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Harvey Regaining Strength Poised To Strike Texas Again; Harvey Wreaks Havoc With More Rain On The Way; Hurricane Harvey Tests President Trump. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired August 28, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] JAMIE BAXTER, PROFESSOR SCHULICH SCHOOL OF LAW: We are fine here. Just bracing for what might be coming in the next few hours overnight.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Jamie Baxter, thank you. If you need us, let us know. Keep in touch. Good luck. Thank you, sir.

BAXTER: All right. Thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

LEMON: Here's our breaking news. The waters rising. Thousands trapped. And more rain on the way in Texas. President Trump heading to the flood zone in a matter of hours. This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. Things are really bad in Texas tonight and expected to get much worse. The state already hit with at least 15 trillion gallons of rain. This storm is far from over. The national weather service warns life-threatening flooding is continuing. The coast guard getting more than a thousand rescue calls every hour.

Tonight we'll have stories from some of the people who narrowly escaped the raging floodwaters and some who are still trapped. The forecast as the storm gathers strength. It's gaining strength tonight. Let's go straight to CNN Derek Van Dam he is in Sugarland, Texas, for us. Derek good evening to you. The latest on the search and rescue efforts where are you right now?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, good evening, Don. The thing about the search and rescue efforts, it's complicated by the nighttime. The dark, darkness has set in across Houston and with conditions can like this, it is extremely treacherous. Last night we joined some of the search and rescue efforts and we saw firsthand what they have had to deal with. They navigate these flooded neighborhoods with sometimes the streams flowing extremely fast. Almost too fast to cross. In fact, the braise bio yesterday prevented the majority of rescues from taking place for some of the neighborhoods because the current was just too strong for the boats that are in place here across the area.

We've talked to a lot of the rescuers who have volunteered their boats, their time. And just to do their best to help this community. And they have told some harrowing stories including just navigating the waters of these neighborhoods and helping people with medical conditions, coming up to houses that have signs draped over their balconies that say help us. And it's just really incredible to hear these stories and people coming together to just help every single person in Houston at this moment.

LEMON: Yeah, the river is rising near you. And we've been showing that shot, right over your shoulder, that truck some of the floodwaters. What are officials saying before how much worse this could get, Derek?

VAN DAM: Well, what we saw at the Brazos River just a few miles away from us in Richmond was a staggering sight. That river has risen 35 feet since Saturday morning with yet another ten feet to go. Water seeks its own level. It is flooding and inundating local communities in and around the Brazos River. We know that this storm is here to stay. We talk about it strengthening, because it's over open waters right now. If you look closely at a radar to see where that rain is heaviest, it's almost pivoting and accessing right over the greater Houston area right now. It has not stopped since we got here 48 hours ago. It's just unprecedented and it looks as if it's going to continue into the night and going to be a very difficult time for rescuers and, of course, for all the people who are stranded.

LEMON: Before I let you go, what's going on behind you? What is going on there? That truck and water and all that.

VAN DAM: This is just one of the many stranded vehicles, Don. What you can't see is the dozens of them littered across the car parks within this area, the parking lots. I think this is just the last ditch effort. People realize that they needed to ditch their cars and get to higher ground. Get to safety. It's a bit unfortunate to see people trying their hardest to drive and navigate through these flooded roadways, because we've seen it firsthand how incredibly treacherous and difficult it can become in a matter of seconds. There was a moment when we were trying to navigate to the Brazos River earlier today. We had on either side of our highway flooded plains ready to crest right over the highway. Those conditions can change. It's amazing how quickly it can go from shallow-to-deep in minutes.

LEMON: Derek, thank you for your reporting. I want to bring in CNN's Brian Todd live for us at the Houston Convention Center where thousands of people are taking shelter tonight. Brian, hello to you. There's a lot of panic out there right now. How are people dealing with this in the shelters tonight?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, they're dealing with it with a very gracefully under enormous strain. They're exhausted, they devastated, and very stressed. Some of them have lost everything. We walked around in there earlier tonight. People are talking in a normal manner, being polite, courteous, they're just trying to get food and water for their families. Trying to get a good nigh sleep.

