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Hurricane Matthew Bearing Down on Florida. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 7, 2016 - 04:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, you could have a major problems farther north than Florida, yes?

[04:00:01] DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's where we think from Jacksonville to Savannah, Georgia.

It's going to time the strongest part of the storm, Miguel, with high tides. So, that will just exacerbate the problem.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much for that, Derek Van Dam.

MARQUEZ: All right. Derek Van Dam, thank you very much.

EARLY START's breaking news coverage of Hurricane Matthew continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START this morning. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez. It is Friday, October 7th, 4:00 a.m. here on the East Coast. We welcome our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world.

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

Right now, at least 11 million people are under hurricane warnings and nearly 250,000 homes and businesses are without power. The storm blasting the coast with sustained winds, up to 120 miles per hour, with pounding surf, 10 inches of rainfall or more expected. And a storm surge up to 11 feet. Devastating.

There is a potential for devastating floods as well. Billions of dollars in damage and loss of life.

ROMANS: We have a team of reporters ready to bring you the very latest on conditions up and down the coast.

Let's start in Palm Bay, Florida, with our Michael Holmes.

What are you seeing there now, Michael?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the last couple of hours, it's gotten more and more powerful. The gusts have become stronger, the rain has become heavier. It is a hurricane so you've got to expect that. It's not the worst of it a yet. Were expecting it's just going to continue to get worse. Perhaps the next three hours, as long as that, before things start to abate here.

You mentioned the power outages. We've been seeing for hours now the transformers blowing all around us now. We're lucky we still have power right where we are because areas around us are without power.

We saw the National Weather Service several hours ago put out what seemed to be a very alarming, warning of a catastrophe in this area, around Melbourne and saying some areas could be uninhabitable for weeks or even months.

It was several hours that emergency services here put out the word, they're done for the night. It's too dangerous for their crews to be out. Any with an emergency has to wait.

Everybody is worried about that storm surge you're talking about. It could be 12 feet or three meters or more. And when you have those barrier islands and houses that are out there, you try to imagine what could happen to those in a storm like this.

I was mentioning last hour that I covered Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the damage that was done there by what was a tropical storm. The rain, I will get Jose to pan off and have a look at -- you can't really tell from the shot we have now, with the light there, you can see the volume of rain --

ROMANS: You can see he lost the signal. Moved the camera.

MARQUEZ: They moved the camera, and lost the signal. Although he did that earlier, it is incredible. The rain is coming in sheets. Now, they're back.

ROMANS: Hey, Michael.

MARQUEZ: Incredible to see that picture, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. It's getting worse, I can tell you. But, you know, you've got to hope the expectation or fear or catastrophe in places being uninhabitable for weeks or months. So, you just hope that doesn't come true and the eye stays a bit off the coast, because it doesn't have to be, as Derrick was saying, it doesn't have to be too far off the coast to make all the difference in terms of wind strength.

But this has been building and building and building. And it's going to get worse. It is extraordinary when you look at it.

MARQUEZ: Do you have any sense how many people took shelter and evacuated and how many people are hunkering down in their own homes?

HOLMES: Well, a lot of people headed out to the west or they headed out of state. The roads were jammed for hours leading out of Florida. A lot of people decided to stay. One thing alarming was police was saying earlier they are worried because there are a number of people in mobile home parks here that said they weren't going to leave. That they -- this was their home. They were worried about losing their stuff and they decided to stay put.

And I tell you in this, you don't want to be in a mobile home, trust me on that. A lot of other people have been boarding up. They're used to this, boarded up their windows and with metal and wood and everything else they can find. But being a transient state, there are millions who live here, millions who live here, who have never been through a hurricane like this. So, perhaps weren't expecting this.

MARQUEZ: Wow. Michael Holmes for us.

ROMANS: Thank you. Stay safe, Michael.

MARQUEZ: Doing the tough duty. Stay safe out there. Thanks.

On Florida's north central coast, folks on Daytona Beach are bracing for Hurricane Matthew right now.

CNN's Sara Sidner is about, what, 50 or 60 miles from where our Michael Holmes is.

It looks like a much different place. But you guys are preparing for the worse.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 64 miles from where Michael is. Because the storm is tracking very slowly, it can bring a lot of rain, but it can take a while to get to, even though we're just an hour away, just think about it, if it's going 12 miles an hour and that's how it's tracking up the coast, think about being in a car and driving them, how long it would take you to drive 64 miles.

So, a lot of folks around here have left. They have evacuated. There are people filling up the shelters. There's nobody right now on the streets. It is quiet and that is partly because there is a curfew in place here.

The police chief has said that he will let people get to shelters but again, the shelters are pretty much are full. There are only a few left that are not and have beds left. He told people basically, be inside and be safe, do not be on the coast.

