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Texas Braces for Floods from Harvey; Lessons Learned from Past Storms; Remembering Princess Diana 20 Years After her Death. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 25, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:33:27] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, a monster storm is barreling towards Texas. Hurricane Harvey is forecast to make landfall tonight as a powerful category three hurricane. Harvey could dump as much as two to three feet of rain in some areas fueling very real concerns over life threatening flooding.

So CNN's Nick Valencia, he's live in Corpus Christi, Texas, where it is hitting. He has the latest for us.

What's it like at this hour, Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talking about those severe weather conditions, Alisyn. The story here all morning long in Corpus Christi has been that intense wind that has just picked up hour by hour since we've been out here. We have yet to see major storm surge. But take a look on this. On the bay of this bank here, this sea wall, we've seen this water start to inch up these steps as the hours have progressed throughout the morning. The last update from the National Hurricane Center called for perhaps between six and 12 feet of storm surges here, though the preparations have been underway for the last 48 hours.

I want to pan over here to show some of these buildings already boarded up. When we arrived to our hotel room, it was already boarded up. Bathtubs filled with water with the anticipation that basic services, utilities, will be cut off as this storm approaches towards coastal Texas. The experts are saying that this is going to be a very dangerous. Perhaps the likes of a storm that we have never seen before.

David. Alisyn.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Nick, thanks so much.

We were also seeing just before that some of the rain band the starting to hit Houston as well. Some of the flood-prone areas where there's so much concern. Earlier on NEW DAY, we spoke with President Trump's FEMA administrator, Brock Long, about how dangerous this storm is. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BROCK LONG, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Texas is about to have a very significant disaster. What concerns me the most right now is whether or not people have heeded the warning that local county judges have put forward. If they have not, their window to evacuate is rapidly coming to a close. Specifically I'm very worried about the storm surge, coastal flood inundation aspects. Storm surge is the unforgiving hazard. It has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage. On top of that, as this moves in, for over the next five days, we're looking at a very significant (INAUDIBLE) and flood event over many counties, which is going to be a sizable event.


[08:35:34] GREGORY: Joining us now on the phone is the former FEMA administrator, David Paulison. He served under the Bush administration after Hurricane Katrina hit and was a fire chief in Miami when Hurricane Andrew destroyed the area 25 years ago this week.

Mr. Paulison, thanks for being with us.

I want to stress that last point about the inland effects of a storm that is going to stall, with our correspondents who are on the scene, you've seen the early bands, you're starting to see the weather start to deteriorate. It doesn't yet look as dramatic as it will ultimately be on the coast. But then the cumulative effect of a storm that stalls is what has to be so worrisome.

DAVID PAULISON, FORMER FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Yes, that's correct. It's -- you know, they're going to have to be very careful. It's a very low-lying area. And once this storm moves ashore, the storm is not over. They are going to get a tremendous amount of water. The good part of it is that Texas has a great emergency management system. And they have been through this before. And they're going to make sure that people get evacuated when they need to evacuate and make sure all the supplies are ready to move in when they have to.

CAMEROTA: We did just speak to one of those folks, Chief Roca (ph) of -- he's the fire chief in Corpus Christi. I was so surprised, Mr. Paulison, to hear him say that there's not a mandatory evacuation there. That they had decided that that also creates chaos on some level of getting people out and getting people back in. And so their teams are poised. Their go teams, as he called them, poised to have to -- have to go rescue people. What do you think is the biggest concern at this hour?

PAULISON: Well, if they haven't started evacuations already then, you know, now's the time to kind of hunker down. But, you know, the locals are the ones that have to make that call. You know, you can't make those calls from afar.


PAULISON: But, again, Texas has got a great emergency management system. The thing that, you know, concerns me is, are the individuals

prepared. You know, there are some people who can't take care of themselves, you know, and those are the ones the government should be taking care of. But those of -- those of us residents that are in storm areas, you know, like I live in south Florida, there's some personal responsibility to take care of our and our families for three or four days after the storm makes landfall. And I'm hoping that the people there have done that.

GREGORY: Mr. Paulison, it's always important to ask about lessons learned. You got the experience of Hurricane Andrew, which was a category five storm, had tremendous wind damage as a result of that and a devastation. But then the experience of something like Katrina, which presented one way initially and then became more devastating. So what do you -- what lessons do you draw from these experiences that impact how you think about preparedness now?