[23:05:19] It's orderly and organized inside that building. A lot of police and volunteers there trying to calm people down and get what they need. So far so good in the convention center. It is incredible. Your Derek described how quickly the water could rise. We were earlier tonight in a place called Lakewood today, earlier today with some private rescuers who were pulling people from flooded homes that you wouldn't believe the devastation. These were neighborhoods where the water was almost to the roofs. People were waiting on rooftops and on the hoods and on the tops of their cars while water was right below them, waiting there for a couple of days. They said they had called and tried to get the city and others to come. We know how overwhelmed the first responders are.

They were thinking nobody would come and the water was still rising. So it is still a very dire situation out there tonight, Don. What the Harris County sheriff's office has put out there to some of the people in these neighborhoods, they're saying to them, display a prominently in your windows towels and sheets so that we know that is a place where we need to come into. Don't just call and give us your address because these addresses are almost unrecognizable. You've got to display towels and sheets prominently through your windows. There are tens of thousands of people still needing rescue tonight, Don.

LEMON: Brian Todd, thank you so much, appreciates your reporting. I want to go to Ises Bragg now. You heard from her at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. She is trapped with her 1-year-old baby and her cousin. The flood water is rising. Now she is very worried about the electricity and she joins us by phone. Ises, where are you now in and who is with you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm still in the home and I still have the same people with me. My cousin and 1-year-old baby.

LEMON: Has the electricity been going in and out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it has. Most of the unit's lights have went back out.

LEMON: Do you have electricity now or no?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have electricity right now.

LEMON: As I understand, are you seeing a fire nearby you?


LEMON: Talk to me. What is going on? Where is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's across the street behind -- behind the school. We just see like a lot of orange in the air. We can see it from here.

LEMON: You can see it?


LEMON: And has the water since we spoke to you last about an hour ago, how, has the water gotten any higher?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the water has gotten higher. From the front end of apartment to the back end of my apartment. LEMON: And you said one of your neighbors, you told us last hour one

of your neighbors was trying to go upstairs to another apartment and what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lady had told her that if she had $300 to come into her apartment she would let her.

LEMON: Wow. Unbelievable.


LEMON: And so how high is the water in your apartment now? You said it's coming in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Its different levels in the apartment. The highest the water that I'm reaching is to my thighs.

LEMON: We've been trying to get folks to cop help you. Have you been able to get anyone on the phone? Have you heard anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, sir. We even, my cousin, she even went and stood at the end of the road. She did get three city of Houston trucks but they had drove off by the time we came back out the house.

LEMON: So tell us where you live and how much -- I'm wondering I asked you about the water because just in the last report, they're saying that some of the addresses are covered and they can't get to them. If your address is covered, they can't get to it. Is that your apartment that bad off?


LEMON: So you can still see the numbers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we can still -- I mean yes, people can still see numbers and still see people standing outside at the end of the road saying can you help us.

LEMON: Now tell us where you are. I just wanted to get that. If they can't see the address, then the point may be moot for you to give it out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're across the street from the school. There is still people outside standing on their porch just facing towards the road. Waving help, flashing lights help and really nobody can't tell us nothing but call the number. Call the number. We've been trying to cause the number. There's no answer. No help.

[23:10:19] LEMON: And it's the forest creek apartments on what's the road again?


LEMON: Uvalde.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, on Uvalde. LEMON: Give me a cross street.


LEMON: Waters Ville?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wallace Ville is the cross street.

LEMON: Wallace Ville ok. Uvalde road in Houston, 5900 block of Uvalde road. And that is where Ises Bragg is with her 1-year-old and 21-year-old cousin. Ises, we're thinking about you. We're going to try to get help for you and hopefully some officials will get you out of there. Thank you so much.


LEMON: I appreciate it.

Let's turn now to Reverend John Stevens, senior pastor at Chapel wood United Methodist Church. He went out with a group of rescuers today to save as many people as they could. He joins us now by phone. How you doing, Rev?


LEMON: I'm sure doing better than you guys. You guys are doing a great job down there. You're doing god's work. You've been with your church group helping with rescues. We have some video from your Instagram. What are you seeing? Tell us what you're seeing.

STEVENS: Well, a lot of rain. It just won't stop. You know, we got a call, this thing started out kind of small and organic. We have church members that we heard were stranded. We had a couple of guys get together. It kind of grew from there. We went down to where they were and found out more and more people. When we got to the little neighborhood that is got about chest high water all around it so you can't get in and out. Once you get in, it's a little higher. People just start coming out. Then we'd have people that were walking up in the water to check on their parents. We had some elderly -- there was one of the things a guy in a wheelchair. There was a car there.