Many of the hotels here on the coast told people they have to evacuate. They just canceled, got people to live, get out of the way of the storm. But again, if it wobbles towards the ocean, then this place will be much better off. If it comes closer to the shore, then, of course, we're going to see those hurricane force winds.

So far, though, the winds kicking up but rain staying at bay. We're not getting a ton of heavy rain -- Miguel, Christine. ROMANS: All right. Sara Sidner in Daytona Beach for us this morning

-- stay safe. Again, you're 64 miles north where we have just seen Michael Holmes.

Let's talk about the path here, and bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam, the CNN weather center.

Derek, we have a new update from the National Hurricane Center.

Miguel, what is that showing?

MARQUEZ: The eye wall is approaching Cape Canaveral. I take it that is not good news.

VAN DAM: Yes, it's about 50 miles to the south and east of Cape Canaveral as we speak. But one thing that I feel that is interesting to pass to our viewers, we officially now reached hurricane force status, in terms of the winds. Look at Vero Beach, one of our readings we have at the moment, 74 miles per hour gusts, where Michael Holmes is located, Melbourne, that's currently 67 miles an hour.

You can see that the winds are really being pulled in around the center of the storm. So, north of the eye wall to the northeasterly direction. Of course, as that eye wall runs parallel with the Florida coastline, we see a change in the wind direction basically from a more southerly direction or perhaps more offshore. So, things really get whipped around considerably as this continues to ride and scrape, basically the Atlantic Seaboard of Florida.

So, where does the storm headed? Well, you can see it is moving in a generally northwesterly direction at 45 miles an hour, still, a strong category three hurricane. This is the latest radar. You can see that trajectory of northwesterly wind components or at least northwesterly movement to the storm.

But what I really want to focus in on is where the strongest part of the storm actually is. Here is the Cape Canaveral area. And you can see that the eye wall, the center of circulation, where we find the greatest wind areas will continue to move and scrape right along that coast. But you can see Cape Canaveral just out a little bit. Strong winds with this particular storm.

Really the bulk of heavy winds just offshore from the Melbourne region, but that doesn't mean that the storm couldn't wobble. We have been talking about that, if it were to perhaps move over westward by about 15 miles, trying to make the difference between a category one hurricane wind and to a category three hurricane wind.

As we go up the coast near Jacksonville, storm surge, 7 to 11 feet by Friday evening. That is going to coincide with high tide, exacerbating the problem and then going forward from there, Miguel and Christine, it's the heavy rain throughout the Carolinas.


ROMANS: All right, Derek. That's just something. All right. So, watching there.

VAN DAM: It is.

ROMANS: Fourteen miles per hour, about 50 miles from Cape Canaveral.

This is West Palm right there. You can see the effects there and we also have some pictures of Palm Bay. There you go. We're going to have more of this right after the break.


[04:13:51] ROMANS: All right. We're on the thick of it here, folks. The latest now on this morning's breaking news. Hurricane Matthew drawing closer and closer to Florida's east coast. The eye wall approaching Cape Canaveral, is now a category three hurricane.

We've got winds up to 120 miles an hour that could bring up 15 inches of rain, the storm surge up to 11 feet, devastating flooding is expected. The National Weather Service warning the deadly storm could make homes and buildings in Central Florida, quote, "uninhabitable" for weeks and months.

MARQUEZ: In Brevard County, home to Cape Canaveral, fire and rescue officials say they are no longer responding to 911 calls. They say it's just too dangerous for their emergency crews to get out there right now, this as they have two structure fires now burning.

Joining us live on the phone is Brevard County's emergency operations spokesperson, David Waters.

Good morning to you. What is the situation there and are you able to even get to these fires?

DAVID WATERS, BREVARD COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS SPOKESMAN: Well, the situation is we do have house fires to report, one in south Brevard County and the other is in central Brevard County. We do have fire crews that have responded to those, but for the most part, we've had emergency crews off the road because it is far too dangerous for them.

[04:15:02] We believe these are storm-related but because we have such dangerous conditions out there with a category three hurricane, that means our people cannot be out in those dangerous conditions. So, for the most part, the folks from Brevard County fire rescue that includes firefighters and paramedics, for the most part, they are off the road, in limited circumstances, at risk to themselves, some crews are going out when able.

We also have to report that we have some 35,000 people without power now across this county and that number is rising as the eye of the storm is just off the -- the central part of the county, but a little bit more towards the south. It's traveling only 14 miles an hour northwest, it's a 72 mile county, very slow going and a lot longer to go here for us.

ROMANS: And you've got that northwest quadrant of the eye wall, just, you know, what 20 miles off Cape Canaveral, away from Cape Canaveral. But that's where all of that energy is, in that storm, so much of that energy.

