right over you for some time there. And we know that that eye wall where it is hugging the coast, there is so much energy in that sort of northwest quadrant of that eye wall that can do so much damage.

You know, so many of the forecasters that have been telling us this is the first kind of direct hit of a category three or four hurricane to this section of the coast in maybe 100 years.

You know, I mean, Floridians are hearty folk who have ridden out a lot of these storms but this one is unique, isn't it?

WALKER: This one is very unique and extremely dangerous. You know, we haven't had a storm that is even close to this caliber since 2004 when we had hurricane Francis and Jean kind of hit us back to back, but since then the worst storm we've had was tropical storm Fay and that was in 2008.

So, this is a major event. Yes, it does not -- it does not even compare to the others.

MARQUEZ: And what have you done to batten down the hatches and sort of where do you go from here? You wait this thing out and then just hope for the best?

WALKER: Yes. Well, I mean, we implemented mandatory evacuations. We currently have over almost 5,000 people in our shelters. And a lot of people on the barrier islands have moved to higher ground.

Right now we are looking at 20,000 power outages and, you know, we are just -- what we anticipate we'll see in the morning is, you know, a lot of wind damage. You know, it's raining but not raining sideways during one of these hurricane events.

So, it will be -- we are just waiting to see how we're going to stand, you know, on our rivers and streams. But we have had a lot of rain in advance of the storm. So, we anticipate there will be some flooding.

ROMANS: All right. Don Walker, thank you so much. Best of luck to you in the next 24 hours here as you all hunker down and try to weather this thing. Don Walker, thank you in Brevard County.

All right. We're going to look at big picture here. We have Pompano Beach, I think we can see the heavy surf there. The storm is in full force. We will continue to cover this breaking news. Hurricane Matthew, next.


ROMANS: All right. Our breaking news this Friday morning, this hurricane. Hurricane Matthew, a category three storm blasting Florida's coast. We've got winds right now up to 120 miles per hour.

Forecasters predicting up to 15 inches of rain. And a storm surge as high as 11 feet. Nearly 26 million people live in areas under severe weather watches and warnings.

Florida's Governor Rick Scott is warning residence that are direct hit by Matthew could lead to massive destruction.

MARQUEZ: Now let's get to meteorologist Derek Van Dam, he is in the CNN weather center. Derek, what is the latest track of this thing?

DAM: Good morning, Miguel and Christine. We've been talking about how miles matter so much with this forecast. Well, I'm going to give you an example of why it is so critical.

Because here's our latest radar with Hurricane Matthew. And you can see that northwesterly trajectory with the storm system. There's the eye wall that is sitting just off shore.

Remember, the strongest winds right near the center of the circulation. And as we go in a little bit closer where you can see the forecast winds that we have protected. And this is a previous computer model run that show the strongest cat three, cat four winds along the coast.

But look at the latest information and how that shifted just off shore. This is the difference between a cat one and cat four hurricane.

And let me show you why miles matter so much. We are going to go back in time about six hours when hurricane Matthew pushed its way through Freeport in the Bahamas. Look at the trajectory and you could start to see how this little shift in the eye wall. There it is. And you can see how it bumps westward by about 15 to 20 miles.

[03:25:03] This is called a wobble. Meteorologists look very closely at the radar for this. Think if I can use an analogy, like spinning a top or quarter. When that quarter or top slows down it starts to wobble in either direction.

When we see a major hurricane like this doing the same thing that can be the difference between a category one hurricane destruction or a category three or even category four.

Let me explain a little bit more detail. Here's a 3-D graphic. And you can see the projected path below me. Look at if the storm was to pull inland. That's the top or the quarter starting to wobble. If that 15 or 30 miles stretch moves westward you can imagine where the strongest winds will be inland and along the shoreline.

If that wobble is eastward then we see the winds stay offshore. And that means we spare our East Coast of Florida from the strongest, most destructive part of hurricane Matthew.

To say the least, though, we've a rough next 24 hours along the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina Coast. You can see our computer models again hugging the coastline, running parallel with Florida.

Needless to say, this is a formidable storm and conditions will deteriorate from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville this morning and then riding up the coastline from Savannah, to Charleston even into Wilmington. Miguel and Christine?

MARQUEZ: Well, what a bizarre storm.

DAM: It is.

MARQUEZ: And that little bits just north of Melbourne that is Titusville and Cape Canaveral. That looks like it maybe hit harder than anything.

DAM: Yes, without a doubt. That's the area we are looking for, the Brevard County northward. If it makes landfall that wobble takes place and that's where we see the strongest winds.

ROMANS: All right, Derek, thank you so much.

MARQUEZ: Thank you.

ROMANS: You know, it was so interesting, we are looking at some of these statistics yesterday the Florida population has increased I think 27 percent in the past 15 years. So you think of how many people for the first time are experiencing this, as well and how many more living on the coast.

MARQUEZ: Trial by fire or trial storm I suppose.

ROMANS: I guess so.

MARQUEZ: Yes. ROMANS: All right. This hit Haiti of course first. And the death toll there is growing. And the death toll, how high there should just spell any doubts about the power of this hurricane. The storm is blamed for at least 269 deaths there. Southern Haiti was hit especially hard.

Torrential rain, 125 mile an hour winds, damaged homes, flooded entire villages and collapsed the main bridge connecting southern Haiti to the rest of the country. The island nation of course is still recovering from that devastating earthquake in 2010.

There's not a safety net there, folks. It's just devastating for Haiti.

MARQUEZ: And it's going to devastate that country. Now the wind, rain and waves from hurricane Matthew pounding Florida right now. Live reports are straight ahead.

There is our...


ROMANS: Michael Holmes...

MARQUEZ: Michael Holmes getting ready there it looks like. We'll have that and more coming right up.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, I'm Amanda Davies with your CNN world sport headlines.

It's been a busy of World Cup qualifiers as the road to Russia 2018 holds up. And the battle of the Heavyweight Italy produce the late gold's earner (Inaudible) Spain and maintain their unbeaten World Cup qualifying record at home.

And it looks that Spain will going to get revenge for their defeat to Euro 2016 when Victor Vitolo took advantage of Gianluigi Buffon mistake after 55 minutes. But Daniele De Rossi converted from the penalty box to leave it 1-1.

It wasn't the result of course they wanted in their first ever home World Cup qualifier, having only been recognized as a country by FIFA in May of this year. They haven't managed to get their stadium up to standards in time to actually play Croatia in Albania but they were bluntly stopped 6-nil it finished.