LEMON: We're looking at that video now. Go on.

STEVENS: To get him to the boat. He couldn't walk. We couldn't get him to the boat. You've got to go two blocks around where his son was going to pick him up. Then we start walking around. I saw a lady looking out of her window. I just asked her how she was doing, was she alone. She had no power. Her name was Miss Luiz. I said would you like to go out with us on the boat. She said I would. I said I'll be back to get you. I went around and she said before I walked away, you're not going to forget me, are you? I said no, ma'am. I'm getting old but I'm not going to forget you, I promise. She was on one of their little videos as we pull out. The surprising thing, a lot of people wouldn't come out with us. They think it's like Hurricane Ike or thunderstorms in Houston where we get day lune and the water builds up quick and drains quick. I don't think people understand that with the reservoirs being released and the (inaudible) over record levels, the water's not going anywhere.

We've got a list in the morning of more people that we're getting that are just in our neighborhood. We can't do it all. I heard you talking to this young lady Ises. I mean she is way on the other side where we are. We're on west side of Houston and she is way over on the northeast side. But we're staying in our little west side memorial area. We've got plenty of people to get off of buffalo bayou. We've got more guys coming in the morning and bringing their boats. We're just going to get one at a time. Safety guys are doing great. The fire and the police, they're doing a great job. They're just -- I'm looking at had website on like people who need rescue, Houston Harvey rescue or whatever. There's over 1100, 1200 names on this thing. Some of them are not correct and you start looking up where map links are, it's not correct. There's a lot of confusion and a lot of its word of mouth. Everybody's chipping in. That is the great story is, we go knock on the door, we don't ask them what their religion is or who they voted for in the last election. None of that matters. You need help?

LEMON: It should not matter especially in this circumstance. This is something as sad as it is it brings us all together. We're just all human beings and all-Americans and life is very precious. Reverend, I have to go. I want to thank you. Continue to do god's work.

STEVENS: Thank you.

LEMON: We really appreciate it. If we can help you out, please let us know

STEVENS: I will. Thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you. When we come back, we'll speak to more of the heroes out there trying to rescue the thousands trapped in the flood zones. We'll get an update from the National Guard and speak to an EMT who rescued a pregnant woman who was in labor.


[23:18:16] LEMON: Breaking News, waters are rising in Texas and the coast guard has been getting more than a thousand calls an hour for people desperate to be rescued. Look at the live pictures from Sugarland, Texas. And the water is rising as you can see. Already flooded area. Unbelievable. Joining me now via skype is Colonel Steven Metze, he is a public affairs officer with the Texas military department, Colonel thank you. We know you are busy and we appreciate your time. Your guardsmen are around the state of Texas aiding in this evacuation and rescue operations. Will they be able to continue working throughout the night and working 24 hours? It's a lot of work.

STEVEN METZE, PUBLIC AFFAIRS, TEXAS MILITARY: Absolutely. The men and women are working around the clock. We've got a plan to keep it going 24/7. LEMON: Uh-huh. Do you have any idea how many people are still stuck

and waiting to be rescued? We're hearing it a thousand calls an hour for rescues.

METZE: I don't have an idea how many are still needing rescue. As soon as we get calls, we're still responding to them. We're getting plenty of calls from local and state agencies and from other groups out there that are doing search and rescue we're helping them. Those have not slowed down. So I know we still have a lot of work to do.

LEMON: So what's the biggest problem? Is it equipment or what? Do you have enough equipment to get to people? What's the biggest problem you're facing at this hour?

METZE: Well, I mean, we've got boats there now. We've got high profile vehicles there. We're bringing in more and more helicopters to help us all the time. I think the biggest issue right now is just time. Getting to everyone that needs to -- that we need to get to and covering such a vast amount of area. We're still fighting deep waters in some areas. But I think we have the equipment we need now, and I think you know, we're not going to rest till we can make every effort to get to those in harp's way.

[23:20:20] LEMON: Harvey is supposed to get worse and it's far from over yet. What's your plan in the next few days?

METZE: Well, we're bringing more people to the scene. We've got 3,000 people there now. As we mentioned earlier today, we're increasing that to 12,000. We've taken a number of helicopters from 14 to 22. That is going to increase to 46 by tomorrow. So we're continuing to bring more and more forces in. Boats that we didn't have out before we've got out now. We're going to continue to focus on it until we get everybody that needs to be rescued, rescued.