PAULISON: See, one of the thing that we really learned in Hurricane Andrew is, we had over 100,000 home destroyed. And why did they come apart? Why did those buildings fail? Now, some of them were brand new housing. And so we very carefully looked at why those buildings failed and we changed our building codes to adapt to that type of an environment.

But I haven't seen that across the country. We only have 16 states in the United States with statewide building codes that are enforced. So there's an opportunity there to look at those lessons learned, that we learned in Andrew and Katrina and other hurricanes. And to go back and do those mitigation efforts.

You know, right now we're spending 14 times more money on the disaster site as opposed to the pre-disaster site. And we need to change that formula around because the way we're doing business right now, it's certainly not sustainable with the cost of Katrina, and Sandy and now this storm coming in. The costs keep going up and up and up. And we have to start doing something on the pre-disaster side to make sure that when the storms do come in -- and they are going to come in -- that our homes and buildings and offices and places that we live in and work actually survive the storms.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's a great point to be more proactive rather than reactive. But as we watch what's about to hit Texas, we'll have to have -- save that conversation for another day.

David Paulison, thank you very much for bringing all of your experience to us this morning on NEW DAY.

PAULISON: Yes, thank you guys. You're doing a great job on the show.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

GREGORY: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: So Texas's Gulf Coast is bracing for this direct hit from Hurricane Harvey. We will go live to a coastal city that is now in the bull's-eye of the storm. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:43:52] CAMEROTA: OK, with all of the serious breaking news that we've had this morning, do you want a moment of levity?


CAMEROTA: OK. How about a little "SNL" from last night. They're doing their weekend update specials on Thursday nights through the summer.


CAMEROTA: The summer edition.


CAMEROTA: So here, Alec Baldwin makes a return. Watch this.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Well, everyone's so white, so white here. It's fantastic. And, look, they found the one black guy at the rally and they sat him right behind me. Now through the eclipse I can't tell, are you really black?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's what the ad says you was looking for.


People ask me, why are you doing a rally only eight months in. Folks, it's never too early to campaign for 2020. Mike Pence is already doing it.

I want to talk about Charlottesville. As we all know, there was a tragic victim that came out of Charlottesville, me.

They won't tell you about my accomplishments, but I've done so much. First off, last night, I solved Afghanistan. Solved. Sat down with our military and we looked at the map and I asked the hard questions, like, which one is Afghanistan?

[08:45:03] What do we want?

CROWD: The wall.

BALDWIN: Who's going to pay for it?

CROWD: Mexico.

BALDWIN: That's right, you are, the American taxpayer.


GREGORY: He's -- he's ripping (ph) -- he's got to be ripping (ph) it like the president rips (ph) a lot of these too at these rallies.

CAMEROTA: He must have missed him since "SNL" went into hiatus. So there was that little moment for you.

GREGORY: All right. Well, a little levity.

Coming up, the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death is fast approaching. CNN is remembering her life and legacy. Clarissa Ward previews her special report coming up.


CAMEROTA: Next week is 20 years since Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in that Paris tunnel. Her life, her marriage and her death remain a fascination to this day. And this Sunday a CNN special report, "Diana: Chasing a Fairytale," looks at how the intense spotlight impacted her life and tumultuous marriage.

[08:50:01] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Particularly as Diana became more accomplished, more sure of her herself, more confident, it seemed her husband, but also some in his family, saw Diana (INAUDIBLE) a bit of a mystery, but ultimately with hostility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people were going crazy about her, and he was like a shadow next to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diana gets one side of the road. Charles gets the other side of the road. So the side that got Diana cheered. The side that got Charles jeered. And that's how it was all the time. So it was difficult. Yes, he probably did get resentful.

She was on the front page of newspapers, lead story on television. It was always Diana.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN HOST, "DIANA: CASHING A FAIRYTALE": Publicly, Prince Charles jokes about it.

PRINCE CHARLES: I've come to the conclusion that really it would have been far easier to have had two wives to have covered both sides of the street. And I could have walked down the middle directing the operation.

WARD: But privately, by the early 90s, Charles and Diana are living separate lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do a state banquet or something involving a state visit together and then Diana would come back here and Charles would go back to Glocester (ph), to High Grove (ph).

