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Zaxby's Providing Meals to Harvey First Responders; Flood Victims Return Home; Russia Investigation; U.S.-Russia Relations; Beaumont Loses Drinking Water, Hospitals Evacuate; Top Kenyan Court Orders New Election; Ordinary People Become Rescue Heroes in Texas. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired September 2, 2017 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Catastrophe along the Gulf Coast. An entire Texas city without clean drinking water. This, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Here's the thing. Another major storm is on the way growing in the Atlantic.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell, live here in Houston, Texas, a city that is picking up the pieces.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Cyril Vanier from the CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta.

Also in this show, revelations about a letter Mr. Trump reportedly wrote for fired FBI director James Comey but never sent.


HOWELL: Good day to you around the world. It is 4:00 am here in Houston, Texas. Most people here at this emergency shelter, they are getting sleep, getting a good night's rest for the night, some who don't have a home to return to but are still thankful that they survived because there are many who did not.

The death toll from this storm now stands at 50 people who were killed. One week after Harvey made landfall, crews are still dealing with several problems, a second fire that broke out Friday at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, and more are expected. The immediate area around that factory has been evacuated.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA for short, it says it has not detected high levels of toxins in the air.

In the meantime, U.S. president Donald Trump plans to return to Texas today, marking his second visit after being criticized for the first, for not meeting with individuals, the people who were affected by the storm. This time he is expected to meet with victims of this disaster.

As for the recovery itself, the White House has asked Congress to approve almost $8 billion in emergency aid.

In the days since that storm hit, more than 72,000 rescues have taken place. And the governor of this state says more than 440,000 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, for assistance.

In the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done from flooded neighborhoods to major fires. Our Brian Todd has the very latest.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brian Todd in Beaumont, Texas. There are indications now that the crisis in Southeast Texas is not over. In Crosby, Texas, the site of a chemical plant run by a company called Arkema Inc., massive fires broke out on Friday in trailers where chemicals were being stored.

These were deadly and toxic peroxide chemicals, organic peroxide, and they were stored in trailers that caught fire on Friday. Officials at Arkema Inc. expected this to happen. They knew that these trailers would catch fire. They said that there are going to be more trailers, maybe as many as six that will catch fire in the coming days.

That's because the peroxide chemicals that they store there and that they work with have not been cooled in days. They had severe flooding in the plant which shut down the cooling systems. But they do say that so far there's no danger to the public.

The EPA said they flew a plane through there to monitor airborne toxins. There's no dangerous toxic material in the air, at least at this point. But they'll be monitoring that in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, here in Beaumont, at the water treatment plant behind me, engineers are working furiously to get the water supply in Beaumont back online. They've been without water for a couple of days now.

And they brought in engineers from Exxon and other companies to try to get water pumped from the Natchez River into the treatment plant here and back out to the people in Beaumont, Texas. About 120,000 people have been without water -- Brian Todd, CNN, Beaumont, Texas.


HOWELL: Brian, thank you so much for that report.

In the meantime, rescues continue and there are so many people who come to this state to help. And even the rescuers, in fact, need some help. One local businessman is doing just that.

I'd like to introduce you now to Shawn Taylor. Shawn owns several Zaxby's fast food restaurants here in the Houston Metro area.

It's a pleasure to have you with us today.

SHAWN TAYLOR, ZAXBY'S: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you, George. HOWELL: Talk to us about what you're doing because, again, you have this influx of first responders, people coming from all parts of the country, to help Houston. And they need food as well, just like the people that have lost their homes. They need places to stay.

How are you guys helping?

TAYLOR: First of all, thank you for having us and thank you for being here to tell the Houston story.

I'm a Zaxby's licensee. I own seven restaurants here in the Houston area. We've been closed for several days and reopened on Wednesday. One of the first things we elected to do is start providing hot meals for not only first responders but volunteers and folks who have been displaced into shelters.

HOWELL: There are so many, at what pace?

How many have you done so far?