LEMON: Thank you very much, Colonel Steven Metze, I appreciate your time. I want to go to CNN Tom Sater now live for us in the weather center. So, Tom, you heard what the colonel said and you've been listening to folks on the air and reporters, as well. Harvey has dumped more than 15 trillion gallons of rain so far.


LEMON: What can folks expect on the ground?

SATER: We are looking at least some other 10 to 15 in Houston, isolated. I have more of a fear what's going to happen north of Houston in the next 24. Let's back it up a little bit. That 11 to 15 trillion have fallen already, they've calculated in Harris County alone 1 trillion gallons. It is about 33 inches blanketing the entire County alone. In the color purple is over ten inches and in white, this is two to three feet of rainfall. Not only the size of South Carolina, but to give you an idea of how much rain, greater than the size of the country of Greece. This is just an amazing amount of water. Many will complain maybe its poor planning. There is not a City in the world that can handle this amount of rainfall. The models bring it off. 70 miles from where it made landfall. The totals are unbelievable.

Harris County has 40 locations that picked up over 30 inches. There's another 10 to 15 more to come. If you look at the center, it's over land. We're talking about this maybe intensifying a bit. I don't think you'll notice that. The bigger story is it's over a water source. You can start to see the bands at the bottom of the screen picking up this water like a siphon and tossing it back into the area. Houston is picking up half inch an hour. We've picked up another 6 inches. The tornado watch extends into Louisiana. When it makes its second landfall, it does look like it moves out by Wednesday night. That is an improvement from previous forecasts had it hanging around Friday to Saturday. It picks up in speed. But the amount of rainfall will be a good 20 inches or plus in northern areas of Houston, 10 to 20 into parts of Louisiana. They're going to need aid and rescue efforts to extend into this area.

LEMON: Tom Sater, thank you so much. Appreciate that. We have much more to come on CNN, stories from the flood zone as President Trump promises aid for millions of desperate people but can he deliver the help they need?


[23:26:50] LEMON: We're back now with or breaking news. Again, we're looking at the live picture from the Sugarland, Texas. People are concerned there's someone in the truck. There's no one in the truck. It's been checked. Harvey is strengthening tonight as desperate people across the flood zone beg for rescue. I want to bring in a woman whose house was flooded. She join us on the phone. How you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am dry. So that is all I'm thankful for right now. I'm alive. My family is alive. I'm gracious for all the help we received the past day. So I'm just taking it in day after day.

LEMON: Your house flooded in Dickinson, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it was actually aunt and uncle's house. We were actually checking in on them and got stuck there. And it was just -- it just happened so quickly and it's unbelievable how fast the water can rise and how much rain can pour out of the sky in moments.

LEMON: So where are you now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am actually staying with a friend who took us in for shelter and safety on dry land and I'm safe. So I'm just safe and dry. We're not in any water. We're still in the Galveston County area because the roads are inaccessible unless you have a helicopter or a boat to get through to certain Houston areas.

LEMON: Tell me more about your story? Here's what I understand. You were trapped on the second floor of your house because the water was so high. 11 people were stuck all together?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we were there and literally 4:00 in the morning, we heard water and so we went to look and it's just seeping in through the floorboards. It's forcing itself in because it has nowhere else to go outside. And we were trying to see how to keep it out but in moments it, just kept coming in and more and more and then it started rising. At that point, we just had to start moving upstairs and it's like we were just watching it raise on the staircase. It got up to about the fourth step and we had our grandfather with us. And he needed -- he is critical care. We were worried about him.

LEMON: He is on dialysis and has a prosthetic leg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is on dialysis and has a prosthetic leg. We were really nervous on how we were going to get him down the stairs and to dry safe areas, because he does do daily dialysis.

LEMON: How is of doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is doing ok. He is got his dialysis treatment. We're thankful we were able to get him out.

LEMON: (Inaudible), 11 people in her family, all of them trapped and now they're all safe including her grandfather who is on dialysis and has a prosthetic leg. Thank you so much for joining us, we are glad that you are safe. Take care ok?


LEMON: Thank you. President Trump heading to Texas in a matter of hours to get a firsthand look at Harvey's devastation. I want to bring in now CNN National Security Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of homeland Security official, CNN Contributor Lieutenant General Russell Horn nor ray, commander of joint task force Katrina and Presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, author of "Rightful Heritage Franklyn Roosevelt and the land of America." I have so much to ask you guys so please, if you could keep it short. There's so much ground to cover here.