So Diana came back here alone. She led a lonely existence. She was a prisoner.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my goodness. CNN's Clarissa Ward joins us now.

Clarissa, amazing. It looks like it's going to be really interesting to watch. What will we learn that's new or different in this?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's really just a kind of -- an elegant tribute to one of the most iconic figures in recent history. In terms of learning more, I don't think this sort of move the investigation forward. You still have a lot of conspiracy theorists who wonder, was she killed in that tunnel? Did the royal family somehow try to have her killed in this fake automobile accident? And from all the evidence that we have combed over and looked over and the various inquests that have been done, no, it does not appear that this was anything other than a tragic accident.

But, nonetheless, 20 years later, people are still talking about Diana. They are still thinking about Diana. She is still an icon of beauty, of fashion, of culture, of advocacy. And so it really was wonderful to be able to take some time and look back at that legacy and examine it.

GREGORY: And Clarissa, it's interesting, that clip speaks to what a phenomenon she was. How startling that was for her and her life, for her marriage, for Charles. And now we have her adult sons being able to reflect on this with the benefit and the distance of time that's so interesting.

WARD: And it's amazing to see the evolution, how they have sort of taken parts of her legacy. You know, traditionally, the royal family has been so stoic, so stiff upper lipped. They didn't talk about things. They didn't air their dirty laundry. And what Diana really did was to kind of humanize the monarchy, to say, we are still people, we have needs, we have desires, we cry, we get jealous, we get angry.

And I think really, this year specifically, we've seen the sons, William and Harry, taking a much more proactive role in talking about issues that are difficult, in talking about grief, in talking about how difficult it has been for them to deal with their mother's death, in talking about mental health. And that is something straight out of Diana's playbook. I think she would be very proud, actually, to see how the two princes have developed into these very compassionate, warm, while still holding on to all the still kind of beautiful traditions of the monarchy.

CAMEROTA: You know, I was not a particularly royal watcher or royalist, but remember exactly where I was 20 years ago. I remember what I was wearing 20 years ago when the news broke on the radio that she had been in this terrible car accident. At first we didn't know that she'd been killed. It was -- she was alive enough to say things I think about her kids. And then hearing -- I mean hoping for the best and hoping that she was going to be rushed to the hospital and hearing so suddenly that she had been killed and then hearing also that her boys were being told. I mean somehow we had the news that the word was going into her boys and that Prince Charles was telling the boys. It was all so devastating at the time.

WARD: It was so devastating. I think the only thing that as Americans we can kind of compare it to, although it was before my time, was JFK's assassination, right? Everybody remembers where they were, what they were doing, how they felt. This kind of combination of shock and grief.

And what's exceptional really, though, is that we are talking about a princess, you know, a young woman, who was 36 years old. How is it -- she was not the president of the United States of America. How was it that see was able, in the course of her life, to captivate the world's imagination, people from all countries all over?

GREGEORY: And she's kind of an unparalleled media figure too at the time, which is so striking.

WARD: Yes.

GERGORY: Clarissa, thank you very much.

Don't miss the two hour CNN special report, "Diana: Casing a Fairytale" Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

[08:55:04] CAMEROTA: OK. "The Good Stuff" coming up next. Stick around.


GREGORY: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

A Pennsylvania community is showing it really does take a village to raise a child. Neighbors sprang into action and collected toys, clothes, even catch upon learning a young sheriff's deputy died about a week after his son was born. His widow, Kelly Harold (ph), still cannot believe the love that she has received and seems to have found the way to her family.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he was an amazing husband, an amazing father for only ten days, but I miss him a lot.


GREGORY: Tough. Tough to listen to that. Speaking through tears she says the world isn't the best place today, obviously, but seeing her neighbors come through like this is something she truly appreciates and will not forget. That's a great gesture.

CAMEROTA: All right, thank you very much for helping.

GREGORY: Yes, thank you. Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: For helping out.

I have a gift for you.

GREGORY: You do? What's that?

CAMEROTA: It's a beach --

GREGORY: Wow. Yes. CAMEROTA: I know you're going to the beach. "Amanda Wakes Up," you might be interested in reading all of that.

GREGORY: That's awesome. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here.

All right, meanwhile, our coverage of Hurricane Harvey continues right now with CNN "NEWSROOM" and John Berman.