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Army Corps Open Dams to Stem Houston Flooding; Photo of Harris County Deputy Sheriff Goes Viral; Gas Prices Spike After Harvey Destruction. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 29, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:01] JONATHAN TILOVE, CHIEF POLITICAL WRITER, AUSTIN AMERICAN- STATESMAN: I don't think there's some political score to settle here. I think here he is in a state where I think he identifies with the state and its leadership and it should be all good, and I don't see him trying to borrow some kind of controversy.

I mean, there are some, you know, Sean Hannity and Alex Jones sought to make the Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston the heavy for not ordering an evacuation, but Turner was very much in lock step with Ed Emmet, who's the Republican county judge, the guy in charge of the county. So, there's no controversy there. While Governor Abbott said they should evacuation, as soon as the mayor and the county judge said, don't do it, he said, well, trust the local officials.

So, in the state that's not really a big controversy I don't think.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The president leaves for Texas exactly two hours from now. Of course, we'll be taking it live.

Abby, Jonathan, thank you very much.

So, round the clock water rescues are taking its toll on one sheriff's deputy, many more I'm sure, but he just happened to be caught asleep on the floor. This photo captures so much of how hard all of these folks are working. It's gone viral and we will speak with this deputy live, next.

To learn more about how you can help those affected by Harvey, go to


[06:35:34] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here's where Harvey gets a little complicated.

The Army Corps of Engineers had opened a couple floodgates partially to allow the water to run off instead of, you know, risking a major flood of heavily populated areas. But as a result, they're now mandatory evacuation orders in some of the surrounding communities because of the concerns that with more rain and now, those flood gates open a little bit, you could have some catastrophic flooding in those communities.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Southwest Houston with more. Is that basically the situation as you understand it?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Chris. In fact yesterday, we spent a whole day in one of those neighboring community in Fort Bend County, the Brazos River there continues to rise. Some of the mandatory evacuations that you just mentioned, those are in place and they continue to expand.

Here in Houston, though, you find these scenes repeating themselves all over the place, entrances to neighborhoods still flooded out. Believe it or not, this water has gone lower but that is really the deceiving part of the story. The water level throughout the city goes up, it goes down, much of that having to do with what you just talked a little bit about which are those releases from some of those reservoirs.

Many of that water being released into the bayous. Eventually, those bayous overflow and they end up in some of these neighborhoods. As a result, more people are having to turn to shelters that are already reaching capacity.

Last night, as the sun set, the rain continued to fall. Those floodwater, continued to rise, Alisyn, and you look at the forecast, we certainly are barely half way there when it comes to the weather event. As for the humanitarian event, rescuing, housing all these people, Alisyn, that is something that is very difficult to measure how long that will take.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Polo. It's just beginning. Thank you very much.

So, we have breaking news. These are live pictures inside the Houston convention center and you can see that people are just waking up. There are 9,000 storm victims who will be waking up there this morning. The shelter is almost at double its capacity but it is still taking people in.

Rescuers are working day and night with little sleep as you can imagine. Hence this picture of a Harris County deputy sheriff gone viral, Deputy Robert Goerlitz sleeping his desk after working round the clock.

Deputy Goerlitz joins us now on the phone. Good morning, Deputy. How are you doing this morning?


CAMEROTA: I bet you are. I mean, you've been doing yeoman's duty as everyone knows. Before we get to that, can you tell us the story behind this photo?

GOERLITZ: I'm sorry?

CAMEROTA: Tell us the story behind this photo of why you were sleeping. I mean, it looks like, it truly looks as if you basically fell over from exhaustion.

GOERLITZ: Pretty close. I was on for 21, 22 hours right when I finally got something to eat and sat down.

CAMEROTA: And how excited were you when you woke up and you found out one of your buddies had taken a picture of that has gone viral and been shared 600,000 times?

GOERLITZ: Yes, a little bit, uh, a little nerve-racking somewhat or a little bit surprising, I didn't expect any attention from any of this.