General, I want to start with you. It's about 72 hours since Harvey first slammed Texas. How do you think the response is going?

RUSSEL HONORE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's going in the right direction. I've been a proponent from day one that we need to go in big and it took the governor -- he is doing a good job but he only fully mobilized all of his national guard. About 12,000 he has to date, had been operating with 3,000 or less. They've got to get more helicopters in there. They don't have enough. Thank God, the savior is the civilians, good Samaritans.

LEMON: You've been somewhat critical of the mayor of Houston thinking that the evacuation should have been mandatory. He said there are too many millions of people there in order to do it properly in a couple of days. Should there have been a mandatory evacuation and do you see his side of the story?

HONORE: I see his side of the story but it's a bankrupt idea. Right now we've got millions of people out there in water. As far as we know. And this is the beginning of the hurricane season. I hope no other mayors use that doctrine of let's wait and see what's happening because evacuation is too hard. We've invested a lot in these communities to be able to evacuate. In these states, a lot of money since Katrina for them to mobilize. We've got to get the (inaudible) and disabled out, the people who flooded before out and need to have a voluntary evacuation before we go to mandatory evacuation. This is a bankrupt idea and with all due respect, I think he is a great mayor and he is very popular but I hope this isn't the doctrine that Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and other great cities start thinking and even New York, because it's too hard and we are not going to do it and we leave people in a flood zone where it's clearly predicted it's going to flood.

LEMON: I've got to get the other folks in now. President Trump, this is for Doug. The President spoke earlier today about the devastation and happening from Harvey. Take a listen and then we'll discuss.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that you're going to see very rapid action from congress, certainly from the President. And you're going to get your funding. It's a terrible tragedy. We expect to have requests on our desk fairly soon. We think that congress will feel very much the way I feel. Very bipartisan way. That will be nice. We think you're going to have what you need and it's going to go fast. You'll be up and running very, very quickly. Really very quickly. So yeah. I think you're going to be in fantastic shape. I've already spoken to congress and everybody feels for you and feels for what you're going through.


LEMON: So this is where relationships matter, Doug. Promises of this federal aid to help out Houston. I'm wondering if it's really that simple because of his poor relationship with congress or do you think they'll come together and realize these folks are in dire need and get it done?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think what's important is when President Trump comes here to Texas tomorrow, we don't know whether he is going to be in Austin at Camp Mabry or he might be able to get to Corpus Christie to the naval air station that he somehow gets to understand the devastation. Water doesn't just dry up in a week. It creates mold, it creates electrical wire shortages. It creates destruction that can't be done for years. FEMA has said they'll be in Houston for three years. Why don't they try a decade? What is the price tag, what is the federal government funding? You're looking at $30 billion that Donald Trump has to get out of congress at the same time he is threatening to shut down if congress doesn't pump money into building a wall. I'm hoping this doesn't get politicized. Obviously the country needs to pour billions into Louisiana coming soon and the state of Texas. And maybe tomorrow, he'll get to talk to the right people, catch a vibe of what's going here and fight for that high amount of money they're going to need.

LEMON: The situation, Juliette, talk about how this is going to play out. We'll be dealing with this as Americans for weeks, months, maybe even years. How do you see this playing out for Texas and Louisiana and the country as a whole?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So this will play out as it's played out after Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina which is there will be tremendous amounts of money that are delivered to the city and state as there should be. The problem with the United States, this is bipartisan problem, is we tend to view disaster relief money as something that we're going to give to people so they can get back to normal. It's one of the hardest things to say in my field is sometimes we shouldn't get back to normal. In other words, we should look at Houston as the general is saying, where are people building their homes? This is a city that has faced 400-year storms in the last couple of years. These -- there are going to be places in the United States that are no longer livable and inhabitable because of the rising oceans and extreme weather events, same is true in New York. While I have no doubt the money is going to flow, it always does because of the generosity of Americans and the politics of destruction, my hope is we will finally wake up and say we're not building for the next storm. We aren't. We're not building outside of flood zones. We're building in areas that are going to be wet, given the kind of client we have. It's a wish of many of us in disaster management who think about resiliency and those of us in hope land security who know we are into the building for the storms that are going to come.