TAYLOR: Since Thursday, we've supplied over 600 hot meals, Zaxby's box lunches, platters, tea, lemonade, you name it, to a host of organizations around the Houston area.

HOWELL: Shawn, I mean, have you ever seen something like this?

This is your city. You drive these streets. Some streets you can't pass. Some neighborhoods still submerged.

Have you ever seen this?

TAYLOR: I've never seen an epic crisis like this in my life. I'm 57 years old. I saw Katrina from a distance, saw Rita close up. But I've never seen anything of this scale and magnitude here in the United States.

HOWELL: What about the spirit here in Houston?

Texas strong, Houston strong, is what the hashtags and all say. You see it, you feel it throughout the city.

TAYLOR: There's a lot of truth to that. It's a fact. If you go back to Katrina, when we owned up the doors here under our former mayor, Bill White, to take in all the evacuees from Louisiana, the city rallied around all of our guests to try to help them and get them situated and make them feel comfortable and welcome.

You're seeing the same thing, just on a greater scale because the devastation is so far spread. It's not isolated to a pocket of the city. It's not isolated to just Houston; the surrounding suburban areas, as well.

Donations are pouring in. I'm getting calls from around the country, from fellow Zaxby's family, how can they help, what can they do. So it's just been nonstop, people wanting to do to help those who were affected by this tragedy.

Shawn Taylor, thanks for joining us, again, helping the people who are helping the people. Thank you so much.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

HOWELL: As people leave their shelters here, leave the emergency shelters like the one we're at now, the floodwaters are still in many places around the city. And officials warn bacteria in the floodwaters surrounding homes and businesses can be toxic.

CNN hired a lab to check the quality of the water in Houston and the results are in and the results, quite frankly, they are disturbing, they are concerning. Our Elizabeth Cohen has more now on the threat survivors and rescue workers are facing in those waters.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We went out and tested these waters here in Houston and when we got the results back, they were shocking. Not only is the water contaminated, it is highly contaminated. Numbers some experts have never seen in their experience.

Let's take a look at E. coli. This is an indication of how much fecal contamination there is in the water and other bacteria as well. We took three samples in this one area in Houston. The first had 8,600 CFUs or colony forming units, the second 3,700, the third one 6,300.

The lab that did this for us, ANB Labs (ph) in Houston, they say the EPA standard for recreational water is zero. You're not supposed to have any E. coli in recreational waters.

Now let's look at total coliform, another indication of fecal bacteria and other kinds of contamination: the first sample, 57,000 CFUs; the second 43,000; the third one 45,000. The EPA standard for recreational waters: less than 100.

So as you can tell, these numbers are stunningly high.

The lab manager, who was out testing with us, he said these numbers are huge. His lab is a professional water testing lab. This is what they do for a living and he said we do this day in and day out. He's never seen numbers like this in water that is publicly accessible.

He's not just concerned about fecal bacteria. He's also concerned about Vibrio vulnificus, that's the flesh-eating bacteria. He said that these numbers show that there could be a likelihood that that's also in this water.

So what does this mean for the countless people who've been wading in this water?

If they had a cut in their skin and it was big enough and it didn't get cleaned out quickly enough, it could be a serious problem. It could cause a serious skin infection that could actually be life- threatening. And that will be true even if the person were very healthy to begin with.

Another concern is if the water splashed into someone's mouth. If you ingest this and you're completely healthy, you'll probably just get a round of diarrhea that you'll get over. But if you're older, if you're weaker, if your immune system is compromised, it could be much more serious -- back to you.


HOWELL: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

The numbers here at this shelter are on the decline. Many people here are returning to their neighborhoods. The biggest question for many is to find out what's left of their homes.

An estimated 136,000 homes and buildings have flooded in Houston. And even with the water still standing, one resident still wanted to see her home. My colleague, Anderson Cooper, went along with her.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Susan Peterson has to use a canoe to get to her house.


SUSAN PETERSON, HARVEY VICTIM: It's probably a quarter of a mile from here.