CAMEROTA: What did your colleagues say to you? Was this in good fun? Are you mad at them or are you happy that the story is getting out of all that you guys are doing?

GOERLITZ: Well, it was kind of -- it was done in fun. It was my sergeant's wife that was there, took a picture. She thought it was kind of funny just the way of collapsed on a bag of charcoal.

CAMEROTA: Used as a pillow. So, but, Deputy Sheriff, tell us what your life in the past 24 hours has really been like. I mean, you said you were working 21 or 22 hours, and what were you doing during that time?

GOERLITZ: We were driving a, me and my partner, Andy Keene, driving a five-ton high water vehicle and in the Clear Lake area and it was -- we were pushing that vehicle to its limit several times. We came across a couple folks inside of cars, surprised they were still alive and able to get them out of the cars and get them in the back of the truck when we were taking this woman to the hospital because she was having a heart attack.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, and do you know what the outcome was?

GOERLITZ: She made it. She was fine.

[06:40:01] CAMEROTA: I mean listen, Deputy Goerlitz, this is the point, you are out there for 24 hours and you're finding people in all manners of distress and you're saving their lives. And so, when you show up, people are stranded in their car, just tell us, what's that -- what is the moment like? Are these people who thought they weren't going to make it?

GOERLITZ: It is. To see the look on their faces when they show up and it's scary for us because we don't want to find them in the worst way we could and it's overwhelming to finally see, it's kind of surprising, he's alive! And you see a hand print come up onto the window and get them out of the car and get them -- loaded up and they're so thankful that we were coming down the same road.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Deputy Sheriff Robert Goerlitz, obviously, thank you for the good work you're doing and sharing this photo. We really appreciate hearing the he herculean effort behind the scenes. Thank you and get some rest.

GOERLITZ: Thank you, ma'am. We will. CUOMO: Look, exhaustion is the pervasive theme. There's too much

need and that's why the calls have gone out to anybody, anybody who can help, please do so, and that has inspired so much action by people.

And we have a story for you that you're going to want to hear. This storm chaser used social media to reunite a man with his dog. People not being able to find their pets. You know, pets are family, and it's become a problem there. But this is a story that has a happy ending, next.


[06:45:34] CUOMO: So, now, the great story of a Texas storm chaser finding a dog on the side of the road outside on the road as he was going to get gas. The owners seemingly nowhere to be found. The storm chaser posts the dog's picture and message on Twitter. And this morning, Cash, that's the dog's name, has been reunited with his owner.

Joining us is that storm chaser, Aaron Jayjack, along with Severo Salas and this great dog, Cash, which appears to be missing once again. No, he's in the picture. He's hanging out next to his owner.

Aaron, to be honest you didn't find the dog. The dog found you, right?

AARON JAYJACK, STORM CHASER: Yes, exactly. I had spent the night in Victoria hunkered down from the storm and I had extra gas but I was trying to save that as my emergency get out of town gas and looking for a gas station after I left Victoria and I noticed this dog following me down the street as I rolled slowly up to the gas station.

CUOMO: And so why you? Why do you think? Were you just the first car available? What do you think it was?

JAYJACK: Well, you know, some people think maybe it was instinct, he knew I was a helper. I don't know. I think it was chance.

I saw him actually he looked like he was looking at another car and they kept going and he looked at me and chose me and I didn't have the heart to not help him out.

CUOMO: Smart dog and you're right. You had heart, and that's what carries this through in a situation like this.

So, Severo, how is the dog doing? How is Cash money?

SEVERO SALAS, REUNITED WITH LOST DOG: He's doing great. He's actually --


SALAS: What's that?

CUOMO: What happened? How did you lose the dog? Did he run away, get nervous in the storm, what happened?

SALAS: Well, I was actually on call that day and wasn't able to put him inside his kennel and I guess when I rushed out the back door I didn't close it correctly, so he got scared from the storm and ran out.