[23:35:57] LEMON: All right, thank you everyone. I appreciate it. Emergency workers and civilian risking their own safety to rescue neighbors trapped by rising waters. Joining me is Tara (inaudible) she is an EMT who is in the process of evacuating patients from a hospital and helped her pregnant neighbor get to the hospital when she went into labor during the storm. Fascinating. Tara, you worked at a hospital. You've been evacuating patients tonight. What is going on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basements, as I understand it, and a lot of those are having issues. They're evacuating. Those hospitals transferring to other hospitals. And then there's also hospitals that are not expecting -- you have a family staying in the hospitals. You've got more people to feed than they probably have food for. So we're trying to get patients out because they're thinking of the future where there's not going to be enough food for everybody. We're trying to get them to hospitals that may have less mouths to feed basically.

LEMON: Where are these patients going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to other hospitals around the area.

LEMON: And does it look like they have -- that they're going to be able to hold all these patients they have enough equipment, resources to do it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of hospitals yes, they do. We're transferring not to the biggest hospitals that have a lot of mouths to feed but trying to find smaller hospitals that are in safe environment. I know Sugarland, they're evacuating some hospitals down there due to the hurricane. Ours right now is more of long-term you know who we can feed and just trying to get people out there that are to places where they can actually take care of them, you know, food wise and just trying to be wise for the next few days. A lot of nurses and doctors aren't going home till at least Wednesday if not Friday.

LEMON: Tara don't go anywhere. Can we take this and show? These are live rescue that you're looking at right now. This is in the Houston, Texas area. These live rescues coming in now, thousands of people, hundreds we know for sure thousands of calls. At least a thousand an hour coming in for people to be rescued. And here's the reality of what's going on. It is 10:38 central time in Houston, Texas. You see people now out there -- let's see if -- Tara, stand by. Let's listen for a little bit if we can.




LEMON: There you see some of the rescues. You see people trying to help folks out of the truck there, and just you know, this is what happens when you have an event like this. People pitch in to help. And you just see people who are displaced. What matters for the most part is the clothes on their back and the loved ones they may have with them. And that is what they leave with. And luckily, these people are alive. Those who made it have been so far we know three people have died because of the storm. We've got Tara on the phone. She helped save her neighbor and she is been helping people evacuate from the hospital. There are many stories to tell, Tara, for people who are, you know, who are running away from the floodwaters and trying to get to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, right. Definitely. Definitely. There's quite a bit out there. We've seen a few. We got to witness different ones with coast guard, in fact, just you know, coming down in a basket, picking up another pregnant woman I couldn't get to. I tried, over fences and everything. I couldn't get to her. Luckily the coast guard about then pulled down a basket and picked her right up and able to evacuate her. Yeah, we're -- it's crazy how much is going on right now, but a lot of people are pitching in and Houston people are just really stepping up. It makes me pretty proud to live here right now.

[23:40:28] LEMON: Tara Gower, thank you so much.


LEMON: Thank you.

For ways that you can help those ache bid Hurricane Harvey, make sure you go to We'll be right back with more on the storm and what's ahead for those in the flood zone. Plus North Korea firing a missile today. We're going to bring you a live report from Pyongyang.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: This is our Breaking news. Harvey still inundating the Texas

flood zone tonight as rescuers across the region struggle to save desperate residents. CNN Paul Vercammen is live for us in Houston. Paul is where we saw the live rescues coming in. Tell us what you're witnessing. What's going on at your location there?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. Communications are extremely rough because of all the cell service out. There's been about a thousand rescues in this part of east Houston. You can see right now, people coming out of this neighborhood, basically all of them being rescued within the last, oh, four or five, six hours. They've been coming in with everything that they can. They've been using boats. They've been using these huge trucks. And obviously, a tremendous sense of relief on the faces of these people who were stranded by this historic flood. Let's try to get you out into this a little bit here and show you. Don, if you are going to try to talk to me, I advise you try to yell. It is really difficult to hear right now.

What has happened here is for these people, nothing short of a miracle. They've been trapped. Some of them for absolutely days in their houses. Sealed off by these walls and sheets of water that just came pouring down. What you're looking at right now on this side, this is making use of a freeway underpass. There's one of those trucks that can ride rather high in the water. That helped to get some of the people out. Then as you saw, they are taking off with another one these trucks in this direction. A very smart and coordinated effort. As we said right here on the ground, they're estimating they were able to be rescue at least a thousand people tonight. Let he try to talk to somebody. Excuse me, young man, and real quick, how long have you been in there? Did you just get rescued?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I delivered some water. I knew people were over here.