COOPER: She's waited all week for the water to recede, but she can't wait any longer. She needs to see what's happened to her home.

She invited us to go with her, the water too deep and dangerous in some spots to walk through. That's quite a current.

So this is your house?

If in her front yard, one of her cars is completely submerged, only the roof still visible.

That's one of your cars?

PETERSON: It's a '91 Cavalier.

COOPER: From the outside, the house doesn't look too bad.

So are there stairs there?

PETERSON: Yeah, there are stairs under here.

COOPER: But inside is another story.

PETERSON: The kid's bedrooms and bathrooms are all down the hall. I mean, you know, down -- that was ground level.

COOPER: The two lower levels of the house are under water, the garage, her office and three bedrooms. Mold is already visible on the ceiling. Susan looks for her four cats, but finds no sign of them.


COOPER: I mean, does it help to actually see it, or does it --

PETERSON: No. I think I probably would have been better just wait until somebody told me the water was down.

COOPER: So it's an original --


COOPER: After about 15 minutes inside, she decides to leave. She's not sure how to begin to rebuild. She'll come back later with her kids to search for the cats. For Susan and so many others here, the difficulty of the days ahead is all too clear.

It's overwhelming?

PETERSON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you.


HOWELL: So many people have lost so much, personal belongings destroyed. As Elizabeth Cohen pointed out, dangers in the water from bacteria, snakes, even alligators in the water. This is the reality for people that they have to deal with, trying to get back to their homes. And it will take some time for recovery.

If you'd like to help, there are ways that you can donate to people here in the state of Texas. You can visit You can find links there to vetted charities that are working to help people that have been hardest hit with this storm.

Cyril, looking at that piece from Anderson, it just kind of raises the hair on my arms to think about what people are going through, try to think of what would I do if I were in that situation. But, again, that's the reality for people as they try to move forward.

VANIER: Absolutely. And as you explained to us, it's not over. And over the next few days, we're going to see new dangers emerging. You'll be there reporting on that, George. Thanks a lot.

Now parts of the Los Angeles metro area are currently under a mandatory evacuation order because of a growing wildfire. It broke out Friday afternoon. It has now consumed more than 2,000 acres. That's about 800 hectares. Officials say it is only 10 percent contained.

About 260 firefighters are battling the blaze. As of Friday evening, no structures have been damaged and no injuries reported. We'll have more on this story later this hour as the fire develops.


VANIER (voice-over): Coming up later in the show, we're learning President Trump wrote a letter to James Comey, explaining why he was firing him. Only Comey never got the letter. Find out why -- next.

Plus Russia's top diplomat has an interesting analogy for strained ties with the U.S. Why he says that Washington is break dancing. Just ahead.







VANIER: There's a new development in the Russia investigation we want to tell you about. Special counsel Robert Mueller now reportedly has a letter by Mr. Trump, giving insights into why the U.S. president fired his FBI director earlier this year.

"The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" report that Bob Mueller, who's leading the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, obtained this letter a few weeks ago. It was dictated by the president to one of his aides shortly after he fired James Comey, who was leading the FBI at the time.

According to the reporting, in the letter, Mr. Trump explains his reasons for doing so. However, the White House counsel, Don McGann (ph) reportedly thought the letter was, quote, "problematic," and in the end it was never sent.

Comey received a different termination letter.

Scott Lucas joins us now. He's a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England and he's the founder and editor of "EA WorldView."

Scott, if the reporting is right, Mr. Trump fired Comey because he wouldn't say publicly that the president wasn't himself under investigation.

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, the broader point is that Comey was not fired as the White House officially said days later because of his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton e-mails.

In fact, as Trump then said, it was always about the Russia investigation.

And as you point out, if it is specifically because Comey would not give the president an assurance that the investigation would be limited and would never reach Donald Trump, what we may have -- and I emphasize may -- is we may have a building case for obstruction of justice. Now obstruction of justice is both a political charge that can lead to

impeachment. It can also be a criminal charge. And I suspect that what we're seeing here is this is one of the keylines that Robert Mueller is beginning to pursue when he possibly brings this up as a substantive case against the president, probably months from now.