CUOMO: How long were you without the dog and what were you fearing?

SALAS: Well, I was about -- well, I don't know exactly what time he left the house, but I was out there for an hour, when I got back, that's when I had posted about my dog, so -- so then I got hold of where he was at and it was about a couple hours.

CUOMO: What are the chances that on Twitter, a place where almost nothing good ever happens you get this message about your dog, how surprised were you? How did you find out? Did you see it or somebody tell you, I just saw Cash?

SALAS: I had posted it on Facebook and I had a lot of people commenting and people messaging me on Twitter, showing me some guy had my dog, which was storm chaser Aaron. It didn't take too long, maybe about five minutes and people were already posting about him.

CUOMO: Aaron, I got to tell you, you're out there to chase the storm. Your services are going to be needed. Unfortunately, they're going to be needed again, and soon, but what is a little bit of a bright spot like this do for you?

JAYJACK: You know, it makes it all worth it really. It was a great thing to do and it's something it seemed people have kind of rallied around it as a unifying event and seeing the good and what can happen and like you mentioned, Twitter it's usually a lot of bad stuff but I use Twitter a lot for the storm chasing to get the word out about storms so people can stay safe.

But I figure this is my best chance now everything going on now to try to find Cash's owner.

CUOMO: Well, you did a beautiful thing here and all tender mercies are welcome. I'm following you. We're going to need your information and inside as the storm circles back around. So, thank you to you, Aaron.

And what is going on Severo with this dog Cash? How come he's passing up his moment in the spotlight? Is he waiting for a book deal or something like that, trying to get a kibble contract? Where is he?

SALAS: I'm not sure, he's playing around the house right now, looks pretty excited.

CUOMO: He's just happy to be home. Thank God you got him back. Aaron, thank you for making a happy ending. We could use a lot more of them.

Gentlemen, be well, be safe.


CAMEROTA: All right. Tropical Storm Harvey is wreaking havoc on the oil industry. At least ten refineries have been knocked offline causing gas prices to spike. What it means for you, next.


[06:53:46] CAMEROTA: Time for CNN money now. The torrential rain and catastrophic flooding impacting America's oil industry in a big way, and that means higher prices at the pump for you.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans is in our money center with more.

How -- what are you seeing here, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, a third of America's oil refineries are on the Texas coast. Harvey forced oil rig evacuations and ten key refineries shut down, including the second largest in the country. That, Alisyn, that takes 2.2 million barrels of oil per day off line. That disruption means higher gas prices, the average already up four cents. Expect a 5 to 15 cent rise over the next few days especially in the South, Southeast and mid-Atlantic U.S.

Now, early estimates of property damage put a $40 million price tag on Harvey, making it one of the costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. Now, typically, high winds cost the most damage, but in Harvey's case, it is flooding instead of high winds. And many homes don't have flood insurance, only 15 percent of the homes in the Houston area have flood insurance, Chris. It's about 20 percent in Corpus Christi.

CUOMO: Yes, we were just talking to a lady who was saved with ten people. She doesn't have insurance and this is the second time this has happened to her, 12-year anniversary of Katrina she was washed out then also and rebuilding once again, no help from insurance.

[06:55:01] Christine, thank you very much.

So, waterlogged Houston bracing for more rain from Harvey, but it's not just going to be a Texas story anymore. Louisiana is also bracing for floodwaters. We have it all covered from the gulf, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was scared. I've seen a lot of things but that terrified me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our number one goal is still protecting and preserving life.

CAMEROTA: Officials say the storm will drive more than 30,000 people into shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no regrets at all in having people to shelter in place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump heading to Texas today to survey the damage and assess relief efforts.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've pledged our full support. Every asset at my command is at the disposal of local officials.

CUOMO: The U.N. Security Council meeting today in response to North Korea launching a missile over Japan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a pretty significant escalation from North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big question moving forward now, what will North Korea do next?