VERCAMMEN: You're just helping out. Another Good Samaritan in Houston. What prompted you to do that? What inspired you to come down and deliver water?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need help. They got rescued. I think they're tired. Need some water.

VERCAMMEN: Good for you. Thank you for that. We're trying to find some people who just came out of the water. We'll see if we can talk to this family, Don, as I said, no pun intended. Excuse me did you just come out of this flood waters? Did you just got rescued?

[23:45:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just got rescued right now. We've been at it the since 10:00 a.m. in the morning. We called the choppers. We waved white flags, I mean our cell phones. We had to kind of like conserve everything. Then our power went out around 3:00. Waters were rising. We're like you know what? We have to go and priority was priority. So they got the woman first and we walked from hidden meadows all the way to Tidwell and from Tidwell they told us coast guard, 7:30. We're done. So what happens is somebody came and told us that the middle school got broken into. King middle school.

We got there the second floor because the first floor was flooded. We got there and they said that they sent a truck or something that they sent a truck. And so when we got to the store, the boats were just coming. We didn't know. We were going to wait till 5:00 in the morning. So we were like let's go. They took us again, priority. Three kids and pregnant. I've got my 3-year-old over there.

VERCAMMEN: We're glad to see you and your whole family are ok. It's so good to hear you got out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hoping they're boating everybody in.

VERCAMMEN: Right now, we can see the boats and these big rigs. They're doing the best they can. Glad that you made it out of there. I know it was a long day for you. That is what the scene looks like right now in the city of Houston right now on an on-going situation, back to you now Don.

LEMON: Paul Vercammen, thank you very much. One story among many. We've been hearing so many over the last few days coming from the Texas area. Just unbelievable. We'll continue to follow that. We have breaking news I need to tell you about.

North Korea launching yet another missile. This one flew over Japan. I want to bring in now CNN international correspondent Will Ripley, the only western correspondent in North Korea. Will, thank you for joining us. Tell us what happened.

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, what North Korea did, don, was a highly, highly provocative missile test, the most provocative since at least 2009 which is the last time they launched something that went over Japan. An immediate range ballistic missile launched not far from where I'm standing near the airport in Pyongyang. The North Korean capital. Normally we see them launched from remote locations. In this case it appears they used a missile launcher to launch from an airport that American tourists use. It flew 1700 miles over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido coming down in the Pacific Ocean. This test is significant for a number of reasons. One is the trajectory, the kind of missile they launched had they pointed to the south, this is the kind of missile that North Korea could use if they were going to launch missiles towards Guam. By launching it from a more populated area near Pyongyang, they're telling the United States don't think about trying a preemptive strike, because they can put missile launchers near where people live. More than 3 million people live here in Pyongyang which ups the risk for the United States if they were try to take military action to take out North Korea's potentially nuclear missile. Obviously a terrifying situation for people living in Japan. They woke up around 6:00 local time this morning with their phones beeping, air raid sirens sounding. It certainly does underscore the escalating situation here and there are indications rights now according to South Korea's intelligence service, North Korea could be making final preparations for their sixth nuclear test. For months the government has been saying they could do it at any moment with very little notice. We have to watch closely to see what else happens here. LEMON: Will Ripley, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you so much.

When we come back, President Trump today defending his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. We'll speak to a man who spent a year in Arpaio's tent jail and see what he has to say about the pardon.


[23:52:16] LEMON: President Trump, today, defending his controversial pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election. An election that he would have won. So, and he was elected many times. So, I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe. And I think the people of Arizona who really know him best, would agree with me.


LEMON: Joe Arpaio tweeting tonight, I appreciate Donald Trump's support and comments about me today at his press conference. Joining me now is Michael Kiefer, he is a senior reporter at the Arizona Republic. Thank you, for joining us. Michael, the President reminded us how people of Arizona love Joe Arpaio. How are people responding there?

MICHAEL KIEFER, SENIOR REPORTER, ARIZONA REPUBLIC: It depends on which side. I don't think the pardon have changed anybody's opinion. There were people that were strongly more, strongly against. The only difference, is they might be talking about it louder.

LEMON: You were with Joe Arpaio the day he got the news of the pardon. What was his reaction?