VANIER: OK. But Scott, several things to unpack here. First of all, you're telling us that what we find out in this new reporting, is that the reason given for the firing of James Comey --


VANIER: -- it was not the real one. But listen to this sound bite. Listen to this interview that the president gave shortly after he fired FBI director James Comey. He was pretty transparent.

Well, we don't have it right now. But the interview, I'm sure you'll remember it, where he was essentially explaining that he did it, he pulled the trigger because he had been thinking of doing it for a long time. And he had this Russia thing, the Russia investigation, on his mind as he was doing it. So he was fairly transparent about that.

LUCAS: Well, he was transparent three days later. But he was transparent in an interview with Lester Holt. As he ripped apart the line that his staff had carefully put together, that this had nothing to do with Russia.

So he then, also, if you remember a few days after that, it was revealed that he had told none other than Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, look, I fired this nut job. I fired this crazy Comey. So he was bragging that he was able to -- or he thought he would be able to shut down the Russia investigation.

So, I agree, Trump was transparent. But in that transparency lies the very case that, far from there being no connection between Donald Trump and Russia, there are multiple connections and that the president was trying to wish these away. So in a sense he may be the architect of his own downfall.

VANIER: And what about the tidbits that we're finding out in this reporting on why Mr. Trump fired James Comey?

Do you think that they help make the case for or against the obstruction of justice?

LUCAS: The issue at this point is we don't know the content of the draft. We know that it was written by a hard right adviser, Steven Miller, after Trump consulted on with three people: Miller, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

If the draft specifically says, yes, I'm getting rid of James Comey because he would not give me assurances that I will not be investigated, then, yes, you have an obstruction of justice case. But we don't know what the language is. Indeed, we need to look precisely at what the language is, not from a political standpoint, from a legal viewpoint of many of Trump's statements, including his request for loyalty from Comey, including his intervention after national security adviser Michael Flynn was dismissed, that Comey not investigate, that he halt the FBI inquiry into Flynn.

Any of these could be grounds for the political and criminal charges. But Robert Mueller is going to proceed carefully. He has not said a word since he was appointed in May. He is not going to say a word until the evidence is compiled and probably presented to a grand jury, which is now sitting in Washington, D.C.

VANIER: All right, Scott. Thank you very much for your view. Scott Lucas there in Birmingham, thanks.

In other U.S.-Russia news, it's a diplomatic tit-for-tat that's been building for months. Friday was the deadline Moscow gave the U.S. to reduce the number of its diplomats in Russia.

In response, the U.S. ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco as well as two annexes in Washington and New York. Commenting on this back-and-forth, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow didn't start it. And when talking about U.S.- Russia relations in general, he used a dance analogy.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Regarding the USA, as the president repeatedly said, we are not looking for any fights with this country. We have always been friendly to the American people, open for constructive interaction.

But as you know, you need two to tango. So far in my opinion, our American partners have been performing a solo break dance again and again.


VANIER: Let's find out more about the solo break dance. CNN contributor, former Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty, joins me now from Moscow.

Jill, first of all, just quickly, has the U.S. complied in taking out the number of diplomats from Russia that it had to?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have. That was supposed to have happened yesterday on the 1st. They do say they've complied. This is all the idea that essentially what the United States is saying is this is parity.

You have now the same number of diplomats or diplomatic staff and the same number of consulates.

And that's where this last step comes in, Cyril, of cutting down the number of consulates in the United States. The Russian consulates to three, which matches what the United States has here.

You know, as you note, though, the comments by Mr. Lavrov, the foreign minister, he does have a way with words. He's very clever. And that's kind of a diplomatic way of saying something.

You've also had kind of a little more positive spin by the new ambassador, who had just arrived in the United States on the very day that all of this news was breaking.