You're already seeing wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour. Wind gusts like that take down power lines and street gusts, what is the wind damage from 70-mile-per-hour wind gusts?

WATERS: Well, right now, we're getting reports of power lines down all over the county, especially, as you heard, 35,000 plus losing power. And, you know, people have been calling in saying there are downed power lines. But, for the most part, power crews cannot respond because it is such a dangerous place right now to go out in, winds that could push emergency vehicles off causeways and into rivers.

We can also mention many people in the mandatory evacuation zones on this county, which included barrier islands, they did not evacuate. Not all of them evacuated. And now, we're getting calls in the emergency evacuation center some I took myself from people who regret staying behind.

The problem is they remember some hurricanes from 2004, when we had hurricane Charlie, Francis and Jean impact this coast. The thing was in 2004, we only got hurricane tropical force winds --

ROMANS: Right.

WATERS: -- and this time we're getting hurricane force.

People were under the mane impression, well, we've gone through a hurricane before, we should be fine. Now, they're regretting it now that the winds are getting stronger.

MARQUEZ: Disturbing news you have people calling in right now in desperate situation on those barrier islands. Do you know how many people are now sheltered in your community shelters and how many you may have out there who didn't either evacuate or take shelter?

WATERS: We have no way of knowing how many people didn't take shelter from the mandatory evacuation zones. There are about just over 4,000 people in 15 different shelters across the county. There's plenty of room. The shelters have been opened. So, not everybody evacuated when they could.

And, obviously, when this was category four hurricane bearing down, even if people weren't in the mandatory evacuation zone, they had to know that a category four storm was on the way, as you have been reporting for days, and all other media outlets have been reporting, this storm was on the way. So, they had a week of advance notice and now that the storm is here, many are realizing it much stronger than they thought it would be and regretting that as they message us here.

ROMANS: That must be so frustrated as an emergency manager as you're getting calls from the barrier islands? So, you're expecting the worst storms to hit when? The next few hours? WATERS: Over the next few hours. We're starting now. We obviously

cannot get reports on the ground about the extent of what's happening, because we do not have the crews out to keep an eye on that and with the dangerous parts happening. So, we're going to have to wait for the assessments until the most dangerous parts pass over the few hours before anybody is going out to even try to assess the damage.

We do expect a lot of destruction. We do expect homes to be damaged. We are hoping to minimize number of injuries and fatalities. We will see what happens.

ROMANS: David Waters, thank you so much for checking in with us, Brevard County Emergency Operations manager. Thank you so much for that.

MARQUEZ: Out of Palm Bay, just disturbing news out of him about those calls coming in. Full force of the storm. Hurricane Matthew, more coverage coming right up.


[04:23:48] MARQUEZ: Now to the latest on Hurricane Matthew, category three hurricane, sustained winds up to 120 miles per hour. The western edge of Matthew's eye wall now approaching Cape Canaveral, Florida. Gusts in nearby Melbourne clocked up to 70 miles an hour. Forecasters predicting up to 15 inches of rain and storm surge as high as 11 feet, nearly 26 million people live in areas under severe watches and warnings.

Florida's Governor Rick Scott is warning residents a direct hit could lead to massive destruction.

For the latest from the hurricane's path, let's go to Jacksonville, all the way up the coast there, we can talk to CNN's Rosa Flores, where you may actually have the confluence of a high tide and that storm surge at the same time -- Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, that's one of the big fears here. This hurricane has been called a monster. Officials calling it possibly very, very deadly here in the state of Florida. Yet, the estimates of the evacuations are very low, according to official counts, and that's one of the things that has officials very concerned, especially first responders.

[04:25:04] We hung out with first responders yesterday for a while and talked to them about their preparations. They have search and rescue teams ready to go. They have cut teams and those are the guys that go out and cut the trees when they bend over or break just to make sure that roads are open. They also have rescue teams that are urban rescue teams that are designed to go into buildings in the case of collapses.

So, Miguel, people here, definitely the officials preparing for the worst. The residents, officials are worried perhaps didn't heed the warning and didn't evacuate when they should have. ROMANS: Rosa, that's a big concern because you have all this water

behind you. We can see you're on a bridge, when you look at the map of Jacksonville. You can see how the water crisscrosses this community. You're expecting a storm surge. There will be people caught.

Keep us posted, if you will, on what happened.

MARQUEZ: And everything in that area, just a couple feet above sea level. So, it could just -- if people aren't evacuating, that is going to be devastating.

ROMANS: Thank you, Rosa.

MARQUEZ: Rosa, stay safe, thank you.

The wind, waves and rains from Hurricane Matthew pounding in Palm Beach here. You can see the effects of it. We will have much more of our breaking news coverage, straight ahead.