KIEFER: He was out the dinner with his wife, for his wife's birthday. They had spaghetti and calamari, kind of the last-minute we could get in to have an interview. He was his usual self. He is always very cordial. He is always very blustery. And it was, like any other interview with him, although he was grateful that he had been pardoned. And he did act as if that this is sort of an incentive for him to get back into public life.

LEMON: You covered him for many years. What is some of the most controversial actions -- his controversial actions? And why is he hated and feared by so many people?

KIEFER: Well, there was a period in which he and the County attorney, Andrew Thomas, who has since been disbarred, were investigated and pressing charges against political enemies and Judges. That all ended badly. All of those lawsuits, criminal charges, all went away. And it resulted in numerous court settlements. I think -- I tallied up a year and a half ago. And I've added in today, since 1994, when he first took office, the County has paid about $160 million in lawsuits. In settlements.

[23:55:08] Among the other things, of course, are the immigration wars. You know, in Arizona, they started passing state immigration laws. And around 2005, there were several of them. They were to prevent illegal immigrants from getting bail. They were -- they had to do with smuggling. They had to do with I.D. theft. Nearly all of them have been thrown out by the federal courts because they were either unconstitutional or preempted by federal law. So, we have been through this immigration -- this immigration battle here in Arizona. All of the main players are now gone. The County attorney was disbarred. The President of the senate was recalled. And the Sheriff finally lost election. Enough was enough.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it. And by the way, I need to tell our viewers, his team, and the legal team for Joe Arpaio. Thank you very much, Michael, I appreciate that. Released a statement. Joseph M. Arpaio, was not convicted for racial profiling. His conviction had nothing to do with race. He didn't say which news organizations. But didn't say which organization. I want to bring in Francesco Chairez, he spent a year in Sheriff Arpaio tent jail. You were born in Mexico. You moved to Arizona at the stage of 14. You went to high school there. Arizona State University. But you got in trouble. What happened?

FRANCESCO CHAIREZ, SPENT YEAR IN JOE ARPAIO TENT JAIL: I was arrested for aggravated assault. I was under the influence and rear-ended another vehicle. And I pled guilty to a charge of aggravated assault. And my sentence was one year of work furlough in the tent city jail.

LEMON: You wrote an opinion piece for "The Washington Post." talking about after you turned yourself into authorities, they put me through something called the matrix, being moved from one cell to another, for about 12 continuous hours. It was extremely cold. I was allowed to -- all I was allowed to wear was underwear. The striped uniform I was given was underwear and flip-flops. And you go on to talk about that. And I'll let the viewer read. You ultimately ended up in one of his tent cities. What was it like? Why were you there so long? And what did you think the conditions were like?

CHAIREZ: I was there for a year because that is what I pled to. The conditions were extreme. The heat. There is no air conditioning inside the tents. There is no cold water. You had to buy food from a vending machine where the prices are outrageously high. Sometimes we wouldn't be allowed to buy stuff from the commissary because they were upset with one of the inmates or whatnot. So, we would go hours without eating. In the wintertime, we had to put hot water in a plastic bag and wrap it around our feet to be warm all night. You could only get a certain amount of blankets. The blankets were plastic bags.

LEMON: Cruel and unusual?

CHAIREZ: I think so. I believe that anybody who commits a crime, deserves a punishment. I did, I own up to what I did. But I think he took things way too far with his tent city. I really don't think it was necessary to even create this. I don't think it's a decent program, I think it's set up to make criminals fail and commit other crimes, I don't think it's a successful program at all.

LEMON: By the way you know Arizona you can get 115, 120 degrees. It gets really hot there. In the time we have left, the short time, you have been a court interpreter at the time of your arrest. And you witnessed how undocumented people were treated. Tell me about that.

CHAIREZ: Yes. People who were just caught crossing the desert outside of Maricopa County, they were always charged. They were always -- he just wanted to make sure him and Andrew Thomas wanted to make sure they had a charge on the record conviction. If they try to come back to the U.S., they would be sent to federal prison. It was a huge thing they had against illegal immigrants and Latino people in our community. Created huge issues and racial tensions in Maricopa County that were unnecessary.

LEMON: I got about ten seconds left, you said people should serve their time. What about Arpaio not serving his?

CHAIREZ: He should definitely serve his time. If people like us have to restart our lives because we committed a crime, he should have to do the same thing, as well.

LEMON: Francisco Chairez, thank you so much.

CHAIREZ: Thank you, sir.

LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thank you for watching. I'm Don Lemon. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.