And he said, look. I'm not here -- I am here to convince the American people that Russia is not the enemy. We have to deal with all of this objectively and professionally. But there's a different --


DOUGHERTY: -- tone that you hear coming from the Kremlin, a little harder one. I was noting these comments that are being quoted in the Russian media by Yuri Ushakov (ph), who is a very senior aide to President Putin, who called this order to vacate the consulates in the United States "a raider takeover."

He said it was designed to sink American-U.S. relations and also to escalate tensions. So it is -- it's -- there's -- you don't know at this point, we have no indication exactly of how Vladimir Putin is going to respond. That will be very interesting to see.

But, Cyril, one more thing. On that consulate in San Francisco, we do -- and I think we have some video that we can show you; there were pictures on social media of smoke coming out of one of the chimneys at the consulate. And there was concern.

Is there a fire at the consulate?

Which they have to vacate by the way, today, Saturday. And then there was a tweet from the San Francisco fire department, saying, no, no. It's not a fire. Everything's OK. It's simply an alarm.

Now this raises one of those almost Cold War, spy-versus-spy images of burning documents. There's no confirmation about that at all. But it is, you know, this is very interesting to see all of this, let's say, diplomatic back-and-forth on this.

VANIER: Jill, thank you. Great to talk to you and get the perspective from Moscow on this. Thanks.

In the U.S. state of Utah now, Salt Lake City police have apologized for arresting a nurse, who refused a police request to draw blood from an unconscious patient. The July incident was captured by police cameras.


ALEX WUBBELS, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH NURSE: I've done nothing wrong! I've done nothing wrong!

VANIER (voice-over): So here's more on the story. University of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels said she was following hospital protocol. Detective Jeff Payne said his supervisor told him to arrest her for interfering with a police investigation. Wubbels was later released without charges after sitting in a police

car for 20 minutes. Payne and another officer are now on administrative leave as internal investigators look into this incident.


VANIER: Still ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM, floodwaters are receding but rescues of stranded people continue, day after day, many of them carried out by the U.S. military.

Keeping a close eye on another hurricane. Irma's heading out there and heading west. Stay with us.





HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell, live in Houston, Texas, covering the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier live from the Atlanta NEWSROOM. The headlines this hour:


HOWELL: Throughout the south part of Texas along the Gulf Coast, there is a great deal of damage. The hurricane forced several Texas hospitals, in fact, to move their patients to other facilities. It is a very delicate operation. It takes great planning and a great deal of time. Our Gary Tuchman has details on that from Beaumont, Texas.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Texas hurricane zone, they are evacuating hospital patients. Helicopter ambulances in the process of flying all 193 patients out from the Baptist Beaumont hospital to other Texas hospitals. But it's not because there are floodwaters. It's because there is no water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't transfer patients when we had our last hurricane. We weren't planning on transferring them this time. But when we get the call and said the city has lost the water, that's a game changer for us.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The city of Beaumont lost its water supply system because rising river waters caused a malfunction at the city's main pump station. Nobody in the city of nearly 120,000 has water, including the hospital.

Water, of course, is a hospital necessity. So now every patient has to leave.

TUCHMAN: Is there any concern with some of the sicker patients being transported like this on helicopters, the trauma they're going through?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we wouldn't transfer a patient unless they were safe to do so. And we have medical teams that are assessing them and making sure that they are -- have everything they need to make that ride.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Military Blackhawk helicopters arrived first. They took five dialysis patients at a time. Smaller choppers then came in to take ER, intensive care and other patients.

TUCHMAN: These evacuations could be a very long process. It could take 36 hours or more to get all of the patients out of the hospital.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The patients here include some in the neonatal unit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have nine babies up there right now. And they will be transferred all to University of Texas medical branch in Galveston. So the nice thing about that is they're all going together and our neonatologist, Dr. Doshi (ph), will be riding with them.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's certainly a traumatizing development for these hospital patients and their families. But it's all being done very calmly, with great care and professionalism -- Gary Tuchman, CNN, Beaumont, Texas.


VANIER: All this week we've been showing you incredible rescues. Now we're going to talk to one of the rescuers. Adam Marr is a former U.S. Army captain and helicopter pilot from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and he --


VANIER: -- and some other veterans mobilized a team and they headed to Houston and Port Arthur to help. So he's going to tell us what that was like.

You're now back in Dallas. But first explain to me how the whole thing even started. You're watching your TV and seeing the devastation.

And that's when you decided to go down there?

CAPT. ADAM MARR, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes, first off, thanks for having us on, Cyril.

Yes, obviously we knew the storm was coming. Houston is right there in our back yard, the Gulf Coast. And one of my good buddies, Derek Evans, CEO for Veteran Oil, woke up in the middle of the night, 3:47 am, and just had this compelling urge that he needed to go down there. So much like you guys have seen on social media, he took to social

media, posted it out to anybody who wanted to come down and help. And the response was overwhelming. And I responded as well.

VANIER: What challenges do you face?

At the end of the day, it's just a group of guys, admittedly with a lot of military training, but it's just a group of guys, two boats, you said, and not a whole lot of supplies.

So what are the challenges?

MARR: Yes, exactly. So the first thing is just navigating the roads. Houston and the coastal area all the way out to Louisiana is so vast, you could fit several states in there. And with the level that the water was at, some places you could put in and then some places you couldn't.

You might need to get to people in distress but you couldn't pass this barrier or this waterway system to get to them. So really just getting on the ground, finding out what the ground truth was, linking in with the local municipalities and then everybody that's there to help.

VANIER: What is the most distressing situation that you saw, that's going to stay with you now?

MARR: So one of the hardest things was obviously our time in Port Arthur. So we got down there; this would have been Wednesday, just as the storm had moved over there. Conditions were deteriorating. You had one of the largest refineries in the country that's under water and smoke's billowing. The clouds are looking very ominous.

And everybody's trying to get boats into the water into this residential neighborhood. And when you get to the families and see the looks on their faces of despair and being distraught, it's very hard to swallow.

But then, you know, the good light on that, the other side is the hope and just the sense of, hey, somebody's here for me. I'm going to be OK when you arrive.

VANIER: And what were people telling you?

When you pulled them out of their house and put them on your boat, what would they say to you?

MARR: Just thank you. There's a little bit of shock and disbelief. You know, a lot of people tried to hold it out as long as they could or, like in Port Arthur's situation, it came on so fast, they just didn't really have time to get out.

So really it's just -- you know, there's not a lot of talk.

But you ask them, hey, how are you doing, considering the circumstances? And a lot of people would smile and just give a good spirit attitude of, hey, I'm alive, so I'm making it.

And, Cyril, if I could say, like that's one thing I want people to take away from this. And that's that that, no matter the race, religion, creed, your political alignment, what this ultimately was was people helping people.

And it's sad that it had to happen with -- that Hurricane Harvey took for it to happen but I think what you're going to see is this is going to go down as one of the finest moments in America's history.

VANIER: Well, Adam, I can't give it any better conclusion than that. Listen, thank you so much for talking to us. You're now back in Dallas after having exhausted the energy and the resources that you guys had, spending four days nonstop down there in Houston and Port Arthur. All right, Adam Marr, thank you very much for speaking to us.

MARR: Thank you, Cyril.

HOWELL: So Harvey is not completely gone but there is another storm that is brewing out in the mid-Atlantic. A lot of people not happy to hear that. Let's bring in our meteorologist, Karen Maginnis, with more.

Karen, where is the storm right now and where does it look like it's headed?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's very impressive on our enhanced satellite imagery. It's situated just about over the mid- Atlantic basin. Here are the Leeward Islands, the Lesser Antilles, the Windward Islands, also Puerto Rico. It's not even close to there yet.

But it does look like the computer models are bringing it in over the next five days, at least rushing by those islands. Now anything can change. Five days is a long way out. But the computer models have slowly begun to be in a little bit of agreement at least for that five days. Beyond that time period, it's anybody's guess.

All right. The winds associated with this at 185 kilometers per hour, moving west very quickly. That's good news.

Remember Harvey?

Harvey was a slow mover, especially when it made landfall near Corpus Christi, Rockport and then just kind of swirled around Houston for days and then walloped Beaumont-Port Arthur with the tremendous rainfall there.

Well, for Hurricane Irma, it is a major hurricane, major being category 3 and above. It may reach category 5 by the time it approaches the Leeward Islands. We'll keep you updated on that.

[04:40:00] MAGINNIS: But I want to show you what's happening outside of Los Angeles, where a fire has been raging. Temperatures have soared here over the last five days. They've been between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius, in the low between 100 and 108 degrees.

This is just to the north of Los Angeles. This is an area in the vicinity of Burbank, Bryce Canyon Park, Keystone, Castleman. Those are some of the areas that have mandatory evacuations. It's consumed about 2,000 acres or about 800 hectares. It's only about 10 percent contained. Firefighters may not get a break until we go in toward Sunday, possibly not until Monday -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right, Karen.


HOWELL: Thank you so much. A fire and a lot to cover.

VANIER: Yes, George Howell. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much to both of you.

Coming up after the break, a first in Kenya. The country's supreme court throws out the president's election victory. What that means for the country just ahead.




VANIER: Hey, welcome back.

Kenya's president criticized the country's top court for nullifying the results of last month's presidential election and ordering a new vote within two months.

Uhuru Kenyatta originally said that he respected the court's decision but later in the day he said it ignored the will of the people. He called the justices "crooks."

The court upheld a petition filed by opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, who claimed that the election had been rigged. Farai Sevenzo joins me now live from Nairobi.

Farai, it's got to be a very high legal bar to meet, to cancel, to nullify a presidential election.

So on what grounds did the supreme court reject the results?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, it is -- for us, we're not lawyers. And, of course, for us, we're Africans, who have seen African elections come out and people complain that they've been rigged.

This is a precedent. It's never happened before, Cyril. [04:45:00]

SEVENZO: It's almost -- it's like, you know, trying to cancel an election in Rwanda. But they agreed and they have yet to give us their full explanation of why they agreed.

But they say that the independent electoral and boundaries commission basically did not stick to the constitution in conducting these elections. And they agreed with the first petition -- that was Raila Odinga -- and say that some of these results were not what they seem.

And, of course, we will wait to see the court's full judgment. But they agreed by a vote of four judges to two that the elections were fraudulent. And we're really waiting very, very anxiously to see how they came to that conclusion -- Cyril.

VANIER: Yes. It's really extraordinary. There's going to have to be a rerun, a new election.

How have Kenyans been reacting to this?

SEVENZO: Cyril, we went out yesterday to Kibera, one of Mr. Odinga's biggest strongholds, a massive slum, one of the biggest in Kenya and of course the biggest in Africa.

And I was struck by how many people were willing to talk to us. That was because we had a camera. They were saying, we can vote again. You know, they desperately want their man, Raila Odinga.

Now remember, Cyril, this is a man who has run four times for the Kenyan presidency and he's failed at every turn. And the idea that he was somehow cheated is spurring people on to go back to vote. Of course you remember, back on the 8th of August, the queues are around the blocks. Their appetite to vote has not diminished in this country.

VANIER: So what happens now?

Because the country has to choose a new leader.

SEVENZO: The country has to choose a new leader. Now remember, also, that there were about 14,000 individuals who went for political office. They may be governors. They may be women's representatives. They may be members of the assembly. They may be senators. They may -- anything.

But this election that's coming up within 60 days is between Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. This is a long-term rival that has been going for ages. It hasn't really stopped and this court case just makes people -- they're watching, first of all, and support their man, Cyril. It's going to be a fascinating couple of months.

VANIER: Yes. This raises so many questions, Farai. We'll have to talk again. One of those questions also about the outside independent observers of these elections who had said the elections were free and fair. So you have to wonder how they could have got it so wrong in the eyes of Kenya's supreme court.

Farai Sevenzo, thank you very much.

SEVENZO: I have so much to tell you about that. I'll talk to you next time.

VANIER: Yes, we will. We will talk again, Farai. Thanks for talking to us.

Now just ahead on CNN, nobody had to ask them to help. They just came to the rescue because they wanted to.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Strangers came together to rescue an elderly man trapped in his car. The group quickly formed a human chain, stretching from dry land to the man's car.

VANIER (voice-over): The citizens who became heroes. We'll tell you about them when we return.





HOWELL: Welcome back.

We've seen it over and over again. Just in the past week alone, people stepping up, rescuing neighbors, rescuing strangers and even animals from floodwaters. At times, the rescuers even risking their own lives to rescue others. Our Randi Kaye brings us some of the stories of the heroes out of this storm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try to save some lives.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ordinary people answering the call, now heroes of Hurricane Harvey. This man and his wife called a fast food chain for help after their home flooded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called Chick-fil-a. Now that sounds kind of funny but I ordered two grilled chicken burritos with extra egg and a boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was such a blessing that, in that exact moment, I was there to answer the phone and get him help.

KAYE (voice-over): The quick-thinking manager arranged for a boat to go get them. The boat also had a jet ski in tow. Problem solved. Strangers came together to rescue an elderly man trapped in his car as

he was being swept away by the floodwaters. The group quickly formed a human chain, stretching from dry land to the man's car.

The car was sinking fast but rescuers were able to get the driver's door open and pull the man to safety. He was taken to a local hospital and reunited with his son.

Monster truck owners also answered the call. The self-proclaimed Redneck Army used their trucks to rescue people from the floodwaters, from an elderly woman in a wheelchair to this submerged military vehicle.

Truck driver Nick Sheridan drove more than 200 miles in his big rig to help rescue those stranded in floodwaters. The military veteran told ABC his team of three big rig drivers rescued more than 1,000 people.

Members of the Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue group that formed after Hurricane Katrina, saved a 73-year-old woman who had been lying face down in the floodwaters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously thought it was a trash bag. As we got closer and the current pulled it closer to our boat, we realized it was a body. And instantly Donnie (ph) jumped from the vessel, brought her up out of the water.

KAYE (voice-over): Joshua Lincoln and two others got her breathing again and reunited her with her family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good boy. Good boy. You getting to go home? You ready to go home?

KAYE (voice-over): Rowdy Shaw (ph) from the Humane Society of the United States was a hero to this dog and many others abandoned in the storm.


Good, are you hungry?

KAYE (voice-over): Countless citizens opened their businesses and homes to evacuees seeking shelter, including furniture store --


KAYE (voice-over): -- owner Jim McIngvale. His stores fleet of trucks picked up more than 200 people and offered his mattresses to evacuees and rescue workers in desperate need of rest.

JIM MCINGVALE, MATTRESS STORE OWNER: We're trying to help as many people as I can.

KAYE (voice-over): And since every hero works best on a full belly, one generous resident did his part to keep them from going hungry. He delivered cooked chicken drumsticks to soldiers from the Army National Guard, like this woman and to others helping evacuate neighborhoods. Already too many heroes to name and the acts of kindness continue --

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: Randi, thank you.

We'd like to leave you with one survivor's reaction to the destruction around him. Eric Harding, he returned to his flooded home to get some toys that were there for his kids. And he noticed that the piano wasn't completely under water. So he decided to stop for a moment and to play that piano. Take a look.



HOWELL (voice-over): That video went viral. Various emotions that you can see in it, calm in chaos, for sure. But again, he lost virtually everything, his home under water. It's a very fair representation of what people are dealing with here.


HOWELL: Thank you so much for being with us this day. I'm George Howell, live here in Houston, Texas.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier, live in Atlanta. The news continues after the break.